Category Archives: Adrastos

SOTU: Freak Show

Image by Michael F.

I didn’t watch Trump’s speech last night. I can’t take such an extended dose of the Impeached Insult Comedian without tossing my cookies or retching up my rice. Besides, the SOTU never lives up to the pre-game hype even when delivered by a President who knows how to deliver a written speech such as Reagan or Obama.

Slate’s Jim Newell watched the SOTU so I didn’t have to. Merci, mon ami. The title was just as good as the piece: The State Of The Union Was A Visibly Degenerate Variety Show.

Here’s one of Jim’s money quotes:

The speech is being described as a Trumpian reality show for its assortment of stunt-pegged character call-outs in the gallery. It was more of a variety show, though, divided into alternating segments of election-season appeals to the middle, gags, and abrupt fascism. It was a joke he played on the House majority.

I’d call it a freak show but I have more sympathy for freaks than for President* Pennywise. Todd Browning weeps as does Ryan Murphy,

I do, however, wish that Democrats would stop freaking out. Repeat after me: Freaking out never helped anybody.

After the speech, we heard a lot about civility from Republicans. It’s somehow worse to tear up a speech than to rip apart the constitution. Besides, Trump awarded the Medal Of Freedom to a racist windbag who has dedicated his life to incivility.

Repeat after me:

The Senate will acquit the Impeached Insult Comedian later today even though a growing chorus of Republican senators admit that what he did was wrong. Susan Collins had the funniest line when she said that the president* had learned a lesson from impeachment. I knew Mainers were eccentric but I didn’t think they were from another planet.

This is where I planned to cut Doug Jones some slack if he voted to acquit; he did not. Instead I wrote a full post, Doug Jones: American Hero.

The last word goes to Nancy Smash with the rip heard around the world:

Doug Jones: American Hero

I have a post in the hopper about last night’s Freak Show. In it I addressed the Trump removal trial and what Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones might do.

I hope Democrats will cut Senator Doug Jones some slack. If I were advising him, I’d tell him to hold his nose and vote to acquit on at least one article if not both. There’s no point in sticking your head in a guillotine if you don’t have to.

I just saw Senator Jones’ statement and was blown away that he is doing the right thing and voting to convict on both articles. It’s refreshing to know that there’s one Senator who puts country before expediency. I’m sure Chuck Schumer would have given him a pass since he represents one of the reddest states in the nation.

It’s rare in any era to see a politician cast a vote that could doom their re-election bid. I am beyond impressed by Senator Jones’ courage and statesmanship.

This is almost like a Capra movie. We need more politicians like Doug Jones. Thank you, Senator.

Score One For The Luddites

Some people love complexity. They think that technology can solve all problems and that an untested app can be used in the electoral process. I am neither a technophobe nor a Luddite but there are some things that should be as low-tech as possible: voting is one of them.

The best argument I’ve seen in favor of simplicity is by New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose:

After Monday’s Iowa caucus debacle, I’ve decided that Americans should vote by etching our preferred candidate’s name into a stone tablet with a hammer and chisel.

Or maybe by dropping pebbles into a series of urns, as the ancient Greeks did.

Or possibly just by voting the way we voted for much of the 20th century, on analog punch-card machines that spit out paper ballots to be hand-counted by election workers, with zero iPhones in sight.

Basically, we should be begging for the most analog election technology possible. Because what happened on Monday night — a long and confusing delay in vote counting, due in part to a mobile app that was hastily designed and inadequately tested before being deployed in one of America’s most important elections — was an inexcusable failure. It caused distress and confusion, set off innumerable conspiracy theories, and started the 2020 election season by undermining trust in the democratic process.

The World War II generation was on to something with this slogan: KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID. We should pay heed to it and make the electoral process as analog as possible. The Impeached Insult Comedian cheated in 2016 and he will cheat again in 2020.

There are some ridiculous ideas floating around on social media among those who are conspiratorially minded:

First, the Iowa appocalypse is somehow a conspiracy by dark forces. Wrong. Software is glitchy. I believe in considering the simplest possible answer to any question: incompetence is usually the answer. Conspiracies do exist but they’re rarer than fuck ups.

Second, the DNC is behind the non-existent conspiracy. Wrong. The Iowa Caucuses are run by the state party. Primaries are run by the states. The DNC has nothing to do with either. The DNC is now and has always been a weak institution, not the KGB of the 21st Century.

Third, Trump wants to cancel the general election. Wrong. He doesn’t have the power to do so because the states run the election. Additionally, he’s desperate to be loved so he wants to run and win. President* Pennywise’s threat to the election is cheating. Repeat after me: he cheated in 2016 and he will do it again in 2020.

My solution to all of this dumbassery is to revive Civics classes. People have no idea how the government really works so they listen to trolls and idiots on social media. That’s what happens when schools spend all their time teaching students to take tests, not to think. Thinking is important and it’s an increasingly rare commodity in our country.

It’s time to post the Think Flag:

That is all.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Crawfish Fiesta

Carnival is revving into high gear so my thoughts turned to this 1980 album by Henry Roeland Byrd aka Roy aka Professor Longhair aka Fess.

Here’s the whole damn album in the YouTube playlist format:

Random Thoughts

I know what you’re thinking: all my thoughts are random. I stand accused and plead guilty as charged. I have some shame unlike some people. I mean a certain Impeached Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his. Fucker has no shame. He can’t wait to take his “victory” lap and brag about his “triumph.” It’s likely to be short-lived.

I want to assure Tommy T that I have his back while he’s having back issues. I’m not posting as early as he does because I try to keep normal hours. If only I could succeed in doing so. I woke up stupidly early this morning but not:

Iowa Blues: I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad when the Iowa Caucuses are over. Polling them is notoriously unreliable and if the weather sucks, all bets are off. This is one time being a voter’s second choice is not a bad thing. If less than 15% support a candidate in the first round, they either leave or move to another candidate. It’s how Athenae’s boyfriend, John Kerry, won Iowa in 2004.

I pine for the days when Iowa didn’t matter. It’s all Jimmy Carter’s fault. He made it a thing in 1976. I loathe caucuses, they’re anti-Democratic and way too important for a small, rural, mostly white state.

Removal Trial Blues: I’m DVRing final arguments. I don’t have the heart to watch them live. The GOP’s misconduct should bite them in the ass come November. Typing that sentence felt good. I am trying mightily to remain a glass half full person. The numbers are on our side. Plus, President* Pennywise is bound to overreach and ask for help from Macedonia or some such shit.

Last Week Krewe Of Spank Blues: I don’t actually have the KdV blues, there’s just so much to do and only a few days to do it. This strikes me as a good time to link to last year’s minor masterpiece, Confessions of a Krewe du Vieux Member; written for the Bayou Brief before I became the 13th Ward Rambler. Speaking of which, I have some rambling to do so I need to sign off soon.

I have nothing to say about the Super Bowl. I was watching The Sorrow and the Pity. I am not making this up. I guess I stand accused of being a bad American. At least I know where Kansas City is located.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Talk To The Lawyer

Courtroom Scene by Honore Daumier.

I’ve been preoccupied with two things this week: Krewe du Vieux and the removal trial. I’ve been living the former and following the latter. KdV has obviously been more satisfying.  As expected, the evil fucker is going to get away with it; for now. We’ll make him pay in November. Fuck him and the entire Republican party.

I selected Talk To The Lawyer as this week’s theme song because I’ve spent so much time watching lawyers on the teevee. Great lawyers like Adam Schiff and the sleazy lawyers of Team Trump. My personal bete noir is that awful dweeby pasty-faced motherfucker Philbin whose first name I refuse to learn. Every law school class has 3 or 4 Philbins. The Philbins of the world are usually kept out of court because they’re so boring. Additionally, your basic Philbin looks like they just stepped out of a coffin.

Talk To The Lawyer was written by David Lindley for his 1982 album, Win This Record. We have two versions for your listening pleasure; one studio and the other live.

Before we jump to the break, we should consult with opposing counsel:

Yeah, I know Jackson said the song isn’t about lawyers. What the hell does he know? He’s only the songwriter.

Let’s assume some liability and jump to the break. Last one on the other side is an officious intermeddler.

Continue reading

If Life Were A Capra Movie

If life were a Capra movie, the eloquence and passion of Adam Schiff and the House Managers would sway the Senate into removing President* Pennywise from office.

If life were a Capra movie, Donald Trump would be played by Edward Arnold who was a wealthy fascist who manipulated the “little people” in Meet John Doe. He would be exposed in the end as a mountebank by Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.

If life were a Capra movie, Mitch McConnell would be a corrupt Senator played by Claude Rains who could be shamed into doing the right thing in the last reel of the picture.

If life were a Capra movie, Lindsey Graham would be shown his past life by an  angel who would convince him to betray Mr. Potter and stand up for Ukraine Bedford Falls.

If life were a Capra movie, Lamar Alexander wouldn’t just say that the Impeached Insult Comedian did a bad thing, he’d vote to remove him from office.

If life were a Capra movie, John Bolton would be played by Henry Travers with bushy eyebrows but without the mustache of war. He’d ring a bell, create new angels, and Trump would be stripped of his office.

If life were a Capra movie, Jimmy Stewart would play Adam Schiff.  Sure, Stewart was goyer than thou, but he played the hero in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Adam Schiff is the hero of the Trump impeachment. Thank you for your valiant effort, sir.

If life were a Capra movie, the spunky and smart Jean Arthur would play Nancy Pelosi. She played a Congresswoman in Billy Wilder’s A Foreign Affair, after all.

If life were a Capra movie, Trump’s lawyers would be eloquent and truthful unlike the creepy liar Sekulow, the bombastic has been Dershowitz, or the dweeby bore Philbin.

If life were a Capra movie, we’d have a happy ending with the townsfolk rallying to help Mr. Deeds, Mr. Smith, or George Bailey. The bells would ring, and we’d all join Ronald Colman in Shangri-La as the screen fades to black.

Life is NOT a Capra movie.  The Senate will vote against allowing witnesses and acquit the Man Who Would Be King. Oops, that’s a John Huston movie.

Even Frank Capra’s life was not a Capra movie. He was a Republican who hated FDR until the president stopped being Dr. New Deal and became Dr. Win-the-War. (FDR gave himself those nicknames.) Capra was only a populist onscreen; in real life he disdained the “little people” he celebrated in his movies. So much for Capracorn.

There are positive lessons to be gleaned from Capra movies. His heroes were knocked down but always got up like Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, or Ronald Colman in Lost Horizon. That’s what the resistance needs to do after John Roberts gavels this show trial to a close. We knew the removal trial would end without a removal. Keep fighting and never let the bastards get you down.

Unlike real life, Capra movies always had a happy ending. America’s chance to have a happy ending is on November 3, 2020. We licked Trumpism in 2018. It’s time to consign it to the ash heap of history in 2020. Do it for Longfellow Deeds, Jefferson Smith, Robert Conway, and George Bailey. Do it for your family, and your friends. Most of all, do it for America. She’s in trouble and she needs our help. End of Capraesque peroration.

The last word goes to America who is played by Solomon Burke:

Friday Catblogging: The Return Of The Tower Of Terror

The cat atop the tower is not terrifying. That was the late, great Della Street’s job. Paul Drake is a schmoozer, not an terrorist.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Space Lawyer

What’s not to love about the title Space Lawyer? Here’s the original dust cover:

The Roberts Option

Chief Justices Chase, Rehnquist, and Roberts.

When Neal Katyal speaks, I listen:

Yet Republican members of the Senate have signaled that they intend to uphold Mr. Trump’s unprecedented decision to block all of this material.

But it turns out they don’t get to make that choice — Chief Justice John Roberts does. This isn’t a matter of Democrats needing four “moderate” Republicans to vote for subpoenas and witnesses, as the Trump lawyers have been claiming. Rather, the impeachment rules, like all trial systems, put a large thumb on the scale of issuing subpoenas and place that power within the authority of the judge, in this case the chief justice.

Most critically, it would take a two-thirds vote — not a majority — of the Senate to overrule that. This week, Democrats can and should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas on his authority so that key witnesses of relevance like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney appear in the Senate, and the Senate should subpoena all relevant documents as well.

The Senate rules for impeachment date back to 1868 and have been in effect since that time. They specifically provide for the subpoenas of witnesses, going so far in Rule XXIV as to outline the specific language a subpoena must use — the “form of subpoena to be issued on the application of the managers of the impeachment, or of the party impeached, or of his counsel.”

As you can see, there is no “Senate vote” requirement whatsoever in the subpoena rule. A manager can seek it on his own.

Rachel Maddow asked Adam Schiff about this possibility last night. He was cagey, which is a good sign.

I hope they give this a shot. It will put the Chief Justice on the spot, but if Salmon P. Chase could do it, so can he. Roberts is just sitting there like a hood ornament right now, after all. It would be like throwing a live grenade in his lap ala Bolton-Rudy. The wheels keep on turning. Stay tuned.

Hashtag Of The Day: #MittOrGetOffThePOT

This is the first and probably the last time I’ll have a hashtag of the day. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I remain skeptical that “moderate” Republican Senators will buck their leader and their president*. BUT hope is one of the most important commodities in politics. There’s no reason to give up hope until the votes are in. Besides, the removal trial is a battle in a longer war. As Ted Kennedy said in a different context in 1980 “…the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

The leaks coming out of the Senate GOP caucus were a signal for the baying banshees of Trumpistan and Wingnuttia to do that voodoo that they do. The Turtle rarely, if ever, leaks about a vote count. This is a calculated attempt to keep the cover-up going by scaring the shit our of those GOPers  who might do the right thing and vote for witnesses.

I have no idea how this will play out BUT we went through something similar during the Kavanaugh Mess. There was a tease by some Republican Senators who claimed they might oppose Kavanaugh. Just because Willard Mittbot Romney and Susan Collins are showing some leg now doesn’t mean that they will do the right thing. It’s unclear if they even know what that means.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Willard Mittbot Romney is perfectly positioned to be the hero of this drama. It remains unclear if his cautious temperament will allow him to take the plunge. His father, George, was a balls-to-the-walls politician whose presidential dreams were crushed by the “brainwashing” gaffe. Then his political spirit was crushed by his time in Tricky Dick’s cabinet. The Mittbot prefers equivocation to risk:

Here’s hoping that Willard and a handful of his colleagues will heed the hashtag: #MittOrGetOffThePOT. But do robots sit on the pot? That’s an existential question that only Asimov or Sartre could answer. I’ll just make like the Mittbot and punt.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: In Japan

For many years, I thought of Buck Owens as the genial co-host of the cornball hickfest, Hee Haw. It wasn’t until I started listening to Dwight Yoakam, that I realized he was so much more. Thanks, Dwight.

Buck was a singer-songwriter with an edge; something that didn’t come across when he was trading jokes with Junior Samples, Grandpa Jones, and Goober. He was also a world traveler; hence this 1967 live album.

Yeah, I know. There’s an exclamation point in the title. Homey don’t play that and neither do I.

Here’s Buck and his Buckaroos doing the Tokyo Polka:

The Big Picture

I’m not sure how much of today’s “defending the indefensible” session I can watch. I have a visceral reaction to bad faith and mendacity. Team Trump has previously given us The Three Amigos: Sekulow, Cipollone, and Dershowitz are the Marx Brothers evil twins. If only they were as funny. I guess that makes Rudy, Zeppo since he’s out of the act. It’s a pity that there’s not a Harpo in the bunch. The sound of silence would be a  relief after all the shouting they do. There’s not an inside voice in the bunch.

I have some scattershot observations about the big shebang in the Senate chambers. I might as well do it Odds & Sods/13th Ward Rambler style:

Adam Schiff Is A Rock Star: Republicans hate Adam Schiff. One reason is that he’s not the sort of Democrat who’s easily cowed. After 9/11, many Dems not only allowed GOPers to beat them up, they handed them a stick with which to do it. Ouch.

Adam Schiff don’t play that. The real reason GOPers flipped out over the “heads on a pike” thing was that his entire closing speech was an implicit indictment of those Senate Republicans who *should* know better but have thrown-in with President* Pennywise. Thrown-up is more like. They make me feel like Bloom County’s Bill the Cat when he’s coughing up a hairball.

These Senatorial cowards are culpable for Trump’s disgraceful performance in office by not standing up to him. They’re like Nuremberg Trial defendants Konstantin von Neurath, Franz von Papen, and Hjalamar Schacht; aristocratic conservatives who thought they could control the Hitler gang. It didn’t go as planned.

The Impeached Insult Comedian has been threatening Schiff on the Tweeter Tube. The best response comes from a former president who knew something about unpopularity:

Schiff’s closing remarks were posted on his Twitter feed:

They’re All Paulie Walnuts: I had an amusing colloquy with my beloved colleagues Athenae and Scout at Jack’s Joint:

The late, great Jimmy Breslin wrote a novel in 1969 about a group of incompetent mobsters, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. Team Trump are The Gang That Couldn’t Shut Up.

That concludes this edition of Life Imitates The Sopranos.

Can I Get A Witness? The Bolton manuscript revelation *should* force Republicans’ hand on whether or not to allow witnesses but will it? After the “heads on a pike” fake furor, I’m dubious. The involvement of so-called moderates Collins and Murkowski makes me think the fix is well and truly in. I hope I’m wrong about this. I really do.

Those Republican Senators who dislike Trump behind closed doors have gone from hostages to active participants in the cover-up. They’re not legally culpable but they’re morally and politically culpable.

That brings me to the final segment/post title.

The Big Picture: I’m gobsmacked by people who are despairing about the removal trial’s inevitable verdict. They must not have been paying attention. Nobody thought 20+ Republican senators would vote to remove the Impeached Insult Comedian. The best case scenario was always this: enough votes to call witnesses and/or a majority vote on at least one article.

Removal from office was never the expected outcome. That’s why Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff were against impeachment until the Ukraine shit hit the fan. The goal of House managers was to present a compelling case for removal that will be implemented by the voters in November.

Another goal was to put the Republican controlled Senate on trial. The House Managers have succeeded in this with fair-minded voters across the country who want a fair trial. In our legal system that means witnesses and evidence.

Republicans have a short-term strategy: to get through the trial quickly and survive their primaries. They’re not looking at the big picture.  They cannot look at the big picture as long as Trump is pulling the strings. BUT there are voters who will punish them for putting on this show trial.

It’s hard to imagine Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, and Martha McSalley winning in November if they don’t vote for witnesses. They’re afraid of being primaried, which is not an unreasonable fear, so they probably will not. They’re putting party above country and their short-term selfish interests over the national interest.

History will not be kind to Republican senators who knew better but refused to stand up for their country. Here’s hoping they will be punished for their unpatriotic cowardice this fall. Make it so, voters, make it so.

Repeat after me:

It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial.

They’re All Paulie Walnuts.

The last word goes to Marvin Gaye, Dusty Springfield, and the Rolling Stones:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Handle With Care

Saturday Morning by Edward Hopper.

It’s been a busy week. so I’ll keep this introduction brief. And I mean it this time.

This week’s theme song was originally supposed to be a George Harrison single, but it turned up on the Traveling Wilburys first album in 1988. The song is credited to the band, but the primary writer was George. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have four versions of Handle With Care for your listening pleasure: the Wilburys original, Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Stephen Stills & Judy Collins.

If you can handle it, let’s jump to the break but with care. Always with care.

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Quote Of The Day: Adam Schiff Edition

Apologies for being a removal trial slacker. I feel like a juggler with too many balls in the air. That’s life.

Adam Schiff’s closing on Day Two of the trial was passionate and downright brilliant. Ain’t nothing better than a lawyer who believes in his case. This passage, as published by TPM, was a standout:

Schiff cited impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s declaration that he was doing what’s right by testifying against Trump because “right matters” in the U.S.

“If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost,” the Schiff said. “If truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost.”

Schiff warned that acquitting Trump would give the President license for future wrongdoing and imperil the U.S.

“This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed, because right matters,” he concluded. “Because right matters, and the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost.”

Words to live by.

Here’s the video via a TPM tweet:

 

 

 

Bayou Brief: A Tale Of Two Tones

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. The writing process was somewhat unusual. I had a mostly humorous piece ready to go when the exposed corpse at the Hard Rock Hotel collapse site story exploded. I kept the first segment about the aftermath of LSU’s national championship intact. I ripped apart the TFC segment and toughened its tone considerably; hence the title A Tale Of Two Tones: Of Tigers and TFC.

FYI: TFC stands for This Fucking City.

I did a phone interview with Richard Fausett of the New York Times for a story he co-wrote with Katy Reckdahl about what could be called Tarpgate. I was even mentioned. The way to get a mention when you’re interviewed as background for a story is to get the reporter laughing. It works every time:

“Peter Athas, a political blogger and columnist for The Bayou Brief, an online news site, has accused Ms. Cantrell of clumsily handling the disaster, and aligning herself too closely with the developer.”

Thanks for indulging that bit of egomania.

There will be a protest march this afternoon against the city’s mishandling of this disaster. Mayor Cantrell’s team is circling the wagons and lashing out at critics. The proper approach would be to distance the administration from developer Praveen Kailas and his partners. A bit of humility is in order but it’s in short supply on Team Cantrell.

This tweet concisely sums up my attitude about the Mayor:

I have a new sign off as the 13th Ward Rambler. I stole it from Walter Cronkite’s closing during the 1979-1980 Iran Hostage Crisis. I only steal from the best. I might as well use it here today:

And that’s the way it is on the 104th day since the Hard Rock Hotel collapse.

Friday Catblogging: Rugrat Cat

We have a new rug in our living room. Paul Drake approves:

Guest Post: Lobby Day; A Peaceful, Queasy Feeling

My old friend Parenthetical grew up in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He currently resides in Charlottesville. In 2017, he wrote a guest post about the prelude to the Charlottesville white supremacist riot: Lost Cause Fest, Virginia Style.

The punny title for this post was his idea, I didn’t force it on him. I suspect, however, that he was pandering to me. If so, it worked,

Here are his thoughts about the gun nut non-riot in Richmond on MLK Day:

You knew this Richmond Gunpalooza was going to be big after Governor Northam told the press that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”

I’m sorry, I’m being told that was Governor Ronald Reagan upon signing 1967’s Mulford Act prohibiting open carry in California, enacted in direct response to the Black Panthers’ armed visit to the state’s capitol.

As for Virginia’s own Locked n’ Loaded LinkedIn event, certain folks have been doing online victory laps on behalf of the thousands of gun enthusiasts who packed the area on Lobby Day, a traditional day for coming to speak with one’s state representatives. Compared to the Unite The Right rally three years ago, the day’s lack of homicides and beatings warrants a hearty huzzah, to be sure, but let’s put some context around this “accomplishment.”

  • The governor declared a state of emergency days in advance, due to out-of-state unwelcome “militia” members.
  • Neo-Nazis with a machine gun and reported designs on attending were arrested the week prior, and who knows what other advance intel proved fruitful.
  • State and local police coordinated well ahead of time, a lesson learned the hard way in Charlottesville.
  • Fencing went up around the Capitol, and access was controlled.
  • Streets shut down.
  • Some nearby business shut down for the day, accepting the financial hit in an abundance of caution.
  • Area residents stayed indoors, and people in other parts of town stayed away.
  • Counterprotestors largely skipped the event, zero counteraggression present.
  • Organizations who would have otherwise participated in Lobby Day exercised caution and stayed away.

At the end of the day, everyone from taxpayer-funded authorities to residents to Antifa made choices and/or absorbed expenses to keep the peace or steer clear. The result? A crowd full of tactical fashionistas had the place practically to themselves in a highly unnatural environment, and now they’re all, “HEY MY GUNZ AND PALS AND ME MADE A PEACEFUL!”

Obliviousness to privilege on Capitol Square for Dr. King’s birthday, what a thoughtful gift.

One photo captured the extremely small police presence near the rather cramped throng of protestors, and from here, that looked like the last stroke of genius in the law enforcement’s strategy: Pack them close and give them nobody to fight with, not even the police. People I know who went appeared to have a lovely time. One likened it to tailgating.

Of course, it did overshadow and undercut Lobby Day itself. Citizens had to choose ahead of time: be a part of Lobby Day sans firearm, or walk around with your favorite appendage outside of Lobby Day. The vast majority opted for the latter, wanting their outrage over gun measures to be “heard” rather than actually going in and, you know, being heard.

By the way, I know 99% of attendees consider themselves freedom-loving patriots, so I figured they’d be very supportive of my Monument Avenue compromise: Find a nice new home for Stonewall Jackson, and replace it with a new monument to Nat Turner.

If you’re into Virginians fighting for personal liberty, it doesn’t get much more Sic Semper Tyrannis than Nat Turner, right? And yet, my proposal seems to have fallen flat. Confounding.

At the end of the day, if you want to lobby, you come and lobby. If you want to protest and show strength in numbers, you protest and show strength in numbers. But when a vastly white, vastly male crowd of over 20,000 elects instead to convene downtown with firearms and all the combat trimmings including flags of varying insurrectionist relevance, a lot of them are trying to do something else.

These people who want personal judgment to replace public policy in all aspects of firearms ownership and usage are the same people who post Civil War 2.0 videos to their social media.

Who believe Alex Jones.

Who shared reports that busloads of false flaggers have rolled into town to make trouble and fool the lamestream media.

Who told me that Mike Bloomberg and George Soros had bought up all the public parking.

Who think the world is neatly divided into fixed pools of Law-Abiding Citizens and Criminals.

Who look up and down Monument Avenue and see forefathers’ encouragement instead of a lost cause.

(Is it just me, or are some folks only going to let go of the last Civil War if they get another one to grab onto?)

I’m sure several of the day’s attendees have a somewhat better grip on reality, but Virginia is increasingly not interested in catering to that mindset, as it demonstrated at the polls. Have fun at the range and in the woods, guys. Ignore the data about firearms in the house, because of course it won’t happen to you. Posture and get your gear on all you want. But maybe next year, leave Lobby Day for the people who actually want to lobby. And if you’re chafing at the prospect of background checks and other popular measures so badly that it just might spread to your trigger finger at the wrong time, consider an ointment.

It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial

I almost called this post Confessions of a Slacker Blogger but the reason I was silent about the removal trial is that I was crazy busy the last two days. I was preoccupied with writing my latest 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief. When it was finished, more shit hit the fan in the Hard Rock/Kalias collapse story. A major rewrite ate yesterday morning and the trial gnawed away at my afternoon.  More on that later.

I have a few random thoughts and scattershot comments about the big shebang going down in the Senate right now:

The post title says it all. Impeachment has already happened. Trump will forever be the Impeached Insult Comedian. The purpose of the trial is to decide whether Trump will be removed from office. I realize that I’m howling at the moon on this point, but I like calling things what they are. Trump, like Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, will always wear the scarlet I for Impeached.

The House managers have done a superb job, especially Adam Schiff who opened and closed the first full day of argument. He spoke like a latter-day Clarence Darrow only without suspenders. Snap.

Jerry Nadler is not half the orator that Schiff is, but his presence surely irked the Impeached Insult Comedian. Nadler fought valiantly against a Trump real estate development on Manhattan’s West Side and succeeded in reducing its scale and footprint. That’s why Trump’s hate for Nadler is pure. The congressman welcomes his scorn.

There are still people looking for a savior. Chief Justice John Roberts is the latest candidate. Never gonna happen, my friends. Roberts is a Rehnquist protege and the latter conducted the Clinton removal trial with a light hand. For good or ill, Roberts is staying in the Rehnquist lane.

There’s been much grumbling from Senate GOPers about how “boring” the removal trial is. It’s what you wanted, STFU. And sit in your seats. That’s your job. You work for us, not vice versa.

The outcome seems preordained but the House managers aren’t just speaking to the Senate, they’re speaking to the country. Their goal is to put Senate Republicans on trial and they’re off to a good start in that regard. Keep the pressure on them, make them regret their time as Trumper toadies.

Speaking of false saviors, never trust Susan Collins. I’ll believe that she and other Senate “moderates” will act when it happens. The guy to watch is Lamar Alexander. While he’s unlikely to vote for removal, he might vote to hear witnesses. He’s already announced his retirement so he’s not subject to the same red hat political pressure that other GOPers face. Besides, he’s the first Senator on the roll call, if he votes to hear witnesses others could follow. Senate Republicans are followers, not leaders. Will this happen? Beats the hell outta me.

A removal trial is neither fish nor fowl. This one feels fishy and has a foul odor attached to it. The Senators are both judge and jury. Past removal trials had witnesses and evidence. Mitch McConnell prefers a see-no-evil approach. It may work in the short term, but voters want a fair trial and that includes evidence and witnesses not named Biden. The political blowback over this show trial could be fierce among educated suburban voters. It’s up to the House managers to make it so.

Repeat after me: It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Case Of The Hated Senator

This post is dedicated to Mitch McConnell.