Category Archives: Fog Of Scandal

Everything Is A Hoax

It’s hot even for New Orleans this week. So hot that we’ve had cold suppers two nights in a row. The streak ends tonight because I have a package of chicken thighs whose sell-by date is tomorrow. But I’m still not turning the oven on because it’s:

Now that we’ve settled that, a few quick thoughts before slicing this potpourri post into segments like an overripe orange.

In my John Bolton Can Go Fuck Himself post, I expressed a desire for a bootleg/samizdat copy of that tendentious tome. Tommy T granted my wish. It’s tough going. Bolton writes in a lawyerly manner and sprinkles neo-con foreign policy pixie dust over everything. I’ve read about 100 pages. Not sure I’m tough enough to finish the Mustache of War’s tell-all tome.

Before moving on, another musical interlude:

I’m also not tough enough to continue watching HBO’s Perry Mason. The second episode was a slight improvement but it’s still pretty, pretty bad. It reminds me of this segment on the original Siskel & Ebert show, Sneak Previews:

Bountygate Nouveau Redux: President* Pennywise gave this post its title when he declared his latest impeachable offense a “fake news hoax.” Everything he doesn’t like is a hoax. This scandal is not. It’s as real as the pandemic, which he continues to think he can wish away. There’s a special place in hell for the Donald and his whole tribe.

Some people scoffed when I wrote last fall about how Trump had alienated the military. Since then, we’ve have the firing of Captain Crozier, the Lafayette Square disaster, and now the $100K bounty paid to kill Americans. All of Trump’s excuses are equally feeble as attested to by Rep. Elissa Slotkin who briefed two of his predecessors. You’re busted, asswipe.

That’s Why I Call Him The Impeached Insult Comedian: A piece by Carl Bernstein about Trump’s phone antics with foreign leaders confirmed our worst fears. He sucks up to dictators, especially Erdogan and Putin, and shits all over the Three Ms: Merkel, May, and Macron. Does he talk hairdos with Boris Johnson? You never can tell.

Team Trump’s response has been to attack the leakers. That’s confirmation that the story is true. Hopefully, it will help turn the country:

Soylent Green had been sitting on the DVR since it last aired on TCM. We watched it last night. I hadn’t seen it in “I decline to say how long” many years and Dr. A had never seen it before.

Since that giant slab of ham, Chuck Heston, is the star, I riffed like my hero Crow T. Robot. Fortunately, the great Edward G. Robinson is Chuck’s wingman, and his performance rescued the movie. It’s hard to believe that Heston is the one who won an acting Oscar when Emanuel Goldberg was so much better. So it goes.

Soylent Green is a dystopian movie, set in 2022 in a New York that has been ravaged by the Greenhouse Effect, not the Kaiser of Chaos. There are no flying cars, just people, people everywhere.

One way you can tell that the world has gone to hell is that veteran character actor Whit Bissell played the Governor of New York. I love Whit Bissell: his name and his 321 credits. He looked pretty good in a gubernatorial leisure suit too on the tube teevee they used in 2022, Soylent Green-style:

The sets and costumes are what people in 1973 thought the future would be like. Everyone wears tan and Mid-Century Modern decor is everywhere. I spotted a lamp that my friend Steve’s folks had in their Mid-Century Modern Eichler House.

I’ve gone from riffing on the Three Ms to Mid-Century Modern. Beats the hell out of contemplating Heston’s outfit and deeply hammy performance.

Believe it or not, I like Soylent Green and give it 3 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B-. It lost a grade-step because wooden TV star and failed Dodgers 1B Chuck Connors is in it as a hit man for the Soylent Corporation. So it goes.

The last word goes to Heston as Thorn:

Bountygate Nouveau

I suspect that the original Bountygate is forgotten everywhere but in New Orleans. It was the accusation that there was a bounty system on the New Orleans Saints for hits against opposing players. The NFL came down hard on the “implicated” coaches and players including head coach Sean Payton who was suspended for a year. It turned out to be sound and fury signifying nothing after further investigation. That’s a fancy way of saying that it was bullshit.

Bountygate Noveau is infinitely more serious:

American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.

<SNIP>

The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.

The Trump regime is tripping over itself to explain away the latest foreign policy scandal. My favorite excuse is that the Impeached Insult Comedian didn’t read the briefing papers. That’s the presidential* equivalent of that old standby “the dog ate my homework.” Trump, of course, hates dogs. I wonder when they’ll move on to “my grandmother died.” That won’t work either: his grandparents are long dead.

Shortly after the meeting cited by the NYT, President* Pennywise resumed his push to restore Russia to the G-7. How dare Obama ban Putin for attacking and conquering the Crimea? They were just taking it back. #sarcasm. Of course, Trump doesn’t know it used to be part of the Soviet Union and Russian Empire. All he knows is that Putin is a tough guy, not a fake tough guy like himself.

Joe Biden pounced on the latest Trump-Putin scandal:

“Not only has he failed to sanction and impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” the former vice president said.

Biden called it a “betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation — to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way.”

FYI, the featured image shows the aftermath of Putin throwing the ball and Trump fetching it like a good dog. It’s unclear if Putin scratched his head or gave him a treat as a reward. Good boy, Donald.

On a more serious note, this is NOT the first time that a Republican president has endangered the lives of our soldiers. In its rush to war, the Bush-Cheney administration failed to give the troops proper equipment such as body armor. Like W, President* Pennywise can’t be bothered with the details. So much for caring about the military.

I called this post Bountygate Nouveau because it’s a fresh scandal but reminiscent of past scandals. If it were a wine, it would be Beaujolais Nouveau, which a friend of mine insists on calling Boojelly. I’m not sure if the wine image works but I’m not a sommelier. There ain’t no cure for the sommelier blues

The last word goes to the Lincoln Project with an instant response ad to this newly vinted (decanted?) scandal:

Confidence, Not Cockiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Biden also believes in two venerable rules of politics:

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

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

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

Pun intended, it always is.

The Scandal Tornado

There were few genuine scandals during the Obama administration. There were plenty of attempts by morally and ethically bankrupt Republicans to conjure up scandals, but the record is clear: nobody on Team Obama was indicted let alone convicted.

In contrast, there’s a deluge of Team Trump scandals; so many that it’s hard to keep track. There’s the scandalous pandemic response, the babies in cages scandal, and the corrupt cronyism and nepotism that’s rampant in this administration. The Mustache of War has belatedly chimed in with a new scandal involving China. Tornadic activity swirls above the White House on a daily basis. It’s amazing that the roof is still on the building.

There are so many scandal tornadoes that it’s hard to keep track of them all. I continue to believe that the worst scandals involve William Herrmann Goering Barr and the Justice Department. There’s cronyism, corruption, and mendacity aplenty at the DOJ but until recently Barr maintained an air of competence in furtherance of his nefarious schemes. Until the botched firing of SDNY honcho Geoffrey Berman last weekend.

Initially, Barr claimed that Berman had resigned. He did no such thing. Then, Barr dragged the Impeached Insult Comedian into it and claimed he’d fired Berman. Trump disputed Barr’s lie with one of his own. In the end, they wound up with a less pliable replacement thereby proving that it truly is the Sovereign District of New York.

Another scandal tornado landed with the public statement of Aaron Zelinsky who was the lead prosecutor in the Roger Stone case:

“What I heard — repeatedly — was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the president.”

Anyone surprised? Roger Stone and corruption are synonymous. In fact, he’s a one-man scandal tornado. Zelinsky is testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee today. It should be interesting to see how GOPers handle it. We know that Gym Jordan will shout in defense of President* Pennywise. He has no conscience to wrestle with, after all.

The Kaiser of Chaos took his own personal scandal tornado to the pandemic plagued state of Arizona yesterday. One could even call him the White Tornado like in the old Ajax commercials:

Admittedly, that analogy is imperfect. President* Pennywise spreads dirt and destruction wherever he goes. Perhaps that makes him Pigpen’s evil twin:

The Impeached Insult Comedian was in Arizona to plug his stupid wall and oblige his supporters to sit in close proximity to one another. This time a smaller venue was chosen so it was not a repeat of the Tulsa Trainwreck other than the pandemic spreading possibility of this rally. In a church no less. I guess evangelicals expect the pandemic to bring on Armageddon. I have no idea why they’re giddy at that prospect, but they are. They and Trump deserve each other.

As long as Trump remains in office, the country will be on a permanent Scandal Tornado Watch. The only way to end that is to vote him out. Make it so, America, make it so.

The last word goes to ELO with a tornadic tune:

John Bolton Can Go Fuck Himself

When it comes to John Bolton, some liberals are too into the whole “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing for my taste. The title of the last post I wrote about the Mustache of War sums up my feelings: John Bolton Is An Honest Asshole, Not A Hero.

That post was about the reaction to Fiona Hill’s testimony wherein she discussed the response of her former boss to the Ukraine scam. Bolton subsequently played games with the House impeachment investigators and the Senate. Instead of testifying against the Impeached Insult Comedian, he’s ready to cash in with a tell-all book. I’m not alone in being vexed as you can see from this Mother Jones headline: Say It Under Oath, Asshole.

The reason I think Bolton should go fuck himself is this passage in the NYT’s story about his tell-all tome:

Mr. Bolton, however, had nothing but scorn for the House Democrats who impeached Mr. Trump, saying they committed “impeachment malpractice” by limiting their inquiry to the Ukraine matter and moving too quickly for their own political reasons. Instead, he says they should have also looked at how Mr. Trump was willing to intervene in investigations into companies like Turkey’s Halkbank to curry favor with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey or China’s ZTE to favor Mr. Xi.

And who was it that had the goods on President* Pennywise? John Bolton, that’s who. Instead of writing a tell-all tome, he should have testified under oath. Fuck him sideways.

Bolton’s testimony wouldn’t have changed the outcome in the Senate, but it would have made any praise of him palatable. Instead, I feel queasy and in need of a barf bucket. Repeat after me: John Bolton can go fuck himself.

I wonder what people who worked for and with Bolton thought of his refusal to testify. The greedy and selfish prick threw Col. Vindman, Fiona Hill, and Bill Taylor under the bus. The belated publication of The Room Where It Happened constitutes backing the bus over their slandered reputations. It was downright Alice Cooper-ish of Bolton:

The Kaiser of Chaos has called Bolton a dope that nobody likes. What does that make the dope who hired the dope? A double dope, I guess. Projection thy name is Donald.

I’m glad that Bolton is spilling the beans and I’m opposed to Justice Department attempts to suppress the book. Contrary to what the First Dope thinks, all conversations with him are NOT classified. Having said that, I’m not buying Bolton’s book and hope that someone will release a Samizdat version of it on the internet.

In the end, I agree with Chairman Schiff:

That was an elegant way of saying JOHN BOLTON CAN GO FUCK HIMSELF.

The last word goes to Harry Nilsson with a song that could be renamed John Bolton’s Song. Why? This opening line: “You’re breaking my heart, you’re tearing it apart, so fuck you.”

Repeat after me: John Bolton can go fuck himself.

Bad Company

I thought my war with insomnia was over. It returned with a vengeance last night. It seems to have me by the throat once again. Beats the hell outta having Paul Douglas tugging at your lapels as in the featured image from Panic In The Streets. You can tell Douglas was pissed-off by not being cast to repeat his stage performance in Born Yesterday. Damn you, Broderick Crawford. It had to be said.

I woke up feeling overwhelmed by the flood of newsworthy events. So much so that I nearly called this post Pity The Pundit. I decided against that because it’s too Trumpy. I’ll take your scorn over your pity any day.

Since I’m bad company, I’m taking a scattershot approach to this post. I have no idea how it will turn out but sometimes writing is about the journey and I’m not talking about the band either. They are, however, one of my guilty pleasures:

The cool kids will scorn me after that but so what? I’ve made my position on scorn versus pity clear. That’s what happens when you’re bad company. I’ll get to the band of that name later.

My irritability level rose when people began insisting that the Impeached Insult Comedian was personally aware of Juneteenth and the Tulsa riot when his next rally was planned. Someone on his staff knows some history or used the Google but everyone should know by now that President* Pennywise doesn’t plan a damn thing. He outsources his thinking to Steven Miller and William Hermann Goering Barr.

Repeat after me: Trump is a fucking moron.

Thus spake the tea for the Tillerson man, Rex. Everybody knows. That reminds me of a song. I know, everything reminds me of a song. Everybody knows that too:

Since I’ve been wearing my lawyer hat of late, I planned (something I do and Trump does not) to write at length about John Gleeson’s scorching attack on the Justice Department in the Flynn case. Everybody knows that everything about the Flynn case is “irregular” and based on this unprincipled principle:

“The facts surrounding the filing of the Government’s motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse. They reveal an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump.”

I might have substituted the word crony for ally, but cronies are usually allies whereas allies are not always cronies. Does that make any sense? If not, I don’t care. I’m bad company.

Yesterday, something weird and unprecedented occurred. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff apologized for being photographed with the Kaiser of Chaos. It was the right thing to do in this context but still weird. Even generals typically like being photographed with the sitting president.

The Milley apology is clear and convincing evidence that Trump is a pariah. After the reaction to the bible photo-op, nobody should think the military will do anything to keep this mook in power. I doubt that the serving brass likes President* Pennywise any more than the retired brass. If you don’t believe me, read this piece by Slate’s Fred Kaplan wherein he gets down to brass tacks. I like the word brass. It’s brassy.

I really went on, didn’t I? Perhaps this post should be called Pity The Reader. I know what Mr. T would call it:

In the immortal words of Nick Lowe and Rockpile: “I’ve been a fool too long. I had you figured out all wrong.” Now that I think of it, Seconds of Pleasure came out around the same time The A-Team ruled the airwaves.

That was surely a pitiable passage but what can you expect from a guy who’s bad company?

The last word goes to Bad Company and Rickie Lee Jones:

The Fog Of History: Barr/Goering

My default in discussing the Trump regime’s authoritarian side is usually Fascist Italy, not Nazi Germany. Like Mussolini, the Impeached Insult Comedian is an opportunist and mountebank. Attorney General William Barr, however, is a true believer in an unholy mishmash of right-wing Catholicism and absolute presidential power. He’s still waddling his way to infamy.

Pairing Bill Barr with Hermann Goering is, at one level, odd. Goering was an opportunist and mountebank working for a true believer, Adolph Hitler. In reality, Barr and Goering are opposite sides of the same corrupt coin: they sold their souls and considerable talents to a leader bent on destruction, domination, and chaos. Trump may not know what Gotterdammerung is, but he seems determined to repeat it on the streets of our nation’s capital. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

The Barr-Goering comparison struck me last night while watching Lincoln Project honcho Steve Schmidt on The Rachel Maddow Show. They had a lively discussion about the unmarked, un-badged law enforcement officers strutting about the capital this week. They appear to be a mixture of private cops and federal corrections officers. Schmidt quite rightly denounced this saying, “America doesn’t have a secret police.”

The image of Goering flashed into my head at that point. He was the founder of the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s secret police. Himmler may have perfected the instruments of repression, but Goering was present at the creation.

I groan every time I hear the sitting Attorney General called “the nation’s highest law enforcement officer.” Instead, they’re the people’s lawyer. The former label has stuck and is being applied in a perverse fashion during 2020’s Days Of Rage. President* Pennywise has put Barr in charge of enforcing the federal response to the current wave of protests. In a time of sinister developments, this may be the most sinister of all.

If Hermann Goering were alive, he’d be struck by the irony of the situation. He was the bull goose war criminal at the first Nuremberg Trial. The lead American prosecutor was former US Attorney General, Justice Robert Jackson. Our current AG is employing police state tactics in support of the Current Occupant. The mere possibility that Goering and his ilk could have the “last laugh” because of Barr’s corrupt malefactions is deeply disturbing. Goering knew from corruption, which was eloquently pointed out by Bob Jackson in his closing argument:

“The large and varied role of Goering was half militarist and half gangster. He stuck his pudgy finger in every pie. He used his SA musclemen to help bring the gang into power. In order to entrench that power he contrived to have the Reichstag burned, established the Gestapo, and created the concentration camps.”

Unlike Goering, Barr does not appear to be financially corrupt but his political and legal corruption is a bottomless pit. There is no bottom with Barr and Trump. As long as they’re in office, we’re going to hell in that proverbial handbasket.

As a student of history, I don’t make Nazi analogies lightly. Until recently, I was a firm believer in Godwin’s Law. Trump and Barr have made Nazi analogies not only apposite and appropriate but imperative as even General Mattis has come to understand:

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

“Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.”

I wish that General Mattis had come out forcefully against Trump before this. But I understand the reluctance of an apolitical officer corps to get involved in politics.

The last word goes to a tweet from the daughter of the man who played resistance leader Victor Laszlo in Casablanca:

Wake Me Up On Judgment Day

I wrote this post yesterday morning. Since it’s about the big picture, I’ve let it be. The details will remain in dispute for quite some time. Besides, I can’t top A’s Sunday eloquence:

I appropriated the phrase The Fog of History in 2014 during the Ferguson police riot. That’s why it fits our current situation so well even if the image from The Lady From Shanghai isn’t precisely on point; it’s still cool. There *are* echoes of 1967 and 1968 but the context is not the same. A lot of pent-up anger and frustration has been vented on the streets of many of our cities; both short-term and long-term.

The short-term frustrations involve the pandemic and economic calamity brought on us by the Trump regime’s grotesque incompetence. People have been cooped-up for two months, so part of the unrest is down to stir craziness as well as the Kaiser of Chaos’ need to constantly stir the pot. Chaos is all he knows. He has neither the foggiest notion of how to unite the country nor the slightest inclination to do so. He just stirs the pot: consequences be damned. Fuck you. Donald.

The long-term frustrations involve the original reason for the protests, police brutality and racist violence against people of color. The encounter between George Floyd and MPD Officer Derek Chauvin was brief and brutish. It cost Floyd his life and Chauvin his job, which is not a fair trade off for such a cold-blooded act.

Charges have been filed against Chauvin. Allow me to put my lawyer hat on for a minute. The reason he’s been charged with 3rd degree homicide and manslaughter is a pragmatic one. Prosecutors will not have to prove INTENT, which is one reason police prosecutions often fall short. Defense lawyers invariably use a combination of self-defense and resisting arrest arguments to defeat murder charges. Removing intent from the equation strikes me as wise. I think there *was* intent, but convicting Chauvin is the most important thing. The recent case of Philando Castile is a bitter reminder that juries almost always defer to the cop’s judgment.

I nearly leapt into the murky waters of this story on Friday. But I wanted to have a better idea of who was responsible for the arson and looting and why it happened. The fog has lifted somewhat, and it appears that the worst of the non-police violence was instigated by far right and far left extremists. Shorter Adrastos: I see white people.

For all we know, it’s an unholy combination of the extremes. The right-wing extremists want to provoke a race war and the left-wing extremists want to provoke “the revolution” whatever the hell that means in the American context. Thus far, they’re making the streets of some cities look like Berlin in 1930.

The far right and far left have often converged in our history. I’ve closely studied the post-World War II Red Scare and it’s replete with stories of committed communists becoming McCarthyite witch hunters. Whitaker Chambers is the best example. He went from being a Soviet spy to an editor at Time Magazine, which was a festering pit of anti-communist fervor back then. That concludes this brief history lesson.

Back to the current unrest. I’m relieved that much of the violence is down to white extremist agent provocateurs as I think looting and arson are stupid. As Minnesota native Bob Dylan put it in a 1966 song, Absolutely Sweet Marie: “To live outside the law, you must be honest.”

I expect the Kaiser of Chaos and his supporters will overplay their hand and the pot stirring will blow up in their faces. People want their president to lead, not tweet and incite violence from the White House bunker. Any other president would have urged calm and asked both sides to stand down. President* Pennywise is incapable of such leadership. As our Scout Prime said the other day on Twitter, “I wish we had a president.”

I’m not making any other political or legal predictions about recent events. I’m keeping my head down and rationing my news and social media intake. Shit was already hard enough before this shit went down. Repeat after me: I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I realize Wake Me Up On Judgment Day is an odd title for an agnostic to use. It’s the title of a song on an album that’s been my “happy place” this weekend, Steve Winwood’s Back In The High Life Again. That’s why Winwood gets the last word with a song that reflects my unrealistic desire to hibernate until the shit is scraped off the proverbial fan.

American Carnage, 2020

Image by Michael F.

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

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

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

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conspiracy Of Cretins

Image by Michael F.

Conspiracies *do* exist. Unlike some people, I don’t see them everywhere. Conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones use them to explain things they hate and fear. If I were one, I’d try explaining Alex Jones, but I don’t want to fly a false flag whatever the hell that means.

Conspiracy theories used to be disseminated slowly by word of mouth, pamphlets, and books. Occasionally, a Mark Lane would pop up on a teevee talk show to share his theories about the Kennedy assassination. Lane was a higher class of conspiracy theorist but kept some odd company. A side note: I met Mark Lane when I was a French Quarter shopkeeper. He was very nice and did not have crazy eyes. As far as I recall, he waved no flags; false or otherwise.

The advent of the internet and social media have made the wackier conspiracy theories more easily available and harder to refute. If it’s on the internet, it must be true, right? Wrong.

In 2020, conspiracy theorists are everywhere; waving false flags and spreading disinformation. Among the leading conspiracy theorists is the temporary occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Donald Trump.

Spreading fear and disinformation suits Trump’s political needs. It’s unclear if he believes the nonsense that comes out of his big fat bazoo, but it serves his political purposes. Fear is the key to what passes for his strategy. That’s why I call him President* Pennywise.

As I said when I introduced the nickname last summer:

Pennywise the evil clown (is there any other kind?) thrives on fear. He gets stronger the more he fearmongers. It’s what emboldens him to get out of the gutter and come into the open. The Insult Comedian never leaves the gutter BUT he too thrives on fear. That’s why I mock him: he feeds off our fear and recoils from our scorn. President* Pennywise is a pussy. He should grab himself.

Trump’s cooked up his latest conspiracy theory to distract attention from his administration’s disastrous pandemic response. He calls it Obamagate but it makes no sense whatsoever as Slate’s Jeremy Stahl explained at length and Vanity Fair’s Gabe Sherman summed up with surgical concision:

That’s why I call it a Conspiracy of Cretins. Only an idiot would believe the smoke currently emanating from the fever swamps of Trumpistan. Barack Obama’s latest offense was criticizing the Barr-Flynn affair. His real offense is to be everything that Trump is not: intelligent, articulate, and handsome. Did I mention that he’s black? Birtherism was Trump’s initial foray into the conspiracy theory game. That racist nonsense helped elect him. Heaven help us.

There’s a long tradition of blaming the other guy for the country’s woes. After the War of the Rebellion, Republicans “waved the bloody flag” as they blamed Democrats for everything. When I came of political consciousness, Democrats were still blaming Herbert Hoover for everything. The Republicans turned the name Jimmy Carter into a catch-all insult. Both Hoover and Carter were poor presidents but not as bad as painted by their enemies. As the late Gret Stet Senator Russell Long was fond of saying:

President* Pennywise has taken the blame game to a new level. His attempts to destroy his predecessor’s legacy led directly to the Trump Regime’s epic pandemic fail and the deaths of 87K Americans thus far. That’s Trump’s legacy: Transforming the country into a vast charnel house. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

People believe what they want to believe. Their capacity for self-deception and delusion seems infinite. That gives conspiracy theorists an eager audience for their hateful nonsense. That’s why I called this post Conspiracy of Cretins.

The last word goes to Chris Squire & Billy Sherwood’s Conspiracy:

The Flynn Case: Shit Gets Even Weirder

I predicted that Judge Emmet Sullivan wasn’t going to take the Flynn dismissal motion lying down. BUT I didn’t expect him to appoint a noted former federal prosecutor and judge to act as a special master. That’s some special and masterfully weird shit:

While judges do sometimes appoint such third parties to represent an interest they feel is not being heard in a case, Judge Sullivan’s move was highly unusual, said Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Duke University.

Judge Sullivan, he said, is essentially bringing in an outsider to represent the point of view of the original prosecutors, who believed Mr. Flynn had committed a crime before Mr. Barr intervened and essentially replaced them with a prosecutor willing to say he had not.

“This is extraordinary for the judge to appoint somebody to argue against a prosecutors’ motion to dismiss a criminal case,” Mr. Buell said. “But it’s extraordinary for a prosecutor to move to dismiss this sort of criminal case.”

And John Gleeson is not an ordinary retired federal judge. He co-authored an op-ed for the WaPo denouncing Barr’s dismissal of the Flynn case. More importantly, Gleeson is the guy that got Gotti. That’s right, he was the lead prosecutor at the trial that stripped the Teflon off the Teflon Don. The man is a bona fide bad ass.

Gleeson’s op-ed is apt to foreshadow the arguments he’ll make as what the Times called an Outsider and I called a Special Master. Tomato, tomahto:

Prosecutors deserve a “presumption of regularity” — the benefit of the doubt that they are acting honestly and following the rules. But when the facts suggest they have abused their power, that presumption fades. If prosecutors attempt to dismiss a well-founded prosecution for impermissible or corrupt reasons, the people would be ill-served if a court blindly approved their dismissal request. The independence of the court protects us all when executive-branch decisions smack of impropriety; it also protects the judiciary itself from becoming a party to corruption.

There has been nothing regular about the department’s effort to dismiss the Flynn case. The record reeks of improper political influence. Hours after the career prosecutor abruptly withdrew, the department moved to dismiss the indictment in a filing signed only by an interim U.S. attorney, a former aide to Attorney General William P. Barr whom Barr had installed in the position months before.

Sorry for that long quote. Consider it a preview of coming attractions. It’s what happens when you violate first rule of litigation: Never piss off the judge. I learned that on my first day of law school. Judge Sullivan is righteously pissed. Hell hath no fury like a federal judge scorned.

I expect the flying monkeys of Trumpistan to rain hellfire on this move by Judge Sullivan. Guess what: he’s out of fucks to give. As for Judge Gleeson, do they really think that mean tweets will bother a man who received death threats from the Mafia? Donald Trump is a fake tough guy; John Gleeson is the real deal.

Repeat after me: Gleeson is the guy that got Gotti.

The last word goes to Rodney Crowell:

Declaring Victory

Image by Michael F

My colleague Michael F created today’s featured image for a 2018 post, Mission Accomplished! The Remake. I wouldn’t have used an exclamation point in the title but that’s just me. I would, however, like to thank him for his Trumpy take on George W Bush’s declaration of victory in the Second Gulf War. You may recall it was premature. The war raged on for years.

There was another premature victory declaration this week. This time by the Impeached Insult Comedian who proclaimed, “We have prevailed.” That’s a mighty fancy word for Trump. It’s unlikely to be in his lexicon. I hope they explained it to him.

I understand President* Pennywise’s desperation to move on from his viral Waterloo but how does one prevail over a virus? The virus has moved in with him: infecting his White House staff causing several senior aides to quarantine. Dr Fauci zoomed into the Senate yesterday instead of testifying in person. So much for prevailing, which rhymes with failing.

The Kaiser of Chaos was testy on Monday after lying about testing in America. He had another public meltdown and stomped out of a press briefing after a spat with a CBS News reporter, Weijia Jiang. Since she’s Asian-American, it’s unclear if it was sexism, racism, or general assholery. I think he hit the creep trifecta myself.

I originally planned to use a quote from an extinct species at the top of the post. It’s *my* source for the whole declaration of victory thing. George Aiken was a moderate Republican Senator from Vermont who served from 1940-1974. I guess that made him a long-lived extinct species.

Senator Aiken offered some unsolicited and ultimately untaken advice about the Vietnam War:

As applied to the pandemic, it’s well-nigh impossible to declare victory and leave when COVID-19 has moved in with you. This might explain Trump’s record 126 tweets on Mother’s Day. Let that sink in: we passed the 80K death mark and the president* spent a hallmark card holiday rage tweeting. No wonder we’re in the mess we’re in.

I’m about to declare victory and conclude this post. Once again, the last word goes to Los Lobos:

 

Barr-Flynn: Some Serious Banana Republic Shit

It’s *almost* a relief to be back on the Trump Regime scandal watch. The Barr-Flynn story is *almost* as ominous as the mounting COVID-19 body count but less lethal.

We’ve all been waiting for the pardon shoe to drop in the Flynn case, but Barr deserves credit for originality in criminality. I like to think of myself as well-informed, but I’ve never heard of prosecutors dropping charges against a defendant who pled guilty; at least in an American jurisdiction. This is some serious Banana Republic shit.

Any other Attorney General would have had their underlings pull such a shameful stunt, but Bill Barr is made of sterner stuff. He did it in broad daylight then bragged about it on television. It makes him the Trumpiest Trumper in Trumpistan.

Judge Emmet Sullivan will not be amused. He essentially called Flynn a traitor in open court. But it’s unclear what, if anything, he can do to thwart DOJ’S surreal stunt other than hold a hearing and ream them out. That’s why I used the Magritte Fog Of Scandal image. This is some surreal shit.

As the economy crashes and the scandals mount, the Trump regime is out of fucks to give. Accepting a guilty plea from a defendant then saying “never mind” is a terrible precedent. It resulted in the lead prosecutor resigning but that doesn’t matter to Team Trump. All that matters is that the Caudillo is happy. This is some serious Banana Republic shit.

The last word goes to Richard Thompson with a different type of pleading:

 

Veepstakes, High Stakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

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

Tagged , , , ,

Can’t Trust That Day

I realize the hands in the Max Ernst image above should be gloved but they won’t be shopping at a grocery store near you so why should you care?

I almost called this post Monday, Monday but that’s boring so I decided to quote the lyrics, then post the tune:

I wonder if anyone made bathtub gin in that tub during Prohibition? A bootlegger may have peed in that terlet. I’ve always preferred the terlet version of the cover. It’s the one I posted on Wednesday October, 24, 2018. Actually, I posted a double dose. We’d be in trouble without terlets. Who the hell wants to pee on a tree?

Must Read: The WaPo nailed the Impeached Insult Comedian and his corrupt cohort to the wall in Sunday’s paper. A quick interlude: are they a corrupt cohort or coterie of crooks?

In any event, you should read this monumental WaPo article: 34 days of pandemic: Inside Trump’s desperate attempts to reopen America. The headline says it all. Fuck you, Donald. Putting your idiot son-in-law in charge made a messy situation even messier. Fuck you too, Jared.

Here’s my favorite quote because it’s so clueless and selfish:

“There’s a little bit of a God complex,” one senior administration official said of the [doctors] group. “They’re all about science, science, science, which is good, but sometimes there’s a little bit less of a consideration of politics when maybe there should be.”

Scientists gotta science, doctors gotta doctor. I guess all President* Pennywise wants from the docs is some Good Lovin‘:

In case you don’t know the lyrics, here’s a sample:

I was feelin’ so bad,
I asked my family doctor just what I had,
I said, “Doctor, Doctor
Mr. M.D., Doctor
Now can you tell me, tell me, tell me,
What’s ailin’ me?”

You could even morph that “tell me” into “Fauci, Fauci, Fauci.” You could. I would never do such a thing.

Reformed Boris? British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who I”ve compared to Basil Fawlty, is out of the ICU and back at work after his brush with death. And I thought he was pale *before* becoming a coronavirus survivor.

Boris gave an interview to The Murdoch Sun in which he came close to declaring Thatcherism dead. He had nothing but glowing things to say about the National Health Service, which has been cut ruthlessly by the Tories. I’ll believe his near deathbed conversion when he fully funds the NHS.

Thatcherism and Reaganism were born at the same time. They should die together as well. I’ll give them credit for one thing: Maggie and Ronnie sure could dance.

Signs & Memes: We begin this segment with a picture taken in New Orleans by one of my most faithful readers, Paul McMahon:

The next anti-Kaiser Of Chaos image was stolen by off the internet by film writer Bill Arceneaux and I’m stealing it from him:

Blast From The Past is not only the title of the next segment, it’s the title of my upcoming Bayou Brief column, which looks at Jazz Festing In Place and the early release of former New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin.

Where was I? Oh yeah, watch one of the greatest Giants of all hit a titanic tater in the 1969 All-Star Game off the wonderfully nicknamed A’s pitcher Blue Moon Odom

Stretch was such a ferocious hitter that he made hurlers hurl in the Wayne’s World meaning of the word.

Guess what time it is:

While you were in the lobby, I hope you saw the poster:

Sam Fuller’s House of Bamboo: I had heard of this 1955 film but had no idea how good it is. I was shocked to learn that it was shot in Cinemascope and produced by a major studio. I’m used to Fuller’s films being shot in gritty black and white and on a low budget. Once I recovered, I enjoyed the movie.

House Of Bamboo was the first American film shot in Tokyo after we bombed the shit out of it. The city is as important a character as Roberts Ryan and Stack. It’s one of Stack’s best performances and nothing like his most famous role, Eliot Ness. He’s a smart ass and a bad ass as well. I’m not assing off about that either.

Here’s the trailer:

House Of Bamboo can be viewed on TCM On Demand, on their app, and it will air on TCM on May 13th  I loved it and give it high marks indeed: 4 stars, an Adrastos Grade of A, and two big thumbs up.

The last word goes to Graham Parker & The Rumour:

Only Trump Can Be Trump

There have been so many disgraceful things about the Trump regime that sometimes it’s hard to pick incidents that will be remembered in ten years let alone one. The USS Theodore Roosevelt/Captain Crozier/Acting Secretary Modley episode will be remembered, especially in the Navy.

Brett Crozier, of course, was the Captain who was so frustrated with the lack of response from his superiors that he leaked a letter expressing his worries about the health and safety of his crew. He expected to be relieved of his command but he did not expect to be publicly insulted by Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly:

Now, in the most recent development, a recording of Modly addressing the 4,000 sailors of the Roosevelt has been obtained by Task & Purpose, and it deepens the Navy’s crisis even further. Crozier’s sin, according to Modly, was that he should have known his letter would leak to the press. If he didn’t know this, given the “information age that we live in,” Modly told the crew, “then he was either (a) too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this. The alternative is that he did this on purpose,” and that would be a “betrayal of trust, with me, with his chain of command.”

Gasps are audible on the recording, and one sailor is heard yelling, “What the fuck?” A widely circulated video, shot a few days earlier, showed Crozier disembarking from the ship to the applause and chants of hundreds of his sailors. It is a surefire act of alienation for an acting secretary of the Navy to suggest that the captain—who probably knew he was falling on his sword when he took action to save his men—was naïve or stupid. It’s even worse to suggest that he committed a “betrayal of trust,” when—as every officer knows—betraying the Navy is grounds for court martial.

That’s right, Modly disgraced his office by going full-mini Trump on the aghast crew who, quite rightly, see Captain Crozier as a hero. Additionally, Modly didn’t have the guts to show his face and harangued the crew via the intercom system. This is classic Trumper cowardice. To paraphrase the carrier’s namesake, Trumpers speak loudly and carry small sticks.

The widespread condemnation made Modly plotz. He submitted an actual resignation for his acting post. The Impeached Insult Comedian’s response was typical:

“The captain should not have written a letter, he didn’t have to be Ernest Hemingway. He made a mistake but he had a bad day,” Trump said.

He added on Modly’s resignation: “I had heard he did because he didn’t want to cause any disturbance for our country…  because he wouldn’t have had to resign, I would not have asked him. I don’t know him. I didn’t speak to him, but he did that I think just to end that problem. And I think in really many ways that was a very unselfish thing for him to do.”

It takes a lot of nerve for Trump to use the word unselfish. I’m astonished that it’s even in his tiny vocabulary. The fucker has never done an unselfish thing in his stupid, selfish life.

I’m firmly convinced that Modly was forced out by Defense Secretary Esper because only Trump can be Trump. He’s the one who does the insulting in his administration, not an underling like Modly: Me, not Mini-Me. That’s why I call him the Impeached Insult Comedian.

I usually reserve Separated At Birth for Saturdays but this was too good to wait. The last word goes to Thomas Modly and Eraserhead:

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: