Category Archives: Political Crack

Quote Of The Day: Charlottesville Nazi Trial Edition

I’m about to indulge in what the late, great Greg Peters called “lazy quoting of better writers.” Nobody does legal analysis better than Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick:

In no small part because the trial was not broadcast—listeners could instead dial in to a line capped at 500 participants—there was no platform to amplify and rebroadcast the Nazism that the defendants sought to display. To be sure, some of the white supremacists did their best to drum up publicity during the trial, appearing on each other’s podcasts and threatening to dox the witnesses, but for the most part, their racism as expressed in court was puerile and dumb (yawn-inducing references to Mein Kampf and dropping the N-word). While some of the defendants tried to liken themselves to Jesus Christ and other free speech martyrs, nobody will walk away from Sines v Kessler with the sense that the jury found them to be first amendment paragons. They were tagged, every one, as cut-rate Nazis, which renders them both unsympathetic, but more importantly, uninteresting.

Some of the most shocking days of the defendants’ antics at trial proved to be about as riveting as seventh period health class at a middle school. Even as they mounted a chaotic and undisciplined defense, they unerringly seemed to prioritize personal fame and branding over argument and analysis. In the end they achieved neither fame nor branding nor analysis. The message was ultimately both contained in the theater of public opinion, and condemned roundly by the jury. The jury saw them for what they were: sad little violent white men begging for relevance if nothing else. They failed even at that.

The Charlottesville Nazi civil case is an excellent argument for NOT televising trials. We were obliged to read about the uncivil antics of the defendants in this civil case instead of watching them. That led to muted coverage of the trial, which was a good thing. Who wants these cretins to have a forum for their bigotry and half-baked Nazi notions? Shock value is what televising the case would have provided. If you want shock value, watch Tucker Carlson.

I’m not always against televising trials, but prefer it be decided on a case-by-case basis. Cameras tend to evoke emotional responses both inside and outside the courtroom. They tend to inflate the importance of a given case. A recent example of this phenomenon was the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. It was a case with no precedential value in Wisconsin or anywhere else. The media coverage degenerated into another episode of Own The Libs Theatre. Unfortunately, the libs took the bait and made the case more significant than it should have been.

The featured image is of one of my legal heroes, Justice Robert Jackson as he gave the opening argument in the first Nuremberg Trial. That was a case about real Nazis, real war criminals, not the bargain basement Nazis who were found liable for damages in the Charlottesville civil case.

It remains astonishing to me that any American can style themselves a Nazi. We fought and won a war against the Nazis. The uncle I never knew died fighting them,

I have a theory as to why American losers are attracted to the biggest loser of all, Adolf Hitler. It’s all in the imagery. The Nazis were masters at staging epic, mock-heroic images. It’s all there in Triumph Of The Will, which was the apogee of Nazi propaganda at its most artistic. Goebbels, Riefenstahl, and Speer were masters of illusion and made that 1934 Nuremberg rally look like a lost part of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

The Nazis gift for imagery is why the best way to learn about that horrible period in history is to read about it. The untutored viewer is apt to be sucked in by Nazi stagecraft despite all the images of the Holocaust out there. They’re so shocking as to be written off as fakes by your basic American Nazi even though the Nuremberg defendants believed them to be real. They were much smarter than modern American Nazis. Who isn’t?

I also think that the use of Nazi imagery by anti-Vaxxers and other wingnuts is part of their ongoing campaign to own the libs. What’s more outrageous than wearing a Yellow Star to protest COVID restrictions? Substance is meaningless to the pro-Trump extremist right, style is everything. Owning the libs is more important than the truth.

The last word goes to Robert Jackson with an argument for accountability and the rule of law:

The privilege of opening the first trial in history for crimes against the peace of the world imposes a grave responsibility. The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated. That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.

Gohmert Gone To Texas

I’m not sure what Louie Gohmert Piles is praying about in the featured image. If I were the praying sort, I’d pray for the people of Texas. Gohmert is going home to run for Texas Attorney General on an anti-corruption platform. I am not making this up:

“A priority will be election integrity so that every legal vote counts. Though our current AG has had two terms — it seems he really started working harder after so many of his most honorable and very top people in the AG’s office left, complaining of criminal conduct. If you allow me, I will not wait to be my busiest until after some bad press about legal improprieties. I’ll start boldly protecting your rights on day one,” Gohmert said, listing priorities like “unconstitutional mandates,” “parental consent,” immigration at the southern border and voting laws.

It *is* true that Ken Paxton’s picture is in the dictionary next to corrupt piece of shit, but Gohmert Piles is a staunch defender of Matt Gaetz and the Impeached Insult Comedian. It doesn’t get more corrupt than that. Oh well, we in the Gret Stet of Louisiana are used to “conservative reformers.” That was how David Vitter styled himself, after all. That’s right, Diaper Dave called himself a reformer. No wonder I’m leery of that label.

It’s also odd that Gohmert is giving up a safe congressional seat when there’s a good chance that the GOP will take control of the House next year. Perhaps he resents no longer being the craziest House Republican: Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert make him look *almost* sane. He’s still the stupidest member of the House although Louisiana’s Clay Higgins is in contention as well.

As to his nickname, Louie Gohmert Piles, Michael F, Tommy T, and I have been calling him that or just plain Gohmert Pyle for at least a decade. I added the s because he always looks constipated or some such shit. Now that Gomer Pyle USMC is in reruns on Me TV maybe the kids will get the joke.

Here’s an image Michael F did in 2011 of Louie with Speaker Boner as Sgt. Carter:

One thing I learned in researching this piece is that Gohmert has a normal-seeming family and three attractive daughters. His middle child, Caroline, is a singer-songwriter who performs under the name BELLSAINT. She emphatically disagrees with his politics and publicly chided Louie Louie  for his COVID denialism when he came down with the virus. In 2019, she wrote a song called Much Like My Father:

The song begins with these lines:

“Everybody loves you/But there’s poison in the water / You get away with everything / Much like my father.”

A note about the post title. Gone to Texas or GTT was a phrase in vogue with 19th Century Texas emigrees. They were often folks with something to hide. Hell, even Sam Houston had a checkered past before he did the GTT thing.

If Gohmert Piles is elected Texas Attorney General, he won’t even be the dumbest AG on the Gulf Coast. That honor goes to Louisiana’s Jeff Landry who is as dumb as a bag of hammers and just as obnoxious as Louie Louie. Oh baby, me gotta go.

The last word goes to Caroline Gohmert d/b/a BELLSAINT. WFNEO is an acronym for We Fucking Need Each Other. Other than her dim old dad, who would argue that point?

Malaka Of The Week: Lena Ruseva

Convicted felon Bernie Kerik with MAGA artist Lena Ruseva.

Little known fact about me:  I was an art history minor as an undergrad. I know what you’re thinking: how practical. It’s come in quite handy over the years.  I learned to tell the difference between good art and kitschy crap. All the MAGA art I’ve seen fits into the kitschy-n-crappy category. And that is why Lena Ruseva is malaka of the week.

I was blissfully ignorant of Ms. Ruseva’s existence until TPM’s Josh Kovensky wrote a piece about this exhibit:

Notice something odd about this MAGA art exhibit? There was an admission charge. Usually when an unknown artist has an exhibit, it’s not only free but a gallery sponsors it hoping to make money on sales.

Malaka Ruseva lives up to her Parallel Universe shtick by not posting the location on the event poster. It was eventually staged at the Metropolitan Republican Club. I neither know nor want to know its address.

The featured image features Bernie Kerik, Ruseva, and a painting that depicts Trump as Jehovah running Adam/Joe and Eve/Kamala out of paradise. Who knew that the White House was paradise? Harry Truman used to call it “the crown jewel in the federal prison system.”

Convicted felon and Giuliani lackey Bernie Kerik believes there’s a plot against Ruseva’s art:

He said that he came to support Ruseva because he believed that New York City’s art galleries had unfairly cancelled her. She “shouldn’t have gone to three or four different venues, she shouldn’t have been thrown out of different venues because of her opinions, because of her art,” Kerik told the crowd, according to a clip posted on YouTube.

Allow me to hazard a guess as to what really happened: She was “thrown out” because her art is rotten. I would say that Ruseva’s art is on the same level as those who paint velvet Elvi or dogs playing cards, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I don’t mind hurting Malaka Ruseva’s feelings since she’s either a demented Trumper or a con artist.

Kerik wasn’t the only Willard Hotel coup plotter at the Parallel Universe exhibit. Boris Epshteyn was there as well:

What is it with Russian emigres and former President* Pennywise? I realize that Russians like strong men, but Trump only plays one on television. In real life, he’s a pussy. He should grab himself.

Before boarding the Trump Crazy Train, Malaka Ruseva specialized in animals smoking cigars. I am not making this up. Here’s an example of what she calls her smoking beasts collection:

A fellow member of the lunatic fringe tweeted a compendium of Ruseva’s Trump collection:

She missed one of the weirdest Trump images:

Where’s the teevee and the smart phone? I don’t think the Kaiser of Chaos meditates. It takes focus and concentration, qualities he lacks.

Malaka Ruseva’s oeuvre isn’t without wit:

I bet that’s going to turn up on a few Trumper Christmas cards. It’s like Bad Santa all over again. I’d take Billy Bob Thornton over the Kaiser of Chaos any day.

If you’re like me and can’t get enough unintentional comedy. click here. I laughed, I cried, I nearly hurled.

Lena Ruseva fancies herself as a MAGA renaissance woman: painter, buxom blonde biker chick, interior designer, cigar aficionado. It’s unclear if her Trumpism is a marketing ploy or based on sincerely held beliefs. She’s clearly the maker of bad art celebrating a bad man with bad taste. And that is why Lena Ruseva is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Asia:

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Owning The Commies With John Neely Kennedy

Thoughtful pose or nose pick? You decide.

John Neely Kennedy is the phoniest member of the United States Senate. The competition is stiff since Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are also members of that body. The man I call Neely has cultivated an image as a rube, not a Rubio. It’s a sham: he has degrees from Vanderbilt, University of Virginia law school, and Magdalen College. That’s Oxford, y’all.

Instead of deploying his intellect and erudition, Neely persists in sounding like a cross between Foghorn Leghorn and Mister Haney from Green Acres. He was once called the smartest man in Louisiana government, now he’s mocked as a peckerwood moron. His current style is an insult to voter’s intelligence as well as downright insulting.

I’m something of an expert in explaining and deciphering Neely for a national audience. A 2017 post I wrote about him Drinking Weed Killer With John Neely Kennedy was quoted in the Washington Post. Holy humblebrag, Batman.

I used to find his cornball aphorisms so amusing that I wrote an extended piece about his Neelyisms for Bayou Brief. The Neelyisms aren’t funny anymore.

Since becoming a senator, he’s sounded  more and more like a cornpone Insult Comedian. The Neelyisms used to have a scintilla of charm and wit, but they turned uglier than boiled sin during the Trump administration as the man himself might say.

I’ve seen Neely’s style wrongly compared to Andy Griffith. To extend that analogy, Neely has gone from sounding like Sheriff Andy Taylor to Lonesome Rhodes the hick fascist in A Face In The Crowd who said shit like this:

Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers – everybody that’s got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle. They don’t know it yet, but they’re all gonna be ‘Fighters for Fuller’. They’re mine! I own ’em! They think like I do. Only they’re even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for ’em.

Like that Lonesome Rhodes quote, Neely’s hick shtick drips with contempt for the people who sent him to Washington.

Neely’s brand as Gret Stet treasurer was as a straight-shooting skinflint who was willing to go toe-to-toe with Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Neely’s brand as a senator is that of a rabid partisan who spouts talking points crafted to own the libs. Yesterday, Neely decided it was time to own the commies. 

Senate Republicans suggested on Thursday that a Soviet-trained communist was about to take over a key office in the country’s banking regulation infrastructure.

President Biden nominated Cornell University law professor Saule Omarova to be comptroller of the currency in September. But at her Thursday confirmation hearing, Republican senators played on Omarova’s birth in the former Soviet Union to suggest that she was a Marxist sleeper agent.

“Have you resigned from the young communists?” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked Omarova at the hearing.

Kennedy was referring to Omarova’s early years in the USSR. Born in what is now Kazakhstan, Omarova received the prestigious Lenin scholarship to study at Moscow State University. As a child, she was also a member of the komsomol, the communist youth — a common group to be involved in in the USSR.

It’s all red meat for opponents of Omarova’s candidacy on the Senate Finance Committee, which held a confirmation hearing on Thursday.

“Did you send them a letter resigning?” Kennedy asked, referring to Omarova’s komsomol membership.

Committee Chair Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) interrupted him, saying that Omarova had “renounced her Soviet citizenship.”

Kennedy pressed on with Omarova: “I don’t mean any disrespect — I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”

Neely’s McCarthyite antics covered all the Trumper bases: xenophobia, sexism, racism, and red baiting.

It’s particularly depressing coming from a former Democrat who I voted for twice as state treasurer and in his first senate race when he ran as the most liberal Democrat in the field. I am not making this up.

His past political persona is one reason he poses as a rabid wingnut, he doesn’t want to be primaried from the right by someone like genuine peckerwood Clay Higgins. The other reason is that he’s a rank opportunist as well as a fake hick hack. How’s that for a tongue twister?

John Neely Kennedy spent his political life lusting after a senate seat. He finally achieved his ambition in 2016 on his third try. And what has he done? He became a troll whose only accomplishment is owning first the libs, now the commies. What a disgusting waste of a fine mind.

I wrote a post in 2020 called John Neely Kennedy Can Go Fuck Himself. The sentiment still applies as does the last word by Harry Nilsson:

The Grotesque Dr. Gosar: Censured & Stripped

I spend a lot of time thinking about what is and is not funny. Kicking up is funny, kicking down is not. I don’t think lethal as opposed to slapstick violence is funny. That’s why I was unmoved by House GOPers’ specious arguments on behalf of the Grotesque Dr. Gosar.

Speaking of grotesque, a collection of crazies spoke up for their fellow nutjob: Chip Roy, Louis Gohmert Piles. Gym Jordan, Clay Higgins, and Lauren Boebert to name a few. I only watched the second part of the debate so I’m not sure if Matt Gaetz took a break from lusting after jailbait or musing about hiring Kyle Rittenhouse as a clerk to speak. I am not making this up. Owning the libs is all that matters to them.

Nary a single House GOPer defended the Grotesque Dr. Gosar on the merits of the case. House Dems were essentially told to “lighten up, it’s a joke.” If so, it’s one in exceedingly poor taste.

Many House GOPers described the atrocious anime video as a stupid cartoon and something they would not have posted themselves. Republicans ran out of members willing to defend the Grotesque Dr. Gosar before the time allotted for debate expired. That’s what “reserving time” means. They were, however, willing to vote against censure. Schmucks.

The defenses offered reminded me of Republican senators like Lamar Alexander during the first Trump impeachment trial. It’s bad, but the penalty is too severe yadda, yadda, yadda. They’ve gone from defending a cartoon villain to minimizing the dangerous message sent by a cartoon.

KMac proved again that his leadership post is not based on his oratorical prowess. He gave a rambling speech that was pure whataboutism. His focus was on procedure, which is what you argue when the facts are against you. He made the Grotesque Dr. Gosar look like an innocent bystander to Democratic abuses of power: ““The Speaker is burning down the House on her way out the door,”

Are David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Franz, and Jerry Harrison aware of this?

The worst Republican speech was given by Colorado gun nut, Lauren Boebert, who spoke darkly of conspiracies. Of course, she did. She went after Ilhan Omar. Of course, she did. Here’s their point-counterpoint:

The best Democratic speeches were given by AOC, Steny Hoyer, and Jackie Speier who was a victim of political violence herself. Speier was wounded in the fatal attack on her mentor, Congressman Leo Ryan after leaving Jonestown. I knew Jackie long ago and have followed her career with great interest. She was the sponsor of the censure resolution. Well done, Jackie. Leo would be proud of you. FYI, Leo Ryan and my father were friends despite their political differences. It’s how America is supposed to work.

Majority Leader Hoyer tried to shame Republicans by invoking the name of former House GOP leader Robert Michel. I met him when I was a congressional aide. He was a warm and friendly man from Peoria Illinois. He retired from politics when Newt Gingrich began to set the tone for their caucus. It’s Newt’s and Donald’s party now. There’s no room for decent conservatives like Bob Michel anymore.

The only thing Republicans seem to believe in is owning the libs. How pathetic is that? They mouth platitudes about freedom, man but all they care about is owning the libs. It’s why they’ve fetishized AOC and the Squad. It makes one wonder if they believe they should literally own AOC and her cohort. Remember: they think the War of the Rebellion was about states rights, not slavery. Freedom, man.

The Grotesque Dr. Gosar’s speech was as awful as it was specious. He threw his staff under the proverbial bus and refused to accept any responsibility. If he had ever once apologized, he would not have been censured and stripped. He could not because it’s all about owning the libs.

We all know that the Grotesque Dr. Gosar cannot be shamed even after what should have been a public humiliation. Censure is rare: Gosar is only the 24th member to be censured. Republicans repeatedly claimed that a Democrat would not be censured by Speaker Pelosi. Another lie: the last member to be censured was Charlie Rangel in 2010 during Pelosi’s first stint as Speaker. I remember it well because it was so painful: Rangel was a well-liked and respected member before his downfall. The Grotesque Dr. Gosar is neither.

Let’s circle back to our dental theme. Sitting through speeches by Republican extremists is akin to root canal surgery, especially when Jacketless Jim Jordan is shouting into the microphone. Putz.

A final note on movie dentists and the featured image. I had forgotten that there was an “is it safe” Marathon Man poster. I remembered that Steve Matin as Dr. Frank Sangster knew how to wear his mask unlike the Grotesque Dr. Gosar. If you haven’t seen it, Novocaine is a swell 3 1/2 star black comedy. Shorter Adrastos: It doesn’t bite the big one.

Speaking of Novocaine, the last word goes to the Eels:

Quote Of The Day: Manly Man Josh Hawley Edition

I’ve been meaning to take a poke at Manly Man Josh Hawley’s attempt to open a new front in the culture war. The time is nigh:

“The left want to define traditional masculinity as toxic. They want to define the traditional masculine virtues … as a danger to society. Can we be surprised that after years of being told they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness and pornography and video games?”

There’s an enclave of idleness? I bet that’s where the Impeached Insult Comedian can be found when he’s not golfing, chasing porn stars, or shooting off his mouth.

Ironies abound in this pro-manhood salvo fired by a preppie who attended Stanford and Harvard Law.  Hawley is not exactly the spitting image of “traditional masculine virtues.”

I bet Hawley thinks John Wayne was like the characters he played onscreen instead of a careerist who dodged the draft and was afraid of horses. I am not making this up, but Hawley makes up a lot of stuff. He only fights with his mouth.

Hawley’s discussion of manly manhood reminds me of a piece that Tom Nichols wrote for the Atlantic last year, Donald Trump, the Most Unmanly President:

But since his first day as a presidential candidate, I have been baffled by one mystery in particular: Why do working-class white men—the most reliable component of Donald Trump’s base—support someone who is, by their own standards, the least masculine man ever to hold the modern presidency? The question is not whether Trump fails to meet some archaic or idealized version of masculinity. The president’s inability to measure up to Marcus Aurelius or Omar Bradley is not the issue. Rather, the question is why so many of Trump’s working-class white male voters refuse to hold Trump to their own standards of masculinity—why they support a man who behaves more like a little boy.

I am a son of the working class, and I know these cultural standards. The men I grew up with think of themselves as pretty tough guys, and most of them are. They are not the products of elite universities and cosmopolitan living. These are men whose fathers and grandfathers came from a culture that looks down upon lying, cheating, and bragging, especially about sex or courage.

The answer is that the Republican brand in 2021 is hypocrisy. They claim to be conservatives yet support or minimize the Dipshit Insurrection, which was the worst attack on our constitutional republic in history. They claim to revere the military yet support a man who defames the honored dead as suckers and losers. They’re radicals, not conservatives.

As to Josh Hawley’s manly man shtick, like everything else in history, it’s nothing new. Remember the ridiculous men’s movement of the 1990’s? It led to dudes gathering around fire pits and beating drums like fake Native Americans. Oy, just oy.

Real men treat others with respect.

Real men believe women can do anything men can do; usually better.

Real men don’t parade around with guns.

Real men don’t lie or brag about sex or courage.

Trumpers like Josh Hawley and his ilk are little boys pretending to be manly men. They make me sick.

The last word goes to Todd Rundgren:

The Grotesque Dr. Gosar

Dentists have gotten a bad rap in the movies. WC Fields was a randy buffoon in The Dentist and Steve Martin played creepy dentists in Little Shop Of Horrors and Novocaine. The most sinister movie dentist of all was Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man seen above.

Olivier’s character, Szell, was based on the Nazi war criminal Dr. Mengele. I’m not saying that Dr. Paul Gosar, DDS is as bad as Szell but he’s almost as scary and nearly as right-wing. Of course, Szell was fictional and Gosar is real. The truth remains stranger than fiction.

The Grotesque Dr. Gosar upped the ante recently with a tweet that was subsequently deleted. I’m late to this mishigas,  so I’ll let TPM’s Summer Concepcion describe it:

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who has ties to the far-right, on Sunday tweeted an anime-themed video that depicts him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and attacking President Biden with swords — which drew backlash and demands for Twitter to suspend the GOP congressman’s account.

In his tweet, Gosar writes “Any anime fans out there?” and includes a video that opens with his name underneath Japanese text. The start of the clip appears to be a nod to the opening credits of the Japanese animated series “Attack on Titan,” which centers around a hero who goes on a crusade to take down giant man-eating creatures known as “Titans.”

After showing footage of immigrants at the southern border, a character with Gosar’s face photoshopped onto it scales buildings alongside other cartoon characters with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) faces. Gosar’s character then slashes a “Titan” with Ocasio-Cortez’s face photoshopped onto it.

Gosar’s character goes onto slinging two swords towards an enemy that has Biden’s face on it.

House Democrats are rightly outraged about this death threat. I almost called it an implicit death threat, but the Grotesque Dr. Gosar is about as subtle as Szell in this legendary scene from Marathon Man:

Ouch.

Is it safe? Not for House Democrats as long as the likes of the Grotesque Dr. Gosar and his ilk are allowed to roam the corridors of power.

Is it safe? Gosar is one of the Congresscritters suspected to have aided and abetted the Dipshit Insurrectionists.

Is it safe? In the Republican caucus it is. KMac hasn’t so much as admonished the Grotesque Dr. Gosar for having bad taste, let alone for threatening another member.

60 House Democrats have signed a petition urging that Gosar be censured. Expulsion is out of the realm of possibility because it takes a 2/3 vote of the full House.

AOC got to the nub of the problem in an interview with Punchbowl News:

Ocasio-Cortez — who has complained publicly that there’s been no action against Gosar — believes he and other Republicans “are essentially using a national platform to legitimize threats of violence on lower levels, and on the local levels, to intimidate people from participating in our democracy. I believe this is part of a concerted strategy… What we do here, our response, helps inform as a precedent for actions on the local levels.”

Is it safe? Republicans have turned the House into a chamber of horrors straight out of a late era Vincent Price movie. There should be no place for violence in the people’s House. The historical parallels are bone-chilling: most of the violent incidents occurred in the lead up to the Civil War. It increasingly looks that my colleague Cassandra was right to call this a Cold Civil War.

The GOP caucus is meeting today and is expected to take no action against the Grotesque Dr. Gosar. Instead, they may go after the 13 GOPers who voted for the BIF. What have they got against fixing roads and bridges? Biden is for it. That’s what.

The Grotesque Dr. Gosar’s siblings believe that he’s mentally ill. His entire political career has been a cry for help, but Arizona voters don’t see it that way: he’s in his sixth term. He belongs, not in the House, but in a snake pit like the ones in old movies with doctors and nurses who make movie dentists look benign.

Is it safe? Not as long as Paul Gosar is in Congress.

Let’s lighten things up and give Steve Martin the last word.

UPDATE: The House plans to vote to censure The Grotesque Dr. Gosar tomorrow. A committee strip is involved as well.

Of Chimerical Landslides & Real Indictments

Tommy T is taking a mental health break from his Freeper duties. Who can blame him? Overexposure to the crazy can make even the sanest person nuttier and nearly as tasteless as a fruitcake.

Tommy will, however, keep the random ruminations rolling, rolling, rolling like them dogies in the Rawhide theme. Now that think of it, the lyrics to that song fit Tommy’s efforts quite neatly:

Keep movin’, movin’, movin’
Though they’re disapprovin’
Keep them dogies movin’, rawhide
Don’t try to understand ’em
Just rope ’em, throw, and brand ’em

You know what that means, an early musical interlude:

The Chimerical Landslide: We had municipal elections in New Orleans last Saturday. I was uncharacteristically apathetic this year. The mayor’s race was the big deal and Mayor Teedy D/B/A Latoya Cantrell faced 13 nobodies. nutjobs, and the odd (literally, not figuratively ) perennial candidate. I voted for one of the latter: Manny Chevrolet Bruno whose perennial campaign slogan is, “A troubled man for troubled times.”

Manny Chevrolet finished in the middle of the wack-pack with 578 votes. Turnout was low: only 28.2%. Mayor Teedy received 48,750 votes, which was 64% of the vote.

Sounds like a landslide, doesn’t it? I demur: it was the lowest number of ballots cast to re-elect a New Orleans mayor in the modern/civil rights era. Hence the chimerical landslide cited in the post title.

Mayor Teedy disagrees with the notion that her victory was NOT a landslide. She gave a typically annoying, rambling, and loud victory speech in which she seemed to claim the lord’s mandate or some such shit. It’s hard to tell because Mayor Teedy is verbose: she never uses 10 words when 100 will do. She did, however, decry “naysayers” and that means me. Nay, verily.

Instead of being chastened by the low turnout, the mayor seems to think she’s beloved instead of an incumbent with a mighty war chest. If qualifying had happened *after* Hurricane Ida instead of before, there would have been a real challenger instead of just the aforementioned 13 nobodies, nutjobs, and perennial candidates. Timing is everything in both life and politics.

The good news is that any excesses on the part of Mayor Teedy will be limited by the incoming city council. New Orleans mayors *always* have a tougher time with the council in their second term and it will be no different this time around.

On a personal note, my friend and fellow OG NOLA blogger Editor B D/B/A Bart Everson ran for one of the council-at-large seats. He told me that he’d hoped to receive at least 1500 votes. He got 4776 votes in a race where the two leading candidates were mudslinging and pumping out vast quantities of lying flyers.

Well done, Bart. I’ll let his band Half Pagan play him off:

There will be runoffs in multiple races including the one for sheriff in which oily incumbent Marlon Gusman faces Susan Hutson who is running on a criminal justice reform platform. I usually mock reformers in New Orleans races but I’m supporting this one. It had to happen.

Sheriff Gusman’s picture is in the dictionary next to political hack. My primary personal contact with him over the years has been during Carnival. He usually rolls up in a squad car and parks where we watch Orpheus. The man is a major bead whore, so the headline for this segment could have been Bead Whore Forced Into Runoff.

The last word of the segment goes to Fleetwood Mac:

I’ve always thought that Stevie Nicks was a chimerical rock star, so it works.

The Real Indictment: I looked for antonyms for chimerical and they were all on the boring side, so I opted to keep it real by going with real. I hope that wasn’t really confusing but if it was, you should be used to it by now. I’ve been confusing readers here since 2009. Really.

I was good when the Bannon indictment came down and didn’t post this image on social media:

I had written the previous day that I expected the DOJ to indict Mr. Unmade Bed. I’m always glad to be right, especially in this instance as it involves my former profession.

A reminder: the law is slow. If we want to restore the rule of law after years of abuse by the Trump regime, we need to do things the right way, not the fast and sloppy way. Now that I think of it, fast and sloppy describes the Trumper approach to everything.

The best thing I saw on social media about the indictment came from an old blogger buddy:

Orange is definitely not Mr. Unmade Bed’s color even if it’s the hue of his former boss’ face.

That’s all I’ve got this morning. I threw this together in a hurry when I remembered that Tommy was resting up from his Freeper duties. One could even call it a fast and sloppy post.

The last word goes to a short-lived band from Northern Ireland that I’d never heard of until today. Life is a Chimera and so were they:

The Refusenik Wannabes

I used to be one of those people who tried to do too many things at once. Over time, I have simplified my approach to life. I strive to do one thing at a time, do it well, then move on. It doesn’t always work out that way but it’s a worthy aspiration. Life is hard enough without over-complicating it.

I feel an early musical interlude coming on:

That brings me to the curious case of the Refusenik Wannabes. In the Soviet Union, dissidents were called refuseniks, especially Jews who were denied permission to emigrate. I’m using the term in the broadest sense possible. Besides, it’s an analogy, so cut me some slack, jack.

The refuseniks were lionized in the West but many were thrown into mental institutions in the USSR. The state viewed those who rejected the status quo as mentally ill; at least they claimed to. The governing communist party was as hypocritical as the current American party of stupidity and sedition. So it goes.

As the pandemic grinds on, there’s a group of people who will do anything to avoid getting jabbed. They’ll spend thousands of dollars on bogus treatments instead of getting a free shot of Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. They think that it’s an act of political courage to defy the status quo. It’s really an act of self-destructive stupidity. Hence my new nickname for them: the Refusenik Wannabes.

These anti-vaxxers think that they’re striking a blow for freedom, man; instead, they’re risking their lives and those of others in an act of supreme selfishness. Soviet refuseniks hoped to break the grip of oppression for everyone or at the very least emigrate. Dissidents such as Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn were willing to sacrifice a cushy life as members of the elite in order to change their society. In contrast, the Refusenik Wannabes want their fifteen-minutes of viral fame and glory. Freedom, man.

There’s a perverse irony at work here. The big shots who are urging the Refusenik Wannabes to resist getting jabbed have all been vaccinated. Fox News has one of those vaccine mandates they decry when imposed elsewhere. Right-wing hypocrisy has never been so blatant as it is now. And that’s saying a great deal.

Mistrust of the government is as American as apple pie. Rebellion has long been embraced by both the right and left. The Beatniks were rebelling against the status quo in the Fifties even though it was unclear what they wanted. It’s best summed up by this scene in The Wild One:

That applies to the Refusenik Wannabes. It’s unclear what they want but they want it now, dammit.  Freedom, man.

Back to the practicality of getting jabbed. It’s much easier than being a rebel without a cause. The Refusenik Wannabes are so aggrieved that they make their lives twice as hard as they need to be,

The same goes for Sixties veterans and contemporary anti-vaxxers such as Eric Clapton and Van Morrison. They’re self-proclaimed rebels but that haven’t the foggiest notion as to what they want. It’s what happens when you over-complicate your life.

The last word goes to Three Dog Night with a song from the musical Hair. It should be just as easy to be easy as it is to be hard.

The Legal Docket: Waiting For Garland

The Kaiser of Chaos has lost his bid to invoke executive privilege on documents sought by the House Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee. Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected the Former Guy’s argument that he was above the law. That was his effective argument, not his actual one. Even his shitty-n-shifty lawyers wouldn’t make such a specious argument. They dressed it up with legalisms, but it still went down in flames. One could even say it was pantsed…

The ball is now in the Justice Department’s court. On October 21st, the full House of Representatives voted to hold Mr. Unmade Bed dba as Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with Congressional subpoenas. That’s 20 days for the DC US Attorney’s office to decide whether to press the charges in court. The last time such a citation was issued it took 8 days for charges to be brought.

As with most things, the media has gotten this process wrong. The initial decision belongs to the DC US Attorney’s office. Since it’s a high-profile case Attorney General Garland’s role in the process is to confirm or reject the decision made by his subordinates. Presumably, the Bannon case has landed in Judge Garland’s lap by now.

There’s a strong possibility that Garland was waiting for a ruling in the Trump executive privilege case before moving against Bannon. If so, the time is nigh to move forward with the criminal charges against the contemptible Bannon.

My legal hero Larry Tribe was on The Last Word with Laurence O’Donnell last night. Merrick Garland was one of his students. Professor Tribe had some unsolicited and unvarnished advice for him:

Now, the only thing I can imagine my former student Merrick Garland thinking why he hasn`t acted already and I really think he should have, he`s smart enough. The case is clear. The statute says when Congress refers someone in contempt of Congress, refers them to prosecution, the U.S. attorney should convene a grand jury. The only possible argument is there are a couple of legal counsel one in 1980 and one in 2008 that suggest that when executive privilege protects the assertion by someone that he or she cannot compile with a congressional subpoena, the department should not prosecute.

Well, perhaps Merrick Garland being a good lawyer and wanting to dot his is and cross his T`s was waiting to hear a court say the executive privilege doesn`t apply to the former president when the current president doesn`t assert that privilege and when there is a legitimate need for the information. If that`s what he was waiting for, he got it tonight and if he does not move immediately will be inexcusable.

Like Professor Tribe, I’ve been patient with Judge Garland thus far. He has the herculean task of restoring DOJ’s good name and the morale of its people. Jeff Beau Sessions, Bill Barr, and the acting AGs brought DOJ into disrepute. It’s not an easy job.

DOJ has made some good moves in the areas of abortion and voting rights BUT it’s been largely silent on the abuses of the Trump regime. My hope has been that they’re methodically investigating the last four years and are keeping quiet so as not to let the bad guys know what they’re up to. The best investigations are opaque, not transparent. I remain cautiously optimistic that that’s the case in this case. That’s a whole lotta cases.

Having said that, it’s time for Garland to piss or get off the pot on the Bannon case. Bannon’s claim of executive privilege is even more laughable than that of the Impeached Insult Comedian. It’s time for the Attorney General to give line prosecutors the green light to go after Bannon and others who flaunt Congressional authority.

I remain less harsh on Garland than many observers. Going after a former president* is not an easy choice. Placing Donald Trump in the dock might inspire the Democratic base BUT it will inflame Trumpers.

A reminder that a convicted felon can still run for president as did Eugene V Debs in 1920. Impeachment and conviction were the only way to permanently bar the Kaiser of Chaos from federal office. That’s why any prosecutorial decision to charge Trump himself should be a legal, not a political one.

I, too, am tired of waiting for Garland. I hope that, unlike Godot, he will show up and go after Trumper scofflaws like Bannon.

The last word goes to The Who:

 

Stay The Course

There’s no need for Democrats to act as if we’ve been mugged by reality. A small segment of the electorate spoke on Tuesday. There’s no need to panic. Since it happened on the West Coast, the political press has conveniently forgotten the ass whupping Trumpers took in the California recall election.

The press has a nasty habit of ignoring political events in my original home state of California:

  • The first modern media campaign was waged in 1934 against Upton Sinclair.
  • Celebrity politics got into full swing with the election of George Murphy and Ronald Reagan in 1964 and ’66, respectively.
  • The Jarvis-Gann tax-cutting initiative in 1978 foreshadowed the so-called Reagan Revolution.
  • Then Governor Pete Wilson’s anti-immigrant policies led to California’s emergence as a blue state in national politics.

As you can see, the press has a tendency to think that important things only happen on the East Coast. It’s not the only thing they’ve been wrong about this week.

I concur with Eric Boehlert’s reaction to the media coverage of Tuesday’s results in his newsletter Press Run:

Democrats have been down this rocky road before. In November, 2009, just one year after Barack Obama’s landslide victory, Democrats lost both the Virginia and New Jersey governor’s races. But that didn’t end the Obama presidency. The following year he signed Obamacare into law and in 2012 he won re-election with relative ease.

One thing that has clearly changed since then though, is the caterwauling political press, which is treating Tuesday’s two-race results like a political earthquake that has all but destroyed Biden’s four-year term. Rushing to use every conceivable, hysterical adjective to describe a three point-loss in Virginia as the equivalent of the Democratic Party’s permanent demise, the press has eagerly lost all perspective and seems to relish the assignment of burying Biden. (WashingtonPost.com Wednesday night posted no less than 15 articles and columns about the Democratic loss.)

The title of the piece says it all:

Virginia lesson for Democrats: The media are not your friend

The MSM has a masochistic relationship with the party of stupidity and sedition. After four years of abuse at the hands of the Impeached Insult Comedian, the MSM are still in thrall to the GOP.

What the GOP does best is lie. Glenn Youngkin’s campaign was based on the racist lie that CRT is taught in Virginia schools. Instead of calling them out on the lie, the press praised them for savvy messaging. They’re the cult of the savvy, after all. TM: Charlie Pierce.

Instead of panicking and listening to Lizard Man James Carville, Democrats should stay the course. 2022 already looked perilous, the small sample of voters who turned out on Tuesday is reflective, not predictive of that stark reality. Besides, Carville is a has been who hasn’t managed a winning campaign since 1992. He hasn’t been a man of the people since The War Room was in theatres. Carville and his wingnut wife Mary Matalin lived in a mansion on St. Charles Avenue for many years before moving to a two-million-dollar condo in downtown New Orleans. That’s a man who has his finger on the pulse of the great unwashed? Oy, just oy.

The lesson that Democrats need to learn is how to deal with opponents who incessantly lie and a press corps that enables them. The press aren’t calling GOPers out on their lies, so we must do it ourselves. It’s not going to be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is.

I, for one, am tired of the panicking on the Democratic side every time there’s a reversal of any kind. It’s not what grown-ups do. It’s time to toughen up and stay the course. It’s what Republicans have been doing since 1980. That’s the only way Democrats should be more like Republicans.

Democrats need to stop fixating on the details of the sausage making and pass the Biden agenda.  We’re committed and should stay the course.

The last word is aspirational in nature. It goes to Mavis Staples:

Red-Baiting With Lin Wood & Marjorie Taylor Greene

There’s nothing like a bit of intra-wingnut brawling to revive one’s spirits. It involves two of the nuttier members of the party of stupidity and sedition, Lin Wood and Marjorie Taylor Greene:

Wood, the Georgia defamation lawyer who has floated some of the fringiest of fringe theories about ex-President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, posted a note on the Telegram messaging app over the weekend blasting Greene and claiming she still owed him for previous legal work.

But it turns out that Wood was not representing his former ally in her personal capacity. Instead, his services went to Greene’s campaign committee as it fought two defamation disputes. Worse still for Greene is Wood’s claim that the Greene campaign has never paid him, raising a number of questions about the legality of their arrangement.

That’s very Trumpy of MTG. To turn one of my favorite phrases on its head, she only steals from the worst.

The dispute gets even dumber:

He [Wood] accused Greene of selling out, claimed she was in league with “communists” and implied not so subtly that she no longer held his faith or trust.

“It was all in response to me telling her to keep challenging the election, which she was not doing. She resorted to personal attacks and that disappointed me and that’s how it goes. When people can’t attack the message they attack the messenger, because the message is true,” Wood told The Daily Beast. “And I know that if I’m doing god’s work, the devil is gonna attack me.”

Wood added that he didn’t think Greene and he were “ideologically on the same page anymore,” once again lumping the far-right Trump loyalist in with “communists.”

“There was a communist effort to steal our presidency, and if someone isn’t fighting to investigate it—not that you have to believe it but just to investigate it—then that tells me that you’re a communist sympathizer,” he said.

MTG is a fellow traveler? She’s in league with the Democrat devils? Who knew?

This revival of Cold War rhetoric is bizarre enough to those of us who lived through it, but it’s bound to baffle the folks who weren’t around when reds could allegedly be found under every bed.

Cue another McCarthy era movie poster:

That movie was originally titled The Woman On Pier 13. It was retitled I Married A Communist to capitalize on the second Red Scare. Oddly, it has some respected players: Laraine (Mrs. Leo Durocher) Day and leading Hollywood liberal Robert Ryan. I bet Bob plotzed when he heard about the title change. John (The Mole People) Agar also attended.

Marjorie Taylor Green is no Laraine Day. And Lin Wood is clearly no Robert Ryan.

You gotta hand it to Lin Wood: being crazier than MTG isn’t easy. It’s what happens when a shyster is separated from his money. He needs it: he’s been referred for disbarment by a Federal Judge. Stay tuned.

I first learned about this wingnut blood feud from TPM’s Morning Memo yesterday. The headline describes the dispute as “hilariously cheese-brained.”

It’s a new one on me so I checked the Urban Dictionary, which defines cheese brain as:

referring to one as a dumbass, stupid, or just plain retarded. commonly used in fights with siblings

Young Boy: “Stop it Tom! You’re a cheese brain!”

Brother Of Young Boy: “Yeah, well, you’re just a lard butt!”

What kind of cheese? Probably a stinky one like gorgonzola or limburger. Cue Monty Python clip:

Why are there Greek dudes dancing to Bouzouki music in the cheese shop? If I were an over-sensitive Trumper like Wood or Greene, I’d proclaim my grievances but I’m not, so I won’t. Besides, the cheese shop is the:

I hope the Wood-MTG slagging match continues; it’s fun to hear a wingnut call another wingnut a commie.  Life is hard right now and we have to take our entertainment where we can find it. Please pass the cheese but don’t cut it…

The last word goes to King Crimson:

A Good Night For The Party Of Stupidity & Sedition

I agree with everything that Cassandra said this morning. Glenn Youngkin is about to make Virginia safe from Critical Race Theory and Beloved. It’s racism pure and simple. It’s what the party of stupidity and sedition does. Let’s move on from there.

I’m never sure how important these off-year Governor’s races are to the national picture. This year, they were nationalized because everything is right now. It was much easier to scare the shit out of white suburban women because of the grind of the pandemic. They just wanted a politer messenger than the Impeached Insult Comedian. On the stump, Youngkin was like a better version of Willard Mittbot Romney. Let’s call him Mittbot 2.0 and be done with him. To paraphrase an old and rather lame song: Youngkin get out of my mind.

I shouldn’t be too hard on Gary Puckett and the Union Gap; they were on the right side in the War of the Rebellion, after all. Youngkin ran as a de facto Confederate sympathizer. Hell, he’d replace CRT with Confederate Race Theory if they actually taught CRT in Virginia schools. The MSM’s response to the CRT lie was predictable: clever tactics by Team Youngkin. They haven’t learned anything from the Trump misadventure. The media continues to normalize the party of stupidity and sedition Ugh, just ugh.

I’m almost as angsty about the New Jersey Governor’s race. Phil Murphy is an excellent governor who should have swept to reelection. Instead, he’s locked in a close race with some Italian guy I’ve never heard of and hope to never hear of again. As of this writing, it looks as if I don’t need to learn his name. It should never have been this close.

There’s something local at work in Jersey: the last Democratic governor to be reelected was Brendan Byrne in 1977. That’s right, the Giants Stadium/Meadowlands guy. Byrne bucked the whole “out party wins in an off-year election” thing. It looks as if Phil Murphy is the Brendan Byrne of the 21st Century. Cue sigh of relief.

As far as I know, Brendan Byrne is no relation to David although this song title describes Team Youngkin’s mendacious approach:

Two disappointing statewide races shouldn’t be enough for Democrats to form a circular firing squad, but they will anyway. The inside the beltway press corps will insist.

Here’s what we learned last night:

  •  No state is permanently blue or red.
  •  Racism works best when it’s dog whistled.
  •  Trumpism Lite seems to sell in suburbia.
  •  Voters can be misled if a campaign appeals to their existing prejudices.
  •  Voters are sick of the pandemic.

Who isn’t sick of the pandemic? One reason it has receded is the Biden administration’s vaccination push. That’s been a two-edged needle as the anti-vaxxer crowd has grown louder. I wish they’d STFU but that’s not going to happen.  Dipshits gotta dipshit.

I revived the Harold Lloyd Safety Last image for today’s post. My pen name Adrastos means undaunted, which fits Harold Lloyd’s onscreen persona. Harold would keep climbing and refuse to jump off the building despite the hecklers below urging him to jump. They can go fuck themselves as can the party of stupidity and sedition.

I don’t know about you, but these results gave me the Blues Before and After. The last word goes to some guys from Jersey:

 

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It’s the Racism, Stupid

As I write this it looks like Glenn Youngkin is going to be the next governor of Virginia. The Democratic Party’s recriminations are of course in full swing. Let’s end all the nonsense:  it’s the racism, stupid.

Don’t get me wrong:  Terry McAuliffe was a terrible candidate but nothing in this campaign season was about policy. Our broadcast TV stations are from the Washington, DC market, so I saw ALL of Youngkin’s campaign ads. His only issue was racism and he was helped by a ginned-up astroturf protest movement against the fictional teaching of critical race theory in public schools. You’ve probably already seen the articles.

“Critical Race Theory” is the “Let’s Go Brandon” of the GOP’s campaign strategy. It’s a cowardly code name for something ugly and vulgar. And as we saw tonight, it works in places where there are a lot of racists. To wit:

And as Democrats begin their postmortem of the Virginia election, “it’s the racism, stupid” has got to be kept at the forefront of any discussion. Racism is a drug and many white Americans can’t get enough of it.

A lot of the carping I saw tonight from Democrats focused on the ongoing negotiations on the reconciliation human infrastructure bill and blamed both progressive Democrats and conservative Democrats. This is a bad take. Why? Because it’s the racism, stupid.

This is a good take:

So is this:

I haven’t agreed with him in a long time, but he’s absolutely right:

Democrats have a much bigger problem to solve before November 2022:

I have no answers, just questions:

OK, I lied. I do have one answer:  white voters are a lost cause and Democrats should stop thinking that they are the end-all and be-all for voters and candidates.

R.E.M. and Dan Rather can sing us out:

Lies, Not False Claims

I was raised to mistrust euphemisms. My mother was a plainspoken Midwestern farmer’s daughter. She said what she meant and meant what she said. She rarely cursed but disliked the euphemisms for shit, “The word poop is cute. Shit isn’t cute.”

Mom was a courteous, polite, and kind person who wouldn’t tolerate bullshit or lies. The phrase “let the chips fall where they may” was made for her. She told it like is even if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear.

I haven’t always lived up to her example, but I’ve tried. It’s gotten me in trouble at times but I, too, prefer to let the chips fall where they may. To be blunt, I’m blunt.

That brings me to the Washington Post’s great three-part article, The Attack. They weave together various strands of what happened before, during, and after the 1/6 Dipshit Insurrection. It combines original reporting with the known facts in a coherent and interactive fashion. It’s a story that was made for the internet.

As much as I hate to cavil about such a magisterial accomplishment, cavil I must. Throughout all three parts, the word lie is rarely used. Instead, they deploy variations on falsely claimed. It’s a phrase you might use when you catch someone you care about in a lie but using it in the context of the Dipshit Insurrection is like calling shit, poop.

Whose feelings are they trying to spare? The Impeached Insult Comedian? The insurrectionists? The My Pillow Guy? John Eastman? Fuck that poop shit.

A lie is a lie even when it’s called a false claim. The WaPo’s use of this particular euphemism doesn’t wreck the piece, but it undermines it. The Dipshit Insurrection was based on the BIG LIE that the 2020 election was rigged. The BIG FALSE CLAIM doesn’t work.

It’s time for the media to stop calling the shit that went down on 1/6/2021 poop. Shit is not cute, neither was the Dipshit Insurrection. A lie is a lie even when it’s called a false claim.

We have a four-headed last word from The Rolling Stones, Manassas, The Black Keys, and En Vogue:

The DeSantis Delusion

Image by Michael F.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been called Trump’s Mini-Me so many times that it’s become a cliché. I try to avoid clichés, so I’ll skip the Austin Powers/Dr. Evil shtick. Like most clichés, it’s stuck because there’s some truth to it. Ron DeSantis rose to power by attaching himself to the Impeached Insult Comedian like a tapeworm. A gross image but true. At least it’s not a cliché.

I feel an early musical interlude coming on:

Unlike Todd Rundgren, Ron DeSantis is neither a wizard nor a true star, but many in the media think he is. One of the worst, indeed Trumpiest, governors in the country is being touted by some as presidential timber. Cue woodworm jokes.

Despite his disastrous performance during the pandemic, the DeSantis Delusion has been spreading like a viral infection. The worst example of this infection comes from a recent article at The Atlantic by a usually sensible pundit, Conor Friedersdorf hereinafter Con Fried. The title is scarier than any horror movie: Why Never Trumpers Should Bet on DeSantis Now.

DeSantis frustrates and disappoints me within normal parameters. He hasn’t yet frightened me, as Trump does, as being superlatively incompetent, divisive, morally degenerate, or authoritarian. As MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough put it last June, when COVID-19 numbers were failing and DeSantis was peaking in the polls, “We’re going from the political heroin to the political methadone.” However bleak the analogy, that’s a significant step toward recovery!

Say what?

DeSantis is the guy who cooked the Florida COVID books by firing the person in charge of compiling the numbers.

DeSantis is the guy who recently encouraged anti-vaxxer coppers (try saying that 5 times in a row) to come to Florida to spread the Delta variant.

Those are just two of many harebrained Trumpier than Trump schemes launched by the Florida Man.

My colleague Michael F wrote a post last June about one of DeSantis’ cockamamie/Trumpy schemes. The featured image comes from that post. I only steal from the best.

To be blunt, are you out of your fucking mind, Con Fried? I’m familiar with the non-Mini-Me clichés about the lesser of two evils and desperate times calling for desperate measures, but Ron Fucking DeSantis? Really, Con Fried? Is this for real or just contrarianism run amuck?

I realize that Never Trumpers are grasping at straws to remove the Kaiser of Chaos from the political equation but Ron Fucking DeSantis? Gimme a break.

I agree with New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait who recently wrote about the DeSantis Delusion:

Ron DeSantis is the patron saint of a segment of the conservative Establishment that has made its peace with Donald Trump largely by pretending he does not exist. DeSantis has followed their strategy of ignoring Trump’s lies and authoritarianism while cultivating his followers with more refined attacks on their shared enemies.

Ironically, however, DeSantis has moved far enough to the extreme that they have now been forced into the position of applying the same method to DeSantis that they used for Trump. They have constructed an imaginary version of DeSantis, lavishing praise upon the “Ron DeSantis” they created who shares all the positive qualities of the real-life politician of the same name, with none of his glaring flaws.

Isn’t it bad enough that the Republican establishment has a bad case of the DeSantis Delusion without spreading it to the Never Trumpers?

I’ve already compared the DeSantis Delusion to a viral infection, this perfects that analogy. I also like Chait’s Imaginary Friend imagery. It beats the hell outta the Mini-Me cliché. That cliché, however, is one reason why former President* Pennywise has come to hate DeSantis. He views him as a threat. I’m skeptical that he’s a real, as opposed to an imaginary, threat.

The scenario laid out by Con Fried and others in the throes of the DeSantis Delusion has two flaws:

First, DeSantis is up for reelection in 2022. He’ll need to win by a substantial margin to be a viable presidential contender.

Second, I doubt that DeSantis has the balls to challenge Trump in 2024. The entire Republican party has been spayed and neutered by 5 years of subservience to the Former Guy. DeSantis will only run if the Impeached Insult Comedian does not.

Con Fried has another delusion: that the Never Trumpers will act. Thus far, they’re all talk with a few teevee ads sprinkled in. It’s hard to imagine them mounting an effective challenge to Trump or forming a third party to siphon votes away from the GOP in 2024. Besides, third party talk is for losers and the deluded.

The DeSantis Delusion is just another symptom of the MAGA disease that’s infected our body politic. Con Fried and the Never Trumpers are like kids playing with fire. They’re the ones most likely to get burned by the beast that has destroyed conservatism as we knew it. What’s next? A Hawley, Cotton, or Cruz Delusion? Oy just oy.

The last word goes to Crowded House:

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Wrap It Up

It’s been a long and newsy week. Part of me wants to hide under the covers, but I can’t help peeking. I’m going to break this post into segments like an Ikea bookshelf. I’ll try and keep the directions simple. Mercifully, there’s no translation from Swedish to English involved.

Publisher’s Note: I nearly plotzed when Athenae told me that she was leaving First Draft. I took her presence for granted, but didn’t try to talk her out of it. I still, however, miss her distinctive voice. Nobody drops F-bombs with her verve and grace.

I was pleased when Athenae asked if I wanted to succeed her as publisher. I’ve been telling jokes here since 2009. I love this joint and our readers.

I’m proud of the group of writers we’ve assembled over the course of the year, Both Tommy T and Michael F have been here longer than I have. I encouraged Tommy to branch out knowing that our readers would be interested in what makes him tick, tick, tick. His random ruminations have been a joy to behold. As to our photoshop wizard Michael F, I love using his images in my own posts. I only steal from the best.

I asked two old friends, Shapiro and Cassandra to join First Draft earlier this year. They’ve settled in nicely into their respective slots: Cassandra on Wednesdays and Shapiro on Tuesdays and Fridays. He received an excused absence today because of his son’s wedding. Our newest addition, Jamie O, agreed to fill in for our wandering blogger. He’ll be back doing matinees on Monday and Thursday next week.  Cassandra commended Jamie to my attention. Thanks, C,

I wish that my buddy Ryne Hancock posted more BUT his contributions have been exceptionally good. Quality is better than quantity, after all. I provide the latter.

I’m still open to submissions from guest writers and returnees. The more others write, the less I have to. I’m not quite as bone idle as Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances but I aspire to it.

I’d like to thank our writers for being such good team players. I seem to be achieving my goal as publisher: to let them to do their thing with minimal input from me. I think of myself more as a traffic cop than an editor.

First Draft endures because of the strong foundation built by Athenae, Holden, Scout, Jude, Doc, and everyone else who has written for First Draft. Thanks, y’all. We’re still walking in your footsteps.

Cue musical interlude:

Enough self-back-patting, on to the news of the week, which was on the bleak side. We’ll wrap it up in a neat package after the break.

Continue reading

The Sinematic Senator Meets Aaron Neville

It comes from music writer Bob Mehr:

I’d never noticed before that Veda Pierce Sinema has guns. If only she’d devote as much time to her official duties as she does to her wardrobe and exercise regime.

This Tweet has led to comments from the Aaron Neville fans out there. Two Aaron tunes have been cited repeatedly. First, his first hit song:

Second, this duet with the great Linda Ronstadt:

Since it’s a Halloween costume joke, I’d like to add this Neville Brothers classic:

The Threat Set

During the Trump regime my cable news habit was out of control. Teevee news has a visceral impact on viewers, and I felt it all too often. The only MSNBC show I watch regularly now is The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell who I recently called the last sane person on cable news. Lawrence is a calm and cerebral host who’s there to feed your brain, not your gut.

I’ve noticed lately how many stories involve threats, mostly of violence. It’s particularly dangerous to be an election official, a school board member, or a federal judge right now. There are so many threats that it’s hard to discern credible ones. This is some serious shit.

One of my specialties as a pundit is handing out nicknames. I’m running the phrase the Threat Set up the flagpole to see who salutes it. Not really. I tend to throw nicknames against the wall and see which ones stick. I think this one will stick because it evokes the Jet Set. The Impeached Insult Comedian, with his private plane and past patronage of Studio 54, qualifies as a member of the Jet Set. Few of his supporters do.

Back to the matter at hand. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said this about the Threat Set when she testified before the Senate Rules Committee this week:

“Two weeks after the election, armed protesters gathered outside my home and chanted, Katie, come out and play. We`re watching you.

I never expected that holding this office would result in far right trolls threatening my children, threatening my husband`s employment at a children`s hospital or calling my office, saying I deserve to die and asking, what is she wearing today? So she`ll be easy to get.

But what concerns me is near constant harassment faced by the private servants who administer our elections. We`re seeing high turnover among election staff and I fear that many more will reach a breaking point and decide that this line of public service is no longer worth it.”

As a woman, Hobbs is subjected to gross forms of harassment. The “Katie come out to play” thing sounds like something out of a Steven King novel. It’s something that this guy might say:

Image by Michael F.

Federal judges handling Dipshit Insurrection cases are feeling the heat as well:

A district judge said on Friday that defendants in Jan. 6 cases who push the conspiracy theory that the election was stolen are inciting threats to judges presiding over insurrection cases.

D.C. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said that he and other judges involved in Jan. 6 trials “are getting all kinds of threats and hostile phone calls” from people who “buy in on this proposition … that somehow the election was fraudulent.”

I’m relieved to hear that Trumpers aren’t gathering outside his house chanting, “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie.”

On a more serious note, this has got to stop. Threats that used to be laughable must be taken seriously because of the current political climate.

MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance had this exchange with Lawrence on The Last Word last night:

VANCE: You know, the distinction between just the very small number of federals judges who were tragically killed in the last century and the attack this century on a judge`s family is that those stemmed primarily from people who were upset about their individual cases or family members` cases.

What`s so troubling about the era that we`re in right now in Judge Walton`s comments is this is about people with a political agenda.

And those are the sort of risks that judges face in countries where cartels have influence or in the Philippines or even in Afghanistan, where two women judges were killed earlier this year.

The risk — and I`m not saying, for instance, that Donald Trump is directly responsible, but it`s the rhetoric and the level of political divide in this country that can fuel troubled people towards attacks that`s so very risky and troubling.

O`DONNELL: Well, I would say that Donald Trump is responsible for any attack on any federal judge who`s handling any of these January 6th cases, as the judge was talking about the threats are pouring in against them.

I agree with Lawrence. The Kaiser of Chaos has fanned the flames of hatred and poured gasoline on the fire like a modern-day Nero.

He may not be legally culpable but he’s morally and politically responsible for the Threat Set acting out his sick and twisted fantasies. Former President* Pennywise is a coward. He incites violence but lacks the courage to participate. He leaves that to the Threat Set.

Repeat after me: Donald Trump is a pussy. He should grab himself.

The last word goes to John Prine and Iris DeMent:

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Malaka Of The Week: Laura Murphy

Another person has emerged from obscurity to be “honored” in this space. This time, it’s a Virginia woman whose crusade against Toni Morrison’s Beloved ran from 2013 to 2017. It was recently revived as a wedge issue by Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.  And that is why Laura Murphy is malaka of the week.

There are so many time shifts in this story that I’ve enlisted the help of Mr. Peabody, his boy Sherman, and the Wayback Machine:

Murphy’s son was a senior in high school when our saga began in 2013. Reading Beloved was too much for the poor baby:

Now a freshman at the University of Florida, Blake Murphy, 19, recalled reading the book before bed and having night terrors after he fell asleep.

“It was disgusting and gross,” he said. “It was hard for me to handle. I gave up on it.”

School officials point out that AP English is a college-level class that often involves discussions of adult topics.

“To me, mature references means slavery or the Holocaust,” Laura Murphy said. “I’m not thinking my kid is going to be reading a book with bestiality.”

I wonder if it steered the lad away from being an Aggie to life as a Gator? Enough sophomoric levity.

Beloved *is* about slavery. It’s a searing account of the cruelty and barbarism of the slave system. Is such a book supposed to be soothing? The fact that Beloved scared poor Blakie wakie is evidence of its power. Great literature is supposed to evoke strong reactions. All that Laura Murphy remembers is that there’s bestiality in the book. Holy animal husbandry, Batman.

During her 4-year crusade against this beloved novel, Murphy disclaimed any intent to ban this or any other book. She was lying: that was exactly the impact of her efforts. Funny thing that the author is Black. Imagine that,

Blake Murphy was so terrified by reading Beloved that he’s now a lawyer for the Republican National Committee. That means he lies for a living. His mother lied for her cause. Which is worse? Beats the hell outta me.

Cue the Wayback Machine:

In the years since her son wet the bed over Beloved, Laura Murphy helped push a bill through the then GOP controlled Virginia Lege requiring parental consent for books malakas like her deem offensive. Governor Terry McAuliffe aka the Macker vetoed the so-called Beloved bill. Murphy was not pleased but vanished from airing her malakatude in public until this year.

Hit it, Mr. Peabody:

Good boy, Sherman.

Glenn Youngkin is trying to thread the Trumper needle in his campaign against the Macker who was obliged to sit out four years because of a fakakata law that limits Governors to one term at a time. Youngkin was all palsy-walsy with the Impeached Insult Comedian in the Republican primary, but he’s trying to keep his distance in the general election. Why?  Virginia has gone Democratic in every presidential election since 2008. And Northern Virginia is loaded with federal employees. Rumor has it that they take a dim view of the Dipshit Insurrection. Imagine that.

What’s a troubled candidate, in a state where the GOPers haven’t won a statewide race since 2009, to do? Embrace the culture war cliches embraced by GOPers everywhere, that’s what.

Critical race theory? Youngkin is agin it; even if it isn’t taught in Virginia schools.

Mask mandates in schools? Youngkin is agin them and for freedom, man.

There are times that Youngkin sounds like he’s running for school board in the most benighted county in the Commonwealth.

Looking for the largest dog whistle possible, Youngkin seized on Laura Murphy and her bestiality fixation. The result was this ad:

Poor Mommy Malaka Murphy dissed by the mean old Macker. That nice Glenn Youngkin listens.

Notice that neither the title of the book nor the race of the author is not mentioned in the ad. They don’t even urge banning the beastly book in question. This is some old school Republican dog whistling. Tricky Dick would be proud of Glenn Youngkin.

The Virginia governor’s race has been nationalized by all concerned. The Democrats are rolling out the big guns: Obama, Harris, and Biden. The Republicans are rolling out Laura Murphy and her weenie shyster son. And that is why Laura Murphy is malaka of the week.

I gave myself an earworm while pondering Blake Murphy’s matriculating at the University of Florida. Tom Petty is from Gainesville. That’s why he gets the last word: