Category Archives: Political Crack

Donald Trump Is A Misogynist

Image by Michael F

Welcome to the latest installment of the Donald Trump Is series, which is now a quartet. Let’s recap past entries:

10/4/2018: Donald Trump Is A Criminal

7/17/2019: Donald Trump Is A Racist

8/26/2019: Donald Trump Is Mentally Ill

We’ve known of President* Pennywise’s fear and loathing of women forever. He’s been charged with sexual harassment, rape, and all around lechery for decades. His typical defense is either “I don’t know her” or “She’s not hot enough for me to hit on.”

Yeah, right. If he paid an after hours visit to Texas A&M, he might join the frat boys in some, uh, sheep dipping. He would, however, draw the line at dog fucking.

In less lecherous moments, Trump has gleefully insulted Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Cortez-Ocasio, and Marie Yovanovitch among others. He seems to take special relish in knifing women as he hides behind his twitter feed and temporary occupancy of the Oval Office. That’s why I call him the Insult Comedian.

One of the more recent examples of President* Pennywise’s gross public misogyny took place at a MAGA rally in Minneapolis:

It’s still hard to believe that he did that in public. It led the target of this vile abuse, Lisa Page, to break her silence and speak to Molly Jong-Fast:

For the nearly two years since her name first made the papers, she’s been publicly silent (she did have a closed-door interview with House members in July 2018). I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11.

That was the moment Page decided she had to speak up. “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she says. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

The politics of personal destruction has been perfected by the Insult Comedian and Fox News. They don’t care how tangential someone is, if they’re not fulsome in their praise of the Male-Chauvinist-Pig-In-Chief they’re fair game, especially members of what used to be called “the fairer sex.” That was vaguely polite misogyny. Trump is never polite but always sexist in an egregiously hateful way.

We’ve been told over and over again by his apologists that none of this matters because he won the election. I don’t have to tell you how specious that argument is. It may be true of evangelicals who think he’s the “chosen one,” but women are abandoning the party of Trump in droves. Let the white boys defend the indefensible by dismissing the Insult Comedian’s vile antics as “locker room talk.”

Donald Trump is not only a sexist, he’s a pussy. He should grab himself.

Repeat after me: Donald Trump is a misogynist as well as a mentally ill racist criminal.

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.

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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.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Behind The Wall Of Sleep

Sleeping Girl by Pablo Picasso.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the impeachment hearings ate my week. It wasn’t a snack, it was a tasting menu of scandal, malakatude, and heroism. Democrats have found their mojo: I was proud of their performance in the face of Republican shouting and conspiracy theorizing. That was down to Chairman Schiff  who refused to take any shit from committee GOPers. I’m less confident of the performance of Judiciary Chairman Nadler but the ball will soon be in his court. Stay tuned.

This week’s theme song was written by the late, great Pat DiNizio in 1986 for The Smithereens debut album, Especially For You. The band had been kicking around New Jersey for years before hitting the big time with this great rock song.

We have two versions of Behind The Wall Of Sleep for your listening pleasure: the original video and a 21st Century live version.

There’s a Black Sabbath song with the same title but metal is not my thing so I’ll pass.

Now that we’ve caught up on our sleep, let’s jump to the break.

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Impeachment: Where Do We Go From Here?

I’ve been in the weeds of the impeachment hearings the last two weeks. It’s time to pause, take a deep breath, and look at the big picture.

The post title poses a rhetorical question: where do we go from here? It beats the hell outta me. Anyone who makes confident assertions or predictions is running a fool’s errand, which could be called pulling a Sondland.

As of today, the House will impeach on a party-line vote. There are some key witnesses we’d all like to hear from: Pompeo, Bolton, and Mulvaney to name a few. Slugging this out in the courts looks like a Sondland aka fool’s errand. There is a possible alternative: witnesses can be called in the Senate and it would be up to Chief Justice Roberts.  Josh Marshall has more about this at TPM.

As of today, the Senate will NOT vote to remove BUT the situation is more fluid than people believe. I think there are multiple Republican Senators willing to vote FOR at least one article of impeachment. But they’ll only do it if there are enough of them: five or more. Willard Mittbot Romney is the one to watch: he’s bulletproof in Utah and not on the ballot until 2024.

The reasons for any GOP removal votes will not be elevated ones. They won’t do it out of patriotism but out of self-preservation. In short, they’ll pull a Sondland if it looks like the GOP will be slaughtered at the ballot box in 2020. I suspect the Mittbot would like to be the Brigham Young of his party if electoral disaster looms.

A quick reminder that Republicans are 24% of registered voters. They cannot win without conservative leaning independents; many of whom are sick of Trump’s antics. Repeat after me: There’s gold in them thar suburbs.

The Turtle wants to preserve his majority as well as his own seat. Right now there are three GOP seats in serious jeopardy: Maine, Arizona, and Colorado. Georgia looks promising: when there are two Senate seats up in the same election, one party tends to win both. Doug Jones in Alabama is the most vulnerable Democrat by far but the prospect of a GOP donnybrook gives him a chance to hang on. Roy Moore, Jeff Sessions, and Donald Trump may give him a path to victory.

One overlooked possibility is Senate GOPers pressuring Trump to make up some cockamamie story and resign. It would have to be coupled with a threat of removal votes but it would serve their interests to get Trump to quit. Some say this is impossible: I disagree. Trump changes his mind on a daily basis about purt near everything.

I am opposed to impeaching Pence alongside Trump. He may deserve it but we should want someone tied to the Trump scandals to be the Republican nominee in 2020. Acting president Pelosi would only fuel GOP “coup” talk. It’s why Carl Albert wanted Jerry Ford confirmed quickly in 1974.

I have no idea which, if any, of these theories will play out in real life. One thing I know for sure is that the Insult Comedian’s fatal inability to STFU will continue to make things worse. Thanks, Donald

The last word goes to The Band:

Impeachment Hearings Day Five: Hill/Holmes

Another day, another hearing. It was a doozy. It’s time for another round of time delayed live blogging, instant analysis or whatever the hell you want to call it.

—> Fiona Hill and David Holmes were a breath of fresh air after the smug, smarmy, and sleazy Sondland. I don’t think Sean Patrick Maloney will feel the need to administer an Irish barracking to these two. If he did, I’m sure Hill could kick his ass.

—> Devin Nunes pitched a mini-tantrum over Hill’s critique of the Republicans insistence that Ukraine fucked with the 2016 campaign, not Russia. He thumped his report on the table and insisted that it be included in the record. It was but it’s still a tissue of lies.

—> Fiona Hill is formidable and fierce. Her piercing intelligence and deep subject matter knowledge is as impressive as hell. I was touched by her account of how she came to America from the North of England. She has kept her working class Northern accent, which would have been a hindrance in the UK but not here. Don’t mess with a coal miner’s daughter even if her name isn’t Loretta Lynn and her accent is Northern, not Southern.

—> David Holmes is equally impressive. As a serving foreign service officer, he took a risk by coming forward. His first hand experiences with Sondland and Giuliani caused him to testify. I hope he doesn’t suffer retribution. I’m not sure what the foreign service hell post is; in J Edgar Hoover time at the FBI, he banished errant agent to Butte, Montana. Some may have even become dental floss tycoons.

—> The lanky and fair Holmes and the dark and raven haired Hill looked striking together. I know that’s superficial but so is teevee. There was no banter between the witnesses. Dr. Hill is all business.

—> Casting Update: Michelle Dockery as Fiona Hill and Mark Evan Jackson as David Holmes. The latter plays Shawn the head demon on The Good Place. I guess Holmes is his good twin.

I like casting Lady Mary from Downton Abbey against class type, she does fierce well.

It’s time to move on to the afternoon session.

—> STEELE DOSSIER. STEELE DOSSIER. STEELE DOSSIER.

—> Castor Oil dispensed. I think the witnesses found it as unpalatable as I do. Castor has only one facial expression: a frown and a furrowed brow.

—> A reminder that Hill is a Russia hawk who thinks highly of Bolton. She does not have a high opinion of the Hotelier who bragged about his ties to Trump to her. Bragging is big with Trump regime types. Hill was vexed with Sondland for being slippery with her. Imagine that.

—> STEELE DOSSIER. STEELE DOSSIER. STEELE DOSSIER.

—> BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN.

—> Nunes had a cow over dealing with witnesses so much smarter than he is. That describes all the witnesses with the exception of Sondland. I was proud of the fierce Dr Hill for not laying the rank ranking member low. Me, I would have asked him about his relationship with Lev Parnas. Eric Swalwell went there later in the hearing. Thanks, dude.

—> Hill disputed Morrison’s comments about Vindman having “suspect judgment.” Her only concern was about his political instincts. The very tall guy got it wrong.

—> Jordan Time: Holmes rolled his eyes and smirked at the unhinged and unjacketed one. Who the hell can blame him? He’s trying to disguise his contempt as Jordan yelled at him and kept interrupting him.

Jordan pissed that Holmes is the “closing witness.” Are you so sure of that, Gym?

—> Nutmeg state Democrat Jim Himes encouraged Hill to debunk the Ukraine conspiracy theory. What the hell does she know? She’s only an expert.

—> Hill established her bona fides as a non-never Trumper by saying a couple of semi-nice things about the Insult Comedian. I still like her.

—> Ratcliffe Time: Thank God this bozo isn’t director of national intelligence. He lacks the latter. He’s as loud as Gym Jordan in a Texas nitwit kinda way. Ratcliffe is shocked that Trump’s conversation bounces around and makes little sense.

—> MORE REPUBLICAN SHOUTING. They seem to think it makes them sound well-hung or some such shit.

—> Ohio GOPer Mike Turner patronized Hill. She almost looked angry, especially as he didn’t let her speak. What the hell does she know? She’s just an expert. Women should be seen and not heard according to this Buckeye Bozo.

—> NO COLLUSION. NO COLLUSION. NO COLLUSION.

—> Hill insisted on being allowed to speak after endless GOP speeches. She’s a fact witness, not a Sondland-esque political hack. In fact, he gives hackery a bad name.

—> WHISTLEBLOWER. WHISTLEBLOWER. WHISTLEBLOWER.

—> WORD SALAD. WORD SALAD. WORD SALAD.

—> Holmes is indiscreet, not  Sondland? Who spoke on an unsecured cell phone in a public place? Oy just oy.

—> Nunes’ closing statement made no sense. Schiff’s did. Anyone surprised? I thought not.

It was another good day for House Democrats. It helps when you have the facts on your side and excellent witnesses such as Fiona Hill and David Holmes.

Finally, two songs in honor of rock star witness Fiona Hill. The last word goes to Lyle Lovett and Pete Townshend.

Impeachment Hearings Day Four: The Hotelier Flips

It was the most dramatic day of testimony by far. I gladly abandoned one possible title: A Fifth Of Sondland.

Consider this moral equivalent of live blogging. Let’s get down to it.

—> I had already read Gordon Sondland’s opening statement but even if I hadn’t I would have known that he was going to come semi-clean by his demeanor. He looked like someone who had a weight lifted from his shoulders.

—> Devin Nunes was blindsided by Sondland’s flip and gave an opening statement warning the hotelier that he was about to be smeared. I enjoyed Nunes’ humiliation.

—> While Sondland named names he did so our of self-preservation, not patriotism. That’s okay, his motives are irrelevant: his lawyer is trying to keep his client out of jail and save his business. The key to the Hotelier flipping was David Holmes’ description of the cell phone conversation between Sondland and President* Pennywise. Dipshits.

Here’s something I tweeted out about Gordo’s motives:

—> I cannot wait for the Insult Comedian and the artist formerly known as Mayor Combover to respond and make matters worse.

—> In his first round of questioning, Nunes decided NOT to attack Sondland. Instead, he peddled the discredited Ukraine did it theory. They’re milking that conspiracy theory like a cow…

—> Counsel Castor Oil is an annoying ninny. He used the Boltonian phrase “drug deal” as if it were meant literally. Of course, Gordo denied being part of a “drug deal.”

In his second round of questioning, Castor took off the gloves and went after the witness after it was clear that things were not going well.

—> BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN.

—> Casting Update:  Wallace Shawn as Gordon Sondland and Philip Baker Hall as Castor Oil.

—> Adam Schiff and Danny Goldman were wise to treat Sondland as a semi-hostile witness. The man has lied before and will likely do so again. Most witnesses to conspiracy are co-conspirators, after all.

—>  Gordon Sondland is proof positive that wealth and intelligence are not synonymous. He has a poor memory, which needs constant refreshing. Perhaps that why he drank so much water and perspired profusely.

—> Sondland had a lot of nerve asking his lawyer to request special treatment so he could catch a flight to “resume his duties.” Dude, nobody on the committee likes you and if you had any decency, you’d resign. Pronto. It provoked Schiff to shift into Homey the Clown mode:

I think we need a list of those thrown to the wolves today: Trump, Giuliani, Pompeo, Bolton, Volker, and Mulvaney.

I don’t feel like commenting on shouting House GOPers so it’s time to wrap up this wrap up post even before the hearing ends. One more tweet from some internet wise ass:

I have other things to do so I won’t write about Laura Cooper’s testimony this afternoon. I may have it on in the background. Hopefully, she has a better memory than the Hotelier.

The last word goes to Peter Gabriel and the Smithereens. Hopefully these tunes will refresh your memory:


Impeachment Hearings Day Three: Vindmania

House Republicans keep trying to turn the impeachment hearings into a circus but, like Homey the Clown, Adam Schiff don’t play that. It’s time for my scattershot take on yesterday’s hearing.

—> I almost felt sorry for Jennifer Williams. She was the sideshow, Lt. Col. Vindman was the main event. On the other hand, no one questioned her patriotism or impugned her integrity. Perhaps it’s because she started life as a GOP operative before joining the Foreign Service.

Her testimony neither helped nor hurt her boss, Mike Pence. It did, however, damage *his* boss as well as frustrate committee Republicans who could no longer rant about hearsay and indirect evidence. Williams heard what she heard and told the truth about it. It’s what a good citizen does.

My favorite Jennifer Williams moment was when she hopped into a cab after testifying.

—> Vindman started off jittery and camera shy BUT he warmed to the task brilliantly. This was not a man desperate for attention, publicity, and acclaim. That’s the guy whose conduct he described as inappropriate and wrong: Donald J. Trump.

Both Devin Nunes and oily GOP counsel Steve Castor tried to slime and otherize Vindman. A high point was when Vindman insisted that the rank ranking member call him by his title: Lt. Colonel, not Mister. I halfway expected Nunes to break out in a Mr. Mister song.

Castor went on and on and on about a putative job offer from a Ukrainian official for Vindman to be that country’s minister of defense. It was an offer that Vindman did not take seriously but Castor acted as if it proved he was disloyal and unpatriotic. The whole thing was nauseating. It turned into a set-up for the Colonel to proclaim he didn’t take the job because “I’m an American.”

—> Whistleblower, whistleblower, whistleblower.

—> Jim Jordan tried to score points but Vindman refused to be his punching bag. Vindman swatted Gym away like the annoying fly he is. Jordan seemed to understand that he’d been bested by Vindman and just howled at the moon when he got his second bite at the apple.

 —> After his encounter with the unjacketed and unhinged one, Vindman grew in confidence and scored point after point. He also showed a dry sense of humor when asked what languages he spoke, “Russian, Ukrainian, and a little bit of English.”

—> New York Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney threw Vindman a hanging fastball of a question, which the V Man hit out of the park:

Before the afternoon session, there was a lot of big talk from Republicans about how Kurt Volker and really tall guy, Tim Morrison, would defend the indefensible. These were their witnesses. Things did not go quite as planned,

Both Volker and Morrison confirmed the outlines of the scheme while trying not to piss off their fellow GOPers. Their conduct showed the difference between career civil servants like the previous witnesses and political appointees like these two jokers.

I didn’t watch the entire afternoon session because overexposure to House Republicans is hazardous to one’s mental health. If I had to listen to Jim Jordan holler one more time, I might have been ready for the laughing academy. I wish he’d use his inside voice but I don’t think he has one.

One of the funniest things I saw about the afternoon session came from New Orleans writer Michael Tisserand:

Google Fred (Herman Munster) Gwynne and Lonesome George Goebel and you’ll see what’s so funny.

The last word goes to Robbie Robertson and U2:

I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide

The results of the Gret Stet Goober race confirmed that President* Pennywise is a rotten surrogate whose efforts are often stillborn. I suspect he’s already forgotten Eddie Rispone’s name, that is, if he ever knew it. His rallies are always about himself, after all.

It just occurred to me that there’s a tune that should be Trump’s campaign theme song, especially when he’s stumping for other GOPers. Here are two versions of that song, the original by ZZ Top and a swell cover by Dwight Yoakam:

Gret Stet Goober Race Wrap Up

The Gret Stet of Louisiana dodged a bullet last Saturday when Governor John Bel Edwards defeated know-nothing nitwit Eddie Rispone. The latter proved that you need more than TV and internet ads to win a statewide race. The incumbent proved that you can overcome primary overconfidence and win if you mobilize the Democratic base instead of depressing it. That’s what happened in the first round. As you can tell, I’m simultaneously relieved and underwhelmed. Team Edwards should have won this in the primary. That should not be overlooked.

It’s been forgotten that six months ago, Louisiana Republicans could not find an A-list candidate to take on Edwards. Senator John Neely Kennedy preferred going on TV to spout Neelyisms in defense of President* Pennwyise and nobody else of any stature was willing to run against the conservative Democratic Governor. That’s how they ended up with two nobodies like Doc Abraham and Eddie Rispone as their standard bearers.

As always for any Democrat in any state, the key to Edwards’ win was turnout. In the primary their GOTV operation was lousy, let’s crunch the Goober race numbers.

PRIMARY

Democrats:   636,993

Republicans: 696,399

RUNOFF

Edwards:  774,469

Rispone:  734,128

Repeat after me: TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT.

I see the footprints of the Trump effect in those vote totals. The Trump rallies during the runoff seem to have backfired. Note that the GOP vote only increased by 38K whereas Edwards’ total went up by 138K; much of that in Orleans Parish. New Orleans saved John Bel Edwards’ ass, let’s hope he shows some gratitude.

In other Trump effect news, Edwards carried heavily Republican Jefferson Parish next door to New Orleans 57% to 43%. It’s jam packed with the sort of educated suburban voters who Trump repulses nationwide. Edwards even got 40% of the vote across the lake in St. Tammany Parish; one of the richest and most Republican parishes in the Gret Stet.

I should pause to thank Rispone and Trump for my most seen tweet ever:

Those were the voters mobilized by Trump’s rallies. This is the kind of backlash I could get used to, y’all. In my own 13th Ward precinct it was Edwards 217 Rispone 11.

One of the best quotes about the Trump effect came from anti-Trump GOP strategist Tim Miller in the Failing New York Times:

“If you had any doubt that Trump was a human repellent spray for suburban voters who have a conservative disposition, Republicans getting wiped out in the suburbs of New Orleans, Louisville and Lexington should remove it.”

Let’s move on from the Insult Comedian.

This tweeted graphic by New Orleans native and Larry Sabato right-hand man Miles Coleman shows the shifting voting patterns in Louisiana:

Acadiana aka Cajun Country in Western Louisiana *used* to be the Gret Stet’s swing region. That’s no longer true. Rural and oil patch voters seem to like Trump, which means they supported his hand puppet Rispone. I suspect this is as permanent a shift as anything in politics. Of course, a Democratic candidate of the caliber of Acadiana natives Edwin Edwards, John Breaux, or Kathleen Blanco could change that in a heartbeat.

Is there any national message in the 2019 Gret Stet Goober race? It was largely decided on Gret Stet issues, but the key was TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT. Plus, there’s gold in them thar suburbs. It’s refreshing to know that there are still conservative leaning voters who think POTUS should be presidential instead of an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head.

I’m just glad it’s over and that my Eddie Rispone impression is now moot. No more TV ads from sleazy PACs supporting Rispone and slandering his opponent. Huzzah.

The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers:

Instant Analysis: Impeachment Hearing Day Two

I’m on record as disliking hot takes but since consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, here are my hot takes on Ambassador Yovanovitch’s testimony:

—> Masha mashed it. Her opening statement was compelling. She’s soft-spoken, which meant that people had to listen carefully. I’m not sure if Jim Jordan has ever listened to anyone in his benighted life. He certainly didn’t listen to the molested wrestlers at Ohio State.

The Ambassador was as impressive as GOPers were unimpressive. Their questions were confusing as well as confused. Nutty conspiracy theories are hard to follow. I’m talking to you Devin Nunes. Don’t have a cow, man.

—> I tweeted my thoughts on Yovanovitch’s opening statement:

—> The  morning break taken by Chairman Schiff was exquisitely timed. It allowed him to describe Trump’s odious AM tweet as witness tampering. It was surreal to watch Yovanovitch respond in real time. Here was my reaction:

—> Republican counsel Steve Castor is lucky that he’s on the Insult Comedian’s side. He’s boring and sleepy-eyed, which means that Trump would call him Sleepy Steve. I’d almost rather hear Gym Jordan. Almost.

—> Congresswoman Elise Stefanik seemed to be auditioning for a slot on either The Real Housewives of New Jersey or New York but given her demeanor, she’d  be a  better fit with Tre, Melissa, and the Gorga gang:

Now that I think of it, Jim Jordan is the Juicy Joe of the GOP caucus.

I hope you’re not scarred for life by that image but it has to be said, uh, shown.

—> Committee Republicans were a tad less flamboyant today. I think the Insult Comedian’s nasty tweet put a damper on their theatrics. Besides, Masha is a cool customer and GOPers failed to get under her skin. Chris Stewart under one’s skin? What a creepy thought and image; much worse than Joe Giudice’s tattooed torso.

—> Whistleblower, whistleblower, whisteblower.

In other news, Roger Stone was convicted on seven counts today. So far, Trump still admits to knowing him but this cannot be too far in the future:

I wonder if he and Rog have had any perfect phone calls? Everything he does is perfect, after all. The last word goes to Badfinger:

Instant Analysis: Impeachment Hearing Day One

I saw most of today’s hearing. Here are my takeaways:

—Nancy Smash was right to make the intelligence committee and Chairman Adam Schiff the tip of the impeachment spear. He was unflappable even in the face of moronic provocations by the Republican minority. He ruled on their sporadically dumb motions and moved on.

—I might rather have a beer with George Kent (I’ve heard he’s very funny offstage) but Bill Taylor is an impressive and formidable man. He reminds me of the small c conservatives who used to be common until Newt, W, the Tea Party, and Trump dumbed the GOP down.

Taylor reminded me of my father’s friend Paul Haerle who was a San Francisco super lawyer and California Republican Chairman from 1975-77. He ran afoul of the right wing of his party for supporting Ford over Reagan in 1976, resigned the next year, and focused on lawyering.

A quick personal story: I worked as a paralegal on the plaintiff’s side of a massive anti-trust case for a few years. It involved accusations of price fixing by Kaiser and other cement companies. I worked on the document production at Kaiser cement HQ in Oakland with another young paralegal with whom I shared a mutual disdain.

Anyway, the jerk-alegal and I were present to shuffle papers for a deposition. Paul Haerle was there representing the cement overlords. My nemesis glared at me, but his face fell as I addressed his big boss:

PA: “Hello Mr. Haerle. I’m Peter, Lou Athas’ son. We’ve met before.”

PH gave me a big smile and said: “Great to see you again. I miss your dad. Haven’t been to our Kiwanis club for a while. Give him and your mother my regards.”

PA: “Will do, sir.”

PH: “When you talk to your mom, tell her I’d love to eat her delicious Greek cookery again.”

My nemesis’ head looked like it was about to explode. He was not invited to dinner at my parents’ house. Paul Haerle was, and a good time was had by all.

That was quite a digression even for me. I’ll try and do better; not that y’all believe that.

—Neither Taylor nor Kent fell into any Republican traps. They insisted that they were fact witnesses and that it was up to Congress to deal with impeachment. I was relieved that none of the GOPers called Kent a “bow-tie motherfucker.” I guess none of them heard Omar call Brother Mouzon that on The Wire.

—Jim Jordan was there: unjacketed and unhinged. He seems to think that talking really fast and loud will dazzle the witnesses. They were emphatically undazzled by the second-rate wrestling coach. Jim Jordan to the rescue? Not even close.

—The GOP’s defense of Trump is ridiculous. Just because the crime was not perfected doesn’t make it legal. The only reason aid to Ukraine was not withheld is that Congress intervened.

—Democratic counsel Danny Goldman rocks. He showed why Schiff opted to have a genuine trial lawyer handle much of the questioning. Much like when Law & Order‘s Adam Schiff had Jack McCoy do likewise. You didn’t think I’d pass a chance to make that joke again, did you?

—Finally, a point of order from the sensible party on the Tweeter Tube:

I did not know that. Unlike House Republicans, I learn something new every day. I’ll remember that the next time I order Chicken Keev.

The last word goes to ELP:

 

Language

Before I became an internet pundit, I occasionally wrote letters to the editor. I had a few published but was always annoyed with the end results. I gave it up when the Picayune so twisted my meaning on a long-forgotten subject that a conservative friend asked if I’d defected to his side. He was disappointed to learn that I had not jumped ship.

That was a long way of saying that I’m quoting a letter to the editor by 33 prominent writers. In this case, the meaning is clear. They want the New York Times and their MSM colleagues to use different language to describe the Trump scandals:

Please stop using the Latin phrase “quid pro quo” regarding the impeachment inquiry. Most people don’t understand what it means, and in any case it doesn’t refer only to a crime. Asking for a favor is not a criminal act; we frequently demand things from foreign countries before giving them aid, like asking them to improve their human rights record.

That is not a crime; the crime is President Trump’s demand for something that will benefit him personally. But using this neutral phrase — which means simply “this for that” — as synonymous with criminality is confusing to the public. It makes the case more complicated, more open to question and more difficult to plead.

Please use words that refer only to criminal behavior here. Use “bribery” or “extortion” to describe Mr. Trump’s demand to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, making it very clear that this is a crime. The more we hear words that carry moral imputations, the more we understand the criminal nature of the act.

As you know, I rarely, if ever, make moral arguments. In this instance, the strongest argument is for clarity. The Trump-Zelensky call reeks of extortion and attempts to bribe the latter with money already allocated to his government by Congress. It’s also called wire fraud. Those are all words that people understand. Latin is for legal eagles and Catholic clerics. It does not soar with the vox populi, I mean, general public.

Words matter. Language is important, especially in this age of obfuscation, truthiness, and newspeak. George Orwell summed it up best 73 years ago in his classic essay, Politics and the English Language. Here are a few pertinent passages. I’m snipping some specific examples to boil Orwell’s argument down to its essence.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. <SNIP> Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.

<SNIP>

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.

News reporters should keep it simple and leave the lofty language and exaggerated metaphors to the pundits. Above all else, skip the Latin and call a bribe a bribe and extortion extortion. Enough with the quid pro quos.

The last word goes to Kiwi rock demigod Dave Dobbyn:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Mystery Train

Train In The Snow by Claude Monet.

I had a head cold this week so I’m going to keep this introduction terse and, uh, heady. If nothing else, I want to prove that I’m capable of brevity. I gave the world a straight line when I called my bi-weekly Bayou Brief column, 13th Ward Rambler. As Captain Beefheart would surely say at this point, Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop.

This week’s theme song was written by bluesman Junior Parker in 1953. He cribbed some lyrics from the Carter Family’s Worried Man Blues, which, in turn, borrowed from an old Celtic folk song. That’s American music in a nutshell, y’all.  In 1973, Robbie Robertson added some lyrics to The Band’s version of this classic locomotive tune.

We have three versions of Mystery Train for your listening pleasure: Junior Parker, Elvis Presley, and The Band.

In case you were worried, man, here’s the Carter Family with some hillbilly lagniappe:

Now that I’ve worried you half to death, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

The Case Of The Missing Coattails & Other Tales

The scattered off-year election returns largely confirmed what happened in 2018. Suburban voters are dubious of Donald Trump and prepared to vote Democratic. The MSM and some Democrats, however, remain afraid of the Trump base despite all evidence to the contrary. As Michael F wrote yesterday, the MSM has been going to the wrong diners.

I know nothing about local politics in the Philadelphia suburbs. I do know what it means when voters expel Republicans from power in favor of Democrats. They’re tired of the farce that is the party of Trump. They voted to send out the clowns as did voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

It’s time to slice this post into segments like an orange. It may involve some navel gazing but what’s a bit of navel gazing among friends?

Bluegrass State Goober Race Goes Blue: Tuesday’s most delightful upset took place in Bourbon country where Democrats restored the Beshear dynasty to power. Adding to the pleasure was the Insult Comedian’s election eve rally where he attempted to make the race about him and impeachment. His man, Governor Matt Bevin, lost.

Trump’s sycophants then claimed that Bevin was trailing badly until their dear leader intervened. Another lie: the race was as tight as a tick in all the polls. I guess Trump forgot to pack his coattails. He’s a terrible surrogate, he spends most of the time talking about his favorite subject, himself.

It’s unclear what Bevin’s next move will be. The Commonwealth of Kentucky does not seem to be set up for successful recounts or challenges, but Bevin is whining like a stuck pig about the injustice of it all.

A reminder that Bevin was extraordinarily unpopular with voters, especially in suburban communities across the river from Cincinnati. I have a fairly conservative friend from Kentucky who calls Bevin, Governor Prick.

Then there’s the McConnell factor. The Turtle and Bevin are strange political bedfellows. Bevin primaried Moscow Mitch in 2014 thereby setting the stage for his victory the next year. I’m not sure how far the Turtle is willing to stick his neck out for Bevin since his own numbers are low. Stay tuned.

Whither The Gret Stet Goober Race: President* Pennywise brought his tail-less coat to Monroe, Louisiana to campaign for fake outsider Eddie Rispone. I wish Gret Stet Democrats had had the same reaction as their Bluegrass counterparts: defiance in the face of Trumper provocation. Instead there was whimpering among the tweeting classes who are convinced the incumbent Blue Dog Goober, John Bel Edwards, will lose badly.

There’s no evidence that Rispone has rolled to a big lead, in fact, the race remains as tight as a tick. I’m going to ride that Ratherism until it limps.

I’m on the record as being a clothespin Edwards supporter but all Rispone has to offer is vague promises of a Trumpier future with the reality of a return to the failed policies of Bobby Jindal. No, thanks.

A final reminder that, while Trump rallies may rev up his base, they should have the same effect on his opponents. The Emperor not only has no clothes, he has no coattails.

Who The Hell Is Afraid Of Mike Bloomberg? Not me. He’s running because he’s afraid of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Sure, he’s richer than God but Democratic primary voters are unlikely to look favorably on a guy who went from Democrat to Republican to Independent back to Democrat, Make up your plutocratic mind, dude.

New York City Mayors do not have a distinguished track record as presidential candidates. Remember Presidents Lindsay, Giuliani, or DeBlasio? Me neither.

Of greater concern is Bloomberg switching back to independent for a vanity run that would help his former constituent, the Insult Comedian. Stay tuned.

The Alabama Comeback Kid?  Pinhead former Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants his old Senate seat back. President* Pennywise is not amused and seems poised to oppose Sessions. The most likely benefactor of this scrum is the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent, Doug Jones.

Run, Jeff, run.

Finally, the Insult Comedian plans to attend the epic LSU-Alabama game tomorrow in Tuscaloosa. There was a brief flap over the Bama student body president threatening students who boo the First Boor, but he walked that back.  Free speech, academic freedom, and all that shit.

LSU has lost 8 straight to Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide but I’m cautiously optimistic about the game. Good luck to Ed Orgeron and his charges. I plan to yell myself hoarse tomorrow, which means I’ll sound like Coach O by halftime. Btw, he’s supporting Edwards for Governor. A Tiger win could be a good omen for the Gret Stet Goober run-off. I expect the game to be as tight as a tick.

Jim Jordan To The Rescue?

In their infinite wisdom, the House Republican leadership have decided that only one member (tool?) can save the day:

House Republican leadership is looking to load up the Intelligence Committee with some of President Donald Trump’s top defenders, including Rep. Jim Jordan, as the panel has become ground zero for impeachment.

“If Democrats are going to turn Intel into the impeachment committee, I am going to make adjustments to that committee accordingly, for a short period of time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told POLITICO.

McCarthy is well known as one of the most sycophantic Trumpers of all so this move isn’t shocking. What’s shocking is that McCarthy spoke in a complete sentence, which is something the incoherent House Republican leader isn’t known for. Who among us can forget his “untrustable in Hungria” remarks in 2015?

Since his glory days as a nattering nabob of negativism, McCarthy has become the Insult Comedian’s favorite ventriloquist’s dummy. He shares a last name with Edgar Bergen’s Charlie McCarthy but is more like Mortimer Snerd who put the dumb in dummy:

In addition to turning a blind eye to sexual abuse while a wrestling coach at Ohio State, Jim Jordan is best known for hectoring witnesses as a member of the House oversight and judiciary committees. The Politico article describes him as “one of Trump’s best attack dogs.” It’s the only kind of dog the Insult Comedian likes. They should check Jordan for rabies, he’s known to froth at the mouth and go full metal unjacketed.

Another thing Jim Jordan is known for is never wearing his suit jacket. I’m uncertain if he appears unjacketed to show off his manly biceps or because he’s always spoiling for a fight. In either event, it makes him look as ridiculous as he really is as does the internet’s pet name for the former wrestler, Gym Jordan. I do, however, like his almonds…

When I first heard that Jim Jordan was coming to the rescue, an old song popped into my head, Jim Dandy To The Rescue. It was originally recorded by an R&B artist, LaVern Baker. But the version that fits Jim Jordan is this one:

Jim Jordan was born to play creepy redneck BOA frontman, Jim Dandy Mangrum, even though Jordan is NOT a dandy, but we’re changing the title to Jim Jordan To The Rescue in any event. Just visualize Kevin McCarthy in a red fright wig screeching “Go, Jim Jordan, Go.” It’s a winner, I tell ya.

I hope you’ll forgive me for that earworm but sometimes I cannot help myself. I have a cold or otherwise I’d write some new lyrics for that venerable tune. Instead, I’ll just go, Jim Dandy, go.

The last word/meme goes to the anti-hero of the day, the one and only Buckeye bozo Jim Jordan as he goes full metal unjacketed:

Quote Of The Day: FDR Edition

I’m annoyed by all the Democrats who urge timidity upon our candidates. Some of those who came politically of age during and after the Reagan era are afraid of their own shadows but they’re wrong. The one-two “punch”  of George W. Bush and Donald Trump has shattered the Reagan coalition. We’re on the cusp of a new era and the future belongs to the bold.

The Warren candidacy has the greedheads of Wall Street and Silicon Valley reacting with a bizarre combination of terror and fury. But there’s nothing in Senator Warren’s political portfolio that would be unfamiliar to pre-Reagan era Democrats. I have one in mind, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. who said this in 1936:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.

Repeat after me: the future belongs to the bold. And the bold are not spooked by one poll a year before the election.

Vindman’s Good Twin & Other Oddities

We’re all familiar with the trope about evil twins. It turns out that key impeachment inquiry witness Alexander Vindman has a good twin:

Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, an NSC lawyer specializing in ethics, may be asked to testify in the wake of his twin brother’s, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s, bombshell hearing this week.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Yevgeny Vindman witnessed the decision to move the call memo of President Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to the secure server. During that conversation, Alexander Vindman also voiced his concerns to NSC lawyer John Eisenberg about the content of the call.

What are the odds that twin brothers are both army officers working at the White House? Cue The Twilight Zone theme.

I’m surprised that the Insult Comedian and his media minions haven’t concocted some twin-based conspiracy theory to explain away Trump’s phone call follies. I guess none of them have seen David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers in which doctor twins trade places to be all evil and shit.  That would be too clever for the peabrains in the White House.

Instead, Team Trump is likely to mutter about foreignness and otherness. President* Pennywise seems to have developed a pathological hatred of Ukrainians, which is particularly obscene in regard to the Vindman brothers whose parent are Jews who fled persecution in the Soviet Union. Remember when the GOP was the party of the firiest  Cold Warriors? The airport guys, Ronald Reagan and John Foster Dulles, are rolling in the graves right now.

In other odd scandal news, I was struck by this image of former NSC Russia expert, Timothy Morrison, on his way to testify:

It looks like a scene out of the old teevee series Land Of The Giants. I googled Morrison’s height and he turns out to be a 7-footer. No wonder there are no pictures of him with his former master.

It won’t be long until Morrison is denounced by his fellow right-wingers as a teller of tall tales. Those are shots he’s likely to block: he’s certainly got the wingspan.

It’s time to tie the disparate threads of this post together with a They Might Be Giants song, My Evil Twin:

I know I said that Yevgeny Vindman was Alexander’s good twin. What’s a little artistic license among friends?

Speaking of twin tunes, the last word goes to Elvis Costello: