Category Archives: Twitter

Fritz Mondale, R.I.P.

Then Senator Walter Mondale throws out the first pitch at a Minnesota Twins game.

I was lucky enough to meet Walter Mondale in between national elections sometime in the early 1980’s. It was at some sort of Congressional function. I can’t remember if it was on or off the Hill, but I made a beeline for him and introduced myself.

Me:  Nice to meet you, Mr. Vice President.

WM: Former Vice President.

Me:  Mr. Mondale then…

WM: … just call me Fritz.

I did and I still do,

I knew that he loved the Minnesota Twins, so I mentioned meeting Jim (Mudcat) Grant who was one of the stars of the 1965 team that lost to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in the World Series.

WM: Great nickname. Great guy. Did you know that he was a heckuva singer and had a nightclub act called Mudcat and the Kittens?

Me:   I did not know that.

I lied to one of the most honest men in American public life because I didn’t want to slow his roll. I also skipped my stock line about the 1980 election: “I voted for Mondale for Vice President.”

Much to my surprise, we chatted for about ten minutes. He liked talking to young people. Believe or not I used to be young.

Fritz Mondale died yesterday at the age of 93. He was a modest man from a humble background who never forgot his roots or his commitment to the poor, minorities, and the elderly.

Mondale should be remembered for revolutionizing the Vice Presidency, not for his blow-out loss to Ronald Reagan. But that led to one of my favorite Fritz Mondale stories:

He liked telling that story. He said it kept him humble.

He conducted his 1984 presidential campaign with dignity and honor. He lost but he was true to himself and his beliefs. He also made history by picking Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. It took 36 years for a woman to be elected Veep. The current Vice President Kamala Harris was among the last to speak with her predecessor. Fortuna’s Wheel keeps spinning.

I chuckled when I read that Mondale was selected by Carter because of his Washington experience. That’s only partially accurate: Carter was mistrusted by the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and organized labor. Fritz Mondale was their guy.

Fritz Mondale and his mentor and fellow Minnesotan Hubert Humphrey had many things in common. Mondale was appointed to fill HHH’s senate seat when the latter became Veep. Humphrey urged him to accept the Vice Presidency despite Hubert’s appalling treatment by Lyndon Johnson. They were both Democratic nominees for president and both lost. More importantly, they were good and decent people who helped steer the Democratic party “out of the shadow of states’ rights and …. into the bright sunshine of human rights” in Humphrey’s memorable phrase.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar won Twitter last night after her mentor’s passing:

Fritz Mondale lived a long and glorious life. Instead of mourning his death, we should celebrate his life and legacy as a heckuva nice guy and the greatest Vice President in American history. Along with Hubert Humphrey, he was the best president we never had.

The last word goes to Mudcat Grant at a memorial service for his teammate, Harmon Killebrew:

Gaetzgate: Blankety Blank

We begin with a couple of housekeeping notes. I wrote my maiden Gaetzgate post before hearing that the Panhandle Pinhead himself made a request:

I’ve decided to take pity on a doomed pol and spell it his way instead of in all-caps. Who knew that the Panhandle Pinhead’s fellow whiny man baby had the wit to make such a good pun?

Since Gaetz allegedly sough a blanket pardon, the phrase blankety blank immediately came to mind. I didn’t realize that it was the name of the UK equivalent of The Match Game. Where have you gone Gene Rayburn, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Brett Somers? They’re all long dead, alas.

Dead is also the word that best describes Matt Gaetz’s political career. It’s so dead that not even the Impeached Insult Comedian could revive it. He’s yet to defend his little friend, Matt; only Gym Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene have done so. How’s that for:

I know I’ve made that joke before but I can’t get enough of it. That concludes the classic rock jokes section of the post.

How was that for an epic opening tangent? It’s windy even by my standards.

Let’s move on to the opening lines I wrote immediately upon hearing about the latest Gaetzgate twist:

Blankets have been in the news recently. First Andrew Cuomo, now Matt Gaetz.

in the final weeks of Mr. Trump’s term, Mr. Gaetz sought something in return. He privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, according to two people told of the discussions.

Around that time, Mr. Gaetz was also publicly calling for broad pardons from Mr. Trump to thwart what he termed the “bloodlust” of their political opponents. But Justice Department investigators had begun questioning Mr. Gaetz’s associates about his conduct, including whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old that violated sex trafficking laws, in an inquiry that grew out of the case of an indicted associate in Florida.

It was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry, or who else he sought pardons for. Mr. Gaetz did not tell White House aides that he was under investigation for potential sex trafficking violations when he made the request. But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent, the people said.

An idea so bad that even Team Trump flinched at the notion? That makes it a *really* bad even rotten idea. The whole Trump era could be summed up by the title of this failed Mel Brooks sitcom:

While Gaetz may not have known that a gate was to be affixed to his name when he begged for a pardon, he knew that his little friend Josh Greenberg was in deep shit and sinking fast. My hunch is that Greenberg was to be covered in the blankety blank blanket pardon. But was the My Pillow Guy involved? What’s a blanket without a pillow? I deserve to be given sheet for that joke…

I eagerly await the Panhandle Pinhead’s next PR gaffe. Who will he drag into his mess next: Hannity? KMac? BillO? Donnie Junior?

Stay tuned.

The last word goes to The Kinks:

 

The Curious Case Of The Mean Tweets War

I’ve been on Twitter since its infancy, March 2008. I came to it via an OG NOLA blogger acquaintance who we nicknamed Trotsky because he had Leon Trotsky hair and fancied himself something of an internet revolutionary. I lost touch with Trotsky but as far as I know, he’s never been attacked by a Stalinist with an ice pick.

For many years, I engaged in some pitched online battles with people on political Twitter; some from the far left, others from the far right. Not long after the 2016 election catastrophe, I realized that fighting with strangers on the Tweeter Tube was a waste of time and energy. I stopped arguing with them because it was futile.

Twitter became meaner and uglier after its Trumpification and the battles became nastier. Many continued to fight with trolls and other pains in the ass; Neera Tanden is among those Twitter warriors.

I’ve been following Tanden for many years. Her feed is often amusing and informative. It’s also extremely combative. Neera Tanden is one tough broad and I say that as a compliment. She doesn’t take shit from anyone. I often wondered if she’d given up her ambition to serve in appointed or elective office since she tweeted with a blow torch.

We’ve heard much from the right and center-right about her mean tweets. We’ve heard less from the left: many of Tanden’s fiercest Twitter battles were with some of Bernie Sanders’ less salubrious supporters. Neera and Bernie have buried the hatchet and thus far there seems to be no *meaningful* real world opposition from the left to her nomination as budget director. The Twitter left is a different story but who the hell cares about them?

Unlike the girly men of the right, Bernie Sanders can take a punch and respects the toughness of Tanden. His opinion matters because he’s the chairman of the budget committee. He’s voting to confirm.

The mean tweets war accelerated when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announced his opposition based on Tanden’s mean tweets. In the past, Manchin has voted for the likes of Rick Grennel whose tweets made Tanden’s look mild-mannered in contrast. This is quite simply the dumbest reason ever for opposing a nomination. Say it ain’t so, Joe. Sorry, Cassandra, your guy got this one wrong.

There’s a clear double standard at work here. The Biden nominees who are having the most trouble are women and people of color. Imagine that. Additionally, the notion that Republicans object to mean tweets is preposterous. Before his exile, the Impeached Insult Comedian was the meanest tweeter of all as well as the biggest liar. Neera Tanden has a sharp tongue but speaks the truth.

It’s time for a brief musical interlude:

Tough-talking women are viewed with suspicion in our society. I not only embrace the tough broad ethos, I celebrate it. In this case, Neera Tanden is eminently qualified to be OMB honcho. Lapsed Republican/former Bush aide David Frum neatly summed it up:

Slowly but surely Neera Tanden’s tweets are turning into the 2021 edition of Hillary Clinton’s emails. It’s even more ridiculous than that ridiculous episode as the issue is her opinions, not any question of law or propriety however specious. Neera Tanden gets it: she was one of Hillary’s top aides in 2016.

This episode shows how low our body politic has sunk. Tweets, mean or nice, should have no bearing on anyone’s ability to serve in government. Twitter is supposed to be a lark, not all important. Note the motto on my own Twitter profile:

I guess I should amend my motto to: Nothing that happens on Twitter *should* matter.

The last word goes to Crowded House in the fog:

As of now it’s unclear where Neera Tanden’s “blind date with destiny” will take her. I hope she’s confirmed but the White House has made it clear that there’s a place in the administration for her regardless of how The Curious Case Of The Mean Tweets War concludes.

Merrick Garland’s Time

We all hoped that Merrick Garland’s time was in 2016 when President Obama appointed him to the Supreme Court. It was not to be. I still hold a grudge over the way the Turtle killed his nomination. He snuck into the judicial nursery and smothered the nomination with a pillow, then claimed it was an act of principle. The hollowness of that claim was confirmed last fall with the Barrett nomination. It’s always about power with Mitch McConnell.

At the time of the nomination, people were fixated on the labels applied to Judge Garland. People on the left fretted because he was dubbed a moderate by the punditocracy. A reminder: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was called a moderate upon her nomination. Labels have a way of peeling off when a nominee becomes a Supreme. That’s neither here nor there in the case of Merrick Garland as we’ll never know if he would have morphed from a moderate to liberal Justice a la Bill Brennan. It’s why I hate labels. They’re almost as invidious as stereotypes.

Merrick Garland’s time is now. The job is different but it’s one for which he’s perfectly suited: Attorney General. Word of Biden’s choice came the day after the Georgia runoff handed control of the senate to Democrats. It was also the date of the Dipshit Insurrection.

After serving as a line prosecutor, Garland became a deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division during the Clinton administration. He found himself supervising two of DOJ’s most important criminal cases ever: the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber. That’s right, Merrick Garland’s remit was the battle against domestic terrorism. That’s why his time is now.

There’s a must-read piece in the WaPo about the impact the McVeigh-Nichols OKC bombing case had on the next Attorney General:

The truck bomb leveled a section of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, killing 168 and injuring hundreds more in one of the deadliest domestic terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. But as Merrick Garland huddled with the lead prosecutor on the case, he urged caution in presenting the massive amount of evidence from the wreckage.

“Do not bury the crime in the clutter,” he said.

Garland, then a top Justice Department official, was encouraging prosecutors to speed the trial along and jettison superfluous findings in their case against Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted of carrying out the 1995 attack and executed in 2001, said Joe Hartzler, the team’s lead attorney. Hartzler said he found the advice so compelling that he wrote the words on a sheet of paper and hung it on an office wall as a rallying cry for his team.

More than two decades later, Garland, 68, is preparing to lead the Justice Department as attorney general and facing a domestic terrorism threat that has metastasized, with white supremacists and conspiracy-minded anti-government types emboldened by their acknowledgment from former president Donald Trump.

I commend the entire article to your attention, but I posted the first four paragraphs to not bury the article in clutter.

Judge Garland has pledged to make the fight against domestic terrorism his top priority. He’s a man of his word so I eagerly await the end of decades of ignoring right-wing extremists.

Judge Garland has another important task: rebuilding the morale of the Justice Department after four years of political hackery during the Trump regime. It wasn’t just Bill Barr, it was Jeff Bo Sessions and the acting AGs, which sounds like the name of a jug band.

Judge Garland has promised to be “the people’s lawyer, not the president’s lawyer” and I take him at his word. White House meddling was an endemic epidemic in the bad old Barr days. It ends now.

The Garland confirmation hearing was characterized by much bad faith tut-tutting by Republican senators. Tailgunner Ted and Senator Cornhole were particularly sanctimonious in discussing political influence at DOJ. It’s why I could only watch snippets of it. They’re afraid that Trump will be prosecuted by the incoming administration. That’s the politicization they fear. Charges against the Impeached Insult Comedian are a distinct possibility but that will be up to Merrick Garland, not Joe Biden. The president has quite rightly vowed to stay out of it.

There’s been much hand wringing about how hard it will be to restore the apolitical culture at DOJ. Rachel Maddow devoted an entire show to the issue. I love Rachel but she’s the quintessential liberal worry wort, especially on this issue.

Will it be easy? No, nothing worthwhile ever is.

Is it doable? Absolutely.

Why? It’s been done before in 1975 in the wake of Watergate and two Attorneys General going to the hoosegow.

The best appointments made by Gerald Ford during his brief presidency were these two bow-tied Chicagoans:

You probably recognize the guy on the left: Justice John Paul Stevens. The man on the right is the one who turned DOJ around and urged President Ford to appoint Stevens to SCOTUS. His name was Edward Levi.

Like Edward Levi and John Paul Stevens, Merrick Garland hails from the Chicago area.

Like Merrick Garland, Edward Levi was a modest unassuming man.

Like Merrick Garland, Edward Levi faced a difficult task. He did the job, then returned to the University of Chicago where he had previously served as dean of the law school and president of the university.

Like Merrick Garland, Edward Levi was Jewish. He was the first Jewish AG; Garland will be the third. Garland has always been reticent about his background, but Cory Booker worked his magic on the judge:

Senator Booker also elicited this strong statement on racial injustice from the next AG:

Back to Jerry Ford’s attorney general.

Edward Levi is one of the most underrated figures in American history. He not only had to clean up the DOJ, but he also had to reform the FBI, which J. Edgar Hoover had turned into his private police force. He accomplished both in two years. It can be done again.

1975 was Edward Levi’s time.

2021 is Merrick Garland’s time.

The last word goes to Bill Withers:

Tweet Of The Day: Donny Junior Edition

I decided to take a trip to an alternate universe and check out Donny Junior’s Twitter feed. It’s like a sewer that never stops overflowing. One could even call it effusive effluent, but I won’t because those words are too big for Donny Junior. Speaking of words, his favorite word is cancel. It’s cancel this and cancel that. It’s like a warped record that won’t come unstuck: cancel, cancel, cancel.

I’ve heard Donny Junior compared to Fredo Corleone. That’s an insult to Fredo who was a sweet-natured dumbass. Donny Junior is a mean-spirited moron. Besides, he should be compared to other Juniors. He’s more like AJ Soprano who was a dipshit obsessed with conspiracy theories. An even better fictional comp is Jackie Aprile Junior. Another Junior, Corrado Soprano, summed him up best: “The kid was always a dumbfuck, wasn’t he? Didn’t he nearly drown in three inches of water?”

That concludes this Life Imitates The Sopranos, not The Godfather moment.

You’re probably wondering when I’m getting to the Tweet. There’s no time like the present.

It’s a sign of Donny Junior’s arrogant nitwittery that this tweet is still up. The last Democratic Texas governor was the late great Ann Richards. Since 1995, Texas has been governed by three Republicans: George W Bush, Rick Perry, and Greg Abbott; each dumber than his predecessor and that’s saying a lot.

Perry has said the dumbest thing about Texas’ current plight: “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.”

Freedom. man.

If Donny Junior is the future of the GOP, I say Cancel Tomorrow. The last word goes to Dottie West:

 

Day One, Act Two: Oy, Such Bad Lawyering

You’re probably wondering about the featured image. Trump lawyer Bruce Castor got oily and tried to flatter the senate. You know it worked with the Impeached Insult Comedian. Anyway, he cited former Senate GOP leader Everett McKinley Dirksen and the records his family played for fun. Not my idea of fun but I’m not a Republican.

The irony of the Dirksen soliloquy is that he was a genuine conservative as well as LBJ’s partner on the Civil Rights Act. That’s right, the Illinois windbag worked closely with LBJ and Hubert Humphrey to pass that landmark legislation.

Enough history. Back to Team Trump’s lawyers. They were terrible in different ways: Castor was all folksy and shit and David Schoen shouted a lot. Neither made any salient arguments on substantive matters but they had 44 seconds to prepare. Pennywise changes attorneys like most of us change our underwear: 9 times in four years. I change mine daily,  but a joke is a joke is a joke.

Folksy Bruce Castor *was* a joke. A bad one. Here are a few tweets from some smart ass on Twitter:

Do people still drink castor oil? I would hope not. It’s nasty but my usually sensible Norwegian mother thought it was healthy. Pretty much the only thing she was ever wrong about.

Oops.

David Schoen (pronounced Shane) spoke longer and louder. He reminded me of Gym Jordan with a jacket. He talked so LOUDLY that I shushed him a few times. Here are his Tweets; two of which contains jokes about one of my favorite movies.

Brandon de Wilde of Shane fame wouldn’t have liked him. I can see why Roger Stone loves him: they both shout incessantly.

Neither Castor nor Schoen made any solid constitutional arguments. It was gibberish, a mish-mash, a muddle. Ugh.

Things went so poorly for Team Trump that Rep. Raskin waived his rebuttal time. Wise choice.

There was a big surprise from the Gret Stet’s senior senator:

That’s 56 votes including 6 GOPers. I think we’ll get 4 or 5 Republican votes from old school conservatives like Romney, Sasse, Toomey, and Murkowski. Runaround Sue Collins gonna do her thing and may land on the right side. I still think Double Bill votes to acquit the Kaiser of Chaos.

That’s it for tonight. The last word goes to the Edgar Winter Group with Rick Derringer on lead guitar:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Pirate Radio

Rooms By The Sea by Edward Hopper.

It’s been a long week at Adrastos World HQ. I’ve been tidying up my study/home office to make it easier for an AT&T tech to upgrade my internet service. It’s a daunting task. I’m a notoriously bad housekeeper so I’ve discovered dust bunnies the size of the late, great Paul Drake as well as the odd desicated peanut and Cheerio under the desk and book stacks. Clutter thy name is Adrastos.

Because of my clean-up attempt and hours spent watching the inauguration, I’m keeping this short by ditching our second act altogether. Who has time to write about longread-type articles when you’re at war with dust and clutter?

This week’s theme song is a lesser-known John Hiatt rocker. It’s a particular favorite of mine. It’s a road song that was written in 1997 for the Little Head album.

We have two versions of Pirate Radio for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 1997 live version with Hiatt’s then crack band, the Nashville Queens:

While we’re being all piratical and shit, here’s ELP with a prog pirate song:

It’s time to shiver me timbers and jump to the break.

Continue reading

Tweet Of The Day: White Flag Edition

I’m late to this because I was busy covering Pardonpalooza and the Inauguration. The Tweet in question was posted on Tuesday but I don’t see a sell-by date on it, do you?

It comes from Gambit Editor John Stanton who has yet to change his handle to @nolabigjohn, which is the only bad thing I have to say about him.

In repose they do indeed resemble what I prefer to call a Klan gown. I know they’re called robes, but they look like a graduation gown’s evil twin. They also resemble the robes worn by old line New Orleans Carnival krewes. It’s probably best that Krewe D’Etat, which dispenses right-wing satire and is ruled over by a dictator is in mothballs this year along with the rest of the krewes. That way we’re spared an election fraud float.

The flag display looked less Ku Klux-like when the wind picked up but there was still a major problem: the flag color.

White flags? Really? The city of New Orleans honored our COVID dead with the international symbol of surrender. Holy misplaced symbolism, Batman.

Repeat after me: NO WHITE FLAGS.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell is an odd political figure. She ran an excellent campaign complete with a great communications strategy. As Mayor, her comms operation has been oddly inept. The white flag display is not their first mistake and is unlikely to be their last.

Lucky for Cantrell, the last incumbent mayor to lose re-election was Robert Maestri way back in 1946. Mayor Maestri is best remembered for accompanying FDR to Antoine’s and saying, “How ya like dem ersters, Mr. President?”

Political trivia doesn’t get more trivial than that.

The last word goes to Bruce Springsteen with a song that John Kerry used as his campaign theme song in 2004:

Repeat after me: NO WHITE FLAGS.

Blue Sky

I planned ahead for this post, even dropping a hint on the tweeter tube:

And the winner is Blue Sky since Warnock and Ossoff won their races. The alternative was a song that, along with Louie Louie, I used to request at every rock concert I attended in my wayward youth: Whipping Post.

David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler must feel like they’re tied to the Whipping Post this morning. They should have won their races, especially Perdue who is well-known in the Peach State and has won elections before. Loeffler is an awful person who ran a terrible campaign. For some reason, Gov. Kemp thought she’d be a formidable candidate partially because she was a semi-moderate GOPer before selling her soul to Trump. She should demand a refund instead of a recount.

This tweet from the former Republican strategist who ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign nails Loeffler to the Whipping Post:

I never thought I’d post anything by Matt Drudge, but this made me laugh:

Jon Ossoff had the tougher task this time around, but Reverend Doctor Senator Raphael Warnock has to run again in 2022. The good news is that Stacey Abrams is gearing up for a grudge rematch against Brian Kemp, which will boost Warnock’s chances. It was a bad year for Kemp: he tried his best to please the Impeached Insult Comedian but wound up on the latter’s shit list for refusing to risk going to jail for him. That makes him a slacker Trumper much like Vice President Pence or former AG Bill Barr.

Warnock ran ahead of his Democratic colleague all night for a variety of reasons: Loeffler’s attack on his church, wealthy black Republican ticket splitters, and the overall awfulness and fakery of the wealthiest woman in the US Senate. Make that wealthiest short-term senator. I wonder if she still plans to posture and pose at the fakakta election challenge mishigas event later today. Stay tuned.

As always, I watched the returns on MSNBC. In large part to watch the antics of Steve Kornacki who never sits down and seems to have the bladder of a camel. I’m glad they turned Kornacki’s producer Adam into a character last night, so it doesn’t look like Steve is a lunatic talking to himself.

This Kornacki-related tweet by TV writer and former New Orleanian Matt Brennan was one of the winners of the evening:

Since I’m talking Kornacki and posting tweets, here’s another one from little old me:

I admit to having a case of the heebie jeebies when Perdue led by over 100K votes. By the time I went to sleep it was clear that Ossoff would eke out a win. His current lead is bigger than Biden’s margin, which was good enough to win. I should have calmed myself by remembering the election nights in which New Orleans’ votes were out and Mary Landrieu narrowly trailed her Republican opponent before winning.

Since this post has degenerated into a tweet fest, here’s one for and from the history books:

Jon Ossoff became the first Jewish senator from the Peach State and RDS Warnock became the first black Southern senator to enter the senate via election since Reconstruction. South Carolina’s Tim Scott was appointed before winning his seat; something Kelly Loeffler tried and failed to do. Heh, heh, heh. Democratic Senate, baby.

The spirit of John Lewis pervaded election night:

It was a long night and it’s going to be a long day of yelling at Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and John Neely Kennedy as they suck up to the Sore Loser In Chief. Like yesterday, it will turn out to be a good day for democracy when this preposterous and futile challenge fails.

The last word is obvious. It goes to the Allman Brothers Band:

Behind Barrs?

As a Watergate buff, I’m always pleased to have a pretext to go there. The Trump regime has given me plenty of opportunities. Bill Barr and John Mitchell will be linked in history as Attorneys General who disgraced the office. Mitchell, of course, went to the slammer for authorizing the Watergate break-in and lying about it to the Senate select committee on Watergate. Barr’s fate is as of yet unknown, but we can speculate. What’s a little speculation among friends?

The reputation of the Justice Department is the lowest it’s been since Mitchell and his successor, Richard Kleindienst, were convicted of felonies. They were also newsmagazine cover boys when that mattered:

Barr has acted as if he were Trump’s personal lawyer, not the people’s lawyer, which is what the job really entails. Repeat after me: the Attorney General is NOT “the nation’s top law enforcement official.” That’s one of my pet peeves or hobby horses so I like to mount it whenever feasible.

Barr clashed with Trump recently over the fakakta election fraud claims and a DOJ investigation into Hunter Biden. Trump wanted Barr’s abject loyalty on the former and thought the latter should have been made public. It was one of the few things during Barr’s tenure on which he followed departmental policy. But he deserves no credit for doing so and he’ll get none here.

I’m gobsmacked that anyone thinks that Barr wrote his exit letter. It was obviously dictated by the Impeached Insult Comedian much like the doctor’s letter that claimed he was in the best health of anyone on the planet.

Here’s a sample of Barr’s farewell letter:

I am greatly honored that you called on me to serve your administration and the American people once again as Attorney General. I am proud to have played a role in the many successes and unprecedented achievements you have delivered for the American people. Your 2016 victory speech in which you reached out to your opponents and called for working together for the benefit of the American people was immediately met by a partisan onslaught against you in which no tactic, no matter how abusive and deceitful, was out of bounds. The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust, your administration with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia.

He may be Trump’s bull goose sycophant, but florid language is not Barr’s thing. He writes in bone-dry legal prose. Only Donald Trump can adequately flatter Donald Trump. Barr may, however, have thrown in some of the fancier words like nadir. The only nadir Trump has heard of is Ralph…

You may have noticed that I called this ode to obsequiousness an exit or farewell letter. Nowhere in the letter are the words resign or fired used. I think he was pushed out by a president* eager to torment a new acting AG. Remember President* Pennywise’s last acting AG:

The post title hints at the notion that Barr could face criminal charges for some of his Trumpier actions. It’s unclear if that will happen but at least one former federal prosecutor thinks Barr leaves office with a pardon in his hip pocket:

Barr’s successor is Deputy AG Jeffrey Rosen who is best described as Barr’s Barr. The Failing New York Times has a profile of the acting AG which indicates that he was down for all the DOJ horrors that occurred during Barr’s reign of error.

The other day I wrote about my distaste for the law of sedition. It has traditionally been used by right-wingers to suppress left-wing political speech. If Bill Barr and Jeffrey Rosen had their way, it would have been used against Black Lives Matter protestors:

And in September, Mr. Rosen threw his support behind Mr. Barr’s threat to charge perpetrators of violence amid Black Lives Matter demonstrations with sedition, a word that connotes plots to overthrow the government. In a memo to prosecutors, he rejected criticism of that threat as an overreach, noting that the law also covers seizing federal property or hindering the execution of federal laws outside the context of attempted revolutions.

“Those who have actually read the statute recognize that the text” of the sedition law, Mr. Rosen wrote, “could potentially apply to some of the violent acts that have occurred.”

Rosen also spearheaded the failed attempt to indict Andrew McCabe for conduct that was customarily handled administratively. How was that for a lawyerly sentence? It was almost as bone dry as your typical Bill Barr sentence. If I were a Catholic, I’d say five Hail Marys in penance for that prose but it didn’t help Fredo survive his brother’s wrath in Godfather II so I’ll skip it.

https://otfilms.tumblr.com/post/48862288550/every-time-i-put-my-line-in-the-water-i-said-a

Rosen has shown the same tendency as Barr to implement President* Pennywise’s worst ideas. He’s unlikely to resist unless threatened with disbarment, which is a fate that a big law firm mouthpiece is apt to regard as akin to death. Billable hours are everything to the Jeffrey Rosens of the world.

Here’s hoping that the DOJ bureaucracy will run out the clock on any really bad ideas proposed by Trump to Rosen. Civil servants are revolting against the Trump regime now that it’s doomed. DOJ is full of smart lawyers. They’ll figure something out; at least I hope so.

Times are bleak but here’s a reminder that help is on the way:

 

Women In The Room

Joe Biden knows who elected him. It was women voters, especially women of color. The latest wave of appointments totals 13 of whom 11 are women; 6 of them are women of color and 2 are lesbians. Of the two men appointed one is a black guy for a grand total of 7 people of color in this wave.

Biden is off to excellent start in keeping his pledge to have an administration that looks like America.

When I first heard Janet Yellen’s name mentioned I had a D’oh moment. What Democratic woman is better qualified that the former Fed head who will be only the second person to hold both jobs? Senator Professor Warren is equally qualified, but her state has a Republican Governor. That’s likely to rule out Senator Bernie Sanders for a cabinet job as well: GOPer Phil Scott is Governor of Vermont. They’re both moderates but unlikely to select a Democrat to replace a Senator appointed to the cabinet. As the old saying goes: you gotta dance with those who brung you.

The most controversial nominee is apt to be Neera Tanden who has enemies on both ends of the ideological spectrum. Her detractors dislike Tanden because of her close ties to Hillary Clinton and her bad ass persona on the tweeter tube. I wasn’t aware that mean tweets were disqualifying. I’m also glad that Biden is willing to nominate someone who will generate heat, not light. There will be many battles to fight in the next 4 years, so a bit of controversy is a good thing.

The best thing about the all-chick comms staff is that it provoked a tirade from Kayleigh McEnany. Anything that pisses her off is fine with me.

I’m tired of writing about Team Trump so I welcome the chance to celebrate Team Biden-Harris’ commitment to diversity. It doesn’t surprise me: Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris proved that he’s serious about having a government that looks like the country.

A final request. I wish people would stop freaking out every time a name they dislike is floated by the media. It’s best to look at the totality of the team not those rumored to join it. Besides, after 4 years of Team Trump, anyone is an improvement. Who could be worse than Ross, Mnuchin, or Miller?

A Four-Legged Stool Of Trump Regime Scandals

Several days of focusing on Hurricane Zeta have left me behind on campaign related stuff as well as the latest Trump regime scandals. I’m also dealing with a wicked bad headache caused either by the late hurricane or the current cold front. Enough of my whining, on with the show this is it:

That was posted to prove to frequent commenter Larry the Red that I know my toons. On with the show this it redux.

Team Trump have so flooded the zone with scandals that it’s hard to know where to begin. There’s a four-legged stool of Trump regime scandals that have been revealed this week. They’ve been busy diverting attention from their own malefactions by pimping fake Biden scandals to the right-wing media and Glenn Greenwald who continues to be the poster boy for far left and far right convergence, He’s also a self-righteous prick and malaka but this post is not about him. He can go fuck himself.

The first leg involves Turkey’s elected dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan. You know, the Impeached Insult Comedian’s Islamist buddy. Erdogan tried to get the Obama administration to play along with him on several legal issues, but Joe Biden was sent to Ankara to say no. So much for Joey the shark as crook. The Kaiser of Chaos can go fuck himself.

Since I’m blogging hurt, I’ll use a Tweet by Matthew Gertz of Media Matters to explain the Turkish scandal and link to the NYT article on it:

Matthew Gertz is no relation to imbecilic Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz much to the former’s relief.

The second leg of the scandal stool involves the latest egregious conflict of interest of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. That semi-senile plutocrat has been on the team negotiating a trade deal with China while still having business interests in that country.

Here’s an explanatory Tweet from a guy with a colorful name:

The third leg of our Trump regime scandal stool involves sleazy doings at the Department of Health and Human Services. Trumpers have attempted to turn that cabinet department into a propaganda arm of the Trump campaign. Explanatory Tweets have worked thus far so here’s another one:

I’m not sure if Eric is any relation to spoon-bending psychic Yuri Geller.

The fourth and final leg of our Trumper scandal stool involves State Department sleaze:

We’ve completed our four-legged stool of Trumper scandals. I hope the instructions were clearer than the ones you get from IKEA.

Tucker Carlson: The Dog Ate My Disinformation

It’s a mystery to me why so many ostensibly intelligent Republicans have turned to stupidity during the Trump era. My Senator John Neely Kennedy is one of the foremost fake dipshits.

Another fake dumbass is Fox News loudmouth Tucker Carlson who is also a fake populist. He’s currently claiming that he has something big on Joe Biden:

On Wednesday night’s show, Tucker Carlson reported that his team had acquired incriminating documents. However, they sent them from Washington to Los Angeles, and the documents disappeared. And they neglected to make any copies. So now the only copy of the documents that would nail the probable next president of the United States are gone.

https://twitter.com/TuckerCarlson/status/1321608055549775872

Have you consulted with the Postmaster General yet? He’s only supposed to lose Democratic ballots.

This is weak tea from the Swanson’s teevee dinner heir. Unlike his colleague Sean Hannity, he’s not a meathead, he only plays one on teevee. Hannity puts the boob in boob tube. Given his family pedigree, perhaps Tucker’s problem is brain freeze.

Tucker used to wear a bow tie. Has the change in neckwear lowered his IQ? Is neckwear even a word? I’m getting all tied up in Windsor knots.

The last word goes to Adrastos crony and former Gambit Tabloid editor Kevin Allman:

Does a tweet qualify as the last word? Beats the hell outta me. In any event, it’s better than the dog ate my homework disinformation.

That concludes this edition of Stupid Trumper Tricks.

George Wallace Called Him Mousey Tongue

The special Senate election in Georgia is getting nasty and weird. Doug Collins, seen above next to George Wallace, is attacking Kelly Loeffler over the Warhol that was spotted at her palatial crib:

George Wallace called him Mousey Tongue. How about you, Dougie?

Rich people have Warhols, Dougie. If your man President* Pennywise had any taste, he might own one himself. He did, however, consort with Andy and a polo pony:

I betcha thought I was making that up. It reminds me of a classic Ed Norton moment from The Honeymooners:

Polopopnies? Sounds like my ancestral region, the Peloponnesus.

My mother loved that Honeymooners routine. In fact, she added Poloponies to the name of the infamous Brutus the beagle chihuahua mix. Not my favorite dog: I caught Brutus peeing on the cover of my copy of Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison. It’s a pity that Van wasn’t there to admonish the dog who renamed that fine album Tupeelo Honey. Now I need some of this:

It’s funny to watch Collins and Loeffler try to be the Trumpiest Trumper in Trumpistan when the Impeached Insult Comedian is increasingly unpopular with other GOPers. Does that make them Throwback Trumpers?

If David Pecker still ran The Enquirer, he’d want to know. Enquiring minds and all that shit.

I don’t know about you but I’m rooting for this guy:

For some reason, Georgia has adopted the Louisiana open primary system. Who copies the Gret Stet in politics? Food, yes; politics no.

I refuse to call it a jungle primary because of connotations that George Wallace and Doug Collins would surely get.

2020, man.

The last word goes to Van Morrison:

 

Tweet Of The Day: Mama Told Me To Not Come

My friend James Karst worked at the Picayune for many years. One of his specialties is digging up obscure items from the newspaper’s morgue. This one is a doozy:

In case you can’t read Linda Coney’s letter in the tweet, here it is in all its dubious glory:

So much for Judge Coney’s claim to be open-minded about Roe v. Wade. She learned her views at her mother’s knee.

I’m not going to belabor the obvious pun in the post title other than quoting the song: “That ain’t the way to have fun, son.”

Instead, I’ll give the last word to Three Dog Night. Wilson Pickett, and the man who wrote the song, Randy Newman.

Three Dog Night put Not To Come in parenthesis. I’m sticking with Randy Newman’s take. He wrote the damn song, dammit.

FYI, Newman never released the song as a single hence the omission in the featured image. Mama told me to add that.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Dirty Look Librarians

This week’s entry took me on a voyage of discovery; a minor one. Initially, I wasn’t sure if The Dirty Look Librarians was a genuine vintage cover or a parody. It’s the real deal.

Hell, I couldn’t even find a file big enough to post here until I consulted with the Pulp Librarian. That’s a fancy way of saying I stole these pictures from one of his old tweets, which is posted below the pictures. I did, however, use the teeny-tiny picture of the cover as the featured image. I like messing with my readers.

I don’t know about you but I’d never mess up their shelving.

A dirty look is worth a thousand words. I learned that from living with the Queen of Dirty Looks, Della Street.

Here’s the tweet I alluded to:

The GOP Dominoes Keep Tumbling

Do you know what you have done?
Do you know what you’ve begun?

Domino by Genesis. Lyrics by Tony Banks.

People have been parsing images from the Amy Coney Barrett Super-Spreader reception as if it were the Zapruder Film. There’s only grass, no grassy knoll.

This captioned photo from Getty Images was tweeted out by the CNN anchor whose name is better than his reporting:

There are more than six GOP dominoes and soon there’ll be more.

Since I’m an evil bastard, I hope Bill Barr will contract COVID from getting up close and personal with Kellyanne Conway. I am, however, sorry that Conway’s daughter caught it from her mother.  Poor kid has been through enough. Imagine being the spawn of the right-wing Bickersons. Get well soon. Claudia.

I’m glad to report that the last week has been an unmitigated disaster for Team Trump. The fundamental dynamic of this campaign is that any time the pandemic is the main topic of conversation, it hurts President* Pennywise. Trump’s vilest outbursts at the “debate” were provoked by any mention of COVID-19.

This weekend’s events are a reminder of Trump’s recklessness and selfishness. That fakakta motorcade to nowhere needlessly endangered the health of the Secret Service agents in the SUV with the Impeached Insult Comedian.

Trump’s Sunday stunt was so horrific that a Walter Reed Doc took to Twitter:

Dr. Phillips is head of disaster medicine at GW as well as a CNN contributor. I may have to watch CNN more after that righteous outburst.

The motorcade to nowhere was all about the show. Message: I’m a tough guy. The real message is that he’s a reckless and selfish prick. I feel a musical interlude coming on:

Trump isn’t the first POTUS* to lie about his health but he’s among the most brazen. Dr. Conley’s briefings have been evasive at best, dishonest at worst. Instead of addressing the nation, Conley had an audience of one: the patient. My favorite part was when Conley said he didn’t want to damage the upbeat mood of the team. Really, Doc? I thought your profession’s motto was, “first, do no harm” not “don’t bum anyone out.”

Another classic moment was when Conley said that he didn’t know what Trump’s temperature was at its peak, he’d have to ask the nurses. Another lie. All he had to do was read the patient’s chart. Leave the nursing staff out of this. It’s on you, Doctor Commander Conley.

Trump’s docs need to be careful to maintain their professional integrity. A reminder that everyone who gets involved with Donald Trump gets slimed.

Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman filed a bone-chilling report at The Hive this morning:

On Saturday, the West Wing plunged into damage-control mode after Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, told reporters that Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday—a day earlier than Trump previously disclosed. The new timeline meant that Trump would have been contagious when he debated Joe Biden on Tuesday and attended a fundraiser on Thursday at his Bedminster golf club.

The White House released follow-up statements saying Conley misspoke, but they did little to quell the chaos. The White House’s shifting chronology and lack of transparency are being driven, in part, by Trump’s desire to conceal the seriousness of his illness from the public. Three sources said Trump argued with his doctors on Friday after they told him he needed to be moved to Walter Reed. “He didn’t want to go to the hospital a month before the election,” a Republican close to Trump told me. Two sources said doctors gave Trump an ultimatum: he could go to the hospital while he could still walk, or doctors would be forced to take him in a wheelchair or on a stretcher at a later point if his health deteriorated. “They told him, ‘You can go now or we’re taking you later and it’s non negotiable,’” a second source close to the White House said. Trump waited to leave for the hospital until the stock market closed on Friday, a source said.

After spending months denying the dangers of COVID-19, Trump is expressing an emotion aides have rarely seen: fear. On Friday, Trump grew visibly anxious as his fever spiked to 103 fahrenheit and he was administered oxygen at the White House, according to three Republicans close to the White House. Two sources told me Trump experienced heart palpitations on Friday night—possible side effects of the experimental antibody treatment he received. Trump has wondered aloud if he could defeat the disease. “Am I going out like Stan Chera?” Trump has asked aides, referring to his friend, New York real-estate developer Stan Chera, who died of COVID in April.

The COVID chickens are coming home to roost. The GOP dominoes keep tumbling. TPM’s Josh Marshall wonders if the Kaiser of Chaos himself is the super-spreader. That means he’s gone from Trumper Superman to Super Chicken to Super-Spreader in the course of one disastrous week.

There’s a marvelous passage in a WaPo story about the arrogance of White House staffers who mistakenly believed that testing was enough to protect them from the virus:

Inside the West Wing’s narrow corridors, where staffers for months have worked in proximity largely without masks, what had long been an atmosphere of invincibility turned into one of apprehension and panic. “People are losing their minds,” said the outside adviser.

First, aides fretted about their own risks of exposure. If the president got infected, so might they.
Then they considered the political implications, coming so close to the Nov. 3 election. “We don’t want to be talking about coronavirus and now we’re talking about coronavirus,” the outside adviser said. “The hit writes itself: He can’t protect the country. He couldn’t even protect himself.”

He also can’t protect his own people; not that this reckless and selfish prick gives a shit about that.

The election cake is baked, especially with the RNC Chair and Trump’s campaign manager sidelined by COVID. Democrats and our allies need to execute, and victory will follow. Here’s hoping that it’s a landslide that will send the Trumper rats running for cover. The GOP dominoes are tumbling.

I’ve never really bought the coup talk. It’s always struck me as a diversionary tactic. Does anyone seriously think that Team Trump can pull off a coup when they can’t even run a competent cover-up?

The Domino Effect is in play. The GOP dominoes keep tumbling.

Repeat after me:

Do you know what you have done?
Do you know what you’ve begun?

The last word goes to Genesis:

Another day, another last word fib. Trumper mendacity is *almost* as contagious as COVID-19. If you have not already read Ryne Hancock’s great guest post, Hard Sympathy, click here.

Tweet Of The Day: Josh Marshall Edition

Although we have to prepare for the worst, Josh Marshall is skeptical of Trump’s staying power when it comes to defying the election results:

I concur. I think it’s Trump’s latest con game. He’s making excuses for losing. We’ll be hearing the same pitiful refrain until he either dies or goes to the slammer. President* Pennywise is a pussy. He should grab himself.

I have a busy day today so I’m going to keep this brief. I’ll be back at 4pm sharp for the Friday Cocktail Hour.

The last word is dedicated to the Impeached Insult Comedian. Consider it foreshadowing for when we next meet:

Summer Of Hate

The Kaiser of Chaos is living up to his nickname. He’s stirring the pot, inflaming racial animosity and violence. Despite being the most lawless president* in American history, he’s determined to duplicate the 1968 Nixon-Agnew Law & Order strategy.

 

Tricky, of course, was the nominee of the out party whereas Trump is the incumbent. Another irony lost on the Impeached Insult Comedian is that both Nixon and Agnew were criminals who were forced from office due to their malefactions. Projection thy name is Donald.

Despite all the angst from Democrats and spin from right-leaning MSM pundits, it appears that the Republican ticket got an itty bitty bounce from their convention in the early surveys from 2 to 4 points. The cult of the savvy were impressed by the illegal hate fest that was the Trumpvention, but so far, the voters are not. It’s hard for any president to be re-elected with a 31% favorability rating as opposed to 59% negative. That’s -28. That’s unpopular.

If the election is a referendum on Trump, he will lose. His path to victory is a narrow one despite what Michael Moore thinks. As long as Trump’s opponents do not get depressed and give up, he’s in deep shit. He has a record and it’s a bad one. All the lying in the world, can’t reduce the COVID death toll, which stands at 183.000 and rising.

Josh Marshall has written the best thing I’ve seen about why Democrats are electoral pessimists and GOPers are optimists:

Regardless of the objective realities, Democrats will consistently anticipate loss or worry about loss while Republicans will consistently be confident of victory. This is a good rule of thumb regardless of the objective realities of the moment, to the degree they can be known. This is not an absolute of course: overwhelming odds will buoy Democrats and hopeless situations will nudge Republicans to despair. But in general this is almost an iron law of political psychology in the United States.

This may be obscured by the genuine shock and horror Democrats experienced on election night four years ago. Democrats were pretty confident and all their worst fears were realized. But a closer look shows the general pattern was actually in effect through much of the 2016 cycle. Indeed we saw a particular example of it during the 2018 midterm election. The fall of 2018 was chock full of theories and predictions about how two years of ‘resistance’ activism were coming up short. It was the ‘caravan’. It was Trump’s 12 dimensional chess. It was low turnout among young voters. So pervasive were Democrats’ latent fears of coming up short that they actually persisted well into election night and even the first couple days after the election – until late returns, results of close call races and just the actual numbers made clear Democrats had won a decisive victory.

Despite being old enough to have experienced the 1972, 1980, and 1984 Republican landslides, I’m usually cautiously optimistic about elections and skeptical of other things. Perhaps it’s because I had a Republican father. Beats the hell outta me.

In weirdo campaign news, Herman Cain’s family is still running his Twitter feed. They seem to have forgotten how he died:

Deleted but not forgotten. Hopefully, we’ll be able to describe the Impeached Insult Comedian that way next year.

It’s time for them to go. Make it so, America, make it so.

Sleepwalking To Oblivion

Teleprompter Donald showed up to give his acceptance speech. Teleprompter Donald is a dull speaker. The content of the speech was, predictably, appalling. Earlier this week I said this:

“The Trump regime is like a three-legged stool held up by ethical violations, sycophancy, and hypocrisy.”

I’d like to amend and extend my remarks. It’s really a four-legged stool. The fourth leg is mendacity. President* Pennywise showed that leg at least 20 times last night according to the great Daniel Dale.

In addition to the lies, there were malaprops and mispronunciations aplenty. He “profoundly accepted” the nomination. He pronounced “walled-off” as Waldorf. It’s unclear if he meant the hotel or its signature salad. The speech was loaded with indigestible word salad.

The speech was aimless and meandering. Stephen Miller may be the worst presidential* speechwriter ever. It was a series of unstructured buzz words calculated to scare people shitless. The boring delivery made it seem as long as a speech by Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez. The running time was 70 minutes. It was an ugly boring mess.

It’s been said by many people but the use of the White House for this COVID super-spreader rally was another unconscionable abuse of power. The Hatch Act may be toothless, but they need be called on this shit every time. MSNBC’s Joy Reid nailed it:

Sometimes the best comments are terse and to the point:

There were a few masked faces in the crowd but people were crammed together like tinned sardines only not as tasty. It will be interesting to see who follows in Herman Cain’s footsteps, contracts the virus, and dies. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross looked like a prime candidate to join the 180K and counting Americans who have perished during the pandemic.

Alternate worlds in sci-fi are sometimes more pleasant than reality. The alternate world depicted by Trump is a dark and dangerous place where people jump out of the shadows to slit your throat. Hence the featured image from Sam Fuller’s Underworld USA.

I like how Jeet Heer of The Nation described it:

Click on the link and read the whole thread. It’s well worth your time.

Trump’s dull and toxic speech does not strike me as a winning message. Unfortunately, very few watched it live so its long-term impact is unclear. More important in this election will be turn-out and the pandemic death count, which grew by 3,500 during the RNC. Much as they try, they can’t lie those numbers away.

I woke up angry. Angry that we have a malevolent idiot as POTUS*. Angry that one of our major parties incites violence against immigrants and minorities. To listen to Trump, Joe Biden has been running the country for the last 47 years. Who knew he was that powerful?

Our publisher was angry about the misuse of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah:

Again. click on the link and revel in Athenae’s righteous indignation.

I came up with the post title as the Impeached Insult Comedian droned on. He had obviously neither practiced nor read the speech. I was a sleepwalker as a small child. Apparently, I’d wander aimlessly from room-to-room muttering under my breath about nothing in particular. I outgrew my sleepwalking. I hope that the country will awaken from our long national nightmare and send the First Sleepwalker to oblivion where he belongs.

The last word goes to The Kinks: