Category Archives: Congress

Lost In The News

Transitioning out of the Mardi Gras bubble is always difficult. But there’s so much going on right now that I don’t quite know where to begin. I think a potpourri post full of quick one liners and, hopefully, pertinent observations is the best way to shake off the rust. Of course rust never sleeps so who knows if that will work? Only the Shadow or Neil Young know for sure. Hey, hey, my, my.

Stale News In Brief: I watched the Cohen hearing from gavel to gavel but had company that night for the Nyx parade so I couldn’t share any thoughts and/or pithy observations. I’ve been somewhat pithed about this momentary lapse of reason, which is why I’m writing about it a week later. Better late than never.

I had assumed that Cohen was a punk and a brain-dead doofus. I was right about the former but wrong about the latter. He was well-prepared, penitent, and surprisingly sharp in a street wise Lawn Guyland kinda way.

Cohen’s performance is proof positive that exposure to Donald Trump cuts people’s IQ’s in half. It’s one reason why the Kaiser of Chaos needs to go before we become a country of mouth-breathing morons who overuse the word very. Believe me.

Speaking of dumbassery, the performance of Oversight Committee GOPers was appalling. They’re the dumbest collection of congresscritters it has ever been my displeasure to observe. They were poorly prepared and dumber than a proverbial bag of rocks.

It *is* true that Cohen was a lying sack of shit in his days as Trump’s fixer. But that means that some of the shit leaked onto the president* for whom Cohen was lying. Gym Jordan and his gang of morons didn’t see it that way. Jordan makes Trey Gowdy look like Perry Mason as a cross-examiner. Oy, just oy.

The country saw Congressman Clay Higgins and learned what we in the Gret Stet of Louisiana have known all along: he’s a poser and a nitwit. He kept asking the same question over and over even though it had been “asked and answered” as the criminal law objection goes.

Higgins is a demagogue and dumbfuck of epic proportions. Additionally, his district director is an accused pimp.  It’s a pity that his name isn’t Willie. Jerod Prunty the Pimp doesn’t  have the same ring to it:

Investigation Mania: House Democrats are gearing up to get to the bottom of the plethora of Trump related scandals. The good news is that they can walk and chew gum at the same time as they’re passing a plethora of progressive legislation as well. It will all, of course, die in the Senate but it forces them to take unpopular stands against popular legislation such as gun background checks, which I believe even the ghost of Charlton Heston favors:

An interesting tidbit in the news is Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff hiring former SDNY prosecutor Daniel Goldman to spearhead his Russia investigation. Cable news viewers know him better as a telegenic teevee lawyer on MSNBC. The president* is bound to fear him because he’s been on the tube, which could have been a factor in Schiff making this hire. Goldman is also stone cold brilliant and knows his way around Russian mobsters and oligarchs. Watch out, Trumpy.

The Big Rebuke: There are enough votes in the Senate to shoot down the Insult Comedian’s fake emergency order. As of this writing, it’s not a veto proof majority BUT the fog of scandal continues to envelop the Trump regime. That, in turn, could lead more Senatorial rats to flee the USS Trump as it sinks in a sea of scandal. Holy mixed metaphor, Batman. Is it a fog or a sea of scandal? Actually, it’s both, which is a rare example of both-siderism on my part.

John Dean On Cohen: As a Watergate junkie, I would be remiss in not mentioning John Dean’s NYT op-ed article on the impact of being a star witness on the witness:

Mr. Cohen should understand that if Mr. Trump is removed from office, or defeated in 2020, in part because of his testimony, he will be reminded of it for the rest of his life. He will be blamed by Republicans but appreciated by Democrats. If he achieves anything short of discovering the cure for cancer, he will always live in this pigeonhole. How do I know this? I am still dealing with it.

Just as Mr. Nixon had his admirers and apologists, so it is with Mr. Trump. Some of these people will forever be rewriting history, and they will try to rewrite it at Mr. Cohen’s expense. They will put words in his mouth that he never spoke. They will place him at events at which he wasn’t present and locations where he has never been. Some have tried rewriting my life, and they will rewrite his, too.

Can I get a witness?

The last word goes to the late Marvin Gaye whose image will adorn a stamp to be released on April 2nd:

‘Congress’ Isn’t The Problem. Republicans Are.

This isn’t “Congress,” dude: 

About 75 percent of Americans favor higher taxes for the ultrawealthy. The idea of a federal law that would guarantee paid maternity leave attracts 67 percent support. Eighty-three percent favor strong net neutrality rules for broadband, and more than 60 percent want stronger privacy laws. Seventy-one percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada, and 92 percent want Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. The list goes on.

[snip]

In our era, it is primarily Congress that prevents popular laws from being passed or getting serious consideration. (Holding an occasional hearing does not count as “doing something.”) Entire categories of public policy options are effectively off-limits because of the combined influence of industry groups and donor interests. There is no principled defense of this state of affairs — and indeed, no one attempts to offer such a justification. Instead, legislative stagnation is cynically defended by those who benefit from it with an unconvincing invocation of the rigors of our system of checks and balances.

Everyone’s mad at David Brooks but this is the dumbest thing in the Times today.

“Congress” isn’t refusing to enact sensible gun regulations. “Congress” isn’t gutting the only weakass healthcare protections we’ve ever managed to pass. “Congress” isn’t denying pregnant women health care or parental leave. “Congress” isn’t murdering net neutrality in its cradle. “Congress” is doing none of these things.

Mitch McConnell and his merry band of blithering buttlicks are.

Pretending nobody in Washington wants to get anything done sounds really savvy and appealingly cynical because it allows you to let everybody off the hook including yourself. The facts remain that the very SECOND Democrats had control of Congress they passed universal background checks, created a committee to study climate change, and oh yeah REOPENED THE GOVERNMENT THAT HAD BEEN SHUT DOWN.

I mean sweet mercy, you don’t have to go past the first Google result to figure that out.

We can’t solve any problems right now because we keep telling ourselves lies about what those problems are. Those problems are Republican problems, full stop, and the more we keep on with this copypasta equivalence the stupider it sounds. “Both sides” is a joke by now, here on the internets, but it keeps getting spat out like it still means something.

I get it. It lets you sound like you know something everyone else, all those dumbasses with party allegiances and beliefs in stuff and principles worth fighting for, is too blinkered to know, and that special knowledge gets your op-eds published and your name on the cable shows. It lets you off the hook for figuring out what a candidate stands for and then backing that candidate, fully and unashamedly, because their views align with yours. You can just declare that the whole system is, like, bullshit, man, and go home.

Instead of having to stand up and say “Congress” isn’t doing anything to stifle the views of the majority. The views of the majority are the views of the Democratic Party and but for corruption, gerrymandering, and a 24-hour propaganda network blaring all day long that liberals are socialist traitors’ whores, those majority views would be law by now.

Schmuck.

A.

It’s Over For Now

America is no longer held hostage; at least until February 15th. The Trump regime is still making bellicose noises but, until proven otherwise, I’m inclined to view it as meaningless dick waving. They’re showing off for their base but it’s doubtful that Senate Republicans will support another shutdown. I suspect there are more than six GOPers who will vote to keep the government open without explicit funding for Trumpy’s wall folly. Why? The Trump “brand” is becoming increasingly toxic.

I posted William Copley’s think flag instead of a Jasper Johns flag to strike a cautionary note if they think another Trump shutdown is a good idea. The White House is still muttering about declaring a national emergency over Trumpy’s wall folly, but that’s a path that should not be taken. Lindsey Graham and the Freedom Caucus fucks may think it’s a good idea but not many others do. Trump’s scare stories aren’t working: I wish someone would use duct tape on *his* big fat bazoo.

There has been a silly debate in the stupider corners of the tweeter tube over who won the shutdown battle. They want a simple, nay simplistic answer, that points in one direction. One such argument is that  workers won the battle, not Speaker Pelosi. I think (there’s that word again) that it’s both. Congressional Democrats held firm and air traffic controllers delivered the final blow with their slow motion sick out. Additionally, the president* wanted to distract attention from the Stone arrest and indictment.

While there were political winners of the shutdown, it came at a substantial economic cost. Federal employees will eventually get back pay, but contract workers will not and I’m talking about people like cafeteria workers and janitors. That’s another reason everyone should think twice before plunging into another hostage situation such as the one that lasted 35 days.  Unfortunately, the Trump regime is not known for thinking first. Stay tuned.

The last word goes to (who else) Aretha:

If you were expecting Roy Orbison, I’d hate to disappoint you:

America Held Hostage Day 34

Donald Trump isn’t used to anyone saying no to him. He doesn’t handle it well. That’s what happened yesterday when he tried to force his way into the House chamber for the SOTU, which should be rechristened SOTC. C is for chaos or clusterfuck.

Nancy Smash has no problem with saying no to a petulant president* even after a day in which the high priests of the cult of savvy decided he might have a plan. As usual, they were wrong: the Insult Comedian folded after the Speaker called his bluff. No surprise. Trump always folds but it usually doesn’t take this long.

The Kaiser of Chaos used a new word in reacting to NDP’s disinvitation:

“We just found out that she’s cancelled it. I think that’s a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love. It’s a great, great horrible mark. I don’t believe it’s ever happened before and it’s always good to be part of history but this is a very negative part of history.”

Blotch? Really, Donald? Is that the best you can do? I thought you had “all the best words” stored in your “very good brain.”

Trumpberius looked deflated as he made those incoherent comments. Once again, he’s been outmaneuvered by the wily speaker. His fragile ego has a hard time dealing with so much losing, especially at the hands of a skirt. The *real* author of The Art of the Deal nailed it on the tweeter tube:

Remember when people on the hard left and squishy right of the Democratic party wanted Nancy Smash to step aside? We’re not hearing much from them right now.

A day after his SOTU cave, the Insult Comedian floated a new slogan:

This is so stupid and simplistic that I’ll let his co-author dispatch him again:

One of the worst things about the current hostage crisis is that stories of human suffering do not move Trump. He long ago wrote off federal employees as Democrats. He cannot even muster a scintilla of fake empathy for the havoc his wall fetish has wrought. Disorder and disruption are his specialities. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

There are finally signs that the Trump shutdown may be winding down. While Trump pretends not to believe the “fake polls,” they’re dire for him. It’s past time for him to fold and declare victory. There is no plan, there is no end game. It’s time for the Insult Comedian to lie his way out of this mess. It’s what he does best.

Finally, I’m fascinated by Trump’s inability to coin a nickname for Speaker Pelosi when there’s an obvious one out there. It’s inspired by the venerable hit musical No No Nanette. He could call her No No Nancy. It’s alliterative as all get-out. Of course, the president* hates being told no, so it’s a non-starter for him but I may add it to my nickname arsenal. It’s not as smashing as Nancy Smash but it fits the times we live in, no?

The last word goes to Ringo:

He Doesn’t Care Who He Hurts

The shutdown, and food stamp recipients: 

What’s left after that is an approximately $3 billion contingency reserve that’ll be dipped into to ensure benefits continue into February. What happens next—will the remainder of that reserve be used up to distribute money to these low-income households in March?—isn’t clear.

An expert in the field confirms to Delish there’s no precedent for a situation like that and that it’s only the Department of Agriculture and the administration who’d be able to answer that question. There is a world where if there is no appropriation for the programs, there is no program at all. Even after the government re-opens, if the law that re-opens it doesn’t include funding for SNAP, there would just not be any authority for the government to fulfill those benefits, though the source hesitates to say so.

If you have a local food pantry and have been holding off giving, now would be a good time. They’re going to be slammed from this with no help in sight. Trump doesn’t care about any of these people and he and McConnell are all too happy to sacrifice them if it means “winning” in this mess.

And while we’re here, JUST ONE MORE GODDAMN PERSON please write a column about how both sides need to come to an agreement. Democrats have offered approximately everything BUT a giant border wall in order to reopen the government, and since they now have the House, we OUGHT to be due a few hundred thousand words on how Republicans need to reach across the aisle and compromise but no, it’s all “this is happening because we are so partisan and divided” and “both sides” and just generally give me all the fucking breaks. It’s too stupid to believe, most days, where we are.

A.

America Held Hostage Day 31

The Trump shutdown goes on and on and on. As does the president* himself: he tweeted 40 times yesterday according to Politico.

The Insult Comedian’s attempt to impose a “compromise” flopped. Bigly. It’s what happens when the “negotiations” involve only Republicans. It pissed off anti-immigration hardliners and was rejected out of hand by Nancy Smash *before* Trump spoke. She continues to play contract bridge while the president* plays go-fish.

The Turtle finally poked his head out of his shell but the proposal went nowhere Saturday and will not get 60 votes in the Senate. Democrats remain united even though reports of suffering federal employees are painful. We can’t negotiate with a gun pointed at our heads. If we give in, Trump will pull this stunt over and over again.

It’s Martin Luther King Day everywhere in the country except in Mississippi and Alabama where it’s MLK/Robert E. Lee Day. The Lost Cause dream dies hard in the cradle of the confederacy. I wonder if Jeff Beau Sessions is wearing gray today?

It’s “we wuz robbed” day in New Orleans after that egregious blown call in the NFC Championship game. There are even calls for a Saints parade on Super Bowl Sunday. I’m not crazy about the idea. I’d prefer placing the refs in the stocks and pelting them with stale King Cake, but that’s just me. Vengeance is sticky…

That concludes this edition of America Held Hostage. The last word goes to U2:

America Held Hostage Day 26

Flags by Jasper Johns

I did a daily update on the 2013 Ted Cruz shutdown using the Jasper Johns image above and the *original* title of a teevee news show hosted by Ted Koppel. Here’s how I explained it back when Cruz was clean-shaven and idea of President* Trump was a punch line:

I keep dating myself (I kiss and tell too) on this blog but I do it for a good cause. I remember when ABC News launched a late night newscast after bored students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took a bunch of hostages to avoid studying for finals. The show was originally called America Held Hostage before morphing into Nightline, which is apparently still airing but I haven’t seen it in eons. A late night network news show is now kinda quaint but it was cutting edge in 1979.

The Trump shutdown is in its 26th day, which is the longest in American history. That makes it the latest in a series of dubious firsts for the Trump regime.

The modern era of extortion by government shutdown started in 1995 when Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House and Bill Clinton president. The Gingrich shutdown was the previous record holder at 21 days. Clinton stood frim and the GOP took the blame for that shutdown.

I feel the pain of federal workers who have missed a paycheck but it’s important for Democrats to hold firm on the Trump shutdown. If they cave, he will keep doing this every time his will is thwarted. It’s extortion pure and simple.

Speaker Pelosi’s SOTU gambit was smashing. She *is* the host of the event and is hoping that Trump will be unable to resist the clarion call of a speech in the most dramatic setting imaginable. The Insult Comedian loves the sound of sycophantic GOPers cheering his every lie, after all. He’s unlikely to revert to the pre-1913 custom of a written SOTU. Woodrow Wilson initiated the modern in-person SOTU but he was a noted orator, not a ranter like Trump.

It’s time to thank the president* for taking responsibility for the shutdown. I’ll never forget the smirk on Chuck Schumer’s face when Trump fell into that trap. It’s what happens when you have no impulse control and cannot STFU. That’s why Rex Tillerson called him a fucking moron. Thanks, Trumpy.

At day 26, it’s no longer just the Trump shutdown, it’s the Trump-McConnell shutdown. There are the votes in the Senate to override a presidential veto but Chinless Mitch won’t schedule a vote despite how badly Republicans are tanking in the polls. The Turtle has crawled back into his shell. I didn’t know they hibernated.

The last word on the Trump-McConnell-Limbaugh-Coulter shutdown goes to Josh Marshall:

Republicans are desperate – and not even doing much or well to hide it – to have Democrats start negotiating with them about a wall. We’ve moved on from demanding the chunk of money. Now it’s wanting to negotiate, begging frankly. For all the atmospherics and strategies, the only important point to make is that the President is holding the government hostage to force his way. That has to stop. The shutdown bacillus that Newt Gingrich injected into our political system in 1995 must be eradicated. It was dormant for almost two decades until Republicans (neo-Gingrichites) returned to power in the House in 2011. It’s wrong. It’s destructive. And it’s the same principle we apply to all terrorists. You can’t negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers, because it encourages the behavior.

Republicans In Disarray

It’s been a bad week for the president* thus far. His wildly unpopular shutdown enters its 27th day, he’s been mocked for serving cold hamberders to jocks from Clemson, and his administration* has been leaking like a sieve. The stories about his NATO-phobia and Interpretergate have been particularly damaging as well as damning. It’s been an excellent week, however, for Putin’s plan to foment chaos in what used to be called the free world. We’ll just have to keep on rockin’

Enough of the Insult Comedian, let’s talk about *other* Republicans in disarray. Two past malakas of the week have been in the news: Steve King and Chris Christie.

The Same Old Racist Iowa Cornholer: Emulating Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is shocked, shocked to learn that Steve King is a bigot. Based on his legendary “untrustable in hungria” comment, McCarthy is not the brightest bulb in the lamp. He’s also not very observant: Steve King was a racist long before he was stripped of his committee assignments.  I wrote about it in a 2017 post called King Of The Bigots and Trip Gabriel of the Failing New York Times has compiled Steve King’s Greatest Hits. What a long, strange Trip it’s been.

Perhaps Kevin hadn’t noticed before because his head is so far up Trump’s ample rump that he’s been blind to King’s racism. It’s a lame excuse: King has been saying this shit since he was a member of the Iowa lege. This quote comes from 2002, when the Trump presidency* was just a bad dream:

Mr. King, in the Iowa State Senate, files a bill requiring schools teach that the United States “is the unchallenged greatest nation in the world and that it has derived its strength from … Christianity, free enterprise capitalism and Western civilization.”

The Congressman from next door Metry and past malaka of the week, Steve Scalise, has been too busy selling books and pretending NOT to be a more politically viable David Duke to notice King’s bigotry either. Scalise prefers code words to raw naked hatred but he’s guilty of Renault-ism as well:

The King of Bigots took to the House floor yesterday to defend himself:

Dolts like King always twist history to justify their words and actions. Many abolitionists were racists and preferred emigration and separation to integration and equality. I wonder if King has ever heard of Liberia.

The only reason Republicans stripped the bark off King’s committee assignments is that House Democrats voted to rebuke the Iowa Cornholer’s latest statements. The vote was 424-1. And the no vote came from Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush who thought the House should censure the King of Bigots.

Let’s move on to our next example of Republicans in disarray. The post title feels slightly illicit since it mocks a million such stories about Democrats in Tiger Beat on the Potomac aka Politico. Perhaps I’ll win the morning.

Governor Asshole’s Revenge: There’s a consensus out there that the Trump regime operates like a mob family. I’ve even given him a wise guy name: Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto.

The man who wanted to be Clemenza to Trump’s Godfather has written a book that verifies the old Sicilian adage “revenge is a dish best served cold.” I wonder if the dish is pizza? I happen to like cold, leftover pizza for breakfast. I’ve also been known to hold a grudge.

Back to Christie’s upcoming tome, Let Me Finish. Yesterday, the Guardian published an exclusive article about the most explosive parts of the book, which involve the Governor Asshole/Slumlord Jared blood feud:

Christie blames this key player[Kushner] in the president’s inner circle for his ignominious dismissal shortly after Trump’s election victory in November 2016. Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, writes that Kushner’s role in his sacking was confirmed to him by Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief, in real time.

As Bannon was carrying out the firing, at Trump Tower in New York, Christie forced him to tell him who was really behind the dismissal by threatening to go to the media and point the finger at Bannon instead.

“Steve Bannon … made clear to me that one person and one person only was responsible for the faceless execution that Steve was now attempting to carry out. Jared Kushner, still apparently seething over events that had occurred a decade ago.”

The political assassination was carried out by Kushner as a personal vendetta, Christie writes, that had its roots in his prosecution, as a then federal attorney, of Charles Kushner in 2005. The real estate tycoon was charged with witness tampering and tax evasion and served more than a year in federal prison.

Apologies for the long quote but I couldn’t quite channel my inner Mario Puzo or David Chase this morning, so I let the Guardian guys do it for me.

I’ve missed having Governor Asshole to kick around. I’m glad he’s publishing an *almost* tell-all book about the Trump regime. I say almost because he’s softer on Trumpberius than on anyone else:

At his first meeting with Trump in 2002, at a dinner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in New York, Trump ordered his food for him. He chose scallops, to which Christie is allergic, and lamb which he has always detested. Christie recalls wondering whether Trump took him to be “one of his chicks”.

At another dinner three years later Trump told the obese Christie he had to lose weight. Addressing him like one of the contestants in Miss Universe, the beauty contest organisation that he owned, Trump said “you gotta look better to be able to win” in politics.

Trump returned to the theme of girth during the 2016 presidential campaign, exhorting Christie to wear a longer tie as it would make him look thinner.

Christie hates lamb? Fuck him and the long red tie he rode in on. Was that a bridge too far? Nah, in the immortal words of Bobby Bacala:

No, Bobby, I don’t. It’s what I do.

There’s one more example of Republicans in disarray. Chinless Mitch may be preventing a vote on re-opening the government but he lost a vote yesterday, which had to be one of the most newsworthy Tuesdays in history. One could even call it Christie Gras.

