Category Archives: Political Crack

Life Imitates The Godfather: Chris Cuomo Edition

I realize that I’m a day late on the Chris Cuomo kerfuffle but I had jury duty yesterday. They keep the juror lounge so cold that one could store a Semifreddo therein without it melting. It’s a frozen Italian delicacy, which the CNN host would be well-advised to to emulate. The dude needs to chill.

Let’s recap our story:

A video emerged on Monday night in which CNN anchor Chris Cuomo can be seen engaged in a tense confrontation with an unknown man and threatening to throw him down some stairs after the man called him “Fredo”.

In the video, reportedly taken in a bar on Long Island on Sunday, Cuomo is irate over a perceived insult from the man, an apparent reference to a character from the Godfather film. Cuomo suggests in the video it was meant as derogatory term for his Italian heritage, similar to the “N-word” for African Americans.

“Punk-ass bitches from the right call me Fredo,” Cuomo says. “My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN. Fredo is from The Godfather. He was a weak brother and they use it as an Italian aspersion.”

Cuomo is the son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo and brother of the state’s current governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I’ll fucking ruin your shit,” Cuomo says as the argument continues. “I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs.”

I’m obviously not a fan of Trumper assholes accosting people they dislike in public but Chris needs to make like a Semifreddo and chill. I plan to use that analogy until my plate is clean…

Calling someone a Fredo is an insult, not an ethnic slur. If this MAGA Maggot walked into a Knights of Columbus meeting and shouted “FREDO” the reaction would NOT be akin to walking into a Zulu meeting and shouting the N-word. I suspect that most of the KOC guys would be confused as opposed to outraged. They’d rather be called a Michael or Vito, after all. Repeat after me: Fredo is an insult, not an ethnic slur.

I’ll give Cuomo credit for sounding more like Sonny Corleone than Fredo:

I am glad, however, that he didn’t beat the MAGA Maggot down and bop him in the bean with a garbage can lid. Sonny would have thrown that worthless fucker down the fucking stairs so Cuomo showed *some* restraint.

In claiming that Fredo is an ethnic slur, not an insult, Cuomo amplified the story. He’s the one who made it about The Godfather, not some loudmouth Trumper asshole. It can’t be easy being Son of Mario and Brother of Andrew: Cuomo’s overreaction seems to reflect a measure of insecurity. A simple “fuck you, asshole” would have sufficed.

The Cuomos have long been hyper-sensitive about the fictional Corleone clan. Papa Mario refused to see the movie for many years because he believed it perpetuated lazy stereotypes about Italo-Americans. Others thought the movies glorified the Mafia. That shows the power of Puzo and Coppolla’s vision: it provoked people and made them think.

In other Life Imitates The Godfather news, we turn to the Roger Stone case:

Stone on Friday told a federal court that he opposed the request by prosecutors to play a clip from Godfather II at his trial, slated to start in November.

The clip was a pivotal scene in the movie in which a witness to Michael Corleone’s criminal conduct recants his testimony at a high-profile congressional hearing. The witness, Frank Pentangeli, backtracks on his testimony after he sees his brother and Corleone show up to watch the hearing.

Prosecutors say they want to play the clip to put in to context messages Stone allegedly sent radio host Randy Credico, who was subpoenaed to appear before Congress. Stone repeatedly referenced Pentangeli in the messages to Credico, according to prosecutors. Stone is charged with making false statements to Congress and witness tampering. He has pleaded not guilty.

Stone has claimed that he referenced Pentangeli because Credico does a good impression of him.

I’ve been known to do Michael Gazzo as Frank Pentangeli myself. It’s painful: not my impression but the voice is so raspy that it hurts to do it. Here’s the scene in question:

Frankie and Freddie were great pals, they’d both surely agree that the real Fredo on our current national scene is this guy:

The analogy breaks down because Don Vito Corleone was brilliant and Don Donaldo, IL Comico Insulto is a dumbass prone to descibing himself as a “very stable genius.” Like father, like son.

It’s easy to imagine Trump Junior saying this:

Repeat after me: Fredo is an insult, not an ethnic slur.

Under My Thumbs Up

We all know that the Insult Comedian was raised by wolves. He whines endlessly about his own suffering but is incapable of even synthetic empathy. He had a helluva time at the hospital in El Paso bragging about the size of his rally 6 months ago. Then there’s this:

None of the adult victims of the Trump-inspired terrorist attack would meet with him so an orphaned baby was brought back to the hospital to pose with Trumpberius and his Slovenian Julia the Elder. Missing from the scene are his Caligula (Don Jr.) and Nero (Jared). Life once again imitates I, Claudius. The Trumps are certainly fiddling while America burns.

It’s all smiles and thumbs up from the Trumps. Worst photo-op ever.

The last word goes to the Who:

Surprised you, didn’t I? The Who covered Under My Thumb in protest when the Rolling Stones were busted in 1967.

Trumpism Is Hatriotism

The hatriot-in-chief hugs a flag.

You may have noticed that I love language, nicknames, and slang. I agree with Samuel G. Freedman that it’s high time to revive a venerable word that he stumbled into whilst researching right-wing populist demagogue Gerald LK Smith:

In an episode that anticipated Trump’s recent rhetoric treating representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley as disloyal foreigners and telling them to “go back home” – even though all are American citizens and all but Omar were born here – Smith told a whooping crowd, “If the Jews don’t like our country, they can go back where they came from!”

As I slogged through such muck, I found a 1945 article from the New York Herald Tribune. It recounted Smith and similarly minded demagogues trying to crash a United Nations conference in San Francisco. Describing Smith’s crew, both the headline and the story used the word “hatriots”.

That term, a pithy conflation of “hate” and “patriots”, struck me as perfectly suited to our current moment. Read in the context of Smith’s divisive career, the word clearly referred to people who wrap toxic intolerance in the perfumed cloak of patriotism.

Freedman goes on a hatriotic journey to find the origin of the word and traces it to a 1941 editorial in a small-town Hoosier newspaper. It was fairly common journalistic parlance used to describe figures with Nazistic tendencies until some time in the 1950’s.

Another compound word that came up in Freedman’s piece is Ratzis. It was coined by the voice of The Untouchables, Walter Winchell. Ratzis: I like it so much that I’ll use it in a sentence, Trumper hatriots are Ratzis. That felt good.

I plan to work hatriotism and its hatriotic derivations into my writing as much as possible. Let’s make it a hat trick and use hatriot to describe individuals who worship the Insult Comedian and his invective.

Repeat after me: Hatriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Trumpism is Hatriotism.

What Do You Say, Dean Baquet?

The tweet below is the first thing I saw this morning. It was shared by Picvocate columnist Stephanie Grace and she found the whole thing as baffling as I did:

Here’s the deal: Edwin Edwards was a corrupt pol whose greed brought him down. But his “inflammatory comments” were nothing like those of the Insult Comedian. The one above is self-deprecating: does anyone recall Donald Trump ever mocking himself? That’s because the joke is *always* at the expense of someone he’s out to attack and smear. And he usually kicks down, not up.

One of the harshest things Edwin Edwards ever said about an opponent was in 1983: “Dave Treen is so slow that it takes him an hour and a half to watch Sixty Minutes.”

That’s a far cry from calling people crooked, traitors, and the other stuff that comes out of Trump’s big fat bazoo and pops up on his twitter feed. That’s why I call him the Insult Comedian.

Edwin Edwards was the first Gret Stet Governor to treat black folks as full citizens. They were his electoral base, not red-hatted racists. In fact, Trump is more like the man Edwards defeated in 1991: David Duke.

Perhaps Dean Baquet has been away from Louisiana so long that he “misremembered” the nature of Fast Eddie’s outrageousness. I suggest that he read John Maginnis’ brilliant account of the Edwards-Duke race from hell: Cross To Bear. Hell, Baquet should talk to fellow Gret Stet native and Timesman Charles Blow. He gets it.

Donald Trump is a boorish crooked racist. Edwin Edwards is a charming crook but not a racist.

Dean Baquet should be ashamed of this lame excuse for his paper’s disgusting headline about Trump’s perfunctory white supremacy speech. Baquet can and should do better.

Deadbeat Asshole In El Paso

The Insult Comedian loves being an uninvited guest in places where he’s not wanted. What’s reality teevee without conflict? Boring, that’s what. The people of El Paso will be extras on Trump’s whirlwind “message I care” tour. He does not: he’s all hat and no cattle.

Team Trump has stuck the citizens of El Paso with a bill of over $500K for security costs associated with one of his hate fest rallies a mere six months ago. The president* should have  had the decency to pay up but his entire life is a string of unpaid bills and broken promises. Why should he do the decent thing now? He’s never done it before. He’s all hat and no cattle.

Teleprompter Trump’s muted critique of racism and white supremacy endured almost a whole day but, predictably, Twitter Trump is back in the saddle. The MSM bought into his “moderate” rhetoric because they’re desperate for him to be normal so they can resume covering politics as a horse race. He’s not normal. He’s already back to sowing the seeds of division and grievance like a one-man Festivus:

It’s scary that Donald Trump makes Frank Costanza look like a nice guy.

It’s folly for the MSM to expect the Insult Comedian to be the consoler-in-chief when he’s really the despoiler-in-chief.

Repeat after me: Donald Trump is all hat and no cattle.

Still Numb

It’s been awhile since I wrote about an American mass shooting. The reason is genuinely horrible: they’ve become so commonplace that we’re *almost* getting used to them. That’s an appalling place to find ourselves in, but that’s how things stand in the summer of 2019.

The El Paso shooting is particularly horrific: the shooter went to that Walmart because so many people cross the border to shop there. It’s what happens when Mexicans are demonized by a sitting president* for his short-term political advantage. As always, the GOP is offering thoughts and prayers without informing the public what will happen when they stop thinking and praying. We all know the answer to that: nada, bupkis, nothing.

It’s not just the ascendancy of white nationalism that’s causing this. It enjoyed a comeback in after Bill Clinton’s election victory in 1992 as well: Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was a white nationalist. The difference is that 1994 saw the last piece of major gun control legislation passed: the assault weapons ban, which was allowed the expire during the Beavis-Duce administration,

We keep hoping that there will be an inflection point in the ongoing gun violence crisis. This could be the beginning of one: the NRA is imploding because of internal strife and drama. It’s unclear if they will have the resources to be a major player in the 2020 election cycle.

It’s time for another full-court press to restore the assault weapons ban. It won’t pass Moscow Mitch’s Senate but it could prove to be a powerful issue in 2020.

The right is fond of talking about American exceptionalism. Is this what they have in mind?

As long as there are military-style assault weapons in the hands of civilians, I’ll keep writing the Still Comfortably Numb series:

2015: Still Confortably Numb.

2016: Still Comfortably Numb Revisited.

2017: Still Comfortably Numb Revisited.

2019: Post Mayhem Rituals.

I’m not sure how I missed 2018. I must have been numb. I still am.

Update: I did write a mass shooting post in 2018. It was one of my better efforts: Kristallnacht In Broad Daylight.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Washable Ink

Salome With The Head Of John The Baptist by Aubrey Beardsley.

My first day of jury duty was uneventful. We waited to be called for voir dire but the call never came and we were out of there by 11 AM. They’re trying fewer cases at Criminal District Court since the DA’s office stopped prosecuting possession of small amounts of weed. An odd but effective move by our old school tough-on-crime DA. Ironies abound.

This week’s theme song was written by a very young John Hiatt for his 1979 album Slug Line. It was so long ago that he had a full head of hair as well as a unibrow.

We have two versions of Washable Ink for your listening pleasure: the Hiatt original and a cover by the Neville Brothers.

Let’s check if this spilled ink is really washable. Color me skeptical: black, red, or blue.

Do they still call newspaper reporters ink-stained wretches? Probably not but it was swell slang.

Time to ink up and jump to the break. I’m not sure what ink up means in this context, but I’m always talking shit. Y’all should know that by now.

Continue reading

Tweet Of The Day: Trumper Thuggery Edition

One red hat in particular was seeing red in Cincinnati yesterday, which is the home of the red-hatted baseball Reds:

How much courage does it take for a 29 year-old to attack a 61-year-old-prostestor? Nary a scinitilla in Cincy.

This incident shows how dangerous it is for the president* to conflate attacks on him with attacks on the country. His rallies consist of non-stop incitement speech. It needs to stop but we all know it will not. That’s why incidents like this are not incidental and must be called out.

The idiot who jumped out of the truck is named Dallas Frazier. I guess he confuses himself with former heavyweight champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Probably not: Joe was black and most Trumpers are as racist as the day is long. Besides, Joe was a genuine bad ass whereas Dallas Frazier is a coward who picks on men twice his age.

I’m glad the cops arrested him immediately. It’s a pity that the Trumpers in the crowd did not chant; LOCK HIM UP. It works in this case.

Repeat after me: Dallas Frazier is a pussy. He should grab himself.

I Can’t Stand The Rain

I’m a slacker pundit. I’ve opted out of watching this week’s cattle call debates. I have better things to do with my time than watch no-hoper John Delaney engage in a shout fest with Bernie Sanders. Doesn’t Delaney know that nobody outshouts Bernie?

I guess I’m sorry that I missed Marianne Williamson say “yadda, yadda, yadda” but I can watch the clips. I actually apologized to my readers in advance of the first round and it applies to tonight as well:

Repeat after me: debates don’t matter, especially early ones. Kamala Harris had her moment, then it receded because it’s simply too early to matter. Besides, if debates really mattered, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton would have been elected Oval Ones. When it comes to debates, I’m a mattering nabob of negativism. Holy shit, I just paraphrased Spiro Agnew and William Safire.

In hyper-local news, I start jury duty tomorrow. It’s been a long time. The last time was during September 2001. That’s right: I was in the jury lounge at Tulane Avenue when the twin towers toppled. The pace at Criminal District Court slowed to a crawl. I recall participating in only one voir dire that month. I’m hoping this August will be slow as well but for less dramatic reasons.

The rains keep coming in New Orleans. It’s gotten to the point that street flooding is a commonplace event. It used to happen every so often but now it’s a monthly, even weekly event thereby proving that climate change is a hoax. #sarcasm.

Dr. A and I are officially afraid of the rain. Our car perished in a flash flood when she was on her way to work a few weeks ago. It was totaled by the insurance company and we bought a new used car with the money. I guess one could call it a re-owned vehicle or some such shit.

The big buzz in Gret Stet state politics is a teevee ad by a hitherto obscure Republican candidate who is always described by the Gret Stet MSM as a “major donor” so I’ll follow suit.

Major Donor Eddie Rispone has pledged his troth to the Insult Comedian:

It’s amazing what one can do with sound FX:  Major Donor Rispone’s head is so firmly lodged up the Trumpian rump that it should sound muffled. Instead, it’s as clear as an Acadian bell.

I must confess that I’m disappointed that Major Donor Rispone did not holler “lock her up” or” send them back.” But hope springs eternal since his campaign has bought $5 million worth of teevee time.

The other Republican challenger to the Other Governor Edwards (there’s only one Edwin) is Doctor/Congressman Ralph Abraham. He’s a weasel and a dull one to boot. Lamar White Jr. has devoted considerable energy to exposing Doc Abraham as a phony at the Bayou Brief.

Before continuing, a musical interlude featuring the Original Abraham who, now that I think of it, was something of an amateur surgeon:

A shirtless, tattooed Albino rock star is the stuff of GOP nightmares. Holy Culture War, Batman.

The one-two punch of Major Donor Rispone and Doc Abraham has had the result of adding to the Other Governor Edwards’ support among pro-choice Democrats. I declared myself a clothespin Edwards voter two months ago; as bad as he is on abortion rights, he’s much better than the competition on everything else. If Major Donor Rispone weren’t against gay marriage, he’d propose to Trumpberius. It seems to be true love.

It’s time to circle back to the post title. The last word goes to Ann Peebles, Tina Turner, and Paul Rodgers:

 

Quote Of The Day: Baltimore Sun Edition

Donald Trump is trying to transform Charm City into Verminville. The Baltimore Sun isn’t having it. They wrote a scathing editorial, Better To Have A Few Rats Than To Be One:

Finally, while we would not sink to name-calling in the Trumpian manner — or ruefully point out that he failed to spell the congressman’s name correctly (it’s Cummings, not Cumming) — we would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever made an editorial excerpt the QOTD but there’s a first time for everything. We’ve never had an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head as president* before either.

This latest racist incident has really gotten to me. I have fond memories of the time I’ve spent in Baltimore. I have friends there and friends who are from there. It’s a great American city with a proud history and a thriving local culture. Mmm, crabcakes, hon.

Baltimore is the city of H.L. Mencken, Thurgood Marshall, Babe Ruth, Cab Calloway, Cal Ripken, Anne Tyler, Brooks Robinson, Donna Edwards, Barry Levinson, Johnny Unitas, Duff Goldman, David Simon, John Waters, W.E.B. DuBois, Boog Powell, Chick Webb, Barbara Mikulski, and Billie Holiday to name but a few.

It’s also Speaker Pelosi’s hometown and is ably represented by Elijah Cummings, not Alan Cumming although he’s pretty damn cool in his own right.

On the darker side, I nicknamed the president’s* son-in-law Slumlord Jared because of his literally vermin-infested properties in Mr. Cummings’ district. Fuck you, Jared and Donald.

Speaking of rats, Republicans are scrambling to defend the latest indefensible comments from their dear leader. Proving once again that he’s a journalist, not a FOX news hack, Chris Wallace nailed Mick Mulvaney to the wall about Trump’s racist and charmless attack on Charm City:

It’s time to follow-up on Athenae’s post yesterday with a personal note. My neighborhood was majority black when we moved here in 2000. It had some sketchy areas but I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. In fact, I frequently lament the changes in the hood since Katrina and the Federal Flood. I find myself saying, “Where did all the unfriendly white people come from?”

Many of our African-American neighbors have been priced out  by gentrifiers and house-flippers. It’s a pity. I miss our more diverse pre-K neighborhood. Does that make me pro-vermin? According to the Insult Comedian it does.

The language used by Trump and his allies is despicable. The word “infested” was used by Nazis and Stalinists to justify their attacks on “unwanted” populations. I believe in judging political movements by the company they keep. That’s some bad company, y’all.

The last word goes to the Jayhawks who aren’t from Baltimore but recorded this song in 1989:

Binder Full Of Leaks?

One of the more bizarre moments of Muellerpalooza was an exchange between Utah’s Chris Stewart and Bobby Three Sticks:

During former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony on Wednesday, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) boldly claimed to have a list of leaks about the investigation that originated in Mueller’s office.

Lifting a binder during the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing, Stewart declared, “I’m holding here in my hand a binder of 25 examples of leaks that occurred from the special counsel’s office.”

“All of these have one thing in common, they were designed to weaken or to embarrass the President,” he added. The congressman later amplified his comments on Twitter.

Reporters who’ve spent months covering Mueller and his team — and who’ve noted their reputation for not leaking — were baffled.

Stewart’s claims turned out to be specious. They were the sort of rumors that only Fox News viewers and or tin-foil hat wearing Alex Jones types are familiar with. No, Team Mueller did not leak the story about Roger Stone’s arrest to demon CNN. They had Casa Rog staked out.

A binder full of leaks sounds messy, doesn’t it?

I wonder if Stewart conferred with Utah Senator Willard Mittbot Romney about his choice of words? Who among us can forget the Binders Full Of Women moment during the 2012 debates? Not me. It launched a thousand memes, after all:

I was so intent on getting my instant analysis post online the other day that I neglected to suggest a theme song for Judiciary Committee GOPers. Bob Dylan gets the last word:

 

Final Thoughts About Muellerpalooza

I decided to write a followup to yesterday’s instant analysis post in order to flesh out my thoughts about Muellerpalooza. When I say instant analysis, I mean it. I wrote the post in under 35 minutes with as little reference as possible to what others are saying and thinking. Shorter Adrastos: I try to avoid punditry pollution at all costs. Hence what amounts to a sequel. I’m uncertain if there’s method in my madness or madness in my method. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

On a human level, I feel badly for Bob Mueller this morning. The expectations for both the investigation and the man himself were impossibly high. People hoped he would somehow save us from Trump. That was not his job: he’s a professional prosecutor not a resistance messiah. It was preposterous, indeed delusional, to expect a nearly 75 year old man to be something or someone that he is not. He did what he said he would do.

Upon diving into the pundit pool, I was struck by the age-ism of much of the commentary. Yes, Mueller looked old, tired, and querelous but his performance was hindered by the restrictions placed on him by the DOJ and the format of the hearings. He was repeatedly roasted by Republicans for his inability to answer certain questions when their attorney general is the one who tied his hands. Bill Barr is good at cover-ups in a way that Tricky Dick was not.

Other than Chairman Nadler, Judiciary Committee Democrats were there to be on teevee, not to get at the truth. I had hoped that professional staff would ask most of the questions. They asked none.

The Intelligence Committee hearing was better because members knew the facts and Mueller was both more alert and responsive to their inquiries. Committee Democrats did much less grandstanding and asked fewer questions that they knew would not be answered. They kept it snappy, which was why the second act was better.

Much of the criticism of Mueller involved the dread word optics. Many pundits were upset that Mueller was button-downed and reserved as opposed to flashy. It’s who he is. Many of the same pundits decry politicians for their lack of authenticity. Bob Mueller is a work horse, not a show horse. Anyone who expected impassioned speeches or a Perry Mason moment was kidding themselves.

Too much of the discourse over the Mueller Report has dwelled in cloud cuckoo land. There are villains aplenty but federal prosecutors are not comic book super heroes. Team Mueller’s job was to produce a report within the onerous constraints placed on them by the Justice Department. They did their job to the best of their ability and produced a report that many of their critics have not and will never read. Bob Mueller was never going to go rogue. It’s not who he is.

The discussion of impeachment has been equally fantastic in the original meaning of the word. I am firmly on the record as favoring impeachment but I understand the political calculations of House Democratic leaders, which have little to do with gumption or guts. In 2010, Speaker Pelosi decided that the ACA was worth losing the majority over. In 2019, she does not think that impeachment is worth losing the majority over. I disagree but her calculation is based on cold-blooded logic, not a lack of intestinal fortitude. Repeat after me: real life is NOT like a comic book movie.

Finally, Democrats should never have expected Robert Mueller to save us. That was not his job. He came out of semi-retirement at the age of 73 to serve his country again. We have to save ourselves.

The last word goes to the Beach Boys:

Repeat after me: real life is NOT like a comic book movie.

Instant Analysis: Muellerpalooza

It’s been a long day. The morning show got off to a promising start with Chairman Nadler’s strong opening but the rest of it was muddled. Judiciary Committee Republicans are deeply stupid. In fact, they’re as stupid as Louie Gohmert Piles and Gym Jordan. The latter still insists on not wearing his suit coat. I suspect he thinks he’s dazzling us with his pecs. He is not.

Morning Muellerpalooza was a snoozer. The witness looked tired and out of practice. He reminded me of a once great pitcher who has lost his fastball and is trying to get by on guile and control.  I’m uncertain if his frequent refrain of “can you repeat the question?” is a delaying tactic or a sign that he needs a hearing aid. The man is nearly 75, after all.

Here’s how I summed up Muller’s style on the Tweeter Tube:

Solicitors do the office work whereas barristers try cases. Mueller is not a trial lawyer, he’s a grind who didn’t grind enough this time around. There were times when he looked uncertain about the facts of his case. Holy bad staff work, Batman.

For those of us who have read the report, there was little new in the morning but things were better in the afternoon session chaired by Adam Schiff. He’s one of the best communicators on the current political scene. As much as I hate to say it, Intelligence Committee GOPers are not as stupid as their Judiciary counterparts. It made things less painful.

As to the substance, Mueller confirmed that:

  • DOJ rules against indicting a president made a huge difference to his case.
  • Trump’s written answers were not entirely truthful. The reason they did not subpoena him was two-fold: time constraints and the fact that they had sufficient evidence.
  • Russian interference in our electoral process is what really matters. Bobby Three Sticks was actually animated when discussing it.
  • He does NOT take politics into consideration when hiring people. For Mueller, it’s about competence, not ideology. Holy crap, I just quoted Dukakis. A 1988 flashback is invariably a bad trip, man.

The hearings were neither a triumph nor a disaster. The “optics” weren’t great but the fact that Mueller stayed above the fray was a major plus as was his insistence that this investigation is not a witch hunt. The only pointy hats I saw in the room were worn by GOPers.

I’m uncertain where we go from here politically. All I know for sure is that I need a nap after arising so early.

Trumper Incitement Speech

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any uglier, the Insult Comedian doubled down on his egregious bigotry. He briefly stepped back from the brink after Republican blowback over his remarks about “The Squad,” but he cannot help himself and was soon back to inciting the red-hatted hordes. It’s just the latest offensive language offensive by the party of Trump.

Trump’s latest racist comments led me to me ponder two legendary Supreme Court cases. In the first case, Schenck v. United State, Oliver Wendell Holmes (surely the best name in SCOTUS history) enunciated the “clear and present danger test.” 50 years later the Supremes limited that test in the case of a Klansman named Clarence Brandenburg, not to be confused with Clarence the goofball angel in It’s A Wonderful Life. In Brandenbeurg v. Ohio case, the Court held:

… that speech advocating illegal conduct is protected under the First Amendment unless the speech is likely to incite “imminent lawless action.”

When it comes to the First Amendment, I’m down with the late Justice Hugo Black who was a free speech absolutist. BUT just because incitement speech can be legal does not make it socially or politically acceptable. We cannot ban it unless it directly provokes violence BUT we can attack it at its source: the Trump regime and the GOP.

We’re seeing the effects of the Current Occupant’s vicious and racist attacks spring to life among his supporters. Rhetorical bombs are being tossed across the country.

Across the Big Muddy from Adrastos World HQ, a veteran Gretna police officer showed classic internet courage by first posting, then removing a Facebook thingamabob about Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez:

The Times-Picayune reported this weekend that police officer Charlie Rispoli had posted a threatening message about Ocasio-Cortez, who used to work as a bartender, on his Facebook page.

“This vile idiot needs a round…and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” Rispoli wrote in a caption above a fake article headlined with “Ocasio-Cortez On the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much’”

The cop seemed livid about the article, even though the site Taters Gonna Tate describes itself as a “satire” website and Ocasio-Cortez has never said that soldiers get paid “too much.”

A Trumper falling for a “fake news” article? Imagine that. Of course, anyone who has fallen for the Insult Comedian’s shtick is a fool and/or a poltroon.

Meanwhile, this happened in the Land of Lincoln:

Internet courage was also displayed by this group: they removed this offensive image as well as its even more offensive caption, “Political jihad is their game. If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology, you’re racist.”

That is, of course, Geoffrey Hughes’ character, Onslow, from Keeping Up Appearances, not one of the Illinois GOP honchos. But now that I think of it, all you have to do is add a Bears or Cubs hat and Bob’s your uncle. Your uncle, not mine.

They justified the racist image with this gobble-de-gook:

State Republican Chairman Tim Schneider responded to what he called the “bigoted rhetoric” in a statement, according to the Tribune.

“My intense disagreement with the socialist policies and anti-Semitic language of these four congresswoman has absolutely nothing to do with their race or religion,” he said. “I urge everyone who opposes them to keep the rhetoric focused on policy and ideology.”

Instead of gobble-de-gook, one might call this an Illini lie. Schneider is a German-sounding name, perhaps he should go back to Germany. Of course, German law takes a dim view of incitement speech for obvious reasons. Been there, done that.

The current political environment is ugly and getting uglier by the nano-second. Trump and his supporters will stop at nothing to keep him in office. I am genuinely concerned that this will result in even more politically inspired violence than we’ve already seen.

Like Pontius Pilate, Trump will wash his hands of any responsibility the next time someone gets hurt, especially if it’s one of The Squad. I have no sympathy for that devil, y’all.

And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Trump and his followers are stirring the pot with their incitement speech. At the risk of sounding like an entry in the dictionary of political cliches, they will eventually reap the whirlwind and pay for their actions in the fall of 2020. But it will take hard work and persistence. And Boris Badenov and ilk may help Team Trump just as they did in 2016:

Repeat after me: Republicans lost the popular vote in the mid-terms by 9 points. Their only hope for victory is to depress Democratic turnout by hook or crook and pray for protection from the electoral college.  Never forget: massive turnout by the people Trump is trying to otherize is the cure to what ails the country.

Since bomb throwing is the metaphor of the day, the last word goes to 10cc:

UPDATE: The Gretna, Louisiana cop mentioned above was fired.

Tweet Of The Day: Nihilistic Neelyism Edition

I wrote a piece for the Bayou Brief last year about Neelyisms, which are the cornpone sayings of the Junior Senator from the Gret Stet of Louisiana, John Neely Kennedy. He’s at it again.

Neely went on the Tucker Carlson Xenophobia Hour and called the Squad, “the four horsewomen of the apocalypse.” There was a follow-up tweet from this twit:

What the hell does the “directions on a shampoo bottle” thing even mean? Is he concussed or is it brain damage caused by his mindless defense of the Insult Comedian? Most Neelyisms make *some* sense, this one does not. He’s as crankily incoherent as Hopper in Stranger Things 3. It’s what comes of defending the indefensible.

As a silent film history buff, I got a kick out of the anachronistic reference to this classic movie, which was based on biblical lore:

I’m not sure many people got the reference but Mr. Google is there to provide guidance. I hope he led people to the 1921 original, not the 1962 remake, a film so bad that even the great Vincente Minnelli couldn’t rescue it. It was such a dog that it’s still barking. Holy shit, that sounded like Dog Hating Donald. Apologies.

It’s no revelation to think that Neely was actually referring to The Bible, but it’s more fun to riff on old movies than armageddon. That’s not my scene, y’all. Besides, if anyone is bringing on the apocalypse, it’s Neely and his president*, not AOC and the Squad.

The last word goes to the Clash:

 

 

Donald Trump Is A Racist

I realize that I’m both preaching to the choir and stating the obvious with this post title. I think it’s important to be direct when writing about the depths of the Insult Comedian’s bigotry and the damage it has done to the country.

Vox’s German Lopez has assembled an impressive timeline of Trumpian public racism that stretches back to 1973. It’s an ugly but must-read piece. Anyone with a lick of sense has known from the beginning that Donald Trump is not only a criminal, he’s a racist.

What else was birtherism but a demand that Barack Obama show his “papers” to prove his citizenship? It didn’t need to be true or even partially true to have a malicious effect on the body politic. Hell, Trump wasn’t even the original birther but he was the most persistent.

I realize that Trump’s “go back” attack on the Squad was an attempt to divert attention from all the Trump scandals. It was imperative, however, to call him on his egregious racism. I wish he would “go back” to Trump Tower and leave the rest of us alone.

There were only 4 Republican House members plus Justin Amash who voted for the resolution condemning Trump’s latest racist tweet. I was surprised that there were any so this kinda, sorta counts as progress.

The GOP response was typified by Mitch McConnell, Steve Scalise, and Kevin McCarthy all of whom claimed Trump is not a racist and that they were nice to then President Obama. It’s all so typical and tiresome. Give it a rest, y’all. You own this guy and his overt racism.

The worst effect of having a racist, white nationalist president* is that it’s now socially acceptable in some quarters to make overtly racist comments in broad daylight. They’re following the president’s* bad example. I wish they would crawl back under the rock they oozed out from under BUT at least we know where we stand. The dog whistle has been replaced with a bullhorn.

Team Trump’s 2020 strategy has been obvious for months: defame, slander, and lie about their opponents to depress Democratic turnout. It’s their only hope of winning since they’ve been shrinking their base since the infamous “American carnage” inaugural rant. The good news is that Trump’s racist, xenophobic mid-term campaign did not work. The bad news is that we’re stuck with this asshole until January, 2021.

One good effect of Trump’s face-off with the Squad is that the MSM is starting to call a racist a racist. Trump’s reaction has been typically overstated:

That’s the Insult Comedian’s version of “some of my best friends are black.” Given his record of sexual assault, there may be one bone in his body that isn’t racist, if you catch my drift.

I may be preaching to the choir but repeat after me: Donald Trump is a racist.

The last word goes to Rodney Crowell:

To Sir, With Self-Love

Barack Obama is frequently compared to Sidney Poitier. They’re both dignified, self-possessed pioneers. I never expected to spin a Poitier movie title in a post about Donald Trump’s mendacity but I just did. The world works in mysterious ways, sir. Believe me.

Daniel Dale has been chronicling the Insult Comedian’s lies since he descended on that Trump Tower escalator and ripped into Mexican “rapists.” The lies, half-truths, and exaggerations have, if anything, escalated since that moment. Daniel Dale has been there for all of it; first at the Toronto Star and now at CNN, sir.

Dale’s systematic study of Trumpian mendacity turned up a word that is almost invariably a tell that the president* is lying. You guessed it; the word is SIR.

I’ve fact-checked every word Trump has uttered since his inauguration. I can tell you that if this President relays an anecdote in which he has someone referring to him as “sir,” then some major component of the anecdote is very likely to be wrong.

Lots of people do call Trump “sir,” of course. But the word seems to pop into his head more frequently when he is inventing or exaggerating a conversation than when he is faithfully relaying one. A “sir” is a flashing red light that he is speaking from his imagination rather than his memory.

In poker parlance, it’s a tell.

Yes sir, Mr. Dale, sir.

This is the most disturbing sir story by far, sir, because the stakes were so high, sir:

President Donald Trump told a dramatic story on Twitter last month.

Explaining how he decided to cancel a possible attack on Iran, he wrote, “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it…”

This was all so Hollywood that I would have been skeptical regardless of Trump’s choice of words. Because he included one particular word, though, I was almost certain the story was inaccurate in some way.

<SNIP>

My “sir” suspicions didn’t betray me on Trump’s Iran tweet last month. Later in the day he posted it, CNN reported that a White House official said Trump was given a casualty estimate much earlier than “10 minutes before the strike.” reported that an administration official said the “150 people” figure was given to Trump by White House lawyers, not in a cinematic exchange with a general.

Yes sir, Mr. Dale, sir. That’s a Lulu of a whopper, sir. Lulu, of course, sang the theme song for the 1967 Sidney Poitier movie To Sir, With Love. Hence the post title: To Sir, With Self-Love.

Another major Trump tell is when he ends a sentence with “believe me.” It’s an indicator that what preceded it is untrue. Believe me, sir. Uh oh, I just shot my credibility to hell.

The last word goes to Lulu:

Tweet Of The Day: John Kerry Edition

Before entering electoral politics, Ayanna Pressley was a senior aide to then Senator John Kerry. Big John rose to Pressley’s defense after the president* told her and three of her colleagues to “go back” to their shithole districts. I’m the one who said shithole this time, but he’s said it before and will say it again. Believe me.

The MSM called Trump’s original tweet, “racially charged.” Those of us in the reality based community called it racist. It was a successful attempt to distract attention from the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. It’s the only thing the Insult Comedian does well.

A quick note to my fellow Democrats; STFU and stop attacking one another. We’re the big tent party and we need a coalition to win elections. Moderates and Lefties need one another to take on the real enemy: THE PARTY OF TRUMP.

The Fog Of History: 1992

When Ross Perot died the other day there was a surge of hits on a post I wrote in 2015, Enough Already With The Perot-Trump Comparisons. Thanks, y’all.

I never voted for Ross Perot but he was much better person than Trump. Perot was a genuine self-made man who had “a very good brain.” Perot also knew his way around a folksy aphorism whereas Trump merely babbles and repeats himself; NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION. Additionally, Perot gave freely of his time and money to a variety of good causes and we all know about the Insult Comedian’s stingy ways.

The New York Times obit of Perot is a classic of the genre:

And in 1992 he became one of the most unlikely candidates ever to run for president. He had never held public office, and he seemed all wrong, like a cartoon character sprung to life: an elfin 5 feet 6 inches and 144 pounds, with a 1950s crew cut; a squeaky, nasal country-boy twang; and ears that stuck out like Alfred E. Neuman’s on a Mad magazine cover. Stiff-necked, cantankerous, impetuous, often sentimental, he was given to homespun epigrams: “If you see a snake, just kill it. Don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”

Timesman Robert D. McFadden also described Perot as a “wiry Texas gadfly.” I’m fond of gadflies. I’m one myself.

1992 was one of the most exciting elections of my lifetime. It had everything: sex scandals, a huge Democratic field, and an incumbent president who was good at governing but rotten at campaigning. Poppy Bush was challenged by wingnut gadfly Pat Buchanan whose insurgent campaign damaged the incumbent enough to doom his candidacy. Thanks, Pat.

And then there was Ross Perot. He entered the race on Larry King Live, exited the race during the Democratic Convention, then re-entered the race just in time to debate Bush and Clinton.

The featured image is of my favorite moment in the first debate: Bush checking his watch. Does anybody really know what time it is, does anybody really care?

Perot did well in 1992, winning 19% of the popular vote and his candidacy was the final blow to Poppy Bush’s chances.

Perot was quirky and idiosyncratic. The term eccentric billionaire seemed to have been coined for him. I’d like to thank him at this point for helping to elect the Clinton-Gore ticket thereby breaking the Democrats losing streak in presidential races. It was a helluva campaign y’all.

Perot’s third party candidacy in 1992 showed the utility of such an effort whereas his 1996 campaign showed its futility: he won only 8% of the popular vote and wasn’t invited to debate Clinton and Dole.

I used to do a wicked Ross Perot impression but I lost it after he left center stage. It typically involved the phrase “great sucking sound,” which he used to describe NAFTA but is equally applicable to the Trump Regime.

The last word goes to Patsy Cline with the song Team Perot played as he hit the stage to concede in 1992:

 

 

Quote Of The Day: Immigration Edition

The Insult Comedian is messing about on twitter again. He retweeted a genuine picture of himself with then President Ronald Reagan that included a phony quote about the awesomeness of the Donald. Anyone surprised?

I have immigration on my mind because of the migrant detention/concentration camps on our border with Mexico.  Additionally, Independence Day has evolved into a holiday on which we celebrate new citizens who have taken a test that the Current Occupant would surely fail. Every year at federal buildings across the country, the latest crop of new citizens is sworn in on the last business day before the Fourth of July. They take an oath to the constitution, not to the dear leader much as the Kaiser of Chaos might like that.

That brings me to the quote of the day. It comes from a man I never voted for but who looks better all the time thanks to the antics of the Current Occupant and his band of rogues and poltroons. That’s right, I’m about to quote the 40th president, Ronald Reagan.

Reagan was emphatically conservative BUT he was a business Republican from a border state, not a nativist like Trump. These remarks come from a ceremony on Reagan’s last day as Oval One at which he awarded the medal of freedom to former Senate Democratic leader and Ambassador to Japan, Mike Mansfield, and Republican Secretary of State, Treasury, and Labor, George Schultz.

Part of Reagan’s speech was an ode to immigration:

And since this is the last speech that I will give as President, I think it’s fitting to leave one final thought, an observation about a country which I love. It was stated best in a letter I received not long ago. A man wrote me and said: “You can go to live in France, but you cannot become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey or Japan, but you cannot become a German, a Turk, or a Japanese. But anyone, from any corner of the Earth, can come to live in America and become an American.”

Yes, the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors. It is that lady who gives us our great and special place in the world. For it’s the great life force of each generation of new Americans that guarantees that America’s triumph shall continue unsurpassed into the next century and beyond. Other countries may seek to compete with us; but in one vital area, as a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world, no country on Earth comes close.

This, I believe, is one of the most important sources of America’s greatness. We lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people — our strength — from every country and every corner of the world. And by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation. While other countries cling to the stale past, here in America we breathe life into dreams. We create the future, and the world follows us into tomorrow. Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. This quality is vital to our future as a nation. If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.

You know things are bad when I praise Ronald Reagan, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due. Reagan was president the last time the immigration laws were comprehensively updated. You know, the laws Trump calls a disgrace. The only disgrace is the current president* himself.