Category Archives: Fog Of Scandal

Shecky’s Bleak Week In Review

I added my nickname to the post title as a signal that my satirical mojo appears to be rising. What the world needs now is to live up to Chuckles the Clown’s motto: ” A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants.” But at a safe distance.

When times are tough, it’s time for the tough to get going. I have no idea what that means but it sounds like inspirational coach speech to me. It’s time for some random and scattershot observations about the latest week from hell.

Insider Trading: The news about 3 GOP Senators selling stocks after a January COVID-19 briefing has resulted in a well-deserved epidemic of condemnation. North Carolina’s Richard Burr is the best known culprit, Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe is the dumbest, and Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler is the richest. Dollars to doughnuts that when Trump is asked about this story, he’ll comment on Loeffler’s looks.

ProPublica described Burr’s action as a stock dump. He took such a big dump on the country that even Tucker Fucking Carlson is calling for his head on a platter:

I’m unsure if this is the sort of insider trading covered by the securities laws but if it is, Burr and his colleagues are in deep shit. My friend Kevin Allman has a novel notion about how this should be treated:

Using my best Ted Allen voice, Senator you have been chopped.

The last word of the segment goes to Van Fucking Morrison:

Kung Flu Fighting? Republican racists are at it again. Following the lead of the Impeached Insult Comedian, they’re calling a stateless bug the Chinese Virus. Past malaka of the week and infamous asshole Texas Senator John Cornyn’s comments were typical:

“China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that,” Cornyn told reporters. “These viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people, and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the swine flu, and now the coronavirus.”

That’s why I call him Senator Cornhole. Go eat an armadillo or a rattlesnake, asswipe.

An unknown White House staffer made like the Unknown Comic and called it the Kung Flu.

The origins of the following proverb are in dispute but it surely fits a party whose leader is President* Pennywise:  A FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD DOWN.

The last word of this segment is beyond obvious:

Let’s close things out with something positive even if it’s a teevee series based on a dystopian work of what-if historical fiction.

The Plot Against America: I read Philip Roth’s brilliant book when it came out in 2004. The David Simon-Ed Burns 6-part adaptation debuted on HBO this week. The first episode is as good as it gets. No, not the Jack Nicholson flick…

Roth’s premise was that FDR lost the 1940 election to Charles Lindbergh. Lucky Lindy’s  fictional win turned out to be bad luck for America. The premise is plausible: the GOP did not nominate an isolationist to run against FDR. The Barefoot Boy from Wall Street, Wendell Wilkie, was an avowed internationalist with few differences on foreign policy with the incumbent. I think Lindbergh would have lost in the real world BUT he might have done much better than Wilkie.

I considered recapping the series but the only show I could do that for was cancelled in 1994: Short Attention Span Theatre.

Finally, please consider contacting your local blood bank about donating blood. I’m not sure what the pandemic process will be but they’re bound to need your blood but not your sweat or tears.

The last word goes to Pete Townshend and David Gilmour:

The Shadow Of Incompetence

First, I’d like to second what Athenae said yesterday about focusing on the big picture. The real enemy is Donald Trump, not Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders; not even their more obnoxious supporters. A reminder that the Impeached Insult Comedian has been undermining our democracy and the rule of law whenever possible. Incumbents are always the issue when they run for re-election, especially in 2020. The issue is Trump, Trump, Trump.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming. The Trump regime has been trying and failing to lie its way through the COVID-19 crisis. It’s been their modus operandi since 2017, after all. They don’t know any other way to cope with a problem. They’ve been lucky so far: none of their past crises directly threatened the lives and health of the vaunted Trump base. This time is different.

The NYT’s Charles Blow nails it in a column titled You Can’t Gaslight A Virus:

Whereas his supporters can be lied to and gaslighted, a virus cannot. A virus is going to do what a virus does. Viruses are not thinking and aware. Technically, they’re not even living things. They are like an army of androids, multiplying as they attack and infect living things.

So none of the tricks that Trump has learned and deployed will work against this virus. Only science, honesty, prudence and genuine concern for public safety will work now.

President* Pennywise is still trying to use his characteristic combination of bluster, braggadocio, and bullshit. It seems that he knows more about the contagion than eminent scientists such as Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci. There was a group shot the other day of Trump with those two men; both of whom were looking down, not at the Kaiser of Chaos. I feel terrible for them and for everyone who has tried to bring expertise and common sense to bear on the problem.

In his frantic attempts to gaslight the public, Trump keeps pouring petrol on the fire. His self-appointed role as commentator-in-chief exposes his fatal inability to STFU. Trump’s motto seems to be, when in doubt babble. It’s something he has in common with Joe Biden. Team Trump is playing with fire in discussing Biden’s “cognitive decline” when their candidate is mentally ill.

The 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic established that lying one’s way through a public health crisis was the worst possible way of handling it. The Great War had put governments, including our own, in the habit of lying. In a public health crisis, the truth is the best disinfectant.

The inevitable comparisons between the COVID-19 catastrophe and the Bush administration’s inept handling of Hurricane Katrina have been drawn. Partisan politics played a role in that crisis as well: Karl Rove oversaw the White House response. He and Congressional GOPers demonized Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. Trump followed suit by calling Washington Governor Jay Inslee “a snake.” More snake oil from the liar-in-chief.

Another thing these two seemingly disparate episodes have in common is historian John Barry. He has written two books applicable by analogy: Rising Tide and The Great Influenza. On January 31, Barry wrote an op-ed for the WaPo in which he argued that the government’s efforts to contain the virus were doomed to fail. The events of the last few weeks have proven Barry right. Again.

This is a tricky time. Lives are at stake, so we wish our government’s response was honest and competent. Unfortunately, those are two qualities that the Trump regime lack. This public health crisis is shadowed by their incompetence; even the stock market gets it. It’s a pity that the White House does not.

Repeat after me: In a public health crisis, the truth is the best disinfectant.

The last word goes to Jackson Browne:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Shorter and Sweeter edition

OK, people – stepping up to the plate here while Adrastos recovers mentally from the horrible event that brought the Mardi Gras parade to a premature end….

I now present – THE SHORTEST THREAD IN THE HISTORY OF FREE REPUBLIC!

Finally – FINALLY – they found some health care fraud.

Former Michigan Health Care Consultant Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Tax Evasion Used Faked Credentials to Obtain More than $1.4 Million, and Did Not Pay Taxes
justice.gov ^ | February 18, 2020 | DOJ

Posted on 2/19/2020, 11:33:27 AM by ransomnote

A former health care consultant pleaded guilty today to mail fraud and tax evasion relating to her scheme to be employed under false pretenses as a highly paid health care consultant, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Sonja Emery, using several aliases including “Sonja Lee Robinson,” “Sonjalee Emery-Robinson,” and “Sonjalee Emery,” resided in Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and California.  From 2011 through 2018, Emery falsely represented her professional status, educational background, and work experience to secure and maintain highly paid consulting positions in the health-care industry. She falsely claimed to have a nursing diploma from a school she never attended.  She also falsely claimed to be a Registered Nurse licensed in New York, Georgia, Connecticut, and California and provided employers with licensure numbers that belonged to other people. In fact she never was a Registered Nurse.  Emery also falsely told employers she had a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Health Administration, a Master in Business Administration, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Emory University and New York University, but Emery never attended those schools or received these degrees.

As a result of these lies, from 2012 through 2018, Emery secured high-level health-care positions.  She worked as a Senior Vice President for an Ann Arbor, Michigan healthcare consulting firm earning an annual salary of approximately $285,000; as a consultant for a community health system in Wisconsin earning approximately $267,000; and as a health care consultant for a Massachusetts company that paid her approximately $226,000.  From 2015 until her arrest in May of 2018, Emery worked as a senior executive for a county government health services agency in California that paid her a total of approximately $960,000.

During these years, Emery either did not file or late-filed tax returns, despite owing more than $400,000 in taxes.  She sought to avoid being detected by providing employers with different names and false social security numbers, by falsely instructing employers that she was “exempt” from taxes, and by supplying an employer with an identification number that did not belong to her.

U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker scheduled sentencing for June 17, 2020.  At sentencing, Emery faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for mail fraud and five years in prison for tax evasion. Emery also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

1 posted on 2/19/2020, 11:33:28 AM by ransomnote

Responses, Freepers?

CricketsCan

 

Zilch.

Nada.

Nothing.

Not.  One.  Single.  Reply.

As for myself, due to my Neurosurgeon refusing to do my spinal surgery without an OK from my Cardiologist, and my Cardiologist not being able to schedule a nuclear stress test until after my scheduled surgery date of February 13th, my laminectomy/discectomy/foramina-whatever-ectomy, has now been rescheduled for March 6th.

A week after that, I should be back in the saddle (able to sit at my chair in front of the PC for more than 15 minutes) again. and looking forward to ploughing through the Freeperati backlog and picking only choicest juicy chunks of fresh Freeper ram’s bladder, emptied, steamed, flavored with sesame seeds whipped into a fondue and garnished with lark’s vomit.

 

 

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Disbar Barr/The Pardon Bender

Leave it to the Impeached Insult Comedian to ruin a perfectly good original post title (Disbar Barr) by going on a pardon bender. He may not drink but he’s drunk with power. I’m not sure what Bill Barr’s problem is other than his deranged boss. A big problem indeed.

Disbar Barr: The legal profession as a whole has finally noticed that Bill Barr is acting as Trump’s personal lawyer, not as the public’s lawyer. They should have understood that when he sat on the Mueller report, then spun it incorrectly. Barr may be shitty at dispensing justice but he’s good at cover ups. He’s like one of Rene Magritte’s non-descript men falling in line behind his president*.

A petition has been signed by 2000+ former DOJ lawyers over Barr allowing Trump to pretend to be the nation’s number-one law enforcement officer when he’s really the nation’s number-one lawbreaker. It’s unclear if Trump thinks he’s George III or Judge Roy Bean who was the law west of the Pecos. It is clear that among the actors who played Roy Bean, Trump resembles Edgar Buchanan or Walter Brennan more than Paul Newman.

The MSM hasn’t been much more acute than lawyers about Barr. When Barr said that Trump’s comments made his job harder, he meant his job covering up the crimes of the president* and associates. It’s what he’s dedicated his tenure at DOJ to, after all.

Barr isn’t the first corrupt Attorney General. Nixon henchmen John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst went to jail over their roles in Watergate. Barr makes them look like pikers. The former AG he’s most like is Gamaliel’s guy, Harry Daugherty who was indicted on corruption charges then acquitted. The indictment did ruin Harry’s career as a bag man so there is that.

There’s a chorus of voices demanding that Barr resign. He will only listen to his master’s voice, alas. I’m not buying the leaks that he’s thinking of hanging it up; not Judge Roy Bean style.

I, too, think Barr should resign. Additionally, he should be disbarred for egregiously unethical conduct. Repeat after me: Disbar Barr.

The Pardon Bender: There are still people who think that President* Pennywise had a logical political reason for issuing 11 pardons in one day. He issued them because he has the power and was getting antsy over Mike Bloomberg getting more pub than him for a few days.

Pardoning Blago ain’t gonna help in Illinois or Western Indiana. Illinois House GOPers should be up-in-arms but they’re so afraid of their feudal suzerain that they’re biting their tongues until they bleed. And now for the obvious musical interlude:

It appears that personal lobbying and Fox News viewing explain the pardon bender. Fox News contributor Bernie Kerik is Rudy’s stooge, so the Kaiser of Chaos pardoned his stooge’s stooge. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

There was a Gret Stet connection to Tuesday’s pardon bender. Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo testified against the man he bribed, former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards. DeBartolo cut a deal but was a convicted felon until the Impeached Insult Comedian pardoned him at the behest of Jerry Rice and other former players. Dollars to donuts that Trump will claim he did this for black folks.

While this *could* be the prelude to pardoning the “very unfairly treated” Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, and Paul Manafort, Trump does not think that far ahead. He lives in the moment and doesn’t mind the denunciations: he’s the center of attention where thinks he belongs. It’s not unlike the guy who was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest and said, “Because it’s there.” With Trump and pardoning, it’s “Because I can.”

The WaPo revived one of the Impeached Insult Comedian’s greatest hits in its pardon piece:

“He’s been in jail for seven years over a phone call where nothing happens — over a phone call which he shouldn’t have said what he said, but it was braggadocio, you would say,” Trump told reporters last year. “I would think that there have been many politicians — I’m not one of them, by the way — that have said a lot worse over the telephone.”

Blago’s call was perfect as was his hair when he wore a toupee. I wonder if his rug was in storage at the prison or at home with his family. Enquiring minds want to know.

It’s time to Rufusize the last word:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Straighten Up and Fly Right

I’m exhausted from the lead up to and the aftermath of this year’s Krewe du Vieux parade. There were a series of mishaps and missteps that made it stressful for me. The political news hasn’t improved my mood either. I’m trying to get in the Carnival spirit by posting the 1939 poster seen above. Additionally, we have company tomorrow so it’s time to straighten up and fly right.

This week’s theme song was written in 1943 by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills and is based on a folk tale involving a buzzard and a signifying monkey. I am not making this up.

Straighten Up and Fly Right was the biggest hit the King Cole Trio ever had. We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the original, Diana Krall, and an instrumental by the Skatalites:

Now that we’ve straightened up, let’s fly right to the jump.

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Biden/Muskie

Original photo via Salon. 

I don’t usually take requests but this one came from Our Scout Prime. It wasn’t actually a request but a question posed via twitter DM: “You see parallels between Biden and Muskie?”

I do indeed. They were both ratfucked by sitting presidents. Muskie’s ratfucking was more successful: it destroyed his candidacy. He was driven to tears by vicious attacks on his wife Jane. That was long before Cryin’ Speaker Boner and it did not go down well with voters. Muskie won the New Hampshire primary but not resoundingly enough for a New Englander. Sound familiar? It should.

Ed Muskie’s ratfucking, however, was done by Nixon’s underlings, not by Tricky himself. Donald Segretti for one. Roger Stone for another. The latter skated. Sound familiar? It should.

Both Biden and Muskie were frontrunners who lost big leads in the polls. I think Muskie would have been a more formidable general election candidate than Biden. He knew how to STFU. Joey the Shark does not.

Muskie was ratfucked in 1972 because Nixon wanted to run against George McGovern. McGovern was a fine man who was captured by his more extreme supporters. The climate on the left was so anti-military that McGovern could not run as who he was: a war hero who opposed the Vietnam War as a dreadful mistake.

Biden was ratfucked in 2020 because Trump wants to run against, and red bait, Bernie Sanders who has some supporters who continue to damage his reputation.  He deserves better than the Bernie Bros and those supporters whose main goal is to burn down the Democratic party.  We’ve had enough arson in out politics courtesy of the Impeached Insult Comedian. I will support whoever wins the Democratic nomination. Our future depends on it.

Muskie was a better man, candidate, and senator than Biden. He was as steely and stolid as any Mainer. Biden is warm and garrulous, and there’s always been a disconnect between his brain and mouth. It’s been made worse by age.

Finally, anyone who mentions Hunter S. Thompson’s ibogaine canard will have their comment deleted. It was either a sick piece of parody or an act of journalistic ratfucking. Hence my unpopular opinion that HST is overrated. He was the Rick Wilson of the left: funny but sleazy. Teenage me would have disagreed.

The thought of Edmund Sixtus Muskie crying in the snow gave me an earworm. The last word goes to The Police;

 

Still There’ll Be More

pennywise_3_trump

Image by Michael F.

Some of President* Pennywise’s evangelical supporters, including Rick Perry, claim that he’s the chosen one. They’re big on Old Testament wrath so they’re happy with Trump’s revenge campaign. Apparently, Christian charity is reserved for Trumpers.

The post title comes from Keith Reid’s lyrics for a Procol Harum song. Here’s the least offensive verse:

I’ll bathe my eyes in a river of salt
I’ll grow myself right up to the sky
I’ll sing in the forest, tear down the trees
I’ll foul all the fountains and trample the leaves
I’ll blacken your Christmas and piss on your door
You’ll cry out for mercy, but still there’ll be more

I come from a long line of grudge holders but I still agree with George Orwell who wrote an essay called Revenge Is Sour. I believe in justice, not vengeance but President* Pennywise disdains the former and lives for the latter.

I was in the Krewe du Vieux bubble when Trump’s Friday Night Massacre happened. When the bubble popped, I was appalled but not surprised to learn that the Impeached Insult Comedian went on a firing spree against those with the cojones to testify; even smug major donor Gordon Sondland. Trump’s treatment of Col. Vindman was particularly sadistic:

Friday’s developments were dizzying, even by recent standards. President Trump ordered dismissed from the National Security Council staff a key impeachment witness, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and—even more inexplicably—his twin brother, an ethics attorney on the NSC legal staff. That action was followed within hours by the firing of Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, another key impeachment witness, who reportedly refused to resign. The Vindman brothers were publicly escorted out of the White House, a method that current and former officials readily understood as a form of stigma rather than any decent expression of appreciation for their service. In case there were any doubt about the motivation for all of this, a series of tweets by the president and his son made clear that Lt. Col. Vindman’s ejection was a direct response to the testimony he provided Congress that pointed to the president’s wrongdoing.

President* Pennywise doubled down by urging, but not ordering, the Army to punish Vindman.

This is the second time Trump has intervened in the military’s disciplinary procedures. The first time was to rescue a war criminal from well-deserved ignominy. This time, he’s urging the Army to punish an officer who did his duty and reported wrongdoing. There’s no offense to punish so presumably the Army will show more intestinal fortitude than Senate GOPers.

Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski claimed that Trump would learn his lesson from the impeachment process. As I said earlier today: “The only lesson the Impeached Insult Comedian has learned is that he can get away with anything as long as his party backs him up.”

Thanks Lisa and Sue. You should have known this was coming. If you didn’t, you’re idiots as well as enablers. I hope Sara Gideon opens a well-deserved can of whoop-ass on the Senator who should be called Runaround Sue. And now for a brief musical interlude:

In other Trump Unbound news, he intervened in the Roger Stone case. The line prosecutors, who take election fuckery seriously, wanted to throw the book at Ratfucking Roger. President* Pennywise made his displeasure clear and DOJ backpedaled like Ginger in an Astaire-Rogers movie.

DOJ supervisors have claimed that they were “blindsided” by the sentencing recommendation. That’s nonsense. The line prosecutors were Bob Mueller’s people who do everything by the book, which means the supervisors are lying.  All four line prosecutors have resigned from the case in protest. Judge Amy Jackson Berman is unlikely to be amused.

Trump’s subjugation of the Justice Department is one of the most sinister things he’s done. Bill Barr should be impeached and/or disbarred for acting like the Impeached Insult Comedian’s personal lawyer. Barr has brought DOJ to its lowest repute since Watergate. The DOJ’s reputation took a huge hit during the Nixon years: two of Tricky’s AGs, Mitchell and Kleindeinst, went to jail. Order was restored by Jerry Ford’s AG Edward  H. Levi and the department has largely dispensed impartial justice ever since.

It’s astonishing how much damage Trump has done since the so-called adults in the room left government. Things are so bad that John Kelly and Jeff Bo Sessions look good in retrospect. Unlike Barr or Trump, Jeff Sessions at least had some ethical boundaries.

Back to the post title. I posted the less offensive verse of Still There’ll Be More earlier. It’s easy to imagine President* Pennywise singing this verse in his Trump Unbound mode:

I’ll put a blight in the orchard
I’ll run wild through the fields
I’ll waylay your daughter and kidnap your wife
Savage her sexless and burn out her eyes
I’ll blacken your Christmas and piss on your door
You’ll cry out for mercy, but still there’ll be more

The only mercy we’re likely to get is from the voters on November 3rd.

Repeat after me: The national house is on fire and the arsonist lives in the White House. The only issue in 2020 is TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP.

 The last word goes to Procol Harum:

 

Willard, I Hardly Knew Ye

I’ve had a lot of fun at Willard Mittbot Romney’s expense over the years. I’ve made jokes about his stiff robotic manner, and opportunism on the issues. I take none of that back BUT I’m impressed with his vote to remove the Impeached Insult Comedian from office. Romney was the first Senator to ever vote to remove a president of their own party. I didn’t know he had it in him.

Crises bring out either the best or worst in people. We’ve seen that ever since Speaker Pelosi announced the opening of an impeachment inquiry. The worst is personified by the president* and his lackey, the senior Senator from South Carolina, whose name will not cross my lips or be typed by my fingertips. Mitt Romney and Doug Jones personify the best. Hell, even Joe Manchin should get credit for doing the right thing.

The Romney vote did not change the outcome but it’s still a big deal. The 2012 Republican nominee turned his back on a president* of his own party. That means going against his friends, colleagues, and donors. Plus, he took the leap without another Republican senator along for the ride. In a word: Impressive.

The Mitt Romney who addressed a nearly empty Senate chamber was emotional and passionate. I asked myself: who is that guy and what has done with Willard? He would have been a more formidable presidential candidate if we’d seen him like this:

While Senator Romney showed grace under pressure, President* Pennywise has been melting down; giving the lie to the senators who claimed he’d learned his lesson. One of his sycophants, Senator Aqua Buddha, gave a reprehensible speech in which he named the whistleblower while protected by the speech and debate clause. I dare him to do it when he doesn’t have congressional immunity, but he doesn’t have the balls.

My father grew up in Utah surrounded by Mormons. I’ve known many LDS-ers over the years. They’re wrong about many things politically, but personal honor and rectitude are important to the Latter Day Saints. That’s why it was despicable for Trump to mock Romney’s faith: it’s one thing he’s always been sincere about. It should shake Trump’s evangelical supporters, but it will not. This evil con artist brainwashed them long ago.

I disagree with Romney on 85% of the issues facing our country. He was, however, right about Russia in 2012 and his views on immigration reflect those of his church: immigrants are souls to be harvested, not insects to be crushed,

I used to have many conservative friends with whom I enjoyed discussing politics. That ended with the racist attacks on President Obama that perfected the Gingrichification of our politics. Mitt Romney proved that he’s a throwback to old school conservatives with whom we share  some goals while differing on methods. That goes for Justin Amash as well. Other GOP elected officials have sold their soul to President* Pennywise for a tax cut and judicial appointments. History will praise Romney while damning this president’s* enablers.

As to Senator Romney and me, I’m not forsaking my nickname for him. Willard Mittbot Romney is mine, all mine. I will, however, stop using the weathervane cartoon as well as the picture of him dining with Trump both of which I used in one of my best posts from last year, The Wind Cries Willard.

The post title is inspired by the traditional folk song Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye, which shares a melody with When Johnny Comes Marching Home. The last word goes to the Irish Rovers:

Doug Jones: American Hero

I have a post in the hopper about last night’s Freak Show. In it I addressed the Trump removal trial and what Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones might do.

I hope Democrats will cut Senator Doug Jones some slack. If I were advising him, I’d tell him to hold his nose and vote to acquit on at least one article if not both. There’s no point in sticking your head in a guillotine if you don’t have to.

I just saw Senator Jones’ statement and was blown away that he is doing the right thing and voting to convict on both articles. It’s refreshing to know that there’s one Senator who puts country before expediency. I’m sure Chuck Schumer would have given him a pass since he represents one of the reddest states in the nation.

It’s rare in any era to see a politician cast a vote that could doom their re-election bid. I am beyond impressed by Senator Jones’ courage and statesmanship.

This is almost like a Capra movie. We need more politicians like Doug Jones. Thank you, Senator.

Random Thoughts

I know what you’re thinking: all my thoughts are random. I stand accused and plead guilty as charged. I have some shame unlike some people. I mean a certain Impeached Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his. Fucker has no shame. He can’t wait to take his “victory” lap and brag about his “triumph.” It’s likely to be short-lived.

I want to assure Tommy T that I have his back while he’s having back issues. I’m not posting as early as he does because I try to keep normal hours. If only I could succeed in doing so. I woke up stupidly early this morning but not:

Iowa Blues: I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad when the Iowa Caucuses are over. Polling them is notoriously unreliable and if the weather sucks, all bets are off. This is one time being a voter’s second choice is not a bad thing. If less than 15% support a candidate in the first round, they either leave or move to another candidate. It’s how Athenae’s boyfriend, John Kerry, won Iowa in 2004.

I pine for the days when Iowa didn’t matter. It’s all Jimmy Carter’s fault. He made it a thing in 1976. I loathe caucuses, they’re anti-Democratic and way too important for a small, rural, mostly white state.

Removal Trial Blues: I’m DVRing final arguments. I don’t have the heart to watch them live. The GOP’s misconduct should bite them in the ass come November. Typing that sentence felt good. I am trying mightily to remain a glass half full person. The numbers are on our side. Plus, President* Pennywise is bound to overreach and ask for help from Macedonia or some such shit.

Last Week Krewe Of Spank Blues: I don’t actually have the KdV blues, there’s just so much to do and only a few days to do it. This strikes me as a good time to link to last year’s minor masterpiece, Confessions of a Krewe du Vieux Member; written for the Bayou Brief before I became the 13th Ward Rambler. Speaking of which, I have some rambling to do so I need to sign off soon.

I have nothing to say about the Super Bowl. I was watching The Sorrow and the Pity. I am not making this up. I guess I stand accused of being a bad American. At least I know where Kansas City is located.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Talk To The Lawyer

Courtroom Scene by Honore Daumier.

I’ve been preoccupied with two things this week: Krewe du Vieux and the removal trial. I’ve been living the former and following the latter. KdV has obviously been more satisfying.  As expected, the evil fucker is going to get away with it; for now. We’ll make him pay in November. Fuck him and the entire Republican party.

I selected Talk To The Lawyer as this week’s theme song because I’ve spent so much time watching lawyers on the teevee. Great lawyers like Adam Schiff and the sleazy lawyers of Team Trump. My personal bete noir is that awful dweeby pasty-faced motherfucker Philbin whose first name I refuse to learn. Every law school class has 3 or 4 Philbins. The Philbins of the world are usually kept out of court because they’re so boring. Additionally, your basic Philbin looks like they just stepped out of a coffin.

Talk To The Lawyer was written by David Lindley for his 1982 album, Win This Record. We have two versions for your listening pleasure; one studio and the other live.

Before we jump to the break, we should consult with opposing counsel:

Yeah, I know Jackson said the song isn’t about lawyers. What the hell does he know? He’s only the songwriter.

Let’s assume some liability and jump to the break. Last one on the other side is an officious intermeddler.

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If Life Were A Capra Movie

If life were a Capra movie, the eloquence and passion of Adam Schiff and the House Managers would sway the Senate into removing President* Pennywise from office.

If life were a Capra movie, Donald Trump would be played by Edward Arnold who was a wealthy fascist who manipulated the “little people” in Meet John Doe. He would be exposed in the end as a mountebank by Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.

If life were a Capra movie, Mitch McConnell would be a corrupt Senator played by Claude Rains who could be shamed into doing the right thing in the last reel of the picture.

If life were a Capra movie, Lindsey Graham would be shown his past life by an  angel who would convince him to betray Mr. Potter and stand up for Ukraine Bedford Falls.

If life were a Capra movie, Lamar Alexander wouldn’t just say that the Impeached Insult Comedian did a bad thing, he’d vote to remove him from office.

If life were a Capra movie, John Bolton would be played by Henry Travers with bushy eyebrows but without the mustache of war. He’d ring a bell, create new angels, and Trump would be stripped of his office.

If life were a Capra movie, Jimmy Stewart would play Adam Schiff.  Sure, Stewart was goyer than thou, but he played the hero in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Adam Schiff is the hero of the Trump impeachment. Thank you for your valiant effort, sir.

If life were a Capra movie, the spunky and smart Jean Arthur would play Nancy Pelosi. She played a Congresswoman in Billy Wilder’s A Foreign Affair, after all.

If life were a Capra movie, Trump’s lawyers would be eloquent and truthful unlike the creepy liar Sekulow, the bombastic has been Dershowitz, or the dweeby bore Philbin.

If life were a Capra movie, we’d have a happy ending with the townsfolk rallying to help Mr. Deeds, Mr. Smith, or George Bailey. The bells would ring, and we’d all join Ronald Colman in Shangri-La as the screen fades to black.

Life is NOT a Capra movie.  The Senate will vote against allowing witnesses and acquit the Man Who Would Be King. Oops, that’s a John Huston movie.

Even Frank Capra’s life was not a Capra movie. He was a Republican who hated FDR until the president stopped being Dr. New Deal and became Dr. Win-the-War. (FDR gave himself those nicknames.) Capra was only a populist onscreen; in real life he disdained the “little people” he celebrated in his movies. So much for Capracorn.

There are positive lessons to be gleaned from Capra movies. His heroes were knocked down but always got up like Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, or Ronald Colman in Lost Horizon. That’s what the resistance needs to do after John Roberts gavels this show trial to a close. We knew the removal trial would end without a removal. Keep fighting and never let the bastards get you down.

Unlike real life, Capra movies always had a happy ending. America’s chance to have a happy ending is on November 3, 2020. We licked Trumpism in 2018. It’s time to consign it to the ash heap of history in 2020. Do it for Longfellow Deeds, Jefferson Smith, Robert Conway, and George Bailey. Do it for your family, and your friends. Most of all, do it for America. She’s in trouble and she needs our help. End of Capraesque peroration.

The last word goes to America who is played by Solomon Burke:

The Roberts Option

Chief Justices Chase, Rehnquist, and Roberts.

When Neal Katyal speaks, I listen:

Yet Republican members of the Senate have signaled that they intend to uphold Mr. Trump’s unprecedented decision to block all of this material.

But it turns out they don’t get to make that choice — Chief Justice John Roberts does. This isn’t a matter of Democrats needing four “moderate” Republicans to vote for subpoenas and witnesses, as the Trump lawyers have been claiming. Rather, the impeachment rules, like all trial systems, put a large thumb on the scale of issuing subpoenas and place that power within the authority of the judge, in this case the chief justice.

Most critically, it would take a two-thirds vote — not a majority — of the Senate to overrule that. This week, Democrats can and should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas on his authority so that key witnesses of relevance like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney appear in the Senate, and the Senate should subpoena all relevant documents as well.

The Senate rules for impeachment date back to 1868 and have been in effect since that time. They specifically provide for the subpoenas of witnesses, going so far in Rule XXIV as to outline the specific language a subpoena must use — the “form of subpoena to be issued on the application of the managers of the impeachment, or of the party impeached, or of his counsel.”

As you can see, there is no “Senate vote” requirement whatsoever in the subpoena rule. A manager can seek it on his own.

Rachel Maddow asked Adam Schiff about this possibility last night. He was cagey, which is a good sign.

I hope they give this a shot. It will put the Chief Justice on the spot, but if Salmon P. Chase could do it, so can he. Roberts is just sitting there like a hood ornament right now, after all. It would be like throwing a live grenade in his lap ala Bolton-Rudy. The wheels keep on turning. Stay tuned.

Hashtag Of The Day: #MittOrGetOffThePOT

This is the first and probably the last time I’ll have a hashtag of the day. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I remain skeptical that “moderate” Republican Senators will buck their leader and their president*. BUT hope is one of the most important commodities in politics. There’s no reason to give up hope until the votes are in. Besides, the removal trial is a battle in a longer war. As Ted Kennedy said in a different context in 1980 “…the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

The leaks coming out of the Senate GOP caucus were a signal for the baying banshees of Trumpistan and Wingnuttia to do that voodoo that they do. The Turtle rarely, if ever, leaks about a vote count. This is a calculated attempt to keep the cover-up going by scaring the shit our of those GOPers  who might do the right thing and vote for witnesses.

I have no idea how this will play out BUT we went through something similar during the Kavanaugh Mess. There was a tease by some Republican Senators who claimed they might oppose Kavanaugh. Just because Willard Mittbot Romney and Susan Collins are showing some leg now doesn’t mean that they will do the right thing. It’s unclear if they even know what that means.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Willard Mittbot Romney is perfectly positioned to be the hero of this drama. It remains unclear if his cautious temperament will allow him to take the plunge. His father, George, was a balls-to-the-walls politician whose presidential dreams were crushed by the “brainwashing” gaffe. Then his political spirit was crushed by his time in Tricky Dick’s cabinet. The Mittbot prefers equivocation to risk:

Here’s hoping that Willard and a handful of his colleagues will heed the hashtag: #MittOrGetOffThePOT. But do robots sit on the pot? That’s an existential question that only Asimov or Sartre could answer. I’ll just make like the Mittbot and punt.

The Big Picture

I’m not sure how much of today’s “defending the indefensible” session I can watch. I have a visceral reaction to bad faith and mendacity. Team Trump has previously given us The Three Amigos: Sekulow, Cipollone, and Dershowitz are the Marx Brothers evil twins. If only they were as funny. I guess that makes Rudy, Zeppo since he’s out of the act. It’s a pity that there’s not a Harpo in the bunch. The sound of silence would be a  relief after all the shouting they do. There’s not an inside voice in the bunch.

I have some scattershot observations about the big shebang in the Senate chambers. I might as well do it Odds & Sods/13th Ward Rambler style:

Adam Schiff Is A Rock Star: Republicans hate Adam Schiff. One reason is that he’s not the sort of Democrat who’s easily cowed. After 9/11, many Dems not only allowed GOPers to beat them up, they handed them a stick with which to do it. Ouch.

Adam Schiff don’t play that. The real reason GOPers flipped out over the “heads on a pike” thing was that his entire closing speech was an implicit indictment of those Senate Republicans who *should* know better but have thrown-in with President* Pennywise. Thrown-up is more like. They make me feel like Bloom County’s Bill the Cat when he’s coughing up a hairball.

These Senatorial cowards are culpable for Trump’s disgraceful performance in office by not standing up to him. They’re like Nuremberg Trial defendants Konstantin von Neurath, Franz von Papen, and Hjalamar Schacht; aristocratic conservatives who thought they could control the Hitler gang. It didn’t go as planned.

The Impeached Insult Comedian has been threatening Schiff on the Tweeter Tube. The best response comes from a former president who knew something about unpopularity:

Schiff’s closing remarks were posted on his Twitter feed:

They’re All Paulie Walnuts: I had an amusing colloquy with my beloved colleagues Athenae and Scout at Jack’s Joint:

The late, great Jimmy Breslin wrote a novel in 1969 about a group of incompetent mobsters, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. Team Trump are The Gang That Couldn’t Shut Up.

That concludes this edition of Life Imitates The Sopranos.

Can I Get A Witness? The Bolton manuscript revelation *should* force Republicans’ hand on whether or not to allow witnesses but will it? After the “heads on a pike” fake furor, I’m dubious. The involvement of so-called moderates Collins and Murkowski makes me think the fix is well and truly in. I hope I’m wrong about this. I really do.

Those Republican Senators who dislike Trump behind closed doors have gone from hostages to active participants in the cover-up. They’re not legally culpable but they’re morally and politically culpable.

That brings me to the final segment/post title.

The Big Picture: I’m gobsmacked by people who are despairing about the removal trial’s inevitable verdict. They must not have been paying attention. Nobody thought 20+ Republican senators would vote to remove the Impeached Insult Comedian. The best case scenario was always this: enough votes to call witnesses and/or a majority vote on at least one article.

Removal from office was never the expected outcome. That’s why Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff were against impeachment until the Ukraine shit hit the fan. The goal of House managers was to present a compelling case for removal that will be implemented by the voters in November.

Another goal was to put the Republican controlled Senate on trial. The House Managers have succeeded in this with fair-minded voters across the country who want a fair trial. In our legal system that means witnesses and evidence.

Republicans have a short-term strategy: to get through the trial quickly and survive their primaries. They’re not looking at the big picture.  They cannot look at the big picture as long as Trump is pulling the strings. BUT there are voters who will punish them for putting on this show trial.

It’s hard to imagine Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, and Martha McSalley winning in November if they don’t vote for witnesses. They’re afraid of being primaried, which is not an unreasonable fear, so they probably will not. They’re putting party above country and their short-term selfish interests over the national interest.

History will not be kind to Republican senators who knew better but refused to stand up for their country. Here’s hoping they will be punished for their unpatriotic cowardice this fall. Make it so, voters, make it so.

Repeat after me:

It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial.

They’re All Paulie Walnuts.

The last word goes to Marvin Gaye, Dusty Springfield, and the Rolling Stones:

Quote Of The Day: Adam Schiff Edition

Apologies for being a removal trial slacker. I feel like a juggler with too many balls in the air. That’s life.

Adam Schiff’s closing on Day Two of the trial was passionate and downright brilliant. Ain’t nothing better than a lawyer who believes in his case. This passage, as published by TPM, was a standout:

Schiff cited impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s declaration that he was doing what’s right by testifying against Trump because “right matters” in the U.S.

“If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost,” the Schiff said. “If truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost.”

Schiff warned that acquitting Trump would give the President license for future wrongdoing and imperil the U.S.

“This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed, because right matters,” he concluded. “Because right matters, and the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost.”

Words to live by.

Here’s the video via a TPM tweet:

 

 

 

It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial

I almost called this post Confessions of a Slacker Blogger but the reason I was silent about the removal trial is that I was crazy busy the last two days. I was preoccupied with writing my latest 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief. When it was finished, more shit hit the fan in the Hard Rock/Kalias collapse story. A major rewrite ate yesterday morning and the trial gnawed away at my afternoon.  More on that later.

I have a few random thoughts and scattershot comments about the big shebang going down in the Senate right now:

The post title says it all. Impeachment has already happened. Trump will forever be the Impeached Insult Comedian. The purpose of the trial is to decide whether Trump will be removed from office. I realize that I’m howling at the moon on this point, but I like calling things what they are. Trump, like Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, will always wear the scarlet I for Impeached.

The House managers have done a superb job, especially Adam Schiff who opened and closed the first full day of argument. He spoke like a latter-day Clarence Darrow only without suspenders. Snap.

Jerry Nadler is not half the orator that Schiff is, but his presence surely irked the Impeached Insult Comedian. Nadler fought valiantly against a Trump real estate development on Manhattan’s West Side and succeeded in reducing its scale and footprint. That’s why Trump’s hate for Nadler is pure. The congressman welcomes his scorn.

There are still people looking for a savior. Chief Justice John Roberts is the latest candidate. Never gonna happen, my friends. Roberts is a Rehnquist protege and the latter conducted the Clinton removal trial with a light hand. For good or ill, Roberts is staying in the Rehnquist lane.

There’s been much grumbling from Senate GOPers about how “boring” the removal trial is. It’s what you wanted, STFU. And sit in your seats. That’s your job. You work for us, not vice versa.

The outcome seems preordained but the House managers aren’t just speaking to the Senate, they’re speaking to the country. Their goal is to put Senate Republicans on trial and they’re off to a good start in that regard. Keep the pressure on them, make them regret their time as Trumper toadies.

Speaking of false saviors, never trust Susan Collins. I’ll believe that she and other Senate “moderates” will act when it happens. The guy to watch is Lamar Alexander. While he’s unlikely to vote for removal, he might vote to hear witnesses. He’s already announced his retirement so he’s not subject to the same red hat political pressure that other GOPers face. Besides, he’s the first Senator on the roll call, if he votes to hear witnesses others could follow. Senate Republicans are followers, not leaders. Will this happen? Beats the hell outta me.

A removal trial is neither fish nor fowl. This one feels fishy and has a foul odor attached to it. The Senators are both judge and jury. Past removal trials had witnesses and evidence. Mitch McConnell prefers a see-no-evil approach. It may work in the short term, but voters want a fair trial and that includes evidence and witnesses not named Biden. The political blowback over this show trial could be fierce among educated suburban voters. It’s up to the House managers to make it so.

Repeat after me: It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial.

Throwback Impeachment

Are you ready to party like it’s 1999?

President Trump plans on adding former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr and the defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz to his legal team for his trial by the Senate, a person briefed on the plan said Friday.

Mr. Starr, whose investigation into President Bill Clinton’s sexual relationships led to his impeachment, will be joined by Robert Ray, who succeeded Mr. Starr as independent counsel and wrote the final report on Mr. Clinton, the person said.

Rounding out the team will be Mr. Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus who became famous as a defense counsel for high-profile defendants like O.J. Simpson.

The White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, will lead the legal team.

Let’s review the bidding. Starr and Ray were integral components in what Charlie Pierce calls “the hunt for the president’s penis.” Dershowitz was against impeachment before favoring it.  Lev Parnas placed Jay Sekulow in the same leaky, unethical boat as Rudy Giuliani: he has knowledge of the Ukraine scam as it happened. He should recuse himself but won’t. Trump likes sleazy lawyers.

Two of these lawyers have links to sex scandals. Starr to the Baylor football sex scandal and Dershowitz to master perv Jeffrey Epstein That’s probably why the Impeached Insult Comedian picked them. Pervs of a feather flock together.

Lapsed liberal and obsessive contrarian Alan Dershowitz has also been portrayed onscreen. A show biz touch that surely appealed to President* Pennywise. Ron Silver played him in  Reversal of Fortune. On television, he was played by Richard Cox in American Tragedy, and Evan Handler in The People vs. OJ Simpson. Handler, who usually sports a shaved head, rocked a toupee as Dershowitz:

I somehow doubt that they’ll want to be known as the Dream Team 2: the Scream Team is more like it. I wonder if Rudy plans to sit in the gallery and heckle. Now that would be must-see teevee.

The last word goes to Prince:

Parnassian Frenzy

As I watched Lev Parnas on Maddow last night, I realized there was a highfalutin pun on his last name. The Parnassians were a  French literary movement described as follows at Britannica.com:

Parnassian, French Parnassien, member of a group—headed by Charles-Marie-René Leconte de Lisle—of 19th-century French poets who stressed restraint, objectivity, technical perfection, and precise description as a reaction against the emotionalism and verbal imprecision of the Romantics.

Emotionalism and verbal imprecision? Sounds like your basic Trump or Giuliani interview to me. In contrast, Lev came off as calm and direct last night. I *want* to believe his account but until there’s more corroboration, I’m not sure how credible he is. More investigation is in order, but I found his story plausible.

Lev was not quite what I expected. I expected him to be more thuggish and speak with a heavy Russian accent, like this guy:

That image of cartoon villain Boris Badenov evokes John Bolton’s description of Crazy Rudy as a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” The Mustache of War knows his explosives.

Lev also has a spectacular combover, which made me wonder if the artist formerly known as Mayor Combover is his hair tech. Only his hairdresser or the Impeached Insult Comedian know for sure:

That was infinitely more disturbing than Lev’s media tour. He also sat for an interview with the New York Times. Lev sure does get around.

Back to Lev’s credibility. He bolstered it by dismissing blowhard Trump wannabe Robert Hyde as a drunken braggart. Additionally, he didn’t claim a close relationship with Russian master criminal Dimitri Firtash.

Lev’s charges about Trump, Pence, Rudy, and Barr are explosive and plausible. This could, however, be yet another case of a liar lying about other liars. Rudy has already denounced him as a liar. It takes one to know one.

Part Two of the new hit series When Lev Met Rachel will air tonight. Stay tuned.

The last word goes to Lev’s lawyer Joseph A. Bondy with a tweet featuring the mendacious minority whip from Metry:

 

Enough Already

Twitter is extra stupid this morning. It’s ablaze with a pitched battle between Sanders and Warren supporters with the former being particularly inflammatory. They seem to have forgotten CNN’s debate track record; they go for gotcha moments with gusto.

I used to watch CNN in the days of Bernie Shaw and Aaron Brown but it’s all about giant panels and loaded questions in the 21st Century. That’s why I skipped the debate and didn’t even DVR it. Enough already.

I like what Charlie Pierce had to say about this ridiculous flap:

…the Warren-Sanders business is going to be what people take away from Tuesday night. I have no idea what was said during the famous conversation about whether a woman can be elected president. But the response from the Sanders supporters, especially on the electric Twitter machine, has been so hysterically over the top—Responding with snake emojis? That’s only the oldest misogynistic smear of all time, going all the way back to Genesis.—that it does make me wonder whether or not there’s something in that campaign that attracts the Democratic equivalent of the incel boys. I hope it stops soon, but I doubt that it will.

It was inevitable that politics would break out between two candidates trying to be *the* candidate of the Democratic party’s portside. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. I see nothing in Bernie Sanders’ platform that would cause me NOT to vote for him in the general election. I’m a Warren supporter BUT the problem is not Bernie, it’s the Berners. Enough already.

We need a coalition, the proverbial big tent, to deliver a well-deserved comeuppance to Trump and his GOP lackeys. I think that Warren gets that. Hell, I think Senator Sanders gets that, but his supporters want to take over the Democratic party and burn it down. That’s nuts. We need all hands on-deck to beat Trump. He’s the real enemy, not moderate Democrats. Enough already.

The other thing that bugs the living shit out of me is that not enough people are talking about the Parnas files. It appears that an American ambassador was under surveillance approved by Crazy Rudy. The Impeached Insult Comedian might have okayed it There’s even a suggestion that Ambassador Yovanovitch’s life may have been in jeopardy. That’s a helluva lot more important than a he-said she-said squabble. Enough already.

People need to prioritize. The national house is on fire and the arsonist lives in the White House. I will vote for any Democratic candidate even one of the plutocrats, the unqualified Hoosier, or the former Veep who has lost his fastball. POTUS* may have authorized a hit on an American ambassador. That’s infinitely more important than what sort of pundit Bernie Sanders is and what Elizabeth Warren had to say about a private meeting. Enough already.

I’d like to paraphrase a  classic 2016 post by Athenae, I’m Done With All Your Liz and Bernie Feelings, Internet. Enough already.

Johnny Mercer didn’t say anything about prioritizing in the song below, but we need to organize our thoughts and accentuate the positive. The last word goes to Dr. John: