Category Archives: Michael F

What Else Can You Call It?

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Sometimes I think it gets lost in the day-to-day, but consider just how bug-fuck nuts it’s gotten. On a given day, news about the president includes

Playboy and/or adult entertainers, Twitter, Hannity, Cohen, North Korea, Mike Pompeo, Comey, the Mueller investigation…(aside: the attack on Syria‘s already been bumped from the headlines)…and any other number of WTF moments that would, for any other administration, suck the oxygen out of the news cycle if not generate immediate demands for resignation…or prosecution…

Total freak show.

Additionally…I heard this last night on the Chris Hayes show, and I think saw/read this elsewhere…regarding the Mueller investigation…no one is arguing, for lack of a better term, actual innocence. Trump himself sticks to no collusion, while everyone else speculates on whether or not various people will turn.

POTUS as syndicate. Oh, and maybe (probably) with a pee tape.

Goddamn.

Brave Sir Robin Paul Ryan

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Bravely bold Paul Ryan,
Of Wisconsin District One
He was not afraid to lie,
Oh brave Paul Ryan
He was not at afraid
To flim-flam in nasty ways
Brave, brave, brave, brave Paul Ryan.

He was only the least bit scared
To face off against Don Trump
And to shred his dignity
And ignore the crude behavior
For to slash the safety net
Compromise can be required
And who needs any principles, Paul Ryan?

Brave Paul Ryan ran away
Bravely ran away, away
When elections reared their ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled
Yes brave Paul Ryan turned about
And gallently he chickened out
Bravely taking to his feet
To lobby, lie, and steal and cheat,
Bravest of the brave, Paul Ryan

Packing it in and packing it up
Sneaking away and buggering off
Chickening out and pissing off home
Bravely he is giving up the gavel.

Wake Up Call?

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Well…with the election results in Wisconsin being the latest indication, let’s hope like hell it is. Not that I’m any authority — I still remember being astonished on election day 2016, but so were lots of others. Others who are letting their voices be heard.

Sure, Trump still has his cult-like minions, who really would let him shoot someone on 5th avenue (or pay hush money hide an affair), but they aren’t the majority, and there’s no reason to lay down to them.

And Trump himself is both an embarrassment and a danger. We’ve been extremely fortunate — or lucky — that there’s been no catastrophe so far, but if/when there is…and besides, as a friend has told me several times, every day Trump remains in office is, if nothing else, an affront to basic decency. The bar is set so low the revelation that Trump is a “subject” and not (yet) a “target” of Robert Mueller (at least in part because some thing a sitting president by law can’t be indicted); anyway, that revelation is greeted by Trump as some sort of vindication.

So…fuck ’em. Don’t try to reason or see their point or otherwise compromise. Outvote them in November, and outvote them again in 2020…time to wake up.

They Rebooted The Mittbot This Week

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And in rebooting, they set — or maybe just reset — whatever it is that makes Mitt run.

On Tuesday, the Utah Daily Herald reported that Romney made clear he’s still the same guy he was back in 2012. When asked to prove his conservative credentials at an event in Provo, he said:

I’m also more of a hawk on immigration than even the president. My view was these DACA kids shouldn’t all be allowed to stay in the country legally.

But, as always, Mitt’s principles extend only to the direction the wind is blowing…and he’s really going all in on the prevailing winds blowing from Vichy MAGA

Romney played his relationship with Trump off as a strength, not a weakness, when talking about his qualifications for U.S. Senate. His relationships with 40 U.S. Senators and the president are what will help him be effective as a Senator, Romney said.

 “(Trump) has endorsed me in this race,” Romney said. “He respects people who speak their mind, because now and then, as you know, if he says something I think is wrong, I’ll point it out. And if he disagrees with me, he points it out even harder.”

So much for his principled stand in 2016…and something to keep in mind if/when he’s anointed as some sort of “Republican Hero,” to use a phrase I heard Brian Williams say more than once in 2017.

Trump is a feature, not a bug. And Mitt’s no Republican Hero.

But A Very Classy Vassal

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Really, one of the best. Believe me, many people are saying this.

Actually, many people are once again speculating on just what might be in a Putin/Russian-held Trump dossier…because liege turns (on a dime) into lackey when Vlad’s the subject.

The former C.I.A. director John Brennan pulled no punches on Wednesday when he was asked why President Trump had congratulated his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for his victory in a rigged election, even after Mr. Trump’s national security staff warned him not to.

“I think he’s afraid of the president of Russia,” Mr. Brennan said, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, of the phone call on Tuesday between the two presidents. “The Russians, I think, have had long experience with Mr. Trump and may have things they could expose.”

The possibility that Mr. Putin could have some hold on the American president has lurked in the background over the past year as Mr. Trump displayed a mystifying affection for the Russian leader and ignored or excused his aggressive behavior and nefarious activities, most important, his interference in the 2016 campaign, a subject of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

What’s the line? Is is irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to.

Pee tape? Who knows? But they’ve likely propped up the rat’s nest that comprise Trump’s assets enough to own him outright…while Stormy Daniels et al have plenty to say when it comes to the salacious stuff.

And I can’t believe either/both are…topics of serious discussion in the political press. Goddamn.

Unsolicited Tea for the Tillerson

Image by Michael F.

First of all, I know that tea is slang for gossip, I watch, to my everlasting shame, the Real Housewives of Atlanta, after all. I’m seeking to expand the word’s meaning to include advice. Anybody buying that? I just want to fit it into my running Tea for the Tillerson joke.

Second, I’d like to thank my colleague and fellow Gret Steter Michael F for letting me use his image. I’m the world’s worst photoshopper so I gave it up in favor of memes years ago.

Michael and I discussed the irony of having *any* sympathy for the former Exxon-Mobil CEO. It’s the whole “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing writ large. I don’t have a lot of sympathy, just enough to fit into an album cover sized teacup.

Here’s my unsolicited advice for Rex: spill all the tea you have on Trumpy and spill it loud, proud, and immediately. You’re richer than God so you don’t have to wait to put it in a book: DO IT NOW. It’s a way to restore your good name post Rexit. Burn it down.

Think about it, Rex: before your trip to Trumplandia, the headline on your obit would have been “Former Exxon-Mobil CEO dies.” Right now it would be “Weak Secretary of State fired by President he called a fucking moron dies.” Is that how you want to be remembered? Another dutiful lamb to the Trump slaughter? The latest dignity wraith humiliated? What more can the fucker do to you? He’s already destroyed your reputation, so it’s time to fight back. Do the Sunday shows and fry the unfit fucker. It’s your patriotic duty, and it would be fun to burn it down. Make Rexit matter.

The last word goes to Los Lobos:

Class, Say Hello To Your Safety Instructor

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Barney Fife would be an improvement — if I remember, he had only a single bullet that he kept in his pocket. I don’t think he ever shot his gun, either intentionally…or by accident.

As thousands of students walked out of their schools on Wednesday to pressure Congress to approve gun control legislation, three other students were healing from wounds inflicted when a teacher’s firearm accidentally discharged in a California classroom.

The teacher, Dennis Alexander, who is also a city councilman in Seaside, Calif., was showing the students a gun on Tuesday during his advanced public safety class at Seaside High School when the gun accidentally went off, Marci McFadden, a spokeswoman for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Mr. Alexander was pointing his gun at the ceiling when it fired, she said, causing pieces of the ceiling to fall to the floor. Ms. McFadden said that California law and district policy prohibit teachers from bringing guns on campus.

Cmdr. Nick Borges of the Seaside Police Department said in an email on Wednesday that nobody suffered serious injuries, however, a piece of bullet shrapnel ricocheted and hit one 17-year-old on the neck, and two other students were also hit by debris.

As for the rallies yesterday, it’s a steep uphill climb, but good for the students.  Against all odds and in the face of a deeply entrenched, well financed establishment, they’ve managed to at least keep the conversation going.

And the special election in Pennsylvania is also good news. Trump’s luster was never quite what he and the establishment media claimed. His “win” was an accident of dumb luck and weird rules. That said, maybe it’s also wearing thin. Sure, he’s got a couple of years to go, and I worry we’re entering a particularly dangerous time, his terrible twos…but still…you’ve gotta have hope nonetheless.

Twit Gets Schooled On Twitter

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You’ve probably seen or heard this, or I could just say “Cillizza, am I right?”

Yesterday [Soledad] O’Brien released a series of tweets at CNN reporter Chris Cillizza after he wrote a brow-raising item on CNN titled, “Donald Trump is producing the greatest reality show ever.”

In the piece, Cillizza compares the mass exodus of Trump administration staffers to Survivor or Bachelor contestants and outlines various “plot twists.” The article first discusses the latest departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, then moves on to referencing former communications director Anthony Scaramucci, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and the lawsuit from porn star Stormy Daniels.

“You can leave reality TV,”Cillizza wrote.  “But reality TV never leaves you.

“The truth is that even Mark Burnett couldn’t create such a high-profile reality show with this much drama, this many personalities and this high of stakes,” he continued later in the article. “This is a project only Donald Trump could make happen.”

I’ll give grudging credit: if you wanted a prototype for everything that’s wrong with modern elite journalism, you couldn’t find a better example than Chris Cillizza. He’s a perfect storm of the vapid, tedious, condescending horseshit that should come delivered with a complimentary barf bag. And O’Brien wasted no words in letting him know

I’d say that left quite the mark, but Cillizza almost certainly lacks the self-awareness to realize as much. Which could explain how he managed to slither up the ladder to begin with.

The Smartest Guy In The Room

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As I’m sure you heard, yesterday Trump blurted out something that, had it been said by pretty much any Democrat, would’ve generated quite the spittle-flecked right wing rage-reaction

“Take the guns first, go through due process second,”

Hmm…you don’t often hear the person who’s job is to see the laws be faithfully executed say fuck the law…

But, best as I can tell, the wingnut response has been…crickets. Nothing.

Well, that’s because one, everyone knows it’s bullshit. Trump, as usual, has no idea what he’s talking about. It’s another “no one knew healthcare could be so complicated” moment, or, like late last year with his statements re: DACA. Less Lucy and the football and more empty calories. Political Diet Coke (if Diet Coke had calories).

When it comes to matters of significant public policy, Trump is simultaneously irrelevant but frightening: after all he’s still the president, and is in a position to wreak havoc if/when he isn’t scatterbrained or otherwise distracted…or worse, hit with a significant crisis that neither he nor his dwindling inner circle of advisers have the capacity to deal with. If that happens…

All that said, though, we did get a good look yesterday at just how Trump works. A combination of ignorance, bluster…telling people what they want to hear…and meaningless promises. Not surprising. Just typical behavior of someone who was born into privilege but thinks he’s earned it.

Three more years…

 

The Good, The Bad, And…WTF?

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Like Ed Kilgore says, with the bar for this administration set so low they needed a tunnel borer to put it in place, I’m surprised we didn’t hear at least one pundit solemnly declare yesterday that “Donald Trump became president of the United States,” given that he managed to appear concerned and mostly avoided overtly cloddish statements and behavior. Mostly.

If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy — that coach was very brave.  Saved a lot of lives, I suspect.  But if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run; he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.

And this would only be, obviously, for people that are very adept at handling a gun.  And it would be — it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them.  They’d go for special training.  And they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone.   A gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is, let’s go in and let’s attack, because bullets aren’t coming back at us.

And if you do this — and a lot of people are talking about it, and it’s certainly a point that we’ll discuss — but concealed carry for teachers and for people of talent — of that type of talent.  So let’s say you had 20 percent of your teaching force, because that’s pretty much the number — and you said it — an attack has lasted, on average, about three minutes.  It takes five to eight minutes for responders, for the police, to come in.  So the attack is over.  If you had a teacher with — who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.

For fuck’s sake. That’s Charles Bronson’s Death Wish as public policy, escapist alpha-male fantasy as response to a reality that this alleged tough guy/winner obviously has no clue about.

A major point, if not THE major point, of universal public education was/is that it’s a way to socialize each generation into civil society. Assuming some sort of armed cohort among the faculty is needed or required seems like an implicit rejection of this mission…and a troubling sign generally. Besides, I doubt most teachers want to add that burden to what’s already a challenging profession.

Coolly blasting bad guys to smithereens looks easy in movies. But movies aren’t real life.

Oh Look: A Box Of Thoughts And Prayers

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Bet you can find it on the same aisle that has the sailboat fuel.

More seriously, if thoughts and prayers actually stood a prayer’s chance, why didn’t it stop yesterdays shooting? Or the one before that, or the one before that, or the one before that, etc.?

Already we’re seeing the grim ritual repeat itself, and we will for the next week or so, after which all is forgotten … until the cycle repeats.

Well, forgotten by us.

For those who manage to survive, life is altered dramatically, in ways we rarely hear about and hardly ever consider.

All because gun nuts insist that actual, certified nuts should be allowed to purchase/possess any gun on-demand. Makes you wonder who the real nuts are…

 

Running Government Like A Business

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Well, like a Trump “business.” In words he’d understand, what a disgrace. He should be ashamed, or worse.

FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company, Tribute Contracting LLC, set out to find some help.

Ms. Brown, who is adept at navigating the federal contracting system, hired a wedding caterer in Atlanta with a staff of 11 to freeze-dry wild mushrooms and rice, chicken and rice, and vegetable soup. She found a nonprofit in Texas that had shipped food aid overseas and domestically, including to a Houston food bank after Hurricane Harvey.

By the time 18.5 million meals were due, Tribute had delivered only 50,000.

Meanwhile, electricity is STILL out for thousands of people, some of whom are so desperate they’ve taken matters into their own hands, despite significant risks.

For months, residents begged Puerto Rico’s power company and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to bring back their electricity — with few results.

So the people of the town of 40,000 — high in the mountains of southern Puerto Rico — have started restoring power on their own, pulling power lines from undergrowth and digging holes for wooden posts in a do-it-yourself effort to solve a small part of the United States’ longest-running power outage.

We have trillions of dollars to fund endless wars, and a Congress that went out of its way to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy. But the same federal government has abandoned Puerto Rico.

Their fate is our fate…just saying.

Will You Kiss The Don(ald)’s Ring?

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For Trump, what’s personal and what’s business are … the same thing

President Donald Trump just can’t seem to stop himself from making inappropriate comments to law enforcement officials involved with the Russia investigation — the latest being Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who’s overseeing Robert Mueller’s probe.

According to a new report from CNN’s Pamela Brown, Evan Perez and Laura Jarrett, when Rosenstein visited the White House in December, Trump asked Rosenstein where the Russia investigation was heading and whether the deputy attorney general was on his “team.” The CNN team cites “sources familiar with the meeting.”

The comments would be part of a pattern for Trump of demanding to know which side law enforcement officials are on, even when they’re supposed to be nonpartisan. He reportedly requested then-FBI Director James Comey’s “loyalty,” questioned the “loyalty” of Attorney General Jeff Sessions after his recusal from the Russia probe, and inquired about whom then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe voted for in 2016.

The Rosenstein comments, which reportedly happened just last month, make clear Trump hasn’t changed his stripes in this regard — he wants his top law enforcement officials to be personally loyal to him, and he can’t bring himself to simply let the Russia probe go forward without his interference.

And…there’s more.

How loud would the Noise Machine/Puke Funnel’s shouting be if, FSM forbid, a Democratic Administration was demanding personal loyalty from law enforcement while quite literally rolling out the red carpet/rolling over for a hostile foreign power?

Might explain why a lot of rats are abandoning ship

Reductio Sad Absurdum

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Of course, they’ve always been bullshitters to the nth degree, but now they’re not even bothering to limit the sheer bugfuck lunacy.

The Democrat Party is the Washington establishment, and the Washington establishment believes that Gore won the presidency, that the Florida recount aftermath was bogus and rigged, that James Baker did a better job than the Democrat people did in finding votes, the hanging chads. What if the intel on the war in Iraq was another disinformation campaign, to damage another Republican president? And boy, did that work.

[…]

What if the quote-unquote “intelligence community” misrepresented, on purpose, the degree to which Hussein had WMDs? Because I’ll tell you it was a very, very embarrassing moment for the Bush administration.

[…]

What if, based on what we know now, we know how the deep state has been trying to undermine Donald Trump since the days he was a candidate, to during his transition, to even it’s ongoing now as president? We’re learning of Strzok and the FBI and the Hillary [Clinton] opposition research dossier that ends up becoming fodder for a warrant at the FISA court to spy on Trump.

And it isn’t confined to the fever swamps of right wing noise machine radio. Actual flesh and blood congresscritters are getting in on the act.

As you probably know, Fresno Rep. Devin Nunes has a memo. It’s four pages long. It’s classified. It’s the subject of a relentless conservative Twitter campaign called #releasethememo

Also, too

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) says that a whistleblower has told Congress about secret meetings between FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who allegedly gathered to discuss ways to undermine President Trump following his victory in the 2016 election.

It’s almost funny to see who they’re willing to toss to the wolves in attempting to divert attention from the kleptocratic train wreck that is the Trump administration. I mean, sure, the Democrat [sic] party. But the intelligence agencies? DOJ? The FBI? The areas of government conservatives generally concede as acceptable? That’s just nuts.

Or ominous.

Moving The Goalposts

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Call it whatever — moving the goalposts, working the refs, tilting the playing field…defining deviancy downward, or even the ultimate soft bigotry of low expectations — but the librul media is falling in, even as it’s obvious that Donaldo is bringing Banana Republic style governance to El Norte.

while we have mostly managed to resist treating Trump as a normal president, I’m increasingly worried that we have simultaneously fallen into a more subtle trap: Even the private citizens, the business executives, and the politicians who are fully conscious that the president of the United States is a peculiar aberration have not changed their behavior in the day-to-day; despite knowing everything that there is to know about Donald Trump, they go about their personal and professional lives as though we lived in perfectly ordinary times.

Many Republican congressmen and senators, for example, have not only distanced themselves from Trump’s most outrageous comments in public; in private, they have also acknowledged that he is a dangerous fool who will most likely do immense damage to their party, their country, and the world. And yet, they have spectacularly failed to walk that wise talk, neglecting to put real limits on Trump’s ability to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or launch nuclear weapons.

Of course, the response from the New York Times is … to publish a series of letters from Trump’s base, I assume as some sort of apology for … for what? Acting like fucking journalists? Yeah, there are Trump voters out there who still like the guy. Quite a few, though less by about three million than HRC voters, who haven’t seen similar generosity from the Gray Lady…and will forever be defined by the various outlets of the right wing noise machine/puke funnel as criminal accomplices of the “Democrat” Party if not actual enemies of the state.

These are not normal times — I can attest to that as we endure another brutally cold night, which is keeping me wide awake watching faucets continue to hopefully drip and/or monitoring space heaters — and Trump’s not a normal president. There’s no need to pretend otherwise.

Darrell Issa Calls It A Sunrise

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Modest credit for managing to read hard-to-ignore auspices, sunny Southern California becoming less and less Issa-friendly. Perhaps there was a legacy element to his holding office, i.e., following in the stead of Nixon, Reagan, etc. (some of the most conservative people I’ve ever met were from the region)…but, will never be upset about one less wingnut to kick around. Good riddance, car-alarm Vlad.

The New York Times, of course, sees this as a chance to … admonish Democrats with a veiled warning: don’t get TOO Blue. Moderation, Moderation…sigh

…a district that is affluent and increasingly moderate.

Wouldn’t want to threaten the affluence…

On the other hand…IOKIYAR

As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Mr. Issa routinely ripped into Mr. Obama, his aides and his cabinet, as well as their handling of a gunrunning investigation known as Fast and Furious, the Internal Revenue Service’s slow-walking of political groups’ applications for nonprofit status, the terrorist attack on an American government compound in Benghazi, Libya, and many other matters.

Meanwhile, Team Trump thought they’d try something novel — earmarks and favoritism/partisanship. How about that…Plus ça change…

The Real “His Accidency”

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Let’s not even bother with his hair, which to my distracted ears (more on that in a second) seemed to garner more attention than it deserved (because we already knew the hair was/is as fraudulent as the head it sits on, um, over)…Michael Wolff’s new book, excerpted in NY Mag, mixed and matched at least a few yarns (thanks Adrastos for that observation) with the very real fact that, yeah, this whole sorry spectacle is a reality show gone badly, terribly wrong.

According to Wolff, and this seems plausible, Trump himself didn’t care or expect to actually get elected, but thanks to a political bombogenesis, we have someone in office who makes Andrew Jackson or Warren Harding seem eminently qualified in comparison. Trump was apparently as surprised as anyone, but once he grasped the news, he had to pretend his little hands…weren’t so little.

Just me, but…let’s start with the truly stupid email nothingburger. The media went overboard on that one, and I’d bet money it was strictly to adhere to a “both sides” outlook…even as they ignored Trump’s VERY real, um, I was going to say scandals, but call them what they are: crimes. He was — and might still be — a full service laundromat for mobbed-up Russian cash, but I don’t recall near the interest in that as in…”but her emails.” It’s so obvious that Bannon– they say he’s Wolff’s big source — flat out admits it, resulting in what could be a first: POTUS asserting that his former aide is “nothing to me,” while calling for his political if not literal defenestration.

Add to that, I dunno, there’s the “let’s HATE HATE HATE HRC” stuff that I never understood. No, I’m not falling over for Hillary, but I couldn’t get the intense hatred even some people I usually respect had for Clinton. No, she’s not Bernie, no, she’s not Barack, no, she’s not Bill (these days, not being Bill should be considered a plus), but particularly given the alternative…hell, if nothing else, save the fury for after the election. Because, like it or not, the system, which includes the undemocratic (and demonstrably stupid) Electoral College, meant anything anti-HRC benefitted DJT…bigly…hugely…

And so…the bomb cyclone came. And Trump now sits on the throne and (not sure if I actually buy this) allegedly eats cheeseburgers in bed while watching three televisions, like an overgrown child mimicking LBJ. Sad. But also frightening for all of us. Sure, Kelly, Mattis, et al, the grownups, might manage to dissuade DJT from nuclear war with North Korea, and good lord let’s hope they would if it came to that, but…there’s plenty of other damage The Donald can do. And the GOP caucus is more than willing to go along (e.g., the tax  cut bill from hell)…

So, rant concluded. Went a little long, and is posting a little early, but as I said, I’m distracted. Looks like either the cold weather or a terrible coincidence did a number on my water heater at a very, very wrong time, and I’ll be paying a premium to get it replaced. Finding a qualified plumber during an extended hard freeze is…difficult. Hope I can solicit some good luck thoughts as I try to get this taken care of…

Sure, Right…Because The Resemblance Is Uncanny

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Mike Hucakabee decided we needed a new example of the word lickspittle.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas drew a swift and intense response with a provocative claim on Tuesday: President Trump, he wrote, is similar to Winston Churchill, one of history’s most iconic leaders.

Mr. Huckabee had just watched “Darkest Hour,” a film about Churchill. It was, he wrote on Twitter, a reminder of “what real leadership looks like.”

“Churchill was hated by his own party, opposition party, and press,” he tweeted. “Feared by King as reckless, and despised for his bluntness. But unlike Neville Chamberlain, he didn’t retreat. We had a Chamberlain for 8 yrs; in @realDonaldTrump we have a Churchill.”

And while I’m not into the cult of Churchill — he was an elitist, Gallipoli was a massive FUBAR, etc., and it’s not certain he ever dismissed TOTUS’ favorite game with a quote sometimes attributed to him…Winston DID say

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender

And, gee, who wouldn’t confuse that with

I moved on her like a bitch…And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…

Right?

 

Gonna Party Like Its 1899

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So they all got together on the White House lawn yesterday to celebrate the triumph of abject greed…no word on whether Welch’s Grape Jelly with alcohol was made available to the thirsty. Trump himself got lit up on fawning praise from his various lickspittles, looking like a cult leader (Kim Jong Ugh?)…or a bratty child who’s never had to face the consequences of his actions.

Because suffering is for LOSERS. And, hell, look at ’em, do they look like losers to you?

Will Wilkerson in the New York Times yesterday

The Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is notably generous to corporations, high earners, inheritors of large estates and the owners of private jets. Taken as a whole, the bill will add about $1.4 trillion to the deficit in the next decade and trigger automatic cuts to Medicare and other safety net programs unless Congress steps in to stop them.

To most observers on the left, the Republican tax bill looks like sheer mercenary cupidity. “This is a brazen expression of money power,” Jesse Jackson wrote in The Chicago Tribune, “an example of American plutocracy — a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy.”

Mr. Jackson is right to worry about the wealthy lording it over the rest of us, but the open contempt for democracy displayed in the Senate’s slapdash rush to pass the tax bill ought to trouble us as much as, if not more than, what’s in it.

In its great haste, the “world’s greatest deliberative body” held no hearings or debate on tax reform. The Senate’s Republicans made sloppy math mistakes, crossed out and rewrote whole sections of the bill by hand at the 11th hour and forced a vote on it before anyone could conceivably read it.

The link between the heedlessly negligent style and anti-redistributive substance of recent Republican lawmaking is easy to overlook. The key is the libertarian idea, woven into the right’s ideological DNA, that redistribution is the exploitation of the “makers” by the “takers.” It immediately follows that democracy, which enables and legitimizes this exploitation, is itself an engine of injustice. As the novelist Ayn Rand put it, under democracy “one’s work, one’s property, one’s mind, and one’s life are at the mercy of any gang that may muster the vote of a majority.”

On the campaign trail in 2015, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, conceded that government is a “necessary evil” requiring some tax revenue. “But if we tax you at 100 percent, then you’ve got 0 percent liberty,” Mr. Paul continued. “If we tax you at 50 percent, you are half-slave, half-free.” The speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, shares Mr. Paul’s sense of the injustice of redistribution. He’s also a big fan of Ayn Rand. “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it,” Mr. Ryan has said. If the big-spending, democratic welfare state is really a system of part-time slavery, as Ayn Rand and Senator Paul contend, then beating it back is a moral imperative of the first order.

 

The culmination of generations soaking up rhetoric that’s openly contemptuous of self government.

Which means, welcome to a new Gilded Age. Or, at the very least, to Kansas. Because it’s worked so well there.

 

 

When The Law AND The Facts Are Against You…

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time to pound the table, as the saying goes. So, while we’re all pretty relieved that at some point Roy Moore presumably will announce he wants to spend more time with his children, the wingnuts march on…a net neutrality vote by the FCC is scheduled for today, a deal is in the works to move the mother of all horrible tax legislation out of the conference committee…and in the House Judiciary Committee, die hards are pushing their latest nothingburger, a bizarre claim that a couple of FBI agents who were removed from Robert Mueller’s investigation last summer managed nonetheless to irreparably taint the investigation because, heaven forbid, they thought Donald Trump was…a pretty appalling human being.

Appalling…In other news, they agreed the sky is blue. And that grass is generally green.

I’m a little young to really remember Watergate as it happened, but can vaguely recall — and my memory is helped by books, television retrospectives, etc. — a few Nixon defenders stuck around to the bitter end, offering ever more desperate, implausible theories, explanations…anything to, if not exonerate Dick, at least excuse him, or excuse him enough. Until the tapes removed all doubt.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth by the likes of Louis Gohmert and others yesterday is starting to have that same sound if not same smell. And with the special election in Alabama…well, I don’t want to get my hopes up too much, but maybe, hopefully, enough people are finally getting it.

Besides, the FBI agents dismissed from the Mueller investigation were exchanging anti-Trump text message on or around the time when, on national television, he quite literally defended the size of his penis. Eww.