Category Archives: Political Crack

Saturday Odds & Sods: To Keep My Love Alive

The Doubtful Guest by Edward Gorey

The weird weather continues apace in New Orleans. Our fall tease lasted three whole days, followed by a warm-up and a mini-monsoon last Monday, Moday. No wonder John Phillips found that day untrustworthy. Dr. A drove us home  from a krewe meeting during the deluge and engaged in some nifty puddle avoidance. It’s not supposed to rain that much or that hard in October. Climate change? What climate change?

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1943 for a revival of their 1927 musical, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s CourtTo Keep My Love Alive is best described as a chipper murder ballad. Hart’s lyrics detail the manifold ways in which the protagonist bumped off her 15 husbands in order not to cheat on them. It was the last song Larry Hart wrote before his death later that year at the age of 48.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Ella Fitzgerald from the Rodgers and Hart Songbook and the preternaturally perky Blossom Dearie.

My favorite stanza is the final one:

Sir Atherton indulged in fratricide,
He killed his dad and that was patricide
One night I stabbed him by my mattress-side
To keep my love alive.
Larry Hart’s love of puns and word play is one reason why I prefer him to Rodgers’ other writing partner.  Hammerstein could never have written those lyrics. I do, however, love his first name: Oscar.
Now that we’ve compared and contrasted Hart and Hammerstein, it’s time to jump to the break. Be careful which mattress-side you land on.

Continue reading

Adrastos On The Bimini Bummer At The Bayou Brief

My latest piece at the Bayou Brief is called Hart-Atwater: The Louisiana Connection. I take a skeptical look at James Fallows’ recent article, Was Gary Hart Set Up?

The Bimini Bummer is my new nickname for Gary Hart’s ill-fated meeting with Donna Rice, which led to this National Enquirer front page:

 

Quote Of The Day: President* Anger Troll

Image by Michael F

There’s a thought-provoking piece at Slate by Lili Loofbourow about political rage, which is all the rage in the age of Trump. Here’s the money quote:

As tactics go, this one is dumb and transparent, but it’s worth describing it because it works. It works a lot. Trump is not a genius. But he instinctively understands the dynamic of provoking and then delegitimizing someone else’s pain. As Adam Serwer wrote, he’s energized by the suffering he causes others and—secondarily—by the bond that ritualized cruelty forges with his base, which has been connected by fear of others. From Trump’s perspective, it’s kind of funthat people feel compassion for the families he separated. It’s delightful that women are worried about rights he has expressly said he wanted to take from them. And, after insulting and belittling people he’s supposed to be governing, he enjoys acting surprised that they mind.

It’s a silly and ugly game, but it’s the only true rule of Trumpism: be the sorest winner imaginable. Aspire to nothing but power and status. Hold no principle sacred. Withhold justice and insult those who object. Yes, the effects of this are predictable. It doesn’t take a genius of social engineering to be the “why are you hitting yourself?” guy. All it takes is a willingness to be him.

Rage trolling and sore winning are the only things he’s good at. That’s why I call him the Insult Comedian.

Election Countdown Time

I’ve been busy writing a piece for the Bayou Brief about the Hart-Atwater mishigas or as I call it, the Bimini Bummer. That article will be up tomorrow. All I’ve got for you right now is this:

addtext_com_MTQwMTE5MzEwNDU

That’s not quite right. I’ve also got this timely tune:

The Buzz Word Election

Buzz words are nothing new in American politics. They’re as old as the Republic itself. The Jeffersonians called John Adams a royalist tool of the English crown.The Federalists, in turn, called Jefferson a Jacobin tool of the French revolutionary rabble. And on and on and on.

The malevolent spirit of the Insult Comedian looms large over the 2018 campaign. Until recently, GOPers claimed that they’d run a campaign on taxes and the economy, which is straight out of the Reaganite playbook. That barely made a dent in the wall of noise and scandal surrounding the leader of their party. Even the author of the House tax cut, Pete Roskam, who is in a tough race, isn’t talking about it. Why? The majority of the country knows it benefits the 1% and nobody else. Besides, the Obama recovery seems poised to become the Trump recession. Trade wars are not easy to win.

When you’re losing, what do you do? Smear your opponents and resort to scare tactics no matter how preposterous. The Insult Comedian has laid the groundwork for the dumber elements of the Republican base to believe almost anything. That’s where buzz words come in handy. Besides, it’s 2 weeks until Halloween. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

In the Arizona Senate race, decorated veteran Martha McSally is running an aughties throwback campaign against her Democratic opponent Krysten Sinema:

Arizona Republican Martha McSally accused her Democratic opponent Kyrsten Sinema of once advocating for “treason” on Monday, calling out her rival’s old comments during the pair’s sole debate to fill the state’s open Senate seat.

“You said it was okay for Americans to join the Taliban to fight against us,” McSally said, raising her voice and pointing emphatically at Sinema, who stood about 10 feet away, as the debate neared its conclusion, referencing a 2003 radio interview. “I will ask right now whether you’re going to apologize to the veterans and me for saying it is okay — it is treason!”

Is it 2002 again? It sure sounds like it to me.  A reminder that there’s a dark side to the current warm and cuddly image being painted (pun intended, it always is) of George W. Bush. His favorite buzz words were “treason” and “soft on terror.” He learned scare tactics at his father’s knee during the 1988 mudbath. It’s not just Trump, y’all. It’s not just Trump.

