Category Archives: Political Crack

Quote Of The Day: Dictator Wannabe Edition

The Insult Comedian went on his favorite teevee show this morning. He had a lot to say even though little of it made sense. We’re used to nonsense from this president*. It’s one reason he wears an asterisk. Anyhoo, here’s the quote heard round the world:

“He’s the head of the country, and I mean he’s the strong head. He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.”

He’s also a dictator, you nitwit. Trumpy is just a wannabe although he’s transformed the Republican party into a personality cult centered on him. The stupid bastard isn’t even a longtime Republican. It’s something of a cautionary tale that Democrats should pay heed to as well. Turning your party over to an independent is madness even if that person isn’t as bad as the Kaiser of Chaos. Nobody is as bad as Trump.

I’m old enough to remember when GOPers were anti-communist and anti-Russian. Under Trump they pander to Putin and the bloodthirsty Kim regime. Kim is an old school commie and Putin is a KGB irredentist seeking revenge for the Soviet Union’s “humiliation” at the end of the Cold War. John Foster Dulles and Ronald Reagan are spinning in their graves. Hell, my head is spinning like a top.

I believe in talking to everyone BUT not in taking one’s talking points from a dimunitive dictator with a bad haircut. Next thing we know Trumpy will start wearing a jump suit in honor of his little buddy, the artist formerly known as Little Rocket Man. A too long red tie will look weird with a jump suit but Trump has the right stuff to make it work. Did I say right stuff? I meant weird stuff.

Trumpy has, of course, said other stupid shit this week but I have a summer cold and I don’t want my head to explode. It’s time for another aspirin.

 

Chiming In

I’m on the road and should zip my lip but I’m not very good at being silent when there’s this much news. I guess you’ve noticed that already. I prefer writing on the mighty Wurlitzer that is my desktop keyboard but a laptop will just have to do. I’m not, however, a fan of track pads. I find them user hostile and unatracktive…

The G-7 summit was a Trumped up fiasco. Remember when even jerky American presidents made nice with our allies?  How is it possible to fight with Canada, which currently has one of the most amiable leaders in the world, Justin Trudeau. Trudeau has followed his father’s playbook in dealing with Donald Trump. Trudeau the elder disliked Nixon but forged a decent working relationship with him. When he learned that Tricky had called him an asshole on the White House tapes, Pierre Trudeau had an elegant response: “I’ve been called worse by better people.”

Everyone is better than the Insult Comedian.

The Dictator-Dotard summit was a farce. Trump left it spouting North Korean propaganda. If they allowed dancing in the streets in Pyongyang, they’d be doing it as I write this. If this is winning, I’d rather lose.

The good thing about being on the road is that I’ve missed all of Trumpy’s teevee bragfests. I like how my friend Laura described his appearance: “Even sitting down for an interview, 45 is gross. Looks like he is working hard to have a bowel movement.”

Hey, at least he gives a shit…

In election news, Never Trump Republicans are doing a rotten job of “taking back” their party. Exhibit A: Mark Sanford. Exhibit B: Corey Stewart. Virginia Democrats are thrilled that Lost Causer Corey will be Tim Kaine’s opponent this fall. It’s yet another sign that the GOP is well and truly Trumpified.

That’s it for me. I have a high school graduation to attend. I’m glad that relatives don’t have to wear caps and gowns. It’s not a good look for anyone, especially a grown man with a size 8 head.

That is all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Saturday Sun

Cafetiere et Carafe by Jean Dubuffet.

It feels like August outside as I write this with the ceiling fan whirring up above my head. It’s time to dispense with the weather report lest I sound whinier than I am. And I’m pretty damn whiny even though, unlike Della and Paul, I don’t have a fur coat to contend with. Paul Drake deals with his by shedding copiously. Della Street rages against the elements in her own way. She is one mouthy cat, y’all.

I may have cats on my mind but the rest of the city is obsessed with rats in a French Quarter eatery. There’s a viral video and everything. Oh wait, there’s always a viral video in 2018. As someone who worked in the Quarter for many years, the thought of rats near the Big Muddy is not shocking. I’m not planning to go to that restaurant but even good places with clean kitchens have the odd rat. Repeat after me: to live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough. She-doo-be.

The new Mayor is “being intentional” by launching a PR campaign dubbing New Orleans the City of Yes. In the immortal words of movie mogul Sam Goldwyn, include me out, unless it involves the veteran prog rock band. I’m still trying to figure out what the hell “being intentional” means. So it goes.

When I started this regular feature in 2015, I used songs about Saturday as theme songs for the first few weeks. Saturday Sun is one I somehow missed but I’ve had Neil Finn on my mind and in my ear of late. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the promo video and a live performance on the BBC.

Now that we’ve basked in the Saturday Sun, it’s time to put on some sun screen and jump to the break.

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Scott Pruitt: Chickenshit Grifter

I’m sure you’ve all heard about Scott Pruitt having an aide badger Chik-fil-A into giving his wife a franchise. Hey, they’ll need an income when Scotty stops grifting the EPA. It’s gotten so bad that Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy publicly urged Scotty to “stop acting like a moron.” The national media has learned what the Louisiana press has known for years: Neely likes spouting off on teevee and usually has a corny one-liner saved up. If he weren’t a Republican, I might offer to supply him with some Neelyisms but he is so I won’t. Besides, I’m not adept at Hee Haw humor.

Back to Scott Pruitt. The reason I call him a chickenshit grifter is that he’s fond of grifting relatively small amounts aka chickenfeed or chickenshit. He’s even been asked to stop messing up the White House mess by eating there so much. Yo, Scotty: pay your tab, it’s only 400 bucks.  In short, this is chickenshit grifting at its smallest and pettiest. Avarice thy name is Scotty.

I was astonished when this tweet landed on my timeline:

I checked to make sure this was an genuine Fox News feed. It is indeed and it’s actually “fair and balanced.” I didn’t know they were allowed to criticize Scotty. This could be a signal to the Insult Comedian that it’s time to stop watching Scotty grift. Grift, Scotty, grift.

One would think that, as a major criminal, Trump would be offended by the picayune and penny-ante antics of Scotty. They’re both grifters but Scotty is strictly small time. He’s hanging on because the president* likes his terrible policies but he can turn on a dime; just ask Trudeau or Macron. I wonder when Scotty will ask for a pardon. Let’s start the countdown…

Whenever I think of Chik-fil-A, I think of this masterful float by the Krewe du Vieux sub-kreme, Seeds of Decline, as well as this photo by my erstwhile nemesis, Michael Homan.

Photograph by Michael Homan.

Since I refuse to give Homan the last word, I might as well expel this disgusting earworm from my head.

One of these days I’ll write new lyrics and transform that horrendous tune  into Watching Scotty Grift. There could even be an alternate version, Watching Scotty Blow.

The answer, my friend, is grifting in the wind, the answer is grifting in the wind.

Burning Down The (White) House

Donald Trump, amateur historian, has struck again:

President Donald Trump reportedly justified the tariffs he placed on Canadian steel and aluminum by asking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a phone call: “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?”

CNN reported on the exchange, citing sources familiar with the call. The British burned down the White House in the War of 1812, when Canada was a British colony. CNN reported the President may have been joking, but the tariffs, justified on national security grounds by the Trump administration, have left Canadians furious.

“To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke,” one source “on the call” told CNN, when asked if Trump meant the comment as a joke. “The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the U.S. won’t be a laughing matter.”

I guess we can be grateful that Trumpy didn’t go on about Dolly Madison pastries while tossing zingers at Trudeau the Younger in pursuit of his stupid trade war. He probably doesn’t know that James Madison was president in 1812 and that Dolly was a legend in her own right. The Insult Comedian will inevitably claim that he gave Madison his period nickname, Little Jemmy.

Only in the Trump era would the words Canada and trade war be found in the same sentence. Canada is the best damn neighbor in the world and Justin Trudeau is the most amiable of world leaders. Oy, just oy.

Since Trump makes all educated Americans feel like Charlie Brown, it’s time to pass the zingers:

Now that we’ve had an afternoon snack with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Sally, and Linus, it’s time to make like the Canadians:

Wait. Talking Heads aren’t Canadian? Who knew? Certainly not president* Trump.

You Say Jungle Primary, I Say Open Primary

There’s even a third alternative used to describe electoral systems such as California and the Gret Stet of Louisiana: top two. I prefer open but hate the system itself. It led to much advance agita about yesterday’s election in California. There is rare good news: Democrats were NOT locked out of any Congressional primaries. A collective sigh of relief was heaved, otherwise we might have hurled.

I admit that I was surprised when California adopted an open primary system via ballot initiative in 2011. No state should emulate Gret Stet politics but they did. At least the California lege can pass a budget, which ours cannot do as I pointed out on the tweeter tube:

The premise of the open/jungle/top two primary is that the role of political parties should be limited. It’s a deeply silly goo-goo notion. Repeat after me: You can’t take politics out of politics. It’s the system that gave Louisiana the run-off from hell in 1991: the Charming Crook versus the Kreepy Klansman. Mercifully, things turned out well yesterday despite this goofy system. The best way to check the Kaiser of Chaos is to retake the House and unleash the subpoena power. Then Scott Pruitt will really have to go to the mattresses.

The teevee punditocracy insist on calling the open/top two system the jungle primary. It has the virtue of being dramatic, it certainly beats the hell out of a *fourth* term of art: non-partisan blanket primary. I hate to be a wet blanket but that sounds like a dull and wonky slumber party.

Jungle primary is a meaningless term that must have been dreamt up by someone who watched too many Tarzan movies on teevee as a kid. I watched a few of those fakakta flicks on TCM recently and I cannot decide if they’re from hunger or campy fun. Tarzan even fights the Nazis in a couple of war-time entries. Tarzan good, Nazis bad.

The news from New Jersey was also pretty darn good. Democrats have an excellent chance to flip four seats held by the GOP. There’s even a rising star in the bunch:  former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill who’s also a graduate of the Naval Academy.

It was a another good night for Democrats. Turn-out was good and the enthusiasm gap was visible; something the inside the beltway pundit class continues to have a hard time spotting. I think Nate Silver nailed it:

They’d rather beat the drums for jungle primaries. You say jungle primary, I say open primary. Let’s call the whole thing off.

What would I do without Ira Gershwin? Or Ella and Louis for that matter:

It’s Good To Be Kaiser

The Kaiser of Chaos was feeling feisty this morning. He tweeted out a preposterous assertion of executive authority:

So, why tweet this if you’re a not guilty man? (Like “collusion,” “innocent” is not a legal term of art: please substitute “conspiracy” and “not guilty.”) Something big is going on behind the scenes right now. This is the latest in a long line of panic tweets sent by the man who thinks he’s dictator. He’s a dictator in his mind only but the public needs to pay careful attention when he gets like this.

Trump’s plan is to live and die by the tweeter tube so it’s only fitting to post a twitter riposte to the president*:

I’ve complained before about amateur internet and cable teevee lawyers. Trumpy is by far the worst of the bunch. Frankly, his real lawyers aren’t much better after that fakakata memo they sent to team Mueller asserting that it’s legal for the president* to shit on the constitution and wipe his ass with the bill of rights. And of course Mayor Noun Verb 9/11 has been all over teevee belching and farting smoke. I’ve come to the conclusion that Rudy and Trumpy are the same dude. Heckuva job, Rudy.

Very few genuine legal eagles think that Team Trump’s claims hold any water. If they did, we’d already be living in a dictatorship instead of watching a pre-Great War style autocratic hereditary monarchy creep up on us. There are signs of it every day; particularly in the admonitions to exempt Trump’s family from criticism and scrutiny. His son-in-law and daughter are White House aides so they’re fair game. Junior and Eric have big mouths so they are too. I feel sorry for Melania and cannot blame her for disappearing. Lord, what a family.

Back to legal scholars. I’d like to direct your attention to two op-ed pieces in today’s Failing New York Times. The first by a Democrat: former Deputy Attorney General and US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Harry Litman. The second piece is by former Reagan and Poppy Bush White House counsel, Douglas Kmiec. who deftly lays out precedents on executive power. Holy bipartianship, Batman.

There are also some swell pieces at Slate. The first by Jed Shugerman posits that Trump’s lawyers seem to have admitted that he obstructed justice. It’s a detailed essay so you should read it for yourself but it’s as convincing as hell. We already knew that a legal team featuring Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani, and the departed John Dowd was not ready for prime time. The Shugerman piece confirms that belief.

Finally, the divine Dahlia Lithwick conducts an extended interview with Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe; known to our readers as Larrrr-eeee Tryyyyyy-buh. Tribe and Dahlia both urge Democrats to avoid “magical thinking” and understand the limits of what can be accomplished by Team Mueller, impeachment, and the 25th amendment.

These are perilous times. We have a petulant president* who believes that he is above the law. He’s surrounded by yes men and women who only tell him what he wants to hear. He conducts himself like a medeval monarch dispensing justice to his followers and denying it to his opponents. I’m fond of the Kaiser Wilhelm II analogy because *that* fucking moron was deposed at the end of the Great War. Like Trump, he was an arrested adolescent who fled to Holland to avoid being arrested. I wonder if they’d take Trumpy in? Not bloody likely.

One more tweet before we go. If only the Kaiser of Chaos would listen to Jerry Ford:

For the record, Ford’s Attorney General, Edward Levi, was the one who cleaned house at the Justice Department after Watergate. It’s his legacy of apolitical justice that’s under attack by the Kaiser of Chaos and the Duke of Deception, Rudy Giuliani.

The last word goes to the late Tom Petty. All you have to do is substitute Kaiser for King:

Trumpy Bear?

I thought of Henry Adams when I learned of the Trumpy Bear this morning on a friend’s Facebook feed. The grandson of our most brilliant president and great-grandson of Paul Giamatti famously said:  “The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence to upset Darwin.”

I wonder what Adams would have made of the Current Occupant who has become the second Oval One to be transformed into a plush toy:

The fact that it was Teddy Roosevelt supports the Adamic theory of devolution. Life appears to not only imitate The Sopranos but the band Devo who posed the eternal question: “are we not men?” In 2018, the answer is not Devo, but Trumpy Bear.

I felt obliged to check Snopes to see if Trumpy Bear really exists. To my chagrin, I learned that it does. Oy, just oy.

Imagine giving Trumpy Bear to your favorite toddler. They’d be scarred for life even if they dig the secret compartment containing Old Glory. It reminds me of a Chucky doll and I hate Chucky. He makes me wanna upchucky as does Trumpy.

I suspect you won’t be shocked to learn that Trumpy Bear originates in Texas, home to Energy Secretary and syrup hugger Rick Perry and the wingnuttiest wingnuts in Wingnuttia. If I were an actual journalist I’d do more research but I’m a pundit, so fuck it. Just read the Snopes entry.

The commercial for the product sounds like a vintage SNL parody ad:

I wonder if the Insult Comedian gets a cut? He likes to wet his beak, after all.

The Trumpy Bear is the Trump butt-plug in reverse. It’s for fans and people who like to traumatize friends and family of all ages. It could, however, be posed in various obscene ways but I’m unwilling to shell out $39.90 plus shipping and handling. That’s right, I’m not from Texas.

I have another concern about this product: why isn’t Trumpy Bear orange? A brown Trumpy Bear strikes me as unrealistic but the hair *does* resemble a dead nutria pelt.

Since I played Elvis yesterday, I have a raging earworm. Sorry for not being more original. As far as I know, there’s no rock song about Henry Adams, so here we go:

I just want to be your Trumpy Bear. Did I say that? Is Joy Reid’s hacker after me now?

The Cheaper The Crook, The Gaudier The Patter

Thus spake Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon to the Fat Man’s gunsel Wilmer. Crime fiction buffs out there will recall that Wilmer was the patsy in that classic novel and movie.

I thought of Spade’s put down of Wilmer upon the release of one of what the media insists on calling THE COHEN TAPES. While I dig the way it evokes Watergate, we’re talking digital recordings, not tapes. It’s starting to bug the shit out of me so I thought I’d go on the record and I’m not talking 33’s or 45’s either.

The crook may be cheap and his patter *is* gaudy but there are NO tapes. Repeat after me: THE COHEN RECORDINGS.

That concludes this episode of How Life Imitates The Maltese Falcon.

What About Me?

The president* has broken his silence about the Roseanne shitshow. He’s demanding an apology from ABC for every time they hurt his feelings. I am not making this up:

He even had his horrible press secretary demand an apology from Disney and ABC.  I’ve mocked this president* many times at First Draft so I have an apology for him. I’m sorry for saying that you wear a dead nutria pelt atop your head. The apology is to nutrias. I should be careful about the whole guilt-by-association thing.

In many ways, Trump is the ultimate twitter person. One of his few talents is an eerie ability to make everything about himself. We learned on Monday that Memorial Day is all about him.  Today it’s the Roseanne mishigas. What’s next? Independence Day? Yom Kippur? Ramadan?

It’s time to drop Ambien and play some Robert Cray in order to thwart the racist side effects of that drug.

Saturday Odds & Sods: A Mess Of Blues

The Star by Benny Andrews.

There’s a system forming in the Gulf, which has led to the inevitable widespread panic on social media. And I’m not talking about the jam band either. It’s a bit early for this but when did the weather care what I thought? I do wish people would stop Chicken Little-ing. That never makes anything better.  Ya heard?

Dr. A and I celebrated our anniversary at one of our favorite local eateries, Gabrielle Restaurant. It’s a reboot of the beloved restaurant owned and operated by Greg and Mary Sonnier before Katrina. They revived it some 12 years after the original Mystery Street location flooded. The food is fabulous and the new space on Orleans Avenue is warm and inviting. Grace and I know Mary and her charming daughter (some would say clone) Gabie aka the girl for whom the joint is named. Put it at the top of your list the next time you’re looking for a great meal and fabulous service in New Orleans. Greg is one of the best chefs in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and that’s saying something. That concludes this brief commercial announcement. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

This week’s theme song was written in 1960 by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman for Elvis Presley. It was the b-side of It’s Now Or Never but it also charted at number 32 in the US and number 2 in the UK. It was recorded at the same time as Elvis’ post-army comeback LP Elvis Is Back but was not included on the original album, a common practice in those days: you wanted the kids to buy both the 33 and 45. Colonel Parker knew how to shake down the suckers, y’all.

We have two versions of A Mess of Blues for your listening pleasure: the Elvis original and a 1995 cover from the great John Hiatt.

Now that we’ve messed around with the blues, let’s jump to the break.

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So Much For That Nobel Peace Prize

The cancellation of the “two madmen for the price of one” summit was the least surprising development ever. The summit was conceived on an impulse and cancelled on one as well:

Early Thursday morning, after a flurry of calls with a handful of senior advisers, an angry President Donald Trump personally dictated the three-paragraph letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that canceled the scheduled summit between their two nations.

It had been less than 12 hours since Trump and his team began grappling intensely with the prospects for shelving what would have been a historic meeting between the two heads of state.

But the president, fearing that the North Koreans might beat him to the punch, wanted to be the one to cancel first, multiple officials told NBC News.

The president’s* fatal lack of impulse control has bitten him in the ass again. After weeks, of fulsome flattery, the two sides started trading barbs. I kept waiting for the D-word: DOTARD. Instead, the North Korean side used a different D-word, calling Vice President* Pence a political DUMMY. It’s an apt analogy: he *is* a dummy and his ventriloquist is an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. It reminds me of the venerable ad:

Infighting between Mike Pompeo and John Bolton also doomed this misbegotten venture. Once Bolton used the phrase “Libyan solution,” the ill-conceived summit was bound to be flushed. The kid with the bad haircut wants *his* family business to survive unlike that of Colonel Gaddafi. Knowing Bolton and his mustache as I do, it was a deliberate act of sabotage. Is there anything Trumpier than self-sabotage?

I almost called this post “Trump’s Dear Jong-Un Letter” as a pun on a Dear John letter. The missive he dictated to the dictator sounded like a spurned lover. He may have wept bitter orange tears for all we know. I dig Josh Marshall’s take on the break up letter:

The words resonate with a genuine hurt and anguish, mixed with moments of menace and still hope for the future. It reads needy. It’s like a letter you write to a romantic partner who has abandoned you without saying so. You write, hurt, finalizing what is already clear.

<snip>

There’s one other point worth noting. We often discuss how President Trump seems to see diplomacy in highly personal terms. Things depend on how he and the other man or woman get along personally. There’s his military, his diplomats, his cabinet secretaries. He has little sense that the US and other states may have foundational interests that trump any personal chemistry between the leaders. This letters suggests (unsurprisingly) that this feeling of personal investment is quite real, not only on the ‘positive’ side but on the negative side as well. He seems truly hurt and angry. “A wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me” … “that was a beautiful gesture” … “please do not hesitate to call me or write” … “We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant.” It’s not good to have a President who is this emotionally needy or one that conducts dangerous foreign policy on whims and ignorance. The entire thing is a ridiculous and embarrassing chapter in our history.

Another striking thing about the demise of the “two madmen for the price of one” summit is that the White House made the decision without consulting anyone. Not only were the Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese governments not informed in advance neither was Mike Pompeo. This is no way to run a railroad or a foreign policy. It reminds me of the Kissinger-Rogers, Brzezinski-Vance, Rice-Powell duels between the NSC and State Department. Hell, at least McMaster neither baited Tillerson nor served him poison tea.

Back to the post title. Despite the fervent wishes of Trump’s sycophants in the House of Representatives, the Kaiser of Chaos was never going to win a Nobel Peace Prize. The Swedes are not zany enough to do such a thing.

A different administration would learn from this mistake. It’s no fun wiping egg off your face and pretending it’s an omelette. But they won’t learn a damn thing. Trump will continue to think that foreign policy negotiations are akin to real estate deals and that winging it is okay. Past presidents have learned from their mistakes, this one won’t even admit to making one.

Crossfire Hurricane: Deep State, Deep Doo Doo

I pinch myself almost every day that a minority of the voters (with help from Russian intelligence) elected an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head to the highest office in the land. We’re bombarded with this fucking moron’s nonsense and stupidity on a daily basis. One of the things I find most disconcerting is Trump’s continuing reliance on bizarre conspiracy theories when, in theory, he should be the best informed person in the country. While it’s true that most of the conspiracy theories are self-serving, the dumb fucker believes them.

Things have gotten even weirder since the failing New York Times published its big story about the FBI counter-intelligence operation Crossfire Hurricane. Against all evidence. Team Trump insists it was an Obama administration operation aimed at undermining their campaign and/or overthrowing Trump in a Deep State coup. I guess that’s why it was secret until last week. #sarcasm. Instead, it was the least intrusive way to investigate some serious allegations. Of course, we know that the Trumpers are denizens of the Derp State, so why should anyone be surprised by this meshuga crapola.

I am mildly thrilled that the Feebs used the opening line of the Rolling Stones classic Jumpin’ Jack Flash as the code name for the investigation. That would never have happened in the Hoover era when rock and roll was considered subversive, especially the Stones who were bad boys then, plutocrats now. Jumpin’ Jack Flash it’s still a gas, gas, gas.

Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has great sources in the alternate universe known, to me at least, as Trumpistan. He has a wild piece today at The Hive about the latest conspiracy theories and even got our old pal Roger Stone to go on the record:

According to people familiar with Trump’s thinking, his team is attempting to build the case that anti-Trump forces in the F.B.I. entrapped his advisers using informants to plant evidence about Russian collusion. The theory goes that the F.B.I. later used these contacts with the Russians to delegitimize his presidency. Trump’s advisers say the intelligence community believed Hillary Clinton would win the presidency, but in case she didn’t, they concocted this elaborate plot to remove Trump from office. “Just when you think it can’t get stranger, it does,” a Trump adviser told me. Stone claims the anti-Trump conspiracy includes senior intelligence officials from the Barack Obama administration. “The guy who will end up burning in all this is [former C.I.A. director] John Brennan,” Stone told me. “If I were him I’d break the capsule and swallow it now. That psychopath is going down.”

Brennan is a psychopath now? It takes one to know one, Rog. I’ll see you on the Dark Stone of the Moon, dude. The lunatic is now on the sinkhole laden White House grass. It’s time to revive this meme from the October 20, 2016 post referred to above:

I’m curious as to how the CIA director was pulling the strings at the FBI. The Feebs have always zealously protected their independence up to and including the Comey era. You don’t have to be Mark (Deep Throat) Felt to figure that one out. The only reality in the Derp State is what helps Trump save his worthless ass from prosecutors.

I’m back to pinching myself. What disturbs me is that there are people out there who believe that the so-called Deep State is why our country in trouble when it’s really the conspiracy theorist in the chief who put the derp in deep, which is why we’re all in deep doo doo. Hopefully, we won’t sink before the November election, which is when we’ll have a chance to elect a Congress that will do its job and rein in these crazies. But it will take years for the country to regain sanity after losing its mind on 11/8/2016.

The last word goes to the Stones and two of my favorite covers of Jumpin’ Jack Flash. It’s still a gas, gas, gas.

Stupid Watergate Goes Postal

I try not to write about the same things as Athenae BUT a bloggers gotta do what a bloggers gotta do. Besides, I’m coming at the fake billionaire president* versus real billionaire publisher smackdown from a different angle, and this post title was too good to waste. I, too, am a grudge-holder but I’d prefer a Coke Zero button on my desk to a Diet Coke one any day. That may be a distinction without a difference but there you have it. Btw, I still don’t think my favorite soda pop tastes different now that it’s been rebranded as Coke Zero Sugar. It’s soda spin as far as I’m concerned: pop goes the marketing weasel.

In case I’ve confused you more than usual, I’m talking about the Insult Comedian’s harebrained scheme to screw Amazon by changing their postal rates. He and Melania seem to have a reverse Ricky and Lucy thing going on. He has the crazy ideas, she has the thick accent. It’s unknown if she ever sings Babalu.

Trumpy even called in the Postmaster General who tried to explain that she doesn’t have the power to unilaterally change rates or cancel contracts:

President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars.

Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission, the three people said. She has told the president that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service and gave him a set of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries.

This president* doesn’t do process. I suspect he recalls his father Fred talking about his dealings with the Post Office back when it was a patronage spigot under FDR’s man Jim Farley. That changed in the 1970’s. Trump is usually stuck in the Eighties so this is at least a slightly different form of malakatude. I imagine him straightening his weave and saying in his best Archie Bunker voice: “My foddah told me about dis here t’ing.”

Once again we’re in Stupid Watergate territory. Nixon infamously tried to use the IRS to screw his enemies. He had John Dean hand the enemies list to the IRS commissioner who proceeded to sit on it. Nixon was not a fucking moron so he acted through intermediaries instead of doing the dirty work himself. Trump is still worse than Nixon. He’s always been stupider.

I’m not sure where Trump fits on the George W. Bush bad president scale because he hasn’t started a war or crashed the economy yet. He has, however, politicized the Justice Department and CIA just like the president who many are trying to rehabilitate. Just say no to that, y’all, just say no.

The last word goes to Rachel Maddow with a brilliant segment from her May 18th show. Rachel may not call Trump’s latest fakakta idea Stupid Watergate, but she places it in the proper historical context.

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: One Week

Asheville by Willem de Kooning

I’ve mentioned the celestial switch that heralds summer heat in New Orleans. It switched on this week. Yowza. We’ve had record heat almost every day, followed by torrential rain yesterday.  Yowza. We’ve even had the odd afternoon brown-out as the utility company struggles to keep up with demand or so they say. Entergy doesn’t have a lot of credibility after they astroturfed a meeting at which the city council voted on a new power plant for the company. In short, they padded the room with paid actors. They blamed a sub-contractor but nobody’s buying it.

In other local news, two of my friends, Will Samuels, and blog pun consultant, James Karst, had parts on the season finale of NCIS: New Orleans. In honor of their appearance on this fakakta show, we have pictures.

Will is the gent in the shades. He usually wears Hawaiian shirts so I almost didn’t recognize him.

They actually let Karst hold a prop gun. I gotta say he looks like a proper Feeb, skinny tie and all. He’s even in a scene with series regular CCH Pounder best known to me as Claudette on The Shield.

This week’s theme song, One Week, was a monster hit for Barenaked Ladies  in 1998. We have two versions for your consideration. The original video followed by a clip wherein the band reunited with former co-lead singer, Steven Page earlier this year. BNL performed a medley of One Week and If I Had A Million Dollars.

It’s time to count this week’s receipts while we jump to the break. They’re considerably less than a million dollars.

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The Latest Etiquette Food Fight

You’ve surely all heard about the latest Trump administration controversy. There was a leak of a bad “joke” by a communications staffer, Kelly Sadler, who said that what John McCain thought about the Haspel nomination was irrelevant because “he’s dying anyway.” The national knickers immediately went into a twist because of this latest example of bad manners by Team Trump. Hence the post title.

Here’s the real question about the latest etiquette food fight: why is anyone surprised and why should anyone expect an apology from an administration headed by the vulgarian-in-chief? There’s a reason I call the president* the Insult Comedian: he spends most of his time saying and doing horrible things. It’s contagious and has spread down the chain of command like herpes. This isn’t the first time someone on Team Trump has violated the unwritten rules of human decency and it won’t be the last. But this isn’t even close to the worst thing they’ve said or, more importantly, done.

Let me make it clear: I don’t think it’s funny to mock a dying man. It’s beyond gauche, but it’s nothing compared to past things said on the record by Republicans about *another* war hero as these tweets from Athenae in response to Steve Schmidt made clear:

This exchange pinpoints one of the problems with Never Trump Republicans such as Schmidt and the Mittbot. They spend most of their time complaining about Trump’s manners. I agree that they’re horrible. He reminds me of an unfixed male dog marking the national living room, culminating in an exuberant dump on the rug. BUT that’s not the worst thing about this administration, it’s their policies, stupid. Watch what they do, not what they say. They lie like a shit-stained rug, after all.

Everyone seems to have forgotten that the unfunny wisecrack was prompted by McCain’s opposition to Haspel’s nomination as CIA director because of TORTURE sanctioned by Team Bush-Cheney. By all accounts, George W. Bush has good manners but he lied his way into war, crashed the economy, vilified his opponents, and generally made a mess of things. The mere fact that he knows which fork to use is irrelevant. Watch what administrations do, not what they say.

In addition to advocating the return of torture, Team Trump wants to take health care away from millions of Americans, separate immigrant children from their parents, slash disability payments, privatize the VA, destroy the EPA, and on and on and on. It’s a parade of policy horribles that most Never Trump Republicans support. Remember: Trump does not give a shit about policy, that has been sub-contracted to the hard right-wing of the GOP. That’s why “nice and polite” Paul Ryan still supports Trump: he’s furthering Ryan’s Randian agenda.

Even if the Sadler-sack communications aide apologizes, it shouldn’t matter. The etiquette food fight will go on as long as the Insult Comedian’s rude misrule continues. He may end up being replaced by “polite” Mike Pence but the rude policies will endure. Watch what they do, not what they say.

Saturday Odds & Sods: In The Still Of The Night

Contrasting Sounds by Wasilly Kandinsky.

It’s been an eventful week in New Orleans. The city celebrated its 300th anniversary and inaugurated our first woman mayor. I expressed my reservations about Mayor LaToya Cantrell on ye olde tweeter tube:

The slogans included “We are woke” and “We will be intentional.” I’m uncertain if that’s intentional grounding or an intentional walk. I dislike the latter baseball tactic as much as exclamation points. I still wish the new mayor well. Her propensity to mangle the language is good for the satire business, and there’s no business like giving a politician the business. I believe in taking care of business, every day, every way.

This week’s theme song, In The Still Of The Night, was written by Cole Porter in 1937 for the MGM movie musical, Rosalie. It was first sung by Nelson Eddy who was in a shit ton of hokey costume movie operettas with Jeanette MacDonald. I am not a fan of the duo but I am a die-hard Cole Porter fan as evinced by the frequent appearance of his work as Odds & Sods theme songs. I considered counting them but I’m feeling as lazy as the president* today. Where did all my executive time go?

We have two versions of the Porter classic for your entertainment. First, the elegant jazz-pop baritone Billy Eckstine aka the Voice of God.

Second, the Neville Brothers featuring some gorgeous sax playing by Charles Neville. He was an acquaintance of mine. Charles died recently at the age of 79. He was a lovely man with a kind word for everyone he met.

It’s time for a journey to Disambiguation City. Fred Parris wrote *his* In The Still Of The Night for his doo-wop group The Five Satins in 1956.

Yeah, I know, Boyz II Men also had a hit with the Parrisian song but I’m not going there. Instead, let’s jump to the break. Now where the hell did I put my parachute?

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Malaka Of The Week: John Kelly

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: John Kelly is a more polished version of Donald Trump. Like his master, he has a tendency to shoot off his mouth and say horrible, xenophobic things. And that is why General/White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is malaka of the week.

Kelly firmly believes in pulling up the drawbridge and excluding immigrants. He also believes in demeaning and degrading those who want to emigrate to our country. Kelly expressed these views in the crudest possible terms yesterday:

“Let me step back and tell you that the vast majority of the people that move illegally into the United States are not bad people. They’re not criminals. They’re not MS-13. … But they’re also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They’re overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don’t speak English; obviously that’s a big thing. … They don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills. They’re not bad people. They’re coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws. … The big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States, and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.”

Here’s a reminder to Kelly of how his own people, the Irish, were viewed in their early days in America.

That was a cartoon by Thomas Nast depicting an Irishman as a sub-human, drunken papist who got his orders from the Catholic Church. Nast was a legendary 19th century satirist who worked for high-toned publications such as Harper’s Weekly and the New York Herald-Tribune. But Nast also trafficked in the bigoted stereotypes of his day.

I assume that Kelly would find Nast’s anti-Irish cartoons to be offensive.  I wish that he’d understand the analogy, but I have my doubts. Like the president* he serves, he is incapable of empathy or understanding the other person’s point of view. And that is why John Kelly is malaka of the week.

The Fog Of Scandal: The Fixer Meets Spiro Agnew

We’ve finally learned why Team Trump freaked out over the Michael Cohen raid. It looks as if the Fixer has been a busy boy shaking down big corporations and getting paid off by a Russian oligarch. He’s been doing business as Essential Consultants: the business is selling access to the White House. Remember when the Insult Comedian went on about pay for play during the 2016 campaign? It was classic Trumpian projection. Anyone who found the Fixer’s services essential was paying to play and some of the action involved Russian money.

Kremlingate and the Stormy shitshow have publicly intersected for the first time. There’s bound to be more to come. There’s a lot of dirty Russian money out there that needs laundering and some of it may have landed in the president’s* greedy hands. It’s a small palm to grease but money may well have flowed from Cohen’s shell company to one of Trump’s shell companies. Does anyone still think Kremlingate is too complicated for people to understand? People understand pay-offs and bribes.

This is a good time for everyone to brush up on the Agnew resignation. Tricky’s Veep was caught taking bribes from contractors back home in Maryland. The graft continued *after* Agnew moved from Annapolis to Washington City. Since federal prosecutors were uncertain if a sitting Veep could be indicted, a plea bargain was struck in exchange for Agnew’s resignation from office. This is a scenario that should be added to impeachment and the 25th Amendment in 2018. The Agnew scenario may be what Michael Avenatti has in mind when he confidently asserts that Trump will not finish his term.

This is getting more entertaining every day. I guess I have to take back my criticisms of Avenatti’s camera hog ways. Unlike Rudy Giuliani, he’s a camera hog who delivers the goods.

I originally titled this post The Fixer On Shakedown Street, so the last word goes to the Grateful Dead.

 

Trump’s War On Obama

The Current Occupant’s obsession with his predecessor reached an apogee of absurdity yesterday. The Iran nuclear deal is not only one of the Obama administration’s greatest accomplishments, it is working. Trump’s foreign policy actions continue to impact and alienate our allies and give aid and comfort to some dubious characters such as Bibi Netanyahu and the Saudis. Who’da thunk Saudi “reformers” and Israeli wingnuts would be in bed together? It’s the whole “enemy of my enemy “mind-set writ large.

Trump has done many terrible things as president* but this is the worst because it could lead to war. He’s pulling out of a carefully planned scheme without contemplating what comes next. By all accounts, there’s no plan or strategy on how to proceed. Hell, there’s nobody in charge of sanctions at the State Department right now. I am not making this up.

All Trump knows about the Iran deal is that it has Barack Obama and John Kerry’s fingerprints all over it. Kerry bad, Obama worse. That’s all he needs to know.

Trump prides himself on being a foreign policy “disruptor,” whatever the hell that means. All he’s really done is to take us back to Bush-Cheney era regime change policies. In fact, regime change in Iran was a bridge too far for many Bushies. John Bolton and his mustache lost that battle. Yesterday’s decision brings us closer to another stupid, bloody, and unnecessary Middle Eastern war. Thanks, Trumpy.

Obama and Kerry were playing the long game with Iran. They thought that engagement with Iran would lead to the erosion of the theocratic state built by the ayatollahs. There are many Iranians who are restless and ready for change. The Obama strategy was to encourage those folks to be change agents; a horrible phrase but accurate in this case. Team Trump doesn’t do long-term strategy. They play the short game. Badly.

Whatever happened to the notion of linkage? How can the Trumpers negotiate a nuclear deal with North Korea after pulling out of the Iran pact? Why should the dictator with bad hair trust them to keep their word to him after this? Questions abound. Answers are elusive. If nothing else, the price for cutting a deal with North Korea just went up.

One interesting sub-plot of the Iran deal mishigas is to watch how many Never Trump conservatives become Sometimes Trumpers. The NYT’s Bret Stephens has already praised the move. He won’t be the last.

I can usually find the humor in Trump’s war on Obama but not this time. The stakes are too high. It feels as if we’re slip sliding into a war simply because Donald Trump was publicly mocked by Barack Obama. That’s nuts but that’s the way it is in 2018.