Category Archives: Political Crack

Quotes Of The Day: D-Day 75 Edition

The Trump Family Freak Show tour of Europe moved to the sacred beaches of Normandy today. There have been many cringe-worthy moments: from Trump’s ill-fitting monkey suit to his late night twitter fight with the Divine Miss M to his confusion as to whether Ireland is an independent country. Pro Tip: It is, Donald. Have you ever heard of Michael Collins or Eamon de Valera? Of course not. Perhaps you should watch the movie with Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman.

NYT foreign policy columnist Roger Cohen had this to say about Trumpy’s great adventure:

How small he is! Small in spirit, in valor, in dignity, in statecraft, this American president who knows nothing of history and cares still less and now bestrides Europe with his family in tow like some tin-pot dictator with a terrified entourage.

To have Donald Trump — the bone-spur evader of the Vietnam draft, the coddler of autocrats, the would-be destroyer of the European Union, the pay-up-now denigrator of NATO, the apologist for the white supremacists of Charlottesville — commemorate the boys from Kansas City and St. Paul who gave their lives for freedom is to understand the word impostor. You can’t make a sculpture from rotten wood.

It’s worth saying again. If Europe is whole and free and at peace, it’s because of NATO and the European Union; it’s because the United States became a European power after World War II; it’s because America’s word was a solemn pledge; it’s because that word cemented alliances that were not zero-sum games but the foundation for stability and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.

Of this, Trump understands nothing. Therefore he cannot comprehend the sacrifice at Omaha Beach 75 years ago. He cannot see that the postwar trans-Atlantic achievement — undergirded by the institutions and alliances he tramples upon with such crass truculence — was in fact the vindication of those young men who gave everything.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Here’s what an American president who I voted against twice said on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day:

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.”

<SNIP>

We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We’re bound by reality. The strength of America’s allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe’s democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

It shows you how bad things are that I gave Ronald Reagan the last word

Adrastos: Elizabeth Warren For President

Photo via the Center For Public Integrity.

I’ve been on the fence about 2020. I find myself at risk of getting splinters so it’s time to dismount and take a stand. I decided to put my pen name in the post title so y’all wouldn’t think this was *the* First Draft position when it’s mine, all mine. Besides, who among us doesn’t like their name in lights? Bright lights, big city and all that rot.

I’ve been closely following the early stages of the primary race. The field of 23 may be unwieldy but it shows the strength of the Democratic party. It’s an impressive group but one candidate has impressed me more than the rest: Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Warren checks all the boxes for me. She’s smart, tough, experienced, an excellent speaker, a good retail politician, and, most importantly, she knows *why* she wants to be president and *what* she’ll do if elected. The ability to govern should be higher on the list of things Democrats want from our next nominee.

Warren’s economic policy chops are deservedly celebrated. I’d like to discuss some of her other ideas. There are two of particular interest to me. First, she favors the abolition of the electoral college. Second, she wants to enact a law to establish the principle that a sitting president can be indicted. The current situation has resulted in the Current Occupant believing that he can violate the law with impunity. That must stop. No American should be above the law.

I’ve urged our readers to take the time to read the Mueller Report. Elizabeth Warren has done so. She came to the conclusion that Trump has committed crimes and must be punished. Thanks to the damn fool DOJ rule, impeachment is the only sanction available. It’s not an entirely satisfactory solution as it’s merely an invitation to the Senate to remove a president. But it’s the only arrow in the quiver right now. Senator Warren understands that we must fire it regardless of the consequences. As I argued last week, it could be politically ruinous for Democrats to fail to act. Courage is required. As the first presidential candidate to come out for impeachment, Elizabeth Warren has shown that she won’t run from this fight.

The reason it took me so long to support her candidacy was the way Team Warren botched the ancestry question. They should have kept it simple. Family stories have a way of not being true. That’s what happened with Warren’s belief that she had Native American ancestry. It was an old family story that turned out to be wrong. Everyone I’ve ever met from Oklahoma is convinced that they have Native American blood; some do, most don’t.

The Democratic nominee in 2020 must be tough and a fighter. Elizabeth Warren has those qualities as well as an unique ability to explain complex issues in terms that people understand. She’s a Senator who does not speak Senatorese.

There’s a palpable feeling among Democrats that our next nominee should NOT be a white male. Women have led the resistance and, along with people of color, spurred Democrats on to victory in the midterms. It’s their turn to lead the party. Senator Warren has the right stuff to withstand the brutal and dishonest assault that the Trumpers will mount against any Democrat in the next general election. They’ve already come after her and she’s still standing.

There’s a long way to go and anything can happen. I will support whoever the Democratic party nominates but I hope that it’s Elizabeth Warren. I believe she’s the right person to lead us out of the wilderness and clean up the mess made by the Trump regime.

My admiration for Elizabeth Warren exploded on the day Mitch McConnell tried to bully her into silence on the Senate floor. To this day, his words ring in my ears: “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

That’s what we need in our next president, someone who will persist regardless of the odds. Repeat after me: Elizabeth Warren has the right stuff.

Milkshake It Up

The Insult Comedian is in woody old England. He’s already insulted London Mayor Sadiq Khan, endorsed Boris Johnson, and praised Nigel Farage. Trump is a fan of Brexit, which he regards as linked to his own election. His ambassador to the UK is New York Jets (talk about “stone cold losers”) owner, Woody Johnson, who raised a ruckus Sunday by stating that *every* part of the British economy would be on the table in trade talks with the Trump regime including the National Health Service. The NHS is a cow so sacred that it was exempt from the Thatcherite privatization mania of the 1980’s. The Tories, however, may be stupid and/or desperate enough to go for it thereby pulling Labour’s chestnuts out of the fire. Stay tuned.

The reason I went on about Trump’s unstately state visit is that we have a new British import to the former colonies: milkshaking. It made its British debut with Limey wingnuts, Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage and popped up in the land of Key Lime pie yesterday:

The milkshaker was Amanda Leigh Kondrat’yev who ran against Gaetz in 2016. (Gaetz can be seen in the featured image hitchhiking with Trumpberius.) Conservative media is disgusted and I’m amused. The burning question is what flavor to use whilst milkshaking. If I were so inclined, I’d opt for something that would stain: strawberry or chocolate. The likes of Gaetz are a major stain on the body politic, after all.

The kids tell me there’s a song called Milkshake but I prefer to ride into the sunset with the earworm I came in on:

Courage

Speaker Pelosi has forgotten more about politics than most people will ever know. She’s right to think that impeachment is tricky. It’s unpopular now BUT, like everything else in this mercurial era, that’s subject to change. Public opinion is fluid, not static except for the hardcore rump of Trumpers, which is around 25% of the electorate. Speaker Pelosi is a political genius but even geniuses can be wrong. She *is* wrong about impeachment. It is not just a legal imperative, it is a political one. I think inaction will be more politically damaging in the long run than defending the rule of law against a lawless and illegitimate administration.

Yesterday’s statement by the ultimate G-Man, Robert Mueller, confirmed that the vast majority of the country, let alone members of Congress, have not, and will not, read the report. Despite attempts to make it user friendly, it’s long and detailed and chock full of legal phrases baffling to lay people. That’s not a criticism, it’s a fact. Most people need to see the teevee show, not read a 448 page book. Mueller’s statement was more in the nature of a preview of coming attractions, not the main event.

Mueller said yesterday that he would only testify publicly about the contents of the report itself. That’s fine. Repeat after me: most people have not and will never read the full report. Mueller doesn’t want to testify. Life is full of chores we’d rather not do: I could live without changing the cat box but I do it. I fear the wrath of Della Street and Paul Drake. Who wouldn’t?

If his appearance cannot be negotiated, Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff need to subpoena the  Special Counsel. Unlike the Insult Comedian’s lawless minions, he will comply. It’s time for Bobby Three Sticks to eat his veggies. He can have dessert later.

I disagree with those who say that political considerations should play no role in the impeachment decision. It is an inherently political process. Those calculations increasingly argue FOR, not against, impeachment. Yes, I know, the Senate will not convict as of this writing and the majority is threatening to go straight to a vote and not hold a trial. BUT Democrats are losing the messaging war to Republicans and, worse, look weak. Nancy Smash is not weak but perception is everything in politics. She cannot afford to look weak in these perilous times for our democracy. The president* is terrified of impeachment, when he’s scared, he makes mistakes.

The ground is shifting. The mere fact of Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash’s advocacy of impeachment has made House Democrats look feckless and I give a feck about that. Amash has made cogent arguments in favor of impeachment, which has made the Speaker’s temporizing look weak. He’s obviously read the full report, which is why he came out for impeachment; much like his political antonym, Elizabeth Warren. Repeat after me: most people have not and will never read the full report. They need the teevee show.

At the risk of being repetitive, Nancy Pelosi is not weak but perception is everything in politics. I agree that there are risks involved but life is full of risks and impeachment is the only option we have to establish that the Current Occupant is NOT above the law. If he’s impeached and acquitted by the Senate, he’ll brag about it but he’ll have the scarlet letter I seared on his orange forehead. If he’s not impeached, he’ll brag about winning a showdown with Speaker Pelosi. He’s going to brag either way but in one scenario, Democrats look weak,  in the other they’ve stood up for the rule of law.

Perilous times require courage from our leaders. We don’t elect them to do the easy things, we elect them to do the right thing. Trump cannot be allowed to get away with his crimes without facing the music. Nothing scares him more than the possibility of live, televised hearings into his brazen misconduct. Hence the massive resistance to all requests from Congress. If a formal impeachment inquiry is opened, the House will have more legal power to make the Trump regime comply. All it takes is courage. The future of the Republic not only requires courage, it demands it.

Courage.

Malaka Of The Week: Meghan McCain

I haven’t given much thought to Meghan McCain over the years. I try not to aim my fire at the children of famous people. Besides, while she’s as annoying as hell, she’s not as interesting as she thinks she is. John McCain was glory, Meghan is reflected glory and I try not to kick down. The mouthy Ms. McCain made that impossible this week when she lectured Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar about what she’s allowed to say on the campaign trail. And that is why Meghan McCain is malaka of the week.

I’ve enjoyed McCain’s occasional critiques of the Insult Comedian but she was outraged when Klobuchar told a story about Senator McCain’s distaste for the president*:

Speaking before an audience of roughly 200 people during a Saturday campaign stop in Des Moines, Klobuchar described Trump’s inauguration as “dark” and recalled how she sat on the stage between John McCain and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that day while Trump delivered a speech about rampant crime, rusted-out factories and “American carnage.” The fiery populist rhetoric apparently reminded McCain of various authoritarian figures from throughout history.

“John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation. He understood it,” Klobuchar said on Saturday, according to NBC News. “He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did.”

Emulating the Current Occupant, Ms. McCain took to the tweeter tube to vent:

Who died and made Meghan McCain god? She’s said worse things about Trump herself. The idea of taking a two-time candidate “out of presidential politics” is absurd as well as the essence of malakatude.

Klobuchar has declined to apologize for a story she told about her friend and colleague. Wise choice. Responding to hissy fits from an entitled princess could turn into a full time job. She’s already obliged to pick and choose which idiotic Trump tweet to respond to, after all.

Meghan McCain sees herself as the keeper of the flame. I get it. But that doesn’t entitle her to censor the words of her father’s former colleagues, some of whom are running for president. It’s a democracy, not a monarchy and she would be wise not to emulate the Trump spawn with scorched earth defenses of her late father. Donald Trump can’t take a punch, John McCain could. She should follow his example, not that of the president* he despised. And that is why Meghan McCain is malaka of the week.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “Bless your heart” edition

What a wonderful week this was for The Darnold!

Documentation dykes bursting everywhere, and that wonderful “meeting” to discuss infrastructure bills blew up in his face like an exploding cigar.  This nincompoop still thinks he’s doing “The Apprentice”, and that’s a full-speed-ahead-in-the-ice-field approach for certain, at least when dealing with Nancy Pelosi.

Now I don’t know if this is just a southern / Texas thing, but when somebody really screws the pooch, they get a condescending “Well, bless your heart.” The unsaid coda to this little expression is “You’re too stupid to breathe, aren’t ya, darlin’ ?”

Pelosi Says She Is Concerned for Trump’s Well-Being — Calls on Family, Administration, Staff to Have an Intervention
Breitbart ^ | 5/23/2019 | PAM KEY

Posted on 5/23/2019, 7:38:52 PM by bitt

Thursday at her weekly press briefing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters she is concerned for the well-being of President Donald Trump. Pelosi said, “We don’t want it to be partisan now, but I can only think he wasn’t up to the task of figuring out the difficult choices of how to cover the cost of infrastructure legislation that we had talked about. The president again stormed out. First pound the table, walk out the door. Next time, have the TV cameras in there while I have my say and that didn’t work for him either. And this time, another temper tantrum. Again I pray for the president of the United States. I wish his family, his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.” A reporter said, “Your prayer comments almost suggest you are concerned for his well being.” Pelosi interjected, “I am, and the well-being of the United States of America.”

1 posted on 5/23/2019, 7:38:52 PM by bitt

BlessYourHeart
To: bitt

 

Hey Nan! Quit whistling through your dentures.

Get them refitted!

3 posted on 5/23/2019, 7:40:15 PM by sauropod (Yield to sin, and experience chastening and sorrow; yield to God, and experience joy and blessing.)

BlessYourHeart2

To: bitt

Pelosi is incredibly disrespectful of the president and the office of the president. Not only is she Trump personally offensive but she he degrades the position of Speaker President.

 

FIFY.

 

Mean and catty.

7 posted on 5/23/2019, 7:44:33 PM by malach (We live in interesting times.)

.
Yes, he is.  And all I can think of here is the line from Monty Python’s “vocation guidance counselor” sketch :
.

Counsellor: “Well, er, yes Mr Anchovy, but you see your report here says that you are an extremely dull person. You see, our experts describe you as an appallingly dull fellow, unimaginative, timid, lacking in initiative, spineless, easily dominated, no sense of humour, tedious company and irrepressibly drab and awful. And whereas in most professions these would be considerable drawbacks, in chartered accountancy they are a positive boon. ”

Back to the fray :
To: bitt

 

BWHAHAHA! Satan’s Prom Queen is “concerned about Trump” ???!!?

I pray to God that He finally stands up and says “That’s IT. I’ve had ENOUGH.”

19 posted on 5/23/2019, 7:58:50 PM by smvoice (I WILL NOTI’m WEAR THE RIBBON8)

.
And then does what? Have her shot, or just poked with a Polonium pellet in an umbrella tip?
.
Also :
.
BlessYourHeart3
To: bitt

 

Pelousy is clearly psychotic , but has been entrenched for many years so there’s no getting rid of her. SAD.

21 posted on 5/23/2019, 8:00:32 PM by GoldenPup

When your FR posts start to resemble the Fuehrer of the Turd Reich’s tweets…..well….
BlessYourHeart4
To: bitt

 

Any meeting with those clowns needs to be recorded.

46 posted on 5/23/2019, 9:36:22 PM by FLvoter

More angst in their pants after the thingy…

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The Crazy, It Burns

Yesterday was one of those days when the deadly absurdity of the Trump regime got to me. The president* had public meltdowns two days in a row. Speaker Pelosi knows what buttons to push and when to push them. She doesn’t do it so often that the first dolt will figure out what she’s up to, but his inability to deal with a powerful woman results in craziness. Bigly.

I sometimes wonder if we’re living in Freedonia, the fictional country of which Groucho Marx was the president in Duck Soup. Groucho was a benign, albeit lecherous, lunatic whereas the Insult Comedian is a malign lunatic with no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. I guess I should resume calling him Trumpberius, which is a nod to the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Life not only imitates Duck Soup, it imitates I Claudius as I wrote last August:

Trump increasingly reminds me of another crazy Caesar who was also depicted in the classic teevee series, I Claudius: Caligula’s predecessor, Tiberius. In that great 1976 series, Tiberius was installed via the machinations of his mother Livia. That, in turn, left him dubious of his own legitimacy and led him to do crazy and extreme things. Sound familiar?

At the end of his life, Tiberius isolated himself from the court at Rome and spent most of time debauching at his version of Mar-a-Lago: his villa on the Isle of Capri. Neither golf nor cable teevee had been invented at that point but I’m sure Tiberius would have dug them.

Yesterday as the “extremely stable genius” made his aides publicly attest to his stability and all around awesomeness, I kept waiting for burly men in white to place this deranged narcissist in a strait-jacket. This insecure lunatic should be on Nurse Ratched’s ward, not in the White House. (That’s right, life also imitates One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.) Even for the Trump regime, it was a  bizarre spectacle to behold; with horror. Wednesday’s meltdown may have been calculated, this one was not.

Writing for First Draft is my therapy. The whole country is going to need therapy when this mishigas is finally over. The good news is that I believe that voters will vote to stop the madness next year. The bad news is that we have to put up with this insanity until January, 2021 since his cabinet is populated with non-entities and lackeys who cannot count to 25 as in the 25th Amendment. And impeachment is merely an invitation to remove an errant Oval One; only the voters can remove him since the senate obviously will not.

The last word goes to Rufus T. Firefly:

New Tea From The Tillerson

Image by Michael F.

Oil baron and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is back in the news. You didn’t really think I could pass this story up, did you? He was in Washington City to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I guess the president* didn’t try to block his appearance. Maybe he thought that the “affairs” refer to international nookie or some such shit. He approves of foreign nookie, after all.

Tillerson not only spilled some tea, he threw some shade the Insult Comedian’s way:

Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared President Trump during a key meeting in Germany, putting the U.S. leader at a disadvantage during their first series of tête-à-têtes.

<SNIP>

Committee aides said that Tillerson refrained from openly disparaging the president but that his inability to answer certain questions was revealing.

In one exchange, Tillerson said he and the president “shared a common goal: to secure and advance America’s place in the world and to promote and protect American values.”

“Those American values — freedom, democracy, individual liberty and human dignity — are the North Star that guided every action I took at the State Department,” Tillerson said, according to a person in the room.

Upon questioning, Tillerson clarified that although he and the president shared the same goal, they did not share the same “value system.”

When asked to describe Trump’s values, Tillerson said, “I cannot,” the person said.

“Just as matter of fact, he stated that he couldn’t or wouldn’t unpack the president’s values for us,” a committee aide said.

It’s because Trump doesn’t have any values, silly rabbit.

The president* was not amused and took to the Tweeter Tube to rant:

And who appointed this “dumb as a rock” and “totally ill-prepared and ill-equipped” man Secretary of State, Donald? Look in the mirror, asswipe. It reflects badly on you. It’s more projection from the First Criminal.

We all know people who are incapable of seeing themselves as others do. The Insult Comedian, however, wins the booby prize (literally) as the least self-aware person on the planet. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have staged that fake tantrum when he met with Chuck and Nancy yesterday. Speaker Pelosi was having a tough week before that presidential* gaffe. She should write him a thank you note. “I don’t do cover-ups,” my ass. That will be the Trumpian equivalent of Nixon’s “I am not a crook.” Tricky was and Trumpy does.

That concludes this nostalgic look at the life and times of Rex Tillerson, tea and oil spiller. It finds the Trump regime miles from nowhere after the Kaiser of Chaos went out on strike yesterday. Do your job, dipshit.

The last word goes to (who else?) my countryman, Cat Stevens:

Deluded Tweet Of The Day: Double Bill Cassidy Edition

My Senators are always up to something, but never anything good. The scary thing is that Double Bill Cassidy is worse than Neely. The latter is at least entertaining whereas Dr. Bill has his head so far up Trump’s ass that he hasn’t seen daylight since 2016.

In this tweet, Cassidy claims to be a key adviser to Trump on health care issues:

This is something to brag about? The Insult Comedian has probably asked Double Bill to inspect his ass for hemorrhoids. His head is always nearby, after all. Just give the fucker some Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and move on, Doc.

The last word goes to Double Bill’s constituents the Radiators:

Taking The Tsar Thing Literally

Kris Kobach has a high opinion of himself for a guy who lost a Governor’s race in ruby red Kansas. He fancies himself an immigration expert as well as a voter fraud maven. Think of him as Stephen Miller with better hair.

The Trump regime was interested in making Kobach its Immigration Tsar. I prefer the British  spelling to the American Czar. Besides, the post title has four Ts; alliteration not only rocks, it rules. It’s truly a pity that truly was the only t-word synonym for literally I could find. Damn you, Merriam-Webster.

Kobach issued a list of demands, which cost him a chance at rock Tsardom. The job went to Virginia wingnut Ken Cuccinelli instead but the Kobach rider is still worthy of mockery:

  1.   Office in the West Wing.
  2.   Walk-in privileges with the president.
  3.   Assistant to the President rank – at highest pay level for WH senior staff.
  4.   Staff of 7 people (2 attorneys, 2 research analysts, 1 scheduler, 1 media person, 1 assistant).
  5.  POTUS sits down individually with Czar and the secretaries of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, Ag, Interior, and Commerce, and tells each of the Secretaries to follow the directives of the Czar without delay, subject to appeal to the President in cases of disagreement.
  6.   24/7 access to either a DHS or DOD jet. Czar must be on the border every week.
  7.   Ability to spend weekends in KS with family on way from border back to DC, unless POTUS needs Czar elsewhere.
  8.   Security detail if deemed necessary after security review.
  9.   Serve as the face of Trump immigration policy – the principal spokesman on television and in the media.
  10.  Promise that by November 1, 2019, the president will nominate Kris Kobach to be DHS Secretary, unless Kobach wishes to continue in Czar position.

Who the hell does this bozo think he is? Robert Plant? I wonder if he expected to have his M&M’s sorted by color. There’s precedent for such a move in Trumpistan: House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has been known to sort the Insult Comedian’s Starbursts. The president* prefers strawberry and cherry. I don’t remember if they sorted Reagan’s jelly beans.

The title of this post could have been, Kris Kobach: Too Arrogant For Team Trump. I decided against it. Why? My motto is: when in doubt, use an historical analogy.

Pictured below are the wannabe Tsar Kobach and real life Tsar, Alexander III who was the autocrat’s autocrat. Alexander Romanov was a tyrant so bloodythirsty and repressive that Trump would fall in love with him if he were still alive. Believe me.

(War) Party Like It’s 2002

You know things are bad when you wish Steve Bannon was still a member of Trump’s inner circle. I cannot believe that I just wrote that sentence but I mean every word of it. Bannon’s sole redeeming characteristic is that he’s on the dovish side and was not a fan of the Iraq War. Trump’s ultra-hawkish national security team is ready for a sequel to the Mess In Mesopotamia: war with Iran.

I was worried about this when John Bolton and his mustache of war joined Team Trump. Bolton is the ultimate chickenhawk: a man who loves war but has never fought except with his mouth. His flashback to his bureaucratic glory days is giving many whiplash:

With the Trump administration slipping onto war footing with Iran, there are growing fears inside Washington that John Bolton, the president’s hawkish national-security adviser, is plagiarizing his own Iraq war playbook. “Everyone feels the shadow of 2002–2003: The administration seems determined to find a cause for conflict; allies are aghast; the public seems disengaged,” a former senior U.S. official told me, shortly after The New York Times reported that administration officials had begun drawing up plans to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East. “It’s hard for anyone to fathom why [Donald Trump] would think a war of choice is a good idea, given what he’s said in the past about Iraq and Afghanistan.”

As we saw at the dawn of the 21st Century, war plans have a momentum of their own. Bolton may be a cartoon militarist BUT he’s one of the few members of Team Trump who is not a blithering idiot. He’s also a skillful bureaucrat who knows how to manipulate the levers of power.

Bolton has been dreaming of war with Iran for years. He thinks his time has come: he works for a president* who makes Dubya look savvy and well-informed. The axis of assholes is down with some sort of attack on Iran: Bibi and Mister Bone Saw would love to trick a gullible American president* into another Middle Eastern misadventure. Strike the word misadventure, a ground war with Iran would be a catastrophe. It has the potential to make Iraq look like the “cakewalk” of the neo-cons fever dreams.

If a story in the WaPo is to be believed, the Insult Comedian may be dubious of Bolton’s bolt to war:

But President Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several U.S. officials. Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving tensions and wants to speak directly with Iran’s leaders.

I hope the story is right but the thought of relying on Trump’s gut instinct gives me indigestion. I’m also leery of counting on his desire to keep a campaign promise. He can always change his story and lie about his previous views. He does it on a daily basis.

The last thing we need is a sequel to the Mess In Mesopotamia. We’ve seen this movie before and it’s bound to end badly.

The last word goes to XTC:

Alabama Goddam

Photo via @ALostrich.

The Alabama lege has gone there by passing a bill that effectively bans safe, legal abortion. It confirms the asterisk placed on the state motto in the featured image above.

The Guardian nailed it with this brilliant headline: These 25 Republicans-All White Men-Just Voted To Ban Abortion In Alabama.

Governor Kay Ivey hasn’t announced whether or not she’ll sign the bill BUT she’s a blue-haired right-winger from central casting so she’s expected to do so. That will be the day that stars really fall on Alabama.

Anti-choicers have been “praying” for this ever since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. It’s why they support Donald Trump who has pledged to only appoint judges who will strike Roe down. Unfortunately, it’s the only promise he’s kept.  Thanks, Mitch.

I’m usually cautiously optimistic that Chief Justice Roberts will land on the side of precedent since he’s a genuine judicial conservative as well as an institutionalist. Unfortunately, institutionalism is on the run in the Trump era. Besides, the Chief’s record on abortion rights issues is clear: he’s apt to be just as eager to reverse Roe as his wingnuttier colleagues.

Justice Stephen Breyer issued a warning last week about the current court’s willingness to disregard precedent. Here’s an excerpt from a piece by Slate’s fine legal writer Mark Joseph Stern:

In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer acknowledged as much. Overruling precedent typically requires a “special justification,” Breyer wrote, but “the majority does not find one.” Instead, it merely decides that Hall “was wrongly decided” and should go. “The law has not changed significantly since this Court decided Hall,” Breyer pointed out, “nor has our understanding of state sovereign immunity evolved to undermine Hall.” All that has changed is the composition of the court. He added:

“To overrule a sound decision like Hall is to encourage litigants to seek to overrule other cases; it is to make it more difficult for lawyers to refrain from challenging settled law; and it is to cause the public to become increasingly uncertain about which cases the Court will overrule and which cases are here to stay.”

It is “dangerous,” Breyer concluded, “to overrule a decision only because five Members” of the court disagree with it. “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.” And if there were any doubt which cases Breyer was alluding to in this dark denouement, he cited the portion of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that explained why Roe should be upheld. The justice has hoisted a red flag, alerting the country that the court’s conservative majority is preparing an assault on the right to abortion access.

Justice Breyer rarely writes such scathing dissents: he’s usually the soul of moderation and courtesy. That’s why we need to take him seriously. Shit meet fan.

I am not eager for the Alabama law to reach the Supreme Court but that’s its likely destination absent an unlikely veto by the Governor. We’re on our own now.

Tweet Of The Day: Gret Stet Sycophant Edition

The Insult Comedian was in the Gret Stet of Louisiana yesterday for an event in Lake Charles and a fundraiser in Jefferson Parish. The Metry shebang caused major traffic snarls and gave local commuters another reason to loathe the First Criminal.

When Trump landed at Armstrong Airport he was greeted by past malaka of the week and perennial frat boy, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser:

Actually, the Nungesser piece was entitled Gret Stet Grifter but it began life as a malaka of the week post. The man some call Bordello Billy is a poor man’s Trump. He claims to be a self-made man but his father was the longtime chairman of the Louisiana GOP. He’s a Lost Causer who could care less about stirring up fear and resentment. And, like his hero, Nungesser talks tough, but is a pussy who should grab himself.

Nungesser is a bully and as with all bullies, he’s willing to abase himself upon meeting a superior bully. The Trump hair socks were intended to mock the Kaiser of Chaos, not praise him. I’m only surprised the Lt. Goober didn’t bring his Trumpy Bear.

The last word goes to LSU Journalism Prof Bob Mann with this rock-em-sock-em tweet:

 

I Think Elizabeth Warren Just Got My Primary Vote

We are spending endless amounts of money creating tools to try to increase trust in journalism and trust in politics and reduce misinformation and divisiveness and partisanship and ALL OF IT IS A FUCKING WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY THAT COULD BE DEVOTED TO THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK MOTHERFUCKING NEWS, like just stop this with the Institute for Sniffing Shep Smith’s Goddamn Jockstrap, you are so embarrassing. All of you.

For chrissakes. You want to know how old white people in the Midwest suddenly became resentful of the city and “discovered” that everyone not in “Real America” hated them and thought they were rubes? FOX NEWS TOLD THEM. Fox, and its talk radio predecessor/contemporaries, and the GOP that profited off it. People in cities are focused on not getting shit on by pigeons and going to their jobs and stuff. It’s the Fox denizens who are obsessed with hating them, not the other way around. You don’t just wake up one day and suddenly know that people you’ve never met and will never meet who likely don’t think about you at all are actually secretly loathing you and trying to dismantle your Pure Good Old Fashioned society.

A nonstop 24-hour propaganda network blared into every airport and car repair shop and podiatrist’s office and dialysis center told them that everyone young and cool hated them and their guns and their values and whatever else we’re supposed to hate right now, I can’t even keep track. Fox highlighted things that would outrage old white people, outright made a bunch of shit up, stoked fears and paranoia, and then told their viewers not to trust anything they didn’t hear from Rush or see on Fox. It set the stage for all of this and raked in the goddamn money.

And all the while, while crazy unhinged libtard feminazis were out here saying maybe don’t go to parties with these people, America’s elite journalists said well, there are some good people at the local affiliates. They said it’s just entertainment. They said we have to invite them to the potluck or else they’ll call us biased. They said maybe if we play nicely with them, these people who say that everyone but them is prejudiced and slanted and commie and WE REPORT YOU DECIDE, maybe if we hunker down and are very very quiet and just keep holding our Future of Journalism Panels at the University of Please Don’t Hurt Me, maybe it’ll all just go away.

Well LOOKIE THE FUCK HERE, YOU GODDAMN CHUMPS. While you were debating the best time slot to book in the Fox-nurtured fascisti to call you babykilling peace-freaks, they took all your money and they burned down your house. So keep having your civility debates while Fox tells everyone that Michelle Obama forbade Macy’s from saying Merry Christmas. Keep it up, geniuses. It’s working out GREAT.  Just ONE MORE BLUE RIBBON PANEL on Facebook and Google stealing all the ads. Throw a couple of Pinocchios in there for good measure.

Fox is the problem. Fox is the issue. Fox and the media disparity that creates a picture across America of an America that most Americans don’t recognize so that old white fossils can feel better about hating their kids who moved to the city, that’s the problem that if you don’t solve it none of the rest of this matters.

Nobody in suburban Ohio’s even gonna HEAR Elizabeth Warren’s policy papers if the conversation is driven by Fox and its imitators and mini-mes. Why don’t voters CARE about the ISSUES? Well, because Fox and the national narrative it drives explicitly tell them not to care and to instead get upset that some town somewhere had its Nativity scene stolen by atheist radicals.

So the candidate of put a goddamn lid on this pit of vipers and let them eat each other, the candidate of calling them what they are, just got my primary vote. I know I said I wasn’t gonna commit but I just did. Warren 2020: Fuck Fox. Let’s fucking GO.

A.

Memories Of The Muskie Administration

The MSM punditocracy hasn’t learned anything from the 2016 election. They’re still fixated on early polling and “discovering” bright shiny objects instead of reporting the campaign. I *had* hoped they’d learned that insider political journalism was bankrupt as declared by Ben Smith last summer. But they haven’t learned a damn thing and continue to focus on the horse race aspects of the “why not me” campaign. Remember the Avenatti boomlet? I’d prefer to forget it.

After declaring Joe Biden’s candidacy DOA, many in the punditocracy now think that he’s the inevitable nominee. They’re wrong in both instances. Frontrunner status has a way of bringing a candidate crashing to earth, especially in such a large field. Remember President Dean?

I have fond memories of the 2009-2017 Hillary Clinton administration. She was the frontrunner that time around and ended up losing the nomination. Secretary of State was a pretty damn good consolation prize. Thanks, Obama.

The ultimate Democratic frontrunner who failed was Senator Edmund Sixtus Muskie of Maine. 1972 was my formative year as a political junkie. It was the first time I was old enough to pay attention. I supported George McGovern but liked Muskie and didn’t understand why he was torn down by a media that had built him up as the inevitable nominee for two years. I was too young to get it then.

Ed Muskie was Hubert Humphrey’s running mate in 1968. The contrast between him and the man I refuse to claim as my countryman, Spiro Agnew, was stark. Muskie was calm, thoughtful, and qualified. The self-loathing Greek, Ted (Don’t Call Me Spiro) Agnew, was the exact opposite: bombastic, shallow, and unqualified. He was also a crook who took bribes while serving as Veep.

One of the best ads of the 1968 election cycle mocked Agnew:

Back to Ed Muskie. He emerged from the ’68 campaign as a national figure. His calm, reasoned reply to a frenetic midterm broadcast by Tricky Dick in 1970 made him a star and the ’72 frontrunner. The tall Senator was called Lincolnesque by many observers. What candidate wouldn’t want to be compared to Honest Abe?

Muskie led in every Democratic preference poll from that moment on. He was frequently ahead of Nixon in head-to-head polls through the early months of 1972. One of his campaign themes was Trust Muskie, drawing an obvious contrast to a president whose nickname was Tricky Dick.

This button is a good example of Muskie’s message:

Muskie was inevitable, until he wasn’t. His frontrunner status made him a target for Nixon’s dirty tricksters and at 6’4″ he was a big target. Attacks on his wife, Jane, caused Big Ed to snap and cry in public, which in the uber-macho atmosphere of 1972 helped doom his candidacy. Nixon and his lackeys had the opponent they wanted in the general election.

Among the many ironies of Muskie’s doomed campaign is that he actually won the New Hampshire primary, but the punditocracy, unaware of Nixonian dirty tricks, declared McGovern the “winner.” Muskie’s campaign might have come a cropper anyway: he was over reliant on big name endorsements and blurred his strongly liberal political views into blandness on the advice of his advisers.

Muskie was also dogged in 1972 by a bizarre and untrue story concocted by Hunter S. Thompson about his use of a hallucinogenic drug, Ibogaine. Thompson later claimed it was a joke and that nobody believed the story anyway. That just wasn’t so. I think of Ed Muskie every time I hear Hunter Thompson lionized as a voice for fearless independent journalism when, in fact, he was in the bag for Team McGovern. Projection thy name is Hunter S. Thompson.

What lessons can be drawn from my memories of the Muskie administration?

It’s not over until it’s over.

Don’t trust the MSM punditocracy and early polls. They’re both eminently changeable. Just ask former media darling Beto O’Rourke.

Insider political journalism *should* be dead, but it’s not.

The last word goes to Alice Cooper with a hit song from 1972:

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Haven’t Done Nothin’

Der Vogelmensch by Max Ernst

It’s been a good news, silly news week in New Orleans. I’m a good news first person: with the help of Governor Edwards, Mayor LaToya Cantrell has secured millions in tourism money to help fix our aging infrastructure. Here’s what I mean by aging infrastructure:

In silly local news, the Krewe of Nyx is planning a summer parade. Just what we needed: a sweaty-n-steamy faux Carnival parade. This is why I call them the krewe of mediocre themes and bad ideas. The only good thing is that they won’t be sweat-rolling on the traditional parade route near Adrastos World HQ. It’s a terrible idea: the allure of Carnival is enhanced by its seasonality. This is like eating oysters in a month without an R. Shorter Adrastos: Nix on Nyx.

Motown May continues with this week’s theme song. Stevie Wonder wrote You Haven’t Done Nothin’ in 1974 in response to the news of the day: Watergate. That’s right, it’s about Nixon. I’ve used it before but never as an Odds & Sods theme song. Since we’re in a slow-motion constitutional crisis, it works. Just think of Trump instead of Tricky Dick.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Stevie’s original and a 2018 cover by Roger Daltrey.

Now that we’ve trashed talked Tricky-n-Trumpy, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

Tweets Of The Day: Athenae’s Boyfriend Edition

The Insult Comedian gave another bonkers presser yesterday.  Since he’s into threatening to prosecute his enemies, he went after John Kerry for alleged violations of the Logan Act:

“I’d like to see — with Iran, I’d like to see them call me. You know, John Kerry speaks to them a lot. John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act. And frankly, he should be prosecuted on that. But my people don’t want to do anything that’s — only the Democrats do that kind of stuff, you know? If it were the opposite way, they’d prosecute him under the Logan Act.”

My publisher was not amused:

Big John is a large man. It must get crowded in there.

It’s hard being a human political football.

In other weirdo presser news, Trump projected his ardor for Kim Jong Un onto the unlikely pair of Bob Mueller and Jim Comey:

“They were supposedly best friends. You look at the picture file and you see hundreds of pictures of him and Comey.”

They worked together, Donald. Neither has ever declared their love unlike the Dotard and the Dictator. One thing the two Ds have in common is bad hair. How do I know? I saw the picture file. Believe me.

The last word goes to the Angels:

Bollocks To Brexit

The British Liberal Democrats have had an eventful decade. In 2010, they held the balance in a hung parliament and went into coalition with the Tories. In 2015, they suffered a catastrophic defeat: going from 23% of the vote and 57 seats to 7.9% and 8 seats. It was a fitting punishment for a center-left party who were the junior partners in the Posh Boys austerity government. Lib Dem leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg lost his seat in 2017, then cashed in and became an executive with Facebook. Failing upward is not just an American thing.

In the snap election of 2017, the Lib Dems had a mild uptick in seats for a total of 12 but their share of the vote declined to 7.4%. Most observers expected the overtly pro-EU/Remain party to do better that time around.

Things are finally looking up for the Lib Dems. They did well in the recent local elections and hope to do better still in the upcoming European parliament election. They’ve gone all in with a mildly vulgar slogan:

Bollocks is a testicular euphemism and who can blame the Brits for being testy? Brexit is eating their country alive in the same way that Trumpsim is eating ours. One could even talk about the Dispirit of 2016 in both nations. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “special relationship.”

The Lib Dems did not invent the Bollocks To Brexit slogan. It’s been around for awhile. There’s even an anti-Brexit bus that’s toured the country complete with a Boris Johnson look alike:

The “it’s not a done deal” sub-slogan applies to Trumpism as well. Here’s hoping that both countries can reverse the Dispirit of  2016 and throw the dipshits out of office.

Speaking of buses, the last word goes to The Who:

 

Case Closed?

The Turtle got up on his hind legs in the Senate yesterday and declared the Trump scandals over. He even had the gall to use the phrase “case closed” as if that would work. In 1993, Gerald Posner published a book about the Kennedy assassination. His theory was that the Warren Commission got it right and that Oswald acted alone. The title was Case Closed. If it was meant to cut-off discussion of that horrible day in Dallas, it did not work. We’re still arguing about it. McConnell’s statement will have the same effect or lack thereof.

Nixon tried the same gambit during Watergate. He declared the scandal over and done with multiple times. It did not work. Scandals have a life of their own and need to die of natural causes, pronouncements do not work.

The ineffectiveness of McConnell’s statement was shown by subsequent events of yesterday. The Michael Cohen-Jerry Fallwell Junior link resurfaced in a Reuters story. It implied that the former Fixer’s suppression of some “racy” Falwell Junior pictures *may* have had something to do with the second-generation bible-thumper’s endorsement of Trump. I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to see are racy Fallwell Junior pictures. Ugh.

A more important, albeit less salacious, development was the latest story in the New York Times series that I call Donald Trump Is A Criminal. The Times obtained copies of Trump’s federal tax work sheets from 1985 to 1994. The Eighties were ostensibly the Insult Comedian’s glory days as a tycoon. One might instead call them his gory days as he suffered $1 billion in losses. Our friend Scout Prime immediately dubbed him the biggest loser. He’s either the worst businessman ever or a monumental tax cheat; perhaps even both.

I’m not going to publish the First Flim-Flam Man’s attempt to spin the story. Suffice it to say that it’s as credible as the rest of his twitter feed. If his story is true: why not publicly release the tax returns sought by the House?

It’s self-quote time:

I have a new Fog of Scandal meme, a Magritte-like image, The Man and the Sea by Giuseppe Maiorana, I love the image of umbrellas dropping in the fog. Substitute shoes for umbrellas, you can catch my drift if you can see it amid the fog of scandal.

The shoes keep dropping despite the Insult Comedian’s lame attempts to explain away everything. That’s why this case will never be closed.

The last word goes to Randy Newman with a song about the kind of glitzy Eighties capitalism that the Kaiser of Chaos claims to embody:

It’s Trump’s money that matters.  Repeat after me: Donald Trump is a criminal.

F Is For Fluid

I took a mental health break from political news and social media this weekend. We attended a Kentucky Derby party at the home of some friends who hail from the Bluegrass State. I drank too much Bourbon from our host’s collection. Like Maximum Security, I was disqualified…from driving. I may, however, have bumped someone for all I know.

Upon my return to the fray, there was panic and paranoia in the air.  It’ seem to be taken as a given in some quarters on the left that Trump *will* be a dictator unless impeachment proceedings were started yesterday. And that anyone who disagrees is like a German Jewish merchant who refused to believe that the country of Bach had become a country of pogroms. I wish I had “liked” that tweet but it was so OTT hysterical that I moved on. Team Liberal Freak Out is playing into the Trumpers’ hands. They want us to turn on one another. It shows that someone is paying attention to Democrats’ tendency to form the proverbial circular firing squad. Don’t do it, y’all.

Sowing chaos and confusion is what Team Trump does best. That’s why I adopted the phrase the Fog of Scandal and call the president* the Kaiser of Chaos. The Trump regime press operation is a giant smoke machine and sometimes they hit the target.

A more understandable reason for alarm is that Bill Barr is the first major figure in Trumpworld who is neither stupid nor incompetent. He’s a wily bastard who engineered the end game of the Iran-Contra cover-up so neatly that his role was forgotten until he took on the Kremlingate cover-up. He’s a cover-up specialist disguised as an establishment lawyer

One thing I’ve learned in life is that freaking out never made anything better. Observing a relative who has spent their life freaking out over everything has led me to skew in the opposite direction. Team Liberal Freak Out would be well-advised to take a deep breath and calm down. We need clear heads to fight Trumpism. Repeat after me: freaking out never made anything better.

I realize that the worst case scenarists could be right. In my thirteen years as an internet pundit, I’ve been wrong before and I could be again. The only certainty in the fight against Trumpism is that the situation is fluid. Trump changes his mind on important things at least twice daily. He acts out of anger, panic, and fear, which is why his opponents should think things through and act out of reason, not blind emotion. I seem to be channeling Mr. Spock today: better a Vulcan than a Ferengi. Trump is the latter:

Actually, he’s a Ferengi who thinks he’s a Klingon. End of Star Trek fanboy digression.

At the risk of sounding like the late mystery writer Sue Grafton: F Is For Fluid. Anyone who is certain they know how this will turn out is kidding themselves. It’s like the out of control carousel at the end of Strangers on a Train: round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows. In that Hitchcock classic, the carousel was wrecked but the good guys prevailed in the end  Let’s hope life imitates art.

The last word (video?) goes to the aforementioned carousel scene: