Category Archives: Campaign Notes

That’s Why I Call Him President* Pennwyise

Image by Michael F.

I first called Donald Trump President* Pennywise on 8/16/2019:

Pennywise the evil clown (is there any other kind?) thrives on fear. He gets stronger the more he fearmongers. It’s what emboldens him to get out of the gutter and come into the open. The Insult Comedian never leaves the gutter BUT he too thrives on fear. That’s why I mock him: he feeds off our fear and recoils from our scorn. President* Pennywise is a pussy. He should grab himself.

I don’t see Trump as a figure of fun even though he’s funny. What he’s doing to the country is not funny but he cuts a ridiculous figure as he wreaks havoc. At the risk of sounding like a Reader’s Digest feature, laughter is the best medicine against Trumpism. Their dear leader has no sense of humor unless the joke is on his enemies. That’s why one should laugh at him, not cower, especially when the laughter is provoked by his latest outrageous statement.

I stand by everything I wrote last year. Satire is even more important as President* Pennywise unravels. He’s terrified that he’s going to lose the election. His recent OTT comments about voting being a “scam and a hoax” are a sign of weakness, not strength A reminder that he said some of the same things in 2016. He expected to lose then too. He was half right. He lost the popular vote.

It’s impossible for Trump to publicly admit error or even the possibility that he might lose. Losing is for “suckers and losers” and Trump is a winner in his own feeble mind. As far as he’s concerned, the only way he can lose is to be defrauded and screwed. It’s like the “perfect phone call” to the Ukrainian president that led me to add Impeached to the original nickname, the Insult Comedian.

Before President* Pennywise’s latest series of extreme statements about not honoring the election results, an article by Barton Gellman in the Atlantic had rattled everyone’s cages. Gellman discussed ideas floating around Trumpistan about possible electoral challenges that they might purse in the event of a close loss to Joe Biden.

Despite Gellman’s careful language, people decided that this was a “plan” as opposed to being a scheme at the discussion stage. If I believed in having imaginary teevee friends Rachel Maddow would be one. Last night, she had an on-air meltdown over Trump’s latest fear mongering putting aside her own maxim: Watch What They Do, Not What They Say.

The news is rotten, scary, and terrible so I get it. But instead of giving into fear, we need to fight back and not lose our nerve for the task at hand. If the electorate administers a thorough ass-kicking to Trump, schemes to set aside the electoral college will be abandoned. The fate of the country is in our hands, not some Republican lawyers in Pennsylvania. Team Biden seems prepared to deal with the legal challenges so we should focus on voting. If turn-out is high, we win, and they lose.

I think Democrats may have to tweak our voting plans. The Banana Republicans are counting on being ahead on election night so they can declare victory and attack uncounted ballots even though they usually include overseas military voters. It’s imperative that as many people as possible vote in a way that their vote will be counted on election day. That means voting early in person or by mail or voting in person on election day. We may just have to mask up and stand in line to vote the fuckers out. Mister Google can help you check the laws in your state to make sure your vote will count on 11/3/2020.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It’s why President* Pennywise spends so much time stoking it. Given everything the country has been through in 2020, it’s understandable why people are afraid. Trump wants his enemies to be afraid, so they’ll be too depressed to vote. I think Bob Woodward is on to something with his Trump book titles. We need to move from Fear to Rage and take it out on Trumpism.

It’s time for them to go. Make it so, America, make it so.

We should all be more like Tom Petty and Mudcrutch who get the last word. They don’t scare easy. Neither should we:

 

Quote Of The Day: Your President* Lies Edition

The Big Lie is alive and well. Here’s the Kaiser of Chaos at a super-spreader rally in Ohio:

“It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems, if they have other problems, that’s what it really affects, in some states thousands of people — nobody young — below the age of 18, like nobody — they have a strong immune system — who knows?” Mr. Trump said.

“It affects virtually nobody,” he added. “It’s an amazing thing — by the way, open your schools!”

A reminder that, as of this writing, 201,000 and counting Americans have died of COVID-19.

Remember when we debated whether Bob Woodward holding back the Trump tapes cost people lives? Trump is still trying to lie his way through the pandemic. An earlier release would have changed nothing.

President* Pennywise is also claiming that we’ve “rounded the corner” on COVID. That reminds me of the “light at the end of the tunnel” imagery during the Vietnam War, mocked by Herblock in this 1970 cartoon:

I used the Underworld USA campaign notes meme because the Impeached Insult Comedian is celebrating violence against reporters:

… at a rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, President Donald Trump told his audience a story about the MSNBC journalist Ali Velshi. “I remember this guy Velshi,” the president said (he pronounced it “Welshy”):

“He got hit on the knee with a canister of tear gas. And he went down. He didn’t—heeee was down. ‘My knee! My knee!’ [Crowd laughs] Nobody cared, these guys didn’t care. They moved him aside. [Crowd laughs.] And they just walked right through—it was like, it was the most beautiful thing. No, because after we take all that crap for weeks and weeks, they would take this crap. And then you finally see men get up there and [punches fist forward] go right through, did—wasn’t it really a beautiful sight? [Crowd cheers.]

It’s called law and order. Law and order!”

Ali Velshi is the hardest working man in cable news biz. The least Trump could do is to get his name right. We don’t expect him to get the facts straight. Ali was hit with a rubber bullet, which reminds me of an old rock song:

This celebration of violence is strictly performative. Trump is a coward. If he loves violence so much, why did avoid serving in Vietnam? We all know the reason for that: he didn’t want to be a “loser or a sucker.”  Those horrific remarks ultimately led to this:

Trump’s reply was typically petty:

Beautiful is one of Trump’s favorite words. He usually misuses it. This exchange between Republicans is truly beautiful.

For the last word, it’s time to kick off our periodic election countdown:

Abolish The Electoral College

I realize that I’ve said it before and that I’m preaching to the choir but one of things the Biden-Harris administration should do is abolish the electoral college. It’s done nothing but cause mischief in both the 19th Century and early 20th Century.

The electoral college is not only anti-democratic, it focuses candidates on specific often unrepresentative states. Just think of all the times candidates have been obliged to support ethanol subsidies to win votes in Iowa. It even happened to fictional candidates such as Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) in The West Wing episode King Corn.

The loser of the popular vote has won the electoral vote five times in our history. It didn’t happen for 112 years after Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote by 90,956 to Grover Cleveland. We all know what happened in 2000 when one of the best qualified candidates in American history, Al Gore, lost the electoral college to a dipshit named George W. Bush. History repeated itself in 2016 when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2,868,518 against a criminal dipshit named Donald J. Trump.

The Bush-Cheney administration played favorites at times, but the Trump regime has gone to extremes in favoring “their people” and “their voters.” As we’ve seen time and time again, President* Pennywise only cares about his people, his voters. Any time there’s an issue in a blue state, he has no interest in addressing it. If the electoral college were abolished even Trump would have to think about Republican voters in blue states.

Here are the Top Six Trump Popular Vote States:

  1.  TEXAS                    4,685,047
  2. FLORIDA                 4,617,886
  3. CALIFORNIA           4,483,814
  4. PENNSLYVANIA      2,907,441
  5. OHIO                       2,841,006
  6. NEW YORK              2,819,557

If the electoral college did not exist, Trump would have been obliged to deal fairly with the states he won his 3rd and 6th most votes in instead of focusing on the 31.49% and 36.51% of the vote he received in California and New York respectively.

Democrats have suffered as a result of the current system BUT this is about democracy, not partisan advantage. The Republicans won’t see it that way, but this is about truth, justice, and the American way. I’m not sure what the exact mechanism would be but there’s a long article by Lee Drutman in the Washington Monthly that looks at the issue in historical context.

It’s time for the electoral college to go. It was nearly abolished in 1970 but fell prey to a filibuster by Southern Senators. It’s also time for the filibuster to go. It’s done in more progressive legislation than Mitch The Grim Reaper McConnell.

It’s time for a change. The last word goes to Sam Cooke:

 

Quote Of The Day: Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

I’m alarmed by the number of people who are taking the wilder statements by Team Trump literally. I thought we’d gotten over it, but there’s been a widespread relapse of late. Perhaps it’s caused by the stresses of the campaign or the pandemic. Nonetheless it’s alarming. The default should always be that they’re lying. They’re the lyingest liars who ever lied, after all.

The quote comes from page 263 of Bob Woodward’s book Rage:

Kushner said one of Trump’s greatest strengths was, “He somehow manages to have his enemies self-destruct and make stupid mistakes. He’s just able to play the media like a fiddle, and the Democrats too. They run like dogs after a fire truck, chasing whatever he throws out there.”

Don’t fall for it. Don’t let Slumlord Jared and the Kaiser of Chaos play you. Set your bullshit detector to maximum the next time something crazy comes out of their mouths. There are plenty of actions to be alarmed about; don’t take the bait.

The last word goes to Rachel Maddow:

 

A Shot In The Dark

Donald Trump is such a bad president* that he’s turning me into an anti-vaxxer. The same administration that brought you herd immunity bleach as a cure-all, and demon semen is determined to rush a COVID vaccine to market just time for the 2020 election:

The Trump administration is doubling down on distributing a COVID-19 vaccine before Election Day, aligning the timeline for a crucial public health measure with the President’s political fortunes.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control sent a letter last week to state governors asking that they prepare to have vaccine distribution facilities be “fully operational” by Nov. 1, and that the states waive requirements that would purportedly prevent a private vendor from meeting that deadline.

The CDC followed the letter with additional materials telling states to be ready to distribute the vaccine by late October.

Thanks to the Kaiser of Chaos, the CDC has lost its credibility. This frenetic rush to come up with a “miracle cure” has all the earmarks of Trumpism: haste, stupidity, and corruption. It’s also given me a very short earworm:

Now that Team Trump has taken a wrecking ball to the CDC, they’re out to destroy the FDA:

In so doing, experts say, Trump is taking a sledgehammer to trust two institutions critical to public health: vaccines and the Food and Drug Administration, responsible for ensuring safety in drugs and other treatments.

The Aug. 27 CDC letter sent by Dr. Robert Redfield does not condition the vaccine on whether the FDA has approved one for use.

Rather, the letter “urgently” asks that state waive safety regulations for vaccine distribution “that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020.”

“I think that the key to do with timing is really the FDA approval,” Claire Hannan, executive director of the association of immunization managers, told TPM. “And the timing of that is just unknown, and we don’t want to race to a certain date because we want that approval to be done thoroughly and correctly.”

The FDA process is slow and methodical as it should be. Neither word applies to Operation Warp Speed, the Trumper vaccine program. As with herd immunity, rushing a vaccine to market is something that has been tried and failed. If you don’t believe me, read this piece by Rick Perlstein:

The failed 1976 Ford vaccine plan was used against the Swine Flu. In 2020, we have a swine for president*.

If the Trump regime were truly dedicated to finding a COVID vaccine, they wouldn’t have refused to co-operate with the WHO. The World Health Organization, not the band. Of course, I trust Pete and Roger a helluva lot more than I do President* Pennywise.

I hate to slander the sainted name of Inspector Clouseau by comparing the Impeached Insult Comedian to him. But if the ill-fitting trench coat fits, so be it. Team Trump is displaying all the subtlety and grace that Clouseau was known for without any of his sweetness. The Darnold talks funny too.

When I said I had become an anti-vaxxer, I was joking. I’m only opposed to a vaccine that’s sponsored by the Inspector Clouseau of presidents* and his accursed son-in-law; both of whom are likely to get a cut of the proceeds. It’s how this gangster regime works. The whole thing brings out my inner Chief Inspector Dreyfus:

This attempt to rush a COVID vaccine is another sign of Donald’s desperation to win a second term. He’s doing it for the adulation from the marks he’s duped into following him. That adulation is why he can’t repudiate *anyone* who supports him regardless of how loathsome they are. If you worship the false prophet from Astoria Queens, you’re a very fine person. It’s enough to drive a sane person mad. It’s the same effect Clouseau had on Chief Inspector Dreyfus at the end of Return of the Pink Panther:

There were six Pink Panther movies featuring Peter Sellers as Clouseau and Herbert Lom as Dreyfus. It’s time for voters to deny the Kaiser of Chaos a sequel by asking themselves this question posed by The Who, the band not the World Health Organization:

Summer Of Hate

The Kaiser of Chaos is living up to his nickname. He’s stirring the pot, inflaming racial animosity and violence. Despite being the most lawless president* in American history, he’s determined to duplicate the 1968 Nixon-Agnew Law & Order strategy.

 

Tricky, of course, was the nominee of the out party whereas Trump is the incumbent. Another irony lost on the Impeached Insult Comedian is that both Nixon and Agnew were criminals who were forced from office due to their malefactions. Projection thy name is Donald.

Despite all the angst from Democrats and spin from right-leaning MSM pundits, it appears that the Republican ticket got an itty bitty bounce from their convention in the early surveys from 2 to 4 points. The cult of the savvy were impressed by the illegal hate fest that was the Trumpvention, but so far, the voters are not. It’s hard for any president to be re-elected with a 31% favorability rating as opposed to 59% negative. That’s -28. That’s unpopular.

If the election is a referendum on Trump, he will lose. His path to victory is a narrow one despite what Michael Moore thinks. As long as Trump’s opponents do not get depressed and give up, he’s in deep shit. He has a record and it’s a bad one. All the lying in the world, can’t reduce the COVID death toll, which stands at 183.000 and rising.

Josh Marshall has written the best thing I’ve seen about why Democrats are electoral pessimists and GOPers are optimists:

Regardless of the objective realities, Democrats will consistently anticipate loss or worry about loss while Republicans will consistently be confident of victory. This is a good rule of thumb regardless of the objective realities of the moment, to the degree they can be known. This is not an absolute of course: overwhelming odds will buoy Democrats and hopeless situations will nudge Republicans to despair. But in general this is almost an iron law of political psychology in the United States.

