Category Archives: Stupid Republican Tricks

Shecky’s Bleak Week In Review

I added my nickname to the post title as a signal that my satirical mojo appears to be rising. What the world needs now is to live up to Chuckles the Clown’s motto: ” A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants.” But at a safe distance.

When times are tough, it’s time for the tough to get going. I have no idea what that means but it sounds like inspirational coach speech to me. It’s time for some random and scattershot observations about the latest week from hell.

Insider Trading: The news about 3 GOP Senators selling stocks after a January COVID-19 briefing has resulted in a well-deserved epidemic of condemnation. North Carolina’s Richard Burr is the best known culprit, Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe is the dumbest, and Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler is the richest. Dollars to doughnuts that when Trump is asked about this story, he’ll comment on Loeffler’s looks.

ProPublica described Burr’s action as a stock dump. He took such a big dump on the country that even Tucker Fucking Carlson is calling for his head on a platter:

I’m unsure if this is the sort of insider trading covered by the securities laws but if it is, Burr and his colleagues are in deep shit. My friend Kevin Allman has a novel notion about how this should be treated:

Using my best Ted Allen voice, Senator you have been chopped.

The last word of the segment goes to Van Fucking Morrison:

Kung Flu Fighting? Republican racists are at it again. Following the lead of the Impeached Insult Comedian, they’re calling a stateless bug the Chinese Virus. Past malaka of the week and infamous asshole Texas Senator John Cornyn’s comments were typical:

“China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that,” Cornyn told reporters. “These viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people, and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the swine flu, and now the coronavirus.”

That’s why I call him Senator Cornhole. Go eat an armadillo or a rattlesnake, asswipe.

An unknown White House staffer made like the Unknown Comic and called it the Kung Flu.

The origins of the following proverb are in dispute but it surely fits a party whose leader is President* Pennywise:  A FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD DOWN.

The last word of this segment is beyond obvious:

Let’s close things out with something positive even if it’s a teevee series based on a dystopian work of what-if historical fiction.

The Plot Against America: I read Philip Roth’s brilliant book when it came out in 2004. The David Simon-Ed Burns 6-part adaptation debuted on HBO this week. The first episode is as good as it gets. No, not the Jack Nicholson flick…

Roth’s premise was that FDR lost the 1940 election to Charles Lindbergh. Lucky Lindy’s  fictional win turned out to be bad luck for America. The premise is plausible: the GOP did not nominate an isolationist to run against FDR. The Barefoot Boy from Wall Street, Wendell Wilkie, was an avowed internationalist with few differences on foreign policy with the incumbent. I think Lindbergh would have lost in the real world BUT he might have done much better than Wilkie.

I considered recapping the series but the only show I could do that for was cancelled in 1994: Short Attention Span Theatre.

Finally, please consider contacting your local blood bank about donating blood. I’m not sure what the pandemic process will be but they’re bound to need your blood but not your sweat or tears.

The last word goes to Pete Townshend and David Gilmour:

Pointless Triangulation

I know, I know, it’s Jacobin, but it’s not all that different from something really poisonous in our political landscape right now which is the tendency to act like it’s 1992: 

Joe Rogan has some views on trans issues that anyone on the Left should oppose. Unfortunately, at least half the country holds similar views. The issue isn’t whether Bernie Sanders should compromise with such positions. As a matter of principle, he can’t and shouldn’t do that. The question is whether the best way to build a movement that appeals to rather than alienating the tens of millions of Americans who have reactionary views on at least some issues is to moralistically condemn them for those views or whether it’s to welcome them in an open and compassionate way while continuing to educate them, and while sticking to our own principles.

As a matter of real-world power, it’s also worth noting that the person Rogan said he is probably going to vote for is the most pro-trans candidate in the race. Sanders was a pioneer in the support of trans rights and he hasn’t changed course. Despite the ideological flaws Rogan has on these questions, the material meaning of his announced intention to vote for Sanders is that he plans to help empower a candidate who wants medical transitions to be paid for by the only insurance program that will continue to exist after the enactment of Medicare for All.

Anyone who’s serious about changing the world has to think hard about what compromises they might be willing to make in order to achieve power. This issue has preoccupied organizers for as long as struggles for justice have existed. It’s one thing for people operating in good faith to disagree with each other about those questions. It’s quite another to denounce Sanders for “touting” an endorsement which required no such compromises.

I don’t give a fuck about Joe Rogan or, to be honest, Bernie all that much. Of course I will vote and campaign and cape for Bernie every single day if he is the nominee, post memes and declare my undying love, etc etc. You all know this by now. WRT Rogan of course I start from the assumption that any popular white male podcaster/YouTuber is a douchemook and ask them to prove me wrong and so far Rogan … has not. But this isn’t about Bernie, or Rogan, or the necessity of endorsements.

It’s about the calculation that you can win over people who don’t want to vote for you by shitting on the people who do. And more poisonous than that, that you can win over people who don’t want to vote for you by shitting on people who need you to get elected to save their goddamn lives.

Saying we should throw trans people under the bus so that we can prove ourselves to be Real Serious People is utter horseshit and I’d rather lose every election from now until the end of time than engage in this kind of pointless pandering to miserable bigots who are lying about their bigotry.

I mean they are lying. “I wouldn’t have to be a Nazi if you didn’t want to recognize trans people’s existence” is not a thing said by people who want to support you and are persuadable. There are no legions of suburban mommies out there who want to vote Democrat except for how you all support trans people. For literally no one is that their number one issue, not that that matters, your degree of bigotry has fuckall to do with anyone else’s right to exist anyway.

You know what is somebody’s number one issue? Being alive, being able to go to work and go home and go out and yes, go to the bathroom, without fear of firing or harassment or goddamn being murdered. THOSE are some real-ass stakes. Kids getting medical care, that’s skin in the game. The right to privacy, to a life free from fear, that’s a real thing, not like Gated Community Gretchen’s comfort level at book club.

Gated Community Gretchen is going to hold her nose and vote for Trump because “those people” are “taking over,” anyway. This is the thing. We act like there’s some magic denunciation of our own that will make people who dislike Democrats stop disliking Democrats and aside from it being morally monstrous it won’t even WORK.

Like in addition to that, Mrs. Lincoln, the play fucking SUCKED.

Maybe once upon a time this worked, this triangulating “I love everything about being a Democrat except all my fellow Democrats” bullshit, this “I will denounce my own party and all its works in order to win the primary to represent my own party and all my icky morally deficient supporters who need to pull up their pants and stop buying designer handbags with their food stamps.” Did it?

I feel like maybe there was a time before everybody saw through the con, but it’s 2020 and we know things now, and one of the things we know is that if a cheese-faced fascist mobster-wannabe appeals to you after he’s put immigrant kids in cages you probably have more going on than thinking trans people are icky.

Every successful presidential campaign is by definition a coalition of voters who don’t agree with each other about everything but are willing to get behind a given candidate and their platform. The question is whether we’re so allergic to having people in our coalition who haven’t yet reached progressive positions on every issue that we’re willing to risk losing what is arguably the most important election of our lifetimes.

Which is more important — stigmatizing Rogan for his bad views by refusing to make any welcoming gestures when he expresses interest in joining our coalition, or shutting down Donald Trump’s concentration camps?

We heard this shit in 2004, that Gavin Newsom First of His Name, King of the Andals, etc etc was going to ruin everything on earth for Democrats forever by marrying same-sex couples. How’d THAT work out? Last I checked Gavin was presiding over the country’s largest economy and the Democrats who did lose elections on the back of marriage equality were the milquetoast half-a-loaf ones who couldn’t commit to the idea that people are people and displayed all the moral courage of wilted flan.

Take a lesson, assholes. Our fate is your fate. We are all of us safe or none of us and that is not something you can negotiate. The way this works now is people get on board with who they want to support, not the other way around. If the Rogan coalition is impossible to win without, then they’re the ones facing pressure, not the rest of us, and that’s the way this needs to be talked about. If Rogan’s audience is expected now to vote for Bernie then they’re the ones who have to get to where Bernie or WHOEVER is going. Bernie, to his credit, seems to get this.

People horny for the first Clinton administration, not so much.

We should be long past disposing of people’s fundamental humanity to appeal to some mythical as-yet-unseen voters who could show up anytime they wanted without us needing to yell slurs to get them here.

A.

VetBro Branding

Inject this into my veins: 

Baker, like all MercMerch™ vetbro entrepreneurs in MAGAmerica2020™, deploys one of the strongest weapons in the veteran’s arsenal—shame—against others, the way the Air Force deployed Agent Orange in Vietnam, while somehow remaining immune himself to any of the weapon’s ill effects. It’s the audacity of dopes: The average pirate in the Gulf of Aden has more integrity than a guy who left the Marines, war unwon, to make more money killing people overseas for a private contractor before his next act—pulling the service-disabled veteran card to sell coffee and build his bro brand.

Patch, please hear this message from one service-disabled veteran small-business owner to another: It’s time to cut the shit, bud.

These brands are, of course, just responding to the incredible demand from couch-surfing pussies who wet themselves when a car backfires in their cul-de-sac and shouldn’t be allowed on the same continent as combat. The tactical flipflops, I mean, come the shit on. That’s almost poetry, that there. Anyone who’s on their feet more than half an hour a day knows if you don’t protect your toes from getting hurt your toes WILL exact revenge.

(I’m not anti-flip-flop, but I wouldn’t wear them to mow my lawn, and that’s the least dangerous activity someone should be doing if they want to get within 1,000 miles of being able to use “tactical” as an adjective.)

This entire subsection of our culture is so fucking dumb and loud and it’s all we see in suburbia. The MAGA-hatted among us love to believe that they’re in some kind of pitched battle against, I dunno, being forced to see non-white people on TV or something, and they need to GEAR UP for that fight.

None of them are going to fight anything scarier than traffic to the H.H. Gregg’s, but they don’t need to. Since 9-11 we’ve conflated cheering for a war with fighting it, and instead of naming and shaming every warblogger fuck who made their bones calling actual veterans terrorist-loving commies, we put them on our editorial pages and invited them on the Sunday shows.

Instead of forever mocking cowardly hypocrites like Jonah Goldberg, we gave them a whole-ass major political party, fully two-thirds of our national discourse, and elected the entire ethos president in the form of Donald Trump. The bullies are in charge now, and they need outfits and accoutrement. The VetBros are stepping up to provide it, and thank goodness. Otherwise what would all these brave men and women wear, while their brownshirts were in the wash?

A.

Quote Of The Day: State Of The GOP Edition

I originally planned to post this last Friday before the Liar’s War heated up. Hopefully, tensions have been reduced to a simmer. Besides, I’m tired of writing about the Impeached Insult Comedian’s latest fuck up.

Last week, Stuart Stevens, who was Mitt Romney’s chief strategist in 2012, wrote an Op-ed for the WaPo about the current state of the GOP. Here’s the money quote:

Republicans are now officially the character doesn’t count party, the personal responsibility just proves you have failed to blame the other guy party, the deficit doesn’t matter party, the Russia is our ally party, and the I’m-right-and-you-are-human-scum party. Yes, it’s President Trump’s party now, but it stands only for what he has just tweeted.

We’ve seen that clearly this week. Senate GOPers are prepared to stage a token impeachment trial and nobody in the GOP was taken aback by Trump’s conducting foreign policy by tweet. Repeat after me: that’s some dangerous shit.

Unlike some never Trumpers, Stevens understands that President* Pennywise exploited existing conditions in the GOP on his way to taking it over:

Trump didn’t hijack the GOP and bend it to his will. He did something far easier: He looked at the party, saw its fault lines and then offered himself as a pure distillation of accumulated white grievance and anger. He bet that Republican voters didn’t really care about free trade or mutual security, or about the environment or Europe, much less deficits. He rebranded kindness and compassion as “PC” and elevated division and bigotry as the admirable goals of just being politically incorrect. Trump didn’t make Americans more racist; he just normalized the resentments that were simmering in many households. In short, he let a lot of long-suppressed demons out of the box.

Donald Trump as Pandora? I like it. His hair, however, is like Medusa’s.

I keep posting surrealist art because it fits these crazy times. The last word (image?) goes to Rene Magritte and his take on Pandora’s Box:

It’s A Plame Shame

The MSM is full of former Bushies trying to convince the public that President Beavis was a prince among men compared to the Current Occupant. While it’s true that Dubya had better table manners, it should not be forgotten that the Beavis-Duce administration was almost as fond of smear tactics as the Trump regime.

According to Team Bush-Cheney, those of us who opposed the Mess in Mesopotamia were soft on terrorism at best, traitors at worst. The difference between Bushies and Trumpers is that most of the time Dubya let others do the lying and smearing on his behalf.  Genuine upper-class twits swells let the help do the dirty work for them: Poppy had Lee Atwater; Junior had Karl Rove. The Insult Comedian enjoys wallowing in the mud alongside Gym Jordan, Devin Nunes, and John Neely Kennedy. More about the latter next week at the Bayou Brief.

That brings us to two people the Bush administration gleefully smeared: the late Ambassador Joe Wilson and his then CIA agent wife, Valerie Plame. Scooter Libby was convicted of disclosing Plame’s identity: his sentence was commuted by Bush; Trump pardoned him in 2018. Karl Rove escaped indictment by the skin of his teeth; surviving to take up residence as a Fox News pundit. Robert Novak the right-wing columnist who published the story was not indicted either, but the man known as the Prince of Darkness finally went to hell in 2009. It’s unclear if he went there in a bucket: 

I think of Valerie Plame with each Republican demand that the Ukraine scandal whistleblower be outed. Here’s what the spy who was forced out of the cold has to say about it:

“I feel personally for this whistleblower. I know what he’s going through,” says Plame. “His career is over. His world, it’s already been upended. I don’t think he’ll remain anonymous for long.”

The good news is that Valerie Plame survived the Bush smear campaign, moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and started a new chapter in her life. After a tough year in which her father and husband died, she’s landed on her feet again. She’s the subject of a flattering profile in the WaPo and is running as a Democrat for a House seat in New Mexico. This ad is a knockout:

The Plame-Wilson affair was such a cause celebre that a movie based on their respective memoirs was made in 2010, Fair Game. Naomi Watts and Sean Penn played the couple. It’s the rare case in which the real people were more attractive than the actors portraying them. It’s a good movie, check it out if you haven’t seen it.

There was also this song by The Decemberists:

The next time a Bush acolyte tries to tell you that their guy is a much better man than President* Pennywise, remember the smear campaign against Valerie Plame. Dubya just knows what fork to use and would have had the good sense to stay off social media. Otherwise, he set the table for the Insult Comedian’s smear tactics.

I couldn’t resist a rock and roll pun in the post title, so the last word goes to Peter Frampton:

‘Twas Ever Thus

What Doc once dubbed Fuck You Nation continues apace:

I love everyone on Blue Ivy’s internet Zaprudering every single move Trump makes like it’s complicated. It’s not complicated. What would your racist uncle who has a Hillary nutcracker and is still mad at Jane Fonda do? That’s what Trump is doing. He’s a human e-mail forward.

Like the lib-owning thing is a joke now but that’s all that they have been for a while. A Trumper said to me once, when this kind of thing came up, that “they cut our people’s heads off so we need to teach them a lesson.” You can’t even argue with that, why … what lesson … how does it … look, even if you agree with that tell me how that lesson will be disseminated, like are you gonna send a reply-all to ISIS with the curriculum? How do you think messaging works in, like, rural Afghanistan or wherever? What is the OUTCOME here?

It only makes sense through the lens of Barcalounging chickenhawks with “tactical” grill covers whose only real combat experience is playing Call of Duty when they should be helping their kids with their homework. OTHER SERVICEMEN have said this guy is bad news, like this isn’t a liberal pussy like me saying this while I hug a tree, OTHER NAVY SEALS were like nah, bro, and yet here we are.

Who are we sucking up to with this Gallagher move? Well, it’s the comments section of the Donald subreddit, otherwise known as the comments section of every early conservative blog from 2003 onward. This is the environment that nurtured them, supported them, funded them very well and promoted their op-eds and books when one of them showed more talent than the average potato. Erickson came from this. Ben Shapiro came from this. Half the goddamn Tea Party House Reps came from this, those of the creatures that didn’t spring full-formed from the head of the Kochs. Jesus tits, they haven’t even changed that much. Michelle Malkin is the same asshole she’s always been.

People think Gamergate was the harbinger of this. It wasn’t, god Almighty, it started so much earlier than that. It was Jill Carroll, Graeme Frost, a thousand thousand others that the conservative warbloggers chewed up and spit out for no reason other than that their existence shamed the venal and incompetent. It was Pam Geller screaming that there was going to be a mosque at Ground Zero and everyone dutifully parroting her lines even as they pretended to “debunk” them, as if fact-checking was ever the point there.

So what is the point? The point is that arguing with them is pointless. Just stop thinking you’re gonna convince them Gallagher is really a war criminal, because they’re already on to the next thing, which is likely that some atheist somewhere wants a Festivus pole by the Nativity Scene or whatever. You will never convince them of anything nor NOT piss them off, so just stop it.

Vote, canvass, donate, write, fight, but mostly just ignore the ins and outs of the latest freakout your least favorite cousins are having on social media because if this is where their attention is, they’re already gone and you knew that for sure. Just change the subject.

A.

Instant Analysis: Impeachment Hearing Day Two

I’m on record as disliking hot takes but since consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, here are my hot takes on Ambassador Yovanovitch’s testimony:

—> Masha mashed it. Her opening statement was compelling. She’s soft-spoken, which meant that people had to listen carefully. I’m not sure if Jim Jordan has ever listened to anyone in his benighted life. He certainly didn’t listen to the molested wrestlers at Ohio State.

The Ambassador was as impressive as GOPers were unimpressive. Their questions were confusing as well as confused. Nutty conspiracy theories are hard to follow. I’m talking to you Devin Nunes. Don’t have a cow, man.

—> I tweeted my thoughts on Yovanovitch’s opening statement:

—> The  morning break taken by Chairman Schiff was exquisitely timed. It allowed him to describe Trump’s odious AM tweet as witness tampering. It was surreal to watch Yovanovitch respond in real time. Here was my reaction:

—> Republican counsel Steve Castor is lucky that he’s on the Insult Comedian’s side. He’s boring and sleepy-eyed, which means that Trump would call him Sleepy Steve. I’d almost rather hear Gym Jordan. Almost.

—> Congresswoman Elise Stefanik seemed to be auditioning for a slot on either The Real Housewives of New Jersey or New York but given her demeanor, she’d  be a  better fit with Tre, Melissa, and the Gorga gang:

Now that I think of it, Jim Jordan is the Juicy Joe of the GOP caucus.

I hope you’re not scarred for life by that image but it has to be said, uh, shown.

—> Committee Republicans were a tad less flamboyant today. I think the Insult Comedian’s nasty tweet put a damper on their theatrics. Besides, Masha is a cool customer and GOPers failed to get under her skin. Chris Stewart under one’s skin? What a creepy thought and image; much worse than Joe Giudice’s tattooed torso.

—> Whistleblower, whistleblower, whisteblower.

In other news, Roger Stone was convicted on seven counts today. So far, Trump still admits to knowing him but this cannot be too far in the future:

I wonder if he and Rog have had any perfect phone calls? Everything he does is perfect, after all. The last word goes to Badfinger:

Jim Jordan To The Rescue?

In their infinite wisdom, the House Republican leadership have decided that only one member (tool?) can save the day:

House Republican leadership is looking to load up the Intelligence Committee with some of President Donald Trump’s top defenders, including Rep. Jim Jordan, as the panel has become ground zero for impeachment.

“If Democrats are going to turn Intel into the impeachment committee, I am going to make adjustments to that committee accordingly, for a short period of time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told POLITICO.

McCarthy is well known as one of the most sycophantic Trumpers of all so this move isn’t shocking. What’s shocking is that McCarthy spoke in a complete sentence, which is something the incoherent House Republican leader isn’t known for. Who among us can forget his “untrustable in Hungria” remarks in 2015?

Since his glory days as a nattering nabob of negativism, McCarthy has become the Insult Comedian’s favorite ventriloquist’s dummy. He shares a last name with Edgar Bergen’s Charlie McCarthy but is more like Mortimer Snerd who put the dumb in dummy:

In addition to turning a blind eye to sexual abuse while a wrestling coach at Ohio State, Jim Jordan is best known for hectoring witnesses as a member of the House oversight and judiciary committees. The Politico article describes him as “one of Trump’s best attack dogs.” It’s the only kind of dog the Insult Comedian likes. They should check Jordan for rabies, he’s known to froth at the mouth and go full metal unjacketed.

Another thing Jim Jordan is known for is never wearing his suit jacket. I’m uncertain if he appears unjacketed to show off his manly biceps or because he’s always spoiling for a fight. In either event, it makes him look as ridiculous as he really is as does the internet’s pet name for the former wrestler, Gym Jordan. I do, however, like his almonds…

When I first heard that Jim Jordan was coming to the rescue, an old song popped into my head, Jim Dandy To The Rescue. It was originally recorded by an R&B artist, LaVern Baker. But the version that fits Jim Jordan is this one:

Jim Jordan was born to play creepy redneck BOA frontman, Jim Dandy Mangrum, even though Jordan is NOT a dandy, but we’re changing the title to Jim Jordan To The Rescue in any event. Just visualize Kevin McCarthy in a red fright wig screeching “Go, Jim Jordan, Go.” It’s a winner, I tell ya.

I hope you’ll forgive me for that earworm but sometimes I cannot help myself. I have a cold or otherwise I’d write some new lyrics for that venerable tune. Instead, I’ll just go, Jim Dandy, go.

The last word/meme goes to the anti-hero of the day, the one and only Buckeye bozo Jim Jordan as he goes full metal unjacketed:

A Diversity of Views

Do we? Do we need this? 

I’m asking, because I don’t actually grant that we do.

Do we need the “view” that Bill Kristol, however abominable he may be, is a “renegade Jew?”

Do we need the “view” that there exists in the world something called “Big Trans Hate Machine,” somehow granting vast power and influence to people whose right to exist is being legislated right out of existence?

Do we need the “view” that women “just suck at interviews” for tech jobs? Do we need the “view” that Gabby Giffords is a “human shield?” Do we need the “view” that an aide to Hillary Clinton is a “Saudi spy?” That young Muslims in the West are a “ticking time bomb?”

Forget asking if we need them. Are those “views,” even?

Even if they are, who are “we” in this scenario?

I ask these questions because I see a lot of well-meaning people — along with the usual “I’m not fascist, just fingerbanging fascism after class” disingenuous assholes — taken in by this kind of rhetoric. It’s incredibly dangerous to present virulent racism as something that needs promotion lest we, I dunno, miss out.

Like, miss out on what, exactly, without this diversity of views? What does it cost me to not be Skyped into a Klan rally every single second? What is the harm to me in not mainlining every single crackpot manifesto in doomsday prepper sales site comments? What is the lack that that would remedy? Where is the harm to be addressed?

I am not arguing here if Breitbart has a right to exist on the internet. That’s a given, should they find businesses willing to back them in the form of hosting and support. Nazis have always had the right to go off. I’m arguing about taking on faith the need for a “diversity of basically views,” because the people who say such things are the least likely to be able to tell you what in the unholy cornflake-breaded purple fuck it actually means.

What is a view? What is a diversity of them? Why are we better off knowing there are people who think Jews will not replace us, for example, I mean aside from as a cautionary tale? Why is everything due a hearing at equal volume? At what point do we, as a society, the preponderance of us, get to decide that nah, fuck that, this “view” is not welcome in our “diversity” of them?

Define that, and maybe I’ll listen about why we need headlines like “It’s time to get back in the closet.”

Don’t throw the slippery slope in my face, either. If I was standing on the corner accusing George W. Bush of colluding with Trump to rape babies in the utility closet of a KFC I would not EXPECT you to include that view in the diversity of them. I would not expect you to make that a main-stage attraction in your production of Life’s Rich Pageant. Time was, you got a letter to the editor written in purple crayon addressed to the lizard people’s Supreme Gecko, you threw it out. I would expect you to do the same with Brietbart’s contention that Pam Gellar is some kind of visionary political leader.

But then, I haven’t spent the last 40 years bitching and whining that your refusal to hang on my every word is evidence of your evil liberal bias, so I didn’t have a standard playbook I could just switch out a few words in.

Part of this clusterfuck is, of course, the decision to treat Facebook as some sort of public entity whose inclusion and appeasement is non-negotiable, instead of treating it as a private company we can nope the hell out of anytime we want. This is without getting into how publishers are falling all over themselves to pivot into this mess, just like they pivoted into everything from paywalls to hyperlocal to video to chat rooms. These aren’t imperatives. Facebook, and going along with whatever it decides to be, is not an imperative.

A diversity of views isn’t an imperative either, if that diversity includes “would you rather your child had feminism or cancer.” They’re offering “views” in much the same way as the fellow opening his trenchcoat on the subway. There’s no inherent virtue in looking, so stop trying to tell me I owe him my attention so that my views remain diverse.

A.

Frat Boy Tantrum In The House

Both Michael F and I have already commented on the Brooks Brothers Riot reenactment staged by approximately 30 House GOPers. They’re the worst of the worst: Steve King was there, Matt Gaetz was the ringleader, and pizza was delivered to a secure room. Holy security breach, Batman.

Keeping terrible company was the Gret Stet of Louisiana’s own Steve Scalise, House GOP Whip and a man who aspires to be Speaker of the House. What House? Animal House? I’ll have more about Scalise in my Bayou Brief column next week.

The most disturbing aspect of this political tantrum was pointed out by Wired’s Brian Barrett:

So when Gaetz and House minority whip Steve Scalise and their merry band of lawmakers literally barge into a SCIF—they finally left after a five-hour standoff—they’re not just causing a fuss. They’re making a mockery of national security and to a lesser extent putting it at risk. Especially the congressmen who, as numerous outlets have reported, brought their smartphones into the room.

“A SCIF is designed and regulated to be a secure space—and that means keeping out electronic devices that malicious actors can exploit to conduct surveillance,” says Joshua Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council. “Bringing those into such a space can cause real national security vulnerabilities. Doing so for a political stunt potentially sacrifices security for partisan points.”

Remember when national security was the GOP’s calling card? It was a major reason they won 5 of 6 presidential elections between 1968 and 1988. Now they’re the pizza party party led by a president* who is Putin’s puppet. Reagan weeps.

Dim Florida Trumper Matt Gaetz has clearly seen too many action movies. He even got his name on the gossip site TMZ:

Gaetz compared his move to the Spartans in the the 2006 movie, “300.” Seriously, you gotta see how pumped he was — we fully expected him to shout, “This … is … Washington!!!”

Apologies for the exclamation points in triplicate, that was the gossip rag, not me. It does, however, point out how juvenile and jejune this frat boy tantrum was.

Gaetz may think that he’s Gerard Butler in 300 but there’s a more apt cinematic analogy:

That’s Gaetz’s DUI mugshot paired with John Belushi as Bluto in Animal House. Apologies to Belushi’s fans and family but Bluto and Matty are peas in a pod. TOGA. TOGA. TOGA.

This stunt was a noisy attempt to distract attention from the devastating testimony of Ambassador William Taylor, which, in a sane world would have led to calls for President* Pennywise’s resignation. This is not a sane world, alas.

If Bill Taylor is so horrible, why did Secretary of State Pompeo personally ask him to go to Ukraine? The GOP’s only answer was a frat boy tantrum in the House. It’s a gross process argument that insults the public’s intelligence; much like Trumpism and Teabaggery.

Allow me to put my lapsed lawyer hat on again. In the impeachment process, the House is like a grand jury and impeachment is like an indictment. They’re at the evidence gathering stage right now: taking depositions to nail down witness testimony. This same process was used by the dread Trey Gowdy during the BENGHAZI, BENGHAZI, BENGHAZI investigation. It was followed by public hearings. House Democrats are walking in Trey’s footsteps as it were. There will be public hearings, which are akin to a preliminary hearing in the criminal justice system. It’s an imperfect analogy but it’s mine, all mine.

The Senate is the trial court in the impeachment process. Senators sit as jurors and Team Trump will have the right to present a likely ludicrous defense. They should skip the “president* is above the law” argument. It’s not going to fly with lawmakers. It will be much harder to argue process in the Senate and it’s all Republicans have left in their ongoing quest to defend the indefensible.

Back to the House: if 30 is an accurate count of how many House GOPers pitched a frat boy tantrum the other day, that means 167 members did not participate. I hope they’re suitably mortified by this stunt. So much for dignity and decorum. They’re all Bluto now:

Finally, I watched MSNBC yesterday as Elijah Cummings’ body lay in state. The dignified and solemn behavior of House Democrats stood in stark contrast to the petulant antics of Matt Gaetz, Steve Scalise, and their epic frat boy tantrum. Dignity and decorum are still alive and well even in the era of Trump.

Talking Turkey

The fog of scandal is thick and spreading. While it’s true that all roads lead to Russia, there’s at least a back road leading to Turkey. Trump loves autocrats and the Turkish model of government has long been elected autocracy. Erdogan is not the first Turkish strongman and he won’t be the last. It’s why Turkey has always been an odd member of NATO and cannot get into the EU: they have democratic forms but autocratic norms.

As a Greek American, I was raised to be skeptical of Turkish intentions. That upbringing has come in handy since the advent of the Trump regime. I’ve learned that many Americans are unaware of the back story of the Turkish Republic: the Armenian genocide and ethnic cleansing of Anatolian Greeks took place in the era of national hero Kamal Ataturk.

Ataturk was the first president of post-Ottoman Turkey and Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hero and role model. Admiration for a murderous predecessor is something Erdogan and Trump have in common: Ataturk and Andrew Jackson are peas in a bloody pod.

Donald Trump’s business ties to Turkey lurk in the background of this self-created crisis or is that self-inflicted wound? It’s both. It’s time to revisit Kurt Eichenwald’s classic 2016 Newsweek story about the impact of Trump’s business dealings on US national security:

Trump already has financial conflicts in much of the Islamic world, a problem made worse by his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his impulsive decisions during this campaign. One of his most troubling entanglements is in Turkey. In 2008, the Trump Organization struck a branding deal with the Dogan Group, named for its owners, one of the most politically influential families in Turkey. Trump and Dogan first agreed that the Turkish company would pay a fee to put the Trump name on two towers in Istanbul.

When the complex opened in 2012, Trump attended the ribbon-cutting and declared his interest in more collaborations with Turkish businesses and in making significant investments there. In a sign of the political clout of the Dogan family, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Trump and even presided over the opening ceremonies for the Trump-branded property.

Dogan’s subsequent falling out with Erdogan may well have given the latter leverage over President* Pennywise. That’s unclear but what *is* clear is that this is a glaring conflict of interest. Trump has been mighty solicitous of the Turkish president even parroting Erdogan’s talking points about the Kurds as “terrorists” and “no angels.” Neither Erdogan nor Trump are angels either.

Trump’s henchman Rudy Giuliani followed in the footsteps of Mike Flynn and lobbied the president* to eject Muslim cleric and Erdogan foe, Fethullah Gulen, which is one of the Turkish regime’s top foreign policy objectives. In case you’re wondering why, Gulen is a former Erdogan ally who provided much of the intellectual heft in the early days of the ruling Justice and Development Party. Few feuds are bitterer than those between former friends. It’s another reason the US should not expel Gulen: we shouldn’t help a foreign leader in a personal vendetta.

I wonder if Trump either knows or cares that Erdogan’s party origins are Islamist. That’s right: the anti-Muslim xenophobe is in bed with an Islamist leader. All the Insult Comedian cares about are his personal relationships with foreign leaders even if his friendship with Erdogan makes him a hypocrite. Trump is used to accusations of hypocrisy: his record is full of contradictions, after all.

I also wonder if Trump knows or cares about Turkey’s ambitions to become a nuclear power. The United States used to oppose nuclear proliferation but if you flatter the Current Occupant that can change. Just ask the Communist dictator with the bad haircut: he’s been playing this president* with his “beautiful” letters.

If the Kaiser of Chaos had any knowledge of, or interest in, history, he’d know that Erdogan is a “bad hombre.” Hell, even if he read his briefing papers or listened to his military advisers, he’d understand that Turkish intentions in Northern Syria are malign. They want to drive the Kurds out of that area, which constitutes ethnic cleansing. The Turks and their Sunni Muslim allies are not above genocide either.

The horrible thing is that this crisis all started with a phone call and a green light. Trump’s latest self-inflicted wound is getting people killed. All the denials and fake cease fires in the world won’t wash the blood off Trump’s hands.

I wrote this first thing Monday morning, but I need a shot of whiskey. Some musical Wild Turkey will have to do:

Or, as the kids once called it, the Bush Administration

We fucking warned you: 

“Get over it,” Mulvaney told the assembled journalists.

“Elections have consequences,” he also said.

Allow me to translate: American voters gave Trump the presidency, so it’s his to use and abuse as he wants. If you’re looking for an apology, you might as well be looking for the yeti. What you should really be doing is looking the other way.

We tried to tell everybody who was shocked when Bush didn’t, you know, do anything different when his approval rating dipped below 50, that the real Bush Doctrine was that approval ratings and the howling of the public and the neverending protests (and there were, in fact, protests) didn’t matter. He had the presidency.

He could do what he wanted with it.

But now he’s pals with Ellen, so. I mean, honest to Christ.

We tried to warn you this was leading nowhere good, but you couldn’t begin to reckon with what he’d understood, which is that your “norms” don’t mean shit and your DC rituals don’t mean shit faced with somebody who don’t want none unless you got guns, hon. People forget but this is the kind of thing Bush was faced with on a daily basis:

And if after that Bush didn’t resign in disgrace, honestly could you blame the next guy for thinking he could do whatever he wanted? Including, let’s be fair, drone-bombing however many Pakistani schoolchildren and wedding guests he thought he needed to while Republicans accused his wife of covering the White House Christmas tree in crack pipes?

Those revelations of rottenness that I mentioned before? They’re no longer an inadvertent tic. They’re an advertent tactic. Done with denials of wrongdoing, administration officials are reframing it as right-doing — as a president’s prerogative, even his entitlement, pre-emptively authorized by voters themselves.

If only he’d put such things in the mouths of his admin-adjacent Super PACs, instead of using the sacred White House podium for it. Jesus tits, Bruni, where have you BEEN?

We tried to warn you we were heading right exactly here, and you didn’t listen, and don’t get me wrong, we’ll fight them til we can’t no matter how many of you are late to the party, but come on, you can’t possibly tell me you’re shocked. Bush plugged this destination into the GPS. All the GOP did recently was let Trump drive.

A.

The Week In Stupid Trumper Tricks

President* Trump is on a roll. He’s done a lot of stupid shit this week even for him. He was the one who tweeted the Pelosi picture with the caption “Nervous Nancy’s Unhinged Meltdown,” when he was the one who had the meltdown. What a lame decision, lame nickname, lame everything. Like Tom Cruise’s character in A Few Good Men, the Insult Comedian cannot handle the truth. Apologies to Jack Nicholson.

The meltdown occurred when the Speaker, quite correctly, pointed out that the Putin regime is the beneficiary of the impulsive and stupid policy shift in North Syria:

Today’s stupid Trumper trick was the announcement by acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, that the G-7 *will* be held at Trump Doral in Miami. Are they that stupid? Is Trump that greedy? Those were rhetorical questions, of course they are.

One more thing. Why the hell is Mulvaney still acting Chief of Staff? The position doesn’t require Senate confirmation. Is he acting out or acting up?

This week’s final stupid Trumper trick was the release of the letter Trump sent to Turkish President Erdogan. It was so OTT nutty and semi-literate that reporters were skeptical that it was real. The White House confirmed its authenticity. Dipshits.

One wonders what Erdogan thought of this incoherent epistle. It was probably some Turkish variation on, “I’m gonna get you, sucka.”

The last word goes to the Kaiser of Chaos with the last two sentences of the Erdogan letter: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool.”

An exclamation point was withheld to protect the guilty.

The Leopards Finally Ate Shep Smith’s Face

*headline reference

Just spare me the eulogies for Shepard Smith’s career, please.

Twitter on Friday was full of fawning takes about how he was the best person at Fox, which is like being the least slutty person at Caligula’s last orgy. You’re still there while the watersports and bestial bukkake are happening, my dude, and it’s not like the doors were locked behind you.

Let’s review some of things Fox and its creatures engaged in during Shep’s principled time there, which did not outrage him enough to quit his job.

Bill O’Reilly, all by himself:

  • Said he “didn’t hear a word” Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) was saying because he “was looking at her James Brown wig.”
  • Leered at a female black employee at Fox News and called her “hot chocolate.”
  • Was surprised and amazed when he went to a restaurant in Harlem and found it was a normal restaurant where people weren’t screaming “M-Fer, I want more iced tea.”
  • Questioned how Trump would help black people get jobs when most of them “are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads.”
  • Blamed Freddie Gray’s “lifestyle” for his death.

Here’s Glenn Beck:

Glenn Beck, the host of an eponymous afternoon commentary show, stated in 2009 that he believes President Obama is “a racist” and has “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”[155] These remarks drew criticism, and resulted in a boycott promulgated by Color of Change.[156] The boycott resulted in 80 advertisers requesting their ads be removed from his programming, to avoid associating their brands with content that could be considered offensive by potential customers. He later apologized for the remarks, telling Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace that he has a “big fat mouth” and miscast as racism what is actually, as he theorizes, Obama’s belief in black theology.[156][157][158][159][160][161][162][163] Beck left Fox News in June 2011 after 29 months with the network.[164][165]

Here’s a good video review of how even the cooking shows were racist:

These were the actions of a company from which Shepard Smith was just fine cashing checks. These were the actions of his colleagues, his comrades in journalism, his friends. This was the operation to which he was in no way, and at no time, morally opposed.

At least, not enough to tell them to take this job and shove it.

So now Shepard Smith is gonna go write his book about being the Last Honest Man, or start a Twitter feed of all the ways in which the modern conservative movement disappoints him and betrays its high-minded ideals and is just so Very Coarse These Days. He will be lauded for it across Totebag Nation, at academic events and debate venues throughout the land. And anyone who points out that he was in fact for decades a pleasant face of the racist, fascist, GOP-run NRA-banked propaganda operation that has done incalculable damage to what was once our democracy will be derided as some silly, strident, impractical leftist.

I’ll be screaming it outside the Aspen Ideas Festival, nonetheless. I know you’re all good for the bail money.

Much was made of his work after Katrina, his moment of moral clarity calling out the catastrophic failure of Republican-run America to fulfill the promises it made to its citizens.

But I’d like to know. Why wasn’t that enough for him to quit?

Why wasn’t that moment, or a thousand thousand like it, enough for him to say, I will no longer be a part of what is obviously a force for evil? It was obvious, even then, to viewers watching at home that Fox was conservative-run and conservative-backed; why wasn’t the exposure of the ugly underbelly of what conservatism had done to America and would continue to do reason for him to jump ship?

Why wasn’t any of the unhinged nonsense during the Obama years enough to encourage him to bail? The Tea Party and the white nationalism it encouraged? Why did he not look at “terrorist fist jab” or “do you make Kool-Aid” or “Santa Claus is white” and say fuck you guys, man, this isn’t okay? Why did it take Trump for this to come to a head? Where has he BEEN all this time?

Shepard Smith has spent 23 years at the behest of an organization that has made America worse, and now we’re supposed to publicly grieve his leaving it? Because he wasn’t as bad as the rest of them? We’re supposed to feel sorry for him because his boss, a known ratfucker, fucked him, a rat?

Sorry. I’ve got immigrant kids in cages to feel sorry for, fresh out of sympathy around here.

Mandate Of Heaven? Regicide?

Trump’s supporters are becoming as unhinged as their dear leader. They’re having a hard time dealing with impeachment of the man who would be king. They’re increasingly incoherent as one of them shows signs of defecting from the MAGA cult. Can one undrink the Kool-Aid? That’s an existential question best left for another day.

We begin with teevee evangelist Pat Robertson. He’s distressed over the betrayal of the Kurds. He described his distress in rather colorful terms:

“I believe … the president of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen,”

Mandate of heaven? Is Trump the emperor of China now? They need to make up their minds as to whether Trump is Pu Yi or George III. They both had swell movies made about them: The Last Emperor and The Madness of King George. Life under Trump is truly stranger than fact-based fiction. As far as I’m concerned, he’ll always be the Kaiser of Chaos:

Speaking of kings, one of Trump’s nuttier fans, lawyer Joseph DeGenova was on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show and defended his demented liege:

“What you’re seeing is regicide. This is regicide by another name, fake impeachment. The Democrats in the House want to destroy the President.”

Impeachment is real, only your king is fake, Joey, baby. Given that you’re up to your eyeballs in the Ukraine mess, you might want to STFU. Silly me: that’s as impossible for Trump apologists as it is for Trumpberius himself.

Speaking of deranged Roman emperors, veteran biblebanger Ralph Reed has a new book in which he makes the case for the religious right’s continued obeisance to the Insult Comedian.  The original title is what Archie Bunker would have called a Real Pip:

According to the book’s description, obtained by POLITICO, the original title for the book was “Render to God and Trump,” a reference to the well-known biblical verse, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” The message from Jesus in Matthew 22, has been used in contemporary politics to justify obedience to government — or in the case of Reed’s book, to Trump.

Blind obedience is just as dangerous as blind ambition. Ralph Reed has exhibited signs of both pathologies in his long career as a wingnut.

What’s next? Will they call Trump a Pharaoh? His border wall is a monument to himself much like the pyramids, after all.

The last word goes to Richard Thompson:

 

Jumping on the Express Train to Hell

Imagine signing on for this today. 

At this point in the last election, Trump’s campaign employed 19 consultants. Now, there are more than 200. When Trump had all but locked up the nomination by May 2016, he had spent $63 million. Thus far, pro-Trump committees have spent $531 million.

I mean, imagine signing on for it in 2016, when his opening statement was “Mexicans will rape your white daughters” and he followed it up with That Convention and Lock Her Up and Grab ‘Em By The Pussy. That’s bad enough, when he was just a crude old racist asshole and thus, if you were rich and white, kind of a joke.

But now that he’s all that plus — thanks to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan — an imminent threat to the republic, a fascist presiding over concentration camps, the enemy of anyone who isn’t a suburban Caucasian dipshit, imagine who you’d have to be to say yeah, gimme a piece of that.

I get that we all have to eat, but there are sales on ground beef at the grocery store every week, guys, don’t any of you dare say you needed to resort to this. There’s a liquor store on the corner I’m sure you could halfway competently rob and at least then you’d have my respect.

One of the major solaces these days of having been raised with an understanding of capital-G, Old Testament Charlton Heston God, is imagining that there are in fact circles of Hell, literal physical ones, full of demons torturing people by ripping out their livers for eternity and shit. Everyone involved with this situation is clearly going there, but I choose to have faith in a hierarchy, and anybody who signs up NOW is gonna be a lot closer to the bottom of the pit.

A.

The Fall Guy?

It was a busy weekend on the fog of scandal front. The Insult Comedian is flailing, looking for a phone call fall guy. His minions leaked a story to Axios blaming a cabinet secretary who has been largely out of the spotlight: Rick Perry.  The former Texas Governor has not been an overly energetic energy secretary, which is something we can all be grateful for.

Back to the Axios story on Rick Perry:

President Trump told House Republicans that he made his now infamous phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry — a call Trump claimed he didn’t even want to make.

Trump made these comments during a conference call with House members on Friday, according to 3 sources on the call.

Per the sources, Trump rattled off the same things he has been saying publicly — that his call with Zelensky was “perfect”and he did nothing wrong.

But he then threw Perry into the mix and said something to the effect of: “Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG [liquefied natural gas] plant,” one source said, recalling the president’s comments. 2 other sources confirmed the first source’s recollection.

It’s as if they looked for someone as dumb as Trump to blame for the “perfect call.”

It doesn’t appear that Perry is ready to jump back on the bus after being thrown under it: he’s planning to leave the cabinet and may be willing to talk to House investigators. Does anyone really think that this guy could talk President* Pennywise into doing something he didn’t want to do?

The ceiling appears to be caving in on the administration. People who are not in elected office have come to the realization that Trump has ZERO loyalty to his underlings and will throw them in a pond full of piranhas to save his ass. Exhibit One is Michael Cohen who once said he’d take a bullet for his dear leader. That misguided loyalty landed the former fixer in a fix and behind bars.

The notion of Rick Perry as Trump’s patsy evokes images of the old Lee Majors TV series: The Fall Guy. Majors played Colt Seavers, a movie stunt man who had a side hustle as a bounty hunter.

In this instance, the bounty appears to be on Rick Perry’s head. He should lawyer up and decline to take the fall for Trump. That would be the smart move. It’s unclear if the twice failed presidential candidate is capable of doing the smart thing. He does, however, look pretty good in a cowboy hat side-by-side with Lee Majors:

The Lee Majors character who could really help Perry is the Six Million Dollar Man:

Where have you gone, Steve Austin?

INSTANT UPDATE: My suspicions that Rick Perry is incapable of doing the smart thing have been confirmed. He says he’s not resigning. Way to mess up my post, Rick.

Pope Chunky Reese Witherspoon flaps his mouth again

Reading a Douthat column, my expectations are always low, but every time it’s like looking into the hose of a Shop-Vac after you’ve hoovered up your storm drains. Like just look at this: 

Ask an intelligent Republican staffer what they imagine awaits their party after Donald Trump, and you’ll get an interesting disquisition on the factions and figures that might shape conservatism, the political and policy arguments to come.

Let me simplify for you so you can get back to calling girls on birth control unfuckable: The future of the party is the same as it’s always been.

Racism, racism, and racism.

The divisions you speak of exist within racism. The diversity of views and policies and goals you lionize are the differences between open racism, covert racism, Foghorn Leghorn racism, book club rosé lady racism, just-moved-here-for-the-schools racism, plantation wedding racism, and that guy on the corner screaming about Obama still coming to take his guns racism.

That’s been your party for 50 years and it’s not going anywhere else.

What an interesting disquisition.

Ask that same staffer what happens if Trump is re-elected, and you’ll get a heavy sigh, a thousand-yard stare and then a hopeful “Well, maybe we can just pretend he isn’t there …?”

That would be a real risk if there weren’t thousands of members of our Sacred Fourth Estate ready to hold accountable the system that created, promoted, nominated, elected and enabled Trump.

Wait.

Shit.

Instead Trump will bestride his party like a decaying colossus, and his administration’s accelerative deterioration will be the G.O.P.’s as well.

Your mouth-anus to God’s ears, though I’m sure She’s sick of listening to you by now.

My days of writing high-dudgeon columns demanding that Republicans act in concert against Trump are behind me; cynicism and bemusement define my attitude toward G.O.P. decadence these days.

How nice for you.

Refugee kids at the border have a different view of things, looking out as they do from behind the bars of their cages, but you do you.

Dick.

But in a bored-Roman-aristocrat drawl, I just want to suggest — mildly, dabbling my hands in a convenient finger bowl — that the current impeachment inquiry might, in fact, be that magical remote control: a chance to hit fast-forward and summon the post-Trump future into existence here and now, for the 2020 campaign.

Hitting the button requires only two things: the swift, before-primary-season impeachment schedule House Democrats are entertaining and then 20 Republican votes in the Senate for conviction, if the Trump-Giuliani operation in Ukraine looks as bad in a few months as it does today.

OH MY GOD I TAKE IT BACK THIS IS HYSTERICAL.

You think you just get to get OVER this? You think you just get to get past it? This isn’t like your previous Republican presidents, the four horsemen of the Dorkpocalypse, in order Resignation In Disgrace, Incompetence, Bigotry and War Crimes. Trump has done something none of your previous monsters managed to do, which is make you all look just RIDICULOUS.

People might forget criminals but they remember clowns. Trump will follow you to the end of all your living days and I will be right there beside him ringing a cowbell as loud as I can to make sure everyone knows that here proceeds a clasp of lepers.

You don’t get to have an after. If the dead refugee kids don’t, neither do you, cocksock.

And let’s just take a moment to laugh at the idea that the BRIGHT SIDE for the Republicans right now is this motherfucker getting impeached as quickly as possible. That’s the best case scenario for the ex-pope’s hype man up there.

With Trump gone, everyone from Haley and Carlson to Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley could jump into an accelerated primary campaign against the unloved Republican “incumbent,” Mike Pence.

So Trump crossed with a wine mom, TUCKER FUCKING CARLSON, a guy who couldn’t beat Trump in a pissing contest, and Woody from Toy Story if Woody was racist, would all jump into a primary? Against Mike Pence, who is adored by the evangelical base?

I’m not gonna bag on anyone’s political fantasy life but I have a better chance of convincing John Kerry to make me his Chief of Whatever He Needs These Days than you have of making this kind of fetch happen, Ross.

Call me, John.

You know, time was people got the sense that the Times’s conservative voices had ears within the party. Now Ross is the guy on the corner screaming anti-Semitic shit about FDR, and the soapbox is giving him splinters.

I think these conservatives underestimate, as liberals did with Bill Clinton long ago, the advantages in jettisoning a corrupt leader.

Not to defend Bill here, as he is our gross old perv, but I don’t recall any major Democratic figures skipping his wife’s convention, whereas at Trump’s every ex-president you had alive was on a fucking milk carton.

But I would still ask — swirling my wine and adjusting my NeverTrumper toga — worse than what? Worse than a world where Trump survives impeachment, the Ukraine miasma chokes Biden’s campaign, Warren proves less electable than her supporters hope, we replay 2016 with the Electoral College and enter a second Trump term with the ship of state rudderless, Democrats yet more radicalized, and all those icebergs looming for the country and the G.O.P. alike?

Liz is going to clean you all like a clock and speaking of togas, Dr. Professor Senator Zero Fucks left hers at your mom’s, so when you’re done jerking it to a 97-part history podcast of the fall of Rome maybe you can pick it up and take it to the dry cleaners.

You can’t say that you didn’t have an early exit from the Trump era. You can’t say you didn’t have a choice.

That’s why the  club of the fucking most of us voted for somebody else, and/or jumped ship right around the time he kicked off his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. We all knew we had a choice. Why didn’t you?

Schmuck.

A.

Whistleblowin’ In The Wind

It strikes me as a good time to quote John Fogerty quoting Yogi Berra, “it’s like deja vu all over again.” Fogerty was referring to the Iraq War. I’m referring to Kremlingate: The Sequel aka Donald & Rudy’s Excellent Ukrainian Adventure. Duuuuuuude.

I grew up during the Cold War; like Vladimir Putin, I didn’t expect the Soviet Union to disintegrate so rapidly. Unlike Putin, I don’t have any nostalgia for the USSR. Putin is a KGB man at heart who pines for the glory days of the Soviet Union and wants to reassemble its lost empire. This irredentist stance led to the invasion of the Crimea and the pollution of the American political system by Putin and his little buddy Donald Trump. Every ventriloquist needs a dummy.

We returned to the scene of the Crimea this week with the release of the damning phone call memorandum and whistleblower report. This blew up in the Trump regime’s face leading to a formal impeachment inquiry focusing on the latest and most understandable scandal.

One reason Donald & Rudy’s Excellent Ukrainian Adventure is more understandable than Kremlingate is the brevity of the whistleblower’s charges as opposed to the 448-page Mueller Report. Additionally, this was not perpetrated in the shadows by underlings such as Page and Papadopoulous. It involves the actions of POTUS* and his current fixer, the artist formerly known as America’s Mayor. You know, this bozo:

Team Trump’s defense is different as well. Instead of “no collusion, no collusion” their current line is the less adamant, “we did it, so what?” They appear to believe that it’s no big whoop because he’s the president* and the Nixon-Barr doctrine applies:

Team Trump’s game plan is “same as it ever was, same as it ever was” ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK. The Insult Comedian trotted out another old favorite yesterday: witness intimidation. He made not so veiled threats about stringing up the whistleblower and others in the White House who helped him reveal this staggering abuse of power.

This is some serious shit, y’all. The staffers who enabled this scandal by “overclassifying” Trump’s call with the hapless Ukrainian president may face criminal liability. They’ve apparently done the same thing with other calls. What other White House Horrors are they hiding?

The term White House Horrors brings us full circle to Watergate. It was coined by Nixon AG/campaign manager/convicted felon John Mitchell. Another popular term in the Watergate lexicon was smoking gun. We interrupt this paragraph with a pertinent (impertinent?) musical interlude:

The so-called smoking gun tape was not released until August 5, 1974. We already have the Ukraine scandal’s smoking gun embedded in the whistleblower’s complaint.

We end the post, as we started, with a quote. In this instance, it’s a paraphrase of Bob Dylan: the answer, my friend, is whistleblowin’ in the wind.

The last word goes to a musical odd couple (trio?) Sam Cooke and Flatt & Scruggs:

 

Moltin’ Bolton

It’s a testament to the times in which we live that John Bolton was fired for being right about something. John Bolton is almost never right about anything but he was right about the Taliban peace conference at Camp David. Be still my attacking heart.

I’m hoping for a war of words between Trump and Bolton. Both men need enemies and love to fight. But Bolton is much tougher than Trump: he’ll stab his enemies in the front. The Kaiser of Chaos is strictly a backstabber and twitter fighter. The term keyboard warrior was invented for him. Trump is a pussy. He should grab himself.

I was among those who thought the Bolton appointment would lead to a shooting war. I’m glad that I was wrong but it wasn’t for lack of trying. This cartoon still sums up my opinion of Bolton:

President* Pennywise is on the prowl for his fourth national security advisor; That would tie him for second place with Eisenhower, but Ike served two asterisk free terms. The record holder is Ronald Reagan who had six: two of whom were convicted of crimes related to the Iran-Contra scandal and one of whom was pardoned by Poppy Bush. The scary thing is that Trump’s scandals make Reagan look like a piker. So it goes.

Speaking of Iran-Contra, my friend Bill is “rooting” for Oliver North to be the Insult Comedian’s fourth national security advisor. Nothing this president* does surprises me BUT Ollie is at war with Wayne LaPierre and Trump is scared shitless of the NRA. Never gonna happen, my friend.

A brief word about the post title. It’s a play on the word molting, which is when a bird sheds its feathers or an arthropod loses its exoskeleton. Trump is forever molting senior advisers, this time it just happened to rhyme.

Finally, there’s some dispute as to whether Bolton jumped or was pushed. That’s why the last word goes to Richard and Linda Thompson although a gender switch/swap is in order: