Category Archives: Fog Of Scandal

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:

 

Ride The Tigers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time for a relevant musical interlude:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love that chicken from Popeye’s.

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

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

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

The First Casualty

There’s an ongoing debate as to who coined the phrase “the first casualty of war is the truth.” Some credit California Senator Hiram Johnson who said something along the same lines in 1917. He was a progressive Republican, which was not an oxymoron in his case. He was TR’s running mate in 1912 on the Bull Moose ticket.

Others believe that the Greek tragedian Aeschylus coined the phrase. This one-two punch makes it win-win for me as a Greek American who grew up in California. Yay, Team Adrastos.

In either case, the phrase deserves to be in the pantheon of quotes as whatever this thing with Iran is evolves into. The most mendacious administration* in American history is focusing its talent for lying on the Iran crisis. Suddenly, some of Trump’s harshest critics believe his most extreme statements on this subject. Do they think he wouldn’t lie about this? If so, why? Here’s the warning I posted on the Tweeter Tube:

President* Pennywise has threatened to bomb 52 targets in Iran in twisted homage to the Americans held hostage in 1979-80. While it *is* an event that Trump has heard of, I doubt he can count that high. Hopefully, the military won’t screw up again by presenting him with another extreme option:

Pentagon officials usually include a far-out option when they present possibilities to the president in order to make the others seem less extreme. The other options presented to Trump in Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach resort, included strikes against Iranian ships or missile facilities or militias backed by Iran that are operating in Iraq. “The Pentagon also tacked on the choice of targeting General Suleimani, mainly to make other options seem reasonable,” reports the Times.

That’s okay with a rational leader but not with a mentally ill president who is eager to distract attention from his impeachment. It’s either dog wagging or dick waving. It could be both: he’s eager to offend. That’s why I call him the Impeached Insult Comedian.

The next time Trump tweets out some batshit crazy threat, give the Morton Salt girl a holler:

It’s currently pouring Trump regime lies and bullshit. Take everything they say with a massive grain of salt. That goes for the Iranian government: they’re contenders in the Liar’s War as well.

There are unconfirmed but plausible reports of Iranian Americans being detained at the border and airports. What’s next? An embargo on the upcoming season of The Shahs Of Sunset? Reza and I object:

The reason I’m making light of the current situation is my belief that mockery is the best medicine. Besides, we still haven’t the foggiest notion of what course this crisis will take. The Iranian regime is as ruthless and violent as that of Saddam Hussein BUT they’re infinitely more sophisticated. Hopefully, they’re too clever to provoke a land war. That statement comes with an enormous caveat: the Middle East is where prediction go to die. That coupled with Trump’s lack of impulse control makes it almost impossible to predict what happens next. You might as well ask the Morton Salt girl. She knows as much as the next pundit…

All I know for certain is that the first casualty of war is the truth.

Let’s close things out on a semi-optimistic note. The last word goes to the Police:

Fools Rush In

American presidents have a fatal attraction to the Middle East; hence the blurry featured image from 1979. It happened again last night. The Kaiser of Chaos ordered a hit on the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ commander, Qassim Suleimani. Making the act twice as provocative is that it happened at Baghdad International Airport. Remember Iraq and the mess in Mesopotamia? This is some serious shit.

The phrase fools rush in comes to mind, which is confirmed by this quote in the NYT:

In killing General Suleimani, Mr. Trump took an action that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had rejected, fearing it would lead to war between the United States and Iran.

While many Republicans said that the president had been justified in the attack, Mr. Trump’s most significant use of military force to date, critics of his Iran policy called the strike a reckless unilateral escalation that could have drastic and unforeseen consequences that could ripple violently throughout the Middle East.

It was an action too reckless for the Bush-Cheney administration. Let that sink in for a moment.

It came shortly after off the cuff remarks by the Impeached Insult Comedian at his Florida clip joint:

“I don’t think that would be a good idea for Iran. It wouldn’t last very long,” Mr. Trump said. “Do I want to? No. I want to have peace. I like peace.”

Glad to hear that, Donald. It would be better if you didn’t oscillate wildly from dove to hawk and back again. Clarity in foreign policy is imperative; something the Trump regime is incapable of.

Trump’s comments remind me of the “light at the end of the tunnel” statements issued during the Vietnam War and Dick Cheney’s assertion that the Iraq War would be a “cakewalk.” We all know how those conflicts turned out: there was no cakewalk and the light at the end of the tunnel was a train that ran us over.

I suspect that President* Pennywise has convinced himself that this is like the Al-Baghdadi and Bin-Laden hits. It is not. This is an assassination of a senior governmental official whose business included state sponsored terrorism. Such an action requires Congressional approval:

It’s apt to be an unconventional war. The retaliatory weapons are likely to be old-fashioned terrorist attacks as well as new-fangled cyber warfare. We’re unlikely to invade Iran but this is bound to get ugly and chaotic. This is some serious shit.

The problem with three years of incessant lying is that more than half the public will not believe anything this administration says about this situation. They’re likely to pour gas on the fire and make things worse. It’s what they do.

The traditional “rally around the flag” reaction will not happen this time around. We’ve been deceived once too often. Believe nothing, trust no one.

Coming in the midst of a presidential impeachment, this action is inherently suspect. It’s unclear if we should label it a “wag the dog” or a “wave the dick” moment. What it is is foolish as is current Iran policy, which is based on the notion that anything Obama and Kerry did was wrong. We’ve gone from our best relations with Iran since the demise of the Shah to this fucking mess. This is some serious shit.

I almost called this post This Is Some Serious Shit because it is. I opted instead to use an old Johnny Mercer-Rube Bloom song whose full title is Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread). The last word goes to Rick Nelson, Doris Day, and Frank Sinatra:

Willard’s Political Hangover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The last word goes to Squeeze:

The Decayed Decade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote Of The Day: Doug Jones On Impeachment

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

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

“Are you worried about that?” Raddatz asked.

Jones shook his head.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tribe Gambit

I’m firmly on the record as favoring cunning and guile in our political leaders. Nancy Pelosi has these qualities in spades. She’s also smart enough to listen to outside advice. In this case from the great constitutional scholar, Larry Tribe, whose December 16th WaPo op-ed serves as a map to the post-impeachment landscape:

Now that President Trump’s impeachment is inevitable, and now that failing to formally impeach him would invite foreign intervention in the 2020 election and set a dangerous precedent, another option seems vital to consider: voting for articles of impeachment but holding off for the time being on transmitting them to the Senate.

This option needs to be taken seriously now that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has announced his intention to conduct not a real trial but a whitewash, letting the president and his legal team call the shots.

Such an approach could have both tactical and substantive benefits. As a tactical matter, it could strengthen Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) hand in bargaining over trial rules with McConnell because of McConnell’s and Trump’s urgent desire to get this whole business behind them. On a substantive level, it would be justified to withhold going forward with a Senate trial. Under the current circumstances, such a proceeding would fail to render a meaningful verdict of acquittal. It would also fail to inform the public, which has the right to know the truth about the conduct of its president.

Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer have had the good sense to pay heed to Tribe’s advice. In contrast, the usually cautious Turtle stuck his head far out of his shell on Fox the other day. He was speaking to an audience of two: Sean Hannity and the Insult Comedian. Unwise choice.

McConnell’s attempt at schoolyard insults yesterday has failed. He taunted the Dems for chickening out after impeaching the president*. The Speaker was unimpressed:

On Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggesting she was “too afraid” to deliver a “shoddy work product” to the Senate, Pelosi said: “Oh pfft,” according to Politico. “Fear is never a word used with me. You should know right away. … I’m never afraid and I’m rarely surprised.”

On House Republicans at times obscure behavior during the House debate and vote on the articles of impeachment Wednesday: “Some of them don’t believe in the Constitution. … They didn’t act upon it, they acted completely against it. They believe in Donald Trump,” she told Politico.

I’m not surprised that Nancy Pelosi is playing hardball: she learned it at her father’s knee. I am. however, pleasantly surprised by Chuck Schumer’s conduct. The jovial Senator has become a serious mensch. One might say that he learned it at Nancy Smash’s knee.

The Tribe Gambit lobs a hand grenade in the GOP’s lap. There are some Republican Senators who want at least the appearance of a fair trial in their body. McConnell and Graham have badly overplayed their hand. It will require their colleagues to answer questions about the basic fairness of the Senate trial at home over the holiday recess.

In 1999, Bill Clinton got a fair trial in a Republican held Senate. All Schumer needs twenty years later is for four Republican Senators to vote to have witnesses and documents produced by both sides. They need not commit to convict but basic fairness demands that there be a trial whose result can be accepted by the voters. Stay tuned.

Back to Larry Tribe. As a Russian history buff I was thrilled that he used this analogy:

In 1787, the year our Constitution was written, Catherine the Great traveled to Crimea in Ukraine — yes, that Crimea, the one Vladi­mir Putin occupied by illegal force — where her former lover Grigory Potemkin had built a fake village to impress the Empress. It seems suitably ironic for McConnell to propose building a Potemkin “trial” to exonerate Trump. But irony is no substitute for common sense.

One more reason that I’m a Larry Tribe fan boy.

The last word goes to the man himself from his appearance last night on The Last Word with Laurence O’Donnell. One could even call it when Laurence met Lawrence:

Long Day’s Journey Into Impeachment

Fog Of History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The last word goes to ADAM FUCKING SCHIFF:

Regular Order, Irregular Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Schiffmas

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

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

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

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

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

Who among us can forget all images such as this:

The Gingrich himself is blessed with a conveniently selective memory.

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

Talking Turley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote Of The Day: Impeachment Report Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

It’s A Plame Shame

The MSM is full of former Bushies trying to convince the public that President Beavis was a prince among men compared to the Current Occupant. While it’s true that Dubya had better table manners, it should not be forgotten that the Beavis-Duce administration was almost as fond of smear tactics as the Trump regime.

According to Team Bush-Cheney, those of us who opposed the Mess in Mesopotamia were soft on terrorism at best, traitors at worst. The difference between Bushies and Trumpers is that most of the time Dubya let others do the lying and smearing on his behalf.  Genuine upper-class twits swells let the help do the dirty work for them: Poppy had Lee Atwater; Junior had Karl Rove. The Insult Comedian enjoys wallowing in the mud alongside Gym Jordan, Devin Nunes, and John Neely Kennedy. More about the latter next week at the Bayou Brief.

That brings us to two people the Bush administration gleefully smeared: the late Ambassador Joe Wilson and his then CIA agent wife, Valerie Plame. Scooter Libby was convicted of disclosing Plame’s identity: his sentence was commuted by Bush; Trump pardoned him in 2018. Karl Rove escaped indictment by the skin of his teeth; surviving to take up residence as a Fox News pundit. Robert Novak the right-wing columnist who published the story was not indicted either, but the man known as the Prince of Darkness finally went to hell in 2009. It’s unclear if he went there in a bucket: 

I think of Valerie Plame with each Republican demand that the Ukraine scandal whistleblower be outed. Here’s what the spy who was forced out of the cold has to say about it:

“I feel personally for this whistleblower. I know what he’s going through,” says Plame. “His career is over. His world, it’s already been upended. I don’t think he’ll remain anonymous for long.”

The good news is that Valerie Plame survived the Bush smear campaign, moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and started a new chapter in her life. After a tough year in which her father and husband died, she’s landed on her feet again. She’s the subject of a flattering profile in the WaPo and is running as a Democrat for a House seat in New Mexico. This ad is a knockout:

The Plame-Wilson affair was such a cause celebre that a movie based on their respective memoirs was made in 2010, Fair Game. Naomi Watts and Sean Penn played the couple. It’s the rare case in which the real people were more attractive than the actors portraying them. It’s a good movie, check it out if you haven’t seen it.

There was also this song by The Decemberists:

The next time a Bush acolyte tries to tell you that their guy is a much better man than President* Pennywise, remember the smear campaign against Valerie Plame. Dubya just knows what fork to use and would have had the good sense to stay off social media. Otherwise, he set the table for the Insult Comedian’s smear tactics.

I couldn’t resist a rock and roll pun in the post title, so the last word goes to Peter Frampton:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Time Won’t Let Me

Hummingbirds by Walter Inglis Anderson.

I hope everyone had a festive and gluttonous Thanksgiving. We had a double header: first in Red Stick with the surviving outlaw, then in the evening with our friends Will and Jennifer. Will is the King Cake Baron of New Orleans. I just wanted to prove that I don’t hate *all* royals, certainly not those that may involve royal icing. I’m not sure if that joke made any sense but when did that ever stop me?

This week’s theme song was written in 1966 by Tom King and Chad Kelly in 1965 for their band, The Outsiders. It was a big hit, reaching #5 on the Billboard charts.

We have three versions of Time Won’t Let Me for your listening pleasure: The Outsiders original, a 1981 version by Iggy Pop, and a 1994 version recorded by The Smithereens for use in the movie Timecop.

Time for another timely tune; hopefully time *will* let me post it:

Time’s a wasting for us to jump to the break.

Continue reading

Trump & The Military

Every once and awhile someone posts an article on social media about President* Pennywise either refusing to leave office or provoking a coup. These articles are rarely by anyone who knows anything about the military or how it operates. Would Trump applaud a coup in his favor? Absolutely. He has fantasies of himself as an absolute monarch who will establish the Trump dynasty; emphasis on the word nasty.

Was it ever likely that the military would go along with a coup? No. While many officers are conservative, they’re also hawks who have been appalled by Trump’s attacks on NATO and his cozying up to Russia. The brass seem to be divided between those who cannot stand Trump and those who believe they have a duty to refrain from all forms of politics.

In typical Trump fashion, he thinks he can buy the military’s support by increasing defense spending. Money is everything to the Insult Comedian ergo it’s everything to everyone. Wrong. They believe in honor, duty, and country whereas Trump only believes in himself.

Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds and war criminal pardons have further alienated him from the military. Former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer’s searing exit  letter is worth quoting at length:

The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries. Good order and discipline is what has enabled our victory against foreign tyranny time and again, from Captain Lawrence’s famous order “Don’t Give up the Ship,” to the discipline and determination that propelled our flag to the highest point of Iwo Jima. The Constitution, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, are the shields that set us apart, and the beacons that protect us all. Through my Title Ten Authority, I have strived to ensure our proceedings are fair, transparent and consistent, from the newest recruit to the Flag and General Officer level.

Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Spencer’s sentiments are widely shared throughout the armed forces, not just in the Navy. Trump’s interference in the military justice system is bitterly resented, especially his propensity to issue orders by tweet.

That’s not how they do business: the military is process oriented and takes a dim view of Trump’s anarchic disorderly ways. They’re not going to violate their oath to the constitution to keep the Kaiser of Chaos in power. There will be no tanks surrounding the White House on January 21, 2021.

I just saw the Coup episode of season 3 of The Crown. The broad outlines of the story are true: War hero and royal Lord Mountbatten gets involved in some preliminary coup plotting against Harold Wilson’s Labour government. After researching coups, he concluded that in a modern media saturated society such a coup could not succeed without the Queen’s support, which was not forthcoming. We don’t have a queen, just a wannabe dictator with keyboard courage and bone spurs that rendered him unfit for service.

Repeat after me: you cannot stage a coup without the military. There will be no coup.