The Oleg Deripaska Sanctions Blues: Team Trump wants to lift sanctions on the Russian oligarch to whom Paul Manafort owes millions of dollars, Oleg Deripaska. 11 Republican Senators joined Democrats to stop this move in its tracks; one of whom, to my great surprise, was Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy of Neelyisms fame. As Neely himself might put it, even a blind pig finds an acorn sometime. Boy howdy.

This was a preliminary vote: they need 2 more GOP votes to stop Mnuchin’s folly but any sign  of Republican disarray is inordinately pleasing. Props to Chuck Schumer for organizing this mini uprising. He’s showing more backbone since Nancy Smash became Speaker. Keep it up, Chuck.

That concludes this episode of Republicans In Disarray Theatre. The last word goes to the Gin Blossoms who have anthropomorphized disarray.

The Fog Of Scandal: Worst Case Scenario

Photo via radioopensource.org

I wasn’t surprised by Friday’s NYT blockbuster but I was still shocked. We need to retain the capacity to be shocked, if we lose it, they win. There are more stories of White House horrors in the pipeline, if we’re numb to the outrages, they win. This is not normal.

I’ve resisted the temptation to label Kremlingate the worst scandal in American political history, but that ended Friday with the confirmation that the FBI has investigated Trump’s sinister pro-Russian conduct as president*. Imagine if Woodrow Wilson had connived with the Kaiser in 1916 or if FDR was in league with Tojo and Hirohito in 1940. That’s where we find ourselves in 2019.

I deliberately picked the years before war was declared (a quaint thing we used to do in the pre-Korea/Vietnam/Gulf Wars era) to remind everyone that Trump’s peacetime affiliation with Putin’s Russia is subversion and sedition, not treason, which, as I pointed out early last year, is the only crime defined in the constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

An additional definition is offered in the constitutional dictionary:

treason n the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one’s country or of assisting its enemies in war.

We’re not at war with Russia and when it comes to the law words matter. I understand why the T word and its variations roll off the tongue and one’s twitter timeline but repeat after me:  Kremlingate is sedition, not treason.

I’m *almost* a Russia hawk but I don’t want war. Bullies like Putin should be resisted. But we should use the tried and tested methods of containment. It worked with the infinitely more powerful Soviet Union. Putin’s efforts to subvert small-L, small-D liberal democracy by stealth are an admission of weakness, not strength. Unfortunately, we have a fake tough guy as president* who is compromised by Russian intelligence.

Until last Friday, I was in favor of slow walking impeachment. I’m well aware that it’s a politically explosive topic. The last thing I want is for Trump’s eroding base to rally around him BUT with the latest confirmation of his seditious activities there’s no choice but to impeach. Timing remains important: the House should wait for Muller to issue his final report on the Kremlingate aspects of this sprawling scandal. BUT they will have to confront this issue directly this year even if the votes to convict in the Senate aren’t there. At the very least, impeachment will turn this president* into a political eunuch.

As I’ve said many times before, Watergate was my formative political issue. In fact, I’m currently re-reading Woodstein’s The Final Days. So, I’m loathe to admit that any scandal is worse than Watergate or that any president is more corrupt than Richard Nixon but the time has come to put aside my “childish ways” and agree with Congressperson Rashida Tlaib that it’s time to “impeach the motherfucker.”

Punching Above Her Weight

I was an agnostic on the subject of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez until recently. She ran a great primary campaign against a complacent incumbent but she’s a freshman, which gives her little to no power. That, and my opinion of her, changed when the conservative media began its campaign to elevate her. That was not their intention but their idiotic and downright hysterical attacks on AOC have transformed her into one of the stars of the class of 2018. Holy unintended consequences, Batman.

Thus far the flying monkeys of the far right have attacked AOC for:

  • Being factually challenged. Compared to Trump, she’s Norm Ornstein.
  • Being a bartender. So much for the dignity of work. Besides, her former vocation has given her the ability to out-shout and out-heckle her enemies.
  • Going by the nickname of Sandy while in college. They seem to think this should be a hanging offense. Oy, just oy.
  • Dancing and looking vaguely goofy on a video from her college days. Her response was to post a video showing herself dancing into Congress. Dance shaming did not work.
  • Taking a selfie of her bare feet whilst bathing. This was debunked by foot fetishists at something called Wiki Feet. I am not making this up.
  • Calling Trump a racist. That’s called telling the truth.
  • Rush Limbaugh called her “uppity” not long after Ed Rollins dismissed her as a “little girl.”  Perhaps she should be more like Butterfly McQueen as Prissy in Gone With The Wind.

The result of these ludicrous attacks has been to dramatically raise her profile. Typically, rookie Congresscritters aren’t interviewed by Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes. One could call that encounter AC meets AOC. She even has her own acronym: talk about branding.

AOC is a helluva counter-puncher. Thus far, her responses to her critics have been pitch perfect. She’s a social media ninja who knows how to make her critics look small and petty. It helps that they are.

These bizarre and ineffectual attacks are rooted in the fear of strong women that pervades the political right. The attacks on AOC have empowered her instead of taking her down. They need a new playbook. White male hysteria isn’t working for them.

Speaking of white male hysteria, here’s how the great Dahlia Lithwick put it:

These men aren’t afraid of these women because they’re part of a movement, although they are. They’re terrified because these women are empowered professionals who have parlayed careers in institutions of power to become formidable political actors. Calling them uncivil or bad mommies or child-like isn’t effective when women are legitimate holders of high office—and yet, as we see, it continues in ever-more comically depressing forms. As Virginia Heffernan notes, “These moth-eaten virgin-whore tropes have become self-satirizing. If you think misogyny has faded since ‘Mad Men’ days, you’re wrong. In fact, as women pack the halls of power, it seems more virulent than ever, as conservatives convulse in fear at losing their old rubrics of control. They lash out more than Don Draper ever did.”

As a retired Mad Men recapper, I think Tucker, Rush, and their ilk are much worse than Dapper Don Draper. He came to accept Peggy and Joan as powerhouses. AOC’s critics are too busy fluffing Trump to evolve. Until they do, she’ll keep punching above her weight.

We conclude this episode of Dance Shaming Theatre with a little ditty from the Seventies:

No Plan, No Endgame

I didn’t get all the agita yesterday about Trump’s Oval Office speech. It lived up (down?) to my low expectations. He’s a terrible, and worse, boring speaker without an audience. To quote the man himself, it was low energy. Additionally, nobody except his hardcore 25-30% believes anything he says. The only people capable of being hoodwinked already wear pointy hoods in private.

Nothing Trump said last night matters. It was his greatest hits with a dull delivery. It’s hard to cry wolf when you look ready to nod off at a moment’s notice.  He made absolutely no news, which made the speech an exercise in futility. It was also an exercise in distraction. The Trump regime is slowly but surely circling the bowl and they know it:

Trump’s aides fear he has given himself no way out. “The president put himself in a box,” the former official in touch with the White House told me. “The problem is there’s no endgame. Right now the White House is at a seven on the panic scale. If this thing goes on past the State of the Union they’re going to be at an 11.” Another prominent Republican close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described Trump’s handling of the shutdown as “total fucking chaos.”

That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

The box in question is his political coffin. In the article quoted above, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman called the Mexican stand-off that is the shutdown, “Trump’s Alamo.” The president* is likely to identify with Davy Crockett, after all. Crockett was a peckerwood with a coon skin cap atop his head and Trump is an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head.

I’m convinced that the main reason Trump gave that lame racist speech last night is jealousy. The Democratic House is the bright shiny object in town and they’ve gotten tons of favorable media coverage. Trump not only thrives on the spotlight, he needs it. He’s afraid he’ll disappear if he’s not the center of attention 24/7/365.

Chuck and Nancy have become a formidable duo but the staging of their response last night was downright weird. It was summed up neatly by Herriman biographer and parade route book signer Michael Tisserand:

Others have compared them to the immortal hicks in Grant Wood’s American Gothic. They *were* stiff, but Nancy from Balmer and Chuck from Brooklyn are way too urban to be immortal Iowa hayseeds.

It’s time for people to stop thinking Donald Trump has supernatural political powers. He’s an unpopular president* whose party lost the midterm popular vote in a landslide. Last night’s speech was a dulled down distillation of his 2018 stump rants. It didn’t work then. Why would it work now?

The Trump shutdown shows the perils of winging it. House Republican leaders are worried that dozens of their members will rebel and support Speaker Pelosi’s efforts to reopen the government. At least four GOP Senators are making noises about reopening the government; one of whom is Colorado’s Corey Gardner who is already atop the Senate Dems 2020 hit list.

Trump lies about everything. He should take Chuck and Nancy up on their offer to reopen the government and debate the stupid wall later. Then, he could lie about it and declare victory. It would be a small lie by his standards. I bet them dead presidents would approve.

Is this Trump’s Waterloo? I’m not sure about that but he’s certainly circling the loo.

This is what happens when you cry wolf without a plan or an endgame.

The last word goes to Todd Rundgren:

Welcome Back, Nancy Smash

Thursdays are usually uneventful but yesterday was a historic day. Nancy D’Allesandro Pelosi became the first person to regain the Speakership since Sam Rayburn in 1955. In some ways, Mister Sam and NDP are similar: Rayburn was a stern, loving, and  forgiving patriarch to the Democratic caucus of his day. Substitute matriarch and that description fits Nancy Smash to a T.

I love watching swearing-in days on Capitol Hill and this one was particularly joyful as Speaker Pelosi invited the children of members to join her on the podium as she was sworn in. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few Republican kids joined in the scrum.

I’ve always been a Pelosi fan. She combines the best qualities of a reformer and a machine politician. She comes by the latter honestly: her father and brother were both Mayors of Baltimore. The Maryland delegation all referred to her as Nancy D’Allesandro Pelosi as did possible future Speaker Hakeen Jeffries who also called her NDP. I like it as it evokes another tough, wily, and brilliant broad, RBG. I plan to steal it now that I’ve given Rep, Jeffries credit.

I’m a sucker for roll calls and this one was a pip. One of my favorite moments was when Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis cast his vote, “Make America Great Again: Nancy Pelosi.” Yeah you right, Steve.

The euphoria will soon fade but the House is in good hands. NDP might not be the best public speaker BUT she’s a brilliant inside player. Michael Steele was chairman of the RNC in 2010, and he’s admitted that they demonized Nancy Smash because she was so “damn effective.”

People also fear powerful women:

There was a brief moment in Nancy Pelosi’s life when she worried she had too much power. She had so many titles in the California Democratic Party, including chairwoman, that she told Lindy Boggs, a Louisiana congresswoman, that she was thinking of giving some up.

That was in 1984, and Ms. Boggs “said, ‘Darlin’, no man would ever think that. Don’t you give anything up,’” Ms. Pelosi said in a recent interview, leaning forward as she mimicked Ms. Boggs’s Southern accent. “And then she said, ‘Know thy power.’”

Yeah you right, Lindy.

Finally, I cannot resist pointing out that Tony Bennett, Tim Gunn, and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart were among Nancy Smash’s invited guests yesterday. I had somehow missed the Pelosi-Dead connection previously but it tickles me:

The fact that the 78-year-old Pelosi loves the Dead isn’t surprising. After all, she represents California’s 12th district, which is comprised of tie-dyed ground zero San Francisco, a city practically synonymous with the Dead. Pelosi, conveniently, happens to be a huge fan. Back in 2015, a source spotted Pelosi at a show during the Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead tour and told the San Francisco Chronicle that the congresswoman “was definitely free-form dancing.” She was also spotted heading backstage during intermission to say hello to Hart.

Loving the Dead is apparently a tradition in the Pelosi clan. “It’s a tough competition in my family for the favorite Grateful Dead song. For myself, it’s ‘Fire on the Mountain,’” the House speaker told fashion designer Tori Burch’s Tory Daily blog in 2015. “‘Ripple,’ however, has been a Pelosi family lullaby for years now. My daughter Christine has sung it to my granddaughter ever since she was three months old, and now my granddaughter sings it herself.”

The last word goes to the Grateful Dead and Jimmie Dale Gilmore with apologies to John B. Sebastian:

The Last Gasps

This woman: 

The 2007 resolution wasn’t the only legislation Hyde-Smith backed that would elevate Mississippi’s Confederate history. The Washington Post reported that in 2001, Hyde-Smith introduced a bill as a state senator to rename a stretch of highway to what it had been called in the 1930s: the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway, after the president of the Confederacy.

And in photos posted to her Facebook account in 2014, Hyde-Smith was pictured posing with Confederate artifacts during a visit to Beauvoir, the home and library of Davis. The caption on the post read, “Mississippi history at its best!”

Not long after Trump’s election someone described his campaign as the Going Out of Business Sale for White Baby Boomers and, with the exception of the Freedom Riders, yeah, pretty much. This angry old bat is a Type. I know ten of her, they all go to church every Sunday and while they’d never refuse to shake a black person’s hand they have no qualms about saying things that come straight out of Jesse Helms’ mouth when they’re amongst their own.

Jesse Helms was in recent memory. As were Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott, Tom DeLay, and Barbara Bush saying Katrina victims made out like bandits after the hurricane because they were poor anyway. They’re not leaving us fast enough to change at the pace we need. There are people are living, who screamed at children going to school because they were black children. They still write letters to the newspaper about “welfare” and “busing” and would tell you their neighborhood was fine until “those people” “ruined” it. They still vote.

This rictus-grinning standard-bearer for white American power has gotta be the last one we’ve gotta fight, right? Every year of the past 20 I’ve hoped it’s the last time we have to have an election about the 1970s but every year it’s become more clear that the elections of the 1970s were about the 1870s and if we’re not over THAT, the Earth will collapse into the sun before we get over Vietnam.

Can the store just go out of business already? They’re down to the screws that held the fixtures on the walls. Pretty soon they’ll be selling off the linoleum. Can we please just lock the doors and board it up and walk away?

A.

Tweet Of The Day: Nancy Smash Challenge Edition

It’s no secret that we’re Nancy Pelosi fans here at First Draft. The first female speaker was also one of the most effective. It’s why she was targeted by Republicans in the 2010 teabagger wave election and in every subsequent campaign. It’s best when your boogieman (boogiewoman in this instance) can really boogie.

Pelosi just led Democrats to their biggest gains in the House since the post-Watergate wave election way back in 1974. Instead of meeting with acclaim, she’s facing a challenge led by the #FiveWhiteGuys with support from the cats and kittens at Politico.

Since none of them has the balls to stand for leader, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and the other #FiveWhiteGuys thought they’d found the perfect stalking horse in African American Congressperson Marcia Fudge. They were outmaneuvered by the wily Pelosi who cut a deal with Fudge yesterday. It’s why she’s been House Democratic leader longer than anyone since Sam Rayburn.

That brings us to the tweet of the day. It’s a joke I considered stealing outright but decided not to. Without further adieu, here it is:

Campaign Notes: Concessions & Patience

It seemed only fitting to begin this post with a visual pun. Who among us doesn’t like that kind of concession? There was, however, the time I ate way too many Milk Duds whilst seeing Boyz In The Hood, a great movie that left me with a great bellyache.

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, the aftermath of the 2018 midterms. One lesson I’ve drawn from them is that candidates in close races should *never* concede early. His subsequently retracted concession has left Florida’s Andrew Gillum in an awkward position in his ongoing electoral dispute with Trump Mini-Me Ron DeSantis. Bill Nelson may be dull but he was wily enough to refuse to concede, which has left him in a stronger political position than the charismatic Tallahassee Mayor.

An obvious lesson of the midterms is that the Republicans are the party of voter fuckery and mendacious fraud claims. Democrats should be the “COUNT EVERY VOTE” party. That’s why early concessions are for the birds. What difference does it make if a candidate concedes on election night? Never forget how that came back to bite Al Gore in the ass. There were even recount tchotchkes:

Another lesson to be drawn from the midterms is that voters, pundits, and pols need to learn patience, which is extra-difficult in the age of instant gratification. We all want things to be clear when Kornacki is working the big board on election night. The way votes are cast and counted in 2018 requires us to take a deep breath and be patient. Krysten Sinema’s victory was not confirmed until nearly a week later, which resulted in the coolest concession of the cycle featuring  a dog named Boomer:

Martha could afford to be gracious. She’s widely expected to McSally forth and be appointed to replace Jon Kyl in the late John McCain’s Senate seat. I guess they couldn’t find another guy named John or Jon.

Back to the virtue of patience. I, too, was impatient in calling my election wrap up post, Split Decision. It was instead a slow motion blue wave. House Democrats are on target to gain 38-40 seats, which is the most the party has gained since the 1974 post-Watergate wave. The worst case scenario in the Senate is a loss of two instead of the feared 4-6. Democrats are on track to win the national popular vote by 7+ points, which tops 2006 as well as the GOP wave years of 1994 and 2010. Absent Gerrymandering and Republican election fuckery, it would have been a slow motion tsunami.

Unlike some observers, I am more interested in the progress of the incoming 116th Congress than in speculating about who will run for president in 2020. Unfortunately, the MSM is more interested in horse races than in the reform agenda already being offered by House Democrats.

After two very grim years, these are heady times for Democrats. My fingers are crossed that they won’t blow it with foolish rebellions against the leadership. We’re in a national crisis. This is no time to replace Nancy Smash with a rookie leader. Do House Democrats need to figure out a long-term leadership succession plan? Absolutely, but now is not the time. It’s time to take the battle to the Republicans, not form a circular firing squad.

As a concession to the beginning of the post, let’s all go to the lobby:

 

The Fog Of Scandal: More Trouble Every Day

Donald Trump insists on being the center of attention even when it’s not in his best interest. His post-election presser was a tangle of pathology. I’ve never seen a party leader trash losing candidates by name. Their sin was a refusal to imbibe this:

Image by Michael F.

Candidates who swilled the nasty shit down also lost House races. Trump’s raw naked emotion yesterday was yet another failure of leadership. It also drew attention to the GOP’s poor performance in House races. The election may not have been the repudiation of Trumpism we hoped for BUT it was a stinging rebuke.

The Insult Comedian once again proved that he’s a fake tough guy by refusing to announce Jeff Bo’s “resignation” at the presser. It would have interfered with yelling at reporters. A genuine tough guy wouldn have faced the media shitstorm head on. The irony is that Jeff Bo was shitcanned for doing the ONLY decent thing he did as Attorney General: recuse himself from overseeing the Kremlingate probe. As to Trumpberius: he’s a pussy, he should grab himself.

The much feared slow motion Saturday Night Massacre began yesterday with the appointment of Iowa cornholer Matt Whitaker as acting Attorney General. I saw him misdescribed as a loyalist and a crony. Whitaker is lackey who was appointed solely to attack the Mueller probe.

Whitaker’s Trumpworld sponsor is Sam Clovis who also brought Carter Page and George Papadopolous to that deranged corner of the political universe. Clovis is a  minor witness in the  Kremlingate probe. That, in and of itself, should force Whitaker to make like Jeff Bo and recuse himself, but his writings and tevee appearances *should* make recusal mandatory:

“It is time for Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel,” he wrote then. “If he doesn’t, then Mueller’s investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition.”

He subsequently argued that the DOJ should starve the Mueller probe of funding and turn down any requests involving Trump’s finances. He was planted at DOJ to wreak havoc on the investigation. He’s a tumor that has metastasized into full-blown cancer.

It’s unclear what would happen if the DOJ’s ethics office informs Whitaker that he must recuse himself. Indications are that he will refuse to recuse, which could eventually result in disbarment. I hope that such a refusal  leads to targeted resignations and/or a work strike by DOJ lawyers. They’ve sworn an oath to protect and defend the constitution, not a criminal president*.

Does this mean the Kremlingate probe will end? Hell no. Bobby Three Sticks strikes me as someone who has a backup plan for his backup plan.

What we’re seeing here is obstruction of justice in broad daylight. It’s a blatant and premeditated attempt by Team Trump to hijack the constitution. Yes, I said premeditated; usually, the Insult Comedian just wings it. This time is different: it was timed to happen *before* Democrats assume control of the House. The incoming Chairman of the Judiciary Committee is demanding answers:

Anyone who tells you that they know where Demented Donald’s Wild Toady Ride will end up is kidding themselves. The situation is volatile and fluid. Only one thing is certain: these are the actions of a guilty man out to save his worthless ass.

The last word on this chaotic Thursday goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers:

Campaign Notes: Split Decision

I can’t let go of my beloved tick tock image of Harold Lloyd in Safety Last. I decided to give it an encore after a long night of watching/following the election returns. It still aptly describe the state of a nation with a Republican senate and lunatic president*.

Overall, it was a good night for Democrats: the House was the Big Kahuna. But it has so many moving parts that it’s harder for the average person to follow. Still, Democrats won the majority and there were upsets galore in Virginia, New York, Iowa, California, Texas and a real shocker with Kendra Horn’s win in Oklahoma. There will be more than 100 women in the next Congress. That’s genuine progress.

Like Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, and Ella Fitzgerald,  I prefer to accentuate the positive:

Anyone with a lick of sense knew how difficult the Senate would be since 2/3 of the seats up were held by Democrats. It was worse than expected since three of the No on Kavanaugh red state senators Donnelly, Heitkamp, and McCaskill were defeated. Montana Senator John Tester’s race was just called in his favor, which means that Washington will be spared another real estate developer in office.

I think Democratic expectations were too high last night. It’s going to take more than one election to turn things around. The GOP’s post-2006 comeback took five election cycles. The House fell first for the GOP in 2010 because it’s more democratic. The Senate was never intended to be a democratic institution. Its members were elected by state leges until 100 years ago, after all.

I’m going to use the ultra-punditty “takeaway” format for the rest of the post. It’s otherwise known in these parts as Odds & Sods or First Draft Potpourri. I’ve been stirring the potpourri here for nine years, so why stop now?

Shooting Stars: The three most exciting candidates of the cycle were Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum, and Stacey Abrams. They all got the fuzzy end of the electoral lollipop. Ms. Abrams, quite rightly, has refused to concede.

Since I was skeptical of Betomania, I’m more impressed by the results than the idolators.  It has been 28 years since a Democratic candidate received 48% of the vote in a statewide race in ruby red Texas. That candidate was, of course, Ann Richards and if there’s an afterlife I know she’s “so fucking proud” of Beto. Democrats made advances in the state lege, knocked off two House GOP committee chairman, and now believe they can win statewide. I think every race should be run the way Beto ran his: with courage, inspiration, and passion.

We re-learned two important lessons last night with Andrew Gillum’s narrow defeat:

  • Florida is still where political hearts go to be broken.
  • The Bradley effect is still in effect.

The Bradley in question is former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. He appeared to have a substantial lead over of GOPer George Deukmejian in the 1982 race to succeed Jerry Brown as California Governor. Bradley lost. The Bradley effect was born. To be fair, Bradley was more of a black Bill Nelson but, as Bob Marley would surely say at this point, who the cap fit, let them wear it.

I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Beto O’Rourke or Andrew Gillum. As to the other shooting star, Stacey Abrams has, quite rightly, refused to concede to Thievin’ Brian Kemp for reasons we’ll go into in our next segment.

The Power Of Red State Election Fuckery: Brian Kemp was up to his old vote suppression tricks on election day in Georgia. There were missing power cords, power outages, and other mishaps yesterday. They all seemed to occur in heavily Democratic areas. Incompetence or election fuckery? I think it was both.

Stacey Abrams refuses to concede until all the votes are counted in the hopes of winning enough to force a run-off. She has good reason to keep at it: there are 400K disputed votes.

We all seem to have underestimated the staying power of voter fuckery. Barack Obama and Eric Holder are right on this issue. Their effort to dial back voter suppression is not mere wonkery but crucial to the future of our democracy. The good news is that Dems flipped some state leges and won a raft of Governorships. That will help kickstart the repair work. It’s time to unfuck the electoral system.

Good News: Some really odious people were defeated yesterday. This calls for bullet points, not bullets, since we’re non-violent gun grabber types around here:

  • Dana Rohrabacher got a Harley Rouda awakening.
  • Dave Brat is still the worst.
  • Kris Kobach
  • Dean Heller
  • Corey Stewart
  • Bruce Rauner
  • Claudia Tenney
  • Scott Walker

I saved the best for last. My friend and colleague Scout Prime posted a tweet thread about the defeat of the man Doc calls Governor Deadeyes:

Click on the date at the bottom of the tweet image to read the whole thread. Well done, amiga.

While we’re posting tweets, here are the publisher lady’s thoughts on the killjoys who want to spoil our festive mood:

People seem to underestimate the magnitude of flipping the House. There are some aggressive incoming chairs with itchy subpoena fingers: Jerry Nadler, Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummings to name a few. In between bragging about his “victory,” the Insult Comedian understands the threat, which led him to issue one of his own:

So much for that “softer tone” thing. Then there was this bit of projection:

The battle has been joined. No retreat, no surrender.

A split decision is much better than losing everything. Two years are an eternity in politics. Team Mueller has been in time-out for the last month. I expect them to make some noise in the near future that will harsh the Insult Comedian’s buzz.

One more thing. The funniest result yesterday was out of Nevada: Dennis Hof won a state assembly seat. It’s noteworthy because of his occupation and another salient fact. Here’s my headline:

DEAD PIMP WINS

How can I possibly top that?

The last word goes to Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton:

Album Cover Art Wednesday will return next week.

Campaign Notes: Running Scared

Harry Truman has long been the patron saint of underdogs. As you can see, Senator Heidi Heitkamp had a Trumaneque election night moment in 2012. The North Dakota GOP has been working overtime to prevent another Heitkamp upset with an effort to suppress the Native American vote. The Senator is still fighting the good fight as the title of a profile of her by Irin Carmon illustrates: Heidi Heitkamp Doesn’t Care That You Think She’s Going To Lose. Here’s hoping that political lightning strikes again.

The tragic events of the last week have stalled GOP momentum in the campaign. Even the ordinarily obtuse and insensitive president* has noticed. Of course, he’s been whining about it instead of placing it in proper perspective and accepting his share of the blame because of his abhorrent behavior. The Insult Comedian is not big on perspective or accepting responsibility. He thinks the world revolves around him, not the sun. Believing your own rhetoric is hazardous to your political health, especially when it’s a tissue of lies.

As to the post title, Democrats are running scared and Republicans are running scary. Trump is incapable of running a positive campaign and not talking about himself. He is also scared to death that Team Mueller will come after him after election day. Count on it, asshole.

I remain optimistic about our chances in the House. The Senate map remains tough but if enough suburban voters are repelled by Trump’s hateful and hate-filled rhetoric there could be a surprise. The GOP deserves a comeuppance for foisting this third-rate strong man on us. Let’s hope they get what Bush called “a thumping” in 2006 and Obama called “a shellacking” in 2010.

Trump’s rhetoric gets more extreme by the day. He’s even dragging the military into politics by sending troops to counter the so-called caravan invaders:

Restating his vow to deploy thousands more troops to the southwest border, Trump fumed over border-crossers and said he had instructed U.S. military personnel to “consider it a rifle” if incoming migrants hurl stones at them: “Anybody throwing stones, rocks … we will consider that a firearm because there’s not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock.”

I have a lot of respect for our armed forces. I’ve never met a single officer who would order their soldiers to fire on unarmed civilians for throwing rocks. It’s time for a musical antidote to the bigoted GOP campaign:

Trump knows nothing about the military. Not only did he not serve, NO MEMBER of the Trump family has ever worn a uniform; not even in World War II. Fred Trump was too busy screwing the poor to take up arms in defense of our country. All the military age men in my immigrant  family served in World War II and my Uncle Bill was killed in action in Italy. I take this personally.

They may be unwilling to go on the record but many GOPers expect Trump’s bigoted rhetoric to backfire bigly:

…but congressional Republicans battling for political survival in swing districts with large clusters of college-educated voters and women have grown increasingly worried that such groups are having trouble stomaching what Trump is dishing up.

“The kind of voters Trump is talking to right now, there aren’t enough of them in these areas to get us over the finish line,” said one GOP campaign official.

“We understand this is an issue that motivates his base, but the economic issues are what we really need to win these swing voters because they are who’s going to decide who controls the House,” the official told POLITICO, adding that Trump “is solidifying swing voters who were already leaning Democratic and are now definitely going vote for Democratic candidates.”

Make it so, voters. Make it so. The last word goes to the late, great Roy Orbison.

Oops, I forgot something:

4 DAYS UNTIL THE MIDTERMS. TICK TOCK, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Cruel Crazy Beautiful World

The mind reels over how much has been going on in the news. Election run-ups are usually action packed but 2018 has been frenetic.

The word of the day is nativism. I know, that’s always the word of the day at the Trump White House, but they’ve gotten loud even for them. They’re not only letting their xenophobic freak flag fly, they’re waving it wildly.

I had Johnny Clegg’s song Cruel Crazy Beautiful World in my head all day yesterday. It lends itself to the rush of events:

You have to wash with the crocodile in the river
You have to swim with the sharks in the sea
You have to live with the crooked politician

Clegg came to worldwide attention as a political/cultural dissident in apartheid era South Africa. His crime was to be a white man who made music with black musicians. It was a Cruel Crazy Beautiful World then and it still is. If anything, the Current Occupant has made it crueller and crazier. The beauty is supplied by the resistance.

We begin with the Cruel. Trump famously floated the notion of banning birthright citizenship by executive order in an interview with Axios, which is best described as Politico Lite. That was not shocking, what was shocking was the gullible response by many people: they bought it and freaked out. I assumed it was clear to most people that this was Trump throwing shit against the wall to see what would stick. He’s been trying to change the subject to Trumper friendly ground ever since the MAGA Bomber story broke.

While there are apparently a handful of wingnut lawyers who believe that birthright citizenship can be abolished by executive order, they’re full of shit. The right is enshrined in the 14th amendment and was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the Wong Kim Ark case. It’s a 120 year old precedent that the current Court is unlikely to overrule but that’s what must be done, either in court or via the amendment process. Even the conservative Weekly Standard agrees.

One more thing. Trump claimed that the US is the only country with birthright citizenship. Wrong again, you lying asshole. There are at least 30; many of which are in Latin America. Beware of the brown peril: they’re rushing our borders as I write this. #sarcasm

Trump may think he’s a dictator but he’s not one as long as there’s a free press and an independent judiciary. The phantom executive order is a moral abomination. It’s also unclear if this intervention is helpful in electoral terms. Many of the toss-up House seats are in suburban districts where voters find this sort of nativist raw meat politicking indigestible. One Pennsylvania GOPer even called it “political malpractice.”

There are signs that the ties that bind establishment Republicans to Trumpberius are beginning to fray. The administration was unable to find any congressional leaders to go to Pittsburgh with him. I think they were afraid that he’d go into Insult Comedian mode and get all squirrely on Squirrel Hill.

Let’s move on to the Crazy. For days there were twitter rumors that some anti-Mueller shit was going to hit the fan and splatter all over the Special Counsel. The ringleaders were a right-wing lobbyist/conspiracy theorist and a pipsqueak twitter personality/blogger named Jacob Wohl. They figured they’d capitalize on the #MeToo moment and claim that the straight-laced Bobby Three Sticks was a rapey motherfucker. Everyone would believe their story, right? Wrong again, you lying assholes. Team Mueller has referred this matter to the FBI for investigation. The wingnuts are crawfishing like, well, Crazy. Natasha Bertrand broke the story, so get thee to the Atlantic.com. 

White Nationalist Congressman Steve King has always been cruel and crazy. Who among us will ever forget the “calves like cantaloupes” remark? Yesterday, there was some Beautiful news involving the Hawkeye Horror: he’s in political trouble.

House GOP campaign honcho Steve Stivers denounced the King of Bigots:

It’s a sign that the nativist campaign is not working as well as the Kaiser of Chaos thinks it is.

Additionally, Land O’ Lakes support for King has melted.  No more butter for the Hawkeye Horror. Apparently, pandering to European neo-Nazis isn’t all it’s cut out to be.

One final Beautiful note. King is in a statistical tie with his Democratic challenger JD Sholten.  He won re-election by 23% in the Trumptastic year of 2016. Even if he prevails, the mere fact that he’s in trouble indicates that the House GOP majority is in deep shit and sinking fast.

The last word goes to Johnny Clegg with a double dose of Cruel Crazy Beautiful World:

It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
Every time you wake up I hope it’s under a blue sky
It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
One day when you wake up I will have to say goodbye
Goodbye — it’s your world so live in it!


6 days until the midterms. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

The MAGA Bomber’s Enemies List

As of this writing, here’s who the MAGA Bomber is telling to pipe down by mailing them a pipe bomb:

  • George Soros
  • The Clintons
  • The Obamas
  • Eric Holder
  • John Brennan 
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz
  • Maxine Waters
  • Joe Biden
  • Robert DeNiro

Robert Fucking DeNiro? It’s a good thing that he’s not in his prime or he just might go Raging Bull or even Taxi Driver on someone’s ass.  I guess that makes him the Paul Newman of this dangerously crazy incident: the salad dressing mogul was on Nixon’s enemies list. Bobby D is in good company.

Trump made a statement yesterday at the White House. Here’s how some wise ass described it on the tweeter tube:

He was back in full tilt Insult Comedian mode at a rally in Wisconsin last night and tweeted this out this morning:

He seems to think his tiny hands are clean. They are not. I know incitement speech when I hear it. The MAGA Bomber has been paying attention to Trump’s stump rantings: the members of the enemies list have all been attacked by the president*. In a word, disgusting.

There’s evidence that the MAGA Bomber comes from the creepy world of Pepe the Frog:

The pipe bomb discovered Wednesday and addressed to former CIA director John Brennan via CNN features a parody of the ISIS flag with the words “get ‘er done,” a common right-wing meme, according to a Wednesday NBC report.

On the fake flag, the Arabic words are replaced by suggestive female silhouettes. The meme reportedly originated on a far-right parody site called World News Bureau.
So much for false flaggery. Pipe bomb trutherism is a pipe dream but Rush Limbaugh is still pushing it as were these MAGA Maggots yesterday in Florida:

We’ve had periods of political violence before in our history but the incitement never came from the White House. That’s what makes this moment in time so fraught with peril. Here’s how Charlie Pierce put it yesterday:
In the 1970s, there were no national politicians encouraging the Weathermen to involve themselves in the political process. Bernadine Dohrn didn’t get to visit the White House. Of course, in the 1950s and the 1960s, there were southern state politicians a’plenty who knew the people who were setting off the bombs, but the national government was pretty much on the other side; even though it was often dilatory in that regard, it got there eventually. (In 2002 and 2003, the last two culprits in the Birmingham church bombing were finally convicted by Doug Jones, now a senator from Alabama.)
The current president* of the United States trafficks in imaginary threats and encourages, by word and deed, feelings of dread and isolation and deep, familiar paranoia, the entire Hofstadter buffet. And there is an entire media infrastructure dedicated to reinforcing those feelings, 24-7, on all platforms of the modern communications industry. The Weathermen didn’t have their own TV network.
There’s only one palliative for the pernicious and mendacious fearmongering by the Party of Trump; VOTE on November 6th, and in every election thereafter. Democratic control of at least one House of Congress means oversight and investigations. A Republican victory means an emboldened president*, a cowed Congress, an expanded enemies list, and more right-wing domestic terrorism.