Category Archives: Fog Of Scandal

First Draft KMacpalooza: The Grand Finale

This tweet I sent this morning was a bit premature:

I thought that after that and Michael F’s brilliant and punny press post, we’d exhausted the subject. I was wrong. It’s still KMac day at First Draft.

The brain-dead response of the MSM to Pelosi’s power play has been hilarious as pointed out by Never Trumper Tim Miller:

How dare Speaker Pelosi not allow Gym Jordan to wreck the investigation? KMac selected him to turn it into a shit show. Pelosi refused to play along.

The MSM was confused by Nancy Smash’s power move so much so that KMac walked into her trap by withdrawing from the Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee. That perfects their fuck-up in refusing to participate in a 1/6 Commission over which they’d have veto power over subpoenas. Now they have no representation, influence, or power. They won’t be on teevee when the hearings air either. It was a stupid move by a stupid man. Thanks, KMac.

Cassandra discussed Liz Cheney. I’d like to expand on her thoughts by quoting People Magazine quoting I Alone Can Wreck Fix It.

When hundreds of angry Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after being incited by the president, Rep. Liz Cheney was inside with other members of congress, including Rep. Jim Jordan.

Jordan — who had supported Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen — offered to help Cheney out of the aisle.

She wasn’t having it, according to a new book.

“That fucking guy Jim Jordan. That son of a bitch,” Cheney told Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley on the phone, detailing the siege, according to I Alone Can Fix It, by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.

“While these maniacs are going through the place, I’m standing in the aisle and he said, ‘We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you,’ ” recalled Cheney, then the House of Representatives’ No. 3 Republican, per the book. “I smacked his hand away and told him, ‘Get away from me. You fucking did this.’ ”

I undeleted the expletives. We still have a fuck quota at First Draft even without Athenae and Jude. Fuck, yeah.

One thing I respect about the Cheneys is that they’re good haters and even better grudge holders. Liz Cheney’s hate for that fucking guy Gym Jordan runs deep.

The main reason I’m wrapping up KMacpalooza is this:

“We will run our own investigation,” McCarthy said at a news conference, calling Pelosi a “lame duck speaker” and accusing her of an “egregious abuse of power” and of “destroying the institution.”

That was KMac’s OJ Simpson moment. Remember when the Juice got loose and claimed that he’d investigate the murders? That never happened. Instead he wrote a book called If I Did It.

KMac’s book could be titled How I Tried To Kill Democracy.

I eagerly await a subpoena landing on KMac’s desk.

The last word goes to The Kinks. Just imagine Gym Jordan singing Dave’s part and Liz Cheney singing Ray’s.

 

Run Through The Milley

I’m debuting a new featured image meme today. I’ve used the above image with the Fog of Scandal, but the ultimate scandal of the Trump Regime deserves its own meme.

Books about the disastrous final year of the Impeached Insult Comedian’s reign of error are flying off the shelves. As my mother used to say, it was “uglier than boiled sin” in public and even worse in private. I asked Mom to explain this Midwesternism. She told me to try boiling sin to see what it looked like. It was a non-answer but a funny one, so I let it slide. I guess she had a feeling inside that she couldn’t explain:

Mom never did Roger’s mike toss or Pete’s windmill. I would have paid to see either…

Back to the Dipshit Insurrection. General Mark Milley is a central figure in I Alone Can Fix It by the WaPo’s Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. (The book should really be called I Alone Can Wreck It.) We’re going to focus on the General’s reaction to the Trump regime’s end game and my reaction to Milley’s reactions. Sounds reactive…

As he showed in responding to Matt Gaetz’s CRT question, Mark Milley is an erudite and well-read man. I was appalled when he joined the Kaiser of Chaos on his bible waving jaunt but pleased when he apologized. It takes a big man to take responsibility for their mistakes. Something Donald Trump has never done in his Lilliputian life.

General Milley’s antennae began tingling right after the election:

… the general’s worries grew rapidly as the president plunged the nation into chaos following Election Day. Seven days later, Milley got a call from “an old friend” with an explicit warning that Trump and his allies were trying to “overturn the government.” Milley was confident that any attempts by Trump to hold on to power would be thwarted, because the military wouldn’t go along. “They may try, but they’re not going to fucking succeed,” he told aides. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with guns.”

That is, of course, the classic definition of a coup. A definition I agree with. What happened on 1/6/2021 was a riotous insurrection. Whatever word you use, it was some serious shit that should never be forgotten.

I long ago discarded Godwin’s Law in discussing Trumpism. So too did General Milley.

…Milley was disturbed by the sight of Trump supporters rallying to his cause in November, calling them “Brownshirts in the streets.” Leonnig and Rucker wrote that Milley “believed Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military.” The general likened the U.S. to Germany’s fragile Weimar Republic in the early 1930s. “This is a Reichstag moment,” he said, referring to the arson attack on Germany’s Parliament that Hitler used as a pretext to assume absolute power and destroy democracy.

And that was before the Dipshit Insurrection. The aftermath of 1/6 is where the Reichstag Fire analogy works best. They’re trying to whitewash the event and pretend that, in Trump’s recent phrase, “it was a love fest.” Oy just oy.

This was Milley’s reaction to the crowd watching Trump’s 1/6 screed:

“These guys are Nazis, they’re boogaloo boys, they’re Proud Boys. These are the same people we fought in World War II.”

I’ve said the same thing myself: my uncle died fighting Fascism. The shame of the thing and its follow-up are staggering. Of course, former President* Pennywise’s picture is in the dictionary next to shameless.

There’s been a controversy as to whether General Milley should have done more to counter Trump. I understand those who think he should have, at the very least, testified at the second impeachment trial or spoken out publicly. It’s a close call, but I think it’s more important to preserve the principle of civilian control of the military.

If Milley had spoken out, he would have had to resign. I’m glad a General who understood that Trump was “preaching the gospel of the Fuhrer” was in place. Unlike Trump, Milley has heard of the Nuremberg Principles and would have refused to obey illegal orders to involve the military in a coup.

As a young man. I heard stories from my Greek relatives of tanks rolling through the streets of Athens in 1967. Thanks to General Milley, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and other senior military commanders, it didn’t happen here. It was, however, a close call.

I chose a punny title for this post because Mark Milley was indeed run through the mill by the Trump regime. I’m glad someone who knows history and understands the nature of Fascism had a seat at the table during the bleak final days of the Trump administration. Besides, what’s not to love about a guy who told Stephen Miller to “shut the fuck up” during the BLM protest season?

The last word is inspired by a punny title I discarded, Walk A Milley In My Shoes. That’s why it goes to an unlikely trio: Joe South, Bryan Ferry, and Billy Eckstein.

 

 

Don’t Fauci My Florida?

Some things never change. Republicans have long identified enemies, then raised money by attacking them.  For many years, Ted Kennedy was the GOP’s main boogieman even after his presidential hopes ended. They raised hell and buckets of bucks off the Clintons, Barack Obama, and Nancy Pelosi. Now the Trumpiest Trumper of them all, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is continuing this odious tradition with an unlikely target: Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Say What?  You heard that right. Team DeSantis is selling tacky anti-Fauci: merch.

Freedom, man. A friend has suggested I slap that on a t-shirt or koozie and sell it on Etsy or Red Bubble, but too many people would take it literally instead of ironically. (The first time I heard about Etsy, the name made me chortle. Etsi-ketsi is Greek for so-so. So-so it goes.)

The Impeached Insult Comedian was the one who started the hate campaign against one of the world’s most eminent scientists. What Trump does, Ron DeSantis immediately imitates.

DeSantis’ record on the pandemic is one of the worst in the world:

DeSantis avoided statewide mask requirements even as leaders across the political spectrum embraced them amid growing evidence of their effectiveness. This spring, he suspended all virus-based local rules for businesses and individuals.

The governor has encouraged people to get vaccinated but also banned businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, arguing that such measures are a form of discrimination against people who refuse vaccines for medical or religious reasons. He also successfully sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep it from enforcing its coronavirus rules on cruise ships in Florida, a major part of the state’s tourism industry.

Freedom, man.

DeSantis is bragging about Florida’s “freedom based” economy while ignoring the latest explosion of COVID in his state. Freedom, man.

At last weekend’s summer CPAC event DeSantis came in second to Trump in a 2024 presidential straw poll with 21%. According to Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman, Trump was already jealous of his Mini-me:

In recent days I spoke with a half dozen GOP insiders about the recent flare-ups between DeSantis’s and Trump’s camps. The sources agreed that DeSantis and Trump are on an inevitable collision course as the 2024 GOP field takes shape. “There’s going to be a blowup,” a prominent Republican said. “Trump fucking hates DeSantis. He just resents his popularity,” a Trump confidant told me. Asked for comment, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington said: “Governor DeSantis has shown great respect.”

Part of Trump’s irritation with DeSantis is that Trump famously claims credit for anyone in his orbit who gains attention. “Trump tells people, ‘I made Ron,’” the prominent Republican said. “Trump says that about a lot of people. But in this case it’s actually true.” According to sources, then congressman DeSantis cultivated Trump’s support during the 2018 gubernatorial primary by hanging out at Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel. “Ron basically ran his primary campaign out of the hotel. He buttonholed Trump supporters and his friends,” the prominent Republican said.

I look forward to a collision between Dr. Evil and his Mini-Me. It will be entertaining as well as destructive to the Republican party. Game Of Thrones ended badly, hopefully Trump-DeSantis will too. Stay tuned.

Back to Tony Fauci. He’s a tough old bird who can take a punch. He’s from Brooklyn before it became Hipster Central. In Fauci’s day, it was a tough working class enclave. Dr. Fauci has been vilified before; by AIDS activists in the 1980’s. He was able to win them over with a combination of charm and substance, but they were good people who wanted to stop a deadly disease. Ron DeSantis is a bad person who has allowed a deadly disease to spread to further his political ambition.

Freedom, man.

The last word goes to Bessie Smith:

Edwin Edwards, R.I.P.

Edwin Edwards in 2011. Photograph by George Long.

I have mixed emotions about Edwin Edwards who died yesterday at the age of 93. He dominated Louisiana politics for a quarter of a century. He served 2 consecutive terms as Governor followed by 2 non-consecutive terms for a total of 16 out of 24 years. He won 4 of 5 statewide elections the most important being 1991’s election from hell when he defeated David Dukkke. A victory for which I remain profoundly grateful, but I still have mixed emotions about the man and his political legacy.

Edwin Edwards was more than just a politician. He was a folk hero with a Cajun swagger. He charmed his way out of trouble. That’s how he got away with the shenanigans that eventually sent him to prison after 3 corruption trials.

By any standard, his first two terms were a success. I’m not going to repeat in detail what’s being said in the Gret Stet MSM about the 1974 constitution and his concern for the poor and elderly. I think that Edwards’ greatest accomplishment was being the first Louisiana governor to treat Black folks as full citizens. As a result, the African American community became his base through the trials and tribulations of his less successful third and fourth terms.

My first Gret Stetwide election as a Louisiana resident was 1983. The Edwards campaign was a well-oiled machine that year as he defeated Dave Treen a nice but dull man who was the first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Edwards had a lot of fun mocking Treen as a stiff. He later regretted being so snarky about Treen who supported efforts to commute his sentence in the 21st Century.

I voted for Edwards in 1983 and 1991, but not in 1987. His third term was something of a disaster. The oil bust led to cuts in state spending and higher education took the biggest hit. He spent a hefty chunk of that term on trial. He was not convicted but it left a cloud over him that led to his primary loss in 1987 to Buddy Roemer who also died this year. Edwin’s passing leaves the world’s youngest hasbeen, Bobby Jindal, as the only living former Gret Stet governor.

In defeat, Edwards proved his political genius. He declined to face a run-off against Roemer. This has been painted by many as a sign that he knew he’d lose. That’s true but his motivation was to kneecap Roemer politically by limiting his vote to 33%. It worked: in 1991 Roemer got 26% finishing third in the primary.

I’m often asked by out-of-state friends if Edwin Edwards was a liberal. He was by Gret Stet standards but not by national standards. His record on Civil Rights was good but he gave the oil, gas, and chemical companies free reign as long as they paid tribute in the form of higher taxes and campaign contributions. The same went for gambling interests. The latter led to his downfall.

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Ashli Babbittry

Sinclair Lewis is back in fashion because of his parable of American fascism, It Can’t Happen Here. I’m not sure how many people have read the novel as opposed to posting pictures of the cover on social media. That’s more common than you might think. It’s gotten to the point where I ask errant social media commenters if they’ve read the post of mine they’re attacking. They usually have not.

I had a high school English teacher who was kin to Sinclair Lewis. I don’t recall the consanguinity, but her stock line was “Sinclair Lewis, not Upton Sinclair.”

People were just as easily confused in the 20th Century as they are now. I wish I could say that Twitter birthed mass stupidity, but its been with us forever. Hell, when I ran a Google search for Sinclair Lewis, Upton Sinclair’s name came up almost as often.

That brings me to another Sinclair Lewis novel Babbitt, which is a fine example of satire circa 1922. It was the story of a Midwestern real estate developer named George Babbitt. He was the epitome of vapid conformity and banal boosterism.

It’s every writer’s dream to coin a word or phrase that makes the dictionary. That happened with Babbitt, which is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as:

“a person and especially a business or professional man who conforms unthinkingly to prevailing middle-class standards.”

A mini essay at Merriam-Webster.com adds this thought about Babbittry:

The values, attitudes, and mores associated with the American middle class in the 1920s can be summed up in the word Babbitry. It derives from the protagonist of Babbitt, a satirical novel by Sinclair Lewis published in 1922. George F. Babbitt epitomizes the unimaginative and self-important businessmen that Lewis found typical of the provincial cities and towns of America. Despite his evident prosperity and status, he remains vaguely dissatisfied with life and makes tentative attempts at rebellion; however, in the end, he finds his need for social acceptance greater than his desire for escape.

To a great extent that describes the conformism that is Trumpism. Trumpers tend to trumpet the cliches they’ve heard on Fox News, Newsmax, Breitbart, and other wingnutty web sites. Trumpism is a conformist creed that relies on talking points instead of independent thought hence the anti-intellectual attacks on science and education. Who among us isn’t tired of hearing about cancel culture?

The anti-intellectualism of Trumpism is nothing new. George Wallace was fond of attacking “damn pointy-headed intellectuals who can’t park their bicycle straight.”

The Impeached Insult Comedian was never that witty.

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Malaka Of The Week: Michael Avenatti

Glory Days: Stormy Daniels & Michael Avenatti.

As a satirist I have a firm rule. I always kick up, never down. Kicking down isn’t funny, which is one reason my original nickname for Donald Trump, the Insult Comedian, is ironic. He always kicks down, never up. As a result, he’s not funny.

As a human being I have an analogous rule. My father taught me never kick a man when he’s down. There are exceptions to every rule. And that is why Michael Avenatti is malaka of the week.

I never cared for or wrote favorably about Malaka Michael. The MSM was madly in love with him because he was colorful and quotable. Besides, he represented a porn star going after then President* Pennywise. What’s more colorful than that?

I was struck by the man’s high regard for himself. He reminded me of a law school classmate who was my friend until he made law review. Then he dropped all his 1L friends. It was a classic kick down. It was no great loss; he was an asshole anyway. There’s a character based on him in my law school novel. Tongue In The Mail. He wasn’t the murderer just your basic malaka mouthpiece wannabe.

I began to detest Avenatti when he intervened in the Kavanaugh Mess. He made an easy target for Republicans who were able to paint him as a hyper partisan jerk who was only interested in himself not SCOTUS. Malaka Michael’s posturing made it harder for undecided GOP senators to vote Kavanaugh down. Thanks, dude.

Avenatti decided that being a porn star lawyer and cable news rock star qualified him to be president:

I wrote about this creep’s brief foray into Democratic presidential politics in a post with an apt title, The Ego Has Landed: Why Not Me Avenatti 2020?

His campaign slogan was ironic given his current circumstances: Restore Integrity.

The malakatude it burns.

Stephanie Clifford DBA Stormy Daniels made Malaka Michael a celebrity. Representing her turned out to be his undoing. His ego exploded to the point that he attempted to extort money from Nike. Pro-tip: never shake down a corporation that’s worth between 15 and 25 billion dollars.

Cue Carl Sagan meme:

Avenatti called it negotiating for a client, Nike called it extortion. A Manhattan jury agreed with Nike and found him guilty of extortion last year. Yesterday, Avenatti was sentenced to 30 months in jail by a federal judge who called him “drunk with power.”

Avenatti goes on trial in Los Angeles next week for stealing money from his clients.

In his future is another federal trial for stealing Stormy Daniels’ $300K book advance. Stormy giveth and Stormy taketh away.

Avenatti is a walking cautionary tale of the perils of believing your own publicity. A bit of humility never hurt anyone. And that is why Michael Avenatti is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers:

Taking A Schott At Trump

Here we go again. The Kaiser of Chaos is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. It’s the only way he makes news, after all.

The Guardian scored an early copy of a book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender. The source of the story is obviously John Kelly who is willing to tell the truth about his former boss privately but never publicly.

Here we go again:

On a visit to Europe to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, Donald Trump insisted to his then chief of staff, John Kelly: “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”

<SNIP>

But Bender says unnamed sources reported that Kelly “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred”, emphasizing German economic recovery under Hitler during the 1930s.

“Kelly pushed back again,” Bender writes, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.”

Bender adds that Kelly told Trump that even if his claim about the German economy under the Nazis after 1933 were true, “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.”

Unnamed sources? Only Kelly and Trump were in that room. I understand Bender not wanting to burn his sources, but John Kelly is a coward. I don’t usually say that about generals, but I’ll say it again: John Kelly is a coward. He’s retired from the military so he can speak freely about the Kaiser of Chaos. The same goes for General Mattis. At least he doesn’t leak stories, so he’s not quite as bad as Kelly but he’s guilty of the same moral cowardice.

The incident took place on the same European trip that Pennywise made the infamous suckers and losers remark. John Kelly heard all of this hateful shit but remains silent in public.

Repeat after me: John Kelly is a coward.

Here we go again. Nobody is surprised when Trump says something nice about Nazis. He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again.  It’s probably something Donald heard his father Fred say. Before World War II, Hitler was popular among conservative German Americans because he “fixed” the German economy. Money is all that matters to Trumps past present and future.

That brings me to the post title and featured image. The minute I heard about Trump’s remarks, I thought of former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott. She’s been out of baseball since 1999 and dead since 2004, but she made some unforgettable comments about Hitler in 1996:

“Everything you read, when he [Hitler] came in he was good,” the Reds owner said in an interview aired by ESPN last night. “They built tremendous highways and got all the factories going. He went nuts, he went berserk. I think his own generals tried to kill him, didn’t they? Everybody knows he was good at the beginning but he just went too far.”

Oy just oy.

Like Donald Trump, Marge Schott was German American.

Like Donald Trump, Marge Schott only cared about money.

Unlike Donald Trump, Marge Schott loved dogs, St. Bernards in particular. It was her redeeming characteristic. Donald Trump has none.

I have no doubt that Marge Schott would be an ardent Trumper if she were still alive. Praising Hitler wasn’t her only racist outburst. She called two of her star players Eric Davis and Dave Parker “million dollar n*****s.”

Schott wasn’t crazy about Jews or Asians either. I could go on and on, but I won’t.

Marge Schott was suspended by Major League Baseball several times for her bigoted comments and eventually run out of the game. I suspect contemporary “conservatives” would claim that she was a victim of cancel culture. Her wounds like those of the Impeached Insult Comedian were self-inflicted but the worst thing she could do was ruin a ball club, not a country.

About the featured image. I somehow missed the 2017 Stern cover and the Politico story about it when it ran in the wake of the Charlottesville mishigas. I remember the Sports Illustrated cover of Schott who was a heavy smoker as well as a bigot and poor excuse for a human being.

About the title. In addition to Schott and Trump, I kicked around several ideas. Then I thought of the old song Taking A Chance On Love, which begins with “Here I go again.”

Somehow Taking A Chance On Love became Taking A Schott At Trump.

It’s an odd inspiration for this punny post title but I’m an odd guy. Ironically, the song debuted in a musical about Black folks, Cabin In The Sky. I shudder to think what Donald and Marge would say about that.

Here I go again, the last word goes to Ella Fitzgerald:

The House Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee

It’s been six months since the Dipshit Insurrection. Former President* Pennywise is demanding the release of insurrectionists but Speaker Pelosi is moving forward with an investigation. See the post title.

Count me among those people who thinks that getting at the truth of what happened on 1/6 and during the Trump regime is more important than prosecuting crimes. Most aspects of the Dipshit Insurrection are clearly criminal whereas many Trump era scandals involve the violation of norms. We need to get at the truth of those norm violations, then figure out how to address them. The criminal law is a blunt instrument and cannot be used for everything.

The House Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee’s mission is to investigate what happened before during and after 1/6. The poorly led House Republican Caucus painted themselves in a corner by not supporting the commission. Congressman Katko cut a good deal, which gave them clout in the investigation. But KMac blows with the wind and the prevailing breeze comes from Mar-a-Doorn. KMac and the Turtle bowed to the Kaiser of Chaos’ wishes and are now living to regret it.

If only they could take responsibility like the guy in the Jackie Wilson song:

I find myself in the weird position of quoting Gret Stet Senator Bill Cassidy without any mockery. This is how he explained his vote for the 1/6 Commission:

“The legislation I voted for ensured Republicans had equal power over the commission and set a deadline of December 31, 2021 to prevent a needlessly drawn-out process,” he said in a statement.

“Without this commission, there will still be an investigation,” he added. “But it will be a House select-committee set up by Speaker Pelosi – the nature of which will be entirely dictated by Democrats and would stretch on for years.”

Cassidy feared a Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi style committee. That seems unlikely but the GOP shot itself in the foot by voting against the commission.

KMac got extra mad when Liz Cheney accepted a slot on the select committee. He’s running around like a headless chicken shaking blood over everything. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Dumbass.

Back to the substance of the committee’s work. There’s been talk of White House involvement in the Dipshit Insurrection. That should be a focus of the committee’s investigation. They may or may not be able to establish any violations of the criminal laws, but the facts need to come out.

I have no illusions that any of this will shake the faith of hardcore Trumpers and QAnon creeps. Frankly, I don’t care about them. They’re lost souls. I am, however, interested in keeping the GOP on defense in the House and elsewhere. The Dipshit Insurrection committee should stick the knife in slowly and let them bleed out.

Here’s the best-case scenario:

They’re not our friends but I like the funeral and bleeding stuff. Besides, I’ve gone to the Let It Bleed well too often.

As of this writing KMac hasn’t said whether they’ll participate in the select committee. They would be wise to do so. When Nancy Pelosi was confronted with the same choice over the Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi select committee, many thought Democrats should boycott, she did not. It was the right decision. Of course, KMac is not known for his judgment. I guess he’ll have to call the Impeached Insult Comedian for instructions.

Finally, if you haven’t seen the New York Times recent look at the Capitol riot, CLICK HERE. 

The last word goes to Roy Byrd DBA Professor Longhair with another fault-based song:

Trump Family Values

As I luxuriated in the Indictment Thursday coverage I found myself asking: what does Mary Trump think? I reviewed her book last year for Bayou Brief. Too Much and Never Enough made me respect her judgment and her take on her kin folks.

The most interesting moment of Mary’s interview with Rachel Maddow last night was this:

RM: Allen Weisselberg is being charged for benefitting from that scheme. The indictment says, other executives also benefitted from that scheme. And now, we`ve got solid reporting that the investigation continues. That raises the prospect that further charges could be brought against his children.

MT: Yeah, it does. And I — again, I think they should be quite anxious right now. Donald, on the other hand, will expect the same kind and level of loyalty from them, as he expects from Allen. You know, as far as Donald`s concerned, they have what they have because of him. And they should be willing to take whatever hit they are going to take.

He doesn`t understand, I guess, how these things work. Prosecutors won`t stop at my cousins. They will be going for the bigger fish, which would be Donald, who`s been running this organization for over 30 years, now.

So I think he would be surprised to learn that I don`t believe my cousins would exert that kind of — exercise that kind of loyalty towards him because his relationship with them and their relationship with him is entirely transactional. So — and conditional, I should say.

So, they`re not going to risk anything for him, just as he wouldn`t risk anything for them. So, it could get really, really interesting as these things unfold, because there are so many more documents that New York prosecutors have at their disposal.

RM: So, you have more confidence that Allen Weisselberg would — wouldn`t cooperate, than you do that the president`s — former president`s children wouldn`t cooperate?

MT: Yeah. I think, as far as I understand it, and, you know, I`m not a lawyer. But it seems that, as — as serious as these charges are, they may not end up with jail time or any significant amount of jail time. And the downside of cooperating with prosecutors, for Allen Weisselberg might be larger than the downside of going to jail if it`s for a short enough period of time.

So, again, it`s going to be very interesting to see just the — the case that can be made. And the sentencing, if it comes to that, because I think that will factor in, for sure. But I`m much less sanguine about my cousins` loyalty to their father.

Sorry for the long quote, but I wanted everything to be put in context. Mary Trump might be wrong about her cousins but the mere possibility they *could* flip on former President* Pennywise is fascinating. We all have fickle and untrustworthy relatives, but this takes the cake.

Speaking of cake and relatives who work together, I feel a musical interlude coming on.

The current edition of Crowded House has three Finns. I don’t think Liam or Elroy would flip on papa Neil. Their Uncle Tim never did. There’s more Eighties music to come at the end of the post. It was the decade in which Donald Trump became famous, after all.

Now that we’ve had dessert, back to the main course: the Trumps. There have long been rumors of discord between the Two Donalds. Junior rebelled against his father after his mother was so publicly dumped. That’s one of the few good things I’ve ever heard about Junior.

Don Junior seems to think he can be the next John Quincy Adams or George W Bush: son of a president who becomes one himself. Adams set the bar high, but W lowered it considerably; making even grandson of a president Benjamin Harrison look good. Ratting out the Kaiser of Chaos would be bad for Junior politically, so I think he’ll stay on the sinking ship.

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Like A Summer Thursday

There’s a lot going on in the legal world today. Make that too much. My head is spinning and glistening with sweat because it’s summer. That was almost melodramatic enough to score a gig as a cable news host. I can hype things with the best of them, but I choose not to. I value my sanity. I’ll never be able to sigh as much as Rachel Maddow…

I did a search for songs with Thursday in the title. I was surprised at how many there are. I picked this Townes Van Zandt song because it’s summer and it’s Thursday:

It has nothing to do with the law, but I like it. We need something mellow on such a frantic news day.

I’m not writing this in order of importance. The SCOTUS stuff and the Trump Org indictment are clearly the top stories for this edition of the Legal Docket, but we begin in Pennsylvania.

Castor Oiled: Cassandra wrote a swell post about the Cosby case and I’m following up with a few notes on the law. While the ruling by the Pennsylvania supremes is bizarre in its reliance on a Bruce Castor press release, the Cosby prosecution fucked up.

Prosecutors should have done a better job insulating their case from Castor’s promise not to prosecute Cosby. They’re only partially to blame for this clusterfuck. The bulk of the blame goes to Bruce Castor.

We all remember Castor as the faux folksy lawyer who worked on the second Trump impeachment.  He wasn’t any more competent as District Attorney of Montgomery County, PA.

I don’t agree with the court ruling but it’s not baseless since Castor made such a mess of everything. The good news is that it didn’t exonerate Cosby. The bad news is that it freed him so he can pontificate and lecture the rest of the country. He’ll always be a convicted sex offender to me. Fat Albert can fuck off too.

There are some fine instant analysis pieces by sharper legal minds than mine:

Daniel Joseph Stern at Slate.

Harry Litman at the WaPo

Barbara McQuade at the NYT.

SCOTUS: There was a major decision in an Arizona voting rights case. Plaintiffs said the laws discriminated against minorities. The majority opinion by Justice Alito dismissed those concerns. It’s genuinely frightening that Sam Alito created a new test to be applied to voting rights cases. Shorter Alito: Republicans good, Democrats bad. I oversimplify but that’s the end result.

California had a law that forced non-profit donors to disclose their identity. Transparency is good, right? Not according to 6 supremes who struck the law down. They even compared Americans for Prosperity to the NAACP during Jim Crow. AFP is a Koch brothers group. Oy just oy.

There’s been a lot of speculation that Justice Breyer *might* retire today but nothing has happened as of this writing. I remain concerned that the pressure campaign might have backfired. As I wrote a few weeks ago: “These tactics didn’t work with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, why would they work with Justice Breyer?”

Watch this space.

Manhattan Melodrama: I wrote this segment in bits and pieces before and after the arraignment hearing. Here we go.

I wish I could augment my original nickname for Donald Trump and make it the Indicted Impeached Insult Comedian, but his head is not on the chopping block today. Since he never thinks ahead, he’s apparently celebrating that fact. The indictment of the Trump Org could doom it as a business enterprise. It owes hundreds of millions to lenders who may call in the loans. Spiking the ball prematurely is never a good idea.

I was hoping that Allen Weisselberg would flip but there’s still time. Why does he think that Trump will reciprocate his loyalty? Beats the hell out of me. Perhaps he sold his soul to the elder Trump long ago.

The indictment makes it clear that the charges involve a long-running scam to avoid taxes on the part of Weisselberg personally and the company. The amount listed is substantial: $1.5 million but the crime is not as sexy as insurance or bank fraud.

Prosecutors made it clear that the investigation continues. My hunch is that the indictment is a club to hang over Weisselberg’s head. They’re hoping he’ll flip now that he’s been cuffed and charged. If he doesn’t, it makes it less likely that Trump will be a defendant in this case.

A reminder that the law is slow.

Stay tuned.

I’ll be back if anything major happens today, but I’d rather focus on the Top Chef finale.

The last word goes to David Bowie:

 

Trumper Tittle-Tattle

It was a long night. I woke up at 3:30 and couldn’t find my iPhone, which I use as an alarm clock. I felt like an overage millennial zombie as I searched. I found it but the search made me wakeful. Oh well, I came up with the idea for Arriving UAP while tossing and turning.

I’m not feeling perky right now so I’m just going to throw some links at you and see what sticks. I worked the morning shift for Tommy T and those are big shoes to fill. I skipped the clown shoes jokes because he doesn’t wear them, he just writes about them.

Trump On Dipshit Insurrection Day: There’s a smashing excerpt from Michael Woolf’s upcoming book at nymag.com. It’s a blow-by-blow account of how the Impeached Insult Comedian spent Twelfth Night, 2021.

Trump spent the day wallowing in his delusions and Rudy was drunk off his ass. Most teetotalers I know are uncomfortable with drunkenness. I guess Pennywise thinks it makes them easier marks or some such shit.

This is my favorite passage:

But it was also a pretty good insight into Trump’s relationship to his army of supporters. The president often expressed puzzlement over who these people were with their low-rent “trailer camp” bearing and their “get-ups,” once joking that he should have invested in a chain of tattoo parlors and shaking his head about “the great unwashed.”

Yet they still admire the nasty son-of-a-bitch. Go figure.

Barr Bites Back: The former AG is trying to salvage his reputation. It’s unlikely to work but he sat down with anti-Trump conservative Jonathan Karl to discuss the White House meeting wherein he broke with Trump.

I love Karl’s description of the meeting:

Barr, Levi, and Cipollone walked to the president’s personal dining room near the Oval Office. Trump was sitting at the table. Meadows was sitting next to him with his arms crossed; the White House adviser Eric Herschmann stood off to the side. The details of this meeting were described to me by several people present. One told me that Trump had “the eyes and mannerism of a madman.”

He went off on Barr.

“I think you’ve noticed I haven’t been talking to you much,” Trump said to him. “I’ve been leaving you alone.”

Barr later told others that the comment was reminiscent of a line in the movie Dr. Strangelove, in which the main character, Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, says, “I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence.” Trump, Barr thought, was saying that he had been denying him his essence.

Trump brought up Barr’s AP interview.

“Did you say that?”

“Yes,” Barr responded.

“How the fuck could you do this to me? Why did you say it?”

“Because it’s true.”

The president, livid, responded by referring to himself in the third person: “You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump.”

I’ve always hated people who refer to themselves in the third person. It’s the sign of a weak disordered mind even when it’s true as it is here. Who among us doesn’t hate Trump? Adrastos does…

Javanka On The Run: The funniest story of last week came from the good people at Vanity Fair’s The Hive. It certainly had me buzzing.

Ivanka and Jared continue to be as deluded as her father. They seem to somehow think they can separate themselves from Papa Bear.

In a move right out of the same playbook they used during their time at the White House—wherein they would literally flee the scene any time Trump did something extra bad, and hope people would think they had nothing to do with it despite being senior advisers to the president, Jared and Ivanka are now reportedly trying to convince people who don’t know any better that they’ve all but cut ties with the 45th president over his erratic behavior and insistence that he won the 2020 election. Naturally, sources “familiar with the matter” have shared the couple’s alleged chilliness with Trump…

Their porridge must be spiked with some hallucinogens, y’all.

That’s it for this groggy edition of First Draft Potpourri. The last word goes to The Kinks:

The Milley-Gaetz Mishigas

The right is at it again. Mindless support for the Impeached Insult Comedian has replaced everything that conservatives once believed in. That’s why I no longer call them conservatives, they’re radicals bent on strip-mining our democracy until it’s so enfeebled that it will cave in.

There was a House hearing the other day at which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley testified. They were upstaged by suspected sex trafficker Matt Gaetz who used his time to bang on and on about Critical Race Theory.

Gaetz wouldn’t know what CRT was if it bit him in the ass. Stupid didn’t just fall on Alabama, it fell on this Florida Man.

The suspected sex trafficker accused the military brass of being “woke.” Mercifully, he didn’t call them pansies like Ted Cruz in this infamous tweet:

Oy just oy.

Back to the Milley-Gaetz mishigas. The latter was expounding on CRT and wouldn’t let the General speak. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan yielded her time to General Milley who cut Gaetz down to size:

 … on the issue of critical race theory, et cetera, I’ll obviously have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is, but I do think it’s important actually for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read. And the United States Military Academy is university and it is important that we train and we understand. And I want to understand white rage and I’m white, and I want to understand it.

So what is it that causes thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here, and I do want to analyze it. It’s important that we understand that because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians, they come from the American people. So it is important that the leaders now and in the future do understand it.

I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend? And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, non-commissioned officers of being quote woke or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there.

Remember all the flag waving and strident admonitions to support the troops during the Bush-Cheney administration? The Trumpified right has turned on the military. It’s not the first time either: Joe McCarthy’s attacks on the Army proved to be his undoing. I wish I could say that Milley’s remarks would have the same effect that Joseph Welch’s shaming of McCarthy had, but they’re too far gone.

The anti-intellectualism of today’s right is so pronounced that a military man felt compelled to defend intellectual curiosity. Unlike suspected sex trafficker Matt Gaetz or suspected rapist Donald Trump, General Milley actually reads books. Does that make him a woke pansy?

It’s a short step from barring the teaching of CRT to banning and burning books. Is that the future Matt Gaetz and his ilk have in mind? It’s hard to tell because everything they do is for short-term effect, but raw meat eventually spoils. They would be wise to heed the words of a genuine conservative, General President Eisenhower:

Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book…

The last word goes to XTC:

Welcome To Trumptanamo

Paint By Numbers Pinocchio.

As a child, I was obsessed with the 1940 Disney movie Pinocchio. I was haunted by Pinocchio’s trip to Pleasure Island. He was conned into going by Honest John the fox seen above. Instead of paradise, it was hell as wayward boys were transformed into donkeys. Holy Cautionary tail, Batman.

I thought of Pleasure Island when I heard about Nightmare Scenario. It’s a new book by two WaPo reporters about Team Trump’s handling of the pandemic. It has a passage that reminded me of the time then President* Pennywise suggested that people ingest bleach to deal with COVID. This is just as stupid:

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil.

“Don’t we have an island that we own?” the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. “What about Guantánamo?”

“We import goods,” Trump specified, lecturing his staff. “We are not going to import a virus.”

Aides were stunned, and when Trump brought it up a second time, they quickly scuttled the idea, worried about a backlash over quarantining American tourists on the same Caribbean base where the United States holds terrorism suspects.

It’s Pleasure Island all over again with then President* Pennywise in the role of Honest John and Slumlord Jared as his smarmy sidekick, Gideon the cat. Like everything else about the Trump regime, the idea was a con, a variation on the cup and ball trick. Instead of hiding the ball, Trump hoped to hide the virus. The stupid burns like bleach.  Oy just oy.

We all knew that the Impeached Insult Comedian was an ignorant idiot, but this is stupid even by his standards. Guantánamo is a naval base, not an island. It’s a piece of Cuba that the second Bush Administration transformed into a prison for terrorists in 2002. It’s a relic of the age of gunboat diplomacy: the US Navy “leased” it in 1903.

Since the Kaiser of Chaos knows nothing about history, he was oblivious to the other image this would have evoked to the sentient public: Leper Colonies. Leprosy is now called Hansen’s Disease to reduce the stigma associated with the original term. It was once believed to be highly contagious and was a huge problem during the Dark Ages. That resulted in a primitive and cruel form of social distancing: Leper Colonies, which were often islands. Hence the original post title: Welcome To The Trumptanamo Leper Colony.

Just imagine if then President* Pennywise had been shipped off to the Trumptanamo instead of Walter Reed Medical Center when he was stricken with COVID. It’s a good thing that some of his aides had sense enough not to drink that version of the Trumper Kool-Aide. The stupid burns like bleach. Oy just oy.

The last word goes to The Who with a song in which Tommy serenades his cult members:

Yogi Terror?

I have a positive impression of people who do yoga. They’re normal people who live normal lives. Their namaste rarely turns nasty.

Then there’s this abnormal guy:

A retired California police chief-turned-yoga instructor and five others in his crew are the latest defendants charged with conspiring to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6.

The conspiracy charges in the indictment against the Alan Hostetter and five others, which was filed online Wednesday and unsealed Thursday, are more serious than the typical trespassing or disorderly conduct charges faced by most defendants in the Jan. 6 attack.

Conspiracy allegations are reserved for those who prosecutors believe planned their actions ahead of time and worked together. They’ve also been lodged by feds against members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. In this case, the indictment against the crew noted several indications of ties to the Three Percenter militia movement, which so far has been largely absent from Jan. 6 case dockets.

The indicted men allegedly participated in the riot at the Capitol with the intent of preventing the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral win.

Hostetter founded the group American Phoenix Project last year to protest COVID-19 public health orders, and his presence in D.C. on Jan. 6 was the subject of a late January Washington Post column on support for Trump among the “wellness community.” TPM has covered Hostetter and the American Phoenix Project’s intimidation tactics aimed at local officials.

Wellness is definitely NOT the Impeached Insult Comedian’s bag. These creeps should rebrand themselves as Fit Folks For The Fat Fuck.

Incitement is Pennywise’s art form. It’s depressing how many people have fallen for the BIG LIE and Trump’s entire shtick. To paraphrase a better Republican president from New York, the Kaiser of Chaos talks loudly and carries a small stick. He leaves that to others.

What is it with Trumpers and Teutonic symbolism? That eagle logo resembles avian imagery used by Prussian militarists and their Nazi successors. It’s ironic given that America helped defeat the Two Hs: the Hohenzollerns and Hitler. In fact, imagery is one of the few things the Nazis were good at: genocide and propaganda being the others.

Speaking of Teutonic symbolism, when I dubbed Trump the Kaiser of Chaos, I had no idea how perfect the nickname would be, especially in exile. I wish I could claim premonitive powers, but I cannot. I’m no Kreskin, I’m not even a Carnac:

It’s depressing but unsurprising how many members of law enforcement participated in the Dipshit Insurrection. The same goes for people from Orange County in Southern California. The yogi terrorist, Alan Hostetter is the former chief of the La Habra police department in the OC.

Orange County may be better known for reality teevee shows in 2021, but it has long been a hotbed of right-wing political activism. Orange County *has* changed and become a more diverse place but it remains hospitable to teabaggery and Trumpism. The OC’s airport is named for bigoted chicken hawk movie star, John Wayne, after all.  FYI, one of my favorite social media moments in recent years was when the kids “discovered” the Duke’s racist Playboy interview. They cried, I laughed,

This post is title driven. Yogi Terror came to me in a flash after reading Matt Shuhan’s marvelous TPM article. It should have come to me when Alabama lifted its bizarre ban on yoga in schools. Better late than never.

I should thank these guys for inspiring such a punny title:

One could even say that Alan Hostetter is dumber than the average bear.

Finally, now that the head Yogi terrorist is in the pokey, the American Phoenix Project should change the slogan on its logo from the melodramatic, “Let hope rise like the Phoenix from the ashes of a suffering nation” to “Fit Folks For The Fat Fuck.”

The last word goes to the Beatles with John Lennon’s scathing song about an earlier false prophet, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It applies equally to Alan Hostetter and his hero, Donald Trump:

Saturday Odds & Sods: To The Island

Tahiti and Picnics by Paul Gaugin.

This was the week that the celestial pendulum swung to full tilt summer in New Orleans. We’re looking at nothing but ninety-degree highs for the foreseeable future. Time to crank up the air-dish and the ceiling fans. It’s fucking hot, y’all. That concludes this week’s weather report.

I wished Neil Finn happy birthday late last month. The celebration continues with a theme song from the new Crowded House album. Dreamers Are Waiting is the most cohesive and consistent album the band has released since Together Alone.

I think the band’s new lineup has a lot to do with the excellence of the new album. Neil’s sons Liam and Elroy are onboard, and their presence seems to have inspired dear old dad. The family band twist is reflected by Bee Gees and Beach Boys influences vocally, but unlike the latter, the Finns seem to get along swimmingly. They may even have fun, fun, fun til their daddy takes the T-Bird away. I doubt that Neil would do such a thing. He’s the epitome of the cool dad.

To The Island is the first single from the new album. It was written by Neil Finn. Anyone surprised?

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the video and the Crowdies live on The Ellen Show. FYI, she’s not from New Orleans but from Kenna, Brah.

I think To The Island is destined to join Don’t Dream It’s Over as fodder for a future New Zealand tourism campaign. It’s that catchy.

We have another islandy number for you before we jump to the break. It’s an instrumental from The Band featuring the multi-instrumental wizardry of Garth Hudson:

Now that we’ve gone to the island, let’s jump to the break.

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The Ghost Of Roy Cohn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: And what was your reaction to that?

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

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

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Ignoring The Loser

Trump Grotesque by Michael F.

I woke up feeling uninspired this morning. Mercifully, Cassandra was ready with her latest piece on her Senator. I hesitate to call her our Manchin whisperer but if she writes about him I don’t have to. Thanks, C.

The filibuster remains a salient topic. Angus King the mustachioed Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats stated that he favored dealing with filibuster reform on an issue-by-issue basis. He *would* abolish it on voting rights issues. I’d blow the pernicious thing up, but the votes aren’t there.

The first two paragraphs are an attempt to live up to the post title. The Kaiser of Chaos left Mar-a-Doorn to speak to North Carolina Republicans last Saturday. There was good news for those of us with terminal Trump fatigue:

Fox News and CNN both decided not to broadcast Trump’s speech live. MSNBC did end up airing portions of the speech but only as background while correspondents commented on the event. The right-wing networks that are vying for Trump supporters, Newsmax and One America News, did air the former president’s speech.

CNN even devoted a bit more attention to the speech than Fox News. While Fox News decided to air a pre-taped Watters World show while the former president was speaking, CNN did have a segment in which guests discussed Trump’s speech and talked about how the former president seemed to be losing power. “The fact that CNN is not covering him live tonight with his speech. This is the first time—he hasn’t been out in three months,” David Gergen, a former presidential adviser to several administrations, said, according to Mediaite. “Fans are eager to know how he is evolving. CNN decided not to cover it. I think it is exactly the right decision. But it’s because he’s become less relevant to the future. He spent so much time trying to win arguments about the past, he is now losing the future.”

That’s the first time David Gergen has said anything noteworthy since the Clinton administration. His picture is in the dictionary next to the phrase Conventional Wisdom.

It is, of course, more significant than Fox passed on the latest epic 90-minute rant by the Impeached Insult Comedian. In the clips I’ve seen, he looked washed-out and low energy to use his own epithet; not that he knows what an epithet is..

It’s ironic that someone who attacks his enemies as socialists gives speeches as long as such past luminaries as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Republicans keep name dropping Chavez as part of one of their election conspiracies without mentioning that he’s been dead since 2013. Apparently, Zombie Hugo is a busy boy.

Trump himself may be fading out but Trumpism is alive. I almost said well but that’s not a word I’d apply to a movement that’s based on lies, fantasies, nativism, racism, and outright stupidity.

As much as I hate to agree with David Gergen on anything, Trump is the past. The future remains unclear but any speech by former President* Pennywise is a blast from a grotesque recent past. I stole that image as well as the featured image from my colleague Michael F. I only steal from the best.

Speaking of the best, the last word goes to The Beatles:

 

Trump’s Epic Blog Fail & Other Bad Jokes

Things have been much too serious around here of late. Writing about massacres and insurrections isn’t a lot of fun. I’d rather tell the odd joke. That’s my goal today, to just let it rip and see where it leads.

Let’s cut this tangerine into segments Odds & Sods style.

From The Dreck of Donald Trump: We begin with the Trump Blog Fail. It’s hard to be a blogger in 2021. Building and sustaining an audience isn’t easy. It takes patience and maturity two qualities that are in short supply for an elderly toddler such as the Kaiser of Chaos. It also requires self-awareness and a sense of humor. He hasn’t got either of those either. That’s what made him a decent reality teevee host and a rotten blogger. Besides, it helps if you can write. The Impeached Insult Comedian cannot.

Perhaps it would have made it if he’d called it From The Dreck of Donald Trump and dropped the desk shtick. We’ll never know now.

It’s time for a marginally relevant musical interlude:

Tangerines are orange and so is Donald Trump. First Draft contributor Ryne Hancock calls him “The Orange Menace.”

I wonder if any prog rock types flip the name of the venerable German band and call the Darnold the Tangerine Nightmare? Beats the hell outta me.

Enough with the citrus jokes. In our next segment, I won’t squeeze the Don Lemon references dry since I usually watch MSNBC, not CNN.

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Of Hatred, Spite & Envy

President Biden tours the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa.

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

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

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

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

Biden understands the parallels between now and then:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So are hatred, spite, and envy.

The last word goes to my 13th Ward homeys:

 

Plan B From Capitol Hill

Aliens capture Tor Johnson in Plan 9 From Outer Space.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The last word goes to Huey Lewis & The News: