Author Archives: Peter Adrastos Athas

Saturday Odds & Sods: Begin The Beguine

Masks by Emil Nolde.

It’s been a long week in New Orleans. The collapsed Hard Rock Hotel sits there like a dagger pointed at our municipal throat. That’s led to concerns about damage to the beautifully restored Saenger Theatre across the street and other historic buildings.

There’s also been some serious conclusion jumping and finger pointing. It reminds me that *all* Americans love to jail people, liberals and conservatives just want to jail different people. TFC. What’s that spell? This Fucking City.  I’ve created a Fish Cheer for 21st Century New Orleans.

In addition to my acronymic exploits, I have a new catchphrase via the Insult Comedian: “They have a lot of sand over there; a lot of sand.” Believe me.

Cole Porter wrote this week’s theme song in 1935 whilst taking a Pacific cruise. It debuted in the Broadway musical, Jubilee.

We have two versions of Begin The Beguine for your listening pleasure: Artie Shaw and his orchestra, and Sheryl Crow from the 2004 Porter bio-pic, De-Lovely.

A quick note about bio-pics. Cary Grant played Cole Porter as a manly heterosexual in the 1946 movie, Night and Day. In 2004, Kevin Kline played Porter as what he was: a gay man in  a “lavender cover-up” marriage with a woman. There was no sex in the first movie, way too much in the second. Neither movie did a good job depicting Porter as a genius songwriter. That’s why we remember Cole, not who he slept with.

Let’s jump to the break whistling, You’re The Top. That’s bound to guarantee a smooth landing unless we land on the Tower of Pisa. In that case, we’ll just have to lean into it…

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Dwight & Me

People who don’t read First Draft are always surprised that I like country music. I am emphatically a city boy, one might even call me urban or urbane. The second U-word is a value judgment so I’ll pass on that.

I don’t like all forms of country music but I like the real deal for the songwriting and singing. That’s why I like Dwight Yoakam who I saw live for the first time last night.

I’m notoriously stingy when it comes to concert ticket prices so I hadn’t planned to attend. I’d entered a contest but did not win freebies. On the day of the show, I received an email from the Fillmore informing me that two free tickets awaited at will-call. I was so skeptical that I called the box office for confirmation. Apparently, they were papering the hall because it wasn’t sold-out but it was my lucky day.

As someone who grew up in the Bay Area attending Bill Graham Presents shows, the name Fillmore is tinged with magic. I was too young to go to the Fillmore West but more or less grew up at Winterland, its successor concert hall.

I loved the venue. It would be a great place for a certain carnival krewe to hold its ball: hint, hint, hint. The Fillmore is spacious, well-ventilated, and attractive despite being attached to Harrah’s Casino. We did not gamble before or after. I didn’t want to press my luck.

I had high expectations but they were exceeded. Dwight Yoakam’s set was great. Dwight and his crack band played for two hours at a breakneck pace barely stopping for a second. It’s probably why Dwight’s sidemen are all younger than the star. They’re great musicians and rocked like crazy. It goes without saying that Dwight is one of the greatest singers to have ever walked the planet, with or without cowboy boots.

It was a night for doppelgangers. Dr. A spotted a guy who resembled Gret Stet goober candidate Eddie Rispone. Mercifully, it was not him. A guy who was a dead ringer for our pal the Bear Jieux danced with Dr. A as the band played Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down. Initially, she thought it was him but it was not: the doppelganger was equally hairy but too short.

You’re probably wondering about the post title, Dwight & Me. We had tickets to see him in Biloxi in September of 2005. The show was hurricaned out and we were in exile in Dallas in any event. It was a long time coming but I finally saw Dwight Yoakam. It was well-worth the wait.

I wrote about last night because I needed a respite from all crazy in the news. A post called Talking Turkey can wait until Monday. That crisis will still be there.

The last word goes to (who else?) Dwight Yoakam with his set closer and encore:

Friday Catblogging: In The Bag

Paul Drake’s love of boxes is well-known. He also likes bags.

The Week In Stupid Trumper Tricks

President* Trump is on a roll. He’s done a lot of stupid shit this week even for him. He was the one who tweeted the Pelosi picture with the caption “Nervous Nancy’s Unhinged Meltdown,” when he was the one who had the meltdown. What a lame decision, lame nickname, lame everything. Like Tom Cruise’s character in A Few Good Men, the Insult Comedian cannot handle the truth. Apologies to Jack Nicholson.

The meltdown occurred when the Speaker, quite correctly, pointed out that the Putin regime is the beneficiary of the impulsive and stupid policy shift in North Syria:

Today’s stupid Trumper trick was the announcement by acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, that the G-7 *will* be held at Trump Doral in Miami. Are they that stupid? Is Trump that greedy? Those were rhetorical questions, of course they are.

One more thing. Why the hell is Mulvaney still acting Chief of Staff? The position doesn’t require Senate confirmation. Is he acting out or acting up?

This week’s final stupid Trumper trick was the release of the letter Trump sent to Turkish President Erdogan. It was so OTT nutty and semi-literate that reporters were skeptical that it was real. The White House confirmed its authenticity. Dipshits.

One wonders what Erdogan thought of this incoherent epistle. It was probably some Turkish variation on, “I’m gonna get you, sucka.”

The last word goes to the Kaiser of Chaos with the last two sentences of the Erdogan letter: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool.”

An exclamation point was withheld to protect the guilty.

Bayou Brief: The Ghosts Of Saturday Night

My latest 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief is online. It focuses on the remarkable events of Saturday October 12, 2019 including the Gret Stet Governor and Jefferson Parish President races, the Bad Shepherd’s comeback, the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, and the latest boil water advisory in New Orleans.  It was the opposite of this Macca song:

I use several tunes by Tom Waits to make my point such as it is. He’s the only guy who can give LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron a run for the money in the gravelly voice sweepstakes. Now that’s a contest I’d like to see.

I also add TFC to the world’s acronymic lexicon:

Every time something goes haywire in New Orleans, I mutter to myself TFC: This Fucking City. I love New Orleans but sometimes this town dances on my last nerve. Saturday October 12, 2019 was such a day.

This post just got even more meta: I quoted myself in a post plugging my writing elsewhere.

Speaking of meta, the last word goes to Tom Waits with a song that was the last word of the 13th Ward Rambler column that used another one of his songs as a title. Confused? Me too. I’ll shut up and let Tom Waits growl-sing at you:

Repeat after me: This Fucking City.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: New Orleans Uncensored

This week we go to the movies with New Orleans Uncensored. It’s a tawdry bit of pulp cinema from William Castle who is better known for his horror movies. This flick isn’t horrible but it isn’t great either. The best thing about it is seeing the city in 1955.

Here’s the whole damn movie:

John Bolton Is An Honest Asshole, Not A Hero

Who among us didn’t enjoy this quote from the NYT’s coverage of Fiona Hill’s testimony?

“I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Mr. Bolton, a Yale-trained lawyer, told Ms. Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to two people at the deposition. (Another person in the room initially said Mr. Bolton referred to Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mulvaney, but two others said he cited Mr. Sondland.)

It was not the first time Mr. Bolton expressed grave concerns to Ms. Hill about the campaign being run by Mr. Giuliani. “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” Ms. Hill quoted Mr. Bolton as saying during an earlier conversation.

Some people have gotten carried away. I’ve heard Bolton called an unlikely hero. I’m unlikely to ever agree with that characterization. Bolton is an ideologue who is obsessed with regime change in Iran. Ideologues are often honest and straight-forward. Just because he’s relatively honest does not make John Bolton heroic: he’s still a war mongering asshole, not a hero.

A reminder of who John Bolton is:

 

Why I Didn’t Watch The CNN Debate

The Tweeter Tube was jam packed with complaints about last night’s Democratic presidential debate. Some were shocked that it was set up to maximize conflict and drama. I was not. It was one reason I did not watch.

For many years, CNN has packaged debates as if they were reality shows. Reality shows require conflict and drama to hold the audience’s interest. While that might be true of a debate as well, that’s not what the candidates are there for. Their goal is to get their message out. That’s hard to do when the moderators want the candidates to comment on the other guy’s message.

A three-hour long debate with twelve candidates is simply too long and overcrowded. It’s aimed at filling time on CNN, not informing the voters. It’s also cruel and unusual punishment to force candidates to go that long without a pee break.

I don’t know about you but I’m fine with never hearing from Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, and Tulsi Gabbard again. The two rich guys have no chance of being nominated and the Congresscritter from Hawaii sounds like she’s planning to run as an independent apologist for the Assad regime. The other candidates are viable until they’re not. Someone else is bound to drop out some time soon.

The biggest problem I have with the MSM focus on debates is two-fold. First, they have nothing to with governing. Normal presidents make important decisions in conjunction with advisers and experts. Second, debates don’t matter in the long run. It’s more important whether a candidate has a strong message and a good organization in the early states. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton were dominant in their general election debates but lost.

I may watch the next time around but if Tulsi is there gabbing, in the immortal words of movie mogul Sam Goldwyn, “include me out.”

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Words Don’t Fit The Picture

Sometimes I select an album cover because it’s odd. Hence this 1972 Willie Nelson album with a photograph by Jimmy Moore.

Here’s the title track:

Lock Them Up?

During a crisis there’s always the temptation to fight fire with fire, especially when the executive branch is trying to burn the government down. It’s tempting to say “lock them up” when an executive branch official under “orders” defies a congressional subpoena. But however appealing the idea is, it’s always wise to look before leaping into what could turn out to be a ring of fire.

I pride myself on my knowledge of Congress and its history. That’s why I’ve been telling people that Congress lacks the power to arrest contemnors and must rely on referrals to the Justice Department to enforce contempt citations. We all know how that would go with Bill Barr in charge. Those contempt citations would disappear into a black hole and become part of Barr’s contemptible cover-up.

It turns out I was wrong about the whole arrest power thing. Here’s how Cornell Law professor Josh Chafetz explains it in a New York Times op-ed:

The House should instead put back on the table the option of using its sergeant-at-arms to arrest contemnors — as the person in violation of the order is called — especially when an individual, like Rudy Giuliani, is not an executive branch official. Neither house of Congress has arrested anyone since 1935, but it was not uncommon before that point (and was blessed by the Supreme Court in 1927).

There are some major problems with the superficially appealing notion of Congress resorting to its power of inherent contempt. Let me list the defects:

First, any power that has not been exercised in 84 years is suspect. It opens the door to valid-sounding criticism of the majority. Just because Congress has this power doesn’t mean they should set the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1935 and dust it off. The mere thought makes me sneeze. Achoo.

Second, they do not have facilities to house contemnors (my new favorite word) and the US Marshal Service is unlikely to be willing to transport people to the nearest federal slammer. Their big boss is the Attorney General who is the Contemnor-in-Chief’s henchman.

That means that contemnors would have to be held in empty offices, the mail room, or subway tunnels. This would look ad-hoc and improvised as well as opening the door to valid-sounding criticism of the majority that could undermine the growing popularity of the impeachment inquiry. Why create martyrs? Especially when the other side is adept at playing the victim card. It’s one of the few things they do well.

Third, invoking inherent contempt gets us bogged down in another procedural argument that will lead to litigation. Political junkies, lawyers, and Senators may like procedural arguments but the public hates them. Procedural arguments are not only boring, they’re losers. We should stick to the substantive arguments in favor of impeachment and removal instead of discussing process. Hell, I’m a political junkie and my eyes glaze over when process is the subject of the day.

As emotionally satisfying as it would be to see Don McGahn, Rudy Giuliani, Hope Hicks, and other miscreants frogmarched to the pokey, it’s a loser in the court of public opinion and impeachment is a political process. Just because the Insult Comedian lacks impulse control does not mean his opponents should follow suit.

Adam Schiff’s big picture strategy of folding contempt of Congress into the articles of impeachment is a wise one. We already have the smoking gun: the White House memo describing the Trump-Zelensky call. Getting bogged down in procedural arguments will slow things down and make the fog of scandal even denser. There’s already too much denseness in Washington as is.

My answer to the rhetorical question posed in the title is a resounding NO. Democrats should be the smart party, let the Republicans be the stupid party. They’ve earned the title.

The last word goes to Crowded House:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Something’s Gotta Give

Piazza d’Italia by Giorgio di Chirico.

It’s election day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. As I stated in my last Bayou Brief column, I plan to affix a clothespin and vote for Governor John Bel Edwards. Here’s hoping that we don’t have a run-off with more visits from the Trumps and Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire. They’ve held events in small-ish venues but there have still been empty seats. A good slogan for Pence’s next event would be: Empty Seats For An Empty Suit.

We’re having our first cool front of the year. Fall hasn’t exactly fallen but we’ll take what we can get. The only seasons you can depend on in New Orleans are summer and carnival. I forgot football season: LSU and Florida are squaring off tonight in Red Stick. Here’s hoping the Tigers feast on Gator.

I have a new motto: Surreal times call for Surrealist art. This week’s featured image is by the Italian Surrealist, Giorgio di Chirico who was originally a Futurist. That gives me an excuse to quote Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto: “Oh, maternal ditch.”

If you expect me to explain that quote, you’re out of luck. I’m feeling cryptic like a proper Surrealist if there is such a thing. There were more than a few improper Surrealists if you catch my drift.

The title of this week’s theme song aptly describes our current national situation: Something’s Gotta Give. It was written by Johnny Mercer in 1955 for the Fred Astaire movie, Daddy Long Legs.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Fred Astaire from the movie, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Lets make like Daddy Long Legs and crawl to the break.

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Friday Night Music: I Want You To Want Me

I haven’t done a stand alone music post for quite some time. It’s time to change that.

I Want You To Want Me was written in 1977 by Rick Nielsen for Cheap Trick’s In Color album but is best known for the version on Live At The Buddokan. It was one of the songs that Ashley Morris requested be played at his funeral so it has extra resonance for his family and friends.

We have two versions of I Want You To Want Me for your listening pleasure: Cheap Trick live and a cover by Dwight Yoakam, country singer and Cheap Trick fan:

 

Adventures In Trumper Lawyering

I started this post earlier this week but there’s a new example of crazy Trumper lawyering every day. I gotta give them credit for creativity as well as chutzpah for making some uh, inventive, arguments. The client is driving the train and it’s Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train; either that Casey Jones is at the wheel. Driving that train, high on cocaine…

ALL ABOARD THE LEGAL CRAZY TRAIN.

The Trump v. Vance case led off the week. The Insult Comedian’s lawyers were suing to prevent Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. from obtaining the holy grail of Trumpistan: the tax returns. The case should have been filed in state court since it involved an issue of state law, which is where the judge tried to bounce it back to before Team Trump appealed in federal court. I had a great conflicts of law professor, that’s why I remember this stuff. Hats off to the late Luther Love McDougal.

The craziest argument in this case is that a sitting president CANNOT BE INVESTIGATED. Judge Victor Marrero (not to be confused with the Louisiana town) wrote an opinion that was a giant fuck you to Team Trump:

The president asserts an extraordinary claim in the dispute now before this court.  He contends that the person who serves as president while in office enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind.

Bared to its core, the proposition the president advances reduces to the very notion that the founders rejected at the inception of the republic and that the Supreme Court has since unequivocally repudiated that a constitutional domain exists in this country in which not only the president, but derivatively, relatives, and persons and business entities associated with him are in fact above the law.  This court finds aspects of such a doctrine repugnant to the nation`s governmental structure and constitutional values.

Repugnant? That’s some strong stuff for a federal judge. Repugnant arguments result in indignant opinions.

You’ve all heard about the White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s nutty letter to the House leadership denouncing the impeachment inquiry. It read more like a campaign screed than a legal opinion. The effective bottom line of this remarkable document is that the constitution is unconstitutional. I shit you not: the impeachment inquiry is unconstitutional even though it’s in the document itself. So much for originalism.

The next lunatic argument comes from the Department of Justice. You know, the place where Bill Barr orchestrates the Trump cover up. DOJ lawyers argued that the 1974 Watergate grand jury case was wrongly decided. They did everything but invoke the Nixon-Barr doctrine:

On Thursday, two of Rudy Giuliani’s criminal associates were indicted by the Southern District of New York. The crazy came from one of their lawyers: former Trump mouthpiece, John Dowd. He claimed executive privilege before Congress because of their work with Rudy in Ukraine. Seriously?

You cannot make this shit up:

Only days ago Dowd told congressional investigators that his clients would not cooperate in their impeachment inquiry. But beyond that blanket resistance he said that there were specific issues which would make any discussion of cooperation take a long time untangle. The key one was attorney/client privilege. With the client being the President of the United States.

<SNIP>

Dowd explained that Parnas and Fruman worked with Rudy Giuliani on his representation of President Trump and thus were shielded (at least on some topics) by the Attorney/Client privilege between Giuliani (Attorney) and Donald Trump (client).

Oops, it wasn’t executive privilege, it was derivative attorney-client privilege. Is this like when Paul Drake (not the cat) worked as a shamus for Perry Mason? Does Hamilton Burger know about this? How about Lieutenants Tragg, Anderson, or Drumm?

My mind is still reeling from the legal crazy of the week. I mentioned two rock songs at the top of the post: Ozzy Osbourne and Warren Zevon & David Lindley get the last word.

 

Friday Catblogging: Too Cool For School

Dr. A bought a large cloth tiger head. I had hoped that it would be of interest to Paul Drake. He wasn’t having it. PD was all like: “I refuse to co-operate with your pitiful scheme, human.”

This is the first in a series. When it comes to messing with my cats, I’m persistent.

New Tea About The Tillerson

Image by Michael F.

Texas oil tycoon and former Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is back in the news. I’ve missed Rex and was thrilled to see this bombshell story about another potential impeachable offense:

President Donald Trump pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help persuade the Justice Department to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was a client of Rudy Giuliani, according to three people familiar with the 2017 meeting in the Oval Office.

Tillerson refused, arguing it would constitute interference in an ongoing investigation of the trader, Reza Zarrab, according to the people. They said other participants in the Oval Office were shocked by the request.

Tillerson immediately repeated his objections to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly in a hallway conversation just outside the Oval Office, emphasizing that the request would be illegal. Neither episode has been previously reported, and all of the people spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the conversations.

You know something is sleazy when the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil refused to follow presidential* orders. It’s scary when a story makes one nostalgic for the Tillerson-Mattis-McMaster-Kelly era. They all had lines they wouldn’t cross. There’s nobody like that at the White House right now, which is why Trump’s poorly coiffed head finds itself in the impeachment guillotine.

It’s time for the fearful foursome to break their silence about the perfidious conduct they witnessed in their time in the administration. Their reputations have already been damaged, it’s time to retrieve some respectability from the mire of the Trump regime.

The last word goes to Cat Stevens with a song from Catch Bull At Four:

The NBA’s Chicom Sitcom

The Trump regime has been good for satirists, but I have Trump fatigue. I swore that I’d write about something, anything other than the Insult Comedian at least once this week. You’re probably fatigued by this expository paragraph. I certainly am but there’s a bit more to be said about the Insult Comedian before getting down to the matter at hand.

As you’re well aware, Trump is a fake tough guy. He’s been waging an “easy to win” trade war with China. The biggest losers thus far have been American farmers and consumers.

I remember when American conservatives disliked the Chinese Communist government for its repressive nature, not its trade policy. Who would have thought that aspect of the Cold War would qualify as the good old days?  Before Nixon’s trip to China in 1972, right-wingers referred to members of the ruling party as Chicoms. It was a political, not racial slur. When not conflating the two, conservatives used to hate commies more than liberals.

Now that I’ve emulated Rachel Maddow’s A block, on with today’s post:

I’ve been closely following the China-NBA mishigas. Last week, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted in mild support of the Hong Kong protesters. The Chinese government flipped out, then demanded and received an apology. Morey nearly lost his job before the NBA placated the Chinese government. Apparently, the A in NBA stands for appeasement, not association.

This Chicom sitcom exploded because the Rockets are one of the most popular NBA teams in China. The greatest Chinese hoops player of all, Yao Ming, played for Houston from 2002-2011. Yao is currently China’s basketball honcho and NBA commissioner Adam Silver described him as “extremely hot” over this mishigas.

In recent years, the NBA has presented itself as the “woke” sports league, especially in contrast to the NFL. This claim is under pressure from the Chinese government, which cannot abide any criticism from its business partners. It’s a reminder that while China’s economic policy is capitalistic, they’re still Communists when it comes to human rights. Free markets have not translated to freedom on the home front and never will if entities such as the NBA kowtow to the Chinese government.

There was such a backlash to the NBA’s initial supine stand that Commissioner Silver felt obliged to defend freedom of speech but when push comes to shove, the almighty dollar will prevail. The Bubba Gump guy who owns the Houston Rockets will insist.

The Maddow Doctrine clearly applies to this unsporting sports fracas:

I agree with Slate’s Tom Scocca who wrote:

What are you going to do, after all, turn your back on 1.4 billion people? Or 1.399 billion, if you don’t count the 1 million Uighurs reportedly held in prison camps where their culture is trained out of them by force (in a territory where the NBA established a training camp)?

Yes. That is what to do. Especially for the NBA, whose relationship with China is chiefly monetary. NBA China is reportedly worth $4 billion. That’s a lot of money to walk away from over one tweet. And that’s exactly why the NBA should walk away now.

China has already played its hand. If Hong Kong is nonnegotiable, there’s nothing to discuss. The subject will become more sensitive, not less, if the Hong Kong police move from tear gas and rubber bullets to the routine use of live ammunition, or if the People’s Liberation Army moves in. Would the NBA muzzle its employees then? Would the players and staff of a globally prominent American company censor their own feelings to protect the Chinese market? Why not take the stand before it gets to that?

Ironies abound in this story. The Trump regime is not interested in Chinese human rights abuses and cozies up to the vicious Communist dictator in North Korean while resorting to red baiting in domestic politics. It also shows the shallowness of the NBA’s claims of “wokeness.”  To paraphrase Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers, first they look at the purse.

The last word goes to the J. Geils Band:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy theme continues. This time without Lee Majors or Rick Perry.

Mandate Of Heaven? Regicide?

Trump’s supporters are becoming as unhinged as their dear leader. They’re having a hard time dealing with impeachment of the man who would be king. They’re increasingly incoherent as one of them shows signs of defecting from the MAGA cult. Can one undrink the Kool-Aid? That’s an existential question best left for another day.

We begin with teevee evangelist Pat Robertson. He’s distressed over the betrayal of the Kurds. He described his distress in rather colorful terms:

“I believe … the president of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen,”

Mandate of heaven? Is Trump the emperor of China now? They need to make up their minds as to whether Trump is Pu Yi or George III. They both had swell movies made about them: The Last Emperor and The Madness of King George. Life under Trump is truly stranger than fact-based fiction. As far as I’m concerned, he’ll always be the Kaiser of Chaos:

Speaking of kings, one of Trump’s nuttier fans, lawyer Joseph DeGenova was on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show and defended his demented liege:

“What you’re seeing is regicide. This is regicide by another name, fake impeachment. The Democrats in the House want to destroy the President.”

Impeachment is real, only your king is fake, Joey, baby. Given that you’re up to your eyeballs in the Ukraine mess, you might want to STFU. Silly me: that’s as impossible for Trump apologists as it is for Trumpberius himself.

Speaking of deranged Roman emperors, veteran biblebanger Ralph Reed has a new book in which he makes the case for the religious right’s continued obeisance to the Insult Comedian.  The original title is what Archie Bunker would have called a Real Pip:

According to the book’s description, obtained by POLITICO, the original title for the book was “Render to God and Trump,” a reference to the well-known biblical verse, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” The message from Jesus in Matthew 22, has been used in contemporary politics to justify obedience to government — or in the case of Reed’s book, to Trump.

Blind obedience is just as dangerous as blind ambition. Ralph Reed has exhibited signs of both pathologies in his long career as a wingnut.

What’s next? Will they call Trump a Pharaoh? His border wall is a monument to himself much like the pyramids, after all.

The last word goes to Richard Thompson:

 

Larry Tribe On Impeachment

It may sound presumptuous to call the distinguished Harvard Law professor by his nickname but, as I explained in 2017, I cannot help myself. It’s down to one of my law school professors who was one of Tribe’s greatest admirers. I called him Con Law:

One of the names Con Law dropped was Laurence Tribe. He never called him by either his full name or title and surname, he was always Larry Tribe. Con Law turned both names into a multi-syllabic pronunciation extravaganza. There would come a point in most classes that I’d nudge a friend and whisper, “here IT comes.” The IT in question was a Larry Tribe name drop; usually about how they’d discussed an issue and agreed on it. It was Con Law and Larry Tribe against the world, y’all.

Now that I’ve made this about myself, it’s time to get to the point of this exercise. Larry Tribe has written a typically elegant and persuasive op-ed about impeachment for USA Today.

Tribe’s core argument is that, given Trump regime stonewalling, the House should move quickly to write and vote on articles of impeachment. He concludes the piece thusly:

The impeachment power was envisioned by the Founders as an emergency mechanism, one to be deployed in the event of grievous and continuing harm to the nation caused by an abuse of the power entrusted by voters to a high officer of the republic. Donald J. Trump is Exhibit A of what those who designed our Constitution had in mind. They believed they had provided the device we might one day need to preserve constitutional democracy. Yet with each day’s passing, as the walls close in ever more tightly, Trump grows ever more desperate and dangerous.

His more than shameful capitulation to Turkey and abandonment of our Kurdish allies is a case in point. Indefensible on its own terms even though not in itself impeachable, it illustrates what this cornered man might do to distract as the constitutional system blocks his every available exit. Every day he’s allowed to stall, evade justice and remain in power, the country is in still graver danger.

The House must move expeditiously to vote for articles of impeachment based on President Trump’s already evident “high crimes,” including abuse of power and obstruction of justice, even as it pursues the truth through relentless investigation that resorts as needed to the still independent judiciary.

Make sure that you read the whole piece.

A quick addendum. Cracks are appearing in the once solid wall of Republican support for Trump in the Senate, so the House should send over multiple articles to give wavering GOPers the chance to vote for at least one.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ginger Baker’s Air Force

Legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80.  You’re probably wondering why this isn’t an R.I.P. post. Here’s why:

If you don’t believe me, check out the 2012 documentary Beware of Mr. Baker.

Here’s Martin Sharp’s front gatefold  for Baker’s 1970 aerial extravaganza:

Here’s whole damn album via the YouTube: