Category Archives: Congress

Ride The Tigers

I’m uncertain if I have a coherent post in me today. You’re probably saying: when was he ever coherent? I started Monday off by giving y’all a straight line, be nice.

Since I still have King Cake on my mind, I’m going to cut this post into slices.

Geaux Tigers: I’m as nervous as Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof about tonight’s national championship game. I’m not sure if I’m Brick, Maggie, or Big Daddy; mercifully, there’s nary a no-neck monster in sight and PD is undercover as a big blue lump on the bed. Make that under the covers…

My LSU Tigers have had a magical season, but they face a formidable foe in the Clemson Tigers. Formidable as in defending national champs and winners of two of the last three titles. The good news is that Coach O gets it. He was in the same position as an assistant at USC when the Texas Longhorns hooked the defending champion Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

LSU doesn’t  have the mascot advantage for a change; it’s the Tussle of the Tigers. We do have two of the three colors of Carnival on our side: purple and gold. Clemson’s color is orange. Not one of my favorite colors even though the fruit is swell and citrusy.

It’s time for a semi-relevant musical interlude:

The long layoff has me worried. One team is apt to be rusty, the other to be prepared. Let’s hope it’s the right Tigers who do the riding or some such shit.

I’d like to call your attention to an article in the Failing New York Times, which gives my main man Coach O his due:

Ed is officially a folk hero now but that doesn’t ease my pre-game jitters. The last word of the segment goes to Brian Setzer:

Speaking of riding tigers, the impeachment process is finally moving to the Senate.

Cover Up, Trump Style: Speaker Pelosi tried to nudge and/or coerce the Senate into giving a shit about its reputation, but Moscow Mitch seems to have dug in his heels. He’s declined to relinquish his iron hold on his caucus, which makes a fair trial much less likely. Mitch doesn’t give a damn, Harry Reid said last year that his former colleague had ruined the Senate. The ruination continues apace.

I’m still glad that Nancy Smash pulled the Tribe Gambit. It has made GOPers look bad to fair-minded members of the public, and resulted in a series of meltdowns by the Impeached Insult Comedian.  He continues to play the victim card. Apparently, he’s the most mistreated and misunderstood president* in history. Who knew? Imagine a president being impeached with such a strong economy. Just ask Bill Clinton about that, Donald.

It’s time for a relevant musical interlude:

These opening lyrics could easily be sung by President* Pennywise:

Just want to be misunderstood
want to be feared in my neighborhood
Just want to be a moody man
Say things that nobody can understand
I want to be obscure and oblique
Inscrutable and vague
So hard to pin down
I want to leave open mouths when I speak
Want people to cry when I put them down

That Pete Townshend is a smart fella. He’s the Cyrano of rock music, after all.

Speaking of heels, Trump is refusing to let John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and Mike Pompeo testify; even behind closed doors. Clearly, they have nothing to hide. #SARCASM

If the terrible trio had exonerating testimony, Trump would beg them to appear in public. This has nothing to do with executive privilege or national security. It’s defiance in the face of the facts. I suspect Pompeo is pleased not to have to perjure himself. He can stick to lying on the Sunday shows.

Frank Rich wrote a great piece for New York Magazine, What Will Happen To The Trump Toadies? In which he posits that they’ll get their comeuppance sooner or later. Nick Lowe said much the same thing way back in 1983:

Who knew that Pete Townshend and Nick Lowe would prove to be so prescient about the current president*? Not even a fan boy like me.

Let’s finish this potpourri post on a lighter note. It involves chicken, not tigers.

I Yam What I Yam: A contestant on the Canadian version of Family Feud mixed up her food groups; substituting chicken for spinach as Popeye the Sailor’s favorite food:

Love that chicken from Popeye’s.

I wonder if the toon liked yams since he was wont to say this:

His moocher pal, Wimpy, preferred hamburgers, and Olive Oyl seemed not to eat at all; certainly not fried chicken. Where the hell is this going? In the direction of the last word.

Since I originally called this post Monday Morning, the last word goes to Fleetwood Mac and Death Cab For Cutie:

Willard’s Political Hangover

One of my first posts last year was The Wind Cries Willard. A year later, I still have Willard Mittbot Romney on my mind and he still has President* Pennywise on his. If he so chooses, he will be one of the biggest players in the upcoming impeachment trial. The problem is that the Mittbot is programmed for political caution.

Romney is under pressure to do something, anything major on the impeachment front. Here’s what the Salt Lake Tribune had to say about his prospective role:

Romney has been a rare bird among Republicans, being sometimes willing to criticize the president over specific actions and utterances, not just during the 2016 campaign but since the administration took office. In the current unpleasantness, he has at least tried to hold himself out as an impartial juror, attempting to not prejudge the matter before the evidence has been heard.

It would thus be helpful to his own cause if Romney could muster whatever influence he has to make sure that the Senate does, indeed, hear the evidence.

While the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to actually remove a president, a mere 51-member majority can make the rules for the proceedings. If all 47 Democrats, and their two allied independents, stick together, the vote of Romney and two other Republicans could force a process where not only the evidence gathered in the House process is placed on the record, but documents so far withheld and witnesses thus far silenced are seen and heard.

If nothing else, such action will expose as a lie the protests of the president that he has not had the benefit of full due process, when it is the president himself who had blocked so much necessary information and so many knowledgeable witnesses.

Romney is, of course, perfectly positioned to play such a role: Trump is unpopular in Utah. It may be a red state, but the Mormon church opposes his xenophobic immigration policies. They view immigrants as souls to be harvested. The Mormon style stresses personal modesty, which is alien to the Impeached Insult Comedian. It’s no surprise that two of the GOPers willing to criticize Trump are Mormons: Romney and Jeff Flake.

Romney is as popular in Utah as Trump is unpopular. Beehive Staters felt honored that he ran for the Senate in 2018. He’s descended from a long line of LDS elders as well as the man who “rescued” the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. He came perilously close to being the first LDS POTUS in 2012. He has the status and stature to become a hero in 2020. What he’s lacking is the temperament. He’s a cautious motherfucker whose political style is best summed up by a cartoon I’ve posted twice before:

I feel another movie analogy coming on. Willard Mittbot Romney has something important in common with the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, he lacks the nerve to be bold:

Willard *could* once again be the King of the Republican forest if he summons forth the nerve to be bold. It took a medal from the Wizard for the Cowardly Lion to be a hero, not a pussy.

What will take for the Mittbot to stand up to the pussy-grabber-in-chief? Perhaps a similar editorial from the Deseret News, which is the organ of the Mormon church. Otherwise, it beats the hell outta me. I’ve overestimated the man who wanted to be the first robot president before and am reluctant to do so again. Stay tuned.

I nearly called this post The Wind Cries Willard Too. It’s a minor classic, after all. It struck me as equally funny to call it Willard’s Political Hangover since the Mittbot is programmed to be a teetotaler. Besides, it aptly describes his status on the national political stage: he’s under extreme pressure to act, which would drive lesser mortals to drink. In his case, inaction speaks louder than words. It’s time to stop blowing with the wind and have the nerve to act.

The last word goes to Squeeze:

The Decayed Decade

There’s nothing like the end of a decade to inspire what I like to call Listomania. I succumbed to that temptation at the end of the aughties myself. I’m going to spare you another list after going on and on and on with the Best of Adrastos.

Instead of a list, I’m going to reflect on the downward national political trajectory of the Decayed Decade. I had forgotten that my 2009 list was called Listomania: The Decayed Decade so I’m repeating myself title-wise. Good wordplay is a terrible thing to waste.

The dawn of the 2010’s found us with a Democratic Congress and the first African American president in our history. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, which was a first step in the direction of universal health care. The combination of “death panels, socialized medicine” and racism led to the Tea Party backlash midterm election of 2010.

The 2010 election was just the first backlash against the social changes sweeping the country. It’s not much discussed in 2019 but it opened the door for Trumpism, which is teabaggery without any pretense to principle. The Tea Party wave election dumbed down Congress and brought birtherism to the forefront of the national dialogue, which was capitalized upon by rank opportunists such as the Insult Comedian. The Koch brothers found Trump distasteful, but they set the table for a president* with lousy manners. The Trump regime belches Koch policy preferences without so much as an excuse me:

The political scene got dumber and grosser as the Decayed Decade marched on. Things got so bad in the House of Representatives that Speaker Boner stepped aside in 2015 as he couldn’t control his caucus because of all the yahoos and proto-Trumpers. It’s revealing of our current circumstances than I feel nostalgic for the Cryin’ Ohioan. He at least told the truth as he saw it as opposed to the rank fantasists who currently control the Republican party.

Lies and conspiracy theories became increasingly popular on the right as the Decayed Decade advanced. Democrats and Republicans now live in alternate universes. This is as good a time as any to re-quote a great American:

I wrote about the avalanche of mendacity and bullshit that overwhelmed our political dialogue in a recent post, Sound of Lies. The teabaggers and birthers got the ball rolling, then Fox News and Donald Trump brought mendacity into the mainstream, which is now muddier and more stagnant than a backwater swamp. The word fetid comes to mind.

The backlash was perfected with the 2016 election. The least qualified candidate in American history was elected president* with the help of the Russians and an archaic electoral college system. We’ve had rich businessman candidates before-Wendell Wilkie and Ross Perot spring to mind-but they had longstanding interests in public policy. Wilkie in foreign policy and Perot in the budget deficit. They both brought something to the table: Trump brought nothing but his ego and hollow rhetoric about “the swamp” and “forgotten man.” Both of which he forgot about upon his inauguration.

I don’t have to tell you in detail about the Trump regime’s small-minded and vindictive parade of policy horrors. Suffice it to say they were cooked up by Republican extremists long before Trump was taken seriously as a potential Oval One. Trumpism is Republicanism gone haywire. Extremists such as Stephen Miller realized that Trump was an empty vessel ready to be filled with xenophobic and hateful notions that had been percolating on the far right forever.

The result of the Decayed Decade is a GOP unrecognizable to Eisenhower Republicans such as my late father. They’ve gone so far off the schneid that I believe that Ronald Reagan would find it impossible to vote for the Impeached Insult Comedian in 2020.

A reminder that Reagan was a moderate on immigration and anti-Russian to his core. Putin is a KGB colonel who runs the successor state to the Soviet Union. His goals are indistinguishable from those of pre-Gorbachev Soviet leaders: destruction of NATO and the EU as well as a passion to regain lost territories such as the jewel in the crown of the Russian Empire, Ukraine. It’s called irredentism and Putin has a bad case of it. And Trump has a bad case of loving Putin:

Now that I’ve bummed you out, there are two positive indicators that the Twenties will be better than the Decayed Decade. Images of flappers and Gamaliel are dancing through my head now. The 1920’s roared until they didn’t.

First, the 2018 midterms were a pointed rebuke to the GOP and Trumpism. If not for gerrymandering, the seat pickup would have been greater as Dems won the popular vote by 8 points. For point of reference, the Reagan landslide in 1980 was by the same margin.

Second, impeachment. It shows that Democrats have become battle hardened by three years of resisting Trumpsim. I still hope that some Senate GOPers will vote against the party line BUT impeachment was a major triumph for the resistance. House Democrats did the right thing regardless of the political implications, which I happen to think will be positive. Of course, I’ve been wrong before and will be again. At least I get to call the president* the Impeached Insult Comedian. Thanks, Nancy and Adam.

It’s a relief that the Decayed Decade is just about done. Here’s hoping that the 2020’s will be politically kinder to the country. Who knows: perhaps the Charleston and Lindy-hop will stage a comeback? You never can tell.

The last word goes to Roy Orbison and Squeeze with different tunes titled It’s Over:

Quote Of The Day: Doug Jones On Impeachment

When it comes to the fecklessness of contemporary politicians, the MSM is part of the problem. They are so used to horse race coverage of politics that even good reporters ask questions that are crafted to ensure a craven answer. Alabama Senator Doug Jones surprised ABC’s Martha Raddatz yesterday:

ABC News “This Week” host Martha Raddatz pointed out to Jones that GOP strategists believe a vote to convict Trump would doom the Democratic senator in a ruby-red state that voted overwhelmingly for the President in 2016.

“Are you worried about that?” Raddatz asked.

Jones shook his head.

“I took an oath as a U.S. senator,” the Alabama Democrat said. “I’m going to take another oath, and that’s where my duty is.”

“I think the problem that we’ve got in America today, and the problem we have sometimes, with all due respect, in the media, everyone wants to talk about this in the political terms, in the political consequences term,” he continued. “This is a much more serious matter than that.”

Jones said the impeachment trial is about the future of the presidency and “how we want our presidents to conduct themselves,” along with “how a Senate should handle impeachment.”

“That’s how I’m looking at this,” he told Raddatz. “If I did everything based on a pure political argument, all you’d need is a computer to mash a button.

“It’s just not what this country’s about, it’s not what the Founders intended, it’s not what I intend to do,” the lawmaker added.

In an age of widespread political cowardice, it’s a pleasure to hear someone say that they’ll do the right thing and worry about the electoral consequences later. In fact, the House Democratic caucus is full of swing district members who voted to impeach the president* based on the merits, not the politics.

Doug Jones is the most endangered Senate Democrat up in 2020. He’s determined to do the right thing whatever the consequences. Here’s hoping that enough Senate Republicans will find the nerve to vote to hold a real trial next year. It only takes 51 votes and they don’t even have to commit to remove Trump. It shouldn’t take a Superperson to stand up for:

Long Day’s Journey Into Impeachment

Fog Of History

It’s all over but Republicans are still shouting. Is every annoying white guy in the country a House GOPer? Their lack of diversity was stunningly obvious today as old white dude after old white dude yelled at the cameras. Democratic house members used their inside voices and looked like America.

I have some random comments and remarks about a long, long day. I’m pooped, y’all. Thanks to Eugene O’Neill for inspiring the title. Dead men still tell tales.

I watched all day and my ears hurt from all the shouting. They seem to think that saying something really loud makes it true. I gave up counting all the lies from the Party of Trump. It reminded me of a famous film scene:

There were times when the debate could have been called Ridiculous Analogy Theater. Trump was compared to Jesus, impeachment = Pearl Harbor. It was a debate which will live in infamy.

Doug Collins is almost as annoying as Gym Jordan and Louis Gohmert Piles. He does, however, prove that Southerners can talk as fast as anyone. His delivery combines the worst aspects of an auctioneer and a car salesman. Schmuck.

I am proud to be a Democrat. Our members stood their ground and were 99 times smarter than the Republicans. Schiff was brilliant as usual and Nadler exceeded my expectations as did Steny Hoyer. In contrast, the GOP has Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, and the tin foil hat brigade. Kev did have one nifty malaprop when he said “enrode” instead of “erode.”

The mendacious minority whip from Metry, Steve Scalise, tore a piece of paper and was booed by Dems for saying they hate all Trump voters. I seem to recall many Democrats sending Scalise best wishes when he was shot. The malakatude it burns.

The voting has started as I write this. I’ll have more to say about to say about this in the coming days. Right now, I need a drink. You probably do too.

The last word goes to ADAM FUCKING SCHIFF:

Quote Of The Day: Pat Moynihan Edition

I had the pleasure of making Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s acquaintance when I was a young Congressional aide. I can even say I drank with him at the Washington Mardi Gras ball. We didn’t have any epic conversations but a brush with greatness however brief is still a brush with greatness.

Watching today’s House debate on the impeachment rules, reminded me of one of the late New York Senator’s pithiest aphorisms:

Today’s Republican party disagrees: they swim in fact and ethics free waters. It’s why the Republic is in such peril.

A parting shot at MSNBC. Their chyron proclaims “House Votes On Impeachment Guidelines.” Wrong. They’re rules. It’s not the Guidelines committee, it’s the Rules committee. Oy just oy.

Regular Order, Irregular Times

I took most of the weekend off from the political brouhaha. Call it a mental health break, call it what you will, it’s necessary to retain a measure of sanity. I briefly saw a panel of accomplished people on AM Joy freaking out over statements from McConnell and Graham. What did they expect? The Marquis of Queensberry Rules? This is a time for bare knuckle brawling as our opponents fight dirty. Above all else, this is no time to freak out.

Freaking out never helped anyone. I’ve known several people who freak out over everything that comes at them in life. It makes them and everyone around them miserable and I’ve chosen to have little or nothing to do with them. I’m not talking about venting: I’m talking about melting down. That never helped anyone. Ever.

I know about the dangers of freaking out because I had some of the same tendencies when I was younger. I confused anger with passion. Using Star Trek mythology, I was like the Vulcans before they discovered logic. I’m not quite Vulcan icy but I lean in that direction while maintaining my human sense of humor. Nobody ever called Spock, Shecky, after all.

I try to apply the lessons of everyday life to my life as a political pundit. There are things that piss me off, but I prefer to process the facts and figure out how to respond in a way that won’t make matters worse. Freaking out over the predictable Senate GOP response to impeachment helps the Trumpers, not those who see him as a clear and present danger to our national security and political system. Repeat after me: freaking out never helped anyone.

I’m not saying there’s nothing to be angry about, there certainly is. Anger is not the problem, wallowing in it is. Get it out and channel it in a positive direction. Let the GOP be the angry party. Their president* is the one who tweeted 123 times in a day recently. And they claim he welcomes impeachment and thinks it will help him. Another day, another dozen lies.

You’re probably wondering about the post title. I find it reassuring that, amid all the tumult and fear in the air, the House is processing impeachment via regular order. The investigating committees wrote reports, the Judiciary Committee wrote articles of impeachment, which are headed to the Rules Committee before being voted on by the full House. In a time when GOPers are trashing the norms and mores of our system, this adherence to regular order shows us a way forward as we try not to become the thing we hate. Who wants to be an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop their head?

I hope that Senate Democrats show the same steely resolve as Chairman Schiff and the Speaker. It doesn’t come naturally to the genial Chuck Schumer, but he needs to channel his inner Harry Reid, get in the ring, and start throwing punches. He’s showing signs of doing so but he better wear a cup, McConnell and his underlings fight dirty.

It’s easy for those of us who follow politics closely to forget that most people do not. I genuinely believe there’s a large slice of conservative leaning voters who are sick and tired of the daily drama involving Trump and his party. They’ll do what the Senate is unlikely to do and help vote the Insult Comedian out of office. Some call it a restoration of normalcy, I call it regular order in irregular times.

The last word goes to Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. His spirit sat on my shoulder as I wrote this, you can get off now, sir.

Starring Steve Scalise

I mentioned a top-secret party in an undisclosed location last Saturday. Now that it’s over, I can unbutton my lip: it was Krewe du Vieux’s annual fundraiser, the Brew Dieux. It raises money for both the mother krewe and for sub-krewes like Spank, We sold food and booze and had our annual sideshow game: the dirty weiner drop.

In past years, our targets have included Bobby Jindal, John Besh, Sidney Torres, and David Vitter. This year it’s the mendacious minority whip from Metry, Steve Scalise.

IMG_2954

Courtesy of the Krewe of Spank.

IMG_2955

Courtesy of the Krewe of Spank.

We made just south of $100 on this gross-n-grotty game. Winners received a trip to the Spank world of crap to win a crappy gift. I am not making this up.

Merry Schiffmas

I know that Adam Schiff is Jewish but Schiffmukkah sounds like a Republican slur. In dubbing this holiday season Schiffmas, I’m inspired by Fitzmas, which referenced the special prosecutor on the Scooter Libbey case. Fitzmas was something of a letdown because Karl Rove was not indicted in that Plame affair related case.

Adam Schiff deserves a season in his honor because he personifies a new generation of Democratic politicians. After the disastrous 1994 mid-term election, our pols became known as battle averse and overeager to compromise. Chairman Schiff is tough and steely. He refuses to take any shit from intelligence committee GOPers and those who want to call him to testify as a fact witness.

Schiff has become a hate object on the far right. There’s even a Schiff target on a gun nut web site. I’m neither posting it nor linking to it because I don’t want to encourage the lunatic fringe in their violent fantasies. I leave that to President* Pennywise.

I’m only going to watch part of today’s hearing. I have it streaming as I write this. Ranking member Collins is currently annoying the living shit out of me with his molassey drawl and nutty arguments. Perhaps he’s extra cranky because the Georgia Bulldogs were wiped out by my LSU Tigers last Saturday. Either way, Adam Schiff doesn’t give a shit. He and his colleagues have a job to do and they’re going to do it.

Finally, I’d almost forgotten how unintentionally hilarious Newt Gingrich is:

Who among us can forget all images such as this:

The Gingrich himself is blessed with a conveniently selective memory.

Have yourself a Merry Little Schiffmas. The last word goes to Aimee Mann:

Talking Turley

I only watched bits and bobs of the Con Law seminar on the Hill yesterday. Watching Louie Gohmert Piles causes my blood pressure to spike and Gym Jordan gives me a headache, so I need to ration my exposure to them. I am, however, acquainted with the GOP’s witness, Jonathan Turley who, as far as I know, is not a Republican and didn’t vote for Trump in 2016. I was relieved to hear that.

Turley was for impeachment before he was against it. It was a repeat performance: He testified before the Judiciary committee during the Clinton impeachment inquiry as did Michael Gerhardt, I’m not sure why they missed Professor Karlan back then. Perhaps their premonitive powers told them she’d make a joke about a future president’s* then unborn child. The Barron flap was right up there with Barack Obama’s tan suit as a phony “scandal.” It was barren of genuine outrage, but everything is phony about the Trumps.

Back to Jonathan Turley. I knew him when he was a baby law professor at Tulane, and I was a student. He was among the friendlier and more approachable faculty members. I can’t say that I knew him well, but I socialized with him in groups because of the POPS program. When I was a 2L, Tulane Law instituted a community service requirement, that’s when Turley launched the Program for Older Prisoners.

The premise of POPS is that older prisoners have mellowed with age and are unlikely to commit crimes upon release. It’s pitched to conservative pols as a cost-saving measure and to liberals as a humanitarian policy. Law students were dispatched to prisons to interview candidates for the program, reports were prepared, and passed on to the authorities. It’s more involved than that but, as you’ll soon see, my personal experience with the process is limited.

I made two trips to Angola State Prison to meet with prisoner/candidates. I seem to have drawn the short end of the straw: both convicts were convicted rapists and pedophiles. One was a very muscular, heavily tattooed 65-year-old who was unrepentant about his perverted predilections. I asked him why he’d applied given his lack of remorse. He hadn’t a visitor in years and wanted someone to talk to. The other guy was a repentant perv, but a poor candidate for early release. Suffice it to say I didn’t recommend either of them. My skin crawls recalling the first guy whose name I’ve withheld to protect the guilty.

Turley was a surprisingly subtle choice for committee GOPers to make. His position is not that Trump is a good guy who should never be impeached but that Congress should wait for the courts to rule on the pending witness and document cases before proceeding. In the abstract, there’s some merit to this argument BUT given the Trump regime’s relentless stonewalling it’s a terrible idea in the real world. The reason for the expedited process is a genuine concern that Team Trump will stage an encore performance of 2016 in next year’s election. Two stolen 21st Century elections aren’t enough; they want to complete a trifecta in 2020.

Unlike the House Republicans who called him to testify, Jonathan Turley is neither a bad nor venal person but he’s wrong about the Trump impeachment inquiry. I would, however, be remiss if I didn’t link to Dana Milbank’s hilarious takedown of the Turley testimony in the WaPo. I can’t resist quoting Milbank quoting Turley:

“I get it: You are mad,” he testified. “The president is mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My Republican friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog seems mad — and Luna is a goldendoodle and they don’t get mad. So we’re all mad.”

Damn right we are! But nowhere in the Constitution does it state that a president shall not be impeached if people — or their dogs — are mad.

I’ll be doggone. Lawyers say the darndest things.

The last word goes to Aaron Neville and the Neville Brothers:

Quote Of The Day: Impeachment Report Edition

I’m working my way through the House Intelligence Committee’s report. It’s essentially a narrative history of what happened with Ukraine and why it matters. It’s more readable than the Mueller Report. It doesn’t hedge its bets and calls an Igor an Igor and a Lev a Lev.

Today’s quote comes from Chairman Adam Schiff’s preface:

Nevertheless, there remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue, even as we transmit our report to the Judiciary Committee.  Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts.  The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress.  Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began.

The damage the President has done to our relationship with a key strategic partner will be remedied over time, and Ukraine continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support in Congress.  But the damage to our system of checks and balances, and to the balance of power within our three branches of government, will be long-lasting and potentially irrevocable if the President’s ability to stonewall Congress goes unchecked.  Any future President will feel empowered to resist an investigation into their own wrongdoing, malfeasance, or corruption, and the result will be a nation at far greater risk of all three.

Jerry Nadler says that he’s not going to “take any shit” from committee GOPers. Let’s hope so. Some of the looniest members of the Republican caucus are on the Judiciary Committee. The first day sounds as dry as a bone so perhaps they’ll nod off. I’m not sure if Louie Gohmert Piles, Jim Jordan, and Matt Gaetz will understand all the big words used by the law professors. I’m skipping it. I’m not in the mood to watch them throw shit against the wall just to see how much of it sticks. Now if Larry Tribe were testifying, I’d be there.

The phone records are particularly interesting. What was the man who puts the cow in Moscow, Devin Nunes, doing on the phone with the conspirators?

A phone song is in order. The last word goes to the Kinks:

 

Impeachment Hearings Day Five: Hill/Holmes

Another day, another hearing. It was a doozy. It’s time for another round of time delayed live blogging, instant analysis or whatever the hell you want to call it.

—> Fiona Hill and David Holmes were a breath of fresh air after the smug, smarmy, and sleazy Sondland. I don’t think Sean Patrick Maloney will feel the need to administer an Irish barracking to these two. If he did, I’m sure Hill could kick his ass.

—> Devin Nunes pitched a mini-tantrum over Hill’s critique of the Republicans insistence that Ukraine fucked with the 2016 campaign, not Russia. He thumped his report on the table and insisted that it be included in the record. It was but it’s still a tissue of lies.

—> Fiona Hill is formidable and fierce. Her piercing intelligence and deep subject matter knowledge is as impressive as hell. I was touched by her account of how she came to America from the North of England. She has kept her working class Northern accent, which would have been a hindrance in the UK but not here. Don’t mess with a coal miner’s daughter even if her name isn’t Loretta Lynn and her accent is Northern, not Southern.

—> David Holmes is equally impressive. As a serving foreign service officer, he took a risk by coming forward. His first hand experiences with Sondland and Giuliani caused him to testify. I hope he doesn’t suffer retribution. I’m not sure what the foreign service hell post is; in J Edgar Hoover time at the FBI, he banished errant agent to Butte, Montana. Some may have even become dental floss tycoons.

—> The lanky and fair Holmes and the dark and raven haired Hill looked striking together. I know that’s superficial but so is teevee. There was no banter between the witnesses. Dr. Hill is all business.

—> Casting Update: Michelle Dockery as Fiona Hill and Mark Evan Jackson as David Holmes. The latter plays Shawn the head demon on The Good Place. I guess Holmes is his good twin.

I like casting Lady Mary from Downton Abbey against class type, she does fierce well.

It’s time to move on to the afternoon session.

—> STEELE DOSSIER. STEELE DOSSIER. STEELE DOSSIER.

—> Castor Oil dispensed. I think the witnesses found it as unpalatable as I do. Castor has only one facial expression: a frown and a furrowed brow.

—> A reminder that Hill is a Russia hawk who thinks highly of Bolton. She does not have a high opinion of the Hotelier who bragged about his ties to Trump to her. Bragging is big with Trump regime types. Hill was vexed with Sondland for being slippery with her. Imagine that.

—> STEELE DOSSIER. STEELE DOSSIER. STEELE DOSSIER.

—> BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN.

—> Nunes had a cow over dealing with witnesses so much smarter than he is. That describes all the witnesses with the exception of Sondland. I was proud of the fierce Dr Hill for not laying the rank ranking member low. Me, I would have asked him about his relationship with Lev Parnas. Eric Swalwell went there later in the hearing. Thanks, dude.

—> Hill disputed Morrison’s comments about Vindman having “suspect judgment.” Her only concern was about his political instincts. The very tall guy got it wrong.

—> Jordan Time: Holmes rolled his eyes and smirked at the unhinged and unjacketed one. Who the hell can blame him? He’s trying to disguise his contempt as Jordan yelled at him and kept interrupting him.

Jordan pissed that Holmes is the “closing witness.” Are you so sure of that, Gym?

—> Nutmeg state Democrat Jim Himes encouraged Hill to debunk the Ukraine conspiracy theory. What the hell does she know? She’s only an expert.

—> Hill established her bona fides as a non-never Trumper by saying a couple of semi-nice things about the Insult Comedian. I still like her.

—> Ratcliffe Time: Thank God this bozo isn’t director of national intelligence. He lacks the latter. He’s as loud as Gym Jordan in a Texas nitwit kinda way. Ratcliffe is shocked that Trump’s conversation bounces around and makes little sense.

—> MORE REPUBLICAN SHOUTING. They seem to think it makes them sound well-hung or some such shit.

—> Ohio GOPer Mike Turner patronized Hill. She almost looked angry, especially as he didn’t let her speak. What the hell does she know? She’s just an expert. Women should be seen and not heard according to this Buckeye Bozo.

—> NO COLLUSION. NO COLLUSION. NO COLLUSION.

—> Hill insisted on being allowed to speak after endless GOP speeches. She’s a fact witness, not a Sondland-esque political hack. In fact, he gives hackery a bad name.

—> WHISTLEBLOWER. WHISTLEBLOWER. WHISTLEBLOWER.

—> WORD SALAD. WORD SALAD. WORD SALAD.

—> Holmes is indiscreet, not  Sondland? Who spoke on an unsecured cell phone in a public place? Oy just oy.

—> Nunes’ closing statement made no sense. Schiff’s did. Anyone surprised? I thought not.

It was another good day for House Democrats. It helps when you have the facts on your side and excellent witnesses such as Fiona Hill and David Holmes.

Finally, two songs in honor of rock star witness Fiona Hill. The last word goes to Lyle Lovett and Pete Townshend.

Impeachment Hearings Day Four: The Hotelier Flips

It was the most dramatic day of testimony by far. I gladly abandoned one possible title: A Fifth Of Sondland.

Consider this moral equivalent of live blogging. Let’s get down to it.

—> I had already read Gordon Sondland’s opening statement but even if I hadn’t I would have known that he was going to come semi-clean by his demeanor. He looked like someone who had a weight lifted from his shoulders.

—> Devin Nunes was blindsided by Sondland’s flip and gave an opening statement warning the hotelier that he was about to be smeared. I enjoyed Nunes’ humiliation.

—> While Sondland named names he did so our of self-preservation, not patriotism. That’s okay, his motives are irrelevant: his lawyer is trying to keep his client out of jail and save his business. The key to the Hotelier flipping was David Holmes’ description of the cell phone conversation between Sondland and President* Pennywise. Dipshits.

Here’s something I tweeted out about Gordo’s motives:

—> I cannot wait for the Insult Comedian and the artist formerly known as Mayor Combover to respond and make matters worse.

—> In his first round of questioning, Nunes decided NOT to attack Sondland. Instead, he peddled the discredited Ukraine did it theory. They’re milking that conspiracy theory like a cow…

—> Counsel Castor Oil is an annoying ninny. He used the Boltonian phrase “drug deal” as if it were meant literally. Of course, Gordo denied being part of a “drug deal.”

In his second round of questioning, Castor took off the gloves and went after the witness after it was clear that things were not going well.

—> BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN.

—> Casting Update:  Wallace Shawn as Gordon Sondland and Philip Baker Hall as Castor Oil.

—> Adam Schiff and Danny Goldman were wise to treat Sondland as a semi-hostile witness. The man has lied before and will likely do so again. Most witnesses to conspiracy are co-conspirators, after all.

—>  Gordon Sondland is proof positive that wealth and intelligence are not synonymous. He has a poor memory, which needs constant refreshing. Perhaps that why he drank so much water and perspired profusely.

—> Sondland had a lot of nerve asking his lawyer to request special treatment so he could catch a flight to “resume his duties.” Dude, nobody on the committee likes you and if you had any decency, you’d resign. Pronto. It provoked Schiff to shift into Homey the Clown mode:

I think we need a list of those thrown to the wolves today: Trump, Giuliani, Pompeo, Bolton, Volker, and Mulvaney.

I don’t feel like commenting on shouting House GOPers so it’s time to wrap up this wrap up post even before the hearing ends. One more tweet from some internet wise ass:

I have other things to do so I won’t write about Laura Cooper’s testimony this afternoon. I may have it on in the background. Hopefully, she has a better memory than the Hotelier.

The last word goes to Peter Gabriel and the Smithereens. Hopefully these tunes will refresh your memory:


Impeachment Hearings Day Three: Vindmania

House Republicans keep trying to turn the impeachment hearings into a circus but, like Homey the Clown, Adam Schiff don’t play that. It’s time for my scattershot take on yesterday’s hearing.

—> I almost felt sorry for Jennifer Williams. She was the sideshow, Lt. Col. Vindman was the main event. On the other hand, no one questioned her patriotism or impugned her integrity. Perhaps it’s because she started life as a GOP operative before joining the Foreign Service.

Her testimony neither helped nor hurt her boss, Mike Pence. It did, however, damage *his* boss as well as frustrate committee Republicans who could no longer rant about hearsay and indirect evidence. Williams heard what she heard and told the truth about it. It’s what a good citizen does.

My favorite Jennifer Williams moment was when she hopped into a cab after testifying.

—> Vindman started off jittery and camera shy BUT he warmed to the task brilliantly. This was not a man desperate for attention, publicity, and acclaim. That’s the guy whose conduct he described as inappropriate and wrong: Donald J. Trump.

Both Devin Nunes and oily GOP counsel Steve Castor tried to slime and otherize Vindman. A high point was when Vindman insisted that the rank ranking member call him by his title: Lt. Colonel, not Mister. I halfway expected Nunes to break out in a Mr. Mister song.

Castor went on and on and on about a putative job offer from a Ukrainian official for Vindman to be that country’s minister of defense. It was an offer that Vindman did not take seriously but Castor acted as if it proved he was disloyal and unpatriotic. The whole thing was nauseating. It turned into a set-up for the Colonel to proclaim he didn’t take the job because “I’m an American.”

—> Whistleblower, whistleblower, whistleblower.

—> Jim Jordan tried to score points but Vindman refused to be his punching bag. Vindman swatted Gym away like the annoying fly he is. Jordan seemed to understand that he’d been bested by Vindman and just howled at the moon when he got his second bite at the apple.

 —> After his encounter with the unjacketed and unhinged one, Vindman grew in confidence and scored point after point. He also showed a dry sense of humor when asked what languages he spoke, “Russian, Ukrainian, and a little bit of English.”

—> New York Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney threw Vindman a hanging fastball of a question, which the V Man hit out of the park:

Before the afternoon session, there was a lot of big talk from Republicans about how Kurt Volker and really tall guy, Tim Morrison, would defend the indefensible. These were their witnesses. Things did not go quite as planned,

Both Volker and Morrison confirmed the outlines of the scheme while trying not to piss off their fellow GOPers. Their conduct showed the difference between career civil servants like the previous witnesses and political appointees like these two jokers.

I didn’t watch the entire afternoon session because overexposure to House Republicans is hazardous to one’s mental health. If I had to listen to Jim Jordan holler one more time, I might have been ready for the laughing academy. I wish he’d use his inside voice but I don’t think he has one.

One of the funniest things I saw about the afternoon session came from New Orleans writer Michael Tisserand:

Google Fred (Herman Munster) Gwynne and Lonesome George Goebel and you’ll see what’s so funny.

The last word goes to Robbie Robertson and U2:

Instant Analysis: Impeachment Hearing Day Two

I’m on record as disliking hot takes but since consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, here are my hot takes on Ambassador Yovanovitch’s testimony:

—> Masha mashed it. Her opening statement was compelling. She’s soft-spoken, which meant that people had to listen carefully. I’m not sure if Jim Jordan has ever listened to anyone in his benighted life. He certainly didn’t listen to the molested wrestlers at Ohio State.

The Ambassador was as impressive as GOPers were unimpressive. Their questions were confusing as well as confused. Nutty conspiracy theories are hard to follow. I’m talking to you Devin Nunes. Don’t have a cow, man.

—> I tweeted my thoughts on Yovanovitch’s opening statement:

—> The  morning break taken by Chairman Schiff was exquisitely timed. It allowed him to describe Trump’s odious AM tweet as witness tampering. It was surreal to watch Yovanovitch respond in real time. Here was my reaction:

—> Republican counsel Steve Castor is lucky that he’s on the Insult Comedian’s side. He’s boring and sleepy-eyed, which means that Trump would call him Sleepy Steve. I’d almost rather hear Gym Jordan. Almost.

—> Congresswoman Elise Stefanik seemed to be auditioning for a slot on either The Real Housewives of New Jersey or New York but given her demeanor, she’d  be a  better fit with Tre, Melissa, and the Gorga gang:

Now that I think of it, Jim Jordan is the Juicy Joe of the GOP caucus.

I hope you’re not scarred for life by that image but it has to be said, uh, shown.

—> Committee Republicans were a tad less flamboyant today. I think the Insult Comedian’s nasty tweet put a damper on their theatrics. Besides, Masha is a cool customer and GOPers failed to get under her skin. Chris Stewart under one’s skin? What a creepy thought and image; much worse than Joe Giudice’s tattooed torso.

—> Whistleblower, whistleblower, whisteblower.

In other news, Roger Stone was convicted on seven counts today. So far, Trump still admits to knowing him but this cannot be too far in the future:

I wonder if he and Rog have had any perfect phone calls? Everything he does is perfect, after all. The last word goes to Badfinger:

Instant Analysis: Impeachment Hearing Day One

I saw most of today’s hearing. Here are my takeaways:

—Nancy Smash was right to make the intelligence committee and Chairman Adam Schiff the tip of the impeachment spear. He was unflappable even in the face of moronic provocations by the Republican minority. He ruled on their sporadically dumb motions and moved on.

—I might rather have a beer with George Kent (I’ve heard he’s very funny offstage) but Bill Taylor is an impressive and formidable man. He reminds me of the small c conservatives who used to be common until Newt, W, the Tea Party, and Trump dumbed the GOP down.

Taylor reminded me of my father’s friend Paul Haerle who was a San Francisco super lawyer and California Republican Chairman from 1975-77. He ran afoul of the right wing of his party for supporting Ford over Reagan in 1976, resigned the next year, and focused on lawyering.

A quick personal story: I worked as a paralegal on the plaintiff’s side of a massive anti-trust case for a few years. It involved accusations of price fixing by Kaiser and other cement companies. I worked on the document production at Kaiser cement HQ in Oakland with another young paralegal with whom I shared a mutual disdain.

Anyway, the jerk-alegal and I were present to shuffle papers for a deposition. Paul Haerle was there representing the cement overlords. My nemesis glared at me, but his face fell as I addressed his big boss:

PA: “Hello Mr. Haerle. I’m Peter, Lou Athas’ son. We’ve met before.”

PH gave me a big smile and said: “Great to see you again. I miss your dad. Haven’t been to our Kiwanis club for a while. Give him and your mother my regards.”

PA: “Will do, sir.”

PH: “When you talk to your mom, tell her I’d love to eat her delicious Greek cookery again.”

My nemesis’ head looked like it was about to explode. He was not invited to dinner at my parents’ house. Paul Haerle was, and a good time was had by all.

That was quite a digression even for me. I’ll try and do better; not that y’all believe that.

—Neither Taylor nor Kent fell into any Republican traps. They insisted that they were fact witnesses and that it was up to Congress to deal with impeachment. I was relieved that none of the GOPers called Kent a “bow-tie motherfucker.” I guess none of them heard Omar call Brother Mouzon that on The Wire.

—Jim Jordan was there: unjacketed and unhinged. He seems to think that talking really fast and loud will dazzle the witnesses. They were emphatically undazzled by the second-rate wrestling coach. Jim Jordan to the rescue? Not even close.

—The GOP’s defense of Trump is ridiculous. Just because the crime was not perfected doesn’t make it legal. The only reason aid to Ukraine was not withheld is that Congress intervened.

—Democratic counsel Danny Goldman rocks. He showed why Schiff opted to have a genuine trial lawyer handle much of the questioning. Much like when Law & Order‘s Adam Schiff had Jack McCoy do likewise. You didn’t think I’d pass a chance to make that joke again, did you?

—Finally, a point of order from the sensible party on the Tweeter Tube:

I did not know that. Unlike House Republicans, I learn something new every day. I’ll remember that the next time I order Chicken Keev.

The last word goes to ELP:

 

Jim Jordan To The Rescue?

In their infinite wisdom, the House Republican leadership have decided that only one member (tool?) can save the day:

House Republican leadership is looking to load up the Intelligence Committee with some of President Donald Trump’s top defenders, including Rep. Jim Jordan, as the panel has become ground zero for impeachment.

“If Democrats are going to turn Intel into the impeachment committee, I am going to make adjustments to that committee accordingly, for a short period of time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told POLITICO.

McCarthy is well known as one of the most sycophantic Trumpers of all so this move isn’t shocking. What’s shocking is that McCarthy spoke in a complete sentence, which is something the incoherent House Republican leader isn’t known for. Who among us can forget his “untrustable in Hungria” remarks in 2015?

Since his glory days as a nattering nabob of negativism, McCarthy has become the Insult Comedian’s favorite ventriloquist’s dummy. He shares a last name with Edgar Bergen’s Charlie McCarthy but is more like Mortimer Snerd who put the dumb in dummy:

In addition to turning a blind eye to sexual abuse while a wrestling coach at Ohio State, Jim Jordan is best known for hectoring witnesses as a member of the House oversight and judiciary committees. The Politico article describes him as “one of Trump’s best attack dogs.” It’s the only kind of dog the Insult Comedian likes. They should check Jordan for rabies, he’s known to froth at the mouth and go full metal unjacketed.

Another thing Jim Jordan is known for is never wearing his suit jacket. I’m uncertain if he appears unjacketed to show off his manly biceps or because he’s always spoiling for a fight. In either event, it makes him look as ridiculous as he really is as does the internet’s pet name for the former wrestler, Gym Jordan. I do, however, like his almonds…

When I first heard that Jim Jordan was coming to the rescue, an old song popped into my head, Jim Dandy To The Rescue. It was originally recorded by an R&B artist, LaVern Baker. But the version that fits Jim Jordan is this one:

Jim Jordan was born to play creepy redneck BOA frontman, Jim Dandy Mangrum, even though Jordan is NOT a dandy, but we’re changing the title to Jim Jordan To The Rescue in any event. Just visualize Kevin McCarthy in a red fright wig screeching “Go, Jim Jordan, Go.” It’s a winner, I tell ya.

I hope you’ll forgive me for that earworm but sometimes I cannot help myself. I have a cold or otherwise I’d write some new lyrics for that venerable tune. Instead, I’ll just go, Jim Dandy, go.

The last word/meme goes to the anti-hero of the day, the one and only Buckeye bozo Jim Jordan as he goes full metal unjacketed:

Bayou Brief: Inside The Pocket Of A Clown

My latest column for Bayou Brief is online​. I borrow a Dwight Yoakam lyric for the title, Inside The Pocket Of Clown.

The clown in question is President* Pennywise. Inside his pocket is the mendacious minority whip from Metry, Steve Scalise.

The column was written before Scalise’s bizarre “Soviet impeachment” speech. Uh, Steve, impeachment is part of our British inheritance. There was no such thing as “Soviet impeachment.” They were not big on trials after Stalin’s death.

In the post Stalin era, the procedure was to pronounce sentence then execute the accused immediately. Sometimes by firing squad but more likely than not by a gunshot to the back of the head in the courtyard of the KGB’s Lubyanka Prison. If you’d watched The Americans, you’d know that.

I also adapted Michael F’s Pennywise image for the piece:

Thanks, man.

The last word goes to Dwight Yoakam:

Our Politicians and Pundits Know Nothing About Politics

This was dumb:

This was dumber:

This has got to be some kind of peak dumbass but what fresh hell will today bring?

I mean, honest to Cheeto Christ, it is astonishing how many of these people are listened to on politics when they don’t understand politics very well.

Take Pete up there, for whom I will enthusiastically vote should he be our nominee, and who has unquestionably the best spouse in the entire race. He’s just saying what he thinks he needs to say, which is that he likes a moderate, because moderation is good, and middle of the road is good, and nothing too extreme is good, and the things Everybody Knows are true. He’s doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do, because he’s supposed to do it, and he’s not thinking about Kennedy’s actual decisions or what they mean, he’s thinking about how he sounds, which is Reasonable.

The goal of all our politics, and the past 36 hours of civility garbage inspired by the World Series crowd booing the orange motherfucker, is to make us all feel Reasonable and Good. And that involves Two Sides Respecting Each Other, and Listening, and blah blah fucking blah de fuckity blah.

What a fucking stupid puppet show. What a goddamn embarrassment, a parade of supposed adults on TV and at podiums talking about how it’s beneath us all to upset anyone. What a fucking load. We’re adults and if we can’t disagree without getting heated oh, the fucking earth will just cave right in, won’t it? God forbid anyone raises their voice, or our fragile bodies might just utterly collapse.

I mean do we hear ourselves, middle class white people of mine, with our book clubs and our tote bags and our declarations of friendship for war criminals? Do we hear our selfish screaming need for comfort not only in life, not in where or how we live, but in our goddamn CONVERSATIONS? Do we hear how absolutely chickenshit we sound? “Oooh, I don’t want to, like, ARGUE with you.” Well guess fucking what, we live in a democracy, so if you’re gonna open your cakehole and yell “blue lives matter” at me I’m gonna give you the hiding you so richly deserve.

We don’t get to create this society and then get out of defending and justifying it because doing so is really hard. Land hard and roll, motherfuckers, because if you want to live like this you’d better be ready to own it in the face of the strenuous objections of the people you’re stomping on to do so. You don’t like to watch the president get booed at a baseball game, well, there’s a really easy way to get out of that happening and it’s don’t elect a fucking cheeto-faced fascist who everyone hates.

It’s really not hard. Give up civility as a goal. We’re almost to the holidays, hell, make it a resolution. Civility is not the meaning of things. If people are nice to each other and keep dying, how does that help anyone? We have a limited time on this planet and your comfort isn’t our priority, shit is on fire.

And if you’re not loaded for bear, don’t show up for the hunt, because once upon a time you might have been able to get away with this stuff because nobody wanted to argue. We want to argue now, and we should.

A.

Frat Boy Tantrum In The House

Both Michael F and I have already commented on the Brooks Brothers Riot reenactment staged by approximately 30 House GOPers. They’re the worst of the worst: Steve King was there, Matt Gaetz was the ringleader, and pizza was delivered to a secure room. Holy security breach, Batman.

Keeping terrible company was the Gret Stet of Louisiana’s own Steve Scalise, House GOP Whip and a man who aspires to be Speaker of the House. What House? Animal House? I’ll have more about Scalise in my Bayou Brief column next week.

The most disturbing aspect of this political tantrum was pointed out by Wired’s Brian Barrett:

So when Gaetz and House minority whip Steve Scalise and their merry band of lawmakers literally barge into a SCIF—they finally left after a five-hour standoff—they’re not just causing a fuss. They’re making a mockery of national security and to a lesser extent putting it at risk. Especially the congressmen who, as numerous outlets have reported, brought their smartphones into the room.

“A SCIF is designed and regulated to be a secure space—and that means keeping out electronic devices that malicious actors can exploit to conduct surveillance,” says Joshua Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council. “Bringing those into such a space can cause real national security vulnerabilities. Doing so for a political stunt potentially sacrifices security for partisan points.”

Remember when national security was the GOP’s calling card? It was a major reason they won 5 of 6 presidential elections between 1968 and 1988. Now they’re the pizza party party led by a president* who is Putin’s puppet. Reagan weeps.

Dim Florida Trumper Matt Gaetz has clearly seen too many action movies. He even got his name on the gossip site TMZ:

Gaetz compared his move to the Spartans in the the 2006 movie, “300.” Seriously, you gotta see how pumped he was — we fully expected him to shout, “This … is … Washington!!!”

Apologies for the exclamation points in triplicate, that was the gossip rag, not me. It does, however, point out how juvenile and jejune this frat boy tantrum was.

Gaetz may think that he’s Gerard Butler in 300 but there’s a more apt cinematic analogy:

That’s Gaetz’s DUI mugshot paired with John Belushi as Bluto in Animal House. Apologies to Belushi’s fans and family but Bluto and Matty are peas in a pod. TOGA. TOGA. TOGA.

This stunt was a noisy attempt to distract attention from the devastating testimony of Ambassador William Taylor, which, in a sane world would have led to calls for President* Pennywise’s resignation. This is not a sane world, alas.

If Bill Taylor is so horrible, why did Secretary of State Pompeo personally ask him to go to Ukraine? The GOP’s only answer was a frat boy tantrum in the House. It’s a gross process argument that insults the public’s intelligence; much like Trumpism and Teabaggery.

Allow me to put my lapsed lawyer hat on again. In the impeachment process, the House is like a grand jury and impeachment is like an indictment. They’re at the evidence gathering stage right now: taking depositions to nail down witness testimony. This same process was used by the dread Trey Gowdy during the BENGHAZI, BENGHAZI, BENGHAZI investigation. It was followed by public hearings. House Democrats are walking in Trey’s footsteps as it were. There will be public hearings, which are akin to a preliminary hearing in the criminal justice system. It’s an imperfect analogy but it’s mine, all mine.

The Senate is the trial court in the impeachment process. Senators sit as jurors and Team Trump will have the right to present a likely ludicrous defense. They should skip the “president* is above the law” argument. It’s not going to fly with lawmakers. It will be much harder to argue process in the Senate and it’s all Republicans have left in their ongoing quest to defend the indefensible.

Back to the House: if 30 is an accurate count of how many House GOPers pitched a frat boy tantrum the other day, that means 167 members did not participate. I hope they’re suitably mortified by this stunt. So much for dignity and decorum. They’re all Bluto now:

Finally, I watched MSNBC yesterday as Elijah Cummings’ body lay in state. The dignified and solemn behavior of House Democrats stood in stark contrast to the petulant antics of Matt Gaetz, Steve Scalise, and their epic frat boy tantrum. Dignity and decorum are still alive and well even in the era of Trump.