This may be obscured by the genuine shock and horror Democrats experienced on election night four years ago. Democrats were pretty confident and all their worst fears were realized. But a closer look shows the general pattern was actually in effect through much of the 2016 cycle. Indeed we saw a particular example of it during the 2018 midterm election. The fall of 2018 was chock full of theories and predictions about how two years of ‘resistance’ activism were coming up short. It was the ‘caravan’. It was Trump’s 12 dimensional chess. It was low turnout among young voters. So pervasive were Democrats’ latent fears of coming up short that they actually persisted well into election night and even the first couple days after the election – until late returns, results of close call races and just the actual numbers made clear Democrats had won a decisive victory.

Despite being old enough to have experienced the 1972, 1980, and 1984 Republican landslides, I’m usually cautiously optimistic about elections and skeptical of other things. Perhaps it’s because I had a Republican father. Beats the hell outta me.

In weirdo campaign news, Herman Cain’s family is still running his Twitter feed. They seem to have forgotten how he died:

Deleted but not forgotten. Hopefully, we’ll be able to describe the Impeached Insult Comedian that way next year.

It’s time for them to go. Make it so, America, make it so.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – no rest for the weary edition

OK people – let’s get to the Free Republic thread about the Kenosha murderer being in the front row of that Trump rally in Des Moines a few months ago.  You know they’re dying to address this.

Hmmm. Nothing.

Odd.  It seems to be news everywhere else.

Maybe I need to refine my search criteria. Changing “murdering trumptard fuckhead” to “Rittenhouse + rally”.

“Nothing matched your criteria”

It’s like it never even existed.

Oh well – they had plenty to say otherwise about their new hero :

BREAKING: SHOTS FIRED in Kenosha Between Armed Rioters and Business Owners, 3 Reported Shooting Victims
24News ^ | 08-26-2020 | Greg Reynolds

Posted on 8/26/2020, 12:31:25 AM by montag813

Armed rioters”?  That’s not what the linked article headline says.  It actually says:

BREAKING: SHOTS FIRED in Kenosha in Clash Between Rioters and Business Owners, TWO DEAD, 1 Wounded

I guess you must have added the “armed” part yourself, huh?

Anyway – initial reactions?

To: montag813

I see a campaign commercial here.

24 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:51:19 AM by rdl6989

To: montag813

Does a heart good to see that little white punk bleeding out.

6 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:37:02 AM by dp0622 (I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE COVID GODFATHER I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN!)

I’m not altogether sure you even have a heart.
To: roadcat

They’re not the brightest to begin with. They formed a mob and chased a guy who had an AR-15. When he tripped they tried to do a mob attack and he shot 3 of them.Maybe the survivors can play chicken with a freight train next.

71 posted on 8/26/2020, 1:40:18 AM by guitar Josh

…and so on….Next thread please….

17-Year-old Suspect Charged With Murder After Two Killed at Kenosha Protest (Kyle Rittenhouse) Daily Beast ^ | 08/26/2020 | Pilar Melendez Posted on 8/26/2020, 12:28:22 PM by Drew68

Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old suspected of fatally shooting at least two people and injuring another during protests in Kenosha over the shooting of Jacob Blake, has been arrested, according to local media reports.

Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested in Illinois and has been reportedly charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

1 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:28:22 PM by Drew68
First response?
To: Drew68
Not guilty!……… 😡
2 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:29:36 PM by Red Badger (Sine Q-Anon…………………)

ThatWasEasy

To: Drew68

Not guilty.

20 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:33:40 PM by heshtesh

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it.

To: Drew68

Deputize him and send him back in tonight to kill more commies. Note: NO Americans were killed last night by Kyle.

44 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:39:58 PM by DCBryan1 (COMDEMS would rather rule over a pile of ashes, than lose to Trump and REAL Americans)

You know – I’m gonna move on. I’m getting tired of hearing the quiet part screamed in my ear.

.

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What Joe Biden Hasn’t Done

Hasn’t condemned looting and property damage that follow protests.

Hasn’t put the flag in the background of the Democratic Convention or in any commercials or campaign events.

Hasn’t mentioned God and/or took God out of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Is going to take away people’s guns.

“You are actively trying to amend your Second Amendment right and take away our guns,” the man said.

“You’re full of s—,” Biden replied, adding that “I support the Second Amendment.”

Opposes law and order. 

Hates police.

I can do this all day, you know. I can line-by-line refute what’s being shared around various circles and pages that might be owned by people you know or might be run out of a Fox shop or might be backed by Daily Caller pieces or might just be horseshit of the worst possible kind. I can show everyone where they’re wrong.

Are they going to listen to me? Or am I just some liberal loudmouth who hates their freedom and wants to destroy America? Or is there going to be another list full of other items that are terrible, of things Joe Biden has done and not done? And after I fact-check that list, another?

I’m not sure it matters what Joe does or doesn’t say. The past 7 days have been an object lesson in the power of Fox News, Facebook and other right-leaning partisan media in driving a false narrative about what Joe Biden and the Democrats do and don’t do.

I’m honestly not sure if the truth matters to people who are looking to express defensiveness and belligerence instead of honest political views. I’m honestly not sure there’s any profit in handing out Pinocchios to people who are still “for” their team and “against” the other one, citing issues that don’t exist and can’t be proven beyond a copypasta from your neighbor who knows a guy who heard from someone.

I’ve been tired of the meme wars since 2016 and my exhaustion has tipped over into aversion.

I don’t actually disagree with Michael Moore here: 

“I’m warning you almost 10 weeks in advance. The enthusiasm level for the 60 million in Trump’s base is OFF THE CHARTS! For Joe, not so much,” he later added.

He continued to voters: “Don’t leave it to the Democrats to get rid of Trump. YOU have to get rid of Trump. WE have to wake up every day for the next 67 days and make sure each of us are going to get a hundred people out to vote. ACT NOW!”

That I can give you those links, that I can check every fact, verify every statement, plus name four people who won’t be able to stay in this country if he has his way, that I can name 10 directly affected in verifiable personal ways by this administration to the adverse effect, holds no water with anyone when there’s a 24-7 propaganda network blaring that all violence is leftist violence. That Joe Biden would make it worse. That we have no choice but to re-elect Trump in some act of aggression against all the forces of the 21st century “ruining” America including some, let’s be honest, over which not even Trump has control.

Trump cannot make athletes play if they don’t want to. He cannot make the movies show the stories you want them to show. He cannot dictate that everyone be nicer to the cops. Don’t you think he would have if he could? The things people are so angry about — that the world doesn’t look like our past ideas of it, that nothing is the same anymore and the world is full of indignities and nonsense that drive us insane in a million little ways — those aren’t even all his fault.

But they’re part and parcel, aren’t they, of voting for him, since the same people who like the athletes and the movies like the Democrats? Isn’t it all just one big morass? Isn’t that the thing we liberals fail to get, over and over and over, through loss after loss after loss? That it’s not this or that percent, it’s God and the flag and traditional American values against … against. That’s what we don’t understand, right? That’s why we keep losing to him?

I haven’t felt so tired or scared since this all started. Not even in the early days of the pandemic. We lose this and we lose it all. And I’m not going to yell at protesters for protesting or even violent looters for violently looting because if they listened to me would be the first time that train ever showed up and who the fuck am I anyway to tell someone who’s angry at decades of subjugation to just put that aside? I am going to say, and I am not usually THIS pessimistic, that if we do nothing but fact-check and post memes and yell on Facebook, Michael Moore’s going to be right.

ACT NOW means register voters. It means volunteer to drive people to the polls. It means continue to post information about how to vote by mail. It means vote by mail if you can. The lines have to be out the door. The mail has to be an avalanche. It can’t be contested. It can’t be close. It has to be overwhelming and beyond dispute. It has to be a landslide the likes of which we don’t even think are possible anymore. It has to be something we ain’t ever seen in all our livin’ lives.

Can we do that? I don’t know. I look at what’s arrayed against us and honestly, until this week I would have said we’ll be okay. I would have said we’ve got a prayer. Now? I’m looking at maps to find a crossroads and I’m stocking up on salt and shovels.

ACT NOW means if you have five bucks and you haven’t given it to a candidate who needs it you need to do that. ACT NOW means sign up to text and send postcards and make your friends and kids do it too. ACT NOW means get the fuck off your social media and stop fighting the meme wars, it’s stupid, it’s unproductive, and it’s fueling the despair that, once and for all time, is NOT A PLAN.

Make a plan. Because those things up there, that Joe Biden did and didn’t do? On election day they don’t mean anything. True or false.

A.

Sleepwalking To Oblivion

Teleprompter Donald showed up to give his acceptance speech. Teleprompter Donald is a dull speaker. The content of the speech was, predictably, appalling. Earlier this week I said this:

“The Trump regime is like a three-legged stool held up by ethical violations, sycophancy, and hypocrisy.”

I’d like to amend and extend my remarks. It’s really a four-legged stool. The fourth leg is mendacity. President* Pennywise showed that leg at least 20 times last night according to the great Daniel Dale.

In addition to the lies, there were malaprops and mispronunciations aplenty. He “profoundly accepted” the nomination. He pronounced “walled-off” as Waldorf. It’s unclear if he meant the hotel or its signature salad. The speech was loaded with indigestible word salad.

The speech was aimless and meandering. Stephen Miller may be the worst presidential* speechwriter ever. It was a series of unstructured buzz words calculated to scare people shitless. The boring delivery made it seem as long as a speech by Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez. The running time was 70 minutes. It was an ugly boring mess.

It’s been said by many people but the use of the White House for this COVID super-spreader rally was another unconscionable abuse of power. The Hatch Act may be toothless, but they need be called on this shit every time. MSNBC’s Joy Reid nailed it:

Sometimes the best comments are terse and to the point:

There were a few masked faces in the crowd but people were crammed together like tinned sardines only not as tasty. It will be interesting to see who follows in Herman Cain’s footsteps, contracts the virus, and dies. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross looked like a prime candidate to join the 180K and counting Americans who have perished during the pandemic.

Alternate worlds in sci-fi are sometimes more pleasant than reality. The alternate world depicted by Trump is a dark and dangerous place where people jump out of the shadows to slit your throat. Hence the featured image from Sam Fuller’s Underworld USA.

I like how Jeet Heer of The Nation described it:

Click on the link and read the whole thread. It’s well worth your time.

Trump’s dull and toxic speech does not strike me as a winning message. Unfortunately, very few watched it live so its long-term impact is unclear. More important in this election will be turn-out and the pandemic death count, which grew by 3,500 during the RNC. Much as they try, they can’t lie those numbers away.

I woke up angry. Angry that we have a malevolent idiot as POTUS*. Angry that one of our major parties incites violence against immigrants and minorities. To listen to Trump, Joe Biden has been running the country for the last 47 years. Who knew he was that powerful?

Our publisher was angry about the misuse of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah:

Again. click on the link and revel in Athenae’s righteous indignation.

I came up with the post title as the Impeached Insult Comedian droned on. He had obviously neither practiced nor read the speech. I was a sleepwalker as a small child. Apparently, I’d wander aimlessly from room-to-room muttering under my breath about nothing in particular. I outgrew my sleepwalking. I hope that the country will awaken from our long national nightmare and send the First Sleepwalker to oblivion where he belongs.

The last word goes to The Kinks:

Virtual Convention Notes: Allies Of The Light

People don’t think of Joe Biden as a great public speaker. Twitter was full of people surprised that the former Veep gave such a great speech. I was not. I’ve seen at least a half-dozen of his eulogies, which are always outstanding. One reason Biden is so good at eulogizing fallen political comrades is that those speeches are always about them: never about him. Donald Trump’s speeches are always about himself. Joe Biden’s acceptance speech was about US.

Joe Biden has been caricatured over the years. The Onion Biden was a popular guy during the Obama administration, but there was always more to Joe than met the eye. A crueler caricature of Joe Biden has emerged in the last year: an elderly stumble bum who is forever stepping on his tongue. It’s just as wrong as the Onion Biden.

Biden’s acceptance speech was every bit as good as one of his eulogies. In many ways, it was a eulogy for a country damaged by the Current Occupant. Biden spoke of the grief caused by the pandemic: 170K and counting dead. Biden spoke for all of us when he said, “It didn’t have to be this bad.”

Biden feels our pain. Trump inflicts pain.

I was particularly enchanted with Biden’s calling himself an “ally of the light.” A wonderful image that gave me this wonderful earworm:

 

We all must be allies of the light to vanquish the darkness caused by the misrule of the Kaiser of Chaos.

Joe Biden needed to give the speech of a lifetime last night. He succeeded.

Repeat after me: Joe Biden excels at overcoming adversity.

We at First Draft have always had a special place in our hearts for the man we call Joey B. Shark or just plain Joey Shark. 2020 is his time: He’s the opponent Trump fears. Biden is a regular Joe with a nice wife and a normal family. His opponent is a weirdo with a trophy wife and cartoonishly awful children. The contrast couldn’t be starker.

Before seeing Biden’s acceptance speech, I planned to use a Harold Arlen-Yip Harburg song as the post title: Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe. It was written in 1943 for the musical Cabin In The Sky:

It seems like happiness is just a thing called Joe
He’s got a smile that makes the lilacs want to grow
He’s got a way that makes the angels heave a sigh
When they know, little Joe’s passin’ by

Sometimes the cabin’s gloomy and the table’s bare
But then he’ll kiss me and it’s Christmas everywhere
Trouble’s fly away and life is easy go

Life won’t be easy go if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are elected. There are messes aplenty to clean up, but Joe and Kamala are allies of the light. They will do their best to bind our national wounds. They will do the work.

Repeat after me: Joe Biden excels at overcoming adversity.

The last word goes to Ella Fitzgerald:

 

Virtual Convention Notes: “There Is No Vaccine For Racism”

The second night showed the upside of the virtual convention format but the third night showed its limitations. The stirring speeches given by Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris cried out for a live audience whereas those by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama worked better without one. Not surprising in Clinton’s case but Obama typically feeds off the energy of the audience as he builds to a crescendo. There was little of the soaring rhetoric the former President is known for: it was a somber and solemn address befitting our somber and solemn times

Let’s begin with Obama’s remarkable and unusual speech. The best word to describe its tone and content is jeremiad. I wish I could take credit for dubbing it as such, but I heard Princeton professor Eddie Glaude Jr. use the word in the post-game show on MSNBC. Here’s how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines jeremiad: “a prolonged lamentation or complaint also a cautionary or angry harangue”

In addition to being a bullfrog in the Hoyt Axton song, “Jeremiah was a naysayer. That Jewish prophet, who lived from about 650 to 570 BC, spent his days lambasting the Hebrews for their false worship and social injustice and denouncing the king for his selfishness, materialism, and inequities.”

We’ve never seen Barack Obama like this before. It was an angry Obama: angry at what Donald Trump has done to our country and to Obama’s own legacy. He never raised his voice, but you could see the rage in his eyes and feel the anger in his words. It was coherent and rational anger. It was Obama anger.

It was a powerfully written and delivered speech. It was pitch perfect for these troubled times:

 

Obama’s jeremiad made it possible for Kamala Harris to strike a more positive tone in her acceptance speech. We’ve all seen tough and steely Kamala on the debate stage and in Senate hearings, it was time to see her warm and friendly side. We needed to hear more of her personal story as much of the country is just getting to know her. It worked because it’s genuine: she’s nice person from a nice immigrant family. Nice people can be tough too. People are complicated.

Senator Harris also showed her tough side. I used her most memorable line as part of the post title. “There is no vaccine for racism.” If there was, President* Pennywise would be against it as indicated by his bizarre remarks about QAnon yesterday. There are good people on both sides, after all. #sarcasm

Speaking of Trump, Harris trotted out one of her greatest hits, “I know a predator when I see one.” I do too and he looks something like this:

Image by Michael F.

The ending of the speech was as awkward as the address itself was powerful. Joe Biden sauntered onstage and obviously wanted to hug his running mate. A wave and a smile would have to do thanks to President* Pennywise’s grotesque incompetence and negligence in handling the pandemic.

A personal note. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m pleased that the Democratic party has finally put a Californian on the ticket. The GOP did it in 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1980, and 1984. Remember when California was a swing state in presidential elections? I do. That changed when Gov. Pete Wilson went proto-Trumper on immigration. Let’s hope Texas follows their example in 2020.

Since I posted Obama’s speech, here’s the Vice Presidential acceptance address:

 

I’m excited about the upcoming campaign. Joe Biden was not my first choice, but he strikes the perfect contrast to the Impeached Insult Comedian. Trump posed as a “common man” in 2016. Joe Biden is the real deal. A reminder that Trump was impeached because of his fear of running against Biden in 2020. His worst nightmare is about to come true.

The last word goes to Frank Sinatra with the 1960 campaign versions of High Hopes and All The Way:

 

No DeJoy In Mudville

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy claims that Post Office “reforms” are being delayed until after the election. As always, the devil is in the details. The whole USPS gambit was a smokescreen blown by the Impeached Insult Comedian at one of the few institutions that’s popular across party lines. It’s another sign that Trump has lost the hot button mojo he had in 2016. The Kaiser of Chaos knows he’s losing and is flailing, trying to save his worthless ass. Stay tuned.

I’ve lad a lot of fun with the Postmaster General’s name:

  • De Almond Joy
  • DeJoy Division
  • DeJoy To The World
  • DeJoy Of Cooking
  • Ode To DeJoy
  • DeJoy Luck Club
  • DeJoy Ride
  • DeJoy Reid
  • DeJoyful Noise

I’m sure I’ve missed a few. No punster is perfect.

Let’s close things out with some DeJoyful Noise from Lucinda Williams and Three Dog Night:

Virtual Convention Notes

In 2016, I did full-blown recaps of each day of the Democratic convention. The 2020 shebang is different so I’m doing something different; at least I hope it is. I’m going to start with the second night and work my way backwards much like this Neil Finn lyric: “I believe in doing things backwards. Take heed, start doing things in reverse.”

I’m impressed with what Team Biden has managed to pull off. Apart from the major speeches by Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama, the second night was stronger than the first. So much for doing things in reverse. The virtual convention is a new thing and they were nimble enough to correct some of the issues from day one. Well done, y’all.

I’ve always loved the roll call with its pageantry, silly hats, and OTT rhetoric. The new-fangled filmed roll call was even better. It was a tour across America showing the country’s diversity as well as calamari. The road trip format was particularly cool for those of us who are taking the lockdown seriously. Thumbs up to the road trip road call.

The themes of the second night were stronger and more cohesive as well: health care, national security, education, and “meet Jill Biden.” The national security segment was excellent: it was great to see Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch one of the heroes of the House impeachment hearings. Holy pleasant surprise, Batman.

As to the “meet Jill Biden” segment, I liked how it weaved together the personal and the political. The Bidens *were* a broken family when Dr. Jill joined it. The analogy to the current state of the nation is apt. We’re a broken country that needs fixing. Help is on the way.

I spent little time on social media as things unfolded. I’m a big picture guy and social media focuses on momentary details. The purpose of this convention is to expand the party’s support and reach reachable independents and Republicans who dislike Trump. Next week’s neo-Nuremberg rally has the opposite goal: scare “the base” into fervent support for the dear leader. It’s apt to repel non-fanatics and push many voters off the fence into the arms of the Biden-Harris ticket. Thanks, Donald.

Even though the second night was stronger overall, the best speeches thus far were by Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama. In this year’s convention speech, the former FLOTUS’ tone went from go high to bless your heart. It was personal, heart-felt, well-written and delivered. The virtual format was perfect for her conversational style. Her message was spot-on: President* Pennywise is not up to the job and never will be.

The best *political* speech of the first two nights was given by Senator Bernie Sanders. He framed the upcoming election as a choice between democracy and authoritarianism and urged his supporters to do the right thing and support the ticket. Some on the performative left, however, will never get the message even when it’s delivered by Bernie. In 2020, Team Sanders are team players, working to write the platform with Team Biden. Everyone should read a piece about the platform process in Vanity Fair. This passage sums up the Vermont Senator’s approach in 2020:

It helps that Sanders’s backing for Biden runs deeper than political necessity. At a base level, there’s a collegiality between the two rooted in their time serving together in the Senate. “Biden has, despite differences of opinion with Bernie, a fundamental respect for him as a person of conviction who advocates for issues that he cares deeply about,” said Faiz Shakir, who served as manager of the 2020 Sanders campaign. Speaking with Sanders, it’s clear that respect runs both ways—that he sees Biden as prepared to meet the moment.

“Look, I can’t predict to you what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone in the next four years. Politics is strange in that with somebody like Joe Biden—who I know fairly well—you have a person who has been, as he will tell you, throughout his political career, a moderate. But I think that what he has told me and he has told the American people is that he understands the enormous crises we are facing today,” Sanders said. “At this moment we have a president who’s trying to undermine democracy and move us into an authoritarian form of society. Those are huge issues. Unbelievable. And I think Joe understands that. I think if you talk to Barack Obama, he will tell you the same thing. That what we did yesterday is not good enough.” If elected, Biden will likely be the most progressive president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sanders believes.

I’ve long thought that Bernie Sanders was better than his more extreme supporters. He’s proving that in 2020. I have little use for what I call the performative left and Athenae calls the purity ponies. I hope they join Bernie in his full-throated support for the Biden-Harris ticket but if they don’t, they don’t. I’m not wasting my breath on them. We have a Kaiser of Chaos to defeat.

Joe Biden is a party man. There’s little in the Sanders platform that is alien to the pre-Reagan revolution Democratic party. The party is moving left and so is Joe Biden. In 2020, the practical thing is to support sweeping change; Joey Shark is a practical man. A reminder that FDR ran as a moderate in 1932 and made the incumbent Herbert Hoover the issue. The sitting president is always the issue in a re-election campaign even when the title comes with an asterisk. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

National conventions have been morphing into teevee shows for decades. The last time the nomination for either major party was decided at a convention was 1976. I find that I prefer the virtual convention to the traditional kind. What’s not to love about the road trip roll call?

I cited Neil Finn’s Love You ‘Til The Day I Die at the beginning of the post. It’s an appropriate song for our times: 170K and counting Americans have died during the pandemic. It’s time for those who made it worse to go. Make it so, America, make it so.

The last word goes to Crowded House:

An Alternative Post-Election Scenario

As the campaign season unfolds, it becomes clear that the fate of the Republic is hanging by a thread or like Harold Lloyd in the featured image. If the election is a fair one, it’s clear that President* Pennywise will lose. But he and his minions are determined to steal the election. The good news is that they’re doing it in broad daylight when such a theft is best accomplished covertly as in 2016.

Even better news for those of us who believe in democracy, the man who brought peace to the Middle East and tamed the pandemic, Jared Kushner, is Team Trump’s election fuckery point man. Why the Kaiser of Chaos still thinks he’s a renaissance man is beyond me. Of course, a fuck-up is bound to identify with another fuck-up. Incompetence thy name is Team Trump.

The avenue of election fuckery that concerns me the most is Trump’s Postmaster General messing with the mail. But they’re facing a ferocious push back and have been known to cave when that happens. Stay tuned.

There are many dire post-election scenarios out there. Some think the Impeached Insult Comedian will simply refuse to leave office. The proponents of this view are unclear how this can be accomplished. Once Joe Biden takes the oath of office, Trump’s orders will be ignored. Given Trump’s strained relationship with the military brass, a Seven Days In May type coup isn’t going to happen.

Others fear that Trumpers will take to the street, riot, and augment the confusion caused by their dear leader. I’m skeptical.  Recent pro-Trump rallies have flopped as more and more of his supporters realize they’ve been marks in an elaborate con job. There are enough armed extremists out there to cause trouble but not enough to keep the Kaiser of Chaos in office.

The preceding scenarios illustrate why it’s important to roll up the popular vote as well as win the electoral college. If, like me, you live in a red state, your vote still matters. Running up the score will make the Trumpers think twice about pulling any extra-constitutional stunts. Did I just use Trumper and think in the same sentence? There’s a first time for everything.

Let’s turn to the alternative scenario of the title. Trump has a well-established pattern of running away from trouble. This meme from 2018 sums it up:

He’s all bluster and bullshit. He’s a physical and moral coward. If there’s a blowout. he’ll fold like a cheap suit. It’s what happened when the legitimacy and legality of Trump University and the Trump Foundation were questioned. He quit. He’s a quitter, y’all.

In this scenario, President* Pennywise and his lawyers will cut a deal with Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire. A resignation in exchange for a pardon. That would make Pence the 46th president for a few months. That puffed-up little chump will jump at the chance to piously lie, “there was no deal, that would be inappropriate.” It’s the only way Pence will ever be the Oval One. He’ll be a Hoosier Hasbeen after the election.

Trump would cite poor health as his reason for resigning during the lame duck period. If he buys into it, he’ll be the sickest man in human history, tremendously ill, and all the usual bluster and bullshit. Lying is like breathing to this evil fucker.

A reminder that a presidential pardon only covers federal crimes. New York DA Cy Vance will still be on the case; many of Trump’s crimes took place in the Empire State.

Whatever happens, we can expect a flurry of post-election presidential pardons. The most interesting question is whether Trump would issue an anticipatory pardon of Princess Ivanka and Slumlord Jared. Jerry Ford pardoned Tricky Dick *before* he’d been charged with anything. I’m not sure that Trump would do it: his sense of family loyalty is limited as his niece Mary can attest. Donald threw her father, Freddy, to the wolves, after all.

On the 46th anniversary of Tricky’s quitting, historian Michael Beschloss posted this picture of his farewell address:

 

 

 

I had long thought that Nixon’s bizarre, rambling, and shambolic speech was the weirdest thing to ever happen in the White House. It’s a daily occurrence with the Impeached Insult Comedian: the man who cannot pronounce Yosemite. Hasn’t he ever hear of Yo Semite Sam?  Oy, just oy.

The last word goes to James Taylor with a song that begins with these lyrics:

Remember Richard Nixon back in ’74
And the final scene at the White House door
And the staff lined up to say good-bye,
Tiny tear in his shifty little eye,
He said, “nobody knows me, nobody understands.
These little people were good to me,
Oh I’m gonna shake some hands.”

 

 

That’s The Ticket

Good news is so rare in 2020 that I’m not sure I recognize it anymore. Just kidding: Joe Biden’s selection of California Senator Kamala Harris is good, indeed historic, news. She’ll be the first black woman as well as the first Asian Pacific person to be on a national ticket. She was my first choice for the Veep slot and second choice in the primary after Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren. I am pleased.

The process was messy. People took a gossipy Politico story about the Veepstakes way too seriously. Some on Team Biden apparently thought Harris is “too ambitious” as if ambition is only seemly for male politicians. That’s why Charlie Pierce calls it Tiger Beat On The Potomac.

Fortunately, Joey Shark is comfortable in his own skin and secure enough to select someone with better rhetorical skills as his number two. Kamala Harris is the right person at the right time. Her own campaign flopped, but she’s been a force to be reckoned with as a first term Senator. That’s as rare as President* Pennywise telling the truth.

Team Trump is already overreacting to the Harris pick. The Impeached Insult Comedian called her “nasty” for being mean to Justice Bro during his confirmation hearings. Poor baby. They’re calling Harris a “phony” for criticizing Biden when she was running against him. That’s rich considering the shit Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz threw at Trump in 2016. Besides, it goes with the territory: in 1960 LBJ essentially called JFK an invalid and in 1980 Poppy Bush denounced “voodoo economics.” They were both on the ticket. And Bush became an exuberantly loyal Veep for 8 years. That’s some weak shit as is the cliched “too radical” attack.

There were some rumblings from the “Kamala is a cop” crowd on the performative left yesterday. Nobody is better suited to help reform the criminal justice system than someone who has worked in it. Call it the “reformed sinner” argument. She can follow in the footsteps of her fellow Californian Jerry Brown. When Brown became an advocate for radical campaign finance reform, he argued that he could change the system because he understood it.

I’m not going to defend Harris’ record as a prosecutor, I’ll let San Francisco public defender Niki Solis do it:

“Having had this experience, I feel compelled to speak on Harris’ record while she was a district attorney. Simply put, Harris was the most progressive prosecutor in the state. This is not an anecdotal opinion. It is based on facts.

As San Francisco DA, Harris refused to seek the death penalty — even on a case where a very respected police officer was tragically killed. Marijuana sales cases were routinely reduced to misdemeanors. And marijuana possession cases were not even on the court’s docket. They were simply not charged. Unless there was a large grow case, or a unique circumstance, this was the reform-minded approach then-DA Harris’ office took. The accusations about marijuana prosecutions being harsh during her tenure are absurd. The reality was quite the opposite.”

There was much glee in my social media circles over the prospect of a Harris-Pence debate. Sure, she’ll clean his clock but the quadrennial discussion of the importance of debates causes my eyes to glaze over. Debates have nothing to with governing and have minimal impact on the election results. If debates were as important as some seem to think, we’d have had Presidents John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Hell, Willard Mittbot Romney cleaned Barack Obama’s clock in their first debate and held his own in the other two. Who won in 2012?

The Harris pick makes perfect sense politically. Black women have long been the backbone of the Democratic party. Joe Biden has probably gathered as many white working class votes as possible. Turnout remains the key in 2020. If yesterday’s reaction is any indication, African American turnout should be back to 2008 and 2012 levels this time around.

I’m hoping that there will be more outreach to the Indian-American community than there was during Harris’ own run for the top job. Ethnic politics are as American as apple pie. Having the daughter of a Jamaican man and an Indian woman on the national ticket sends a powerful message of inclusion. It presents a stark contrast to the Current Occupant who is one of the most xenophobic and racist presidents* in American history.

A final note. Senator Harris’ first name is pronounced COMMA-LA. It’s an Indian name that means lotus or pale red in Sanskrit. It’s now the name of the next Vice President of the United States. Make it so, America, make it so.

Just Shut the Fuck UP Until November

Sweet summer child has a point:

I’ve been saying for a while that Joey would have walked to the nomination if he’d kept his trap shut, like talking isn’t helping here, and I think the same thing applies to everyone who works for him and WANTS him to win, and him as well, and I don’t know why he’s doing any debates at all.

Just, like, call your supporters and keep meeting with people privately and releasing increasingly long commercials in which you and B. Barry Bamz bro around so that we can all remember how great it was to go hours, sometimes even days, without worrying the president would slip, trip, and end up with his dick in a bees’ nest.

Yeah, because he keeps eating his kicks, but also because talking isn’t actually what we need anyone to do.

I know we’ve somehow internalized this idea that if the President just gives the perfect speech, just says the right thing, all the nonsense will stop and everyone will behave. Like we’re electing somebody who can TALK GOOD WITH THE WORD HOLE. I won’t discount that, but there has been no better orator of the 21st century than 45’s immediate predecessor and Republicans still treated him like the shit on the bottom of the devil’s shoe.

We need Joey to get elected so he can HIRE not-dumb people, and also sign stuff that is like “let’s have a vaccine so we can all go to Grandma’s for Christmas” and executive orders to not kick students with valid visas out of the country. Maybe we could have a secretary of education who didn’t hate education, or for that matter being secretary of it.

We need him to do things, we need his team to do things, and in order for that to happen if he and everybody else don’t want to do live interviews that won’t be covered live anyway except as “HERF DERF JOE BIDEN MADE ANOTHER GAFFE LIKE FORGETTING SOMEONE’S NAME WHILE TRUMP CAN’T REMEMBER IF KANSAS IS A STATE” kind of Jackass episodes, oh well.

A.

What Will Crimson Tide Fans Do?

Something went right for the Kaiser of Chaos this week. His former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, lost a bid to regain his Senate seat. Jeff Bo was Trump’s favorite whipping boy after he recused himself from the Kremlingate investigation. It was the only worthwhile thing he did as AG.

Sessions was defeated in the Republican primary by former Auburn head football coach, Tommy Tuberville, who campaigned with his head firmly up Trump’s ample rump. Can he go from Coach Tubs to Senator Tubs? Let’s hope not.

Tubs is not only a bigot-a given for an Alabama GOPer-he’s a corrupt piece of shit whose former business partner was convicted of fraud. No wonder President* Pennywise supported him. The real reason was payback, not pay-offs although Trump loves those too.

College football is some serious shit in Alabama. It will be a factor in the race. Senator Doug Jones went to the University of Alabama so perhaps he should start wearing a houndstooth hat a la Bear Bryant. He can’t very well walk around with a constant scowl like current Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban.

The Alabama Democratic party has a pretty good twitter troll game:

The Iron Bowl is, of course, the annual game between Auburn and Bama, which may not be played in 2020 because of the grotesque incompetence of the Impeached Insult Comedian. Perhaps Senator Jones should blame Trump if the SEC cancels football this fall. They take their football seriously in Alabama, y’all.

Politics make strange bedfellows. As an LSU fan, I hate the Crimson Tide, but I think Doug Jones should leverage the Auburn-Alabama rivalry. He’s the underdog in deep red Alabama so bleeding crimson isn’t the worst strategy.

I’m rooting for Doug Jones. He’s a fine man who has been such a good Senator than one could even call him a Solon.

I like Senator Jones enough to say this: Roll Tide, Roll Doug.

That hurt. I hope Coach O will forgive me.

I’m feeling obvious today, so the last word goes to Steely Dan:

How about a paraphrase? “They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Senator Jones.”

That’s all, y’all.

North By Northwest, Trump Style

I originally hadn’t planned to write about President* Pennywise’s latest White Grievance speech. He’s said it all before and I’ve written about it recently in American Carnage 2020. Then, I re-watched the Hitchcock masterpiece North By Northwest and knew what I had to do. This is it.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I’m not comparing Trump to Cary Grant. The only thing they have in common is a love of tanning. Grant’s tan always looked natural whereas Trump’s tan last Friday was artificial even by his standards. Orange is not a natural skin tone: he looked as if he’d fallen asleep in the White House tanning bed (there is such a thing) then slathered on bronzer. Why he thinks this looks good is beyond me. Of course, his hair resembles a dead nutria pelt so what the hell does he know.

One thing the Impeached Insult Comedian has in common with Grant’s North By Northwest character Roger Thornhill is wanderlust. The movie is an extended road trip as Thornhill flees bad guys James Mason and Martin Landau. In Trump’s case, he’s traveling the country whipping up fear and spreading COVID-19 wherever he goes. He *is* the bad guy. FYI, Thornhill’s initials were ROT, which aptly describes the moral rot brought to our politics by the Current Occupant.

As to the content of the speech, it was bizarre. The Kaiser of Chaos needs to expand, not contract his base if he wants to be re-elected. Instead, he seems to be running to be the second president of the confederacy. If he wants to run on monuments to slave owners and traitors, more power to him.

Team Trump might as well turn this image into a banner and drag it along on the campaign trail:

The speech was Steven Miller channeling George Wallace; only the racism was explicit, not implicit. Why they think this is a winning strategy  is beyond me. In 1968, Wallace polled as high as 30% before sinking to 14% by election day. It’s another example of Team Trump’s lunatic notion that a sitting president* can run as an insurgent and outsider. It worked for them, just barely, in 2016. Repeat after me: reelection campaigns are always about the incumbent and their record.

Back to the post title. It was the setting for Trump’s speech that inspired thoughts of North By Northwest. Mount Rushmore has long been polarizing. The four-headed presidential tribute rightly enrages the Lakota Sioux as it sits on one of their holiest sites. The only time I ever saw it was as a small child. I loudly declared that it was weird. My father shushed me but my mother laughed because she knew 6-year-old me was right. It *is* weird, y’all.

I’ve long thought it was a pity that Hitchcock didn’t go through with this idea:

“In North by Northwest during the scene on Mount Rushmore I wanted Cary Grant to hide in Lincoln’s nostril and then have a fit of sneezing. The Parks Commission [sic] of the Department of Interior was rather upset at this thought. I argued until one of their number asked me how I would like it if they had Lincoln play the scene in Cary Grant’s nose. I saw their point at once.”

The working title of the screenplay was The Man In Lincoln’s Nose. That title was just as weird as Mount Rushmore itself. It’s *almost* as weird as the fact that the 45th president* is an openly racist Impeached Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. Strike the word almost: nothing is weirder than that.

The last word goes to The Beatles, not Bernard Herrmann:

Strike the not Bernard Herrmann thing:

Confidence, Not Cockiness

I got another shrill fundraising email from MoveOn. In it, they warn that “Trump is winning” when all evidence to the contrary shows that he’s not. They warn that Democrats are overconfident about kicking Trump’s ass. I’m not a fan of fearmongering as a fundraising technique. It’s too Trumpy for my taste.

I realize that many remain traumatized by the 2016 election. Some even see Trump as an almost supernatural creature with demonic powers. It’s time to get over it and move on; pun intended, it always is.

President Pennwyise’s real superpower is this: Every time he opens his mouth, he loses votes. Here’s the latest example:

“So we’ve done a lot and we’re very proud of it and we had the best until this artificial problem ‘cause I call it an artificial problem,” Trump said.

“We had to turn off our country to save millions of lives and now we’ve turned it back on,” he continued. “And it’s coming back much faster than anybody thought possible.”

Over 124,00 and counting Americans have died because of this “artificial problem” and the Trump regime’s grotesque incompetence in addressing it. Sounds real to me, fuckhead.

Contrary to what MoveOn thinks there’s nothing wrong with confidence, it’s cockiness we need to guard against. The proverbial ball should remain unspiked until Joe Biden takes the oath of office next January. Does that sound overconfident to you? Trump is NOT winning.

I agree with veteran WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne:

But after 2016, overconfidence will never be the major problem. One of the most debilitating aspects of Trump’s rise is the extent to which it has undercut the confidence of many liberals and moderates in the common sense of a majority of the electorate. This attitude is anti-democratic and self-defeating. Understanding, as Reagan did, the potential to ignite a large coalition for change is the precondition for bringing it to life.

If we’re confident, we win. If we’re cocky or scared, we lose. The future belongs to the bold, not the timid. It’s that simple.

Trump is trying to run an outsider/insurgent campaign once again. It’s doomed to fail: he’s the incumbent. He has a record and a very bad one indeed. Reelection campaigns are ALWAYS about the incumbent. That’s the sound of confidence, not cockiness.

Joe Biden is being slammed by some for “campaigning from his basement.” In fact, he’s running a good campaign attuned to the moment by positioning himself as a calm and compassionate candidate in stark contrast to the fear and frenzy stirred up by the Impeached Insult Comedian who remains the Pigpen of American politics:

Team Biden also believes in two venerable rules of politics:

  1. If you give your opponent enough rope, they’ll hang themselves.
  2. If your opponent is destroying themselves, let them.

Repeat after me: Trump loses votes every time he opens his mouth. That’s confidence, not cockiness.

The last word goes to Graham Parker and includes a message for MoveOn:

Pun intended, it always is.

The Joke’s On Them

I had not originally planned to spike the ball over the Tulsa fiasco but it’s turning out to be a landmark in the decline and fall of the Trump cult.

I received a nearly hysterical fundraising email from Move On yesterday. It proclaimed that Trump *would* win if I didn’t give them money. The timing was bad after only 6,200 people attended what I will hereinafter refer to as the Tulsa Trainwreck. I feel a segment header coming on.

The Tulsa Trainwreck: The excuses are flying. This admission of failure made me chuckle. No, make that cackle:

Now, some White House officials said the campaign was being dishonest about what had gone wrong, and they conceded that many of the president’s older supporters had decided attending the rally was too risky amid coronavirus fears that Mr. Trump has repeatedly played down.

Dishonest? Ya think? Dishonesty is a given with these people. Delusional is more like it.

Team Trump also trotted out the “it’s just a joke” defense over this comment:

This time the joke’s on them.

The Tulsa Trainwreck is a signal that the vaunted Trump base is neither as dedicated nor as large as everyone claims it is. It’s also a signal that some of them are starting to realize that they’re being used and that President* Pennywise does not give a shit about them. Stay tuned.

Pirating Bolton: In my John Bolton Can Go Fuck Himself piece I urged people to post pirate copies on the internet. Apparently, I missed the fun this weekend as my wish came true. If anyone has a copy they’d like to share, please let me know.

It reminds me of the days of Pirate Radio:

Be Careful Out There: COVID-19 numbers are on the rise. Magical thinking seems to have seized the populace as reports of large gatherings became ubiquitous this weekend. New Orleans is particularly vulnerable as drive-in tourists from Texas, Mississippi, Alabama ,and Florida are showing up to party like there’s no pandemic. Playing American Roulette is for suckers.

This Twitter exchange sums up my feelings as this point:

We’re in the wack-a-mole stage of the pandemic, which is made worse by all the wishful thinking. At least we know who to blame:

Perry Who? I was excited about the Perry Mason reboot with Matthew Rhys in the title role. I even thought I might recap it. Then, I saw the first episode.

It was a trainwreck; there’s that word again. Other than the character names, it has nothing whatsoever to do with either the Erle Stanley Gardner books or the teevee series with Raymond Burr. I *expected* it to be different but not disconnected.

HBO’s Perry Who is a sleazy gumshoe living on his deceased parents’ farm outside Los Angeles. Worst of all, despite being played by a smart actor, he came off as a depressed dolt. Perry Mason was always the smartest guy in the room, not the most depressed.

If anything, Dr. A hated it more than I did. I’m willing to see if the series gets any better because it has such a stellar cast but whatever it is, it’s not Perry Mason. I’ll try and watch it as a period private eye show. Hopefully, future episodes will be better, they can’t get much worse.

Whoever thought that Perry Who should be a mediocre private eye, not a lawyer should have their head examined. Then there’s the matter of character age, Perry Who is a depressed Great War veteran in a series set in 1932. Matthew Rhys is 46 and Raymond Burr was 40 when cast as Perry Mason. In the books, Perry read for the law in his twenties. That makes sense. Perry Who as a 40-something gumshoe does not.

There was a lot of room left by the Gardner books and the Burr teevee series to do something interesting with the Perry Mason characters. The makers of Perry Who dropped the ball.

In the immortal words of the Men on Film of In Living Color fame:

That brings us back to the post title. The joke is a sick one and it’s not only on them, it’s on all of us.

The last word goes to Steve (not Steven) Miller: