Category Archives: Your President Speaks

Life Imitates The Untouchables: Scarface Paul Manafort?

The Kaiser of Chaos was a busy boy with an itchy twitter finger yesterday. The tweets dripped with flop sweat and palpable panic.  He “ordered” Jeff Beau to end the “rigged witch hunt” and praised Paul Manafort for his work for Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole. Those tweets arguably constitute witness tampering by tweet since Trumpy hands out pardons like Oprah doles out cars.

Ending the “rigged witch hunt” could bring the Manafort trial to a screeching halt, which would be a pity: I want the jury to hear more about Paulie’s lavish wardrobe. It’s also a pity that Judge Ellis has barred the use of the term oligarch. I believe in calling an oligarch an oligarch. Ole Garch sounds like a Swedish architect to me. I wonder if he had anything to do with the theft of the Swedish crown jewels? It could have been an angry Norwegian outraged over 91 years of Swedish domination of his homeland. If revenge is a dish best served cold, ain’t nothing colder than a Scandinavian winter or an angry and bitter Norwegian.

Enough of my weirdness, the weirdest of Trump’s recent tweets was this one:

Does this mean Manafort is a syphilitic murderer? He’s certainly a tax avoiding motherfucker like Scarface. Speaking of the gangster, the Insult Comedian misspelled his name: it’s Alphonse with a PH, not Alfonse with an F. That proves that Rudy Giuliani didn’t write this tweet: he’d spell a paisan’s name correctly. Remember when Rudy used to be anti-gangster? Now he’s a mob lawyer working for Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto. Many of us become what we hate.

I think Josh Marshall nailed *why* Trump used this seemingly bizarre analogy:

To Trump, Capone was a winner. He was rich. Everybody gave him respect. But he was brought down on BS charges, mundane financial crimes. He was treated very unfairly, to use the President’s signature phrase. This isn’t hyperbole or a mere attack. Over a forty-plus year career, Trump was deep in business with some of the most notorious and violent mobsters of the late 20th century. Trump managed not to get in to trouble first because he had the right friends but just as much because he kept the relationships largely passive. He laundered their money. His main overt act was willful obliviousness. Trump Tower itself was a notorious haven for all sorts of organized crime figures, mostly from other countries. Mostly from Russia and the former Soviet Union.

There have been many fine movies and teevee series over the years featuring Alphonse with a PH. I should thank the president* for giving me the latest in a series of Life Imitates post titles. First, there was The Sopranos, then The Americans, and now The Untouchables. Cue an extended version of the theme music, which was written by the great Nelson Riddle:

Now that I think of it, Ennio Morricone’s theme music for Brian DePalma’s 1987 film is pretty darn swell as well:

Al Capone *was* a fascinating character, which is why he remains such a famous gangster 71 years after his death. It is disturbing however that POTUS* identifies with him, not Eliot Ness. One would think he’d like comparisons to the best-known screen Nesses, Robert Stack and Kevin Costner. Hell,Costner is even a Republican; at least he used to be until the advent of the Trump regime. Good on ya, Kevin.

Enough Elliot Nessery. It’s time to post a rogue’s gallery of actors who played Alphonse with a PH. We begin with a two-fer: Ben Gazzara from a decent 1975 bio-pic, Capone, and Robert DeNiro in the DePalma/Mamet take on The Untouchables.

Next up from left to right: Neville Brand in teevee’s The Untouchables, Stephen Graham in Boardwalk Empire, and chewing a cigar as well as the scenery, Rod Steiger in 1959’s Al Capone. Steiger was a walking slab of prosciutto in this role. He’d be in the hammy actor hall of fame if such a thing existed.

There’s bound to be a white-collar gangster movie about Paul Manafort at some point in time. I’ve already made a casting suggestion in the form of a Separated at Birth segment:

Chazz Palminteri has played more than a few wise guys in his career including Big Paul Castellano, boss of the Gambino family before he was whacked by John Gotti. The Trumps, of course, had ties to the Gambinos and Rudy is the one whose team brought them down. It’s a small fucking world, after all.

That’s Why I Call Him The Kaiser Of Chaos

The word of the week in the MSM was chaos. I’ve been calling Trump the Kaiser of Chaos since last July so I guess I’m ahead of the curve. It’s not much to brag about given how many pundits and news writers are still waiting for the president* to grow in office or pivot. He shows no signs of either and seems to be shrinking the office’s stature, especially in foreign affairs.

Last week, the Kaiser of Chaos declared a trade war on steel producers thinking it was against China when it would impact friendly countries such as Germany and Australia. He also see-sawed between pro-gun control lawmakers and the NRA. It’s classic Trump: he sides with the last person he speaks to and the NRA’s lobbyist was there last. It continues to amaze me that he has an image as a tough guy when he caves at the slightest opposition from his party or the interest groups who finance it. It reminds me of an old baseball aphorism I first learned in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four: He’s has an alligator mouth and a hummingbird ass.

It was also the week that extent of Slumlord Jared Kushner’s corruption went public. Bigly. While I’m not shocked that he’s used his proximity to the president* to save his financial ass, the blatancy of these efforts surprised me. The Javanka-Kelly war was another thing that led the MSM to call chaos on Team Trump. It looks as if the kids may be losing to the asshole Marine general. I think it helps that Kelly is as big of a bigot as the boss. Believe me.

Trump spoke at the Gridiron dinner in Washington last weekend. He trotted out his Insult Comedian persona but stepped on the jokes with lame, incoherent ad-libs. Here’s one about outgoing New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu:

“And I know Mayor Mitch Landrieu feels right at home in Washington coming from Louisiana. I love Louisiana. … Not too bad right? Not bad Mitch! … It’s a beautiful swamp. I like that swamp. … That’s a much more legitimate swamp. But I have to say Mitch, that while you’re here in Washington, only one request. … They already hit him on the statues. I was going to say, ‘Don’t touch our statues.’ But they’ve already hit you three times on the statues. … But Mitch you did a good job tonight and honestly I love the way you finished. … I really did. I thought it was very appropriate. … Thank you.”

A swamp and statue joke from the leading swamp thing in Washington? Draining the swamp seems to be the ultimate lost cause.

A note on my use of the word Kaiser. It started back in the days of my eponymous blog. Then New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin had just appointed a windbag named Ed Blakely as recovery director. The local press insisted on calling him the Katrina Tsar. I offered Katrina Kaiser as a more alliterative alternative but it never caught on. That’s when my war on the word Tsar began It’s been a losing battle but I’ve enjoyed pointing out that Tsar and Kaiser are both rooted in Caesar. And both the last Tsar and Kaiser were world-class incompetents and losers. One of them, however, survived to a cranky old age in the Netherlands. I wonder if the Kaiser of Chaos has a golf course there?

Finally, I had some fun with the featured image. On one side, the Kaiser of Chaos with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. On the other side, Kaiser Wilhelm II with a pickelhaube atop his head and a dead animal pelt serving as a furry sash of sorts. Kaisers are kooky in a way that Tsars never are.

Your President* Speaks: Dumbbell Caveman Edition

It’s President’s Day. The Current Occupant is currently at his Florida pad and there’s a tweet storm brewing. Who am I kidding? He’s been watching Fox News, hanging out with his idiot sons, and whining about the cards life dealt him all weekend. Self pity is never pretty and when it comes from an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his head it’s uglier than Steve Bannon’s wardrobe. What’s the deal with the shirt layering, Steverino?

A note about the featured image/meme. I was searching for a Magritte painting for Odds & Sods when I came across Perpetual Motion. This image of a caveman with a dumbbell head screams Donald  Trump. The analogy breaks down somewhat since the caveman dumbbell is svelte and fit but what’s not to like about the bone in his hand? Trump is boning the country, after all. Bigly.

The Kremlingate indictments obtained by Team Mueller have the Kaiser of Chaos flailing and ranting. His is not the leadership that doesn’t let one see him sweat. The flop sweat has been rolling in rivulets across the Tweeter Tube.

I picked three of the Trumpiest tweets ever to quote and dissect. By Trumpiest I mean self-serving, self-pitying, and reprehensible as he blames everyone but himself for his latest woes.

This tirade is factually challenged even for Lyin’ Donny. The FBI’s Miami office is the one that dropped the ball on Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter. It has nothing to do with investigating Kremlingate. The president* claims to love local law enforcement, especially those who beat the shit out of suspects, but they fucked up in this instance as well.

More importantly, the murder of 17 students and teachers is not about Donald Trump. He thinks he’s the sun, the stars, and the moon when he’s really just a black hole of suck. If Trump were a planet, he’d be Uranus. Believe me.

The main event on Trump’s twitter feed this weekend was, of course, Kremlingate. Trump’s national security adviser may not be the McMaster of his domain but he seized upon the indictments to tell the truth about Russian interference in the 2016 election. His boss was not happy with his statement. McMaster forgot to lie, which is a Bozo no-no in the Trump administration.

I doubt if the Insult Comedian read the indictment but I did. It makes a plausible case that the election results were influenced by the drumbeat of anti-Clinton propaganda. We all know ostensibly liberal people who swallowed whole what turned out to be Russian disinformation. The most gullible among them sat out the election or voted for useful idiot, failed folkie, and Crunchy Granola Machiavelli, Jill Stein.

The charge of collusion between Democrats and Russia is absurd but predictable in the fact free zone that is Trumpworld. The Russians were out to get the former Secretary of State and help the Kaiser of Chaos. Speaking of chaos:

Trump *is* the chaos the Russians were hoping to create. The federal government is dysfunctional, understaffed and at war with itself. They helped elect a president* who has so many scandals going that some of them cannot break through the wall of white nationalist noise and corruption erected by Team Trump. It’s the only wall they’ve built thus far.

As a veteran political observer, I still believe the country can move past this catastrophic presidency*. We’ve had terrible presidents before but none of them deliberately set out to damage the country and its institutions; not even Tricky Dick. Once again, Trump is worse than Nixon.

Ever since finding the dumbbell caveman painting, Perpetual Motion, I’ve had a classic Yessong in my head. Perpetual Change is what we need right now as an antidote to the selfish nihilism of Trump and what I dubbed the Me Party in 2013. They need to be drubbed up and down the ballot in 2018 to give the country a better chance to recover from the misrule of the Dumbbell Caveman and his wrecking crew. Believe me.

Yes gets the last word:

A nation of shitholes

GreatGrandpa

This is my great-grandfather. A farmer by birth, a carpenter by trade, a factory worker by necessity.

He came to this country in his early 20s, leaving behind his family and everything he ever knew to start a better life in America. Shortly after he left Bohemia, it no longer existed, as it was swallowed up through the consolidation of what became Czechoslovakia. He lived to be 100 and died when I was 12. His wife, my great-grandmother, lived to be 96 and they were married for more than 70 years. They had four children who lived and never moved from the house he built for them shortly before my grandfather was born.

WeddingGreatGrandparents

These are my mother’s grandparents, immigrants from Poland. I never knew them, other than through the tales my grandfather and mother would tell me. They would tell stories about family members back in the old country and have half the family rolling on the floor with side-splitting laughter. The other half? They didn’t speak Polish.

Factory workers, farmers, carpenters, barbers, artists and homemakers. These are my roots. Poland, Bohemia, maybe pre-1900s Germany. These are my lands.

These people were not the countries’ “best people” sent as emissaries, but rather as hard-working, hardscrabble people who wanted to make better lives for themselves. This country gave them hope. It gave them help. It gave them a new home.

Today? It never would have given them a chance.

A lot has been made of our president’s question about why we’re getting people from all these “shithole countries.” His indignation, venom and disgust flow freely in that two-word phrase and it represents how many people feel about these “Johnny Come Lately” immigrants who are just stealing from the “real Americans.” A lot of people believe this because they can’t see back far enough (or they just don’t want to) to understand that every, single person out there came from somewhere else (except for the Native Americans, who we shuffled around like the queen in a game of three-card monte). And every, single person who came here from elsewhere came from a shithole somewhere.

And the people who were here already had no problem letting them know that.

You had the “thieving wops and dagos.”

You had the “drunk, lazy Micks.”

You had the “stupid Poles.”

You name a group, you can guarantee the group that got here six minutes earlier already had a disparaging name for it and a “there goes the country” attitude about it.

People in this country essentially live this paradox:

I know where I came from and I know that it took a lot for us to get here and become who we are. My father, who in his later years has become more introspective, has noted to me a few times recent, “We were poor. I never thought about it at the time, but we were really poor.” My mother’s grandparents survived through the Depression because my great-grandmother rented rooms in her upstairs to workers from the slaughter house and the foundry. Her husband was a barber, and there wasn’t a lot of hair being cut at 25 cents a head back then.

They came at a time when I’m sure many in this country wanted to turn on the “No Vacancy” sign or at least they didn’t want “those people” here. To say now to the next group, “Sorry. We’re not taking any of you shithole immigrants” is unconscionable.

Those of us who came here from shithole countries need to stand up to this shit-talk from this asshole and speak to him in his native tongue.

“Pardon me, Mr. President, but fuck you.”

Saturday Odds& Sods: Blues Before and After

Lucky Dare-Devils by Reginald Marsh.

I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster all week.  I was on top of the world, ma, with Doug Jones’ win and then on the bottom with Pat DiNizio’s passing. I prefer to be somewhere between those two extremes: it’s exhausting y’all.

They shot a Dixie Beer commercial in my neighborhood yesterday. I hate film crews. There’s always some officious twerp with a clipboard yelling at people. I had to deal with clipboard guys in my past life as a Jackson Square business owner. I learned that if you gave them an inch they’d take a country mile even if you were in the city.

One time a clipboard guy wanted to plug into my shop electricity.  No way: the wiring in the Upper Pontalba was dodgy and one could blow a fuse merely by plugging a space heater in the wrong outlet. When in doubt, demand compensation. That usually runs them off but on one memorable occasion they bribed me. It’s the Louisiana way, y’all.

FYI, Dixie Beer was purchased recently by local plutocrats/Saints owners/GOP donors Tom and Gayle Benson. Every time old Tom farts, the local media wets itself. I yawn in disinterest myself although the family fight over his empire was quite entertaining.

We’re staying in New Jersey this week with our featured image and theme song. The featured image is a painting by Reginald Marsh who grew up in Jersey and the theme song comes from the Smithereens. Anyone shocked by the latter? I thought not.

I hope that y’all don’t get the blues before and after the break because it’s time to jump. Skip the Dixie Beer: it’s swill.

Continue reading

Your President* Speaks: Discovering Japan

The Insult Comedian  is on the road again. He is in the land of the rising sun after a stop  in Hawaii to plug a Trump branded hotel. He managed not to attack the Aloha state’s favorite son, Barack Obama, while there, but these protesters got in some shots at Trumpy:

Photo via The Hill.

Whatever are they referring to? he asked coyly. Btw, Japanese Prime Minister Abe dumped his box of fish food in the koi pond too. Koi carp are a delicate fish so they were both guilty of manly man overkill.

Shinzo Abe is a master of sucking up to Trump as you can see from the pictures embedded in this tweet:

Sadaharu Oh and Lefty O’Doul weep. End of cryptic baseball reference. Here’s a less obscure one: Fuck the Dodgers. I hadn’t done that for several days. That felt good.

I’m playing catch up with this feature and the Insult Comedian keeps shooting off his big bazoo, so let’s start with some authoritarian nonsense from last week:

“The saddest thing is that because I’m the President of the United States I’m not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department, I’m not supposed to be involved with the FBI, I’m not supposed to be doing the kinds of things I would love to be doing and I’m very frustrated by it. I look at what’s happening with the Justice Department, why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with the dossier and the kind of money…?”

Why? There’s no crime there. Locking up one’s enemies is what they do in dictatorships. This is not a banana republic. Yet.

Along the same lines, Trumpy did an interviewy with wingnutty Fox News host Laura Ingraham:

“Let me tell you, the one that matters is me,” Trump said in an interview that aired on Fox News on Thursday night. “I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be. You’ve seen that, you’ve seen it strongly.”

The president was responding to a question from Fox’s Laura Ingraham, who asked him, “Are you worried that the State Department doesn’t have enough Donald Trump nominees in there to push your vision through?”

Ingraham added, “other State Departments, including Reagan’s, at times, undermined his agenda. And there is a concern that the State Department currently is undermining your agenda.”

Trump said, “So, we don’t need all the people that they want. You know, don’t forget, I’m a businessperson. I tell my people, ‘Where you don’t need to fill slots, don’t fill them.’ But we have some people that I’m not happy with their thinking process.”

The Insult Comedian’s real issue with people with expertise is that they THINK at all. I feel a musical comedy interlude coming on:

If only the president* would think about what he’s trying to do to us. Unfortunately, he’s incapable of complex thought. It’s as if a parasitical one-cell organism has taken control of the government.

We have learned that Trump knows what a samurai is. Here’s a report from the Japan Times:

Trump questioned Japan’s decision not to shoot down the missiles when he met or spoke by phone with leaders from Southeast Asian countries over recent months to discuss how to respond to the threats from North Korea, the sources said.

The U.S. president said he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors did not shoot down the missiles, the sources said.

I’m sure the Chinese are thrilled by Trump’s invocation of Japan’s warrior past. Dollars to donuts that he’s never heard of Japanese aggression against China or such atrocities as the Rape of Nanking. Of course, the Chinese will leverage Trump’s historical insensitivity against him when he meets with President Xi Jinping. They’ll combine it with flattery so the self-proclaimed master deal maker won’t even notice that he’s been had.

I’m astonished that, in addition to his twitter diarrhea, Trump gives so many interviews. Such overexposure is perilous as Bill Clinton learned early in his administration. Of course, Clinton didn’t say random, inflammatory, and stupid things. The silliest thing he did was answer a question about underwear. We learned that he wore briefs, not boxers. He never once gave a foreign leader an insulting nickname. Imagine that.

The last word goes to Graham Parker:

 

Your President* Speaks: The Boy Still Ain’t Right

Donald Trump’s big mouth and tiny tweeting thumbs have had a busy week.  He revisited one of his golden oldies yesterday: saying horrible things to a gold star family. It evokes memories of  his attacks on the Khan family last year. That should have disqualified him in the minds of the voters but it did not.

The president’s* latest monstrous comments come on the heels of his “Obama didn’t call” lie and attempt to drag General Kelly into the shitstorm, not in role as Chief of Staff but as a gold star father. As I said at the top of the post, it’s been a busy week. You’ve all heard about the latest atrocity but it bears repeating:

President Donald Trump, who unleashed controversy this week when he said that his predecessors, including President Obama, did not personally call families of fallen soldiers, a statement refuted by Obama officials, called Johnson’s pregnant widow Tuesday afternoon. His call, at 4:45 p.m., came just before Johnson’s body arrived at MIA.

Trump told his widow, who was in a car heading to the airport with her family and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, that “he knew what he signed up for … but when it happens it hurts anyway,” according to Wilson, who heard the call on speakerphone in the car.

In a word: monstrous. It’s another self-inflicted wound from a man with no empathy. He *could* have  admitted that the “he knew what he signed up for” bit was callous and that he wished he’d used more sensitive language.  This president* is incapable of admitting error so here’s what the First Asshole tweeted this morning:

The Insult Comedian’s claim of proof proves only one thing: the story is true and he’s trying to lie his way out of a tight spot. He’s done this before on a wide array of clusterfucks, shitstorms, gaffes, controversies, whatever you choose to call them. It’s what happens when you bring his WWE/New York tabloid style to the national stage. Shut your big bazoo, you stupid motherfucker.

The good news is that his tactic of using the NFL protests controversy as a diversion has become less effective over time. I think Dave Zirin nailed it this morning:

Anyone with a lick of sense has known for quite some time that Donald Trump is the worst person ever to live in the White House. He’s also the most self-destructive, arrogant, and stupid person ever elected Oval One. He makes Gamaliel look like a genius and Andrews Jackson and Johnson look like nice guys. Trump is so arrogant that he thinks the first rule of holes (when you’re in one, stop digging) does not apply to him. He’s wrong. You cannot be the “patriot in chief” while simultaneously hurting gold star families. It’s monstrous.

Viva Puerto Rico: Heckuva Job, Trumpy

Donald Trump’s war on common decency intensified this morning. He woke up angry and decided it was time to lash out at American citizens who need help, not hateful harangues.

Once again, the Insult Comedian reveals his ignorance. FEMA stays as long as it takes for an area to recover. The city of New Orleans is still dealing with FEMA some twelve years after Katrina and the federal flood.

Conditions in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are dire. The vast majority of people are without cell phone service, power, and fresh water. Human beings need clean water to survive. There are signs of a looming public health crisis involving leptospirosis, which is a malady caused by drinking contaminated water. It can be fatal and the cure is a simple one: clean water. This is NOT a disease that people should die of in 2017, especially not American citizens who were promised help by the same president* who is now threatening to wash his hands of them.

Even if Trump’s tweets are meaningless, the message conveyed by them is chilling: the lives of American citizens who happen to be Puerto Rican are less valuable than the lives of people who were hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. And why? Because their government had financial issues before the storm hit? In a word: disgusting.

People are suffering. People are dying. The color of their skin and the language they speak should not matter. Trump’s handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is a new low point in an administration without any high points. It vividly illustrates that millions of people voted for a man with no empathy whatsoever. He couldn’t be a colder fish if he were a cylon.

I think the gutsy Mayor of San Juan nails it in this tweet:

Now that’s an uppity woman after my own heart. Fuck you sideways, Donald.

As a New Orleanian, I identify with the beleaguered people of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. We had to endure a lot of abuse during our recovery effort but the worst of it NEVER CAME FROM THE PRESIDENT. Congressional Republicans treated us like shit and said horrible things but Bush never did. Trump is not only worse than Nixon, he’s worse than George W. Bush as much as it pains me to say that.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Heckuva Job, Trumpy.

Another Day, Another Attack On The First Amendment

We do a lot of media criticism here at First Draft. It’s one of Athenae’s specialities with her takedown of Chuck Todd as the most recent example. Criticism is one thing but threats are altogether a different matter, especially from a president* who puts the bully in bully pulpit.

In his continuing campaign to distract attention from his administration’s failures and scandals, fake he-man Donald Trump is going after the “fake news” media. Along with kneeling jocks, minorities, and uppity women, the media are his go-to boogeyman. We all know what his definition of “fake news” is: stories that are critical of him. How has he retained his reputation in some circles as a tough guy? He’s got a glass jaw: real tough guys can take a licking and keep on ticking as an old Timex ad put it. The Insult Comedian is a whiny, titty baby who cannot handle criticism. What did he think he signed up for? This is the big leagues, not grade school t-ball.

The good news is that Trump’s threat against NBC’s broadcast license is an empty one:

There are a number of reasons Trump’s ideas about punishing NBC are, from a practical matter, unworkable.

First off, NBC itself as a broadcast network isn’t licensed by the FCC. NBC’s potential vulnerability would come as the owner and operator of 28 individual local stations, including its Telemundo station

(There are also dozens of NBC affiliates that NBC does not own and thus does not hold the licenses to.)

Second, the FCC license renewal process Trump suggested could be used to retaliate against NBC occurs every eight years. According to experts, it’s basically a rubber stamp and stations’ licenses are almost always renewed, though citizens in the localities of a station can technically challenge a license, as can a station’s competitors, if the station is doing competitive harm. To challenge NBC’s licenses, someone would have to do so in each of the individual local communities and they would face an uphill battle, legally speaking, especially after the deregulation that occurred starting with the Reagan administration.

“There are a couple of oddball cases involving smaller broadcasters, where they’ve gotten in trouble and not gotten their licenses renewed, but never about programming. No significant broadcaster of any size has ever lost a license renewal,” Schwartzman said

The threat may be empty but the mere fact that he made it is disturbing. The Nixon administration threatened the Washington Post company with revocation of its teevee affiliate licenses. I think you know why: Tricky Dick did not like its coverage of his administration. Nixon, of course, was smart enough to have surrogates do so privately as opposed to spouting off himself in public. That’s why they called him Tricky Dick. It’s one difference between Watergate and Moronogate.

I recently read an excellent 1982 biography of Mussolini by an Oxford Don, Denis Mack Smith. The parallels are disturbing. Mussolini was a mendacious, narcissistic opportunist who only believed in himself. Like Trump, he manipulated the mass media of his day to obtain power. In his case as a journalist who immediately turned against a free press upon becoming Duce. The good news is that it’s much harder for any American president to suppress free speech. The bad news is that we’re having this discussion at all.

Attempts to shut down a free press are not only unconstitutional, they’re the first step on the path to dictatorship. Trump is so unpopular and incompetent that it’s not going to happen. We need to be concerned about future attempts to do so by a demagogue who is cleverer and more knowledgeable.  It *can* happen here.

Your President* Speaks: The Boy Ain’t Right

Just when we think the Insult Comedian’s behavior can’t get more bizarre, he tops himself by throwing paper towels to a crowd of Puerto Rican hurricane victims. It’s hard to tell if the stupid bastard thinks he’s on a Carnival float or believes he’s a mascot at an NBA game. For the latter, he’d need the T-shirt cannon. I’m glad Reince is gone, he probably would have gotten one for him.

The president’s* brief visit to Puerto Rico shows why I call him the Insult Comedian. I have to give him credit for originality, past presidents did not insult storm victims. Dubya left it to Congressional Republicans but Trump does his own dirty work. He has paper towels to clean up with, after all.

He gave us a lot of material to work with yesterday. There was the lazy Latin shtick. There were attacks on the Mayor of San Juan for insufficient subservience as well as the inevitable  bragging about what a beautiful and perfect job his minions have done. Another day, another lie.

I’ll let TPM’s Esme Cribb (my new favorite name) provide the gobsmacking narrative:

When he landed on the island, Trump informed Puerto Ricans that the federal relief effort to rebuild their shattered infrastructure is coming out of government coffers.

“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine,” Trump said.

He then compared Hurricane Maria to Katrina, which he called a “real catastrophe.”

“If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overbearing, nobody has seen anything like this,” Trump said.

He compared the number of fatalities after each storm, though the present death toll on Puerto Rico is not final, and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said before Trump’s arrival that he expected the count to rise.

“What is your death count as of this moment?” Trump said. “Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud.”

There’s so much to unpack here. First, as someone who went through Katrina, the federal flood, and its aftermath, I’m not big on playing comparative catastrophes. Before landing in San Juan, Trump talked about the island being “destroyed.” That’s a catastrophe where I come from.

Then there’s the bit about the budget. These are American citizens in need: penny-pinching should be on nobody’s agenda. Besides, this is the president* who wants to cut taxes on the rich without releasing his own taxes to prove that he won’t benefit. Of course, every time he opens his mouth, he lies. Sometimes impulsively, sometimes with calculation but he always lies. Believe me, not him.

I never thought we’d have a president* who would make Bush the younger look statesmanlike. Bush was capable of delivering a “national unity” speech and once he sent General Honore to take charge of the Katrina relief effort, shit got done. The General put in charge of Maria relief has only 5,000 troops whereas Honore had 10 times that many. The good people of Puerto Rico are being nickeled and dimed to death by Team Trump.

We’ve had some bad presidents in my lifetime but we’ve never had one who had no idea how to behave in public. I had to watch the video of Trump tossing paper towels to the crowd several times before I believed it.

Who does shit like that? It’s something one would expect an 18th Century autocrat to do. It’s as if Marie Antoinette lost her head and tossed cupcakes at the Parisian rabble. Trump expects the people of Puerto Rico to survive on crumbs provided by their betters. What a maroon.

I never thought I’d find myself quoting cartoon Texan and propane aficionado Hank Hill about a POTUS* even one with an asterisk. Hank did not understand his zany, non-conformist son Bobby. His stock line about the fat kid who wanted to be a rodeo clown can be seen below:

Of course, Bobby Hill was not only fictional, he was a kid.  Donald Trump only seems like a fictional character but he’s for real. He *is* a clown but this is no rodeo, it’s deadly serious. We’ve survived bad presidents, but Trump is already circling the bowl and he’s only been in office for 256 days.

Heckuva job, Trumpy. The boy ain’t right.

Your President* Speaks: Apocalypse U.N.

The Insult Comedian warmed up for his big, scary, and stupid General Assembly speech by talking about his genius as a real estate developer on Monday:

I actually saw great potential right across the street, to be honest with you, and it was only for the reason that the United Nations was here that that turned out to be such a successful project.

I’m awesome; even the United Nations is about me, me, me, me….

Let’s move on yesterday’s fearful and fearmongering address to the General Assembly. I think the president* was confused and thought he was addressing a rally full of MAGA Maggots instead of furriners. It’s probably a good thing: he might have ordered mass deportations. I think General Kelly was worried about that as he buried his head in his hands during Trump’s tirade. He does that often since becoming Chief of Staff:

Remember when American presidents didn’t put the ass in General Assembly? It was only last fall. Hell, even President Beavis made his scariest speeches at other venues and he put the dip in diplomatic.

Trump echoed Dubya in one way. He implicitly updated the so-called axis of evil: North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela. Venezuela? Say what? They have a shitty, repressive government but they’re not exporting terrorism or even as much oil as they used to. Perhaps Donald wanted to prove he could count to three. Believe me.

Here’s part of the rant about North Korea:

No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.

This is not an original insight: the Current Occupant whipped it out, waved his own missile around, and threatened nuclear war. Normal presidents threaten countries with defeat, not obliteration but this president* is totally, totally, totally not normal.

I was there first with the Madman on the Water joke but I’m glad to share the snark with David Corn:

They could also call him Honky Cat, then cry some Crocodile Rock tears…

Ready for some Persian pounding?

The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos.

Notice how Trump didn’t attack their terrible government for being a theocracy? His evangelical supporters would not care for that . They hate Muslims but they love theocracy. One of them is SOB (Son of Billy) Franklin Graham whose name the Insult Comedian insists on mispronouncing. It’s not Gram, Donald. Maybe he’s confused the second generation preacher with a gram of coke. Remember when Trump sniffed his way through a debate with Hillary? Sniff, sniff, sniff.

It’s time for Trump’s speciality, Obama bashing:

The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.

Being one himself, Trump knows from embarrassment. He would also know from bad deals having been rolled by Chuck and Nancy Smash. Believe me.

Ready to meet the newest member of the axis of evil?

We have also imposed tough calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse. The socialist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country.

This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation — prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives, to preserve his disastrous rule. The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. The situation is completely unacceptable, and we cannot stand by and watch.

Threat or empty words? It’s usually the latter when Trump is in dick waving mode. As I said earlier, I dislike the Maduro government but they’re not “exporting revolution” or much of anything else. Besides, you would think that Trump would want to take notes on how to destroy a democracy from the Venezuelans. Nah, too much work. Time to switch on the television. Trump puts the boob in boob tube too.

That is sooooo presidential. Oops, I forgot the asterisk and he forgot to bash Arnold.

Let’s hope that the Kaiser of Chaos doesn’t make like Slim Pickens as a grand finale:

Nah, too much work.

In between threatening thermonuclear war, Trump mentioned the “beautiful vision” of the United Nations, so Van Morrison gets the last word:

The Primal Scream President’s* Ego Rallies

I batted around several possible post titles. I wound up combining my top two choices: the Primal Scream Presidency* and Ego Rallies. They were good enough to marry. I’m not sure who proposed. It was probably the primal screamer: that fucker cannot shut up to save his life. That’s why I stuck with the Your White Nationalist President* Speaks meme as the featured image. It’s beautiful. Believe me.

While watching clips of the primal scream president’s* latest ego rally, I cast my mind all the way back to Monday when the usual MSM suspects insisted we’d seen a new, humble-n-serious Trump. Only the most gullible people in the country bought the New Trump. Athenae did not, neither did I. It was more of a divot than a pivot. It lasted a mere 25 hours. There will never be a pivot. Trump is like Popeye’s evil twin: he is who he is and nothing that Ivanka Olive Oyl does will change that. As I said back in Februrary, he’s the worst person ever to live in the White House. Believe me.

Last night’s meltdown in Phoenix was depressingly predictable. Put the Insult Comedian in front of a crowd of MAGA Maggots and he’ll in engage in a public form of primal scream therapy. There was one new twist: he misquoted his statements about the Charlottesville neo-Nazi riot. I’m glad he can keep the crazy fresh for the basest members of his base base.

Trump is sui generis. It’s true that he combines some of the worst facets of past national leaders so not everything about his style is original, but he’s the worst as well as the craziest. Here’s a wee check list of traits he shares with recent presidents and party nominees:

Narcissism: Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson both had healthy egos as well as an abundance of self-love. They kept it behind closed doors whereas Trump’s narcissism is on daily display.

Self-pity: The Phoenix diatribe was an exercise in self-pity. Clinton, Nixon, and LBJ were known to feel sorry for themselves. Once again, they rarely showed it in public. LBJ and Tricky, however, let the mask slip near the end of their respective terms as Oval Ones.

Dog Whistling: Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes did their share of racist dog whistling but they knew better than to do it overtly. Trump isn’t sophisticated enough to be as subtle as Poppy Bush was in the 1988 campaign. In that race, he seemed to be running for national police chief instead of president. Poppy’s race baiting was strictly for the campaign. He didn’t believe it. Trump does. Believe me.

Referring to Oneself In The Third Person: This is something that drives me nuts. In this area, Trump follows in the footsteps of former Senator Bob Dole who was on the GOP ticket in 1976 and 1996. He did a lot of Bob Doling. Trump sticks to his surname, which could be called a surly name in his case.

Anger Management Issues: It’s well-known that LBJ, Nixon, Clinton, and 2008 GOP nominee John McCain had volcanic tempers. They kept their angriest moments private, which is where they belong.

Public Attacks On Members Of Their Own Party: This is unusual to say the least. The only direct comparison is FDR’s attempt to purge Conservative Southern Democrats in the 1938 off-year election. Johnson got publicly tetchy about Democratic doves but knew that mounting primary challenges was folly.

Trump seems prepared to ignore these precedents. He thinks the world started over on November 9, 2016. I guess that makes him the asshole messiah. It’s gotten to the point that even Chinless Mitch cannot stand him. I wonder if Trump has threatened to turn him into Turtle soup. Donald is big on empty threats.

One quality that Trump lacks is impulse control; if he had any at all, there would be fewer self-inflicted wounds. He also possess all the worst qualities of baby boomers and none of that generation’s redeeming characteristics. Once again, he’s the worst of the worst.

As long as Trump remains president* there will be ego rallies. It’s the only way to assuage his epic insecurities. I think Bill Moyers summed it up best:

Instead of a soul, Donald Trump has an open sore.

That’s why he’ll keep on primal screaming at ego rallies and on twitter. He cannot help himself. It’s why the country is in such deep trouble that Mike Pence looks less bad than Trump. He does have better hair than the dead nutria Trump wears atop his head, after all.

In my continuing effort to establish that there’s a Kinks song for every situation, I’ll give them the last word. It’s Ray’s ode to positive nonconformism as opposed to Trump’s open sore nonconformism:

First Draft Potpourri: Bayou Briefing

It’s been a difficult week. Everyone I know is upset about the Charlottesville neo-Nazi riot. It’s taken a lot out of me because I know and love the place as I said on Monday. That’s why it’s time to lighten things up a bit. It may not work but comic relief is my middle name. I guess I should’ve capitalized the phrase in that case.

The post is NOT called Bayou Briefing because it’s all stories of the Gret Stet. It’s because the Bayou Brief has published my first column. Holy shameless plug, Batman.

It’s called The Fog of New Orleans Mayoral Race History and they even let me tell some jokes. Unlike some other Bayou Briefers, I wasn’t Born on the Bayou but neither was John Fogerty for that matter:

We’ll keep it in the Gret Stet of Louisiana for now.

Tweet Of The Week: Former Louisiana Governor and federal inmate Edwin Edwards’ 90th birthday soiree was held on August 12th; his actual DOB is 8-7-1927. I’m envious: there was no flooding like there was on my birthday a week earlier. Oh well, I guess us Leos have to stick together. Holy Grandfalloon, Batman.

The big shebang took place in Red Stick and EWE did his Cajun Shecky shtick as you can see from this tweet by the AP’s Melinda Deslatte:

Edwin Edwards, of course, opened a can of whoop ass on Trump’s buddy David Dukkke in 1991. He may have been a crook but he was our crook.

We’ll keep it down South, but first a marginally relevant musical selection:

Actually, I posted that because Dr. A and I usually drive through Birmingham on our way home from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Fast.

My Kind Of Cover-Up: Democratic Birmingham, Alabama Mayor William Bell was tired of looking at a Confederate monument across from City Hall. He had a novel solution:

Bell covered up the monument to Confederate veterans, first with tarps and then with wooden walls erected by city workers overnight Tuesday. Bell told reporters earlier in the day that his immediate goal was to temporarily cover the monument “until such time that we can tell the full story of slavery, the full story of what the Confederacy really meant.”

“What the Confederacy represented was the maintaining of individuals as being less than human, of promoting a supremacy doctrine that is no longer valid, and wasn’t valid then,” he added.

I guess you can tell that Mayor Bell is black. He’s being sued by the  Lost CauserAlabama AG for violating a new state law that protects Confederate shit. It’s thrilling that this is happening in the city where Bull Connor sicced police dogs on civil rights protesters.

It looks as if Birmingham is finally living up to the chorus of the Randy Newman song:

I still don’t think it’s “the greatest city in Alabam,” my money is on Mobile since they have Carnival, but Mayor Bell not only rules, he rocks. Speaking of those who do neither:

Your Twit President* Tweets: I hadn’t planned to do this segment but when I checked TPM that plan went out the window alongside the running joke in my Bayou Brief column.

The Lost Causer In Chief announced his candidacy to be the second president of the Confederate States of America in a “beautiful” tweet storm this morning:

That’s why I added Lost Causer In Chief to my panoply of Trump nicknames.

The whole “they’re trying to change history” thing drives me batshit crazy; almost as crazy as Trump. There are no monuments to Hitler in Germany or Austria. They haven’t forgotten that history, dipshit. I wish we could make like Mayor Bell and cover up Trump’s big bazoo.

How’s that whole disciplining the president* thing going, General Kelly? Not very well from the looks of it.

It’s time to cheese it across the pond for our final segment.

Finest Festival In The District: There was a different kind of Rumble in Brighton recently. Over cheese. I am not making this up:

A festival celebrating cheese is facing serious backlash for running out of it, something the weekend-long event’s organizers apparently didn’t “anticipate” a “demand for.” This Fyre Festival–level fiasco was held in the English city of Brighton and, it’s also worth noting, had sold out beforehand. It’s part of a traveling festival series literally called the Cheese Fest, where people pay £3 to £6 in advance to supposedly enjoy a drool-worthy afternoon filled with endless raclette wheels, halloumi fries, grilled cheeses, and the “most amazing mac and cheese in the world.”

The complaints started pouring in immediately on Saturday — too few stalls, outrageous lines, woefully underprepared vendors, not enough bathrooms. Very soon, the eponymous food ran out entirely. Some visitors noted they didn’t get so much as a sample-size morsel. As the afternoon stretched on, visitors kept coming, spawning more awful feedback, and organizers allegedly stooped to removing negative comments from the event’s Facebook page.

No cheese at the Cheese Festival? It’s too bad that organizers didn’t have Brie Larson or Adrastos crush Alison Brie there to distract attention.  It’s a pity that there are no chicks named Cheddar…

The Brighton cheese rumble reminds me of one of my favorite Python sketches:

Cleese: It’s not much of a cheese shop, is it?

Palin: Finest in the district sir!

Cleese: (annoyed) Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

Palin: Well, it’s so clean, sir!

Cleese: It’s certainly uncontaminated by cheese.

The last word goes to John Cleese and Michael Palin to the strains of bouzouki music. I am uncertain as to whether there was a bouzouki at the  Brighton cheese rumble. One would hope so since there was no cheese. Finest festival in the district, sir.

Your President* Speaks: Lost Causer In Chief

We all knew it couldn’t last. I’m referring to Trump’s second Charlottesville statement on Monday. Call it a brief spasm of coerced contrition over his initial reaction to Saturday’s neo-Nazi riot. Actually, it looked more like a hostage video of a man reading words he did not believe in. Believe me.

Tuesday’s ranty press conference was the latest in a series of  public meltdowns. This time he revealed himself as the Lost Causer In Chief. I halfway expected him to demand that statues of him be erected in towns across the country. He’s a big enough dick to demand such an erection, after all.

Let’s tackle a few of the Insult Comedian’s comments with the odd comment by your humble blogger. Somebody’s gotta be humble in a country headed by a blowhard and braggart. I forgot a b word: Bigot.

Q Let me ask you, Mr. President, why did you wait so long to blast neo-Nazis?

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t wait long.

Q You waited two days —

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t wait long.

Q Forty-eight hours.

THE PRESIDENT: I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct — not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. But you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it’s a very, very important process to me, and it’s a very important statement.

So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to —

<SNIP>

And honestly, if the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice. But unlike you, and unlike — excuse me, unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.

Mr. Conclusion Jumper (no relation to Mr. In Between) wanted to know all the facts before spouting off? Even by Trumpian standards, this is preposterous piffle. He wouldn’t know a fact if it bit him in the dead nutria atop his head.

Esme Cribb of  TPM has compiled a list of all the times the Kaiser of Chaos leapt to conclusions about *other* terrorist episodes.  (I love her name: she sounds like a Dickens character.) Apparently, fact checks only apply when the terrorist is a Trumper.

Q Nazis were there.

Q David Duke was there.

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. And the facts, as they started coming out, were very well stated. In fact, everybody said, “His statement was beautiful. If he would have made it sooner, that would have been good.” I couldn’t have made it sooner because I didn’t know all of the facts. Frankly, people still don’t know all of the facts.

This latest idiocy is, yet again, about the fact that the people don’t love him and hang on his every word. We’re ingrates as far as Trump is concerned. He should be worshiped. Why? I’ll never know.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at — excuse me, what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?

Let me ask you this: What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.

It’s a documented fact that the neo-Nazi, neo-Klansmen, neo-Confederates initiated the violence. They were the ones who showed up clad in riot gear. That’s a whole lotta neos. If I were into The Matrix movies I might make a Neo joke but I’m not so I won’t. I just couldn’t get past the presence of Keanu Reeves, dude in the role of Neo, dude.

Now where the hell was I? Oh yeah, your white nationalist president* speaks.

THE PRESIDENT: But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Q Should that statue be taken down?

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me. If you take a look at some of the groups, and you see — and you’d know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not — but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.

So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

So, Trump is conflating the Civil War with the American Revolution now? The first and third presidents were present at the creation of the republic; neither committed treason like Lee or Jackson. Trump does have something in common with Stonewall Jackson though. They’re both sociopaths. Believe me.

I planned to save the reaction to today’s diatribe for the end but this one is priceless. It’s one New Orleanian quoting another New Orleanian on the tweeter tube:

Back to this episode of your white nationalist president* speaks.

Q Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs — and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch.

But there is another side. There was a group on this side. You can call them the left — you just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

Q (Inaudible) both sides, sir. You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides. Are the —

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either.

<SNIP>

Q The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest —

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group.

There are “very fine people” who are neo-Nazis wearing riot gear? That’s a new one on me. Neo-Nazis and white nationalists are not “very fine people” they’re what kids today call haters. It’s what they do. It’s what they live for. It doesn’t bother Trump because he’s one of them. The politics of grievance and revenge are Trump’s politics even though he grew up with wealth and very white privilege. I’d call it a paradox but I try to use language the Insult Comedian will understand. That was a lie; something he does understand. Believe me.

The most significant reaction came from the erstwhile Gret Stet Fuhrer:

That’s really all you need to know about the third Charlottesville statement. It pleased David Duke, Richard Spencer, and their neo-Nazi brethren. They didn’t buy the second statement, they didn’t even give it secondhand love.

Anyone who was shocked by Trump’s latest hissy fit has not been paying attention. He started toying with running for president in 2011, which is when he began beating the birther drum. His entire political career since then has been based on racism and bigotry. No shock to any of our readers but it apparently still is to the MSM and most Republican office holders. It’s who and what he is.

A personal note. I believe in free speech but I do not believe in being nice to neo-Nazis and white nationalists. My father and three uncles fought against fascism in World War II. One uncle was killed in action in Italy. We didn’t fight a bloody war against the real Nazis only to see them rise to prominence 72 years after their ignominious defeat. They’re LOSERS, Donald. So are the Confederates. So much for “so much winning.”

Speaking of veterans, some people are quoting remarks made by Bob Dole denouncing racism in his 1996 acceptance speech. The problem with that is that Bob Dole is still alive. Bob Dole endorsed Donald Trump in 2016. We haven’t heard a peep from him or most party regulars about the transformation of the GOP into a white nationalist party. I guess they’re afraid to have a cross burned on their tidy white bread lawns.

Here’s hoping that the Charlottesville is a turning point in the struggle against our white nationalist president* and his despicable supporters. Remember what Hillary Clinton said about the basket of deplorables? She was right about that and so much else.

Since the Pepe the frog crowd  is fond of using memes to wage their war against trite genocide, I’ll fight tiki torch fire with tiki torch fire:

Fire, Fury, & Flimflammery

Donald Trump likes being the first at things. His latest first as president* is a public, off-the-cuff threat of nuclear war against North Korea:

“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening, beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

This overheated rhetoric comes after ONE arm of the intelligence community reported that North Korea has the capability to fit a small warhead on a missile. The DIA is the agency in question and they’ve been wrong about this before as well as about WMDs in Iraq. The stakes are too high not to get this right.

Perhaps we should be glad that Trump has called a cease-fire with the intelligence community but this report calls for skepticism. There are no good options on the Korean peninsula. There are even fewer simple options and we have a simple-minded president* who thrives on chaos, drama, and hyperbole. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

One of many scary things about yesterday’s rant is that, once again, Trump was winging it. There was no consultation with his national security or foreign policy team. It was a chance to look tough and stir up drama. The good news is that the Insult Comedian can never be taken at his word. He has made bellicose and belligerent statements before without any follow through. That, in and of itself, is worrisome. It increases the possibility of a mistake since we’re dealing with an equally unstable and erratic leader in  Kim Jong-un. One could even call him the unleader...

The secretary of state from central casting has spoken in what considers “reassuring” language:

“Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson defended Trump over his bellicose language, which shocked US allies and has been heavily criticised in the US and around the world as reckless.

“What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson said. “I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the US unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies.”

That’s supposed to be soothing tea from the Tillerson but matching that lunatic’s OTT rhetoric is a lousy idea. The US government is supposed to be the sane party in this dispute. Of course, Trump’s idea of diplomacy is fighting crazy with crazy. I halfway expect a revival of Wormplomacy. Rodman *was* on Donald’s stupid reality teevee show, after all.

I’ve been asked many times recently if I expect a wag the dog scenario from the president* to save his failing administration. That would require a more realistic Trump: he’s convinced himself that he’s the greatest president since Lincoln. In this instance, the real world benefits from his ability to construct an alternate reality. Right now, we’re dealing with a wag the tongue scenario since Trump is all bluster and bullshit with very little action. Let’s hope he stays true to form.  Cross your fingers and repeat after me: wag the tongue, not wag the dog.

General Kelly was appointed chief of staff a mere twelve days ago. His mission to bring order and discipline to a chaotic White House has already failed. It was truly mission impossible since the chaos and indiscipline flows from Donald Trump. Hence my new nickname for him, the Kaiser of Chaos. Kaiser Wilhelm II was also an arrested adolescent who lacked impulse control. He, however, did not have nukes.

As of now, yesterday’s outburst is just fire, fury, and flimflammery. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The last word goes to the Kinks. Let’s hope none of us will have to walk through the Wall of Fire because of two madmen:

I hope the wall of fire imagery doesn’t give the Insult Comedian any ideas about his doomed border wall. Imagine an actual wall of fire manned by the local milk people. Of course, if Trump ever had an idea, it would die of loneliness.

Your President* Speaks: Boy Scout Bullshit Edition

The Insult Comedian gave a rather chummy interview to the Wall Street Journal the day after the Trumpers Jamboree speech. The WSJ declined to post the transcript so I’m obliged to thank Tiger Beat on the Potomac for doing so.

I call it chummy because of the Arabella colloquy. It turns out that and Princess Ivanka and WSJ editor Gerard Baker both have daughters named Arabella. Perhaps that explains all the softballs lobbed at the Kaiser of Chaos in this interview. Additionally, it’s a Murdoch property. Rupe and Donald have been going steady for quite some time.

Here’s all you need to know about veteran Fleet Stret hack Gerard Baker:

Baker has defended his paper in the past from criticism, both internal and external, that the broadsheet has been too soft on the real estate mogul and reality-television star-turned-45th president of the United States.

In an internal town hall with employees in February, Baker said that anyone who claims the Journal has been soft on Trump is peddling “fake news,” and that employees who are unhappy with the Journal’s objective, as opposed to oppositional, approach to Trump should work somewhere else.

Anyone who uses the term “fake news” plays for Team Trump.

I’m going to keep this relatively brief this morning and stick to two segments with the odd annotation. The first one is about the maladministration’s wispy renaissance man, Slumlord Jared. It begins with an exchange between Princess Ivanka and Baker about an editorial that referred to her horrible husband:

MS.: And I liked your editorial today, very nice. (Laughs.)

BAKER: Oh, good, good. Well, you see, you know, my colleagues write those, so they’ll be — they’ll be —

TRUMP: You did a good job.

MS: Yeah, you really did.

BAKER: Thank you very much. Thank you.

TRUMP: You did a good job. He’s a good — he’s a good boy.

MS.: They wrote a very nice editorial, so very good.

BAKER: Thank you.

Slumlord Jared is 36. They’re all good boys to Trump even when they’re not. Ain’t no good boys in his family. Speaking of which, this is the first White House in memory without a First Pet. That tells you all you need to know about the Trumps. I wonder if the ghost of Grace Coolidge’s pet raccoon is haunting the West Wing? That could be Team Trump’s next lame excuse. It would be funny to hear Huck’s awful spawn talkin’ ’bout coons.

Let’s move on to the Insult Comedian’s “reflections” on his Trumpers Jamboree speech.

WSJ: We were in West Virginia yesterday.

TRUMP: Oh, you did? Was that a scene, though? Huh?

WSJ: That was a scene, yes. (Laughter.)

TRUMP: Biggest crowd they’ve ever had. What did you think?

WSJ: I thought it was an interesting speech in the context of the Boy Scouts.

TRUMP: Right.

WSJ: They seemed to get a lot of feedback from former scouts and –

TRUMP: Did they like it?

WSJ: It seemed mixed.

TRUMP: They loved it. [Laughter.] It wasn’t — it was no mix. That was a standing –

WSJ: In the — you got a good — you got a good reaction in –

TRUMP: I mean, you know, he writes mostly negative stuff. But that was a standing ovation –

WSJ: You got a good reaction inside the arena, that’s right.

TRUMP: … from the time I walked out on the stage — because I know. And by the way, I’d be the first to admit mixed. I’m a guy that will tell you mixed. There was no mix there. That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix.

WSJ: Yeah, there was a lot of supporters in the arena.

TRUMP: And I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful. So there was — there was no mix.

Trump is the crazy mixed-up kid in this instance. The big Boy Scout issued an apology for the speech and the BSA spokesboy said they were “unaware” of a thank you call. It’s a polite way of calling Donald a lying sack of shit.

Unfortunately, the country is getting used to Trump’s casual, unnecessary lying about *everything* even minor subjects like the Trumpers Jamboree speech. It’s why I feel obliged to wade through the muck of the Insult Comedian’s mind to point out *some* of his whoppers. Btw, if you haven’t read Doc’s great piece, An Eagle’s Eye View on Trump and the Jamboree, please check it out. I Who knew he was an Eagle Scout? Ya learn something every day unless, that is, you’re POUTUS. He’s forever stuck in his tabloid glory days, the 1980’s. He hasn’t learned anything since. Believe me.

One more thing. In the Insult Comedian’s pea brain everything about him has to be the biggest, best, and greatest. The world is his oyster even in the months with an R in them. That’s why he cannot stop brooding about Bobby Three Sticks and the Russia investigation. If he and/or his minions does something, it must not only be right, it’s got to be beautiful and tremendous. He is, of course, ugly, petty, and delusional. So it goes.

One more Trumpism caught my eye. His commentary on the house he currently demeans with his presence:

President Donald Trump explained his frequent weekend visits to his own properties by disparaging the White House in no uncertain terms, according to a report published Tuesday by Sports Illustrated.

Sports Illustrated reported that Trump recently explained his frequent weekend visits to his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, by telling members, “That White House is a real dump.”

In contrast, Trump is in the habit of lavishing effusive praise on his own properties, Sports Illustrated reported, citing numerous people who have played golf with Trump: “Is this not the most beautiful asphalt you’ve ever seen in your life?”

Beautiful Asphalt? Sounds like the name of a biker metal band or a Blue Oyster Cult tune.

Back to the “dump” comment. It’s the people’s house and when you insult it, you insult the nation. That’s why I call him the Insult Comedian.

This latest mishigas reminds me of the scene in Beyond The Forest wherein Bette Davis uttered one of her most memorable lines. Make that line. It was three words and it’s the last word.

 

Follow Me Boys To The Trumpers Jamboree

When I was a kid, I knew Fred MacMurray as the pipe-puffing, sweater-wearing single father on My Three Sons. He also did a string of successful Disney movies in the Sixties. That’s why I was shocked the first time I heard about Double Indemnity and The Apartment wherein he played rat bastards. When I saw the two great Billy Wilder films, I realized Fred was a helluva actor when he wasn’t playing with Flubber. Instant Old Movie Update: A friend just pointed out that I missed Fred’s rat bastard role in The Caine Mutiny. Oops.

Follow Me, Boys was one of MacMurray’s Disney flicks wherein he played a scoutmaster to a troop that included future movie star, Kurt Russell. The Boy Scouts  of America liked the theme song by the Sherman brothers so much that they considered adopting it as their anthem:

I was an enthusiastic Cub Scout but an indifferent Boy Scout. One camping trip and it was over for me as my father predicted. It wasn’t even an “I told you so” scenario. He *hated* camping because he slept on the ground for three years during World War II and vowed to never do it again. My dislike of dirt sleeping is in the genes, y’all.

I’m not sure if the preceding was a set-up, digressively Maddowesque or both. That brings me to the real subject of this post: the Insult Comedian’s appalling speech to the Boy Scout Jamboree in West By-Gosh Virginia. We’ve all gotten desensitized to the crazy that this president* brings to a big crowd but this was way over the line. Of course, erasing lines is what the Darnold is all about. He thinks that political Norms have something to do with George Wendt’s character on Cheers. Repeat after me: the president* is a moron.

The Boy Scouts are an inherently conservative organization but have traditionally stayed out of partisan politics. That brings us to this edition of:

Trump’s speech was depressingly reminiscent of another leader’s speeches to youth groups. You know, the guy who looked like Charlie Chaplin and ranted like a proto-Trump, only in the original German. Here are a few choice cuts of this rancid speech along with some spirited annotations by yours truly:

You set a record. That’s a great honor, believe me. Tonight we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that. We’re going to put that…

We’re going to put that aside. And instead we’re going to talk about success, about how all of you amazing young Scouts can achieve your dreams, what to think of, what I’ve been thinking about. You want to achieve your dreams, I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts? Right?

Remember when it was unseemly for a president to use even mild profanity when speaking to kids? It wasn’t that long ago.  Ideally, a president is supposed to be a role model for children. The Current Occupant is not.

You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp, and it’s not a good place. In fact, today, I said we ought to change it from the word “swamp” to the word “cesspool” or perhaps to the word “sewer.”

I cannot imagine why it’s become a sewer. Oh yeah, because the Trump crime family eats, sleeps, and grifts there now.

I wonder if the television cameras will follow you? They don’t doing that when they see these massive crowds. They don’t like doing that.

<SNIP>

The fake media will say, “President Trump spoke” — you know what is — “President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.” That’s some — that is some crowd. Fake media. Fake news.

Trump acts like his captive audience was there for HIM. You joined them, not vice versa, dipshit. This speech got tons of coverage. It’s only “fake news” because so much of it was unfavorable.

Secretary Tom Price is also here today. Dr. Price still lives the Scout oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our secretary of Health and Human Services. And he’s doing a great job. And hopefully he’s going to gets the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us.

CROWD: USA! USA! USA!

TRUMP: By the way, are you going to get the votes? He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better. Otherwise I’ll say, “Tom, you’re fired.” I’ll get somebody.

Does he think he’s still on The Apprentice?  That’s when he was mighty like an Omarosa

I decided to skip the weird sex yacht story and his bragging about the 2016 election. We’ve heard it all before. It would be more interesting if he bragged about how they stole the election with the help of his pal Vlad.

The Insult Comedian channeled defrocked teevee big mouth Bill-O in a bizarre non-sequitur:

In the Scout oath, you pledge on your honor to do your best and to do your duty to God and your country. And by the way, under the Trump administration you’ll be saying “Merry Christmas” again when you go shopping, believe me.

Merry Christmas. They’ve been downplaying that little beautiful phrase. You’re going to be saying “Merry Christmas” again, folks.

He’s ready to fight the war on Christmas now. It’s high time to bring his soul brother Bill-O into the administration*, at least he speaks in complete sentences. He could be minister of propaganda post-purge when Mooch becomes chief of staff.

In reading the transcript of the speech, it’s easy to discern the written portions. The digressions are all boiler plate Trumpspeak. Believe me.

The worst part of the speech was when he got the boys to boo former president Obama. Obama was a scout, Trump was not. He’s not into unselfishness, honesty or loyalty. He’s the kind of guy who would cheat in the soapbox derby. Actually, he’d hire somebody to cheat for him.

Every time I think Trump has hit a new low, he tops (bottoms?) himself. He thinks the world revolves around him and that everything is about him. There’s a word that describes what he is: psychopath.

Krazy author Michael Tisserand had a lot of fun with the scouting angle on the Tweeter Tube. Here’s a sampler:

I originally planned to give Michael the last word but then I remembered a Nick Lowe tune that, with a  quick title change to Trumpers Jamboree, would be a swell theme song for this post:

Your President* Speaks: The Daily Constitutional Crisis

It’s no secret that Donald Trump thrives on conflict, chaos, and crisis. It’s also no secret that normal people find the constant chaos exhausting. I’m only marginally normal but find myself waking up and wondering what shit has hit the fan over night. Some days it’s a crazy tweet, other days it’s an interview. Whenever the Insult Comedian is interviewed by the NYT’s Maggie Haberman, the bats in his belfry come flying out.

Haberman wasn’t the only Timesperson involved in the interview but she’s the one with the knack of summoning the demons. Timing is, of course, everything. Even by the standards of the Trump presidency* it’s been a crazy few weeks: things are not going well in Trump World and when that happens, shit meet fan.

This time around there is *some* method in the president’s* madness. Events in the Trump-Russia scandal are moving at warp speed while the attempt to destroy the ACA is creeping along like a slug that’s been stepped on. The White House is issuing empty threats to Senators who are less and less afraid of the Orange Menace every day. It’s not unusual for a real president to want to change the subject but they rarely move on to an even more damaging topic. Ain’t nothing real about the pouty POTUS* on display today. Pouty POTUS*? I feel a new nickname coming on: POUTUS. I’m not sure if it requires an asterisk. The dumb fucker pouts constantly.

We begin with a comment inspired by his Parisian sojourn:

Well, Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president, so what about Napoleon? He said: “No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris.” [garbled] The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. How many times has Russia been saved by the weather?

Uh, POUTUS, it was Louis Bonaparte aka Napoleon III whose government laid out the street grid of which you speak. One would think Trump would like him since he was elected and then became Emperor/Dictator. Of course, he finished “a little bit bad” too. I bet the Insult Comedian has never heard of Napoleon’s nephew Louis. It would involve reading a book.

Next up is a comment about his unsupervised visit with Putin:

We talked about Russian adoption. Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago. And I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don [Jr., Mr. Trump’s son] had in that meeting. As I’ve said — most other people, you know, when they call up and say, “By the way, we have information on your opponent,” I think most politicians — I was just with a lot of people, they said [inaudible], “Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?” They just said——

Adoption is Putinspeak for sanctions. They talked about something substantive with only Putin’s translator present. Btw, Karl Rove said he wouldn’t have taken that meeting. That’s right, Team Trump is worse than Karl Fucking Rove.

Constitutional crisis, come on down:

TRUMP: So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, “Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.” It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president. So he recuses himself. I then end up with a second man, who’s a deputy.

HABERMAN: Rosenstein.

TRUMP: Who is he? And Jeff hardly knew. He’s from Baltimore.

TRUMP: Yeah, what Jeff Sessions did was he recused himself right after, right after he became attorney general. And I said, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” I would have — then I said, “Who’s your deputy?” So his deputy he hardly knew, and that’s Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein, who is from Baltimore. There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any. So, he’s from Baltimore.

There’s a lot to unpack here. First, Sessions screwed up and did the right thing by recusing himself. He was following DOJ rules. Imagine that. Second, Trump refers to himself in the third person as the president* The only recent Oval One I can recall doing that was Tricky Dick. You know, the only president to resign in disgrace.

The bit about Rosenstein is classic Trumpian projection. Trump is a New York Republican who lost his home state 59-37 and did even worse in NYC. One would have thought Rosenstein would be his political soul brother. I guess not.

Next up is the part of Your President* Speaks in which American history is misinterpreted.

And nothing was changed other than Richard Nixon came along. And when Nixon came along [inaudible] was pretty brutal, and out of courtesy, the F.B.I. started reporting to the Department of Justice. But there was nothing official, there was nothing from Congress. There was nothing — anything. But the F.B.I. person really reports directly to the president of the United States, which is interesting.

The FBI has always been part of the DOJ and its director has always reported to the Attorney General. The president has always had the appointment power. One reason Mark (Deep Throat) Felt insisted on anonymity is that he was bypassed by Nixon to replace Hoover and didn’t want to come off as a disgruntled office seeker.

It’s time for Trump to threaten the Special Counsel:

SCHMIDT: Last thing, if Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?

HABERMAN: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

TRUMP: I would say yeah. I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don’t — I don’t — I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don’t make money from Russia. In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don’t make — from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms. I don’t have buildings in Russia. They said I own buildings in Russia. I don’t. They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t, I don’t do that.

He didn’t definitely say he’d fire Bobby Three Sticks but the implication is clear.  Trump wants Mueller to keep his hands off the Trump crime family. We’ve had some phony Saturday Night Massacres in the past 180 days. Firing Mueller would be the real deal.

In a normal administration, we would have awakened to the news that Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein had resigned. To say that this is not a normal administration is a grotesque understatement. Normal presidents care about the appearance of impropriety and would never meet with a Russian president without a sidekick of some kind. Even the Lone Ranger would have brought Tonto along, but not Johnny Depp’s Tonto with the dead bird on his head. Hmm, maybe Trump should try that. Imagine a dead bird atop the dead nutria he has atop his head. It would be a fashion sensation, y’all.

That concludes this epic edition of Your President* Speaks. I haven’t even included Trump’s recent tweet storms. Twitter is ephemeral. The New York Times is the newspaper of record. Maggie Haberman is the Trump whisperer. The poor dear.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Miles From Nowhere

Asakusa Hongan-ji Temple by Hokusai.

It was citywide election qualifying week here in New Orleans. I’m acquainted with three of the mayoral candidates but I’m undecided. It’s still early days in the race to replace Mitch Landrieu who is term limited and cannot run a fifth time to be Mayor. He’s a persistent bugger, y’all.

One person who talked about running was reality teevee star Sidney Torres aka the Trashanova. The Trashanova is a rich malaka who often wears a man bun, which is disqualifying as far as I’m concerned. Additionally, he’s  too closely tied to former Mayor Nagin to have a chance to win. Torres declined to throw his man bun into the ring and the city heaved a collective sigh of relief. Ta-ta, Trashanova.

This week’s theme song is a three-headed beast, sort of like me before my first cup of coffee in the morning. We have two  different songs titled Miles From Nowhere and one with a substantially similar title. I like to keep you on your toes.

After all the Tea for the Tillerson jokes, I thought it was high time to post a Cat Stevens song from the album with a substantially similar title. Substantially similar appears to be the two-word phrase of the day. Cat Stevens is followed (figuratively, not literally) by the Smithereens and Dwight Yoakam, which makes this a rather high mileage post.

Speaking of keeping you on your toes, we’re skipping the break and diving right in. Splash. Hopefully, it will be the deep, not shallow, end.

Your President* Speaks: It’s a long flight from DC to Paris so Trump had a chat with the press corps. He said some crazy shit about a transparent border wall. The “idea” is to see the “bags of drugs” flying over it or some such shit. That full quote is too long and rambling for this space but here are a couple of beauts annotated by yours truly:

So I was asked to go by the President [Macron], who I get along with very well, despite a lot of fake news. You know, I actually have a very good relationship with all of the people at the G20. And he called me, he said, would you come, it’s Bastille Day — 100 years since World War I. And I said, that’s big deal, 100 years since World War I. SO we’re going to go

The president* appears to think that Bastille Day is somehow connected to the Great War. It happened in 1789 and had something to with another famous event.

The other quote has the Insult Comedian sounding like his mentor Roy Cohn:

And I think what’s happening is, as usual, the Democrats have played their card too hard on the Russia thing, because people aren’t believing it. It’s a witch hunt and they understand that. When they say “treason” — you know what treason is? That’s Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for giving the atomic bomb, okay? But what about all the congressmen, where I see the woman sitting there surrounded by — in Congress.

Actually, Roy Cohn was a coherent motherfucker. That last sentence makes no sense whatsoever.

While we’re on the subject of the Darnold, there’s *another* excerpt from Joshua Green’s new Trump-Bannon book. It’s not as fun as the Bannon-Napoleon portrait one but it’s still swell. This excerpt is at Bloomberg News and discusses Trump’s time hosting The Apprentice. Fun fact: Trump was popular with minorities until the whole birther thing, which is when his ratings tanked. Sad.

Let’s move on to a segment about Trump’s longtime personal mouthpiece.

The Marc Kasowitz Blues: Pro Publica ran an eye-opening piece about Trump’s hard-drinking, foul-mouthed lawyer. One of the main points of the article by Justin Elliot and Jesse Eisinger is that Kasowitz will have a hard time obtaining a security clearance because of his drinking problem. I’m not sure how he can adequately defend the president* without one.

Kasowitz not only has a drinking problem, he has a nasty temper, which surfaced after a segment on the Rachel Maddow Show:

Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal attorney on the Russia case, threatened a stranger in a string of profanity-laden emails Wednesday night.

The man, a retired public relations professional in the western United States who asked not to be identified, read ProPublica’s story this week on Kasowitz and sent the lawyer an email with the subject line: “Resign Now.”

Kasowitz replied with series of angry messages sent between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern time. One read: “I’m on you now.  You are fucking with me now Let’s see who you are Watch your back , bitch.”

 In another email, Kasowitz wrote: “Call me.  Don’t be afraid, you piece of shit.  Stand up.  If you don’t call, you’re just afraid.” And later: “I already know where you live, I’m on you.  You might as well call me. You will see me. I promise.  Bro.”

Kasowitz’s spokesman, Michael Sitrick, said Thursday he couldn’t immediately reach Kasowitz for comment.

ProPublica confirmed the man’s phone number matched his stated identity. Technical details in the emails, such as IP addresses and names of intermediate mail servers, also show the emails came from Kasowitz’s firm. In one email, Kasowitz gave the man a cell phone number that is not widely available. We confirmed Kasowitz uses that number.

The exchange began after the man saw our story featured last night on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC. We reported that Kasowitz is not seeking a security clearance even though the Russia case involves a significant amount of classified material.

Moral of the story: always think twice before hitting the send icon Also, isn’t Kasowitz a bit old to call someone bitch or bro? He’s 65. The AARP weeps.

It’s unclear if Trump congratulated or castigated  Kasowitz for his mob lawyer outburst. It might be time to call in John Gotti’s lawyer Bruce Cutler seen below with his favorite client and a guy who looks like Paulie Walnuts’ unkempt cousin:

Bruce Cutler and John Gotti via the NY Daily News.

The Dapper Don in a turtleneck, not a tie? The fashion gods must have wept that day.

I’m sure Trump has met Cutler. I was disappointed not to find any pictures of them together when I asked first Siri and then Mr. Google. So it goes.

While we’re on the subject of the Trump-Russia scandal, next up is a “fake news” toon.

Cartoon Of The Week: I resisted the temptation to post Hokusai’s most famous painting, The Wave, as this week’s featured image. The Guardian’s Steve Bell, however, went for it in this cartoon about Trump Junior’s problems.

Holy shit storm, Batman.

It’s time to put New Yorkers and Muscovites in the rear view mirror and move on.

Warren Zevon’s Last Waltz: I’ve made a boatload of Zevon references recently so I reckoned I should share Jon Pareles’ classic 2003 profile of WZ as he faced death.

Since the story uses WZ’s last appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman as a backdrop, here’s that episode:

Enjoy every sandwich.

It’s time to sing the blues with a master of the form.

Saturday Classic: Albums featuring guest artists were the rage in the late Eighties and early Nineties. John Lee Hooker’s The Healer was one of the best of the bunch. It featured Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, Canned Heat, Los Lobos, George Thorogood, and Charlie Musselwhite. Enjoy.

That’s it for this week. I wrote more about politics than the average Saturday post, but I have Russia on my mind. I must be pining for cold weather. Our closing bat-meme features real life super villains Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Btw, Donny now claims that Vladdy was for Hillary in the late election. Oy, just oy.

Joyeux Quatorze Juillet

Liberty Leading The People by Eugene Delacroix.

Joyeux Quatorze Juillet is the correct way to say Happy Bastille Day even though the latter makes me want to storm a prison and free some prisoners. The French merely refer to it as La Fête Nationale and dispense with the greetings.

French President Macron is trying a new tactic with the Insult Comedian: treating him like a crazy uncle to be indulged instead of disdained. I have my doubts that it will work but at least Trump isn’t throwing verbal stink bombs at the French any more. He did, however comment on the French First Lady’s appearance. I expect his aides will argue that it’s age appropriate: Brigitte Macron is 25 years older than her 39-year-old husband.

Here’s one of Trump’s big quotes from his day with the Macrons:

“France is one of our oldest allies. A lot of people don’t know that, but it’s true.”

There was much mirth about this on social media today. Unfortunately, Trump isn’t the only one ignorant of this basic fact. Surely, I’m not the only one who remembers “freedom fries” and “cheese eating surrender monkeys.” Those were, of course, epithets hurled at the French after then President Chirac’s wise decision to stay out of the Iraq War.

Joyeux Quatorze Juillet. Vive la France.