Monthly Archives: November 2016

He Who Sups With The Devil Should Have A Long Spoon

The expression may date from the late 14th Century, but it perfectly describes Willard Mittbot Romney’s dinner with the Insult Comedian, and the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver’s creature Reince Priebus. It’s a pity that neither of the principals drink: I would have needed at least 2 stiff belts of Bourbon to cope with Trump and his lackey.

It will be interesting to see if this leads anywhere. The submission ritual seems to be underway:  Trump has gotten Romney to say vaguely nice things about him after this blistering March speech:

Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.

I am far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament of be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.

<SNIP>

Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. We have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He is the only person in America to whom we have added an article before his name. It wasn’t because he had attributes we admired.

And now Willard is reconsidering Trump’s attributes. Pitiful but typical. It’s what happens when you sell your soul to that old devil called power.

tr-meme

I’m not sure if Willard still has a soul. I’ve been advised that bots don’t have souls but Mr. Data did. You say bot, I say android. Let’s call the whole thing off, but first some music:

 

 

Tweets & Circuses

i_trump_450

Image by Michael F.

The outlines of Trump’s online propaganda operation become clearer by the day. Sometimes the Insult Comedian will lose his shit and tweet without thinking. Other times, he will use his favorite social media platform as a way to distract attention from his latest scandal or terrible personnel choices. Along with the Hamilton tirade, the flag burning tweet falls into the latter category:

Trump wanted people to stop talking about the lease of his Washington DC hotel, the NYT article about the inevitable conflicts of interest caused by his empire, and the appointment of wingnut Congressman Tom Price to head HHS. I may start calling the department Health and Inhuman Services now that Price has been nominated. He not only favors repealing the ACA, he’s a rabid frothing at the mouth Medicare privatizer. I don’t recall the TP ticket running to phase out Medicare. Their elderly supporters are in for a rude awakening. It’s not exactly unexpected: Trump is the rudest man in America, after all.

If Trump’s plan was to change the subject from health care policy-an important but somewhat dry topic-to flag burning, it worked. It’s much easier to discuss threats against flag burners than to delve into the details of Medicare. It’s also the nature of the twitter beast: instant analysis of superficial topics is the bread and butter of the Tweeter Tube.

I am not advocating that we stop paying attention to Trump’s twitter addiction, far from it. Instead, I believe that we should take a deep breath and think our responses through. Not everything requires a response within 3 minutes. We can take up to 20 or 30 whole minutes, which will let us prioritize the effluvia tweeted out in the middle of the night from Trump Tower. Here’s one rule of thumb: if Trump tweets something irrelevant out-of-the-blue, there’s a good chance it’s a distraction. That’s the flag burning tweet in a wingnut shell.

Twitter is the perfect medium for the Insult Comedian. It’s full of ignoramuses with short attention spans who personalize, and feel obliged to comment on, everything. Sound familiar?Twitter is Trump to a T. Any time Trump feels unloved or persecuted, a tweet storm ensues. Some have said that his people should call twitter’s people and pull the plug on the mad  tweeter. I prefer to know what my enemy is up to. I just think we need to try harder to discern what is important and what is a diversion. Both the twitteratti and the MSM have failed miserably at that so far. It’s what happens when you’re a conclusion jumper. I hate them almost as much as close talkers, y’all.

We’re navigating uncharted, shark infested waters. The electoral college winner is a mentally unstable showman with a short attention span. Twitter will play a depressingly important role in how this fake populist deals with the populace.

Michael F came up with the I Claudius style featured image for a post called If Caligula Means Little Boots as opposed to, say, little hands. The term “bread and circuses” was coined by the delinquent Roman wag Juvenal during the reign of Augustus; the man who finished off the Roman Republic. Unlike Trump, Augustus was a competent, intelligent man. The Insult Comedian is more reminiscent of that imperial pussy grabber, Tiberius who tried and failed to fill his stepfather’s strappy sandals. But Tiberius *was* able to provide bread and circuses for the masses. All the Insult Comedian/Sideshow Barker is likely to provide is tweets and circuses.

The next time anyone falls for one of Trump’s diversions, you could do worse than ponder the  following question posed by Pete Townshend, Why Did I Fall For That?

Repeat after me: tweets and circuses. Why did I fall for that?

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Liar

The Jesus Lizard’s kind of noise rock is not my cup of tea. I do, however, dig this cover by painter Malcolm Bucknall. The painting is called Allegory of Death and the album is Liar.

Liar

All I have to say about the music is leapin’ Jesus Lizards. I’m not sure what that means but it has a nice Little Orphan Annie feel to it. It beats the hell out of listening to Jesus Jones.

No One’s Coming

One more time, because I keep saying this, because nobody’s hearing it:

People who should KNOW BETTER keep asking when the noble heroes who surely, SURELY must lurk among the GOP will rise up and restrain the madman they nominated for president, reassert Genuine Strong Daddy Party authority, and return us to the glory days of polite racism and understated economic violence.

And … I get it, okay? This is in fact the GOP’s mess. They chained this feral critter in their basement and fed it rotten meat and lies about Islamo-fascism for 15 years, beat it occasionally, and now they’ve let it out of its cage and it’s mauling the wedding guests. We shouldn’t have to tranq it for them. They should clean this up. Guess what? THEY’RE NOT GOING TO.

These are people, okay? Human beings. Maybe you’ve met some of them in your travels. They like cold beer and warm beds and chocolate covered pretzels. They ain’t complicated. They tend to act in ways that will benefit them.

They sucked up to George W. Bush when he was a powerful War President and they ran away from him when his numbers tanked, because those were the actions that resulted in them either holding onto the power they had or increasing that power. These same jackholes spent eight years demonizing a pretty harmless middle-of-the-road upper manager for the crime of trying to give people health insurance, because that kind of behavior made them look sexy to the people who voted in the midterms.

Those that didn’t look to their base? That said maybe we could work with Obama, or not be gratuitously nasty to women and poor people, or at least try to read the Constitution now and again and confirm a judge once in a while? They wound up NOT HERE ANYMORE, because the Tea Party primaried them out of existence and replaced them with the likes of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. (Who, lest we forget, make Donald Trump look like Winston Churchill, albeit after his six afternoon highballs.)

So what was the lesson there? Hold onto whatever you’ve got, however you have to, and during this past election that’s exactly what they did. They endorsed and un-endorsed and re-endorsed depending on the pussy-grab of the day, and they suffered exactly no consequences for their dithering. Why would they abandon that dithering now, take a stand for which they could be attacked, and … potentially save the Republic? What is in it for them?

All the aforementioned is not, by the way, a knock on the GOP or the creatures that inhabit it. It’s not good or bad so much as it’s average. You and I both do stuff because we’ll be rewarded for it. This is basic human shit, and I’m not annoyed at the GOP’s fascists and fools for being exactly what they need to be.

I AM righteously cheesed off I have to keep explaining basic human shit to people who want fairy tales so they can let themselves off the hook. Nobody within the GOP is going to stand up and tell Trump to get fucked. Our elite institutions are busy finding new euphemisms for “white power” lest they seem too brave or something. There is no way around doing this ourselves, every one. It’s annoying. Like I said, this is their mess.

But it’s our country.

A.

Trump’s Thanksgiving Toddler Tantrum

Trump Turkey Tweet

In confronting the biggest liar in American political history, I claim the right to dramatic license, especially when alliteration is involved. At least that claim isn’t false like this one:

It turns out that the only “news site” that’s pushing this ludicrous story about “illegal aliens” voting is Alex Jones’ Info Wars:

Donald Trump’s campaign has yet to provide any evidence for the President-elect’s new claim that “millions” of votes cast by undocumented immigrants cost him the popular vote.

While elections officials and fact-checking websites have adamantly denied that any such widespread voter fraud occurred, one national news site has pushed this myth: conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars.

A widely-shared November 14 article from the site that alleged that “Trump may have won the popular vote” claims that “more than three million” votes were cast by non-citizens. As PolitiFact documented, the story is based off tweets from Gregg Phillips, a GOP operative who claims to be the founder of VoteStand.org, a voter fraud reporting app. It also cites a report from VoteFraud.org, though no such report exists.

Phillips told PolitiFact he was still analyzing and verifying data and refused to offer any additional information about how he arrived at the three million figure.

The whole thing is based on some tweets and a big lie, just like the Trump campaign itself. The problem is that some people believe this shit; in part, because the MSM continues to treat Trump as if  he occasionally tells the truth when he NEVER does so.

The latest twitter tantrum started as a way to divert attention from stories of conflicts of interest and internal staff strife. The claim that he won the popular vote turned a phony controversy into a real one over phony numbers. Autocrats love phony numbers.

In other Big Lie news, it looks like the Trumpers are setting up Willard Mittbot Romney for a fall. I was always skeptical that he was a serious contender for Secretary of State absent humiliating terms. I agree with Josh Marshall’s take on this:

But the current drama over Mitt Romney’s possible nomination to be Secretary of State points to something quite different: the ritual humiliation of opponents, critics and all who have resisted that Trump yoke that is central to the Trump world. We saw it repeatedly during the campaign and it continues into the transition.

If you haven’t kept up on this little sub-drama in the Trump mega-drama, Trump staffers have been floating word for days that Trump will require Romney to publicly apologize if he wants to be Secretary of State – almost literally a ritual humiliation to enter the Trump inner circle. More pointedly, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway – now some sort of senior advisor to the transition – has repeatedly said in public that if Trump chooses Romney it would be a betrayal of Trump’s supporters. She said this most recently and floridly this morning on the CNN Sunday morning show.

<SNIP>

Dignity is the kryptonite of the Trump world. The dignity wraiths who have bowed down to Trump and given him their all instinctively look to destroy anyone who hasn’t. Like a mob capos who appear more eager to defend the boss’s honor and power than the boss himself but this mystery is beside the point.

A willingness to accept humiliation is part of the deal made by anyone who enters Trump World. Total submission is required, especially for those like Romney who have told the truth about the Insult Comedian in the past. I suspect he’s trying to convince himself that taking on this job would be an act of selfless patriotism instead of a journey into humiliation. I’m convinced he’s being set up for a different form of humiliation: being bypassed for a Trump loyalist. Willard should not take the bait. Instead, he should tell the world he does not want the job. Will he do it? Beats the hell out of me, but if he wants to keep his dignity he will. Look what happened to Chris Christie. He was demoted from butler to footman after the election.

I cannot believe I just gave sincere advice to a man I’ve mocked for years. It’s another example of what Trump hath wrought and why I will continue to treat the electoral college winner with the same respect that Republicans showed Barack Obama: NONE.

Vive les Maquis.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “be careful what you wish for” edition

Well, good people, the Freeperati have gotten everything they’ve always wanted.

Or have they?

Remember Mitt Romney? The Mitt Romney that could get your thrown off Free Republic if you supported him? The Mitt Romney you Freepers hate with every fiber of your twisted beings?

Mitt Romney Is Preparing Apology to Trump – Is Very Interested in Secretary of State Job
TheGatewayPundit.com ^ | November 24,2016 | Jim Hoft

Posted on ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎33‎:‎16‎ ‎PM by Hojczyk

Former Governor Romney was one of Donald Trump’s harshest critics during the election. He assisted his opponents and was essentially working to get Hillary Clinton elected.

Donald Trump met with Mitt Romney in New Jersey last week. Sources said he was interviewing for the Secretary of State position with the Trump administration.

Trump supporters HATE the idea.

Now this… Transition Team sources told Ed Henry from FOX News that Mitt Romney is preparing a public apology. Mitt Romney is reportedly very interested in the Secretary of State job.

1 posted on 11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎33‎:‎16‎ ‎PM by Hojczyk
artejohnsongermaninterested
To: Hojczyk

 

I hope Trump doesn’t fall for this RINO bait.

2 posted on 11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎34‎:‎58‎ ‎PM by Blue Highway

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rhinobait
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Too late!!
To: Hojczyk

 

No RINO spies in the administration

4 posted on ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎36‎:‎01‎ ‎PM by jsanders2001

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trumprino
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And no – I didn’t make that one up.

 

To: Hojczyk 

Can’t have someone in there who is likely to make it about self gain and profits.

wtfdidyoujustsay

So much of the Federal government needs to be fumigated.

20 posted on 11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎40‎:‎09‎ ‎PM by Bayard

“plain talk” sees an upside:
To: Hojczyk

 

Romney must grovel and beg …

42 posted on ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎52‎:‎38‎ ‎PM by plain talk

Several Freeperati think that The Darnold is just getting ready to go all Lucy Van Pelt on Mittens:

 

To: Hojczyk

 

Trump should make a sincere apology from Romney a requisite for the job…wait until Romney apologizes, then don’t give him the job.

45 posted on 11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎53‎:‎34‎ ‎PM by mac_truck (aide toi et dieu t’aidera)

Did any of you jerkoffs ever actually READ “The Art Of The Deal”?
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“I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do.”
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And now – the post of the thread!!
To: Hojczyk

 

I really can’t believe Romney is being considered in the least. He degraded Mr. Trump continuously.

Does the nation lack good leaders to the extent that Romney is even an option?

228 posted on ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎9‎:‎32‎:‎56‎ ‎PM by Cedar

Guys – the spare Irony Meters are on backorder.
More “what the fuck have we done??” below…

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At Some Point Don’t You Want to Be About Something?

The cowardice on display here is truly amazing:

Jesus TITS. If enough people are talking about a thing, that means they deserve a story about a thing, even if that thing doesn’t exist, isn’t remotely what they’re talking about, is mostly or entirely bullshit, or is otherwise something any good editor should kill with a kitchen knife. This is garbage: 

Seems worthwhile to look into allegations that have currency over readers, voters- and present the facts as we find them.

I HAVE LOTS OF QUESTIONS.

Starters: What’s this “currency” certain “allegations” have? How is the amount determined? Is it in the number of unhinged subreddit posts? Frequency of calls to the editor? Editor’s spouse bringing it up at the dinner table? Posts on the paper’s Facebook page accusing it of COVERING ALL THIS UP?

What is the worth of that currency? Who is in charge of counting it? How is it insured? Given the sources for this trash fire of a story, should we really be abandoning the gold standard here?

Why do certain allegations garner “currency” and others do not? If “lots of people being pissed about something” is the going rate independent of any other consideration, I must have missed all those stories about the very legitimate gripes Americans have against illegal spying, the never-ending war on terror and the presence of literal Nazis in the White House. Those things are, in addition to having hella currency, actually real.

This is all just so stupid and sad. Journalists are going to sit around at conferences for the next year talking about what they could have done differently in this election, come to the sad but inevitable conclusion that NOTHING, lament that kids don’t read anymore and all anyone cares about are Kardashians, and cower in fear of Breitbart. They’ll wax nostalgic for some imaginary time, maybe during the Murrow or Cronkite era, when they could have done real shit, taken real stands, effected real change.

And it will just goddamn escape them that their chance is right fucking now today, that they don’t have to be beholden to whatever wingnut newsletter cause is filling up their inbox, that they do in fact have choices and can choose to be grownups.

God, nothing bothers me more than self-imposed helplessness. Do you know how many people don’t have the CHOICE to be helpless? Especially here, especially now, with deportations and international hissyfits and everybody arming up for the coming apocalypse? Like how dare reporters whine about how awkward it is to just suggest that maybe we not do stories about things that are crap?

You don’t even have to get into political bias to get here. All you need is cowardice and a healthy dose of stupidity.

Via John McQuaid.

A.

Abandon All Hope of Trump’s Improvement

Peggy Noonan still thinks someone is coming to save her: 

The press does not believe, not for a second, and Democrats do not believe, not for a second, that Mr. Trump will be able to change the habits of a lifetime. They are relying on it.

Mr. Trump shocked them by winning. He should shock them now with rectitude.

HE’S NOT GOING TO DO THAT. God, everyone with a functioning keyboard told you a hundred thousand times he was like this, and HE told you he was like this, and you said over and over that maybe he wasn’t going to be like this, and you’re still counting on salvation from above?

Grow the fuck up, Pegs, there is no Easter Bunny. I know it hurts your head to think filthy hippies might have a point here, but the pivot’s not coming.

I keep reading these stories: 

What happens next to the American republic will depend on whether Trump chooses to abide by, or can be restrained within, legal and bureaucratic limits—or whether his fellow partisans, seeking their own immediate political objectives, instead empower and enable him.

Yeah, this is in doubt. Whether the Republican establishment is going to restrain Trump.

The same Republican establishment that threw everything it had at him during the primaries and barely mussed his stupid muppet fur.

The same Republican establishment that spent the general election dithering and hedging and trying to figure out how to kiss HALF of Trump’s ass, in case this whole thing went south or in case it didn’t.

The same Republican establishment that was so enamored of small-d democratic principles that it shut down the government in protest of giving people health care? That spent eight years screaming about seekrit Muslims and gay marriage and refusing to confirm a goddamn Supreme Court nominee?

That’s the institution you’re thinking is going to grow a pair? That’s what you’re counting on? You might as well be praying to the Tooth Fairy. It would be just as effective and slightly less embarrassing.

Just stop it.

Nobody’s coming to save us from Trump.

Not the politicians who are trying to figure out how to cooperate with him while still yelling at him enough to make money. Not the news hairdos already running stories about what the Trump family Thanksgiving looked like. Not the electoral college or Jill Stein’s recount or Hillary contesting the results of the election.

Certainly not the Republican party which faced so few consequences for nominating a SERIAL SEX PREDATOR that they won the entire White House and larger majorities in Congress.

Why should they save the country from Trump? Why are we asking them to do what is not in their interest?

I said it right after the election and I’ll keep saying it: All we do now is save as many as we can. Keep giving me your suggestions for how we do that because that’s all that’s important now.

Nobody’s coming to save us. Certainly not from the GOP side of the aisle.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: The Most Dangerous Game

the-most-dangerous-game-1932-602x356

You’re not seeing double. This is not my post-election piece, The Most Dangerous Game, it’s the 1932 movie that inspired that post. This atmospheric black and white horror flick involved many of the same people who went on to make King Kong the next year.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Broken Arrow

rightandleft

Right and Left by Winslow Homer, 1909.

I’m black and blue from pinching myself to prove that the Insult Comedian’s electoral college victory really happened. It’s a real life nightmare but at least we had our first cold front of the season. My colleagues in Chicago and Madison would call it mildly chilly but it’s cold by New Orleans standards. Cold enough to plug-in the space heaters and turn on the central. I’m not crazy about the smell of burning dust on the vents but it ends fairly quickly. The cats, of course, love bathing in the rays of the space heaters.

We’ve all been so focused on the electoral disaster that not enough attention has been paid to the South Dakota pipeline controversy. I plead guilty myself but I stand with the Standing Rock Sioux. If you’re like me and feel the need to be educated on the dispute, here’s a link to a FAQ about the situation.

It’s a much better way to spend your time than thinking about the December 10th Gret Stet Senate run-off. Here’s my position on the Neely-Foghorn Leghorn race in two tweets:

I forgot about two earlier ones, so make that four tweets:

Let’s move on to this week theme song. Make that theme songs as they’re two different tunes with the same title. The first Broken Arrow comes from Robbie Robertson’s eponymous first solo album. The second is a Neil Young/Buffalo Springfield numbah that shows how influential Sgt. Pepper was even with roots rockers.

We’ll put the broken arrow back in the quiver when we get the chance but it’s time for our first segment. Hint: it has something to do with a songwriter of Native-American heritage.

Robbie Robertson’s Testimony: The former Band guitarist has long been one of rock music’s best storytellers. He recently published his memoirs, Testimony. He sat down with Esquire’s Jeff Slate to discuss the book, Bob Dylan, the 40th Anniversary of The Last Waltz and his often rocky relationship with his former band mates of whom only keyboard wizard Garth Hudson still survives.

As a writer, I found this passage of particular interest:

Did you find similarities in the way you write music and the way you wrote the book?

Yeah, I think for me the voice is quite similar. The process is extremely different and writing this book was maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done. This isn’t just slamming down a bunch of words. This is writing a book! The detail! Writing songs is where we’re giving you an impression of a story. When you’re writing a book, you’re writing the story. There’s no skipping over stuff like you can in a song. It’s an art to be able to boil things down, and convey things with a sound and a mood. I love both things, but now, after writing this, I have the fever and I’m gonna write the next volume to it. In fact, it might be a trilogy!

I’m looking forward to reading the book. I wonder how deep Robbie goes into his issues with Levon Helm. I hope he clears the air, but since the major problem was money I have my doubts. I regret they never worked things out but as John Lennon said: “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

Before moving on, here’s one of Robbie’s lesser known masterpieces.

In the interview, Robbie mentioned working on music for the new Scorsese film, let’s move on to a story from tomorrow’s NYT Magazine.

The Passion of Martin Scorsese: It turns out that Marty’s passion project has been to bring The Silence, a novel about Catholic missionaries in Japan by Shusako Endo, to the big screen. It may sound like an odd project to those of you who think of Scorsese as a guy who makes gangster films but religion has always played a role in his films. It sounds like an interesting project. Paul Elie has the details.

I’m keeping it brief this holiday weekend so let’s dive into our next piece, which is about Scorsese’s fellow Italian-American filmmaker, Francis Ford Coppola. I’ll let the NYT’s link icon thing herald the next segment:

I’ve seen The Godfather more times than I care to admit. Actually, I lost count long ago. The first two installments are close to perfect, and 3 would have been much better if Winona Ryder had played Michael Corleone’s doomed daughter. Winona’s fall from grace happened right before shooting and Sofia Coppola stepped in. It’s a pity, there’s much to like about the movie but, let’s just say, Sofia is a better director than actress.

Coppola sat down with Timesman Jacob Bernstein to talk about his Godfather book. Here’s a slice of the pie:

When was the last time you watched “The Godfather”?

Oh, I don’t know, years ago. For me, the memory of “The Godfather” brings great unhappiness. That movie took 60 days, and it was miserable, not to mention the months after of jockeying over the cut. So my reaction is usually of panic and nausea, but that has nothing to do with how it is for the audience.

Something I liked about reading your book was finding out how methodical you were. There’s a presumption that all great art is the result of a boundless imagination. This book shows that it’s a slog.

It was insecurity. I was so young. I was hired because I was young. A lot of important directors turned it down. Elia Kazan turned it down. Costa-Gavras turned it down, a whole bunch of important directors. So the philosophy was, let’s get someone young, who could presumably be pushed around. Also, I was Italian-American, and that was good, because it meant if the studio got flak they could simply say, “But it was an Italian-American director.”

It’s a pity that Coppola has been the Orson Welles of his generation instead of thriving like Scorsese. If you asked me back in the day who would have been more successful, my money would have been on Coppola. Sorry, Marty. It’s another thing I’ve been wrong about. Francis is a helluva winemaker though.

I’ve already done a list of my favorite Scorsese movies, so we’ll try something different. My ten favorite supporting characters in The Godfather trilogy in no particular order. I’ve excluded the males in the Corleone family from consideration. Sorry, Fredo.

  1. Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Rizzi.
  2. Abe Vigoda as Tessio.
  3. Richard Castellano as Clemenza
  4. Michael Gazzo as Frankie Pentangeli in 2.
  5. Lee Strasberg Hyman Roth in 2.
  6. Eli Wallach as Don Altobello in 3.
  7. GD Spradlin as Senator Geary in 2
  8. Richard Conte as Don Barzini.
  9. Sterling Hayden as Capt. McCluskey.
  10. Gastone Moschin as Fanucci in 2.

One flaw of the Godfather movies is the paucity of interesting female characters. David Chase did better in that regard in The Sopranos. Come on down, Janis Soprano and Dr. Melfi.

It’s time to make an offer you can’t refuse, and move on to our final segment.

Saturday Classic: I usually post albums in this space but I had never seen this half-hour Kinks set before. It’s Kinktastic, especially the Kick horns who have nothing to do with Athenae’s kiddo as far as I know.

That’s it for this week. I’ll give the greatest Gret Stet populists of them all the last word:

uncle-earl-meme

Friday Catblogging: Throw Bag Della

Della Street refuses to go shopping on Black Friday or any other day for that mater Why fight the crowds when one can contemplate the glories of Carnival past and future in a purple throw bag?

Throw Bag Della

 

If Caligula Means Little Boots

i_trump_450

What’s Latin for Little Hands?  Tiny Fingers?

Little Gloves? I guess Little Mittens would only be confusing.

Anyway, hope you have a pleasant holiday, particularly if you’re traveling and especially if you’re spending time in Trump territory. I’ve got a nice bottle of wine (ok, two)…that ought to smooth things over for the duration.

Cheers!

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Thursday Turkey Day Murders

As urban commie pinkos, we here at First Draft believe in recycling. This post is a rerun from last Thanksgiving with some musical lagniappe at the end:

If your crazy right-wing Uncle who watches too much Fox News goes off on you today, please do not re-enact this book.

How about some cheesecake for dessert?

Thursday Thanksgiving Murders

When I promise lagniappe, I mean it. So does Elvis Costello:

Electoral College Blues

Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report has been crunching the numbers and it looks as if Hillary Clinton will win the popular vote by 2.5 million votes. That margin is greater than the following post-World War II popular vote/electoral college winners:

1976: Carter beat Ford by 1,683, 247 votes.

1968: Nixon beat Humphrey by 511,944 votes.

1960: Kennedy beat Nixon by 112,827 votes.

1948: Truman beat Dewey by 2,188,055 votes.

Our 19th Century electoral system has bitten us in the ass for the second time in five elections. Unfortunately, it’s how we elect Presidents. The only way to change the system is for a party that wins the electoral college to propose its abolition. Otherwise it sounds like sour grapes or sore loserdom. It’s terrible when, as in 2000 and 2016, the stakes are so high. In 2000, the electoral college elected a genial simpleton. In 2016, they elected a nasty sociopath. Calling the situation worrisome is a grotesque understatement, but hyperbole got us into this mess so a bit of understatement is not a bad idea.

There are some novel electoral college ideas floating around the internet. I wish I thought any of them could reverse the election but, as of this writing, I do not. There are some faithless electors who hope to blow up the system. I have my doubts there are enough of them to throw the election into the House. That’s not a happy solution either since Republicans control it and Ryan is on the verge of realizing his dream of destroying medicare. Why that should be anyone’s dream is beyond me but it’s his. Hence Charlie Pierce’s nickname for him: the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver. Much of our effort should be focused on stiffening the spines of Senate Democrats to prevent this calamity. F is for filibuster.

The disparity between the popular and electoral vote is troublesome, especially given the allegations about Russian hackers and spooks. Oh my. A voting machine audit is a capital idea BUT it’s unlikely to reverse the results. I think it *should* be done if only to lessen doubts on our side. Given HRC’s margin in the popular vote, there will *always* be doubts about the 2016 election. I harbor them myself but we’re more likely than not stuck with the Insult Comedian as our next President. Having said that, I will never accept his legitimacy. I plan to resist in whatever way that I can. Vive les Maquis.

A more promising reason to challenge the results is contained in a piece by New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman. I’m squeezing it in here because this piece was 95.4% finished.

Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump, New York has learned. The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked. The group is so far not speaking on the record about their findings and is focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private.

Deadlines are looming so Team Clinton needs to decide before cutting the turkey. I have no idea what will come of this but it means that Trump’s legitimacy is zip, zilch, and zero. Here’s a Yiddish word to annoy Bannon and the B3 Brownshirts: Bupkis.

(UPDATE: Data nerds Nates Cohn and Silver are skeptical of the claims made in Sherman’s piece. So it goes.)

The most thought-provoking piece I’ve seen about the Electoral College mess is by the Atlantic’s Peter Beinart. Here’s the money passage:

It is “desirable,” Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 68, “that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of” president. But is “equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station.” These “men”—the electors––would be “most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.” And because of their discernment—because they possessed wisdom that the people as a whole might not—“the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

As Michael Signer explains, the framers were particularly afraid of the people choosing a demagogue. The electors, Hamilton believed, would prevent someone with “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming president. And they would combat “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” They would prevent America’s adversaries from meddling in its elections. The founders created the Electoral College, in other words, in part to prevent the election of someone like Donald Trump.

It’s hard to argue that point. This situation is unprecedented. Like all Democrats, I wanted the Florida recount to continue in 2000. When it ended, I was all like: He’s Poppy Bush’s son, how bad can it be? We know how that turned out.

In 2016, we are confronted with an electoral college winner who is stupid, mentally unstable, and has authoritarian tendencies. His claim that he alone can decide not to prosecute his opponent is how dictators talk. I wish I had a clear idea of how to deal with this menace by legal, political means but I don’t. Pointing out problems is easy, coming up with solutions is hard.

Where do we go from here? I wish I knew. Resistance, in ways both small and large, to the new order is in order. It is still possible that Trump’s incompetence will save the Republic but we cannot count on it. Team Trump were somehow able to win the electoral vote.

In 2018, Democrats need to show up at the polls to express our disapproval at the ballot box. The obsession with the White House at the expense of down ballot races has become an unhealthy addiction. We need to kick it and focus on organizing at the state and local level. That’s how a party is rebuilt and how autocracy is prevented.

2016 really sucks the big one. Happy Fucking Thanksgiving.

I hate to end on such a hopeless note, so let’s play the ultimate Yes song:

It’s your move. Vive les Maquis.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Spotnicks

The Spotnicks are a Swedish rock band that I’d never heard of until yesterday.  They’ve been around since the early Sixties, which was when they first donned cheesy space suits. What’s not to love about a band whose name is a pun on the Sputnik? And they say Swedes have no sense of humor.

I thought we all needed some comic relief the day before many of you dine with your right wing relatives. Let’s circle the globe with the Spotnicks who are out-a-sight as well as:

Spotnicks

114744951_1-500x501

Just to prove I am not hoaxing you, here are a few Spotnicky tunes. They’re sort of a poor man’s Ventures:

Love at First Spite or, An Offer to Trump Supporters in the Spirit of the Season

In the spirit of the holidays, I have a proposition for our Trump-supporting friends.

Go ahead.

Say it.

Say, “Fuck you.” Say it to my face.

Say it to my liberal, city-dwelling, higher-educated, Democratic-Party-voting, Starbucks-swilling, Whole-Foods-shopping, Heather-Has-Two-Mommies-reading face.

Say it morning, noon and night.

Say it as often as you want. As loud as you want. Say it in front of my husband, my daughter, and all my friends. Say it over and over and over again.

Get it out of your system. So that the rest of us can GO BACK TO WORK.

That’s my present. That’s my gift to you, Trump supporters. That’s my extension of empathy and generosity and understanding, based on everything I’ve heard and everything I’ve read about you since the election.

You see, I understand you have been left behind by the economy. I understand you have been struggling for a while, even before the dot-com boom and bust, before the 2008 crash, before the anemic “recovery” that didn’t help you recover from anything.

But I understand something else, too.

The very smart Kathy Cramer, who I’m proud to have briefly shared an office with at one time, explained it for people who, unlike me, didn’t grow up next door to you: 

Racism is certainly a part of the story when these people make calculations about deservingness and who is or is not working hard. People would talk about opposing social programs because the recipients were lazy and not hardworking like themselves; those were often dog-whistle racist claims. But, at times, they were also talking about the laziness of desk-job white professionals like me.

So racism is a part of this resentment, but we are failing to fully understand these perspectives when we assume that racism is more fundamental than calculations of injustice. The two elements are intertwined. The way these folks described the world to me, their basic concern was that people like them, in places like theirs, were overlooked and disrespected. They were doing what they perceived good Americans ought to do to have the good life. And the good life seemed to be passing them by.

It’s worth noticing that Trump’s appeal to these folks is not about facts or particular policies. It is instead the act of delivering a message that resoundingly resonates with the perspective of someone identifying proudly as a resident of a type of place that the dominant urban society does not care about or respect.

I can’t do much about the location of the state capitals or the legislative schedule. I can’t make people’s representatives listen to them or interact with them, nor can I make people show up to the community meetings their reps might have. I can’t make anyone feel more comfortable in his or her skin any more than I can give anybody a job right now.

But maybe I can do something about the deep, abiding, burning need to tell someone who exemplifies what you hate to go straight to hell.

You want to prove you’re an underdog who tells the libtards who don’t respect you to go straight to hell, people?

You want to give the middle finger to everything that bugs you, including Happy Holidays at Macy’s, someone speaking Spanish on her cell phone at the restaurant, an ethnic scholarship at your high school, a gay storyline in your favorite police procedural?

Do it.

Make that stupid Hillary “KFC” joke ten times. Tell me the story about Michelle Obama putting crack pipes on the Christmas tree at the White House. Talk about how Bill Clinton is the biggest sex offender the world has ever known. Offer your opinion that “we” have “banned” God from “the schools.”

Ooh, call me a babykiller. That one never gets old.

Send me a hundred memes just like this one:

trumpsantajesus

I’ll post them on my Facebook timeline. I’ll nod and agree with anything you say. I’ll feel very, very bad about myself and everything I stand for. I may even cry, if that’s what it takes.

 

I am more than willing to take one for the team.

If.

IF.

In exchange, you vote for health insurance for your sick neighbors. You expand Medicaid for your state’s poorest residents. You don’t fight about food stamps and subsidized housing, in fact, you support them.

In exchange, you vote for punishment for companies that poison your water. You support jury awards of damages for corporations convicted of harm to the environment and the people who live in it.

In exchange, you vote for lowering the Social Security retirement age. You vote for increased funding for public education. You vote for restoring the Voting Rights Act and you vote for expanding it to every state in the union: No one gets to fuck with anyone’s vote without review or check.

You vote for honest-to-God campaign finance reform, and consideration of judicial appointees in a timely manner so that the fucking courts can do their job.

You vote for all that shit, and you can tell me to my face that I’m a lazy liberal who doesn’t understand the real world, and I will agree with you.

You make your life better, you make my life better, you make our country better, and you GET WHAT YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING, which is to say fuck you.

I mean it. I’m sick of people I love suffering because you want to make a statement. Because you want to have feelings about your place in the world. Because deep down you get mad and sad that you are not being given a parade for showing up every day. Because you resent.

I’m offering you a way out. Go ahead.

Take it.

A.

 

Tweet Of The Day: Pho Neo-Nazi Edition

tila-tequila

One reason I’m a faithful TPM reader is that I learn new things there, even those I’d prefer NOT to learn. Today for example, I read about the so-called Alt-Right meeting at Washington City this weekend. It was the first time I’d ever heard of Tila Tequila who is a singer and reality show type. She’s a N-list celebrity: N is for neo-Nazi. More shockingly, her real name is Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen. That’s right, a Vietnamese-American neo-Nazi. Hence the pho in the title. That delicious soup/stew is pronounced fuh. The tweet below made me want to say pho you to Tila:

I wonder if Richard Spencer has made her an honorary Aryan yet. I seem to recall Ribbentrop and Hitler doing racial backflips when they formed an alliance with Japan. Btw, Ms. Tila: Japan was one of the imperial powers that occupied your homeland. So much for Vietnamese nationalism.

There’s a large, lively Vietnamese community in New Orleans East. They tend to be conservative Catholics: the accidental former GOP Congressman Joseph Cao is a good example of their politics. Conservative but not nutty. I don’t think there are many white nationalist neo-Nazis among them. The mind reels at the thought, y’all.

Apparently, Tila Tequila has been an ardent Hitler fan for some time according to her wikipedia entry

In December 2013, Nguyen caused controversy by posting an article on her website titled “Why I Sympathize with Hitler: Part I”, although she stated that her views on Hitler were not derived from antisemitism on her part, nor any feelings toward Jewish people. Nguyen stated:

For those of you who focus on the victims of war well that is just part of war. What do you think war is about? People DIE in wars that is why I am against wars. It brought me to tears because I used to think all of those horrible things about him [Hitler] until I learned the truth about the war and what Hitler truly did and he was not a bad person as they have painted him out to be. Here is a man who was not a coward, stood up for his country in a DESPERATE TIME OF NEED (unlike all of our cowardly leaders), and yet not only did he try his best to help his country and people get out of what was a time of depression, economic collapse, high unemployment, amongst many other things.[61]

Honorary white person, neo-Nazi, and amateur historian. Tila is quite a piece of work. She also attacked the right-wing journalist Ben Shapiro after he quit Breitbart in protest of its Trumpiness:

…on May 6, 2016, Nguyen tweeted that Jewish-American political commentator Ben Shapiro should “be gassed and sent back to Israel” and later posted that “There are only two things in this world, for which I would gladly sacrifice my own life; the destruction of all Jews and preservation of the white race” and “You know what will help Asians earn respect? An Asian version of Adolf Hitler… I want that person to be me; I want to save the world from this Zionist disease.”[65]

.Onslow 2

This is what the country is up against now that Trump won the electoral college and the B3 Brownshirts plan to make the West Wing part of the even Whiter House.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders wants to take over a party he does not belong to and oblige it to “abandon identity politics.” The Independent Senator from one of the least diverse states in the country remains convinced that the Trumpenproletariat did not vote for him out of prejudice. I remain convinced that he is wrong, and that to follow his line is to abandon support for those female, black, brown, and Asian working class folks who voted for Hillary Clinton. We need to stand up to bigotry, not make excuses for it. Vive les Maquis.

As for Tila Tequila, I’m glad she’s changed her name from the Vietnamese equivalent of Smith. I’m sorry that she’s a self-loathing Vietnamese-American who thinks that white nationalists will accept her people. Does she really believe Trumper xenophobia does not include Asians? It’s hard to tell whether it’s naivete or delusion but both are in oversupply in 2016.

Finally, I’d like to apologize for the pho pun. Sometimes I cannot help myself. I am, however, not sorry enough to remove it. I plan to eat more pho in penance for the pho you pun.

Trump’s Tactical Tweeting

As much as I hate to give the Insult Comedian credit for anything, his use of Twitter this weekend as a distraction shows more cunning than usual. The big story *should* have been the $25 million settlement of the fraud cases against the Flim-Flam man’s fake “university.” That did not happen; instead it was the flap over Mike Pence being booed on Broadway.

Here’s the deal: politicians get booed at public events all the time. The current occupant of the White House was even heckled during a State of the Union speech. Remember the “You Lie” guy, Joe Wilson? Pence receiving a mixture of boos and cheers from the Hamilton audience is only a big whoop because his master’s voice made it one. Trump wanted to create a diversion and the bright shiny object of demanding an apology over this non-event did the trick.

The Hamilton story is a fun one. It *is* funny that the rudest man in American was Miss Manners all of a sudden. It is, however, not as important as the fraud settlement or even Trump’s tweets claiming he would have won those cases but settled for the good of the country. The Pence booing is easier to understand so the MSM and the Twitterati swallowed the bait. The latter has an excuse for being so shallow but the MSM does not. How to cover the Insult Comedian continues to elude them. And the “Presidents grow in office” myth is about to kick in. We’re really in for it if they don’t learn from their mistakes.

Jack Kennedy famously was the first President to master the use of tevee as a political tool. Many called his the Television Presidency. Donald Trump seems poised to become the Twitter President. Sometimes there’s method in his tweeting madness such as the Pence diversion. The good news for the Republic is that Trump is notoriously undisciplined and has hurt himself with his tweets i.e. the Alicia Machado tweetstorm. Let’s hope the MSM doesn’t go for the next shiny object dangled in a Trump tweet. I am not optimistic about this given the spontaneous on-the-fly nature of the medium.

Repeat after me: fraud is more important than booing.

The booing on Broadway gave me an earworm. It’s a good one. In my contemporary reading of this song, the lamb is the gullible MSM. Thus far the mendacious Trump propaganda team is slaughtering them. Time to give Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett, and Phil Collins the last word:

 

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “and so it begins” edition

Hi everyone – I put down the Drano and bleach cocktail and decided to return for a bit.

First of all, a warm welcome back to the one and only Scout!  Can Jude be far behind?

Second of all – I did kinda think that the Freeperati would at least wait until the coronation before falling on each others’ throats, but nope…

Donald Trump Requests Security Clearance for Son-in-Law Jared Kushner

NBC News ^ | Nov 15 2016, 8:58 pm ET | by Andrea Mitchell, Alexandra Jaffe and Kelly O’Donnell

Posted on ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎2‎:‎53‎:‎49‎ ‎AM by CorporateStepsister

Donald Trump has taken the unprecedented step of requesting his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, receive top-secret clearance to join him for his Presidential Daily Briefings, which began Tuesday.

Multiple sources tell NBC News Trump received his first briefing on Tuesday and designated both Kushner and Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn as his staff-level companions for the briefings going forward.

While Flynn has the necessary security clearance, Kushner does not, and it could take weeks — or even longer — for him to receive it.

1 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎2‎:‎53‎:‎49‎ ‎AM by CorporateStepsister
Sounds reasonable.
Freepers?
To: CorporateStepsister
While Flynn has the necessary security clearance, Kushner does not, and it could take weeks — or even longer — for him to receive it. 

How much do you want to bet they act like jerks and deny it or delay it until January 21?

2 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎2‎:‎55‎:‎38‎ ‎AM by BlessedBeGod (To restore all things in Christ. ~~~~ Appeasing evil is cowardice.)

 

To: BlessedBeGod
How much do you want to bet that Trump doesn’t know about the NEPOTISM BAN ?Somebody better tell him about it ASAP!

3 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎03‎:‎37‎ ‎AM by nopardons
Well, there is that….
To: BlessedBeGod

 

I wonder why the President Elect wants to have family given security clearance.

4 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎04‎:‎05‎ ‎AM by CorporateStepsister (I am NOT going to force a man to make my dreams come true)

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DangerClose
.
To: nopardons

 

This is a bad idea of his all around. The anti-nepotism laws aside, there is no reason his family members should know everything that is going on.

5 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎04‎:‎43‎ ‎AM by CorporateStepsister (I am NOT going to force a man to make my dreams come true)

Maybe Jared is going to be America’s bankruptcy consultant?
To: CorporateStepsister

 

Yep. Very bad idea.

6 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎07‎:‎54‎ ‎AM by SolidWood

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CaptainObvious2jpg
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Of course, one criticizes The Darnold at one’s peril…
To: CorporateStepsister 

Trump is a master delegater(sic).

There’s too many available jokes here to pick just one.

And he values the advice from certain key people on this planet.

…as opposed to OFF-planet people that keep him up by talking to him at 3AM in voices only he can hear…

It’s been obvious, for some time now, that some of those people are related to him.

Only to people who can read.

But who wants advice from a trusted individual who doesn’t have all the facts???

So of course he’s asking for clearance. Nothing more to this story.

7 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎10‎:‎36‎ ‎AM by proudpapa (Trump Pence earned it.)

But for once, even the Freeperati are fed up :
To: SolidWood; nopardons 

I’m beginning to think that Trump has dreams of a dynasty.

This didn’t occur to you when he threw the corporate keys to Beavis and Butt-head?

No family member should have clearance mainly since it would create a situation where there would be more people that the Secret Service would have to protect and frankly I do not believe that anyone unelected or not part of the official staff should have access. If Jared runs around NY with classified papers, it would be a spy’s dream come true. Or worse, Jared gets kidnapped and ends up tortured into revealing everything.

8 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎11‎:‎17‎ ‎AM by CorporateStepsister (I am NOT going to force a man to make my dreams come true)

 

To: CorporateStepsister
I agree with you completely!And frankly, I don’t give a damn what Trump imagines that Jared knows that can “help” him; he’s damned dead wrong about that!

13 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎18‎:‎07‎ ‎AM by nopardons
One Freeper poses a good question :
To: CorporateStepsister

 

What the ####?!?!?!

WHO is this guy and is he even conservative??!?!?!

?!?!?!

14 posted on 11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎19‎:‎41‎ ‎AM by dp0622 (IThe only thing an upper crust conservative hates more than a liberal is a middle class conservative)

YEAH! Just WHO the fuck is this Jared guy anyway??
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jaredsmallerpants
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Sorry.  Wrong Jared.
.
To: sargon 

It’s a wrong and stupid move.

That’s because The Darnold is wrong-headed and stupid.  What the fuck did you expect?

What is his expertise in regarding the national briefings?

Is he conservative?

Does he have vast experience in foreign and domestic affairs that he could offer so much to Trump?

Bad bad bad.

16 posted on ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎21‎:‎19‎ ‎AM by dp0622 (IThe only thing an upper crust conservative hates more than a liberal is a middle class conservative)

BAD BAD DARNOLD!!!  NO CHEETO!!
More after the broken hearts…

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Okay, What’s Next?

In Chicago, here’s what we’re doing: 

“This is the moment to really be organized and really be loving, hold everyone in love and bring people in,” said Luna White of the Chicago-based Black Youth Project 100.

University of Chicago political scientist Cathy Cohen said the country could do well to employ Chicago’s brand of movement-based organizing.

The city has a history of rallying around marginalized groups through the time-honored tradition of community organizing. Some recent successes involving young activists include a reopened trauma center at the University of Chicago, city council’s approvals of reparations for police torture and new policies focused on police accountability.

“Chicago’s a very, very good example for waiting for the right moment and being very, very organized about what kind of actions we do and when we do them and why and with who,” said White, who moved from Los Angeles to Chicago because of the city’s strong community organizing.

I’m personally not going to wait for 2020 to get anything done politically. In 2018 our garbage governor in Illinois is going to be up for election and I’m gonna be knocking on doors for whoever or whatever gets the nomination to run against him. Because in addition to starving social services and demonizing teachers, he stayed away from Trump until it was convenient not to: 

“I talked with the president-elect last Friday afternoon. We talked abut working together. It was a good, good, positive conversation. I had never spoken with him before,” Rauner said. “Two of his most senior folks in his administration are good personal friends of mine, and allies of mine in politics, so we’re going to have a voice and good relations.”

I’m not overly fond of Republicans but I really hate cowards and bullies, and Rauner refused to say Trump’s name when it looked like Trump was going to be liability. You can’t pretend to be principled and then give it right up the minute it’s no longer good for you.

You? What are your planned actions?

A.