Category Archives: Congress

The Ghost Of Roy Cohn

The Don McGahn quest finally succeeded last week. The right-wing former White House counsel who looks like a liberal was subpoenaed two years ago but fought it and kicked the can down the road until it was seriously dented.

The transcript was released this week. It’s all over the interweb but I checked it out at the Lawfare blog because it’s searchable.

Most of McGahn’s testimony confirms what was written about him in the Mueller Report. No surprise there, he was one of the primary sources for Team Mueller, which is why he’s about as popular at Mar-a-Doorn as Adam Schiff or Jerry Nadler.

The most interesting bits of the transcript to me at least are the parts about Roy Cohn who Trump considered a great man and I consider one of the worst people to come out of New York City. Something he has in common with the Kaiser of Chaos, but Donald never worked for Tailgunner Joe McCarthy. They were both, however, Democrats when it aided whatever grift they were running at a given time.

I hereby present the passages about Roy Cohn with some commentary. Somebody had to do it, so why not me? I still have my lawyer hat on, after all.

It turns out that McGahn’s father was a lawyer who attended NYU Law School. Guess who one of his profs was:

McGahn:  My dad also had Roy Cohn as a professor in law school, if you must know, but that’s a separate issue.

I wonder what Cohn taught: Redbaiting 101 or Mob Lawyering? Enquiring minds want to know even if David Pecker does not. If that were my last name, I’d change it in a heartbeat just like Peter Marshall of Hollywood Squares fame changed his last name from La Cock. Imagine the fun Paul Lynde would have had with that.

McGahn: And then as the report indicates, his response is in the report, and he invoked, you know, Roy Cohn apparently didn’t take notes.

Q:  So was it your understanding that he thought great lawyers like Roy Cohn did not take notes?

McGahn:  He said that, yes. Not only did I think that, I heard him say that, yes.

Q: And what was your reaction to that?

McGahn: I didn’t really have one. My recollection is I didn’t really respond. And this was not the first time that Roy Cohn has sort of — the ghost of Roy had come into the Oval Office, so it didn’t seem to be a point worth responding to and, you know, he’s the President, he gets the last word.

The Ghost of Roy Cohn? A genuinely terrifying thought. As far as I know the only president who allowed Cohn to darken the White House door was Ronald Reagan. He was a redbaiting witch hunter himself in his Hollywood days. I wonder if Cohn ate any jellybeans. Ronnie had a sense of humor so maybe he gave Cohn some red ones. Oh, sweet mysteries of life.

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A Postcard From The Unemployment Line

Help Wanted Sign

There’s been a lot of talk in the past months about how Americans don’t want to go back to work.

I say bunk.

Americans want to work. They need to work. Not just for the paycheck, but for the pride of accomplishment and the upward mobility it provides. It’s ingrained in our DNA, all those descendants of seekers who came from all over the world to this egalitarian utopia.

OK it’s not egalitarian, it’s not utopia, and there are just as many current immigrants these days as descendants but go with me on this.

Companies are complaining they can’t get people to work for them. Imagine that. For years companies molted workers every time the economy went the least bit south, disregarding years of service and the effect on not just the workers but their families and their communities, all so the company could show a healthy bottom line to the stock market.

And I say that as someone whose main source of income these days comes from the healthy bottom line those companies show the stock market.

It’s my main source of income since like so many others I am on that unemployment line, right behind the waitress from my favorite restaurant and the guy who used to work at the gas station. OK it’s no longer a physical line, it’s the cyber-line of the California Employment Development Department website. The line stretches over a million people long at the moment. The EDD is so overwhelmed that getting a straight answer has turned into many people’s full time employment. And not just those trying to get their accounts straightened out. A new industry has popped up to take advantage of the state’s fumbling response to an unprecedented need and a massive amount of fraud. For a fee someone will robo-call EDD for you till they get through then stay on hold till an actual human answers the call. Then they patch you in.

American ingenuity at it’s finest. Find a need and fill it as dentists and cement contractors say.

Meantime there is an enormous surge in post COVID hiring needs. The most ubiquitous sign in the state at the moment is “Help Wanted”. Conservatives are blaming the state government for this shortage of workers, saying the combination of unemployment insurance and extra money being doled out to keep people afloat is causing workers to not want to go back to work.

First of all let’s get this out of the way. No one is getting money just handed to them by the state. They are getting the benefit of the money they have invested in unemployment INSURANCE, money they had no say in it being taken. For me that is over 40 years of paycheck dings every week to pay for something that up until a year ago I never put a claim in on. I’ll also add that for over half of those 40 years I was an employer so I personally got dinged twice every week. This is the rainy day fund you were taught to have “just in case”.

Well for the past year the rain has been a deluge.

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Well I got nothin’ ‘gainst the press/They wouldn’t print it if it wasn’t true

After a few weeks of relative quiet, The Senator You Love To Hate ™, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, was back on Sunday with a new op ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail. It spawned a bunch of trending social media hashtags, the expected negative responses from the usual suspects, and a few people asking me if I was going to write about it, lol. I guess I’ve found my branding angle.

So I pulled the op ed up on my laptop and read it with great anticipation—it made so many people angry that it MUST have something new and incendiary in it, right? Nope. It’s the same stuff he’s been saying since March, when the House Passed H1, the For The People Act.

  • Partisan voting laws engender mistrust? Check.
  • He won’t vote to abolish the filibuster? Check.
  • Let’s pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act? Check.

First, let me say that I have been calling Manchin’s office on a weekly basis to say that he should support voting rights, equal rights, a big infrastructure package, raising corporate tax rates, and that he should vote at least to bring back the talking filibuster. I’m in favor of keeping the filibuster with some significant changes because it is a powerful tool for a minority with party discipline.

I also think Manchin has a good point about the deleterious effect of one-party election lawmaking, and I’m fully aware that the laws the Democrats want to implement are good laws. But the country right now is a powder keg, and ripe for violence.  Right wingers have already shown they are open to using violence to overturn a lawful election.

Although I suspect most of the Republicans who tell pollsters that Joe Biden isn’t a legitimate president are just being jerks, there is still a significant number of people who believe that who are armed and who have no regard for laws. And I’d also listen to what a Democratic senator in a heavily trumpian state has to say about how to communicate effectively about election legitimacy.

But the thing that has gone unnoticed, after being brought up in March after the House passed HR1, is that the FTPA was dead in the Senate back then. It’s not just Joe Manchin who has issues with the bill as a whole and so it was never going to pass with zero changes.

One group that has objected to the current version of the FTPA is state election directors.

“Listen, I’ll do this—if the law passes, I’ll follow it,” said one state-level Democratic election director in the southeast who declined to be named. “But I can’t guarantee it’s not going to be a total clusterfuck the first election.”

The sections of the bill related to voting systems—wholly separate from its provisions on voting rights—show remarkably little understanding of the problems the authors apply alarmingly prescriptive solutions to. Many of the changes the bill demands of election administrators are literally impossible to implement. Others would significantly raise the cost of elections but provide no assured long-term funding.

This was news to me because the news media is generally too lazy to delve into things like this that aren’t as click-baity as “JOE MANCHIN BAD!!!”.

And there are cowardly Senate Democrats who oppose parts of the bill but insist on secrecy regarding their identities:

The most visible hurdle to date is the apparent opposition of Mr. Manchin, who said last week that he opposed allowing the federal government to wade into election law, which is typically left to the states. He signaled that he would be unwilling to vote for any elections bill that was not bipartisan, much less provide the 50th vote needed to change the Senate rules to get past an all-but-certain Republican filibuster….

Behind the scenes, two election lawyers close to the White House and congressional Democrats said Mr. Manchin was not the only one on their side with reservations about the measure. They insisted on anonymity to discuss the concerns because few Democrats want to concede that there are cracks in the coalition backing the measure or incur the wrath of the legion of liberal advocacy groups that have made its enactment their top priority.

And there is a group of senators who agree with Manchin that the best approach right now is the push for passage of the John Lewis Voting Right Advancement Act. Funny how that’s not being tweeted to the skies, huh? Who are these senators?  As it turns out, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have expressed some reservations about the feasibility of passing the FTPA:

The massive election reform measure known as H.R. 1 passed the House last month, but it has yet to win unified support from the 50-member Senate Democratic caucus amid a fierce GOP pushback effort that casts it as an aggressive consolidation of political power. With that Senate logjam in mind, a group of Black Democrats is pressing to elevate a more targeted voting rights bill — named for and championed by the late Rep. John Lewis — that they believe could be a more successful sell on Capitol Hill.

I want to make it very clear that I fully support the goals of HR/S1, and that while I think that in skillful hands the filibuster can be used to fight off bad laws it still needs to go. Providing context for an issue isn’t endorsing a position, it’s helping to create informed discussion.

If only the voting rights obstacle we are facing were as simple as what the media is feeding us–“Joe Manchin is bad”—because that could be remedied with a stick and a bunch of carrots.

Instead it’s much more complicated:  lawmakers are writing laws without input from election experts, moderate Democratic senators are afraid to stick out their necks, the House bill is way beyond what is feasible in the current political climate, and the media is more interested in quick click bucks than in presenting the actual context.

It’s clear something has to change. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he will put S1 to a vote this week. We’ll see if that happens.

The Friday Fishwrap

Herb Caen Column Heading

Once upon a time there was a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle (that was a newspaper) named Herb Caen. His column ran in the paper six days a week, but his Friday column was called the Friday Fishwrap. A convenient reminder that that morning’s paper would be used in the evening to wrap up and dispose of the remains of the no meat on Fridays throw aways. Thus he filled the column with throw away items, thoughts, flotsam and jetsam.

In his honor I’m going to try that today.

The Democrats missed an opportunity last week with the 1/6 investigation vote in the Senate. They should have let the Repugnicants filibuster, really filibuster, the Jimmy Stewart in MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON type filibuster, where all work in government comes to a stop. The public would have gotten a look at what the filibuster really is. Then the Dems could have gone on a media blitz tearing up the Repugnicants for bringing the federal government to that halt. It could have built a groundswell of support into a tsunami of criticism, the kind of criticism that would prevent the Repugs from trying to filibuster the For The People Act or the Infrastructure Plan.

On HBO Max right now is a film of the play OSLO. It’s about the back channel negotiations that led to the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993 between Israel and the PLO. The key takeaway from the film is that the Norwegians who acted as facilitators between the two parties insisted that each day when the meeting ended all the participants would then sit down and have dinner and drinks together and talk only of their families and friends. In other words humanizing each side to the other. If the Israelis and the Palestinians can do that, surely those of us on the left can have a meal with those on the right.

The San Jose rail system is still down, a week after the proverbial disgruntled worker killed nine. The reason? He had planted bombs at his house and bomb making materials were found in his locker at the yard. The VTA is taking no chances and methodically going through everything looking for explosive material. Maybe if they had combed his employment record as keenly as this, nine of his fellow workers would be alive today. Just saying.

The Army won’t investigate Herr Obermeister Flynn’s comments on the appropriateness of a “Myanmar style coup” here in the country all members of the armed forces swear an allegiance to protect. They say it’s because they never investigate retired officers. OK then, call him back to duty and court martial his ass for insubordination, treason, and any other crime you can think of that he’s committed.

There’s an old saying in politics: If you’ve got the votes, call the roll. Gavin Newsom has the votes to overcome this insipid recall vote so it looks like we will have the election in early September. Once that is finished, can we please talk about making it more difficult to qualify a recall vote? Ten percent of the electorate should not have the power to force a wasteful and unnecessary recall election.

More after the break

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Of Hatred, Spite & Envy

President Biden tours the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa.

President Biden traveled to Tulsa and gave one of the best speeches of his life:

For much too long the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness. But just because history is silent, it doesn’t mean that it did not take place. And while darkness can hide much, it erases nothing, it erases nothing. Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous they can’t be buried no matter how hard people try. And so it is here, and so it is here only, only with truth can come healing, and justice, and repair, only with truth, facing it. But that isn’t enough.

There was a decades long cover-up of the extent of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. I was aware of it through my reading, but the extent of the carnage remains shocking. A mob attempted to erase a vibrant Black community, wipe out a culture out of hatred, spite, and envy. Hatred, spite, and envy are powerful emotions.

The context of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre feels ripped from the headlines. It took place after a pandemic when demagogues were stirring up hatred against minorities and immigrants. People were angry and looking for scapegoats.

Biden understands the parallels between now and then:

And finally, we must address what remains the stain on the soul of America. What happened in Greenwood was an act of hate and domestic terrorism with a through line that exists today still. Just close your eyes, remember what you saw in Charlottesville four years ago on television. Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the KKK coming out of those fields at night with lighted torches, the veins bulging as they were screaming. Remember? Just close your eyes and picture what it was. Well, Mother Fletcher said, when she saw the insurrection at the capital on January 9th, it broke her heart. A mob of violent white extremists, thugs, said reminded her of what happened in Greenwood 100 years ago. Look around at the various hate crimes against Asian Americans and Jewish Americans. Hate that never goes away. Hate only hides.

Hate as personified by the Kaiser of Chaos is in hiding at Mar-a-Dorn. He’s about to emerge from his cocoon like an evil moth and resume spewing hate at MAGA rallies. Hatred, spite, and envy are his jam.

While former President* Pennywise has been dormant, his minions have been busy spreading disinformation:

The anti-democratic conspiracy theory [that Trump will be “reinstated” as president] has been bubbling up in fringe conservative media for several months. It has no basis under the Constitution or any legitimate legal framework. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has been a prominent proponent of the theory. The former Trump attorney Sidney Powell also floated the idea at a QAnon conference over the weekend.

The anticipation of a Trump reinstatement on a certain date could spread further among the most dedicated Trump supporters. The calls to help overturn the 2020 election on January 6, for example, gained steam through a pro-Trump bus tour by a fringe group and led to the insurrection at the Capitol. Lindell has said August is when he would go to the Supreme Court to present evidence he’s acquired that would be so convincing that the justices would be forced to reject the 2020 election result.

The My Pillow Guy to the rescue? Oy just oy.

Disgraced General and 22-day National Security adviser Mike Flynn has been showing gratitude for his pardon by muttering about coups then claiming he said no such thing. It’s a classic reality show trope: lie then deny.

Trump and his trolls are driven by hatred, spite, and envy. They had their way with the federal government and left a mess behind. Once again, a Democratic president is cleaning a Republican’s mess. This is by far the worst: the defeated president* remains a threat to democracy itself.

It’s easy to laugh at the ridiculous counter-factual narrative being woven by the Trumpers. There is no such thing as “reinstatement.” It’s another lie spun by the Trump/QAnon wing of the GOP to depict Trump as a Christ-like figure who will be resurrected in August. We have no choice but to take this nonsense seriously. There are some seriously delusional people out there many of whom are dangerous, especially those driven by hatred, spite, and envy.

Hatred, spite, and envy are infecting our body politic much like COVID infected our bodies. Brain fog is a common symptom of COVID survivors. The Republican party is suffering from Trump induced brain fog driven by hatred, spite, and envy.

After a series of electoral defeats, Republicans have concluded that the only way they can retake Congress and the White House is by suppressing the votes of the “wrong people.” The whole “stop the steal” movement is a smokescreen to justify their actions, which are driven by-you guessed it-hatred, spite, and envy.

It won’t be easy for the Senate to pass the For The People voting rights act, but it is imperative. The only realistic path forward is filibuster reform. The vote on the Dipshit Insurrection Commission filibuster proved that there are at best only a handful of “good patriots” among senate GOPers. It’s time to bring majority rule to the senate.

I nearly used the title of a Neville Brothers song as the post title: “Fear, hate, envy, and jealousy is [sic] like a fire all over the world.”

So are hatred, spite, and envy.

The last word goes to my 13th Ward homeys:

 

Plan B From Capitol Hill

Aliens capture Tor Johnson in Plan 9 From Outer Space.

The MSM and the Twitterverse were agog over the Dipshit Insurrection Commission vote in the Senate last week. For different reasons, they ginned up drama over the first filibuster of the Biden administration. The MSM loves a “Democrats in disarray story” even when the opposite is true.

Since the so-called hive mind of the Twitterverse is actually a bird brain, many convinced themselves that the Democrats walked into a trap sprung by the wily Senate Republican leader. In this instance, Mitch McConnell is more like Wile E. Coyote than the wily Turtle of yore.

Little noticed by many was how hard McConnell whipped votes. After an initial head count showed the Commission perilously close to advancing, the Turtle asked his caucus to vote nay as a personal courtesy. That has rarely, if ever, happened during his 14 years as Senate GOP leader. In the end, 6 GOPers voted aye, Senator Toomey was absent but said he would have voted aye, and 8 other GOPers were absent. 35 votes is hardly a ringing endorsement of the Turtle’s approach.

The filibuster by the Coward’s Caucus was no surprise. They’ve spent the last 5 years kowtowing to the Impeached Insult Comedian, why stop now? Here’s why: the politics of the Dipshit Insurrection are unclear. This vote was all about Senators wishing to avoid a primary challenge from the Trumpist/QAnon wing of the party. But Senators still have to run statewide and possible revelations of Trump regime or campaign involvement in the Dipshit Insurrection make this vote potentially perilous.

One of the few decent conservatives left in the Coward’s Caucus, Senator Lisa Murkowski was scornful of her leader’s approach:

“To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on Jan. 6, I think we need to look at that critically. Is that really what this is about, one election cycle after another?” Murkowski said.

She added: “Or are we going to acknowledge that as a country that is based on these principles of democracy that we hold so dear. And one of those is that we have free and fair elections… I kind of want that to endure beyond just one election cycle.”

This sort of criticism of a Senate leader is not unusual for Democrats but is rarer than integrity in the Party of Trump. It’s a sign that McConnell is starting to lose his iron grip on his caucus. The aye vote by previously pusillanimous Gret Stet Senator Bill Cassidy is an example of the murkiness of the politics of the Dipshit Insurrection Commission vote. He placed a bet that the politics will be different by 2026.

Short-term thinking describes Trump’s approach to life. There’s never a plan just a series of improvisations masquerading as a plan. It’s true that the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers did have plans. Mercifully, they were undermined by incompetence, confusion, and wishful thinking at the Trump White House.

Congressional Republicans have given Democrats a gift. That’s where the Plan B of the post title kicks in: both Pelosi and Schumer have made it clear they will proceed to investigate the Dipshit Insurrection.

There are several ways the Democrats can unwrap the present: a Senate-House joint select committee a la Iran-Contra or select committees in both Houses. The former would be trickier to organize in the current political climate, so I expect the latter approach a la Benghazi. It was a committee that proved nothing BUT was a stick used by Republicans to beat up Hillary Clinton.

The other aspect of Plan B is the ongoing education of Joe Manchin. He sounded genuinely hurt that there weren’t “10 good patriots” to support a bipartisan Dipshit Insurrection Commission. A mere 35 votes scuppered it. Sounds anti-democratic to me, Joe.

Hopefully, Manchin will apply this lesson to all filibusters but he seems to be a slow learner. The good news is that he’s not up for re-election until 2024 so he won’t have to face wrathful Trump voters until then. Stay tuned.

I couldn’t resist riffing on Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space. Hopefully, Plan B From Capitol Hill will be a better movie. However, I feel Tor Johnson’s pain:  It’s high time that the GOP aliens stop holding the country hostage with their filibusters.

The last word goes to Huey Lewis & The News:

It’s A Yellow Star, Not A Gold Star

I try not to write about Marjorie Taylor Greene. The QAnon Lady thrives on attention and controversy. I prefer not to give her what she wants, but sometimes you’ve got to get your hands dirty. This is one of those times.

The flap over MTG’s latest moronic and evil comments has been raging so hard that KMac felt compelled to admonish her. Mildy. Belatedly. It didn’t stop her: who the hell is afraid of the Candyass Candyman?

Like all Q-Creeps, MTG is fixated on the Nazis:

Last week, during a discussion about whether House members should document their vaccination status before they take off their masks indoors, Greene told the Christian Broadcasting Network host David Brody “we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens—so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”

Since social media is what gives these trolls air, MTG doubled down on the Tweeter Tube:

While the Q-Creeps are fixated on the Nazis, I’m fixated on a detail in MTG’s comments. She keeps referring to the Nazi “Jew badge” as a GOLD STAR. It’s a YELLOW STAR, not a GOLD STAR.

I was a grade school kid in another century. Back then, getting a gold star was a good thing. Teachers would stick one on your work as a compliment. I understand that hasn’t changed except, that is, in the QAnon lady’s warped and miniscule mind.

The gold star has another meaning in American culture. It’s used to honor mothers who lost a child in combat. My yiayia was a Gold Star Mother. She lost her son in World War II. You know, the war in which we fought Nazism. That’s a detail that seems lost on MTG and her ilk.

The gold star is a badge of honor. The yellow star is a badge of infamy and genocide.

I should put it in terms that MTG will understand: Gold star good, yellow star bad.

Of course, Trumpers don’t honor Gold Star Families. Remember the Khan family and the controversy that should have cost the Kaiser of Chaos the 2016 election? It was an early sign of the rot that metastasized from 2016 to 2020 and exploded into the Dipshit Insurrection on 1/6/2021.

Ready for some comic relief? I certainly am.

Thanks, Jonathan. The self-described “big-headed kid from Jersey” scores again.

Speaking of tourists, MTG is not from another century, she’s from another planet: Q-World.

Q-World is a place where they can’t tell the difference between yellow and gold.

Q-World is a place where they’d tie a gold ribbon around the old oak tree.

Q-World is a place where they can’t tell the difference between the truth and a lie.

Q-World is a place where slavishly defending Bibi Netanyahu means that you can’t be Anti-Semitic.

Q-World is a place where trivializing the Holocaust is commonplace.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is a sick, stupid, and silly woman. She should be in a straitjacket instead of Congress. She’s a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the American right in 2021. I refuse to call them conservatives. They’re radicals and nihilists who warp and destroy everything they touch.

I had an alternate title for this post inspired by this comic novel:

MTG and her fellow Q-Creeps are The Gang That Couldn’t Hate Straight.

Repeat after me: It’s A Yellow Star, Not A Gold Star.

I’m shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here.

On Monday, Senator Joe Manchin was informed that there were not 10 GQP votes for the independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. His response?

“So disheartening. It makes you really concerned about our country,” Manchin said. Asked if that is an abuse of the filibuster: “I’m still praying we’ve still got 10 good solid patriots within that conference.”

On Tuesday he was asked about the filibuster.  His response:

In addition, he and Kyrsten Sinema put out a statement “imploring” Senate Republicans to support the commission.

The response to both of these was predictable:  how could Manchin be so naïve? Hasn’t he been paying attention to everything the Republicans have been doing for years now?

I don’t know the senator personally, but he was the governor of West Virginia when I moved here, and he’s been one of my senators since 2010. Of course he’s aware that congressional Republicans are now going to oppose the commission—that’s what TFG told them they need to do.

I still think he’s going to change his public stance on the filibuster, although he may say he’s ready to move forward on the talking filibuster instead of abolishing it outright. Then why is it taking so long, right? Remember what I wrote earlier? Joe Manchin knows how to play politics. Chuck Schumer isn’t going to bring the bill up for a day or so, so there’s still political time to see if the bill can be passed with Republican input.

As I write this, both Mitt Romney and Susan Murkowski have indicated they will vote for the bill. There won’t be 10 votes, of course, but the more Senate Republicans who join, the better. McConnell probably won’t realize until it’s too late that trump will once again have sunk the Republicans by doing his bidding. I can see Manchin sorrowfully saying he had hope as his Republican colleagues had begun signing onto the bill, but now it’s going to be the work of the Democrats alone to save and protect the nation.

After all, if you are going to make a dramatic change in your political position, you might as well make it as dramatic as possible, like a heel turn in professional wrestling. Right now there’s still time for Manchin to entice Senate Republicans into working with the Democrats. And they’ve given him the perfect excuse to change his mind on the filibuster and still maintain his conservative Democratic credibility.

A Postcard From Out Of The Past

A Postcard From Out Of The Past

Have you ever said something and wished you hadn’t?

If you’re married it’s probably a daily occurrence.

We’ve all done it. That cutting jab about the boss’s wife when she’s standing behind you at the office Christmas party. The letter to the editor excoriating the town council for a particular decision before realizing that policy is actually going to benefit yourself. The admiration for a band based on the only listenable song on an album.

Now-a-days we have Twitter to thank for being a repository of an entire lifetime’s supply of regrettable statements or opinions long since repudiated. With Twitter though even removing such thoughts doesn’t prevent them from reappearing years later. Someone somewhere will have cataloged and archived your appreciation for CATS The Movie.

A 22 year old Jewish woman named Emily Wilder finds herself pursed by the ghosts of Tweets past.  Ms. Wilder was a student at Stanford University where she wrote for the school newspaper, got good grades, put out an occasional Tweet filled with the passion that only a college student can exert, and also was a Middle East peace activist often taking the side of Palestinians. She was in particular involved in the Return The Birthright movement.

Birthright is a program by which young American Jews are given a free trip to Israel to experience the uniqueness of a country where they are in the majority. I always thought it was a great program till I found out that it’s major funder was Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Republican infamy and that once students arrive in Israel the program heavily slanted the experience away from anything having to do with those folks in Gaza, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank.

Returning to Ms. Wilder, a group of students calling themselves the Stanford College Republicans decided to go on a Twitter rant about her because, heaven forbid, she got a job with the Associated Press as a junior reporter. If we’re going to be honest calling her position reporting is a stretch. She was so far down the food chain microbes fed off her. Over a year removed from having graduated from Stanford, this group for some reason thought it was appropriate to rage against her.

Then again they seem to be one of those conservative college groups that feels no matter how much privilege they have it’s not enough. Here is the opening of their mission statement:

Against the backdrop of the pernicious leftist assault on our liberty and the moral fabric of our nation, challenging the left’s monopoly over American campus politics by exposing students to conservatism is crucial for the survival of conservatism in coming decades.

Um right, leftists are in control of Stanford. The Stanford that is home to Billionaire’s Corner where all the computer science buildings are. The Stanford that is home to the Hoover Institute. The Stanford whose endowment was doubled by demanding a cut of Google’s profits since the original search engine was developed using their computer network.

Yeah, it’s a real hot bed of liberalism.

Nevertheless an enraged group of incels, er, I mean, conservative students thought there was no way anyone with an activist pedigree could ever be impartial in her coverage of…um, hold on let me check what she was assigned to cover…oh yes, local Phoenix area goings on. That’s right, she wasn’t the AP Jerusalem bureau chief or even a reporter there or even a full fledged reporter anywhere but in the suburbs of the American southwest. She had about as much to do with AP’s coverage of the Middle East as the janitor in the chemistry building on campus.

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MSM In Disarray

One of many things I miss about Athenae’s writing is her acute media analysis. I usually avoided the subject because, like James Bond, nobody does it better than A.

Athenae has an insider’s perspective whereas I’m a rank outsider. I’m going to give it a shot today because the MSM is busy creating drama where little or none exists. One could even call it a low drama trauma. (For the uninitiated, MSM = Mainstream Media.)

After mainlining absurdist drama from the Trump regime for 4 years, the MSM is having withdrawal symptoms. There’s still plenty of leftover drama from those dark days, but they can’t kick the habit.

The first thing I read this morning was Eric Boehlert’s Press Run newsletter:

President Joe Biden is getting trashed by Democrats over the Middle East!

Vice President Kamala Harris isn’t acknowledging her Asian heritage!

Those were two breathless dispatches Politico posted this week, as the Beltway insider outlet did its best to gin up drama surrounding the Democratic administration. Apparently still longing for the non-stop news cycle of the Trump era and the relentless controversies and scandals that came with it, Politico has decided that during the No Drama Biden era the best strategy is to just make stuff up and post it as news.

In both gotcha articles it became abundantly clear that Biden is not being trashed by Democrats regarding the Middle East. And Harris is not being widely criticized for downplaying her Indian roots. Both premises are fabrications. How do we know? Because neither article contained evidence to back up the click-bait headlines.

This is indefensible journalism, as Politico eagerly does the GOP’s bidding by trying to create controversies where none exist. The daily is hardly alone in this regard. The New York Times recently promoted a long article about Biden’s “short fuse” and “quick temper” in a piece that included no quotes or evidence of Biden’s “short fuse” and “quick temper.” But Politico does seem to be particularly aggressive in concocting unsupported storylines during the Biden era. And Politico is doing it with weighty topics that should not be used as ways to manufacture news.

That’s why Charlie Pierce calls it Tiger Beat On The Potomac.

Politico and the Gray Lady are not alone in having delirium tremens over the lack of daily scandals. One could call it the DT DTs.

Last night Rachel Maddow opened her show on the same overwrought note of Democratic disarray and Congressional fecklessness. The fecklessness was indeed there but the final vote count on the proposed 1/6 commission was 35 GOPers in support. Earlier in the day I saw former Politico guy and current Punchbowl News honcho Jake Sherman on MSNBC and he predicted only 15 to 20 aye votes. 35 votes indicates the weakness of KMac’s position as leader. Sounds dramatic to me.

On the subject of the Middle East, Boehlert had to this say:

The news outlet [Politico] could not find a single Democrat to “trash” Biden. The only quotes even remotely critical came from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) who said he was “troubled” by earlier U.S. votes at the United Nation against the call for a ceasefire. (Biden has since said he supports a ceasefire.) And a quote from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who claimed Biden could stop the carnage “with one phone call,” which seems highly unlikely.

Instead, what the Politico article featured was a collection of thoughtful quotes from Democrats who are grappling with a complicated, long-running, and deadly foreign policy dilemma.

Even when relations between Israeli prime ministers and American president have been close, the US has never been able to stop Israeli actions with one phone call. Plus, relations between Biden and Bibi are strained to say the least and the world is not that simple.

Back to Rachel who I think of as a friend or relative who occasionally goes off the rails because she loves drama. She went on and on about the negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans. As crazy as it sounds, it’s all being done for the benefit of the Mr. Kite of the Senate, Joe Manchin.

Cue musical interlude:

Proof positive that it’s still Beatles month at First Draft. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Back to the Man of La Manchin. He’s as much of a drama queen as Rachel. He loves being in the spotlight of the negotiations. There’s every indication that the White House will soon pull the plug on negotiations and either emerge with 2 infrastructure bills (one with GOP support for traditional infrastructure) or push the American Jobs Plan through via reconciliation. A bipartisan bill would be a coup for the White House and if GOP “moderates” cannot deliver Team Biden can say they tried. Manchin is not the only one who wants bipartisan co-operation, the voters do too. Besides, the damn bill hasn’t even passed the House yet.

This is not the first time the MSM has experienced withdrawal symptoms. It happened after Watergate too. The media spent the Ford and Carter years in search of the next big scandal, which resulted in blowing up minor affairs such as Lancegate or Koreagate by affixing a gate to things that, in the big picture, were no big whoop. Anyone else remember Tongsun Park?

I used a still of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as the featured image because His Girl Friday is one of the best movies ever made about the media. They’re always chasing a story. That’s their job. It’s not their job to gin up drama where none exists.

It’s time for the MSM to get the Trump monkey off their back even if they have to do it Cold Turkey. That’s why John Lennon gets the last word.

 

 

It’s A Trap!

When I was a kid, I was kind of obsessed with animals, and especially the Rex Harrison “Doctor Doolittle”*. Unlike my childhood obsession with Watergate , I think that made me a relatively normal kid. But the one thing that always bothered me about that movie was the Pushmi-Pullyu.

Maybe it was because I was growing up in a family with 3 girls spaced within 3 years, but the Pushmi-Pullyu reeked of only 1 thing to me: conflict. Oh I know it was supposed to be a delight, the rarest creature on Earth, fanciful and fearful at once. But all I saw was a Pandora’s Horse of anger, fighting, and unhappiness. Even at a young age I knew all creatures, great and small, wanted their own way and only discipline, sacrifice, and an eye to the greater good could ever change that.

Which leads me to the new half of the GOP (“Q Party”) Pushmi-Pullyu, West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito and her working group on infrastructure. It started off with a laughable proposal that essentially ignored President Biden’s list of items. As criticism mounted, Capito said it was a starting point and that there was room for it to grow. Seems hopeful and reasonable, right?

Naturally Newton’s Third Law of Motion kicked in and the other half of the Q Party Pushmi-Pullyu, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, harrumphed out his objections to any additional spending. Capito must have kicked back swiftly and on target because his next phlegm-ridden squawk quickly aligned his position with his other end.

Capito and friends met again with President Biden this week and I give him a lot of credit. Everyone knows that even if the Democrats agreed to everything the Q Party wanted, they’d still vote against it! And I mean, even if it had everything, including leaving their precious corporate tax rate alone, they have no intention of giving Biden and the Democrats another accomplishment.  That’s because:

There won’t be any Q Party votes for any Democratic proposal. Ever. The 2 senators from West By God Virginia are both trying to bring bipartisanship back to our politics, and in the abstract, I think that is a very worthwhile use of their time. But only Joe Manchin, the Democrat, knows that the mission is doomed from the start (so does Biden, but he’s just playing along).

How will Capito–who needs to burnish her procurement bona fides as an heir to the late Robert Byrd—react when she gets burned by McConnell’s eventual order to sink the entire bill in the Senate? West Virginia needs this funding. I don’t know, nor do I care. Fuck her and her careful kowtowing to McConnell over the people who elected her to help them. I only hope Manchin has set us all up for a major plot twist in Act Two.

The Democrats will eventually get their bills through, though Biden won’t get everything he wants (nor does he expect to—the stimulus bill was a happy fluke). I’m not upset with all of the stuff both West Virginia senators are doing on the side because the Senate can’t act on anything until the House writes the bill, and that isn’t expected to be voted on until the first week of July.  Back to the show.

*Our cat Finn is too. Here’s a photo of him watching it:

Wicked Rain

We had another bout of heavy rain overnight. We only had minor street flooding but the folks in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles took it in the neck. I feel terrible for Lake Charles: they were slammed by Hurricane Laura last summer and now this.

Weather paranoia makes sustained thought difficult, so I thought I’d throw some random shit against the wall and see how much of it sticks. But first a musical interlude:

In the Middle East, the death dance between Hamas and the Netanyahu government has resumed. The carnage on the Gaza Strip has been terrible. The political results in Israel have been terrible in their own way.  Bibi appeared to be on his way out until he wagged the dog, which led to the cancellation of coalition talks that would have installed a new prime minister.

Netanyahu has convinced a substantial slice of his country’s electorate that only he can keep them safe thereby proving that Americans are not the only people who can be conned by an unscrupulous leader. As long as Netanyahu is in power, the cycle of violence will continue.

In Congress, KMac continues to have a spine of aspic. He was for a 1/6 commission before he was against it. I have the feeling that he got an angry call from Mar-a-Doorn, which changed his mind such as it is.

In a recent post, Josh Marshall nailed KMac: “McCarthy’s empire is built on subservience and militant toadying to the former President.”

Militant Toadying would be a great band name. They could play this King Crimson song as a tribute to KMac’s fecklessness:

A title change is in order as well. How about this? Forked Tongues In Aspic. I aspic the truth about KMac…

News on the COVID front continues to improve. It’s amazing what a difference having competent grown-ups in charge makes.

I remain cautious and still wear a mask when out and about and am still leery of large groups of people. I may be completely vaccinated but I can still catch the virus from some cretinous peckerwood who declined to get jabbed. The illness would be less severe, but I haven’t gotten sick since March of 2020 and I like it that way. I usually catch something every December. A holiday ritual I can do without.

In Gret Stet news, former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer died at the age of 77. He was an eclectic politician who started off as a conservative Democrat but changed parties while in office. His finest moment as Governor was when he vetoed a radical anti-abortion bill. He was also surprisingly good on environmental issues for an oil state politico. I told you he was an eclectic politician.

Roemer’s 1987 campaign was a classic. He started off as a decided underdog but tapped into voter anger with the corrupt incumbent, Edwin Edwards. This ad helped put him over the top:

Unfortunately for Roemer, wily Edwin laid a trap for him by withdrawing from the race before the runoff, leaving Roemer with 33% of the vote. Not much of a mandate to “scrub the budget.” A phrase Buddy repeated ad-nauseam during his governorship.

Roemer’s re-election campaign laid an egg and he finished third behind Edwards and David Duke in the primary. He would have beaten either in a runoff. Oh well, what the hell.

The last word goes to Dr. John:

A Postcard From Your Census Taker

2020 Census Form

Question #1 was all that mattered. All else was elaboration.

Greetings!

So last year, 2020 in case you forgot, with nothing else to do because the pandemic had cancelled all my regular work and with a desire to do what small part I could to help our country, I agreed to work for the US Census Bureau as a Census Enumerator. That means I, like thousands of others across the country, would go out to the homes of people who had not sent back the Census form delivered to them in the mail or hadn’t gone online to the Census website to fill out the form and get the information needed.

From my experience I’ve got one thing to say about the results of the 2020 Census:

It’s wrong.

It’s wrong because there was no way this census, under these circumstances, could be right. The circumstances I mean were not just those emblematic of the pandemic but the ones that were deliberately installed in order to insure a miscounting of the American population.

And imagine that, the results come in and major blue states lost congressional seats while major red states gained seats. That is not the end result of migratory patterns of older citizens moving to warmer climes or younger ones moving to find new work opportunities. That is the end result of a deliberate misuse of the system by one political party in it’s never ending attempts to game the system in order to win elections and control the federal government.

The census should have been put off till the pandemic was over. Yes I know, the census is written into the Constitution and not doing it in 2020 might have brought on, well let’s call it a constitutional contretemps, I don’t think it would have qualified as a crisis. Here it is in black and white, figuratively and literally from Article One, Section Two:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting
of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight,
Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

If the timing would have been constitutionally suspect my reply would be that in the same paragraph enumerating the every ten years it also says to only count free persons, no Native Americans, and all other persons (in other words black slaves) as three fifths. The 14th amendment did away with the three fifths, but kept the no Native Americans. Yet we now count Native Americans because of a 1940 decision by the Census Bureau to include them. If the Bureau could do that in 1940 they certainly could have done away this one time with a dictate as to the count being every ten years.

I’d also point out that if we stuck to the one representative for every 30,000 people Congress would currently have nearly 11,000 members. Rhode Island and Providence Plantations alone would have 35 representatives.

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All About Elise

It should be obvious by now that my love of old movies often informs my writing. I wish I could say I thought of All About Eve in the context of the Liz-n-Elise mishigas. I did not.

It was my longtime friend Susan Kelly Caldwell who made the connection. If I could stand the winters, I’d move to Chagrin Falls to expiate my shame, but I can’t, so I won’t. Susan, however, isn’t perfect: she’s legendary for giving bad directions, which is less salient in the GPS era but has been a running joke between us for decades so…

Everyone who knew that Elise Stefanik nominated Liz Cheney to be House Republican Chair, raise your hand. The Boss insists:

I did not know that, but it adds a touch of poignancy to the farcical ouster of Cheney. Cheney’s sole offense against the GOP is telling the truth about the 2020 election and 1/6 Dipshit Insurrection. Stefanik is making like Eve Harrington in All About Eve and betraying Liz Cheney/Margo Harrington.

I’m not going to belabor the About All Elise analogy other than to post Susan’s husband Steve’s casting suggestion for Addison Dewitt who was played by George Sanders in All About Eve:

Remember Ray Davies’ line about George Sanders? Let’s paraphrase it: If you covered him with garbage, Lindsey Graham would still lack style…

There’s nothing particularly interesting about Elise Stefanik. She’s just another hack trying to climb the greasy pole by kowtowing to the Kaiser of Chaos. It’s what GOPers will do until the spell is finally broken. I suspect Trump’s passion for Stefanik is driven more by his lustful impulses than anything else. I keep waiting for the “I’d hit on that” quote to emerge from Mar-a-Doorn.

If this were a matter of ideology or policy, Liz Cheney would stay in place. She voted for the Impeached Insult Comedian’s agenda 92% of the time whereas Stefanik did so 77% of the time.

Some of the wingnuts in the Caucus are alarmed that Stefanik is a squishy Northeastern moderate. But they will still vote to oust their ideological soul mate, Liz Cheney because the GOP is an empty vessel filled with Trumper bluster and bullshit, which will eventually evaporate.

The other day, the weak bozo who is House Republican leader sent a letter to his colleagues urging Cheney’s removal. As a fan of unintentional comedy, I enjoyed this passage in KMac’s epistle:

“We are a big tent party. We represent Americans of all backgrounds. And unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate.

What can you expect from a guy who sorted Pennywise’s candy? Now he’s sorting voters: claiming all the white ones while trashing the black and brown ones.

It reminds me of something Willard Mittbot Romney said in 2019:

“There are many young people who might tend to think that the Republican Party is only represented by one point of view, the president’s point of view, were there not people like myself. We are not a pup tent … rather a much larger tent. And we can accommodate different people with different views.”

I don’t camp so I don’t know anything about tents, but a pup tent sounds puny to me. Much like KMac.

Speaking of tents, the House leadership may regret “recalling” Liz Cheney. She’s bound to feel liberated. They might have been wise to follow Lyndon Johnson’s example. When asked why he didn’t oust J. Edgar Hoover as FBI director, LBJ said, “Better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in.”

As if to prove my point, Cheney gave a fiery speech last night in anticipation of today’s vote: 

“I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law. Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar.”

I disagree with Liz Cheney on everything else BUT the preservation of democracy is not just another issue. If they can get away with the BIG LIE of 2020, what’s to stop them from doing it again? Not a damn thing.

That’s why bucking history and maintaining control of the House and Senate in 2022 is so vital. The BIG LIE will be repeated in 2024 if Republicans control Congress and a Democrat wins the popular vote as has happened 5 of 6 times in the 21st Century. The last thing we need is a sequel to 2020.

As long as the GOP is in thrall to former President* Pennywise, this Margo Channing quote will prove prescient:

If Bette Davis were still with us, I’d be afraid not to give her the last word but since she exists only on celluloid, the last word goes to The Cure:

Hire a Clown, Expect a Circus

I have been reading a lot of really stupid stuff in the ether, and not because I deliberately sought it out. Now you have to, too.

Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced. I thought something was up when I saw this on John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight:

That was just a weird interaction, so I wasn’t surprised when they said they were getting divorced. I should not have been surprised by this hot take from The Washington Post since they are trying to out-New-York-Times The New York Times, but I was:

Jim Justice, the governor of West Virginia (who, by the way, is an idiot), has been such a failure as a vaccine leader that he couldn’t convince the members of the girls basketball team he coaches to get vaccinated. You can guess what happened:  a bunch of them got infected with Covid and they had to forfeit their place in the state tournament. You hate to see it.

Oh, and the Justice nonsense didn’t stop there. Big Jim’s Big Idea to encourage younger people to get vaccinated? He wanted to give them savings bonds. And when that wasn’t feasible (bonds are entirely electronic now) his Second Big Idea was to give out silver dollars. Perhaps pocket watches will be next on the list.

I know a lot of people have stepped up to get vaccinated, but a lot of people haven’t, and the ratio of vaccinated people to unvaccinated people isn’t uniform across the country. In addition, those places where vaccinated people are sparser also tend to feature fewer people wearing masks. So while parts of the country can really make a big jump back to how things were in The Before Time, lots of us are stuck in places where we need to continue to be careful. Here’s The Atlantic’s take on it:

(There’s a more serious piece that could be written about the very real trauma millions of us have been through, HOW THE PANDEMIC ISN’T OVER YET, and how lots of us live among people who don’t care if they spread a deadly disease to us because they are members of a twisted death cult. This obviously isn’t that place.)

This is one of the U.S. Senators from Kansas:

 

I had no forking idea who he was at first, either.

One of the big obstacles facing the Democrats right now is Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat. What’s the solution proposed by some liberals?

 

Just a reminder that the governor of West Virginia–who would name Manchin’s replacement–is a Republican, and a trumper. (And an idiot).

To paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcom, he was so preoccupied with whether he could, he didn’t stop to think if he should:

 

Today I cannot share your laughter, ship of fools.

Can’t We All Just Get Along

Rodney King

Beaten to a pulp by LAPD who were later exonerated, he still had the guts to say “Can’t we all get along”

Recently there was a giant hubbub at the podcasting company Gimlet over attempts to create a workplace union. I don’t want to go into all the details but this Vulture report does a pretty good job of summing up the various positions and the backlash involved in it.

Suffice it to say, one side lost and one side won. That’s how things go in this world of ours.

What I am more interested in is the fact that at Gimlet those on the losing side felt they had to leave the company. I want to make it clear this is not a situation where the losers were people in control of policy or direction for the company. The two biggest names to leave, PJ Voight and Shruti Panamanian, were worker bees who had made the decision to oppose the unionization effort. Why they did was their own business and no one else’s. But they felt compelled to leave the company they had helped build because they had been on the losing side of the issue. Whether they jumped or were pushed is of no matter. The point is they left.

They shouldn’t have. They shouldn’t have been put in the position of having to make that decision.

Look if every time one of us loses an argument and feels they have to leave, there would be a whole helluva lot more divorced people living at the Motel 6. When did having a different opinion on something from your nearest and dearest or even just your fellow employees become equated to vacating the premises? Unless it’s a rental agreement we shouldn’t be packing our bags and heading down the highway just because we lost one simple disagreement. The Dodgers, in my humble opinion, suck. There I said it. Some of you might agree with that sentiment. Some of you I know don’t. That doesn’t mean I can’t be friends with you. I’ve got news for you, friends have disagreements all the time as all my Dodger loving friends will tell you about me.

Same goes for the workplace. Yeah, here it gets a little trickier because you do have to negotiate various levels of business hierarchy but I shouldn’t feel I have to leave my job just because you wanted a union, I didn’t, but the union won out. In fact I would argue that it’s more important that I stick around to keep the union on it’s toes or to make sure it really is working in the best interests of myself and my fellow employees.

Last year the Opinion Editor of the New York Times, James Bennet, agreed to publish an essay written, as much as we can believe a politician can write a clear and declarative essay, by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. In it he advocated for using the US military against BLM protesters in the wake of the George Floyd murder. I do not agree with that sentiment in the least. From what I can tell the New York Times and probably James Bennet himself do not agree with that sentiment. Nevertheless Bennet chose to publish it as an editorial about a matter of current affairs written by a serving member of the United States Senate. Some Times staff writers protested the essay should not have been run. Ultimately the uproar over that decision caused Bennet to lose his job. He shouldn’t have, just as the staff writers opposed to the publication shouldn’t have lost their jobs for speaking out, though none did. They made their feelings known, he obviously made his feelings known by running it in the first place and that should have been the end of that. Instead a well respected veteran of the newspaper industry had to be shown/head for the door because apparently unless we all speak as one we can not speak at all.

Which brings me to Liz Cheney.

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Malaka Of The Week: Twitter Famous Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson parachuted into Southwestern Louisiana in 2017 and ran twice for Congress against the Gret Stet’s bull goose wingnut, Clay Higgins. In my fleeting online encounters with Anderson, he struck me as a dilettante with limited connections to his district. It was far worse than I imagined. That is why Twitter Famous Rob Anderson is malaka of the week.

Anderson built a substantial Twitter following over the last few years. That’s now gone along with his political prospects. Here’s why:

…Anderson’s Twitter stardom meant little in Louisiana’s 3rd District, where Higgins crushed three Democrats, taking more than two-thirds of the vote. Anderson fell shy of 12%, six percentage points behind the top Democrat.

In addition to building his fan base, Anderson used his campaign Twitter account to send nude selfies to women. A pseudonymous Twitter user known for exposing sexual misconduct allegations posted a sampling last week, sparking a war between the “Rob Mob” and several women accusing him of harassment. Screenshots of his lewd direct messages circulated.

Recriminations for Louisiana’s most Twitter-famous progressive were swift.

“I’m already ruined,” Anderson said in a phone interview Thursday, two days after the photos appeared.

A close friend and business partner quickly cut ties, killing a podcast venture the two had hoped to leverage from Anderson’s Twitter base.

Amid the backlash, attention turned to Anderson’s missing campaign finance reports. He has not filed any since the first quarter of last year, leaving the months covering his meteoric rise unaccounted for. Anderson blamed his staff for failing to file the reports.

Anderson says his political career is over.

“I may be Twitter famous, but nobody in Louisiana knows who the hell I am. Although they probably will now,” he said.

That long excerpt was necessitated  by the vagaries of the Georges Media Empire’s web sites, which are hard to maneuver if you’re a subscriber like me and purt near impossible if you’re not. BTW, John Georges is the dullest Greek I’ve ever encountered. I usually brag on my countrymen, but I make an exception in his case. He’s not even interesting enough to be selected as malaka of the week.

Except for groveling in the pages of the Georges Advocate, Twitter Famous Rob Anderson has vanished from the internet. Taking the coward’s way out, he deleted his campaign’s web site, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds. Curiously, the Rob Anderson for Louisiana YouTube page is still up as of this writing. Perhaps Malaka Rob is watching his greatest hits and pondering what might have been.

There was always something off-putting about Twitter Famous Rob Anderson. He struck me as a minor league con man who specialized in fleecing the gullible Hipster Twitter Left. Malaka Rob said all the right things but lacked a presence in the real world to back up his Twitter fame:

Anderson started organizing his 2020 campaign just prior to the pandemic lockdown. A four-person core consisting of Anderson, Leveque and two other staffers, Clare Stagg and Dave Langlinais, grew close as they worked out of Langlinais’s house. They formed a social pod, frequently sharing dinners, drinks and personal conversations.

But the two women staffers experienced Anderson as increasingly dictatorial as he became fixated on Twitter. They worried that his Twitter fame had divorced him from reality in southwest Louisiana.

“I think he thought that was enough to mean that he was a big name,” said Stagg, the campaign manager. “Everything else in the campaign fell by the wayside to him, no matter how much you told him, ‘Twitter isn’t real life, your following is not in the district.’”

There’s a lesson in the well-deserved fall of Malaka Rob Anderson. Twitter isn’t real life and an overdependence on social media and the Hipster Twitter Left in a campaign is a prescription for defeat.

It’s unclear if Twitter Famous Rob Anderson is a liar or a fantasist who believes his own bullshit. His Ballotpedia survey is revealing in that regard. He turns out to be a sci-fi fan:

What is your favorite book? Why?

“Flow my tears, the policeman said.” Before I was a teenager, it was the most complicated story I’d read, and it resonated with me. It’s themes are connection and alienation, and how to bridge the chasm between souls.

That’s a novel by Philip K. Dick, which is fitting given Malaka Rob’s propensity to share dick pix.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you want to be?

Valentine Michael Smith. It would be fascinating to be a postmodern Martian.

I grok that. I wonder if the self-proclaimed working class progressive knows that Stranger In A Strange Land author Robert Heinlein was one of those people who migrated politically from the far left to far right. Probably not, Anderson was too busy tweeting. He’ll have time to catch up on his reading now.

Anderson could even try emulating Heinlein’s political journey and become a Trumper. They’re indifferent to dick pix and others forms of sexual harassment, after all.

There’s another weirdly revealing bit in Malaka Rob’s Ballotpedia survey:

Is there a book, essay, film, or something else you would recommend to someone who wants to understand your political philosophy?

“The Great Shark Hunt” by Hunter S. Thompson.

I’m already on the record as a HST un-fan. His political philosophy, such as it was, revolved around getting wasted, shooting guns, and conning the gullible Left of his day into thinking he was a progressive. Maybe that’s why Malaka Rob admires him. That’s his shtick as well.

I’ve already told Dr. A to commit me if I start calling myself a “Twitter personality” or “Twitter Famous.” The Rob Anderson saga should be a cautionary tale for those who spend too much time on social media. He’s gone from having a “Rob Mob” and being Twitter Famous to being Malaka Rob and Twitter Infamous in the blink of an eye. And that is why Twitter Famous Rob Anderson is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Cowboy Mouth:

 

 

Bayou Brief: Déjà Vu All Over Again

There was a runoff election held to fill Cedric Richmond’s seat in Congress last Saturday. It was a nasty campaign and I’m glad it’s over.  I got tried of seeing negative ads on my Scrabble app. Is nothing sacred?

It did, however, evoke memories of the first wave of elections after Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood in 2006. Both candidates in Saturday’s election challenged Congressman Dollar Bill Jefferson that year and lost. It gave me the feeling that I’d been there before.

For the details, get thee to Bayou Brief where John Fogerty gets the last word.

The last word here goes to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:

Another day, another David Crosby song. We have all been here before.

Animal Country

Animal House

When you were a teenager and saw ANIMAL HOUSE you probably reveled in the anti-establishment hijinks of the Delta House. Watch it again as an adult and you might giggle at a line or two (remembering a time when you did something similarly asshatted) but more likely you will come away thinking what jerks the characters are. Don’t get down on yourself for not being as counterculture as you once were, it’s all a part of growing up.

If US politics were the movie, the Repugnicants would be the Deltas while the Democrats would be, um, the Jewish Frat the Deltas checked their answers for the Psych exam with. But as much as you enjoyed Animal House and the zany antics of Boon, Otter, Bluto, Pinto (cause he had a spotted dick, a line cut from the movie cause the studio suit said “yeah, that goes TOO far”) you wouldn’t want them running your country.

Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

And yet people keep voting for them.

You fucked up… you trusted us! Hey, make the best of it!

Meanwhile the Democrats just keep chugging along lead by their undisputed leader President Joey B Shark who just keeps pumping out new initiatives to try and help both the American people and the American economy. And the American people keep listening and liking what they hear. 68% approval ratings for his two biggest proposals show that.

Better listen to him, Flounder, he’s in pre-med.

But you know there is an old saying that the guy who shouts the loudest is the one who gets heard. And Repugnicants sure do shout loud. What they shout is utter bollocks, whether about Dr. Seuss or red meat, but those bollocks get amplified by the Murdoch media machine till finally the other network talking heads feel they must make mention of whatever stupidity is being uttered, if only to refute it.

A Pledge Pin! On your Uniform!

Honestly, the US Senate would be hilarious if Ted Cruz was played by Stephen Furst, Josh Hawley by Tom Hulce, and Mitch McConnell by Bruce McGill. Of course Donald Trump would be played by John Belushi. We don’t care about grades, who needs grades when we got voter suppressed forever seats!

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Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Oligarchy Definition

OK class, use it in a sentence.

It’s been a bad week for oligarchs.

From the 48 hour birth, life, and death of the European Super League in soccer to the pullback of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, the fat cats have been taking a bit of a pounding, most of it at the hands of the so called little guys.

If you still can’t quite understand the entire Super League fiasco don’t worry. I follow European soccer pretty closely and I am hard pressed to come up with a rational for the absurd circus the Dirty Dozen have put us through. The no longer failing New York Times has a good play by play of how this all came to be.

Suffice it to say, twelve of the fourteen richest teams in Europe decided they wanted to create their own league to play in, one that they would have total control of and which ultimately would have destroyed the delicate pyramid that feeds and nurtures the other hundreds of teams in dozens of national leagues. Fans, the people who actually pay to go to or watch games on TV, revolted. It was quickly established that even the most ardent of fans would abandon lifelong allegiance to one of the twelve in favor of continued allegiance to their national leagues. Television networks, the ones who would be paying the largest portion of the tab for the Super League, started muttering “what if they have a league and no one watches”.

And just like that, poof, it’s gone.

The birth and demise of the Super League is being laid squarely at the feet of the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United as well as being the guys who sign Tom Brady’s checks, Stan Kroenke owner of Arsenal, the LA Rams, the Denver Nuggets, and the Colorado Avalanche, and John Henry, owner of Liverpool FC as well as the Bahstin Red Sox. The line being put out is it’s all American hubris, coming in and thinking they can make this into the NFL. They’re taking the fall, but this whole plan stinks of Russian and Arab oligarchic slight of hand.

That’s how oligarchs work. They quietly pull all the strings so that if something goes wrong they can walk away with clean hands. That’s what’s happening in this case, Americans are taking the fall while the Russian oligarch owner of Chelsea FC and the Emirati prince owner of Manchester City get to say “I know nothing!“.

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