Category Archives: Twitter

The Kavanaugh Mess: The Mess We’re In

Sorry for using the word mess twice in the post title. It does, however, describe the state of the nation after the messy confirmation of Justice* Bro. He earned his asterisk by lying to the Senate and the way the Feebs took the I out of the FBI.  To paraphrase the late Sue Grafton, I was NOT for Investigation.

GOPers have been celebrating like high school jocks since Chinless Mitch and his minions “rammed” the nomination through. SNL had a locker room celebration sketch as its cold opening. It was an excellent idea that was poorly executed. The #BeersForBrett meme on twitter was much funnier albeit unintentionally so. You know my thoughts about that: ain’t nothing funnier than unintentional comedy.

On Friday, I wrote about Susan Collins’ long-winded apologia for Brett Kavanaugh. I have to give her credit for making a Supreme Court nomination about her instead of the nominee. Her Sunday show appearance did not exactly cover her in glory:

This line has gone from being a wacky conspiracy theory promulgated by Kav krony Ed Whelan to the GOP CW: conventional wisdom, not country & western. Its adoption does make me want to cry tears in my beer…

The “I believe she was attacked but he didn’t do it” line makes no sense whatsoever. But we’re living in the age of the YUGE LIE so logic is out the window. Little Joe Goebbels would be very proud of Republicans.

I said on Friday that “Susan Collins is horrible” I have an addendum: Lindsey Graham is even worse. He spiked the ball on the tweeter tube after the vote:

Then he doubled down on teevee the morning after:

Stay classy, Senator.

I am not among those shocked by Lindsey Graham’s transformation from John McCain’s wingman to all-out Trump sycophant. He’s a people pleaser who is drawn to power. Power in the GOP is concentrated in the Insult Comedian and the MAGA Maggots. Lindsey is like a moth to flame. This moth is up for re-election in 2020.

The key to Lindsey Graham’s character can be found in a New York Magazine profile I quoted a few weeks back in an Odds & Sods outing:

It is perhaps useful to know that Graham grew up in a bar. His parents owned the Sanitary Cafe, a watering hole and pool hall popular with local textile workers, in a town called Central, in a region known as the Upcountry in the northwest of the state, a budding Appalachia.

<SNIP>

Graham, his parents, and his sister, Darline, 13 years younger, slept in one room behind the bar, and Graham worked at the bar after school. There he honed the skills that have defined him in politics: Always be charming, ready with a joke and a story; don’t make enemies; keep grudges private; defuse open conflict and resolve fights out back.

Repeat after me: Graham is a people pleaser. The people he wants to please are the president* and his horrible base. Senator McCain has left the building. A reminder: McCain patched up things with George W Bush during the run up to the Iraq War to maintain his viability in the Republican Party. In fairness, I doubt he would have gone over to Trump or attacked CBF with the vehemence of his former sidekick. He had more integrity than that. Graham has none. He’s a pussy, he should grab himself.

Where do we go from here? I understand the temptation to form a circular firing squad and start shooting at other Dems. I’m mad at Joe Manchin too. His vote *was* cast in a cowardly manner BUT we need the numbers if the Dems have any chance at taking the Senate. I understand why people want to cut him off but I’m keeping my eyes on the prize, which is a Senate majority. It remains daunting but it’s well-nigh impossible without Manchin and Phil Bredesen in Tennessee. I affixed a clothespin to my nose while writing this paragraph. You gotta do what you gotta do. I completely understand if others don’t feel this way.

My assumption has always been that the losing side in the Justice Bro* war would benefit the most politically. Republicans got what they wanted, it’s more of a sugar rush that may dim in the next month. If it helps them, it helps them more in the Senate than in House races.

Something else that will help Democrats when the sugar rush wears off  is Trump’s inability not to brag and take credit for the Kavanaugh victory. His tendency to overplay his hand may well lead to a backlash. We’re in the age of the backlash, after all.

A reminder that Democrats should NOT run on impeachment of either Trump or Kavanaugh. That *will* extend the GOP sugar rush. Besides, it’s what they want us to do. When your opponent sets an obvious trap, you should sidestep it. Two words Democrats *should* run on are: OVERSIGHT and INVESTIGATION. Those are promises we can keep: even a Democratic Senate will not be able to convict an impeached president* or justice*.

It’s time for us to get both mad and even. That’s not an easy feat but we need to get our base out as well as wooing suburban women who dislike Trump and are disturbed by the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Women are the key to this election: I’m going to get out of the way and let y’all do your thing.

Repeat after me: Resist Smart.

The last word goes to Los Lobos:

The Kavanaugh Mess: Best Protest Ever

As the Kavanaugh kloture vote looms, NBC’s Kasie Hunt was on the job early this morning:

Then someone tweeted this clip:

I laughed for a full five minutes when I saw Kasie’s tweet. Perhaps the Reader’s Fucking Digest is right and laughter *is* the best medicine. A no vote would be even better.

The last word goes to Judge Bro:

One More Tweet For The Road:

Donald Trump Is A Criminal

I doubt if anyone is surprised that I think Donald Trump is a criminal. I suspect most of you reading this would concur. The post title is still totally beautiful as either a teenybopper or the Current Occupant would say.

The White House has dismissed the epic New York Times story as “boring.” A Trump mouthpiece has threatened them with a defamation law suit. Never gonna happen, my friend. You know the Times’ lawyers went over the story carefully since they proclaimed that Trump had committed fraud to get where he is today. The NYT has better lawyers than Trump; probably because they pay their bills.

We already knew that everything about Donald Trump is phony. The Times story verifies that his origin story as a semi-self made man is a big fat lie. Many of us never believed it but the proof is in the pudding. One might even call this a sticky pudding…

The work done by reporters David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner is likely to win a Pulitzer Prize. Congratulations in advance, y’all.

The story is based on Fred Trump’s tax returns, which proves conclusively that tax forms matter;  as David Corn has put it for the last few years:

A tweet  from former Poppy Bush speechwriter and Commentary Magazine scion, John Podhoretz caught my eye yesterday:

That’s because he was, Poddy. He was a film noir villain who repeatedly bailed his dumbshit son out of trouble.

It’s unclear where this will lead BUT the game is afoot. The New York state authorities seem to be interested in following the money. Happy hunting.

Repeat after me: Donald Trump is a criminal.

The last word goes to David Bowie:

The Kavanaugh Mess: Like A Virgin

In the immortal words of Graham Parker, “I thought I was right, I was wrong” about a McConnell knifing leading to a Kavanaugh withdrawal to spend more time with his calendars. It remains unclear if they have the votes to confirm: Susan Collins seems to be snowed by this jerk but Lisa Murkowski appears to be genuinely undecided. In addition to concerns about Kavanaugh’s views on Native issues, there’s a huge #MeToo brouhaha back home in Alaska.

The post title is, of course, based on comments made by the skeezy nominee to Martha McCallum of Fox New who actually asked some tough questions:

We’re talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter. And the girls from the schools I went to and I were friends —

It was McCallum who dropped the V word:

MS. MacCALLUM: So you’re saying that through all these years that are in question, you were a virgin?

JUDGE KAVANAUGH: That’s correct.

MS. MacCALLUM: Never had sexual intercourse with anyone in high school?

JUDGE KAVANAUGH: Correct.

MS. MacCALLUM: And through what years in college since we’re probing into your personal life here?

JUDGE KAVANAUGH: Many years after. I’ll leave it at that.

There’s a logical fallacy in the Like A Virgin defense. It does not preclude sexual assault. It’s not uncommon for sexual predators to be “virgins” when it comes to consensual sex.

The other problem with the Like A Virgin defense is that Kavanaugh pledged Deek (DKE) and I suspect that virgins are barred by that rowdy fraternity. In a NYT story about the charges that Kavanaugh flashed and humiliated Debbie Ramirez, a schoolmate described the Supremes wannabe as follows:

One woman remembers Judge Kavanaugh’s wearing a leather football helmet while drinking and approaching her on campus the night he was tapped for DKE. She described his grabbing his crotch, hopping on one leg and chanting: “I’m a geek, I’m a geek, I’m a power tool. When I sing this song, I look like a fool.”

That’s a far cry from Boola Boola or The Whiffenpoof Song.

A fellow Yalie disputed the Like A Virgin defense on the tweeter tube:

Brett Kavanaugh lie? Never, he said in a voice dripping with sarcasm. Mendacity and sexual assault are two things he has in common with the sexist horndog who nominated him.

Speaking of the Insult Comedian, he went after Debbie Ramirez after being laughed at by the UN General Assembly:

“And [Ramirez] said, ‘well it might not be him’ and there were gaps and she said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up. And she doesn’t know it was him, but it might’ve been him. ‘Oh gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that.’ This is a con game being played by the Democrats.”

The First Flim-Flam Man certainly knows about con games. His presidency* is an ongoing one, after all.

Ms. Ramirez is Puerto Rican. The fact that Trump attacked her is not exactly a surprise. Perhaps he totally confused her with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. “Them people” all look alike to bigots like Donald Trump. Totally.

Another appalling Kavanaugh story popped up in the Failing NYT, the “Renate alumni” story. It involves high school yearbook comments by Kavanaugh and his krewe of drunken, rapey jocks. Here’s what an old pal and fellow original NOLA blogger had to say about this chilling episode:

A few more things about the Kavanaugh interview. First, it’s a sign of how worried GOPers are. Supreme Court nominees do NOT give teevee interviews. Second, Kavanaugh’s defense came off as robotic. It involved spewing out sound bites likely cooked up by former Roger Ailes enabler, Hannity pal, and current Trump lackey Bill Shine. Here’s one of them:

That’s right, Kavanaugh went from Like A Virgin to Like A Robot in one fell swoop, or in his case, one drunken stupor.

There’s one more aspect of tomorrow’s hearing that’s so squirrelly that they should give Judiciary Committee GOPers an acorn. They’ve hired outside counsel so Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, John Neely Kennedy, and their ilk have fewer opportunities to make Cavemanic comments.

The outside counsel, Rachel Mitchell, is an experienced sex crimes prosecutor in Maricopa County, Arizona. But here’s how Chinless Mitch described her:

A female assistant? What is she: a waitress? Does the Turtle plan to tip her? She’s an experienced lawyer for fuck’s sake. Can’t you lot even show some respect for a woman on your side?

Precious little is known about Ms. Mitchell. Josh Marshall unearthed an interview she did with a far right “fundamental Baptist” publication. Also, why a lawyer who prosecutes sex crimes against children? The hearing is not a trial, it’s a job interview. The only children involved are GOP solons.

I have a hunch that they were unable to find a woman lawyer in DC who was willing to do Senate Republicans’ dirty work. It’s time to recycle one of my favorite recent lines:

The last word goes to Madonna with a song that Brett Kavanaugh surely drank to during his Yale salad days:

INSTANT UPDATE: While I was writing this post, Michael Avenatti revealed the identity of his client and demanded an FBI investigation:

Quote Of The Day: Invective Edition

I rarely quote conservative pundits but I’m making an exception in this case. It comes from a colloquy between NYT columnists Gail Collins and Brett Stephens. The never-Trump conservative turns out to like Beto O’Rourke and despise Ted Cruz:

Because he’s like a serpent covered in Vaseline. Because he treats the American people like two-bit suckers in 10-gallon hats. Because he sucks up to the guy who insulted his wife — by retweet, no less. Because of his phony piety and even phonier principles. Because I see him as the spiritual love child of the 1980s televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining.” Because his ethics are purely situational. Because he makes Donald Trump look like a human being by comparison. Because “New York values.” Because his fellow politicians detest him, and that’s just among Republicans. Because he never got over being the smartest kid in eighth grade. Because he’s conniving enough to try to put one over you, but not perceptive enough to realize that you see right through him. Because he’s the type of man who would sell his family into slavery if that’s what it took to get elected. And that he would use said slavery as a sob story to get himself re-elected.

Otherwise, you might say I’m his No. 1 fan.

Tell us how you really feel, Brett.

A serpent covered in Vaseline? I might have to steal that line. I’m also considering stealing the theatrical joke in this tweet:

I’m also terribly fond of Travesties; the Stoppard play wherein Lenin meets Tristan Tzara the daddy of Dada. It contains a line I’ve often swiped over the years: “My art belongs to Dada.”

War Of The Gosars: “Stalin Would Be Proud”

In between obsessing about Rod Rosenstein’s unfiring and the Kavanaugh mess, I’ve continued to monitor the fight for the House of Representatives.

I love campaign ads; at least the first time I see them. The ad of the year ran in Arizona. It features the siblings of wingnut dentist/Congresscritter Paul Gosar. They are NOT supporting their brother’s re-election bid:

Ouch. Dr/Congressman/MAGA Maggot Gosar was not amused.

I’m not sure what’s Stalinist about affordable health care for rural Arizonans. At least Gosar  didn’t call for his siblings to be liquidated. Now that would be Stalinist.

The fact that Gosar is a dentist tickles my fancy. That’s why Steve Martin gets the last word:

Another Fine Kavanaugh Mess Redux

I originally planned to write a non-Kavanaugh Mess post this morning. I was naive. I should have known that all hell was going to break loose when I took a break from political news yesterday.

As you have surely heard by now, the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow have published another credible account of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh. This time it was while he was student at Yale and the accuser is a former classmate, Deborah Ramirez. In her student days, she was apparently a prim and proper type who preppie louts like Kavanaugh enjoyed taunting. Her story involves excessive drinking, flashing, ritual humiliation, and a dildo. I am not making this up. It almost makes one nostalgic for the quaint days when Douglas Ginsburg withdrew his SCOTUS nomination because he smoked pot.

Here’s what some smart ass had to say about it last night on the tweeter tube:

The dildo story reminded me of a bizarre moment from 1991:

Increasingly, the Kavanaugh story is about privilege. The younger Kavanaugh comes off as an entitled prick who thinks his preppie pedigree allowed him to do whatever the hell he wanted. To say that the combination of alcohol, testosterone, and entitlement is a toxic cocktail is a grotesque understatement.

One mystery of the Kavanaugh mess is why he didn’t try the “repentant former drunk” gambit that was used by his ex-boss, George W. Bush. When the Blasey Ford charges emerged, it would have been wise to have said something like this: “When I was young, I had a terrible drinking problem. I drank until I blacked out and do not remember what happened when I was in that condition.” Such a confession might have served him well but it’s too late for what the Watergate creeps called a modified limited hangout.

Adding to Kavanaugh’s political hangover is the fact that Michael Avenatti joined the fray last night with a third entry in the Brett Kavanaugh sexual predation  sweepstakes:

In typical Avenatti attack dog fashion, he went  directly after Judge Flasher:

Does anyone want this guy up in their shit?

I’ve come to the conclusion that Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is doomed. This shitshow has spattered every Republican involved. The reason Senate GOPers were so frantic to advance the vote is that they knew of the Ramirez allegations last week as they “negotiated” with Dr. Ford’s lawyers. This tweet by a former aide to Eric Holder nails the import of this move:

The end game is in sight. Here’s one possible scenario: Mitch McConnell will dispatch one of his minions to brief reporters in an off-the-record gaggle setting. The designated leaker will knife the nominee by telling the press that Kavanaugh does not have the votes and should withdraw. Presumably, the withdrawal cake will be baked and Kavanaugh will step aside so he can spend more time with his calendar. Then, McConnell will give an interview to Politico and/or Axios who will spin it as a some sort of victory for the “wily” majority leader.

There’s no way the deeply cynical McConnell is willing to die on the proverbial hill for a nominee he did not want to put forward in the first place. This is Trump’s debacle: he was so focused on his own legal problems that he didn’t listen to his allies on the Hill. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

Republicans will  try to use the Kavanaugh fiasco to gin up their evangelical base but the impact among women voters is likely to far outweigh that. As I’ve said before, this is a lose-lose situation for the GOP, and their attempts to cover-up the second allegation and rush to a committee vote has already blown up in their faces. Repeat after me: if Kavanaugh has done nothing wrong, why are he and Senate GOPers  opposed to the FBI re-opening the background check? This is how guilty people act, not those with nothing to hide.

I decided to stick my neck out and make some predictions because I can no longer see a path to confirmation for Brett Kavanaugh. Could I be wrong? Hell, yes. Nothing surprises me any more.

Finally, I no longer expect a hearing on Thursday; sometime in the next 24-48 hours, Kavanaugh, like the old school Catholic he claims to be, will practice the withdrawal method and exit stage right.

LATE AFTERNOON UPDATE: Mitch McConnell gave a speech blaming Democrats for the Kavanaugh nomination going haywire. I’m not sure if this means he’s digging his heels in and plans to fight or if this is the prelude to cutting Kavanaugh loose. If Republicans are thinking rationally, they’ll cut their losses. I still don’t think the Turtle is willing to jump off a cliff to save Kavanaugh but if he does, Democrats win politically.

Stay tuned.

The Kavanaugh Mess: Reckless Disregard

Senate Republicans aren’t the only ones willing to do anything to secure a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court. Enter Ed Whelan who is a major player in the DC conservative legal establishment as well as a friend and associate of Federalist Society honcho Leonard Leo and a certain sleazy Supreme wannabe, Brett Kavanaugh.

In what could be described as death by twitter, Whelan posted a wildly conjectural thread that has already been deleted, followed by an apology to the man he libeled. Here is Josh Marshall’s distillation of the excised thread:

Ed Whelan, a key player in DC’s conservative judicial establishment, posted a lengthy twitter thread in which he made a highly conjectural argument that the accusation against Brett Kavanaugh is actually a case of mistaken identification and that Prof. Blasey Ford’s alleged attacker was actually a classmate of Kavanaugh’s named Chris Garrett.

Garrett is now a middle school teacher in Georgia and had actually signed a letter which a number of Kavanaugh’s classmates sent to the Senate in July attesting to Kavanaugh’s character. Blasey Ford put out a statement tonight stating categorically that she knew both Kavanaugh and Garrett at the time and that there is no way she could have mistaken one for the other.

It’s worth stepping back and contemplating just how wild and reckless an action this was. There’s really no way for me to capture the zaniness of Whelan’s argument. You can read it here. Suffice it to say it’s far-fetched an makes the most serious of accusations based on the flimsiest of conjectures.

There are two key pieces of context that are critical to understand. Whelan didn’t just spin out some hypotheticals. He clearly pointed the finger at a man who is not a public figure in any way and argued that he was likely the one who attempted to rape Blasey Ford. At the end of his thread he drew back and said he didn’t know specifically what had happened that night … but it was clear what he meant and what he was saying. This is almost certainly libelous.

The other point is that Whelan is not some random on Twitter or an eccentric but little known activist. He is close friends with Kavanaugh and Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society, the group that chooses and then organizes the confirmation strategies for these nominees. Whelan is also close to Don McGahn, the White House Counsel who is formally in charge of shepherding Kavanaugh’s nomination through the Senate. Whelan is part of the very top handful of activists who play in this space.

I may be a lapsed lawyer but I know libel when I see it: a private citizen was dragged into the Kavanaugh mess and accused of committing a crime without a shred of proof. It’s called reckless disregard for the truth. Whelan’s defenders might say that there’s an Absence of Malice but Paul Newman and Sally Field beg to differ.

You didn’t think I could get through a Kavanaugh mess post without, uh, posting a movie poster, did you? That’s well-nigh imposterable…

It’s time for an early edition of Separated At Birth. Here’s the side-by-side picture Whelan used to “document” his mistaken identity/doppelgänger theory:

Kavanaugh is on the right, Garrett on the left. The two look like suburban preppies who plan to pledge to a frat when they go to college. Btw, Kavanaugh is a Deke (DKE) which is one of the rowdiest and most entitled fraternities around. That explains a great deal about him.

The biggest question about Doppelgängergate is what did Kavanaugh know and when did he know it? Wingnut twitter was buzzing for days over a “revelation” that would crack the Ford-Kavanaugh case. My belief is that it’s part of a co-ordinated strategy to save Kavanaugh’s worthless ass. Former GOP operative Steve Schmidt, who knows Whelan, does too:

Thus spake a former Republican hack who has forsaken the party of Trump. Twitter giveth and twitter taketh away.

In a sane world, this would doom the Kavanaugh nomination and he would withdraw in shame over the company he keeps. In the shameless Trump era, who the hell knows? It does, however, prove the accuracy of a meme I first posted on August 8th:

UPDATE: Josh Marshall has preserved the nutbar Whelan twitter thread for posterity.

Porcini Envy?

I’m a bit late to the mushroom dick dance. I had other things to do yesterday so I missed out on most of the zany twitter responses to this quote from Stormy Daniels’ book:

“He knows he has an unusual penis,” Daniels writes. “It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool…

“I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart…

I guess a description of the First Dickhead’s dick was inevitable given the company he keeps. It’s also appropriately inappropriate that the Mario Kart character is named Toad. I’m not a gamer like my pal Dave Gladow so I had to google it along with “Yeti pubes.” Ugh. Stay classy, Stormy.

It’s hard to be witty when writing about the Insult Comedian’s not-so magical mushroom, but somehow my friend Chef James Cullen was able to pull it off:

Now there’s a man who knows from mushrooms. That tweet earned him bragging rights:

While I wish I had written that shroom poem, it did not give me porcini envy.

The last word goes to the Strawberry Alarm Clock, of all people:

I don’t know about you, but strawberries and mushrooms aren’t my idea of an ideal flavor profile. Of course, this tune comes from an album called Incense and Peppermints. That’s almost as disgusting as Stormy’s description of Trump’s game boy.

Your President* Speaks: A New Low

I’ve been doing fewer Your President* Speaks posts as the Trump administration slogs along. The stupid fucker wants us obsessing over his tweets and I prefer not to give him what he wants. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule and this is one of them. I woke up mad, now it’s time to get even.

I briefly considered using Rock Bottom instead of A New Low in the title. Unfortunately, there *is* no rock bottom for the Insult Comedian. He thinks he stoops to conquer when instead he shoots himself in the foot every time he pulls a stunt like this:

It goes without saying that none of this is true. Fuck you, Donald.

It goes without saying that this is obscene. Fuck you, Donald.

It goes without saying that Trump thinks Hurricanes Maria and Florence are about him. Fuck you, Donald.

It goes without saying that he is desecrating the memory of those who died in Puerto Rico and those who might die as a result of Florence. Fuck you, Donald.

The real reason this president* never cared about the deaths of some 3,000 Puerto Ricans is that they were never going to vote for him. It’s a horrible thing to say about anyone but it’s true. Fuck you, Donald.

As someone who lived through Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood, I take this very seriously. When a major storm makes landfall, I feel twinges of PTSD and I was one of the lucky ones. You shouldn’t play politics with hurricanes. This is about human suffering, not about a ridiculous man who sits in the White House live tweeting Fox News. Fuck you, Donald.

Having said that, I disagree with those who think Trump should be thrown off twitter. I want to know what the enemy is up to. I believe in turning over rocks and exposing the evil underneath. Besides, the Insult Comedian keeps saying damaging things on twitter. Let the stupid fucker tweet to his heart’s content.

This tweet in response to Trump’s new low is perfect:

In the immortal words of my late and much missed friend Ashley Morris:

FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING FUCKS.

Hurricane Season Blues

Florence is a charmingly old-fashioned name. I don’t recall ever knowing a Florence or calling anyone Flo. The name is unlikely to make a comeback: Hurricane Florence is a dangerous system that appears to be the IT storm of the 2018 hurricane season.

It’s natural for people in New Orleans to compare the storm to Hurricane Katrina. I did so myself on the tweeter tube the other day:

There’s another severe past storm whose name is being dropped. Florence’s projected path is eerily reminiscent of 1989’s Hurricane Hugo; another storm with a charmingly old-fashioned name that was anything but charming.

I have a friend who does rescue work who is sounding the alarm about Florence:

Don’t fuck around with this storm, y’all, especially if you’re in a coastal area. The storm surge is potentially horrific. Leave as early as you can so you can Flo with the contra-flow on the interstate.

I posted the picture of the Insult Comedian’s obscene antics in Puerto Rico last fall as a reminder of his administration’s failures after Hurricane Maria. He, of course, thinks they did totally awesome:

“I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success. I actually think it is one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about,”

Nearly 3,000 people perished as a result of Maria. Trump is incapable of thinking everything associated with him isn’t the “biggest” and the “best.” It’s what con men do.

Those brown-people should just STFU and stop being uppity with Trumpberius, especially that lady mayor. #sarcasm

He’s bragging in advance about how the government will do in response to Florence:

Donald Trump has declared that his government is “absolutely, totally prepared” for Hurricane Florence, as officials and forecasters warned that the “staggering” storm is shaping up to be catastrophic and unprecedented.

It would be nice if we had a president* who didn’t sound like a tween girl at a sleepover. Totally.

What strikes me about the revived Maria discussion is that there has been NO Congressional oversight whatsoever. Despite Republican control of Congress after Katrina, there *were* hearings. After Maria, crickets.

The lack of Congressional response is partially because of Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status BUT Republicans are afraid of the Kaiser of Chaos pitching a hissy fit. They seem to think that a nasty tweet will smite them dead. Their political cowardice seems poised to send them into the wilderness after the midterms. They’ll wish they’d risked the online wrath of Trump.

Heckuva job, GOP.

The last word goes to Neil Young and Roxy Music:

 

Malaka Of Week: Ben Zahn

I’m convinced that the great sneaker war of 2018 is the stupidest development yet of the Trump era.  It’s led to the stupid “boycott” of Nike branded products and to egregious malakatude of the part of a suburban mayor in the New Orleans metro area. And that is why Ben Zahn is malaka of the week.

Ben Zahn, a florist by trade, is a longtime GOP politico in Jefferson Parish. He’s the latest in a long line of “distinguished” mayors of an undistinguished burg:

That may have been overly self-referential but what’s wrong with a bit of self-branding among friends? The current mayor of Kenna, Brah caused a shitstorm with a memo dated September 5th that hit social media this weekend. There are pictures of the damn thing all over the interweb, but they’re hard to read so here’s the full quote in all its idiotic glory:

Effective immediately, all purchases made by any booster club operating at any Kenner Recreation Facility for wearing apparel, shoes, athletic equipment, and/or any athletic product must be approved by the Director of Parks and Recreation, or his designee. Under no circumstances will any Nike product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any City of Kenner Recreation Facility.

The booster clubs mentioned are private groups many of which help underprivileged kids. That’s the face of modern authoritarian conservatism: government telling private groups what products they can purchase and where they can wear them. I believe it’s called censorship. Additionally, this proclamation of malakatude was issued by a second-generation small business owner. So much for free enterprise.

I suppose it’s time to explain the Kenna, Brah meme. I wrote about it back in 2012 when his predecessor, sexting perv Mike Yenni, was outraged by this Dirty Coast t-shirt :

The sexting perv, who is now Jefferson Parish president, was also outraged that people pronounced and spelled Kenner, Kenna. It’s called a Yat accent, Mikey. You’ve been topped in Kenna, Brah malakatude by Ben Zahn.

Mayor Malaka has thus far declined comment, but there are already moves to roll back this rolling First Amendment violation as you can see from a tweet from a friend of mine:

Julie pronounces her name Zhulie in the French manner, which uniquely qualifies her to comment on the latest Kenner/Kenna controversy.

I doubt that Mayor Malaka’s order will stand for long. Except for hardcore racists and Trumpers, the local reaction has been scathing. Any legal defense is doomed because of some earlier Zahniac comments at the ironically named Kenner Freedom Fest:

“I’m going to ask y’all to stand for what’s about to happen. … Because this is not the NFL football players, right?” he said before the anthem was sung, eliciting cheers from the crowd. “This is the city of Kenner. In the city of Kenner we all stand. We’re going to be proud of that”

Holy content based censorship, Batman. Then there’s the matter of freedom of association and on and on and on.

Perhaps Zahn is so strident about the stupid sneaker war because he’s a white politician pandering to his base in a community that’s majority minority. According to the last census, Kenna, Brah has a population of 66,954 of whom 47.8% are white, 23.9% Black, and 22.9% Hispanic.  If the non-white majority votes in greater numbers in future elections, you’d be wise to watch your back Mayor Kenna, Brah.

Ben Zahn fancies himself a super-patriot. He’s really a bush league Donald Trump with his own set of impulse control issues. The good news is that this unilateral move appears to be blowing up in his face. And that is why Ben Zahn is malaka of the week.

 

Profiles In Anonymous Cowardice

A bombshell went off not long ago via the Failing New York Times. It’s an anonymous op-ed written by a “senior Trump administration official.” The guessing game has already begun but I’ll get to that at the end of this instant analysis post. This is the money quote as far as I’m concerned:

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

I don’t know about you but this is this first I’ve heard that administration insiders explored the possibility of a 25th Amendment solution to the Trump problem. They have opted instead for a silent coup, which is almost as frightening as the president* who scares them shitless.

The title of the piece nearly sent me through the ceiling. (I still may have to pick the odd piece of plaster out of my hair.) It took a lot of nerve to call it I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration. The author is part of the problem. Instead of attempting to maintain their future job prospects or political viability, they should reveal their identity and resign. If there is indeed a cabal within the administration, there should be mass resignations. This is strategic political thinking, not patriotism. We need patriots now more than ever.

As to the writer’s identity. I think it’s more likely than not a politician. The author seems eager to establish their conservative bona fides by stressing free trade and foreign policy hawkishness. A friend of mine thinks the author could be a woman and their guess was Nikki Haley. If she spent more time in Washington, I’d agree but the author is someone with frequent access to the West Wing.

One of the more obvious suspects is Director of National Intelligence and former Indiana Senator, Dan Coats. Coats has been repeatedly been cut-off at the legs by Trump. He should have resigned long ago. If it’s you Mr. Coats, please step forward.

The weirdest possibility is Mike Pence. The op-ed’s author used the word lodestar and expressed admiration for John McCain. A guy named Dan Bloom has done some quick linguistic research and has noted that Pence has frequently used the word lodestar in speeches. He’s an unlikely candidate after spending every day since he was put on the ticket with his head up Trump’s ample rump.

In the end, it does not matter who this cowardly conservative is. If they believe that Donald Trump is mentally unstable and temperamentally incapable of doing the job, they should stand up and say so.

I’m going to give a frequent First Draft reader the last word or is that tweet. Anyway, I concur with my distinguished friend from North Carolina:

The shit is really about to hit the fan. This makes the Woodward book look like pissing in the wind.

 

 

No More Mr. Nice Judge

I wrote an acronym laced post last month called GOP SCOTUS SOP. My point was that the GOP stresses “the nice guy narrative” when selling their Supreme Court nominees. It’s a way of balancing the harshness of their views with a dollop of niceness; by gosh, by golly. Here’s what I said about Brett Kavanaugh:

I hereby stipulate that Kavanaugh does not pull the wings off flies, walks little old ladies across the street, and does not beat his wife or children. Hereinafter I will call him Mr. Nice Judge. None of that matters. His views and experience are what matters. And that’s the problem with this nominee. His years as a senior aide to George W. Bush have given him the most expansive position on executive power imaginable. As far as Mr. Nice Judge is concerned, the Oval One is an elected dictator who can do whatever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants to.

That is, of course, why the Kaiser of Chaos nominated Kavanaugh. He sees him as a human get-out-of-jail-free card, or as a one-judge cavalry who will ride in to save the day when Trump’s wagons are circled. Somebody has to keep the Insult Comedian out of an orange jump suit, after all. That look, however, would have the virtue of matching his spray tanned mug and the dead nutria pelt atop his head.

At the first day of his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh played Mr. Nice Judge by nattering on about coaching his daughter’s basketball team. Then the mask slipped:

Here’s Mr. Guttenberg’s side of the story:

The White House claimed that security intervened to separate the two men without any prompting by the nominee, but the damage was done. The Mr. Nice Judge smiley face image was shattered and replaced with the frown of Judge Republican Hack. That’s what Brett Kavanaugh really is: a political hack, a partisan political operative in judicial drag.

What would it have cost Kavanaugh to shake Guttenberg’s hand and say, “sorry for your loss” before walking away? Nothing. It’s also what a genuine Mr. Nice Judge would have done. The rude fucker didn’t even offer “hope and prayers.”

Lawrence O’Donnell nailed Mr. Nice Judge to the wall on The Last Word:

“I had high hopes for Brett Kavanaugh. High hopes that he would find Fred Guttenberg in the audience and just shake hands with him, say something sympathetic to a grieving father in his opening remarks, perhaps, but he didn’t,” O’Donnell said. “He could easily have just added a sentence or two. That’s the most it would take to his opening remarks. He didn’t say a word about Fred Guttenberg or Fred’s daughter Jamie.”

If you thought Lawrence would get the last word, you’re wrong. The look on Brett Kavanaugh’s face when Fred Guttenberg approached him evoked one of Richard Thompson’s most sarcastic songs. It centers on a chance meeting and a handshake:

Repeat after me:

INSTANT UPDATE:

Billboard (Going Mobile)

The Insult Comedian’s twitter timeline is a treasure trove of contradictory statements. He blows with the wind, which is self-generated by his big bazoo. A group in Texas, with the help of Parkland kid David Hogg, is taking advantage of this with the moblie billboard above.

The optimum plan is to trail Tailgunner Ted around the Lone Star state. The mobile billboard will definitely be there when Trumpy rallies with the artist formerly known as Lyin’ Ted at what should be called Jerry Johnson Ego Stadium. FYI, the LSU Tigers opened a can of whoop-ass there yesterday on the Miami Hurricanes. End of Geaux Tigers digression.

I’d like to see signs with some National Enquirer covers waved at Trump-n-Ted as well:

The Texas Senate race gets more interesting every day. Something is happening in Texas. Beto O’Rourke is an exceptional candidate who I think has a pretty good chance to take out Tabloid Ted. It will be perilously close since Texas is politically as ruby red as the delicious grapefruits grown there. I wouldn’t Beto the ranch but I think the non-asshole from El Paso can beat Cruz by somewhere south of 5,000 votes.

The last word goes to (who else?) Pete Townshend and the Who:

Think of the obelisk on the Who’s Next cover as the Cruz campaign. Who among us wouldn’t piss on it?

Everybody Plays The Fool: My Senator Tweets

Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy continues his tiresome fake idiot/cheapskate routine:

This is, of course, genuine political imbecility. This could cost the Republicans several GOP-held House seats in Virginia and Maryland. The RNC is already considering cutting Virginia’s Barbara Comstock, who objects to this move, loose. Thanks, Donald.

I wonder if Neely will quote George Wallace next and refer to federal employees as pointy-headed bureaucrats who can’t park their bicycles straight.

Neely remains a political mystery. He’s an intelligent, well-educated man who persists in acting like a village idiot. As the old soul song goes, everybody plays the fool:

 

 

First Draft Potpourri: Of Violence, Wise Guys & Peckerwoods

I have a dream that some day soon we will have a normal news cycle. Every time I step away from the computer and/or iPhone to focus on personal and/or local news, all hell breaks loose. (It also makes me type and/or twice in one sentence, which is lazy writing.) But that’s life in the Trump era where even a news junkie like me craves a respite of dullness from the dullards running the government.

That was a long-winded of way of introducing a potpourri post. It’s the only way I can keep up with the news of day since, unlike some other bloggers, I decline to do so on the tweeter tube. Truman Capote once said of Jack Kerouac: “That’s not writing, that’s typing.” When I see a 20 part thread, my response is: That’s not writing, that’s tweeting. It’s fine for short bursts but I prefer writing to typing and/or tweeting. Uh oh, another and/or. Next thing I’ll want to fire Bruce Ohr and/or someone else…

Violence: The Insult Comedian loves scaring the shit out of people. He did it the other night during an event with evangelical supporters. Trumpy claimed that violence will ensue if Democrats win the midterms. He’s projecting once again: his supporters are the ones apt to riot. Hell, Rudy’s already promised that as a response to attempts to remove the president* from office. Bullshit: most Trumpers can barely get off the couch to find the remote. Besides they only watch Fox News so why get up at all?

Speaking of Violence,  it’s time for a good old-fashioned punch-up, glam rock style. No guns allowed, just fists.

Unfortunately Trumpberius and company are apt to agree with Ian Hunter’s lyrics:

Violence, violence, it’s the only thing that’ll make you see sense.

Back to the couch and stay there, motherfuckers. It’s time for Michael F’s image from earlier this morning to play a repeat performance:

Life Imitates Billy Bathgate: Very little scares a white-collar criminal more than hearing that their accountant has made a deal with Federal prosecutors. And (but not or) Allen Weisselberg is not just a bookkeeper, he’s the Trump Organization’s CFO. He also happens to be one of the people running the company while the boss is ruining the country.

At first I wondered if Weisselberg would be the token Trump loyalist instead of a snitch and/or rat; there I go again with the and/ors. Then I read this:

Last month, the New York State Attorney General, Barbara Underwood, sued the Trump Foundation. Weisselberg had been deposed and showed a surprising willingness to give answers that put the President in an unflattering light. In January, 2016, during Trump’s Presidential campaign, his foundation made a series of donations to veterans-advocacy organizations in Iowa that were explicitly designed to gain support for his candidacy. Weisselberg filled out the checks. In his deposition, he volunteered that the Trump Foundation had no procedures in place to insure it followed the law and that Trump himself knew of and directed Weisselberg’s participation in the scheme to pay those Iowa veterans groups. Were Weisselberg eager to protect his longtime boss, he could have answered the questions far more narrowly. It was an early hint that Weisselberg, like Cohen, may not jeopardize his own freedom to defend Trump. News that Weisselberg had accepted immunity so that he could share potentially damaging information in the Cohen case provides more support for the view that Weisselberg is ready to share whatever information he has. And he has a lot.

It increasingly appears that Trump’s downfall will be his sleazy business tactics. Holy money laundering, Batman. Allen Weisselberg knows more than the Fixer or the Pecker notwithstanding the latter’s cache of Trump dirt. Why do you think the president* has been melting down even by his own standards?

You’re probably wondering why I titled this segment Life Imitates Billy Bathgate. Here’s why: EL Docotorow’s novel is based on the life and times of Dutch Schultz nee Arthur Flegenheimer. (I’d change my name too if it was Flegenheimer. Who wants a name that sounds like phlegm?) Dutch’s numbers wizard was a guy named Otto Berman who everybody called Abbadabba. Tom Dewey’s “racket busters” considered him the linchpin to unraveling Shultz’s rackets but Lucky Luciano whacked Abbadabba before prosecutors could flip him. End of arcane mob history lesson.

In Billy Bathgate, Abbadabba Berman was the most interesting character. He mentored the title character and protected him from Flegenheimer’s unphlegmatic wrath. The movie version was not as good as the book but the cast was excellent: Dustin Hoffman played Schultz, and Steven Hill played Abbadabba. Ironies abound as Steven Hill also played the Manhattan DA in Law & Order who shares a name with one of Trump’s pursuers, Adam Schiff. I am not making this up. I even posted about the Adams when the Kaiser of Chaos was a mere birther.

In the Trump Organization’s saga, Allen Weisselberg is Abbadabba Berman. And an Abbadabba trumps a Fixer or a Pecker any day.

It was harder than hell to find pictures of either numbers wizard. I skipped the picture of Abbadabba after he was whacked. Abbadabba-doo. You knew that was coming, right?

That concludes the wise guy part of the post, let’s move on to the peckerwoods.

The Senate Building Flap: It hasn’t been a great week for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. His deal with Chinless Mitch to let his members go home and campaign has been roundly criticized.  But he did put some points on the board when he suggested that the Richard Russell Senate office building be renamed for John McCain.

The name change should have been easy: Russell, one of the most powerful Senators of his time, was an avowed racist and white supremacist. Unlike some of his fellow Southerners, Russell never became reconciled to Civil Rights. He was a Lost Causer til the bitter end.

It appeared that the name change would sail through until some Southern GOPers expressed concerns about it. The Turtle punted it to a “bipartisan gang.” It’s unclear if members of the Russian mafia and/or La Cosa Nostra will have any input. It’s a pity that the Fixer flipped because he’d know how to set it up…

Think about it: Southern Republicans were afraid of removing the name of a Southern Democrat from a building. They’re obviously scared of alienating their white nationalist base and/or the Racist-in-Chief. They’ve lost Pecker, so they can’t afford to lose the peckerwoods.

So much for all those GOPers who have bashed reformed segregationists like Robert Byrd, Russell Long and, yes. even Richard Russell’s protegé, Lyndon Johnson.

LBJ didn’t really “threaten” Russell. He presented him with a fait accompli that obliged him to serve on the Warren Commission.

It’s time for me to stop stirring the potpourri and writing and/ors. The last word goes to Randy Newman. Some Southern Republicans are still rednecks and/or peckerwoods who “don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.”

John McCain, R.I.P.

I rarely agreed with John McCain but I couldn’t help liking him as a human being. Despite viewing politics as a contact sport, he rarely hit below the belt and when he did he regretted it. He was a proud, profane, funny, and kind man. We need more kindness in the world, which is one reason he will be missed. We also need more politicians who can laugh at the absurdity of what they do and say.

Senator McCain died today at 81; nine years to the date that we lost his fellow lion of the Senate Ted Kennedy. Both men died of brain cancer. It’s an eerie coincidence but an appropriate one. McCain had many friends on the Democratic side of the aisle in addition to Ted Kennedy. McCain and John Kerry worked together to heal the wounds of the Vietnam War in the 1990’s.  McCain and Joe Biden had a strong bond based on love of family and country.

I criticized John McCain many times over the years and I won’t take any of it back. But, dammit, I liked the man despite his right wing views on most issues.

Three things to remember about John McCain:

  1. He was the victim of one of the worst smears in American political history when Team Bush played the race card against him in 2000. Not only did they play the race card but they dealt it from the bottom of the deck as it involved his family. By all accounts, McCain forgave but never forgot this. I have done neither.
  2. He consistently opposed torture even when a president of his own party backed it.
  3. He voted against repealing the ACA and stood up for proper Senate procedures when his own party turned the “world’s greatest deliberative body” into a rubber stamp for Mitch McConnell and a president of his own party.

Whatever his flaws, John McCain was never dull. He made his share of mistakes and owned up to many of them, usually with a quip and a smile. Most importantly,  he was not a hater.

I saw a three tweet thread by an Obama speechwriter that beautifully captured the spirit of Senator McCain:

I might have been able to make Senator McCain laugh by suggesting this as his epitaph:

John McCain was NOT AN ASSHOLE.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Icy Blue Heart

The Mediterranean Coast by Henri-Edmond Cross.

It’s hot as hell in New Orleans. Anyone surprised? I’m certainly not.

The big local story remains the mess at the Sewerage & Water Board.  The temporary head of the agency tried to give two employees raises but they were all forced out instead. Score one for Mayor Cantrell. She finally put some points on the board amidst an early rebellion by the City Council.

The SWB billing melodrama continues. One of the people caught up in that clusterfuck is my old friend Karen Gadbois who wrote about it in the online publication she co-founded, The Lens. Check it out. You may need to check your blood pressure after reading it.

The SWB saga poses the eternal question: where have you gone Ed Norton?

That concludes this impromptu edition of Album Cover Art Saturday. Time to go down the sewer with Norton:

This week’s theme song was written by John Hiatt for his classic 1988 album Slow Turning. Icy Blue Heart is one of the best “tears in your beer” weepers of all-time. We have John’s original followed by a cover by the sublime Emmylou Harris with Bonnie Raitt on backing vocals. The Bonster is pretty awesome too.

The opening lines of that song get me every time:

She came on to him like a slow moving cold front.

His beer was warmer than the look in her eyes.

Now that we’ve wept bitter tears, it’s time to dry off and jump to the break.

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First Draft Potpourri: Of Quislings & McCarthyites

I haven’t done a potpourri post for quite some time. The events of last weekend were stinky enough to revive this malodorous blogging tradition. The only kind of potpourri I like is the Jeopardy category, which is odorless since William Castle’s Smell-O-Vision process never caught on.

We begin with the artist formerly known as Rudy Noun Verb 9/11 Giuliani whose appearance on Chucklehead Todd’s teevee show created quite a stir.

Truth Isn’t Truth: Rudy Giuliani has turned into a giant gaffe machine. His latest soundbite echoed across the internet yesterday. Josh Marshall was present at the creation and captured the moment in its sublime newspeaky mendacity:

Rudy has tried to clean up his own mess but the original quote has the ring of authenticity. The Trumpers believe that there’s no such thing as objective truth and that they can say or do anything as long as it gets their dear leader out of trouble.

A reminder that the term truthiness was coined by Stephen Colbert during the Bush-Cheney administration. They may have had better manners than the Trumpers but equaled them in mendacity. Remember that the next time a former Bushie compares Trump unfavorably to W.

Let’s close out this segment with a tune posted on Twitter by my main man Monkeyfister:

Deanmania: I’m an unabashed fan of Watergate whistleblower John Dean. I’ve read most of his books and find his comments on current events incisive, insightful and other I-words. Apparently, Michael Cohen’s mouthpiece Lanny Davis is a Dean fan as well:

“I reached out to my old friend John Dean because of what he went through with Watergate, and I saw some parallels to what Michael Cohen is experiencing. I wanted to gain from John’s wisdom,” Davis told POLITICO.

“I certainly don’t want to raise expectations that Mr. Cohen has anything like the level of deep involvement and detailed knowledge that John Dean had in the Nixon White House as a witness to Nixon’s crimes, but I did see some similarities and wanted to learn from what John went through.”

Dean’s role seems to be that of informal adviser/whistleblower whisperer. If anyone can fix the Fixer, it’s Dean who was in a similar fix 45 years ago.

Here’s where McCarthyism fits into our Deanmania narrative, a series of angry tweets from Trumpberius:

Ironies about in the Insult Comedian’s Sunday tirade. First, calling John Dean a rat means the Kaiser of Chaos identifies with Tricky Dick. You know, the guy who resigned the presidency in disgrace 44 years ago. Second, Trump’s self-described mentor was Tailgunner Joe’s right-hand man, Roy Cohn. I’ve already covered that bit of sleazy ground in a 2016 post, Oy, Such A Mentor. The president* is engaging in projection yet again. As I pointed out in a 2018 post, Exhuming McCarthy, Trumpism is the new McCarthyism.

Let’s move on to a segment wherein I don’t link to my old posts but instead urge the revival of  a venerable term for traitor. Here’s a visual cue:

The Quisling Revival: I have watched in awe former CIA Director John Brennan’s attacks on Trump’s role as Putin’s Puppet. Brennan has decided to leave it all on the field in his effort to tell the truth about the First Liar. I have a suggestion for Mr. Brennan of something to call his unworthy adversary: a name that is synonymous with treachery and treason, Quisling who is depicted above side-by-side with his modern counterpart.

Vidkun Quisling was the Norwegian Fascist who sold out his country by facilitating the Nazi invasion in 1940. His reward was to become the Norwegian Fuhrer or so he thought. Instead, this delusional collaboraor became Hitler’s puppet who was expected to follow orders. Sound familiar? Quisling was tried and executed for treason in 1945.

Winston Churchill and the British press used the term Quisling as an epithet during World War II and I think the resistance should do likewise in 2018. Heeeere’s Winston:

A vile race of Quislings? Sounds like your basic Trump apologist to me.

Finally, on a lighter note, Dr. A and I attended a party “celebrating” Sharknado 6: It’s About Time. The party was thrown by our friend Will who has been Sharknado “obsessed” for years. He hosted Sharknado fests at his former business, Pizza Nola, for many years. The last Sharknado waltz took place at the Howlin’ Wolf and featured this cake:

The movie, of course, was dreadful. It was the first time I’d sat through one of these fakakta movies and I only survived by heckling/riffing. I realized that the final Sharknado featured no less than 5 Celebrity Apprentice contestants; proof positive that we’ve died and gone to hell.

The last word goes to (who else?) Tim Finn and Split Enz: