Category Archives: Political Crack

Bayou Brief: Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member

Carnival 2019 is as long as Anthony Davis’ arms. Unlike AD it doesn’t want to be traded to the Lakers. I’m not sure what LeBron would make of this on his home court:

Earlier today my latest piece for the Bayou Brief went live: Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member. It’s a photo essay about my life and times as a member of Krewe du Vieux; something y’all have heard me go on about here at First Draft.

I picked the title because it’s catchy not because I confess to all that much. I must confess that it’s a relief not to write about a certain asshole president* who lied his way through the SOTU. I didn’t watch. Dr. A and I were babysitting our de facto nieces and nephew aka the Child Army. There was, however, snark and shade involved:

That’s why her nickname is the Benevolent Dictator. In the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, I don’t get no respect. It’s an open question as to whether I deserve any.

The last word goes to Jay McShann and the Rolling Stones with this confessional classic:

Signs of the Times

FINE, let’s talk about that idiot Ralph Northam and how this whole flaming fustercluck could have been avoided had he been like, “Look, once upon a time I was an asshole, here is a picture of it, and here is how I have worked to remediate that and how you should do so as well.” Instead of waiting for someone to get mad enough to find it and do what was done with it. God.

(The fuckin’ moonwalk thing. Can someone please tell all white men everywhere during this Black History Month that there’s no particular virtue in saying every single thought that is in your head? I mean, Michael Jackson? STOPPIT.)

What I’d mainly like to talk about, besides the unending self-own that is Northam’s entire existence at this point, is the idea that “everybody” just did this in “the South” once upon a time. Everybody meaning white everybody, and the South being everything below the Canadian border apparently. Because it’s horseshit and we hear it all the time.

Yes, there was a time when fewer white people side-eyed you for putting on blackface and saying the n-word or having waiters cosplay as enslaved people or whatever. That doesn’t mean that time was okay. In fact, it pretty explicitly means that that time was garbage, and you’re not supposed to be proud of what you did back then.

“Literally everyone around me was also in blackface pretending to be in the Klan” is not an exoneration of you, in other words, it’s an indictment of everyone else along with you. The only way you think that shit’s exculpatory is if you exclude “everyone who isn’t white” from your definition of the people around you.

As Robyn so wisely points out:

It also obscures the fact that polite “white” society wasn’t as unified as we like to think around the concept of racism as an unequivocal YAY. If there’s one thing I’d like my fellow honkies to put to bed it’s this idea that there was a time when all white people considered racism to be okay and awesome, and then along came Martin Luther King and something something something, and the Civil Rights Act ended racism forever.

And everyone instantly knew that racism was no longer wrong, and this entire process took five minutes!

Because that means racism would be solved now completely (erm, no) and also that there were no abolitionists in the first place nor activists nor just people who recognized racism for what it was before the tide of public opinion in polite circles turned.

It erases the Freedom Riders, and people who worked for human rights before 1968 (hell, before 1900), and people who were just generally decent and didn’t have it in them to mock and degrade other human beings.

It makes overcoming racism something you can only do when it’s polite to do so, rather than when it’s hard, and it seems like everyone else in the very white room you’re in is looking the other way.

A.

The Northam Minstrelsy Mess

A familiar line of defense has emerged in the Ralph Northam minstrelsy mess: YOUTHFUL FOLLY. Unfortunately for the Virginia Governor, he was a twenty-five year old medical student when the offending, and offensive, yearbook picture was published. Since this is NOT the NFL, I hereby throw a penalty flag on the youthful folly defense. I also wonder *why* the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook published a picture of that dastardly duo in 1984. The current head of the med school wants to know as well and has launched an investigation.

You know things are bad when being the blackface dude is not as bad as the alternative. After initially admitting that one of the bozos in the picture could have been him, Doctor/Governor Northam changed his story. Like so many politicians in trouble, he violated the first rule of holes and kept digging. His denial included this astonishing admission:

“That same year I did participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume,” Northam told the crowd of reporters, later joking that it is difficult to get shoe polish off your face. “I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that.”

Northam said that he won the dance contest, and when a reporter asked if he could still moonwalk, he look around to see if there was space to show off the dance move.

He paused after his wife jumped in to say it was an “inappropriate circumstance.”

One could say Northam used a backhoe to keep digging his hole. The mere thought that it would be okay to  moonwalk at his Saturday presser should be grounds for resignation in and of itself.

Northam’s press conference was supposed to begin the healing process whereby he could stay in office but it had the opposite effect: all of the recent past Democratic Governors, Wilder, Warner, Kaine, and McAuliffe have called for Northam to resume the practice of medicine.

The good news is that Northam now seems open to quitting if he can longer be effective as Governor BUT he has not resigned as of this writing. To say he can’t be effective as a Governor leading a multi-racial state party after the minstrelsy mess is an understatement.

As wingnuts are fond of pointing out, the Democratic Party *does* have a checkered past when it comes to race, especially in places like the Commonwealth of Virginia. BUT those days ended when a Democratic president from the South passed major civil rights legislation and Richard Nixon became the candidate of the white backlash. Democrats are now the anti-racist party and need to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to blackface minstrelsy and other examples of  the misguided humor of youtful folly. The election of Donald Trump and the rise of white nationalism in the GOP has made that even more imperative.

I believe Northam when he says that the 2019 edition of Doctor/Governor Northam is not a bigot and that he’s done many good things over the years. I believe he’s sorry about the picture on his yearbook page. BUT he forfeited any chance at being forgiven for his youthful folly when he crawfished on whether or not he was one of the pinheads in that yearbook picture. His hole is now a crater.

A quick resignation from office is also in Northam’s self-interest. He can retain at least a shred of dignity by cutting his losses. It’s time  for him to “jump Jim Crow” out of the governor’s mansion. Let’s hope he does it today.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Rainy Night In Georgia

Hummingbirds by Walter Inglis Anderson

The Super Bowl  will be played tomorrow in Atlanta, but ratings in New Orleans will be abysmal because of the infamous blown call. The game is being boycotted by most locals: Dr. A and I are going to two non-watching parties. I’m unsure if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be burnt in effigy at either soiree. One of them is a birthday party so perhaps there will be a Goodell pinata. Probably not: my friends Clay and Candice have a small child and the sight of Goodell is traumatic to most New Orleanians.

New Orleans and Atlanta have a longstanding and intense rivalry. And not just in football. They’ve topped us economically but we have better food as well as charm up the proverbial wazoo. Saints fans are also disappointed not to be Super Bowling in Atlanta because they’re losing out on some trash talking opportunities. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written in 1967 by Louisiana native Tony Joe White who died last fall at the age of 75. Rainy Night In Georgia is a song that proves the adage that the best songs are sad songs: “looks like it’s raining all over the world.”

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the songwriter’s original, Brook Benton’s 1970 hit version, and a mournful 2013 interpretation by Boz Scaggs.

Let’s put away our umbrellas and jump to the break. We’ll try not to splash land.

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Tweet Of The Day: Mo Howard Bashing

Not the late, great Moe Howard of the Three Stooges, I’m referring to the stuffed shirt on the right in the picture below:

The billionaire bozo’s bad roll-out bumbles on. He feels that a self-made man like him will restore dignity to the White House. Unfortunately, Howard seems to be as ignorant of history as the Current Occupant:

Oops.

The last word goes to another Schultz:

Of Stone Cold Liars, Starbucks Fucks, & Sweaty Shysters

This polar vortex is a mean motherfucker. It has led the Insult Comedian to make a stale joke about global warming and vast swaths of the country to freeze their asses off. It’s been in the forties in New Orleans but I’m not complaining after learning that the bars in Wisconsin are closed because of the weather. Now that’s some serious shit.

The news grinds on as Cheeseheads hunker down and Athenae’s cats get more lap time with their people because of the weather. Holy Aaron Brrr, Batman.

Stone Cold Liar: Roger Stone is the first person I’ve ever seen who seems to enjoy being perp-walked and arraigned. Ratfucker Roger loves him some publicity even when it involves a full-tilt raid by federal law enforcement on all his properties. The feds were afraid that he might destroy evidence pertinent to Kremlingate. For all we know, Stone took some selfies of himself and Assange and/or Guccifer 2.0. Hopefully, there aren’t any sex tapes. #shudder

The tough talking Stone claims that he’ll never roll on his pal Trumpberius. It looks like lobbying for a pardon to me. Roger is a stone cold liar. If he’s facing enough jail time, he’ll sing a different tune:

But the speculation that Stone could turn on his longtime client is supported by several factors. For one, Stone has a complicated relationship with Trump. The two met in 1979 when Stone was living at Roy Cohn’s Manhattan town house while working as a young staffer on Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, and it has rankled Trump that Stone is regarded as his political brain (Stone has claimed he created the “build the wall” slogan). “Stone and Trump are like an old married couple,” the Republican close to Trump explained. “Stone knows Donald isn’t loyal. He calls him ‘Mr. Ingratitude.’”

That’s a better nickname than any coined by the Insult Comedian. Stay tuned.

Howard The Starbucks Fuck: It’s been a long time since there was such a rotten campaign launch. Howard Schultz does not seem to have thought his campaign through very well. It’s unclear why he’s running: the last thing the country needs is another inexperienced rich egomaniac in the White House. If Trump doesn’t cure us of the “we need a CEO to run guvmint like a bidness” delusion, nothing will.

Speaking of delusions, Schultz is guilty of a venerable one that’s part of the country’s creation myth. He believes that political parties are the problem. He’s half-right in that instance: the GOP has been going crazy for the last half-century and their lunacy was perfected with the election* of the Current Occupant.

If Schultz were a lifelong conservative Republican who would take votes from Trump, I’d be down with his independent candidacy BUT he’s not, so he should follow that heckler’s advice:

“Don’t help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire asshole. Go back to getting ratioed on Twitter. Go back to Davos with the other billionaire élites who think they know how to run the world.”

Word.

The Case of the Sweaty Shyster: The president* may have appointed Matt Whitaker acting AG to throw monkey wrenches at the Mueller probe but it hasn’t gone to plan. Rod Rosenstein has continued to supervise the investigation and the indictments and guilty pleas keep coming. So much for Trump’s attempt to rig the “rigged witch hunt.”

There was a flurry of MSM gullibility when Whitaker claimed that the investigation was nearly over. It was a vague, unsubstantiated claim but the MSM fell for it even though there are obviously more shoes to drop, especially if Stone turns on Mr. Ingratitude. Additionally, congressional Democrats seem to think that a bunch of Trumpers lied under oath, which is what Rog is charged with.

I don’t believe Whitaker, in part, because he sweated at that presser like Bogie in the greenhouse scene in The Big Sleep. A friend of mine captured the moment on twitter:

That’s one sweaty shyster.

The last word goes to glam rockers Mott the Hoople with a song released during the misrule of Roger Stone’s favorite Oval One, Richard Milhous Nixon:

 

It’s Over For Now

America is no longer held hostage; at least until February 15th. The Trump regime is still making bellicose noises but, until proven otherwise, I’m inclined to view it as meaningless dick waving. They’re showing off for their base but it’s doubtful that Senate Republicans will support another shutdown. I suspect there are more than six GOPers who will vote to keep the government open without explicit funding for Trumpy’s wall folly. Why? The Trump “brand” is becoming increasingly toxic.

I posted William Copley’s think flag instead of a Jasper Johns flag to strike a cautionary note if they think another Trump shutdown is a good idea. The White House is still muttering about declaring a national emergency over Trumpy’s wall folly, but that’s a path that should not be taken. Lindsey Graham and the Freedom Caucus fucks may think it’s a good idea but not many others do. Trump’s scare stories aren’t working: I wish someone would use duct tape on *his* big fat bazoo.

There has been a silly debate in the stupider corners of the tweeter tube over who won the shutdown battle. They want a simple, nay simplistic answer, that points in one direction. One such argument is that  workers won the battle, not Speaker Pelosi. I think (there’s that word again) that it’s both. Congressional Democrats held firm and air traffic controllers delivered the final blow with their slow motion sick out. Additionally, the president* wanted to distract attention from the Stone arrest and indictment.

While there were political winners of the shutdown, it came at a substantial economic cost. Federal employees will eventually get back pay, but contract workers will not and I’m talking about people like cafeteria workers and janitors. That’s another reason everyone should think twice before plunging into another hostage situation such as the one that lasted 35 days.  Unfortunately, the Trump regime is not known for thinking first. Stay tuned.

The last word goes to (who else) Aretha:

If you were expecting Roy Orbison, I’d hate to disappoint you:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Back To Black

Bird Collage by Max Ernst

It was overwrought drama week in New Orleans. Saints fans are genuinely angry in the aftermath of the blown call but things have gotten silly. There’s a futile lawsuit filed by lawyer Frank D’Amico who advertises his services on the tube. He’s getting some free publicity by filing what is best described as a “feel-good frivolous” lawsuit seeking a Saints-Rams rematch. It has as much chance at success as I have of playing in the NBA.

My Congressman, Cedric Richmond, is doing a major pander by threatening a Congressional hearing over the blown call. Hey, Cedric, we’re having a constitutional crisis, and you want to spend time grilling Roger Goddam Goodell?

This week’s theme song was written in 2007 by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson. Black To Black was the title track of Amy’s final studio album and the sub-title of the great documentary about her life. We have two versions for your listening pleasure:

While we’re at it, let’s throw two more blackened songs into the musical skillet:

Did I really use the term musical skillet? I must be slipping. Speaking of which, let’s slip away and jump to the break.

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Quote Of The Day: Cartoon Villain Edition

No, not that cartoon villain, this one:

As much as it pains me to quote a former Trump aide, this gem from a new book by Cliff Sims is impossible to overlook:

As I watched Kellyanne in operation over our time in the White House, my view of her sharpened. It became hard to look long at her without getting the sense that she was a cartoon villain brought to life. Her agenda—which was her survival over all others, including the president—became more and more transparent. Once you figured that out, everything about her seemed so calculated; every statement, even a seemingly innocuous one, seemed poll-tested by a focus group that existed inside her mind. She seemed to be peren­nially cloaked in an invisible fur coat, casting an all-­knowing smile, as if she’d collected 98 Dalmatians with only 3 more to go.

I’d call that paragraph catty but there’s a Cruella De Vil reference so I’ll be doggone if I’ll do that

America Held Hostage Day 34

Donald Trump isn’t used to anyone saying no to him. He doesn’t handle it well. That’s what happened yesterday when he tried to force his way into the House chamber for the SOTU, which should be rechristened SOTC. C is for chaos or clusterfuck.

Nancy Smash has no problem with saying no to a petulant president* even after a day in which the high priests of the cult of savvy decided he might have a plan. As usual, they were wrong: the Insult Comedian folded after the Speaker called his bluff. No surprise. Trump always folds but it usually doesn’t take this long.

The Kaiser of Chaos used a new word in reacting to NDP’s disinvitation:

“We just found out that she’s cancelled it. I think that’s a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love. It’s a great, great horrible mark. I don’t believe it’s ever happened before and it’s always good to be part of history but this is a very negative part of history.”

Blotch? Really, Donald? Is that the best you can do? I thought you had “all the best words” stored in your “very good brain.”

Trumpberius looked deflated as he made those incoherent comments. Once again, he’s been outmaneuvered by the wily speaker. His fragile ego has a hard time dealing with so much losing, especially at the hands of a skirt. The *real* author of The Art of the Deal nailed it on the tweeter tube:

Remember when people on the hard left and squishy right of the Democratic party wanted Nancy Smash to step aside? We’re not hearing much from them right now.

A day after his SOTU cave, the Insult Comedian floated a new slogan:

This is so stupid and simplistic that I’ll let his co-author dispatch him again:

One of the worst things about the current hostage crisis is that stories of human suffering do not move Trump. He long ago wrote off federal employees as Democrats. He cannot even muster a scintilla of fake empathy for the havoc his wall fetish has wrought. Disorder and disruption are his specialities. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

There are finally signs that the Trump shutdown may be winding down. While Trump pretends not to believe the “fake polls,” they’re dire for him. It’s past time for him to fold and declare victory. There is no plan, there is no end game. It’s time for the Insult Comedian to lie his way out of this mess. It’s what he does best.

Finally, I’m fascinated by Trump’s inability to coin a nickname for Speaker Pelosi when there’s an obvious one out there. It’s inspired by the venerable hit musical No No Nanette. He could call her No No Nancy. It’s alliterative as all get-out. Of course, the president* hates being told no, so it’s a non-starter for him but I may add it to my nickname arsenal. It’s not as smashing as Nancy Smash but it fits the times we live in, no?

The last word goes to Ringo:

Rudy: Confusion Will Be My Epitaph

“I am afraid it will be on my gravestone. “Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump.” Somehow, I don’t think that will be it. But, if it is, so what do I care? I’ll be dead. I figure I can explain it to St. Peter.”

Rudy Giuliani, 2019

“Confusion will be my epitaph
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it we can all sit back and laugh,
But I fear tomorrow I’ll be crying,
Yes I fear tomorrow I’ll be crying”

Peter Sinfield, 1969

The Human Smoke Machine known as Rudy Giuliani has been ubiquitous since the disputed Buzzfeed article was published. It’s a good thing that Rudy’s goal isn’t to clarify matters because he goes on and on and on, belching smoke like a coal-fueled factory. In the immortal words of Macbeth: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

Rudy’s bizarre defense of president* Trump seems to be as jinxed as a production of Macbeth aka The Scottish Play. Uh oh, I just used the M word twice, which means this post is jinxed too: “Double, double toil and trouble;  Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”

Enough with quotes from the jinxed play, back to Rudy who has made an even bigger mess of things than usual. First, he expanded the Kremlingate timeline by admitting that negotiations about the Moscow project continued during the 2016 election. The president* first claimed to have no business dealings with Russia, then changed his story several times. After walking back the claims he made to the Failing New York Times, Rudy said this to the New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner: “If he had a project in Moscow, there would be nothing wrong with it, but he didn’t.”

In his role as the First Criminal’s mouthpiece, Rudy constantly violates the first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging. Rudy’s frenetic rat-a-tat-tat verbiage reminds me of an ugly version of Walter Burns as played by Cary Grant in His Girl Friday:

Like his client, Rudy has a fatal inability to STFU. They’re both “cock-eyed liars” who spread confusion every time they open their big fat bazoos. It’s proof positive that it’s easier to tell the truth: you don’t have to remember all the lies you told. The truth is alien to both Trump and Rudy. Lying is like breathing to them.

Rudy Giuliani used to be known as the “prosecutor who got Gotti” and as “America’s mayor.” He was even a serious presidential contender before his 2008 campaign collapsed into farce. Rudy is the ultimate Trump dignity wraith. Confusion will indeed be his epitaph,

The last word goes to King Crimson:

The More The Merrier

Welcome to the latest post wherein I steal the title of an old movie. The More The Merrier was a brilliant 1943 comedy about the wartime housing shortage in Washington D.C. It’s noteworthy as the last comedy directed by George Stevens before going off to war. Stevens was among the first Americans to see a Nazi death camp and stuck to more serious subjects after the war. As much as I love A Place In The Sun, Shane, and Giant, I wish Stevens had done some comedies after the war. Nobody did them better and his post Giant output defined the phrase mixed bag. That concludes the film buff portion of the post.

Let’s turn out attention to the 2020 presidential campaign. There’s some hand wringing among Democrats about the number of candidates who plan to run. I say the more the merrier. A diverse field of candidates shows the strength of our party. And a large field gives us a better chance to pick a candidate who will reflect the nation’s mood in November 2020.

It’s been forgotten what a large field of talented candidates ran for the 2008 Democratic nomination. It quickly boiled down to Obama versus Clinton, but John Edwards was a serious contender early on. We dodged that bullet but we could have found ourselves stuck with Edwards when the National Enquirer baby daddy story hit.

We know what worked in the 2018 midterms: new faces, especially women and minority candidates. That might be the right formula for 2020 as well but an experienced old hand such as Joe Biden might be appealing to voters sick of Trumpian incompetence by the time the election rolls around. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell this far out from the election. Repeat after me: the more the merrier.

I remain undecided about 2020 but I find much to like in the candidacies of Warren, Harris,  Castro, and Gillibrand as well as the thus far undeclared cohort of Booker, Klobuchar, Brown, Beto, and others who are flirting with running. It’s a veritable cast of thousands: the more the merrier.

As to Mike Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders, I’m a fan of neither but let them run and see how they do. Bloomberg’s wanderings from Democrat to Republican to Independent and back to Democrat gives this hardcore Democrat pause. Similarly, Sanders’ status as a stubborn Independent is vexatious. I’m also unconvinced that a passion candidate like Bernie will do as well the second time around, BUT if both he and Bloomberg want to run, I say the more the merrier. Let the voters decide.

Everyone who is a native-born citizen over the age of 35 has the right to run for president even Tulsi Gabbard. I’m mystified as to why she thinks that running on a platform of compromising with Trump, Obama bashing, and Kremlingate skepticism will appeal to Democratic voters. I’ll skip detailing her anti-LGBT past, which has already crippled her candidacy.

Speaking of the Current Occupant, he’s the elephant in the room. If Trump runs for re-election, he will be the GOP nominee even if he faces a primary challenge. But I remain uncertain that he’ll be on the ballot in 2020. As a partisan Democrat, I hope the Insult Comedian runs because he looks beatable in the wake of the midterms, but as a patriot I hope he’s out of office ASAP.

Democrats need to be prepared to run against another Republican nominee, be it Pence or someone else. That’s another reason to be glad that the Democratic field will be so large. We need options. The more the merrier.

The last word goes to The Mighty Sparrow:

 

America Held Hostage Day 31

The Trump shutdown goes on and on and on. As does the president* himself: he tweeted 40 times yesterday according to Politico.

The Insult Comedian’s attempt to impose a “compromise” flopped. Bigly. It’s what happens when the “negotiations” involve only Republicans. It pissed off anti-immigration hardliners and was rejected out of hand by Nancy Smash *before* Trump spoke. She continues to play contract bridge while the president* plays go-fish.

The Turtle finally poked his head out of his shell but the proposal went nowhere Saturday and will not get 60 votes in the Senate. Democrats remain united even though reports of suffering federal employees are painful. We can’t negotiate with a gun pointed at our heads. If we give in, Trump will pull this stunt over and over again.

It’s Martin Luther King Day everywhere in the country except in Mississippi and Alabama where it’s MLK/Robert E. Lee Day. The Lost Cause dream dies hard in the cradle of the confederacy. I wonder if Jeff Beau Sessions is wearing gray today?

It’s “we wuz robbed” day in New Orleans after that egregious blown call in the NFC Championship game. There are even calls for a Saints parade on Super Bowl Sunday. I’m not crazy about the idea. I’d prefer placing the refs in the stocks and pelting them with stale King Cake, but that’s just me. Vengeance is sticky…

That concludes this edition of America Held Hostage. The last word goes to U2:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Drinking Again

Subway Portrait by Walker Evans

The weather roller coaster continues in New Orleans but nobody cares because the Saints are playing the Rams in the NFC championship game tomorrow. Our loud fans are bound to blow the roof off the Superdome and it’s going to be raucous everywhere in town. There’s some overconfidence among the fans but very little on the team itself. I still refuse to say Who Dat but I will say Geaux Saints.

In other local news, the Rolling Stones are playing Jazz Fest. I’ve seen the Stones 6 times, but I’m not shelling out $185 for their special day, which is especially expensive. I may just have to listen for free from my top-secret location nearby. Here’s my  only comment on the continuing gentrification of Jazz Fest:

This week’s theme song, Drinking Again, was written in 1962 by Johnny Mercer and Doris Tauber. We have versions by two of the greatest singers ever: Aretha Franklin and Francis Albert Sinatra. Bottoms up.

The song was reworked in 1968 by the Jeff Beck Group:

I hope you’re not too tipsy to jump to the break.

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America Held Hostage Day 26

Flags by Jasper Johns

I did a daily update on the 2013 Ted Cruz shutdown using the Jasper Johns image above and the *original* title of a teevee news show hosted by Ted Koppel. Here’s how I explained it back when Cruz was clean-shaven and idea of President* Trump was a punch line:

I keep dating myself (I kiss and tell too) on this blog but I do it for a good cause. I remember when ABC News launched a late night newscast after bored students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took a bunch of hostages to avoid studying for finals. The show was originally called America Held Hostage before morphing into Nightline, which is apparently still airing but I haven’t seen it in eons. A late night network news show is now kinda quaint but it was cutting edge in 1979.

The Trump shutdown is in its 26th day, which is the longest in American history. That makes it the latest in a series of dubious firsts for the Trump regime.

The modern era of extortion by government shutdown started in 1995 when Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House and Bill Clinton president. The Gingrich shutdown was the previous record holder at 21 days. Clinton stood frim and the GOP took the blame for that shutdown.

I feel the pain of federal workers who have missed a paycheck but it’s important for Democrats to hold firm on the Trump shutdown. If they cave, he will keep doing this every time his will is thwarted. It’s extortion pure and simple.

Speaker Pelosi’s SOTU gambit was smashing. She *is* the host of the event and is hoping that Trump will be unable to resist the clarion call of a speech in the most dramatic setting imaginable. The Insult Comedian loves the sound of sycophantic GOPers cheering his every lie, after all. He’s unlikely to revert to the pre-1913 custom of a written SOTU. Woodrow Wilson initiated the modern in-person SOTU but he was a noted orator, not a ranter like Trump.

It’s time to thank the president* for taking responsibility for the shutdown. I’ll never forget the smirk on Chuck Schumer’s face when Trump fell into that trap. It’s what happens when you have no impulse control and cannot STFU. That’s why Rex Tillerson called him a fucking moron. Thanks, Trumpy.

At day 26, it’s no longer just the Trump shutdown, it’s the Trump-McConnell shutdown. There are the votes in the Senate to override a presidential veto but Chinless Mitch won’t schedule a vote despite how badly Republicans are tanking in the polls. The Turtle has crawled back into his shell. I didn’t know they hibernated.

The last word on the Trump-McConnell-Limbaugh-Coulter shutdown goes to Josh Marshall:

Republicans are desperate – and not even doing much or well to hide it – to have Democrats start negotiating with them about a wall. We’ve moved on from demanding the chunk of money. Now it’s wanting to negotiate, begging frankly. For all the atmospherics and strategies, the only important point to make is that the President is holding the government hostage to force his way. That has to stop. The shutdown bacillus that Newt Gingrich injected into our political system in 1995 must be eradicated. It was dormant for almost two decades until Republicans (neo-Gingrichites) returned to power in the House in 2011. It’s wrong. It’s destructive. And it’s the same principle we apply to all terrorists. You can’t negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers, because it encourages the behavior.

Republicans In Disarray

It’s been a bad week for the president* thus far. His wildly unpopular shutdown enters its 27th day, he’s been mocked for serving cold hamberders to jocks from Clemson, and his administration* has been leaking like a sieve. The stories about his NATO-phobia and Interpretergate have been particularly damaging as well as damning. It’s been an excellent week, however, for Putin’s plan to foment chaos in what used to be called the free world. We’ll just have to keep on rockin’

Enough of the Insult Comedian, let’s talk about *other* Republicans in disarray. Two past malakas of the week have been in the news: Steve King and Chris Christie.

The Same Old Racist Iowa Cornholer: Emulating Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is shocked, shocked to learn that Steve King is a bigot. Based on his legendary “untrustable in hungria” comment, McCarthy is not the brightest bulb in the lamp. He’s also not very observant: Steve King was a racist long before he was stripped of his committee assignments.  I wrote about it in a 2017 post called King Of The Bigots and Trip Gabriel of the Failing New York Times has compiled Steve King’s Greatest Hits. What a long, strange Trip it’s been.

Perhaps Kevin hadn’t noticed before because his head is so far up Trump’s ample rump that he’s been blind to King’s racism. It’s a lame excuse: King has been saying this shit since he was a member of the Iowa lege. This quote comes from 2002, when the Trump presidency* was just a bad dream:

Mr. King, in the Iowa State Senate, files a bill requiring schools teach that the United States “is the unchallenged greatest nation in the world and that it has derived its strength from … Christianity, free enterprise capitalism and Western civilization.”

The Congressman from next door Metry and past malaka of the week, Steve Scalise, has been too busy selling books and pretending NOT to be a more politically viable David Duke to notice King’s bigotry either. Scalise prefers code words to raw naked hatred but he’s guilty of Renault-ism as well:

The King of Bigots took to the House floor yesterday to defend himself:

Dolts like King always twist history to justify their words and actions. Many abolitionists were racists and preferred emigration and separation to integration and equality. I wonder if King has ever heard of Liberia.

The only reason Republicans stripped the bark off King’s committee assignments is that House Democrats voted to rebuke the Iowa Cornholer’s latest statements. The vote was 424-1. And the no vote came from Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush who thought the House should censure the King of Bigots.

Let’s move on to our next example of Republicans in disarray. The post title feels slightly illicit since it mocks a million such stories about Democrats in Tiger Beat on the Potomac aka Politico. Perhaps I’ll win the morning.

Governor Asshole’s Revenge: There’s a consensus out there that the Trump regime operates like a mob family. I’ve even given him a wise guy name: Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto.

The man who wanted to be Clemenza to Trump’s Godfather has written a book that verifies the old Sicilian adage “revenge is a dish best served cold.” I wonder if the dish is pizza? I happen to like cold, leftover pizza for breakfast. I’ve also been known to hold a grudge.

Back to Christie’s upcoming tome, Let Me Finish. Yesterday, the Guardian published an exclusive article about the most explosive parts of the book, which involve the Governor Asshole/Slumlord Jared blood feud:

Christie blames this key player[Kushner] in the president’s inner circle for his ignominious dismissal shortly after Trump’s election victory in November 2016. Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, writes that Kushner’s role in his sacking was confirmed to him by Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief, in real time.

As Bannon was carrying out the firing, at Trump Tower in New York, Christie forced him to tell him who was really behind the dismissal by threatening to go to the media and point the finger at Bannon instead.

“Steve Bannon … made clear to me that one person and one person only was responsible for the faceless execution that Steve was now attempting to carry out. Jared Kushner, still apparently seething over events that had occurred a decade ago.”

The political assassination was carried out by Kushner as a personal vendetta, Christie writes, that had its roots in his prosecution, as a then federal attorney, of Charles Kushner in 2005. The real estate tycoon was charged with witness tampering and tax evasion and served more than a year in federal prison.

Apologies for the long quote but I couldn’t quite channel my inner Mario Puzo or David Chase this morning, so I let the Guardian guys do it for me.

I’ve missed having Governor Asshole to kick around. I’m glad he’s publishing an *almost* tell-all book about the Trump regime. I say almost because he’s softer on Trumpberius than on anyone else:

At his first meeting with Trump in 2002, at a dinner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in New York, Trump ordered his food for him. He chose scallops, to which Christie is allergic, and lamb which he has always detested. Christie recalls wondering whether Trump took him to be “one of his chicks”.

At another dinner three years later Trump told the obese Christie he had to lose weight. Addressing him like one of the contestants in Miss Universe, the beauty contest organisation that he owned, Trump said “you gotta look better to be able to win” in politics.

Trump returned to the theme of girth during the 2016 presidential campaign, exhorting Christie to wear a longer tie as it would make him look thinner.

Christie hates lamb? Fuck him and the long red tie he rode in on. Was that a bridge too far? Nah, in the immortal words of Bobby Bacala:

No, Bobby, I don’t. It’s what I do.

There’s one more example of Republicans in disarray. Chinless Mitch may be preventing a vote on re-opening the government but he lost a vote yesterday, which had to be one of the most newsworthy Tuesdays in history. One could even call it Christie Gras.

The Oleg Deripaska Sanctions Blues: Team Trump wants to lift sanctions on the Russian oligarch to whom Paul Manafort owes millions of dollars, Oleg Deripaska. 11 Republican Senators joined Democrats to stop this move in its tracks; one of whom, to my great surprise, was Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy of Neelyisms fame. As Neely himself might put it, even a blind pig finds an acorn sometime. Boy howdy.

This was a preliminary vote: they need 2 more GOP votes to stop Mnuchin’s folly but any sign  of Republican disarray is inordinately pleasing. Props to Chuck Schumer for organizing this mini uprising. He’s showing more backbone since Nancy Smash became Speaker. Keep it up, Chuck.

That concludes this episode of Republicans In Disarray Theatre. The last word goes to the Gin Blossoms who have anthropomorphized disarray.

Tweets Of The Day: Protest NOLA Style

The Insult Comedian came to Nashville New Orleans today. I wasn’t able to attend the protest but some very talented people did.

The tweets come from some local media types who covered the protest.. We begin with two food oriented tweets from the Gambit Tabloid:

Here’s a close up of the guillotine from the Advocates’s Jeff Adelson:

I’ve saved the best for last: a Krewe du Vieux worthy mini-float that the unknown (to me) artist calls Fat Man and Little Boy after the first two nukes, They’re definitely da bomb.

Finally, after a shaky start the Saints beat the Eagles 20-14. Next up are the Rams in the NFC Championship Game. We’ll see if Jared Goff handles the crowd noise better than Nick Foles. We witnessed a Foles fail yesterday and it wasn’t even the fall.

I still refuse to say Who Dat but I will say GEAUX SAINTS.

The Fog Of Scandal: Worst Case Scenario

Photo via radioopensource.org

I wasn’t surprised by Friday’s NYT blockbuster but I was still shocked. We need to retain the capacity to be shocked, if we lose it, they win. There are more stories of White House horrors in the pipeline, if we’re numb to the outrages, they win. This is not normal.

I’ve resisted the temptation to label Kremlingate the worst scandal in American political history, but that ended Friday with the confirmation that the FBI has investigated Trump’s sinister pro-Russian conduct as president*. Imagine if Woodrow Wilson had connived with the Kaiser in 1916 or if FDR was in league with Tojo and Hirohito in 1940. That’s where we find ourselves in 2019.

I deliberately picked the years before war was declared (a quaint thing we used to do in the pre-Korea/Vietnam/Gulf Wars era) to remind everyone that Trump’s peacetime affiliation with Putin’s Russia is subversion and sedition, not treason, which, as I pointed out early last year, is the only crime defined in the constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

An additional definition is offered in the constitutional dictionary:

treason n the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one’s country or of assisting its enemies in war.

We’re not at war with Russia and when it comes to the law words matter. I understand why the T word and its variations roll off the tongue and one’s twitter timeline but repeat after me:  Kremlingate is sedition, not treason.

I’m *almost* a Russia hawk but I don’t want war. Bullies like Putin should be resisted. But we should use the tried and tested methods of containment. It worked with the infinitely more powerful Soviet Union. Putin’s efforts to subvert small-L, small-D liberal democracy by stealth are an admission of weakness, not strength. Unfortunately, we have a fake tough guy as president* who is compromised by Russian intelligence.

Until last Friday, I was in favor of slow walking impeachment. I’m well aware that it’s a politically explosive topic. The last thing I want is for Trump’s eroding base to rally around him BUT with the latest confirmation of his seditious activities there’s no choice but to impeach. Timing remains important: the House should wait for Muller to issue his final report on the Kremlingate aspects of this sprawling scandal. BUT they will have to confront this issue directly this year even if the votes to convict in the Senate aren’t there. At the very least, impeachment will turn this president* into a political eunuch.

As I’ve said many times before, Watergate was my formative political issue. In fact, I’m currently re-reading Woodstein’s The Final Days. So, I’m loathe to admit that any scandal is worse than Watergate or that any president is more corrupt than Richard Nixon but the time has come to put aside my “childish ways” and agree with Congressperson Rashida Tlaib that it’s time to “impeach the motherfucker.”

Saturday Odds & Sods: Because The Night

Twelfth Night Revelers Pageant Design by Charles Briton, 1871

Carnival is in its early stages but it’s beginning to eat my life. That may sound cannibalistic but I’ve always been fascinated by the Donner Party, so I’m down with cannibals. But I was never big on the band Fine Young Cannibals. I like music with more bite. All FYC ever did was was drive me crazy. Hmm, FYC sounds like KFC and you know what they say about chicken…

Last Sunday was Twelfth Night proper so Dr. A and I attended the launch party of a new business owned by our friends Will and Jennifer Samuels. It’s called the King Cake Hub and they sell a wide variety of King Cake from numerous local bakeries. And New Orleanians are obsessed with King Cake.

The King Cake Hub’s location has added to the local interest: the Mortuary at 4800 Canal Street. It used to be a genuine mortuary and is currently home to an elaborate haunted house every fall. If you don’t believe me, it’s picture time:

I knew Will before he became a King Cake impresario and was a pizza man; not to be confused with Frank Furillo of Hill Street Blues. I wish him well in his new venture. End of semi-shameless unpaid commercial plug.

Henceforth there shall be no more shilling. Isn’t “thou shall not shill” one of The Ten Commandments of Love?

This week’s theme song, Because The Night, has something of a checkered history:

The song was originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen during sessions for his Darkness on the Edge of Town album. He was not satisfied with the song and later declared he already knew he wasn’t going to finish it since it was “a[nother] love song”; the Patti Smith Group was working on Easter in the studio next door, with engineer/producer Jimmy Iovine working on both albums. Iovine gave Smith a tape of the song, she recast it, and it was included on Easter, becoming the first single released from that album.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Patti’s version, Bruce and the E Street live in 2012, and Bruce and Patti teaming up with U2.

WARNING: BONO ALERT.

If that Bono sighting doesn’t make you want to jump to the break, I don’t know what will. So, follow me, trail along.

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Tweet Of The Day: Louisiana 1993

The Insult Comedian is coming to the Gret Stet of Louisiana next week. He’ll be speaking at the Farm Bureau convention at the Morial Convention Center. Since New Orleans is one of the bluest cities in the country, there will be protesters. I may be among them.

That brings me to the tweet of the day. Thanks to my blogger buddy and Spank krewe mate, Noladishu, for sending this my way:

Trump’s casino bid crapped out.