Category Archives: Elections

Start Tearing the Old Man Down

It’s getting colder. I made two and a half quarts of soup on Sunday morning, before the rain started and the wind picked up. We have a chest freezer now. We have a store-room full of apples. Every day I peel, chop, bag, so we can use them in baking or stews.

Kick and I tried to grow potatoes. We planted too late, when it was already cooling off, and damp, and they rotted in the ground, but everything else went wild, took over the small patch we planned. We’re saving seeds — tomatoes, peppers, squash — from this year’s bounty to start again next year. In just a few months, we can start them inside; in just a few months, this will all begin again.

We’re looking at blowing out the front yard, turning the whole dang thing into a garden. I’ve never successfully grown anything before, but now I think daily of my grandmother, shouting at the rabbits in the rhubarb. Pulling carrots. What Kick knows about Great-Grandma is that she had a root cellar that could have withstood a siege.

There was no food, you see, when Great-Grandma was a child. Eleven kids, ten of whom survived to adulthood, on virtually nothing. A potato as a treat. Wouldn’t you pickle things, after that? Wouldn’t you make jam from every single strawberry?

We talk a lot about inherited trauma, about generational memory. I never wanted for a single necessity, all my childhood, but I was surrounded by that fear every day. It’s useful now.

Kick is not afraid. Kick wears her mask and learns online and goes to skating lessons without complaint. Kick wants morning glories. She’s obsessed with them, these indigo beauties that grow across the alley in the yard of a neighbor. I’ve promised a raft of them in the spring.

I can’t even think about the spring.

Begin. Again.

We talked to her about the debate tonight. Pondered letting her stay up to watch but it starts so late, and Mama intends to yell at Donald Trump a lot. She knows, thanks to him and my lack of restraint when stubbing my toe on a chair, most of the “grown-up words” by heart. Those she doesn’t know, she’s sure to learn, come election night.

I want to believe. In November, in January, in the next year and the next and the next. I want to believe in the train and the bus and the earth continuing to turn and everyone I love staying or getting healthy, staying alive, staying here. I want to believe, but I am preparing.

I spent the spring so sick and broken that any kind of optimism feels foolish. Every twinge of hope gets smothered by the memory of her tiny hand in mine, helping me mark the ballot for Hillary in 2016. I have a picture of us, grinning, outside the polling place. I have a picture of her at the Women’s March, kitty-cat hat and all, holding a sign that said, “Future President.” She’d colored it herself.

We are hunkered down for the winter, and we are counting on a 77-year-old man to save us and it seems like a lot to put on his back. I hold onto the railing to go down the stairs, and I turned 45 this year. But: shoot him up with whatever kind of chimp speed and greenies he needs. Make that sonofabitch a kale smoothie, because he’s what we’ve got.

You know, he’s a decent guy, Joe Biden. That’s the thing, when we talk about two parties, when we lament that we are choosing between two old white men. We are choosing, in fact, between a 78-year-old white man who enables the absolute worst of our society, gives aid and comfort to white supremacy, not only doesn’t care about Black people but doesn’t care about anyone, and a 77-year-old white man who shows up to work and screws up sometimes. We do actually need a leader who isn’t pointlessly mean, who doesn’t just make things difficult. Who looks at a problem and tries to solve it instead of screaming at it.

This isn’t even about Trump personally. I don’t care that he’s a shithead who eats fast food. I don’t even care if he has secret addictions and disabilities, or isn’t really a billionaire, or dresses dumb. LBJ’s mouth made mine look like an angel’s, come on, and JFK was a humongous poon hound, and Roosevelt was banging his cousin. None of that’s important.

You can be mean and a jerk and even a sexist pig, and still good at your job, but look around. Look around. Is he good at his job? Does any of this HELP?

We just … it’s a fundamental question, right: Are you going to HELP ME? Are you going to nurture the kind of country in which I can grow and see the results of my work and live a good life? For too long we’ve ignored the people who’ve said this isn’t working for us, and for too long we’ve said wait just a little longer, and I would never say that’s not a part of how this happened.

We have to fix it now. There’s so much to fix. There’s the pandemic and the resulting poverty, there’s the poverty that was there before, there’s the healthcare that needs to be prioritized over health insurance, there’s student debt, there’s a housing crisis, prescription drugs cost a fortune, there’s a general unfucking of every single government service, but overall we need someone who will, upon hearing help me, not laugh and crush us under his heel because it’s fun.

This isn’t hard. It’s not hard to fake being a good dude for long enough to get the Post editorial board to love you. W managed to do it and he was an inside-out elephant anus. If you’re somehow on the fence, and I can’t even, but look. If you’re conflicted, at all, then watch, tonight.

If you’re still saying all of this is worth it for the courts, watch, tonight.

Who’s going to help? Who’s going to plant the garden, staff the shelter, run the program, chop the apples? Who’s going to help those people, instead of laughing at them, instead of raging? That’s it, that’s all there is. And if we know nothing else now, we know that.

The neighbors have a free box on their lawn from which anyone who is hungry can take canned goods. Nobody opens it in daylight, that I’ve seen, but in the morning it’s always empty. Our neighborhood’s project is literally giving things away: Coats, still warm and cozy, that are too small, boots that don’t fit growing feet, kitchen tools we no longer use or have a new one of. We put a table out front, post a picture on Facebook, and let people take what they want.

No judgment, no policing, no means-testing, no forms to fill out, no ID to show.

We’re thinking of a hot apple cider stand, to raise money for a cause, now it’s getting cold.

Things shouldn’t be so hard.

A.

After Justice Ginsburg

Krewe of Mishigas Float, 2019. Photo by Dr. A.

The news came on a Friday night. Because of the pandemic, most of us were home. It lit up new media and old, social media and anti-social media. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died at the age of 87.

This frail-looking and petite woman was so mentally and morally tough that some thought she was immortal. I’ve spent a lot of time around people over 80 in the last decade, so I was not surprised. It was a nearly unparalleled act of will for her survive the sort of major illnesses that would have finished off lesser beings. As depicted by the Krewe du Vieux sub-krewe of Mishigas in 2019, Justice Ginsburg was a fighter,

There have been many marvelous tributes to Justice Ginsburg. Here’s a brief list:

Pierce made an apt comparison between Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall. As a litigator, Ginsburg followed the trail blazed by Marshall and fought to establish important rights for women. Thurgood Marshall, however, was a reluctant judge. He preferred being on the other side of the courtroom. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was just as distinguished a jurist as an advocate. Those two skills rarely coincide. She was a remarkable person who led an exemplary life both personally and professionally. Above all else, she was a fighter.

While I wish that Justice Ginsburg had retired while Barack Obama was still president, her reasons were based on her experience as a Justice. Each generation of Justices learns a different lesson: Bill Brennan and Thurgood Marshall retired when they did because of the negative example set by Hugo Black and Bill Douglas who stayed on the Court too long. Ruth Bader Ginsburg saw her friend and colleague Sandra Day O’Connor regret her retirement to care for a husband who died while she was still on the court. That was a major turning point as her replacement was Samuel Alito who is an unbending member of the conservative bloc whereas O’Connor was the ultimate swing vote.

We’re on the cusp of another turning point with Justice Ginsburg’s death 46 days before the election. Those of us who admire Justice Ginsburg should follow her example, get off the floor, and fight back. I heard despair and defeatism this weekend. That’s a shitty way to honor a tough old bird like RBG, Dahlia Lithwick said it best:

America has lost a warrior, and it’s OK to be crushed. I am flattened. And I will mourn, because she deserves to be mourned. But we are also facing an almighty battle that will rage in the coming weeks, with attempts to fill her seat in an unseemly and grotesque manner. It will be hard and painful, but if you find yourself feeling hopeless and powerless, then you are emphatically doing it wrong. Because if anyone had a right to say “nah,” it was the woman who couldn’t get a job or a clerkship after graduating at the top of her class. But she pushed on, and then she pushed forward. She stepped into the fight of the phenomenal women who paved the path before, and now, well, it’s time to step into her fight and get it finished. I think the Notorious RBG would have peered owlishly out at all of us tonight and asked what the heck we are waiting for. And I think we can probably honor her best by getting to it.

The confirmation battle is joined. The most cynical man in politics has already discarded the rule bearing his name. The Turtle plans to move a Trump nominee through the Senate. I suspect he’ll do the most cynical thing imaginable and hold the vote in the lame duck session. To do otherwise, would doom the only thing that McConnell cares about as much as SCOTUS, his Senate majority.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham has already flip-flopped on his pledge not to push a nomination through in an election year. Nobody should be surprised. In 2016, Graham called Trump “a kook and a con man” among other ephemeral epithets. Now they’re golfing buddies.

The Democratic minority should announce a concrete and specific Court reform plan. (Don’t call it court packing, that evokes FDR’s failure in 1937-38.)  It should expand the number of Justices to eleven. They should also pledge to abolish the filibuster if a Trump nominee is rammed through. It’s time for it to go.

I saw some despairing tweets that a SCOTUS battle would decide the presidential election in Trump’s favor. Color me skeptical. Conservatives who care about SCOTUS and abortion sold their souls to President* Pennywise long ago. In 2020, it’s more likely to galvanize Democrats. A reminder that the Kavanaugh Mess did NOT turn the 2018 mid-terms in the GOP’s favor. The number that counts is this: 204,122 and counting dead of the novel coronavirus.

Back to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was an inspiring figure who will be missed, especially by the young women she inspired to fight the good fight. Women will decide the 2020 election. My hope is that they will be inspired to keep fighting until Democrats recapture the White House and Senate. Vote like the fate of the Republic depends on it. It does.

The last word goes to RBG’s close friend Nina Totenberg with a tweet for the ages:

Summer Of Hate

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleepwalking To Oblivion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes the best comments are terse and to the point:

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

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

I like how Jeet Heer of The Nation described it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The last word goes to The Kinks:

Virtual Convention Notes: Allies Of The Light

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

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

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

Biden feels our pain. Trump inflicts pain.

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

 

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

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

Repeat after me: Joe Biden excels at overcoming adversity.

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

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

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

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

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

Repeat after me: Joe Biden excels at overcoming adversity.

The last word goes to Ella Fitzgerald:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Image by Michael F.

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

No DeJoy In Mudville

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

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

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

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

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

Virtual Convention Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The last word goes to Crowded House:

Happy Biden Campaign Thing

Gonna be doing this often so if you’re not down with this being a Biden/Harris fan page you probably should have signed off long ago.

 

A.

That’s The Ticket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Chaos Squad

Protests have died down in some parts of the country but not in Portland, Oregon. There are many names one could call the DHS thugs who are operating there right now; ostensibly to protect federal buildings and statues. I think of them as The Chaos Squad. Others have called them Stormtroopers, Trump’s Gestapo, or the Goon Squad:

Whatever you call them, they’re an integral part of the Scandal Tornado that touched down on January 20, 2017. Do I think they’re part of a “dress rehearsal” for a coup when Trump loses the election? I do not.

According to Ken Cuccinelli there are only 2000 of them; not even close to enough to stage a coup in such a large country. Their task is to spread chaos and confusion, which is the only thing Team Trump is good at. They’re also incapable of not bragging about what they’re up to. Thanks, Cooch.

A reminder that any time someone puts the words plan and Trump administration in the same sentence, they’re giving them too much credit. These are the same people who brought you the pandemic response and the paper towel toss relief effort in Puerto Rico, after all.

Does that mean I’m pooh-poohing scenes that are reminiscent of Chicago in 1968? Absolutely not. It reminds me of something said on the podium by then Connecticut Senator Abe Ribicoff:

Just substitute Joe Biden and Portland and the jackboot still fits.

DHS is not the only federal agency complicit in the Portland clusterfuck. Bill Barr is up to his neck in this mishigas. Remember when I compared him to Hermann Goering?

Goering was the founder of the Gestapo.

In a brilliant move to counter the Brownshirt tactics of the Chaos Squad, the Portland protesters have brought in the Moms:

This move is reminiscent of the Children’s March in Birmingham in 1963. They faced Bull Connor’s firehose wielding cops who won the battle but lost the war. This Mom’s March is a brilliant way to shame the Goon Squad. If, that is, they can be shamed. Their so-called “leader”, the Kaiser of Chaos, is incapable of either shame or leadership.

The advent of the Chaos Squad is another example of how Team Trump thinks they can win a LAW & ORDER campaign by sowing the seeds of chaos and confusion. As always, they’re all tactics and no strategy. They’re forever lost in the weeds and incapable of seeing the big picture. That’s a damn good thing.

It’s not 1968. They’re in power and the backlash year on *our* political calendar was 2016. In 1968, Nixon was the challenger. Besides, Tricky was a devious bastard who knew how to hedge and tap on the brakes when need be. Subtlety is lost on the Trump Regime. Overkill is all they know.

In honor of the Mom’s March, the last word goes to Mott the Hoople:

What Will Crimson Tide Fans Do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That hurt. I hope Coach O will forgive me.

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

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

That’s all, y’all.

We Gotta Get Rid of the Whole Lot

This is all very true: 

McConnell and the Senate Republicans will put the brakes on every meaningful policy initiative that Biden advances. Hundreds of measures that have been approved by the House since the Democrats took over in January 2019—including the Heroes Act package of Covid-19 relief measures that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues passed in May—have been laid to rest in what Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer describes as “Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard.” The Republican lawmaker and his cadre of obedient partisans have made it perfectly clear time and again that they will not be moved by the fact that a legislative initiative is essential.

And before anyone jumps in with “but what about Schumer sucking and Joe Manchin being an asshole and blah blah blah” well, that’s THE WHOLE POINT. A one- or two-seat majority ain’t gonna do it, unless McConnell loses his seat permanently and they appoint a less efficient fascist to replace him. Even then, the same five red-state Dems who are a perpetual pain in our asses will continue to be such because they’ll matter even MORE than they do now.

(I’d like to think they’ve learned something and would behave themselves this time around, but I’ve been here too long for that.)

We need an overwhelming majority in the Senate or we’re just in for a slightly shittier re-run of 2010-2016. I would never say it doesn’t matter who the president is; I was regaling Kick last night with tales of a long-ago time when we would go WEEKS without the president being a loud enough piece of shit that everyone had to talk about it. Joey B. Shark has THINGS HE CAN DO on his own, of course, like hire scientists to do science jobs, and not run a non-protective protection racket out of the East Wing. Still, no major legislation changes and the judiciary keeps getting shittier, we don’t give him a Senate to work with.

And statehouses. And think tanks. And school boards. And advisory councils. And everything.

Our goal in this election should be to bury the GOP in the COVID-19 trench they’re digging for us. They don’t get to hold office for a generation, as a penance. And we look at the third or so of Democrats who are basically 1988’s Republicans and say fine, you’re who we compromise with now, that other mess is out waiting for an alphabet conspiracy to take them back to their planet. We’re done.

A.

Confidence, Not Cockiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Biden also believes in two venerable rules of politics:

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

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

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

Pun intended, it always is.

Blind Pig, Acorn

Hell has officially frozen over. I am writing for the first time in praise of the Turtle aka Mitch McConnell. He’s proven that there’s some truth in the hoary aphorism: “even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.”

In this case, the blind pig is wearing a mask:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday made an extensive pitch for Americans to don face masks as a means to begin returning the country to normalcy while the coronavirus remains a threat.

“There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask. There’s no stigma attached to staying six feet apart,” the Kentucky Republican said at an event back in his home state, referencing social distancing guidelines recommended to stem the transmission of the coronavirus.

<SNIP>

McConnell’s comments targeted at young people came after images of Americans partying over Memorial Day weekend flooded social media and drew rebukes from local health officials

“That’s not too much to ask of a younger person,” he said of wearing face coverings. “So to get through this next phase, as we ease back into normal, even if you’re in a low-risk category, do what we’re asking you to do for the good of others as we begin to move back to normal.”

Asked what lawmakers and federal officials can do to impart the benefits of wearing masks on fellow Americans, the majority leader said that he tries to set “a good example,” noting that there are photos of him “all over the place” wearing his mask and offering to put his back on and pose for more if necessary.

You know things are bad when President* Pennywise makes Moscow Mitch look good. The concept of setting a good example is utterly alien to Trump. It’s part of being an adult and a leader. He’s neither.

There’s also a cynical interpretation of the Turtle’s remarks. The most cynical man in American politics is slowly but surely putting some distance between himself and the Impeached Insult Comedian. McConnell can read both the tea leaves and the polls. The highly respected Cook Report believes that 9 senate seats are in play right now: 4 toss ups and 5 leaners. They’re are also 3 seats listed as likely GOP, which means they’re not out of reach if there’s a Democratic landslide. One of them is Kentucky, which should be solidly in the Republican camp.

The red wall is cracking. 5 more months of presidential* lunacy could see it crumble. Stay tuned.

American Carnage, 2020

Image by Michael F.

I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of sleeping badly.  I’m tired of having bad dreams inspired by death, disease, and the relentless flow of bad news. Above all else, I’m tired of Donald Trump. In short, as Civil Rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer said in 1964,  I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I woke up way too early this morning pondering President* Pennywise’s inaugural address. At the time, it seemed to be a blast from the misbegotten past of the crack cocaine epidemic or a twisted fantasy spun by Bannon and Miller:

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

The real carnage began that day. I didn’t see the speech because I was attending the Jazz Funeral For Lady Liberty protest march in New Orleans. I found the American Carnage line to be bizarre considering the progress made on the economy during the Obama presidency. I didn’t realize that it foreshadowed the dark days of 2020.

Trump’s presidency has reeled from one disaster to another. We all dreaded a major crisis occurring on his watch but assumed it would be a war in the Middle East, which is what Republican presidents do. Instead, we have a pandemic that has already killed more Americans than the wars in Korea and Vietnam combined. The pandemic, in turn, has caused a Second Great Depression that will not be cured by “reopened” shopping malls, barber shops, and restaurants.

The Impeached Insult Comedian has ostentatiously refused to take any responsibility for this American Carnage. Instead, he views it as a disaster afflicting him. This just in from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman:

As he headed into Memorial Day weekend, Donald Trump complained that he was COVID-19’s biggest victim. “He was just in a fucking rage,” said a person who spoke with Trump late last week. “He was saying, ‘This is so unfair to me! Everything was going great. We were cruising to reelection!” Even as the death toll neared 100,000 and unemployment ranks swelled to over 38 million, Trump couldn’t see the pandemic as anything other than something that had happened to him. “The problem is he has no empathy,” the adviser said. Trump complained that he should have been warned about the virus sooner. “The intelligence community let me down!” he said.

Blaming the so-called Deep State won’t wash the blood off his hands. The buck for this American Carnage stops at the Oval Office. Unfortunately, we’ve gone from Harry (The Buck Stops Here) Truman to Donald (This Is So Unfair To Me) Trump whose latest title is the Buckpasser-in-Chief. This American Carnage is on him.

Perhaps my wakeful thoughts of the American Carnage speech were inspired by watching Rachel Maddow last night. She focused on the pandemic’s frightening impact on nursing homes and meatpacking plants. The latter debacle shows that this is a Republican problem, not just a Trumper problem. The GOP’s deregulatory fervor has tied OSHA’S hands. They issued some timid guidelines at the start of the crisis and nothing since then. I should have said that Republican Koch suckers have amputated OSHA’s regulatory hands. This American Carnage is on them.

One reason I’ve long thought the Kaiser of Chaos would lose re-election is that many Americans are sick and tired of being sick and tired. This president* believes that people can’t get enough of him. He’s wrong. He’s overexposed. Unlike past presidents, he’s incapable of leaving the spotlight. It will be his undoing.

Nobody other than Trumper true believers want to hear him accuse Joe Scarborough of murder. This is just the latest example of Trump’s specialty of tormenting families who have lost loved ones. Add the name Klausutis to the list that includes Khan and Johnson. This is not just a Trumper problem, it’s a Republican problem. Remember Terry Schiavo? This American Carnage is on them.

Waking up angry isn’t good for the soul but at least I have one. President* Pennywise only cares about himself, not the nearly 100,000 people who have died as a result of his grotesque incompetence. He’s falling back on medical quackery  vicious attacks, and magical thinking to salvage his wrecked presidency. One more quote from Gabe Sherman’s piece:

But the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a Trump-campaign reset is the candidate. “Trump is doing it to himself by tweeting idiotic conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough. Women are tired of this shit,” said another former West Wing official. An outside adviser agreed. “Trump can’t pivot to a different strategy,” the adviser told me. “He only knows one strategy—which is attack. It worked in 2016. But now it’s not what people are looking for.” The adviser told me that Trump’s New York friends are planning an intervention to get him to stop tweeting about the Morning Joe cohost.

And when he’s not feeling helpless or aggrieved, Trump continues to cling to magical thinking. “He lives in his own fucking world,” the outside adviser said. Trump recently told a friend that the Moderna vaccine is going to be ready in months.

Those of us who live in the real world think that another COVID-19 spike is coming because of the selfish Trumpian haste to “reopen.” The only thing they’re “reopening” is another death spiral. This American Carnage can only be stopped by voting Republicans out of office. This is on the American people. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, throw the bums out. It’s time for them to go.

Since this post was partially inspired by a bad dream, the last word goes to Procol Harum and the original Nosferatu, Max Schreck.

If you thought that was insufficiently gloomy, here’s another song from the same album:

 

Veepstakes, High Stakes

I’ve missed writing about electoral politics instead of pandemic politics. The former is fun, the latter funereal. Pun intended. It always is.

Signs of Republican panic are everywhere but, like Tammy Wynette in the old country song, they seem prepared to stand by their man even if the stupid fucker is insane. It also reminds me of this scene in the 1967 film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd:

Suffice it to say, the sheep rush headlong off the cliff whilst saying BAA BAA HUMBUG. I made that last bit up. Somebody needs to turn the end of that scene into an animated GIF but I’m not the one for the job. I couldn’t do it in a jiffy…

Where the hell was I? The 2020 election, that’s where. The GOP’s plan seems to be to kill off voters by “reopening” the economy then stealing as many votes from the survivors as possible. Fraud is the only way that a party with this much blood and red ink on its hands can win.

I’ve written multiple posts in the past called Veepstakes, Low Stakes. I’ve always believed that people vote for the top of the ticket, not the second banana. That’s still true BUT I’m reversing myself in 2020. The stakes are high: It matters more than ever who the Democrats pick for Veep.

In March, I advocated a Biden-Harris ticket. The arguments I made on her behalf while Sanders was still in the race stand:

The president in waiting bit is the key to the 2020 selection. There’s a decent chance that Biden or Sanders will only serve one term; either voluntarily or for health reasons. That’s why my first choice for Veep is Kamala Harris. She’s tough, experienced, and a helluva public speaker. She’s the obvious choice if Biden is the nominee. I know the arguments against Senator Harris but the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Plus, black voters rescued Biden’s campaign, which is another argument for the junior senator from California.

Things have changed in the past 2 months. The pandemic has exploded weakening the argument for a return to what Gamaliel called normalcy. Additionally, there’s an attempt to Frankenize Joe Biden. Will it work? I doubt it but it’s now a factor.

I find myself warming to the idea of Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren as Veep. I’ve made the argument against picking her myself: the Republican Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will pick her replacement. If Charlie Baker can find one, it will be a relatively sane Republican but a GOPer is a GOPer is a GOPer.

Politically, I’m increasingly optimistic that the Democrats will take back the Senate. Republican held seats in Maine, Colorado, and Arizona may already be lost and since the GOP Governor of Iowa seems determined to kill off as many citizens as possible, Joni Ernst is neck deep in pig shit. Landslides have a way of defeating incumbent senators who did not expect to lose. It’s one of many lessons taught by the Reagan sweep in 1980.

I’ve even seen one poll showing Moscow Mitch losing his race. Elderly senators have a way of losing their seats and before LBJ, the majority leadership seemed jinxed. I’m reluctant to think this *will* happen but the country elected a mentally ill criminal president* in 2016. Anything can happen.

I’m on the record as believing that Elizabeth Warren is the best person to be our next president. Biden’s age makes it imperative that his number two be the best person available. We’re facing a second Great Depression, which means that we need a Second New Deal. Nobody is better suited to deliver on this than Warren. Since Biden was empowered to be a strong Veep by Barack Obama, he’ll do likewise with his number two. Biden and Warren have even co-authored an op-ed piece, which advocates strong action in the place of abject presidential* failure.

If picking Warren appears too risky, I will be happy with Senator Harris in the second slot on the ticket. I would be just as happy with her as the next Attorney General.

Stay tuned.

The last word goes to Tammy Wynette and Lyle Lovett with the GOP’s 2020 theme song:

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Of Red Dawns, Unreliable Narrators & Putrid Protests

A lot of shit got real this week. The presidential race returned to the radar screen with endorsements of Joe Biden by former rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The latter stunned Rachel Maddow by giving a one-word answer when asked if she’d take second place on the ticket. The word was YES. I have mixed feelings about the idea. She’d be the best president in waiting BUT Dems would lose a senate seat and I still think Kamala Harris would be the best pick politically. Stay tuned.

I had planned to write separate posts about the subjects listed in the title. But as John Lennon once said, in another song better than Imagine, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Oh hell, I might as well post the video, it’s what I do:

That reminds me of another John Lennon tune from Double Fantasy, which is also much better than Imagine:

We’re all “just sitting here  watching the wheels go round and round” during the lockdown. It’s giving some people ants in their pants.

That brings me to our first subject. I know, it’s the last item in the post title but this fucking flows. Never mess with the fucking flow.

Putrid Protests: There are people tea-partying like it’s 2009. The Michigan protest was pure Teabaggery. It was intensified by Michigander MAGA Maggots who cannot abide a woman governor telling them what to do. I’m surprised nobody had a sign calling Gretchen Whitmer a Governess. That would require wit, which is a quality sadly lacking among the red hat set.

The most appalling thing about this idiotic protest can be seen in this tweet:

In a word: disgusting.

13,000 Michiganders died fighting for the Union in the War of the Rebellion. They died to purge the land of that fucking flag, you stupid motherfuckers. Fuck you. Uh oh, I’m turning into Jude. Fuck that shit.

Governor Whitmer was asked the Veep question by Rachel last night. She wasn’t having it and gave a wordy answer reminding the world that her plate is full right now. And Governor Whitmer strikes me as someone who always cleans her plate before moving on to the next task. Stay tuned.

It’s time for a visual transition:

Red Dawn was a fakakta 1984 movie hatched in the feverish brain of right-wing writer-director John Milius. It told the story of a Soviet invasion of God’s Country. Me, I prefer this comedic take:

Carl Reiner is wearing his angry rug in that lobby card. Fuck you, Alan Arkin.

Red Dawn is also an email string traded by concerned government scientists during the early days of the pandemic. The NYT published a story about it last weekend. It’s devastating to the political hacks and Trumper shitbirds who ignored their dire warnings.

My favorite bit came from an email

Dr. Lawler is an infectious disease specialist when not commenting on Trump’s March Of Folly.

Let’s try another visual transition. I really dug the last one.

The Ultimate Unreliable Narrator: The term unreliable narrator was coined in 1961 by Wayne C. Booth. It often applies to a crime fiction narrator who lies to readers; something I never do in Tongue In The Mail. End of shameless plug.

This unreliable narrator *is* committing a series of crimes but they’re not fictional, alas. I’m talking about the Impeached Insult Comedian who says something one day, changes his mind the next, and denies ever having said it on the third day, which is also the title of an early ELO album.

People keep falling for this nonsense and not just the MSM. My social media feeds were full of people freaking out over Trump’s “I have the power to adjourn Congress” bullshit. He does not and the idea was shot down by the Turtle on the second day. Get a grip, y’all. As some smart ass said on Twitter:

That’s why I call him the Ultimate Unreliable Narrator, the Kaiser of Chaos, the Impeached Insult Comedian, and President* Pennywise.

The last word goes to ELO with a tune from On The Third Day:

 

Who’s Going to Stop Him?

I mean, David Frum and Rick Wilson are now heroes of La Resistance, can you blame Trump for looking at this world and saying eh, they’ll forget about it in an hour? 

“Any normal politician would be worried about saying anything wrong about a disease like this,” says Ben Rhodes. “Trump, because he has an incapacity to be shamed, clearly felt a certain freedom to just stand up there and lie or to tweet things that weren’t true, because he knew in his mind that, if this does get bad, I can just always rewrite the history of it.”

It’s not because Trump doesn’t have the capacity to be shamed. This isn’t about his FEELINGS. It’s because actually nobody in his party will do anything to stop him.

We used to think of these things as like natural occurrences, right? Politician says or does something terrible, they get held to account. By the press! By the people’s outrage! By “history!” Hasn’t anyone noticed it doesn’t work like that anymore? That absent any opposition in power whatsoever, it’s apparently entire about sternly written letters and “more in sorrow than in anger” editorials chronicling the decline of the nation without doing anything about it.

I am optimistic about our chances of electing Joey B. Shark, because I have to be, because what is the option here. Despair isn’t a plan. I’m sure there are still people out there for whom “making things worse because THIS TIME PEOPLE WILL LEARN” is a plan, but spoiler alert, we’re all quarantined during a major pandemic because Fuckstick McGee couldn’t wrap his brain around it.

But that isn’t enough. We don’t have, as it turns out, a system that can withstand two people — the president and a powerful supporter in Congress — deciding to just not act like any of it matters. So how do we make it matter? We can’t just elect normies and be like oh, okay, this will never happen again. This will totally happen again, and while the prescient among us saw Trump coming the next time it might not be so obvious.

All the shit we hate right now? We need to enshrine prevention into law. All the things we think are so outrageous, and I’m not talking about moving someone’s chair in the press room, need to be prevented not by shame but by actual consequences. We can’t continue to have Democrats resign for scandals that barely ruffle Republicans’ feathers. We can’t keep being ruled by whoever can get the most people to call into C-SPAN and scream.

I am optimistic about electing Joey B. Shark but if we think that takes us back to normal, as he desperately does, by some kind of magic, we’re all kidding ourselves.

A.

 

 

 

Please Stop

I know “please everyone quit bitching on the internet” is like the least likely thing to actually happen but I figured I would try to talk about how awful we are all being about our preferred primary candidates right now.

Yes, all of us. Bernie Brothers. Even the Biden Bros. Maybe especially you three weirdos stanning Tulsi, whatever you’re about. What is the appeal?

I just log on every day and it’s “Biden is basically Trump” and “Bernie will never get anything done” and meanwhile the Republicans are over there debating how many people they can put on death-ships to offshore them so that the coronavirus numbers go down.

(Why are they even worried about that, honestly? We’ve been in a post-consequences-for-the-GOP world since approximately 1980 and 2016 made it clear that public opinion don’t matter for shit if Mitch ain’t moving. Stop acting like THIS ONE is gonna be THE THING that brings them down.

Nothing will bring them down but retaking the Senate so decisively that the five conservative Democrats who are always a pain in our asses don’t matter anymore, we get 75 Dems in there or nothing changes.)

We are spending all our time talking about how the Democratic Party is dumb and bad and rigged and conservative and can’t do anything right and I’m just … Can we please, while we are debating the best way to solve systemic racism and extreme income inequality, at least TRY to remember the GOP is fighting over who gets to hold the fire hoses and unleash the K-9s?

Maybe I just follow the wrong people but lately it’s just nonstop THIS IS WHY DEMOCRATS SUCK ASS every time crazy old Joey B. Shark eats his own kicks and I feel like REPUBLICANS HAVE GIVEN THEMSELVES OVER TO FASCISM BECAUSE THEY HAD TO LISTEN TO A BLACK MAN FOR 8 YEARS is getting lost here.

Can we direct some of the vitriol we’re pouring into our own coffees every morning into whatever human-based sludge McConnell has his leather slaves pump into him to keep him alive? Donate to Amy McGrath and THEN get on The Internet Dot Com to write a long post about how Kamala is a cop and Hillary should go away. Fucking Jesus, all I want to hear from now until the end of time is FUCK DONALD TRUMP, let this be our national anthem:

And I get that “Trump is bad” isn’t a platform or an argument except … kind of, it is? When nothing else gets through, when you can’t get coverage for anything that doesn’t have the T-word in it, when you pass hundreds of bills doing good things for America and YOUR OWN SUPPORTERS still bitch you out for not having a message or a plan and cable news idiots blame “gridlock in Congress,” you tell me how we should be spending our time.

I’m on record numerous times as saying I will vote for Bernie or Biden and likely in the IL primary Imma throw down for our first Jewish president because fuck health insurance, but if it’s Joe then it’s Joe because I don’t make these decisions by myself. If I did I’d be working at the President John F.President of You Kerry Presidential Center for Studying the Bizarre Hotness of Tall War Veterans or some shit.

We heard this shit with Kerry, too, so we all whined our way to another loss and then blamed him as if he personally suppressed votes in Ohio and then wiped his ass with the rule of law. We heard this shit with Hillary, as if she was responsible for not tickling your prostate just right when the future of America was on the line. When we have a nominee, I don’t want to fucking hear it anymore. I don’t want to hear it now. Pull your shit together, people. Joey Biden is going to have someone properly run the CDC. Bernard Sanders will take Stephen Miller out back and make him dig his own hole. Jesus, even Tulsi would protect reproductive rights.

Can we give our people a little credit, here?

A.