McSally has resorted to scare tactics because she’s trailing in the polls. In Texas, Ted Cruz has been pulling ahead of Beto O’Rourke but buzz words are his thing. The two candidates debated last night and the non-asshole from El Paso barely got a word in edgewise as Slate’s Jim Newell pointed out this morning:

But I shouldn’t mock: Cruz is leading O’Rourke consistently by five to ten points in the many, many Texas polls that have come out in recent weeks, indicating that his strategy of casting O’Rourke as a far-left extremist in a center-right state is working. He stuck to it on Tuesday night, suffocating O’Rourke with so many allegations to respond to that he barely had the oxygen to tear Cruz apart.

By his closing statement, Cruz had successfully drawn his lines. If O’Rourke had his way, you wouldn’t be able to open your eyes in Texas without seeing an illegal immigrant having a partial-birth abortion. The economy would be in ruins as Democrats, led by Chairman O’Rourke, seized control to turn the nation into a bankrupt welfare factory—for illegal immigrants. Judges, with alarming word-per-minute speeds, would be typing radical left-wing regulations to ration health care and obliterate business. Border walls would come down, allowing the forces of Juarez to conquer El Paso and march to the east. Police? Forget about ’em. Banned.

“Do we choose fear,” Cruz concluded, “or do we choose hope?”

“I believe in hope.”

Tailgunner Ted’s rhetoric is smarmy, cynical, and self-contradictory. BUT he’s an effective debater and Texans have been programmed to believe this nonsense from birth. If he were so inclined, Beto could cite liberal Texans such as Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson but his campaign seems focused on proving that Beto is cool. Look: he skateboards, was in a rock band, and quotes the Clash. Kewl. I don’t think Hispanic voters give a rat’s ass about how cool Beto is, which is why he’s underperforming in that vital demographic.

Here’s the deal: I like Beto. I think he’s an excellent campaigner but his team has focused on bragging about fundraising, yard signs, crowd sizes, and how cool he is. Repeat after me: yard signs don’t vote.

I think Texas will continue to be a Democratic white whale. I hope I’m wrong, but the election seems to be slipping away from Team Beto. The upcoming Trump-Cruz rally may prove to be the last nail in Beto’s very cool coffin. Texas seems poised to choose the Tailgunner over the Skateboarder.

It’s time for national Democrats to focus on other races including that of the uncool but competent Florida Senator Bill Nelson who is fighting off a challenge from Governor Rat Boy. The  good news is that Andrew Gillum’s bid to succeed Scott is generating buzz and he and Nelson should be able to help one another. Synergy is what a corporate puke would call the combination of the moderate white guy and the progressive black guy.  I call it political magic.

I remain cautiously optimistic about the House. I think that Republican voter fuckery and a decade of egregious Gerrymandering will keep our gains to between 25 and 45 seats. But  righteous indignation among women voters and the many gifted Democratic women running for office could change that. But voters will have to wade through a muck of Republican lies and buzz words. Let’s hope thebuzz words don’t sting too badly.

At the risk of being repetitive, Harold Lloyd in Safety Last gets the last word:

I am guilty of using my last word mantra as a buzz word. I think we need some inspirational music. Ain’t nothing more inspirational than the Boss:

Of Dictator Coddling

The MSM is fond of calling everything about the Trump administration* unprecedented. In many cases, they’re right: to use the most obvious example, past presidents did not publicly trash the FBI. JFK and LBJ loathed J Edgar Hoover but the latter reappointed him based on the pragmatic Johnsonian notion that he’d “rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.” Besides, like his hero FDR, Lyndon enjoyed the gossip J Edgar Hee-Haw shared with him.

The notion that Trumpian Saudi coddling is unprecedented is, to use the Insult Comedian’s favorite phrase, fake news. In dealing with the medieval Saudi family dictatorship, oil has always been the decisive factor, not human rights. When he wasn’t coddling the Shah of Iran as president, Jimmy Carter was coddling the Saudis. Despite his sincere commitment to human rights, Carter sold arms to the Saudi family dictatorship. Repeat after me:

The presidents Bush were noted Saudi coddlers as well. Who among us can forget the image of W and holding hands with then crown prince, later King Abdullah?

One might even call that image Abdullah and the dullard. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Back to the whole unprecedented thing. While American dictator coddling goes way back, Trump has taken it to heights unseen since the Cold War. Ronald Reagan’s UN Ambassador, Jeane Kirkpatrick, drew a distinction between authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. According to Jeane and Ron, the former rocked and the latter sucked. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a distinction without a difference, but it was classic Cold Warrior doctrine.

The tragedy of Saudi dissident/WaPo columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, illustrates how far gone the Trump regime is in its “human rights don’t matter” policy. Trump has been dancing around the issue for day, he has even passed on a theory from Saudi King Salman that “rogue killers” are behind the Khashoggi murder instead of Jared’s pal, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, hereinafter MBS.

In part, the Khashoggi affair has captured the world’s attention because of its whodunit aspect. The possibility that his iWatch captured what happened has excited geeks everywhere, but the real importance of this tragedy is that the president’s* “the media is the enemy of the people” rhetoric has given a green light to dictators to kill their journalistic enemies. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

The only upside of the Khashoggi affair is that it has ended MBS’ reign as the IT dictator. There’s always one: even Bashar al-Assad had a brief stint as a Westernized IT dictator before he became the chemical weapons-using Butcher of Damascus.

The best thing I’ve read about MBS as the fallen Prince Charming is by Jim Rutenberg in the Failing New York Times:

The embrace between the American establishment and the leader known as M.B.S. was set to continue in Riyadh later this month at a business conference hosted by Crown Prince Mohammed. The sponsors, partners and participants of the conference — known informally as “Davos In The Desert” — included a number of media companies: CNBC, The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Economist, CNN and Fox Business Network.

With the exception of Fox, which is reviewing its participation, all of those organizations pulled out as the Khashoggi story climbed most-viewed article lists and drew cable coverage. The story’s popularity was helped along by its thriller-like qualities, which included the allegation that the journalist’s body was dismembered with the aid of a bone saw before it was removed from the consulate.

And suddenly the “M.B.S.” moniker took on a grim new meaning among the plugged-in set of Washington: Mister Bone Saw.

That sounds like a nickname that could have been used on The Sopranos. I doubt, however, that slain dissident’s corpse will be cut up at the Istanbul equivalent of Satriale’s Pork Store. Life continues to imitate The Sopranos even in the Muslim world.

There’s another worrisome aspect of this story: MBS’ close relationship with the Trumper Princeling, Jared Kushner. There are rumors of bribes in the form of Saudi loans to Slumlord Jared’s teetering real estate empire. Barrels of Saudi oil money can definitely grease the wheels in the most corrupt administration in American history.

These are tough times for those of us who believe in the Wilson/FDR/Carter emphasis on human rights around the world. Those three leaders did not always practice what they preached, but the Current Occupant could care less about human rights. John Bolton’s hobby as National Insecurity Adviser has been bashing and abandoning the UN Human Rights Council, after all.

All of the Insult Comedian’s comments about Saudi Arabia have been tinged with envy. He recently “joked” about America’s having a president for life some day. The idea of a hereditary Trump family dictatorship excites him even more than conning the suckers at his next campaign rally. He’s like a toddler with a new toy. One could say that we’ve gone from dictator coddlers to dictator-envying toddlers. Repeat after me: from coddlers to toddlers.

I eagerly await the next twist in the Khashoggi murder story. I dread the next twist in the Trump dictator coddling story.

Let’s close this post on a lighter note. The last word goes to The Beatles:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

UPDATE: The Saudis have their cover story. It looks as if they’re going to claim that Khasshogi’s died in an unauthorized interrogation gone wrong. Since Team Trump is applying the Russia Rules to the Saudis, the White House will buy whatever they’re selling even if the story is ridiculous.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Late In The Evening

Father Mississippi by Walter Inglis Anderson.

It’s finally showing signs of cooling off in New Orleans even if it appears to be a cruel autumnal tease. The cool front helped keep Hurricane Michael away from us. It was a beast of a storm that battered the Florida panhandle and provoked PTSD flashbacks in the New Orleans area. Best wishes to everyone in the affected areas.

In more savory local news, Advocate food writer Ian McNulty wrote a piece about the surfeit of new restaurants in the city. Ian is worried that we’re losing the thread with so many eateries dependent on the tourist trade. New Orleans didn’t become a great food city with tourist traps but with restaurants serving locals. One Oceana Grill is enough. Just ask Gordon Ramsay:

You didn’t have to take that so personally, Chef Ramsay. Piss off out of my post.

This week’s theme song is appropriate because I usually post Saturday Odds & Sods at the stroke of midnight. Some of my regular readers look for it then. One would hope they’d have something better to do.

Paul Simon wrote Late In The Evening in 1980 for his One-Trick Pony album. Simon also wrote and acted in a movie of the same title, which sank without a trace. I always thought horses could swim…

We have two versions for your listening pleasure. The original hit single followed by a scorching hot live version from 1992’s Born At The Right Time tour.

I used a painting by New Orleans/Ocean Springs, MS artist Walter Anderson as the featured image because he famously tied himself to a tree during Hurricane Betsy. We grow them eccentric in these parts. If things had gone wrong, it would have given a whole new meaning to the term tie-dyed.  If that pun doesn’t make you want to jump to the break, nothing will.

Continue reading

Red State Election Fuckery

While I’m avidly following the 2018 campaign, as a voter I’m on the sidelines because I have a Democratic Congressman, the Gret Stet statewide election is next year, and Double Bill Cassidy is not up until 2020. There *is* an important ballot initiative that will abolish non-unanimous jury verdicts but otherwise I’m mostly punditing in 2018.

I used a picture of the Selma Voting Rights Mural as a reminder of how precious the right to vote is. Voting rights were among the most important accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement. People have died for the right to vote. It’s why everyone should vote in every election: never forget the 2000 Florida recount that gave us the Bush-Cheney regime and the Iraq War. The world would be a different place if Al Gore had prevailed. Anyone who says Democrats don’t get mad and hold grudges has never spoken to me.

Minority voting rights remain under attack in red state America. Gerrymandering has had a deleterious impact on representative government. That’s why flipping state houses and leges is just as important as retaking Congress with a census coming up in 2020.

There are two egregious examples of red state election fuckery in 2018. In Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp is the GOP nominee for Governor. He has refused to recuse himself from active involvement in managing the voters rolls and the election process. Some 53K voters have been purged from the polls: almost all of them African-Americans. If this is a coincidence, I’m a Republican.

Kemp’s Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, is trying to be the first African-American woman Governor in American history. She’s slightly behind in the public polls but has a good chance to win, especially if ant-voter purge litigation succeeds.  Abrams’ race has been overshadowed fund-raising wise by Betomania. If you’re looking to donate to a candidate with a chance to win, please consider helping Ms. Abrams. A black woman governing Georgia would send a powerful message to the world. It’s time to put the new back in New South.

Waller County, Texas sits between Houston and Austin. It is notorious for voter purges and has been since the local machine was run by Democrats, not Republicans. Waller County officials have been trying to prevent students at Prairie View A&M from voting since 1972. The reason is obvious: PVAMU is a historically black college.

Things have gotten out of control as an aide to Democratic Congressional candidate, Mike Siegel, was arrested after delivering a letter to Waller County authorities about the latest round of election fuckery. It appears that he was arrested for the crime of being a Democrat.

Last night, Rachel Maddow had a great segment on Waller County election fuckery:

If that doesn’t make you want to throw the Republican rascals out, I don’t know what will.

This is why the Supreme Court erred in gutting the Voting Rights Act. Fuck you, John Roberts.

Repeat after me: there are 25 days until the midterms. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

The President* Of His Base

Hurricane Michael blew up in the last two days before landfall. It became a Category 4 storm and the 3rd most powerful in our nation’s history. The good news is that it was a fast mover. The bad news is that it cut a wide swath of destruction through the Florida panhandle. Michael was such a powerful storm that the NWS will put the name on its inactive list. Climate change? What climate change?

While Hurricane Michael ravaged the panhandle and moved on to Georgia, the president* attended a fund-raiser and rally in Pennsylvania. He tweeted out his pretext for not focusing on the storm.

The rally was in support of GOP Senate candidate Lou Barletta who trails incumbent Bob Casey Jr. by 16 points in the Real Clear Politics poll aggregate. The Insult Comedian’s presence was about ego gratification and his ongoing refusal to take hurricanes seriously. Tweeting out shit is not enough: a real president would be on the job, a lesson George W. Bush learned the hard way. That’s better politics than mocking the #MeToo movement. But Trump is an applause junkie who lives for the roar of the crowd and “lock her up” chants. Asshole.

It’s not original to observe that Trump is the president* of his base. Instead of seeking converts, he attacks anyone who is not already in his camp. It’s how he was elected and he reckons that it worked. Good politicians are nimble and allow their pitch to evolve. What worked in 2016 may not work in 2018. I also firmly believe that people hate a sore winner, which describes GOP behavior after Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Most presidents love the unifying role of head of state. Some of the best presidential speeches in our history have been made at times of national or international mourning. Bill Clinton’s facility as head of state is one reason he made a political comeback after the 1994 midterm disaster. His speeches honoring the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing and the memory of Yitzhak Rabin were classics.

The best head of state in my lifetime was Ronald Reagan with Barack Obama a close second. Reagan loved the ceremonial aspects of the job and reveled in every opportunity to be a unifying figure. I opposed his policies but his speech after the Challenger disaster made me verklempt. If we had a constitutional monarchy, Reagan would have made a fine king. He had an intensely loyal base BUT, like his hero FDR, he loved being the unifier-in-chief. Trump is all about chaos and division. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

Speaking of Reagan, his presidential library has introduced a Ronald Reagan hologram:

A smiling Ronald Reagan waves to a crowd from aboard a rail car during a 1984 campaign stop in a new hologram revealed Wednesday at the late president’s namesake library in Southern California.

“We think we made a good beginning, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” the high-tech digital resurrection of the nation’s 40th president exclaims in his steady voice, with a twinkle in his eye.

Reagan, who died in 2004, also shows up in a suit and tie inside the Oval Office and clutching a lasso alongside his dog, Victory, at his beloved ranch in two other holograms that will open to visitors Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library west of Los Angeles.

Holo-Ronnie should make an appearance at a Trump rally and repeat the memorable line from his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter when the Current Occupant tells a lie: “There you go again.”

I wonder if the crowd would chant “lock him up” or if that’s reserved for nasty, uppity women.

Repeat after me: there are 26 days until the midterms. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

The Kavanaugh Mess: The Mess We’re In

Sorry for using the word mess twice in the post title. It does, however, describe the state of the nation after the messy confirmation of Justice* Bro. He earned his asterisk by lying to the Senate and the way the Feebs took the I out of the FBI.  To paraphrase the late Sue Grafton, I was NOT for Investigation.

GOPers have been celebrating like high school jocks since Chinless Mitch and his minions “rammed” the nomination through. SNL had a locker room celebration sketch as its cold opening. It was an excellent idea that was poorly executed. The #BeersForBrett meme on twitter was much funnier albeit unintentionally so. You know my thoughts about that: ain’t nothing funnier than unintentional comedy.

On Friday, I wrote about Susan Collins’ long-winded apologia for Brett Kavanaugh. I have to give her credit for making a Supreme Court nomination about her instead of the nominee. Her Sunday show appearance did not exactly cover her in glory:

This line has gone from being a wacky conspiracy theory promulgated by Kav krony Ed Whelan to the GOP CW: conventional wisdom, not country & western. Its adoption does make me want to cry tears in my beer…

The “I believe she was attacked but he didn’t do it” line makes no sense whatsoever. But we’re living in the age of the YUGE LIE so logic is out the window. Little Joe Goebbels would be very proud of Republicans.

I said on Friday that “Susan Collins is horrible” I have an addendum: Lindsey Graham is even worse. He spiked the ball on the tweeter tube after the vote:

Then he doubled down on teevee the morning after:

Stay classy, Senator.

I am not among those shocked by Lindsey Graham’s transformation from John McCain’s wingman to all-out Trump sycophant. He’s a people pleaser who is drawn to power. Power in the GOP is concentrated in the Insult Comedian and the MAGA Maggots. Lindsey is like a moth to flame. This moth is up for re-election in 2020.

The key to Lindsey Graham’s character can be found in a New York Magazine profile I quoted a few weeks back in an Odds & Sods outing:

It is perhaps useful to know that Graham grew up in a bar. His parents owned the Sanitary Cafe, a watering hole and pool hall popular with local textile workers, in a town called Central, in a region known as the Upcountry in the northwest of the state, a budding Appalachia.

<SNIP>

Graham, his parents, and his sister, Darline, 13 years younger, slept in one room behind the bar, and Graham worked at the bar after school. There he honed the skills that have defined him in politics: Always be charming, ready with a joke and a story; don’t make enemies; keep grudges private; defuse open conflict and resolve fights out back.

Repeat after me: Graham is a people pleaser. The people he wants to please are the president* and his horrible base. Senator McCain has left the building. A reminder: McCain patched up things with George W Bush during the run up to the Iraq War to maintain his viability in the Republican Party. In fairness, I doubt he would have gone over to Trump or attacked CBF with the vehemence of his former sidekick. He had more integrity than that. Graham has none. He’s a pussy, he should grab himself.

Where do we go from here? I understand the temptation to form a circular firing squad and start shooting at other Dems. I’m mad at Joe Manchin too. His vote *was* cast in a cowardly manner BUT we need the numbers if the Dems have any chance at taking the Senate. I understand why people want to cut him off but I’m keeping my eyes on the prize, which is a Senate majority. It remains daunting but it’s well-nigh impossible without Manchin and Phil Bredesen in Tennessee. I affixed a clothespin to my nose while writing this paragraph. You gotta do what you gotta do. I completely understand if others don’t feel this way.

My assumption has always been that the losing side in the Justice Bro* war would benefit the most politically. Republicans got what they wanted, it’s more of a sugar rush that may dim in the next month. If it helps them, it helps them more in the Senate than in House races.

Something else that will help Democrats when the sugar rush wears off  is Trump’s inability not to brag and take credit for the Kavanaugh victory. His tendency to overplay his hand may well lead to a backlash. We’re in the age of the backlash, after all.

A reminder that Democrats should NOT run on impeachment of either Trump or Kavanaugh. That *will* extend the GOP sugar rush. Besides, it’s what they want us to do. When your opponent sets an obvious trap, you should sidestep it. Two words Democrats *should* run on are: OVERSIGHT and INVESTIGATION. Those are promises we can keep: even a Democratic Senate will not be able to convict an impeached president* or justice*.

It’s time for us to get both mad and even. That’s not an easy feat but we need to get our base out as well as wooing suburban women who dislike Trump and are disturbed by the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Women are the key to this election: I’m going to get out of the way and let y’all do your thing.

Repeat after me: Resist Smart.

The last word goes to Los Lobos:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Volunteers

Two Flags by Jasper Johns

It’s still stupidly hot in New Orleans; summer hot. And we had the third warmest September in recorded history. There are rumors of a cool front next weekend but the relentless heat is putting a damp damper on the local festival season. It typically starts the first weekend of October because that’s when it cools off. Not this year, apparently. Climate change? What climate change? End of weather related rant.

The Kavanaugh Mess ate my week, so let’s move on to this week’s theme song. Volunteers was written by Marty Balin and Paul Kantner. It was the title track of Jefferson Airplane’s classic 1969 album; you know, the one with the pb&j sammich gatefold. Volunteers has an interesting origin story: Marty was awakened by a truck one morning with Volunteers of America painted on the side. A protest song was born. Marty Balin died last Saturday at the age of 76. There’s an extended tribute to Marty at the end of the post.

We have two versions of Volunteers for your listening pleasure. The original studio track and a live version from Woodstock.

“Look what’s happening out in the streets. Got a revolution.”

Now that we’ve revolted in a revolting way, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

The Kavanaugh Mess: Susan Collins Is Horrible

I lasted for 2/3 of Collins’ speech and couldn’t take any more. It was not the speech of someone who agonized over her vote; except for lip service to Roe, it was a speech Senators Cornhole or Graslley could have given. She sounded like Kavanaugh’s floor manager instead of a reluctant yes.

It’s high time for the MSM to stop calling Collins a moderate. She’s a conservative and always has been one. Enough.

Kavanaugh will be confirmed tomorrow but the mess isn’t over. It’s time to take the fight to the hustings and get our voters ready to turn out in massive numbers.  I eagerly await the many investigations the House will unleash on the GOP; one of which should be about the Kavanaugh mess.

Repeat after me: Susan Collins is horrible.

The Kavanaugh Mess: Best Protest Ever

As the Kavanaugh kloture vote looms, NBC’s Kasie Hunt was on the job early this morning:

Then someone tweeted this clip:

I laughed for a full five minutes when I saw Kasie’s tweet. Perhaps the Reader’s Fucking Digest is right and laughter *is* the best medicine. A no vote would be even better.

The last word goes to Judge Bro:

One More Tweet For The Road:

The Kavanaugh Mess: W Is For Whitewash

Jeff Flake got what he wanted: political cover to vote aye on the Kavanaugh nomination. I hope Susan Collins writes him a nice thank you note: if she votes aye, it will reduce the odds of a primary challenger in 2020. Collins lives to get re-elected: she doesn’t do anything with the power she has as a Senator, after all. Collins has described the FBI probe as “a thorough investigation,” which means the country is thoroughly screwed.

The investigation was cursory at best, a cover-up at worst. Instead of summoning our “better angels,” the Kavanaugh Mess has shown American politics at its worst. As far as I’m concerned, Trumpism and sadism are synonymous. Adam Serwer makes the same point in an Atlantic article: The Cruellty is the Point.

It should matter that retired Justice John Paul Stevens has come out against the nomination. Former Supremes do not do such things. Unfortunately, it does not matter: all that matters is that Mitch McConnell has the hammer and he’s using it to damage the customs and traditions of the Senate. He’s every bit as radical as the president* he pretends to disdain, but serves oh so well.

It should matter that a Yale classmate of Debbie Ramirez is willing to corroborate her story on the record. It does not matter: the White House is the FBI’s client and they’re doing as they’re told. So much for the Deep State. W is for Whitewash.

I hope I’m wrong about tomorrow’s cloture vote but they appear to have the votes. Jeff Flake is Hamletting and Joe Manchin is hoping not to cast the decisive vote. As to Collins and Murkowski, the sham investigation has given them political cover. Change one word in cover and you have cower. That’s what these supposedly decent people are doing: cowering in the face of Trumpism.

The last word goes to the junior Senator from North Dakota, a woman who  knows the meaning of political courage:

Donald Trump Is A Criminal

I doubt if anyone is surprised that I think Donald Trump is a criminal. I suspect most of you reading this would concur. The post title is still totally beautiful as either a teenybopper or the Current Occupant would say.

The White House has dismissed the epic New York Times story as “boring.” A Trump mouthpiece has threatened them with a defamation law suit. Never gonna happen, my friend. You know the Times’ lawyers went over the story carefully since they proclaimed that Trump had committed fraud to get where he is today. The NYT has better lawyers than Trump; probably because they pay their bills.

We already knew that everything about Donald Trump is phony. The Times story verifies that his origin story as a semi-self made man is a big fat lie. Many of us never believed it but the proof is in the pudding. One might even call this a sticky pudding…

The work done by reporters David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner is likely to win a Pulitzer Prize. Congratulations in advance, y’all.

The story is based on Fred Trump’s tax returns, which proves conclusively that tax forms matter;  as David Corn has put it for the last few years:

A tweet  from former Poppy Bush speechwriter and Commentary Magazine scion, John Podhoretz caught my eye yesterday:

That’s because he was, Poddy. He was a film noir villain who repeatedly bailed his dumbshit son out of trouble.

It’s unclear where this will lead BUT the game is afoot. The New York state authorities seem to be interested in following the money. Happy hunting.

Repeat after me: Donald Trump is a criminal.

The last word goes to David Bowie:

The Kavanaugh Mess: Red Red Whine & Prolific Pukers

The Kavanaugh Mess is hurtling towards a messy and unsatisfying conclusion regardless of which way the vote goes. There are contradictory reports as to how thorough the FBI’s background check reboot will be. There seem to be gaps in the investigation that make rumors of an early wrap-up unnerving. It is also possible that Kavanaugh and CBF will be the last people interviewed, which is how these things usually work. We shall see.

On the positive side, Vanity Fair’s Chris Smith reports that the FBI is determined to conduct a genuine investigation and that Director Chris Wray is just as likely to ask for an extension as to finish things up hastily. The attitude in the Bureau is reflected in the article’s title: The FBI Is Not Going To Be Donald Trump’s Patsy. Let’s hope so.

Charlie Pierce has an excellent piece about Kavanaugh’s background as a Republican ratfucker, Charlie’s conclusion lines up with my own: once a ratfucker, always a ratfucker.

 

That’s RF for Rat Fink but who among us can resist a well-executed cartoon?

I remain fascinated by how Republican men think that shouting = truth-telling. Brett Kavanaugh did a lot of the former and precious little of the latter last Thursday. The best analysis I’ve seen of his mendaciously shouty testimony is by Nathan J. Robinson at Current Affairs. He proves that, try as he might, Kav cannot hide his Lyin’ Eyes:

I know my affection for the Eagles is controversial in some circles but that’s a brilliant song, y’all. I may just raise my voice, Judge Bro style, if you disagree.

Speaking of music, I missed the UB40 money quote in the NYT piece about Kav’s college friend Chad Ludlington:

He said that the altercation happened after a UB40 concert on Sept. 25, when he and a group of people went to Demery’s and were drinking pints. At one point, they were sitting near a man who, they thought, resembled Ali Campbell, the lead singer of UB40.

“We’re trying to figure out if it’s him,” he said.

When the man noticed Mr. Ludington, Mr. Kavanaugh and the others looking at him, he objected and told them to stop it, adding an expletive, Mr. Ludington said.

Mr. Kavanaugh cursed, he said, and then “threw his beer at the guy.”

“The guy swung at Brett,” Mr. Ludington continued. At that point, Mr. Dudley “took his beer and smashed it into the head of the guy, who by now had Brett in an embrace. I then tried to pull Chris back, and a bunch of other guys tried to pull the other guy back. I don’t know what Brett was doing in the melee, but there was blood, there was glass, there was beer and there was some shouting, and the police showed up.”

This has led to much Red Red Whining about the unfairness of Kav’s barroom pugilism being the subject of public debate in 2018. The point is not that Judge Bro was a heavy drinker then, it’s that he’s lied about it under oath now. My hunch is that Kav thinks that if he confirms his boozy, boozy ways, more people will believe CBF’s story. That’s the problem with taking the categorical denial route.

FYI: UB40 has been engaged in an epic fight between the Campbell brothers over the band’s name. They might be willing to stage a re-enactment of this fight with Robin Campbell playing the part of Judge Bro. This song would clearly be involved:

Hmm, I wonder if Kav went after the man he thought was Ali Campbell because rumor has it that he likes beer, not wine?

Along the same lines, here’s a video the people at the Late Show with Stephen Colbert put together:

Back to Kavanaugh’s diminishing credibility. NBC News has reported that Kav knew about the New Yorker’s Debbie Ramirez story before it went public, and tried to organize a text message defense to the story. He told the committee that he didn’t know about the story until it was published. Once a ratfucker, always a ratfucker.

Remember Kav’s equivocation as to whether the character Bart O’Kavanaugh in Mark Judge’s book is based on him? The Failing New York Times has published a story that includes a 1983 letter that Judge Bro wrote and signed Bart. This Bro Epistle contains this memorable passage:

In a neatly written postscript, he added: Whoever arrived first at the condo should “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us. Advise them to go about 30 miles…”

That’s a pistol of an epistle, y’all.

Finally, after several weeks of startling self-control by his standards, the Insult Comedian engaged in a bit of victim mocking last night in Elvis country:

This is disgusting even for this president*. It’s also harming, not helping, Kav’s kause as the undecided Senators have denounced these comments.

As if in a race to the bottom, Trump also implied that Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy has a drinking problem. Here’s hoping that Trump’s loose lips sink Kav’s ship.

There will surely be more developments over the course of the day. Stay tuned.

Repeat after me: Once a ratfucker, always a ratfucker.

Schooldays

Glory Days

The blogger (in hat and shades) as a wayward youth with his posse.

What is it that they say about great minds? I’m not sure if I qualify but Athenae surely does. I had already planned to write about my schooldays then A did it and did it well:

I went to a Catholic college-prep high school, after 8 years of Catholic elementary. I did this because my family was Catholic, and religious schooling was important to my not-rich  parents and grandparents. And a hell of a lot of my fellow students did the same because their families were wealthy, and the Catholic schools were predominantly white.

I grew up in a different time and place. My mother’s favorite sister was a principal back home in Wisconsin. Mom believed in public education and the schools in San Mateo County, California were outstanding so I always attended public schools.

Looking back, I’m amazed at how DIVERSE my high school was. We lived in middle class Foster City, but our group of students was diverse in and of itself with a slew of Jewish and Asian kids in the mix. Then, there were the white working class kids from Shoreview just across the Bayshore Freeway from San Mateo High. The neighborhood around the school itself was largely working class African-American and Hispanic. Finally, there were the upper middle class kids from San Mateo Park and the big money kids from Hillsborough. That was where people like the Hearsts and the Crosbys lived. I’ve been away for a long time, but I assume the demographics of many of these areas are different in 2018; except the wealthier ones. The rich are always with us.

Our school’s diversity is one reason so many of the schoolmates I’m still in touch with are howling liberals. It may not have always been pretty, but we learned how to deal with different types of people without thinking of them as the OTHER.

One year there was some racial tension but the problem was largely between rival groups of jocks; one group were white rough boys, the other black football players and their hangers-on. It didn’t last long. The two groups resumed picking on the stoners, which was easier and more profitable. Who could complain to the Vice Principal about their weed getting stolen? Not that I know about such things…

I had a protector among the white jocks or hard guys as they called themselves. Kelly lived around the corner from me, our parents were friends, and we played little league baseball together. He played shortstop and I rode the bench but I had access to free Giants tickets, which made me a popular kid. I was mildly roughed up by some high school jocks once. I told Kelly and it never happened again. Thanks, man.

High school was where I met guys like Brett Kavanaugh. There were some wealthy parents who sent their kids to San Mateo High: many were members of the “greatest generation” and were on the frugal side. Besides, the school was academically excellent and our football, basketball, and track teams were competitive.  Because of that we got many wealthy jocks who might have gone to private schools in another time and place.

As I watched Kavanaugh testify, I thought to myself “I know the type.” He was the sort of kid who kissed up and kicked down. Prep school jock asshole Brett thought he was better than everyone else, especially students with a vagina, not a penis. He was a boozy Eddie Haskell, the phoniest choir boy who ever sucked up to grown ups while simultaneously bullying kids weaker than himself.

Essentially, Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump with brains. He’s lied and bullied his way through life and sees no reason to change. We saw the real Brett Kavanaugh last Thursday. His mask repeatedly slipped as he ranted and raved about left-wing conspiracies.  Ken Starr may be proud of him but his lies and extreme partisanship make him unfit for the Supreme Court. He may have gone to the right schools but he seems to have drawn the wrong lessons from them.

Let’s circle back to my schooldays and give the Kinks, Paul Simon, and Steely Dan the last word with some contemporaneous music. I really need to post Kodachrome since I quoted it in the post summary.



The Kavanaugh Mess: Monday Roundup

I vowed to take a break from the Kavanaugh mess until mid-week but like Michael Corleone in Godfather III:

I would never, however, wear a brown cardigan. Brown is not my color and who the hell wears a sweater in New Orleans?

The Kavanaugh nomination remains in limbo. It looks as if irony is not dead: the White House appears to be “rigging” the FBI investigation. Don McGahn *is* Kav’s friend so we shouldn’t be surprised. The only surprise is that Kavanaugh speaks to a non-Ivy League lawyer. It’s tolerant of him.

This weekend, I had several discussions on social media about what Kavanaugh’s small lies mean. While a stack of small lies do not necessarily add up to a perjury charge, they do damage Kav’s credibility, which *should* be important to a Supreme Court Justice.

Having said that, I agree that Kavanaugh’s wide array of lies under oath should be part of the investigation. There’s even an article in Politico about that very thing. Small lies often lead to big lies. I’m more concerned with stopping the nomination than prosecution since several of the undecided Senators have said lying under oath would be disqualifying. Whether or not they mean it remains to be seen.

Speaking of Tiger Beat on the Potomac, they have an  interesting piece about GOP strategy. Kavanaugh is getting conflicting advice as to whether he should go on the attack or lay low. I think he would be wise to dial it back since the fix may well be in. A certain rumpled Fascist fuck is quoted as saying:

“There’s no walking this thing back,” Steve Bannon, the former chief White House strategist, said in an interview Sunday night. “You get Kavanaugh, you’re going to get turnout. You get turnout, you’re going to get victory. This is march or die.”

Everything Bannon says sounds like it’s out of a World War II movie such as Operation Burma or The Sands of Iwo Jima.. Brett Kavanaugh is a far cry from Errol Flynn or John Wayne. Now that I think of it, he carried on like Flynn and drank like the Duke. Party on, Brett.

Speaking of drinking, regular reader Carroll tweeted an article at me about Kavanaugh’s boozy, boozy ways.

In addition to the cool story, I can add Nando to my acronym collection. It sounds a bit like NANU NANU. I wonder what Mork would make of the cosmic clusterfuck that is the Kavanaugh confirmation process? It’s a real suspender snapper.

In other Kavanaughpalooza news, the Guardian takes a closer took at Kavanaugh’s relationship with the notorious Porn Judge, Alex Kozinski. Kozinski used to serve as a feeder judge to his mentor Anthony Kennedy until the Porn Judge deservedly fell prey to the #MeToo movement. Kavanaugh has denied any knowledge of Kozinski’s lewd and lascivious ways, which many, including Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, find hard to believe. Dahlia clerked on the 9th Circuit and was well-aware of what the Porn Judge was up to even though she did not work for him.

It’s time to bring this closer to home. My Bayou Brief publisher Lamar White Jr. wrote about the reaction of Gret Stet Senators Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy to the Kavanaugh mess. Cue Groucho and the You Bet Your Life duck for the GOP’s magic word:

As far as I’m concerned, both solons are overcompensating for their Democratic pasts by being strident Kavanaugh supporters. My magic word is malakatude.

Finally, a tweet that popped up after the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing. Some dude noticed that Kav makes possum faces.

In Mark Judge’s book there was a character based on his prep school pal, so we’ve gone from Bart O’Kavanaugh to Brett Opossum.

It’s time for me to stop playing possum and give the last word to the greatest opossum in American history, Pogo:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Got To Get You Into My Life

Landscape Lumber No. 3 by David Hockney

It has been a difficult week. I was so exhausted from writing about the Kavanaugh mess that I briefly considered pulling the plug on this week’s extravaganza. I decided it was best to muddle through and provide a modicum of comic relief to my readers. That choice was made easier by the Flake Gambit, which at the very least kicks the can down the road a week. Besides, I like beer and cannot recall if I’ve ever been black-out drunk. Have you? Holy crap, I sound like Judge Bro.

This week’s theme song is credited to Lennon-McCartney but is Pure-D Macca. Got To Get You Into My Life first appeared on my favorite Beatles album, Revolver. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the Beatles and the equally fabulous cover by Earth Wind & Fire.

Now that we’ve had some Macca therapy, let’s meet on the other side of the jump.

Continue reading