Friday Catblogging: Armoire Boy

Paul Drake is what is known in the kitty vernacular as a tree-top cat. He likes to get up high. Since he’s so friendly, one could call him a sociable climber.

Here are two pictures of PD on an armoire in our guest bedroom. It’s actually an old English wardrobe but Armoire Boy sounds better. Besides, what does he care?

Speaking of wardrobes:

 

 

The Americans Thread: Philip The Axeman

There are only three more episodes remaining in the final season of The Americans. Harvest may well have been the best episode of the season thus far. There was action, revelations, and Philip and Stan both staring off in to space at the conclusion of their scenes. In Philip’s case, it’s a spy stare; in Stan’s case it’s a cop stare. Enough staring.

I try to learn something new everyday. In Harvest I learned about food combining, which was apparently big with rich ladies in 1987. It sounds like something that the rich ladies on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills aka Rich Ladies Doing Things should know about. They could combine food combining with shopping, lunching, and fighting.

The episode title gave me an earworm. I might as well post it before the spoiler break. I could combine it with something but I’d rather not.

Continue reading

RIP

irony_tombstone_oliver_north

Oliver North thinks companies doing business with Iran should be sanctioned by the Trump administration.

“If we sanction [Iran] again, we ought to sanction anybody else who does business with them,” North, who was recently elected as the new leader of the National Rifle Association, told Fox News. “That’ll stop the Euros from helping to bail them out while they cheat on this program.”

No word on if he thinks this should be applied to clandestine weapons sales with the proceeds going to fund illegal wars…or whether it’s OK for Halliburton to sidestep any restrictions by using a foreign subsidiary. 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Silenced Witnesses

Silenced Witnesses sounds like a title for the Trump era. It will never be applied to the Insult Comedian or Rudy since neither ever shuts up.

The Fog Of Scandal: The Fixer Meets Spiro Agnew

We’ve finally learned why Team Trump freaked out over the Michael Cohen raid. It looks as if the Fixer has been a busy boy shaking down big corporations and getting paid off by a Russian oligarch. He’s been doing business as Essential Consultants: the business is selling access to the White House. Remember when the Insult Comedian went on about pay for play during the 2016 campaign? It was classic Trumpian projection. Anyone who found the Fixer’s services essential was paying to play and some of the action involved Russian money.

Kremlingate and the Stormy shitshow have publicly intersected for the first time. There’s bound to be more to come. There’s a lot of dirty Russian money out there that needs laundering and some of it may have landed in the president’s* greedy hands. It’s a small palm to grease but money may well have flowed from Cohen’s shell company to one of Trump’s shell companies. Does anyone still think Kremlingate is too complicated for people to understand? People understand pay-offs and bribes.

This is a good time for everyone to brush up on the Agnew resignation. Tricky’s Veep was caught taking bribes from contractors back home in Maryland. The graft continued *after* Agnew moved from Annapolis to Washington City. Since federal prosecutors were uncertain if a sitting Veep could be indicted, a plea bargain was struck in exchange for Agnew’s resignation from office. This is a scenario that should be added to impeachment and the 25th Amendment in 2018. The Agnew scenario may be what Michael Avenatti has in mind when he confidently asserts that Trump will not finish his term.

This is getting more entertaining every day. I guess I have to take back my criticisms of Avenatti’s camera hog ways. Unlike Rudy Giuliani, he’s a camera hog who delivers the goods.

I originally titled this post The Fixer On Shakedown Street, so the last word goes to the Grateful Dead.

 

Trump’s War On Obama

The Current Occupant’s obsession with his predecessor reached an apogee of absurdity yesterday. The Iran nuclear deal is not only one of the Obama administration’s greatest accomplishments, it is working. Trump’s foreign policy actions continue to impact and alienate our allies and give aid and comfort to some dubious characters such as Bibi Netanyahu and the Saudis. Who’da thunk Saudi “reformers” and Israeli wingnuts would be in bed together? It’s the whole “enemy of my enemy “mind-set writ large.

Trump has done many terrible things as president* but this is the worst because it could lead to war. He’s pulling out of a carefully planned scheme without contemplating what comes next. By all accounts, there’s no plan or strategy on how to proceed. Hell, there’s nobody in charge of sanctions at the State Department right now. I am not making this up.

All Trump knows about the Iran deal is that it has Barack Obama and John Kerry’s fingerprints all over it. Kerry bad, Obama worse. That’s all he needs to know.

Trump prides himself on being a foreign policy “disruptor,” whatever the hell that means. All he’s really done is to take us back to Bush-Cheney era regime change policies. In fact, regime change in Iran was a bridge too far for many Bushies. John Bolton and his mustache lost that battle. Yesterday’s decision brings us closer to another stupid, bloody, and unnecessary Middle Eastern war. Thanks, Trumpy.

Obama and Kerry were playing the long game with Iran. They thought that engagement with Iran would lead to the erosion of the theocratic state built by the ayatollahs. There are many Iranians who are restless and ready for change. The Obama strategy was to encourage those folks to be change agents; a horrible phrase but accurate in this case. Team Trump doesn’t do long-term strategy. They play the short game. Badly.

Whatever happened to the notion of linkage? How can the Trumpers negotiate a nuclear deal with North Korea after pulling out of the Iran pact? Why should the dictator with bad hair trust them to keep their word to him after this? Questions abound. Answers are elusive. If nothing else, the price for cutting a deal with North Korea just went up.

One interesting sub-plot of the Iran deal mishigas is to watch how many Never Trump conservatives become Sometimes Trumpers. The NYT’s Bret Stephens has already praised the move. He won’t be the last.

I can usually find the humor in Trump’s war on Obama but not this time. The stakes are too high. It feels as if we’re slip sliding into a war simply because Donald Trump was publicly mocked by Barack Obama. That’s nuts but that’s the way it is in 2018.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Victor Hot Jazz Series

The Victor Hot Jazz Series were essentially the original box sets. RCA Victor Records assembled 78s of various artists and released them in the 1940’s. I stumbled into three of the releases, two of which came from New Orleans artists, the other from the good vibes man, Lionel Hampton.

We Don’t Need a Man

Look, about this Schneiderman stuff: 

Perhaps Schneiderman’s most significant role in Trump’s presidency, though, has to do with Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation — and particularly, the case against Paul Manafort. Given that a president can only pardon someone for federal crimes, Schneiderman is viewed as something of a backstop — the guy who could take up the case against Trump’s former campaign chairman for state crimes if Trump effectively wipes Manafort’s federal slate clean. Schneiderman has been investigating Manafort, and he has even leaned into the pardon situation pretty publicly. Last month, he asked lawmakers to change the state’s double jeopardy law to exempt presidential pardons, which would mean he and local prosecutors could try people at the state level for crimes that have already been tried in federal court. In his letter calling for the change, Schneiderman made clear it was about Trump’s apparent pardon deliberations.

Okay, he’s gross, yank him out of there, put somebody else in, right?

“We may see a slowdown in the short term, but maintaining a firewall against Trump policies and sustained action against Trump allies may become a de facto litmus test for the new AG,” said Basil Smikle, the former executive director of the state Democratic Party.

Added New York Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf: “The last three New York state attorneys general — [Eliot] Spitzer, [Andrew] Cuomo, Schneiderman — have all aggressively used their offices to take on national issues. Schneiderman’s replacement will likely continue.”

I know we are all about the cult of the individual, all about the Steve Jobs genius theory where a great man somehow manages to do what previously could not be done, but it’s kind of horseshit always, and it leads to things like valuing total assholes more highly than the functioning of an organization.

We imbue these people with superhuman powers, like Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose are the only people who can talk on TV because they have some kind of gift. Trump’s entire candidacy — and to be honest the candidacy of every CEO-type who runs for public office for the first time — was predicated on him being a special guy who could solve problems big dumb government couldn’t solve. (A lot of people thought that about Obama, too, including at times Obama.)

We devalue the office and the law and the structures we’ve created by propping up these oh-so-special people and that in turn enables them to think they can do anything they want because their value places them above the law or the norms of society. It makes it more difficult for victims to come forward and be believed, because if we value someone as a magical person instead of creating ways for work to be done, we see accusations like these as a threat.

We should value the work. Plenty of people who are good at their jobs are assholes, but what enables them to get away with it is placing a higher value on keeping this particular man in place than in getting the work done. Very few of us, and certainly none of the hairdos who’ve gone down recently, are irreplaceable.

A.

John Kerry is Still Trying to Save Your Stupid Asses

We don’t deserve him. We didn’t get him as president because we suck too much: 

With the Iran deal facing its gravest threat since it was signed in 2015, Kerry has been on an aggressive yet stealthy mission to preserve it, using his deep lists of contacts gleaned during his time as the top US diplomat to try to apply pressure on the Trump administration from the outside. President Trump, who has consistently criticized the pact and campaigned in 2016 on scuttling it, faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to continue abiding by its terms.

Kerry also met last month with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and he’s been on the phone with top European Union official Federica Mogherini, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal the private meetings. Kerry has also met with French President Emmanuel Macron in both Paris and New York, conversing over the details of sanctions and regional nuclear threats in both French and English.

Let’s recap, shall we, for those of you still confused about what blog you’re on. John Kerry at an age when most rich young white boys are buttchugging Everclear volunteered for what was obviously even then a really shitty war, fought in that war like a death-dealing badass, then came home and said let’s make sure nobody else has to do this shit ever.

The late, much-missed Steve Gilliard, in what is still the definitive “screw your search for the perfect candidate” piece:

I do understand the frustration of liberals who wonder why they can’t run a real liberal for the White House. Of course, these liberals miss the point that Kerry IS a liberal, a real, bona fide liberal with one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate’s history to match. He’s far more liberal than Bill Clinton. In fact, if a few of these people were less reflexive and contemptuous, they might find that Kerry was to the left of Howard Dean on many issues over his career.

I’m also tired of the lesser of two evils crap. Kerry isn’t evil, he isn’t a crook, he doesn’t bang interns in his office. He’s stood for most of what the left wing of the Democratic Party has stood for since 1972. Unlike many rich people, he didn’t stick his money in his pocket and walk away. This is a man who mortgaged his home to run for President, while Dean was swimming in money. Who fired his campaign manager because he didn’t want to drag the party and himself in the mud. Who reached out for advice when his campaign was faltering.

Then, America doesn’t elect him, and instead of being an asshole he goes back to work in the Senate and doesn’t bitch nearly as much as he could. He campaigns for Obama and goes to work for Obama, busts his entire ass for years, talks Iran out of doing something stupid, campaigns like hell for Hillary, and then America goes and elects Trump.

John Kerry would, having killed and almost died for this country, have been well within his rights at that point to have said fuck all y’all, you wanted a nuclear armageddon, go for it. Knock yourselves out, you stupid motherfuckers. You built this.

He could have with perfect purity of conscience fucked off to his yacht and his wife’s fortune and sailed away to somewhere sane that could appreciate him properly, instead of this, dare I say, shithole country where people are STILL making cracks on Twitter about how he lost his presidential race because he “didn’t fight back.”

Instead of taking a well-deserved nap, John Kerry is out here trying to save the world. Again. Same as he did at the age of 27 when he went to Congress and said with all due respect gentlemen, shove your war. Same as he did every damn day we asked him to serve and quite a few we didn’t:

We believe that what matters most is not narrow appeals masquerading as values, but the shared values that show the true face of America; not narrow values that divide us, but the shared values that unite us: family, faith, hard work, opportunity and responsibility for all, so that every child, every adult, every parent, every worker in America has an equal shot at living up to their God-given potential. That is the American dream and the American value.

I’m disgusted with us sometimes, I really am, and I can’t understand why he isn’t.

 

A.

Trumpier Than Trump In West By Gosh Virginia

I’m old enough to remember when West Virginia was reliably Democratic in national politics unless it was a wave election such as the Nixon and Reagan re-election campaigns. Michael Fricking Dukakis won it for chrissake. We’re all old enough to remember when West Virginia had two outstanding liberal Senators in Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller. West Virginia turned decisively red nationally in 2000 and the current GOP senate primary involves 3 major candidates vying for the title of who is the Trumpiest Trumper of all.

Since negativity comes easy for him, the Insult Comedian knows who he’s against in West Virginia:

In response to that tweet, Don Blankenship said he was “Trumpier than Trump.” It’s hard to argue that point as the former coal mine baron was convicted for conspiracy to violate federal mine safety standards. His dereliction of duty led to the deaths of 29 miners. He has spun this as persecution by Obama, Hillary, Holder, Lynch, and every damn librul he can think of. Some people have bought it. It’s the age of the angry, gullible voter, after all.

Blankenship is a rich dude running against Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment. Sound familiar? Blankenship calls the Senate GOP leader Cocaine Mitch and denounces his ties to “China people” because he’s married to Elaine Chao. At least he hasn’t made any tasteless jokes about miners tunneling their way to China or used more venerable anti-Chinese slurs. He may be bat shit cray cray but he’s not *that* cray cray.

I’m still waiting for Blankenship to tie Chinless Mitch to Mr. Wu from Deadwood.

Maybe he’s saving that for the general election against Joe Manchin. He could tie it to the GOP’s Pelosi phobia because of Mr. Wu’s catchphrase, “San Francisco cocksucker.”

Blankenship is running third in most polls but has benefited from his equally Trumptastic foes firing shots at one another. It’s a classic scenario that only changed recently. I’m pulling for Blankenship to win the GOP nomination tomorrow. It will be as entertaining as hell and help the Democrats hold a seat. Joe Manchin isn’t my ideal Senator BUT I’ll take a blue dog who caucuses with the Dems to a Forever Trump Republican any day.

A quick note about the post title. There are dueling versions of the informal West Virginia slogan: By Gosh versus By God. I come down on the By Gosh side because that’s how Dr. A and her old friends Karen and Joe say it. Karen and Joe are from West Virginia so I trust their version By God. I mean By Gosh.

The Mr. Wu colloquy gave me an earworm. That’s why Steely Dan gets the last word By Gosh or By God:

You say Doctor Wu, I say Mr. Wu. Let’s call the whole thing off.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Rudy Tooty Fresh and Fruity edition

My, my, my.

It appears that The Darnold’s new legal advisor has all of his OTHER legal advisors ready to take drastic action.

GunInMouth

Well, maybe not that drastic…

Giuliani: Trump repaid Cohen $130K for payment to porn star
Yahoo ^ | 5-2-18 | Catherine Lucey and Jill Colvin

Posted on 5/2/2018, 10:52:23 PM by Angels27

In a startling revelation, President Donald Trump’s new lawyer said Wednesday that Trump repaid his personal attorney $130,000 in a deal made just before the 2016 election to keep porn star Stormy Daniels quiet about her tryst with the president, directly contradicting Trump’s past statements about the hush money.

During an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the money to repay Michael Cohen had been “funneled … through the law firm and the president repaid it.”

Asked if Trump knew about the arrangement, Giuliani said: “He didn’t know about the specifics of it, as far as I know. But he did know about the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this, like I take care of things like this for my clients. I don’t burden them with every single thing that comes along. These are busy people.” Trump told reporters several weeks ago that he didn’t know about the payment to Daniels as part of a non-disclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election.

Asked aboard Air Force One whether he knew about the payment, Trump said flatly: “No.” Trump also said he didn’t know why Cohen had made the payment or where he got the money.

*****************

Not good at all.

Lying to the press on Air Force One is seldom good.

And he has a lovely, beautiful wife. Why would risk losing her because of a skanky porn star?

1 posted on 5/2/2018, 10:52:23 PM by Angels27

That’s a trick question, right?
To: Angels27

 

Cheaper to pay than defend even false charge. Do not ever assume when it comes to allegations.

2 posted on 5/2/2018, 10:55:45 PM by amihow

Um – he wasn’t charged with anything, this was a payoff.
.
So – Freeperati – Begin The Spin!
To: Angels27

 

Obviously, Mueller already knew that Cohen had been repaid by Trump. So Rudy’s exposing it now, prevents Mueller from using this issue as a perjury trap later.

6 posted on 5/2/2018, 10:59:30 PM by txrefugee

That ship, as they say, has pretty much sailed.
To: Angels27
“…”Mr. Trump evidently has participated in a felony and there must be serious consequences for his conduct and his lies and deception to the American people,” …” 

….. If the President participated in an alleged felonious act, if indeed this is, then he could very well be in deep legal excrement. Well … We now know what the next hundred or so news cycles will be about.

9 posted on 5/2/2018, 11:00:44 PM by R_Kangel ( “A Nation of Sheep ….. Will Beget ….. a Nation Ruled by Wolves.”)
Thinkest thou?
To: Angels27

 

His new attorney just violated the number one ethics rule for lawyers. Trump is not being served well.

11 posted on 5/2/2018, 11:01:31 PM by P-Marlowe (Freep mail me if you want to be on my Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar Ping List)

And of course:
To: Angels27
Hey Yahoo, so freakin’ what.
I speak only for me, but I bet there are many who say the same thing. 

To tell the truth, after my daughter was born, I did not feel like being cozy. Barron was only months old. And President Trump is a very considerate man.

I sense a great disturbance in the Force – as if five hundred thousand divorce lawyers all screamed out in agony.

So, again, who cares, except the perverts from the press.

16 posted on 5/2/2018, 11:03:35 PM by Maris Crane

The Special Prosecutor?
To: Angels27

 

There is nothing here. You do understand?

27 posted on 5/2/2018, 11:11:38 PM by Red Steel

AllIsWell
To: Maris Crane
‘To tell the truth, after my daughter was born, I did not feel like being cozy. Barron was only months old. And President Trump is a very considerate man’ 

Your(sic) complimenting Trump for sleeping with a porn star while his wife takes a break from child birth?

33 posted on 5/2/2018, 11:17:51 PM by Theoria (I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive)
But he did it CONSIDERATELY, so there’s that.
More after the considerate “read more”…
.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

America First

Look, I have seen the Miracle on Ice game 457 times. I own three books about it, I own the game on DVD, I have met the majority of the team in person and Jim Craig put his arm around me and Mark Wells kissed my hand, and I almost died of joy the day I met Herb Brooks and he signed a box of Cheerios for me.

My point is, if you want someone to bag on Russia I am generally your girl.

But I feel like we’re missing something here: 

Michael Hayden, speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe podcast, chalked up peoples’ fear over Jade Helm 15 to “Russian bots and the American alt-right media [that] convinced many Texans [Jade Helm] was an Obama plan to round up political dissidents.”

This was all over my various social media feeds all weekend and the commentary was all SEE RUSSIA ATTACKED US and A FOREIGN POWER INTERFERED and WE NEED NATIONAL SECURITY ON THIS NOW when the part that I saw said this:

Weeks before the exercise began, Abbott wrote a letter to the State Guard asking them to keep an eye on the operation so “Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.” In the letter, Abbott added that he had “the utmost respect for the deep patriotism of the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to fight for and defend our freedom.”

Can we please, while we are getting mad at Russia and making cartoons of Trump servicing Putin in various repulsive ways, spare a thought for our homegrown ratfuckers, who are doing and continue to do immeasurable damage way, way offline?

I just … I get it, okay? The ins and outs of the Mueller investigation, the revelations that yes, Jared Kushner and Don Jr. are as dumb and venal as we thought they were, that Trump is mobbed up and always has been … I get that all of this is horrifying. Colluding with Russia is horrifying, and the idea of Russia stirring shit up because Putin wanted to be a chaos-causing shitlord is definitely something we should be concerned about.

But I guess I just can’t get as concerned about Russia as I can about Sinclair Broadcasting, you know? When we talk about who drove the most votes, what informs the nice ladies of the Midwest who attend the megachurch, we’re back to talk radio and cable news and the easy, lazy narratives that get fed into the Republican puke funnel and extruded all over the editorial pages of our august publications.

We’re back to idiots like Abbott, who is not even smart enough to know how dumb he is, stirring shit to appeal to the Limbaugh crowd, and we’re back to Limbaugh and his lesser lights, who moved votes the GOP’s racist way long before Mark Zuckerberg got the idea to rate college girls based on hotness.

We’re back to political reporting that treats politics like a joke, we’re back to how it was just horrible that that nice lady Sarah Huckabee Sanders got made fun of, we’re back to “both sides” and “very fine people.” I think this stuff tweaks me more than anything Russia could do at this point because unlike tracing whatever shit comes out of Wikileaks at least “the American alt-right media” is something we have a prayer of fighting back against.

Let’s work on America’s assholes first.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Hanging Upside Down

Self Portrait with Halo by Paul Gaugin.

Early summer has arrived in New Orleans. This week featured temperatures in the 80’s as well as the return of Formosan termite swarms who are more annoying than the average tourist. I realize I write a lot about the weather in this space. I became weather obsessed after a certain event in August, 2005. Can you blame me?

This week’s theme song comes from the David Byrne songbook. We saw him at Jazz Fest last Sunday. I’ll review it after the jump. He didn’t play Hanging Upside Down but it’s one of my favorite tunes from his salsa influenced period. It rocks with a jazzy Brazilian beat.

Now that I’ve hung you upside down to dry or some such shit, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

The Americans Thread: Rififi

There are only 4 episodes left in the final season of The Americans. I’m excited to see the finish but will mourn the series when it concludes. Life will be empty without Elizabeth’s spy glower, Philip’s spy frown, and Paige’s hideous baby spy wallpaper.

I nearly called this the DVR edition because it’s coming a day late as I was under the weather yesterday. I’m sticking with the episode title Rififi because there’s an Adrastos-Zelig story attached to it. Elizabeth meets a young cinephile at a showing of Jules Dassin’s caper classic. It’s a honey trap operation meet cute as he works for Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sam Nunn.

Here’s my story: I met the blacklisted American director in Athens at a party at a family friend’s flat. Unfortunately, it was *before* I’d seen Dassin’s great late Forties film noirs: Brute Force, The Naked City, Thieves Highway, and Night and the City. All I knew at the time was that he was married to the Greek actress Melina Mercouri and had directed her in Never On A Sunday.  A lost opportunity for an even better Adrastos-Zelig story. So it goes.

Instead of posting a period appropriate rock song before the spoiler break, here’s the trailer for Brute Force, one of the best prison movies ever made. It features a brilliant performance by Hume Cronyn as a sadistic albeit diminutive prison guard:

Continue reading

Friday Catblogging: Alarm Kitties

Like most cats, Della and Paul expect to be fed on their schedule, not ours. Here they are outraged the Dr. A wanted to sleep in. The nerve.

Rudy Can’t Fail

nosferatuliani_2

Or can he? Hubris, meet Hannity. Sure, Trump’s core supporters won’t — and don’t — care (I’ll give Trump the slightest of credits: he was right when he said he could shoot someone and not lose his base. Yep.)

But forget about the base. They’re the same people who stayed with Bush Junior to the bitter end, the same people who supported Cheney, or, previously, Oliver North, Nixon post-Watergate, Agnew…Goldwater…the oldest ones still might think Ike was a squish.

Ghouliani didn’t lose those voters. But here’s hoping this latest own goal erodes more of the soft support. The same voters who helped turn Pennsylvania’s 18th and the Senate Seat in Alabama. Because, not to get over-dramatic, it’s not optional…we have to outvote them this cycle. If not…geez, I just don’t want to think about the consequences.

Oh, and on a less dramatic note, it’s always fun to watch Rudy faceplant. He’s a ghoul and a creep. If only he could do even more damage and then resign in disgrace…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Fixers

The fixers in question were cigar-smoking guys who fixed college basketball games. In short, the cover features games and gams. The latter are more prevalent on vintage pulp covers. Anyone surprised? I thought not.

Dr. Bornstein Meets The Stupid Plumbers Unit

The first time Dr. A heard that Trump was appointing “his doctor” to run the VA, she thought it was this guy:

I disabused her of that notion but told her that Admiral/Doctor Jackson was as unqualified as Dr. Harold Bornstein. Doctor Ronny is slowly but surely receding from the limelight but our old pal, Dr. Bornstein, is taking a curtain call of sorts. I’ve missed the shaggy haired medico and am glad he’s back with us. The president* is not.

Dr. B has fallen out with his most famous client. Apparently, it’s over Bornstein’s loose lips about Trumpy’s use of a drug that helps the follically challenged. Dr. B thought he was authorized to talk about Trump’s health after signing the ludicrous letter that Trump wrote about his own health during the 2016 campaign. Pretty much everyone thought the Insult Comedian dictated it but Bornstein has confirmed his authorship. Believe me.

The Insult Comedian decided to go medieval on the good doctor’s ass last year and dispatched a goon squad to secure the records. There’s a problem: the originals of medical records belong to the physician. The goon squad was led by former Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller who was a federal employee when this happened. They also neglected to provide the standard consent form. That’s a bozo no no, y’all.

There are HIPAA violations up the wazoo on both sides. (I bet Bornstein knows what a wazoo is since he’s a gastroenterologist.) If you’re not hip to HIPAA, it’s a federal law that guarantees patient privacy. It’s a good albeit burdensome law but the Chaos of Kaiser does not think it applies to him. Anyone surprised?

There’s essentially a Mexican stand-off on the HIPAA issue since both sides broke the law and neither is willing to pay for the wall. But the originals of the medical records belong to Bornstein, which could make this a robbery by the Stupid Plumbers Unit.

Our esteemed blogging colleague Driftglass has been calling the Trump scandals Stupid Watergate for quite some time. I bow to his coinage but would like to extend it to the Stupid Plumbers Unit. Watergate buffs out there will recall Nixon’s Plumbers Unit whose job was to plug leaks. They were also into a bit of breaking and entering; most notably the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s shrink, Dr. Lewis Fielding.

The analogy is imprecise since the plumbers got away with it until the other White House horrors were exposed. Plus, they had the good sense to do it covertly, not in broad daylight. Nobody ever called the Current Occupant Tricky Donald, after all. Additionally, G Gordon Liddy and E Howard Hunt were titans compared to the Stupid Plumbers Unit. Hell, Hunt even published a shitload of thrillers under various pen names. It’s unclear if Schiller has read a book since his school days. He’s been too busy listening to his master’s voice go on and on and on and on…

Donald Trump better hope that there’s no criminal liability for Keith Schiller. I suspect the bodyguard knows where the bodies are buried  and he could be as dangerous a witness for the prosecution as the Fixer. We live in exciting and stupid times. You say Stupid Watergate, I say Kremlingate. Let’s call the whole thing off.

Since I don’t know any plumbers songs, I’ll pipe down and give the last word to Elvis Costello:

Enquiring Minds Flip On The Fixer

If Fox News is state television for the Trump era, the National Enquirer is the state newspaper. That’s right, a sleazy supermarket tabloid is the Trumper’s Pravda. Trump is often called a reality teevee president* it is equally accurate to call him a tabloid president*.

Long before reality teevee became a thing, Trumpy was a tabloid tycoon. When Enquiring Minds go after one of the Insult Comedian’s former lackeys, that’s some serious shit. It’s the Fixer’s turn on the checkout aisle:

Much like articles in the  old Soviet press, *what* Pecker’s publication says is less important than the headlines.  Its stories are usually lies about secrets and lies. The import is that Trump’s inner circle expects Cohen to flip like a pancake now that he’s on Team Mueller’s flattop grill.  I  would share some lies about secrets and lies but the story isn’t online yet and I’m not shelling out money for Pecker’s putrid publication. It’s okay: hardcore Trumpers (hereinafter the 20%) would rather look at the pictures anyway. Why read when your hero is functionally illiterate?

The notion that Michael Cohen would make like Sopranos capo Big Pussy and rat the boss out is not exactly shocking.  It reminds me of a line Sam Spade threw at the Fat Man’s gunsel Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon: “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.”

Gaudy patter is the Fixer’s speciality.

Since my Life Imitates The Sopranos pictures are so popular, here are side-by-side stoolies:

The guy with the pinky ring looks more like a law school graduate than the nitwit with the cell phone. So it goes.

Since Cohen is big in the taxi business, I’ve been meaning to post this pre-Uber Tull tune. There’s no time like the present:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Gilded Palace Of Sin

Along with Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons invented country-rock. After Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Parsons and Hillman left the Byrds and formed the Flying Burrito Brothers. Their debut album The Gilded Palace Of Sin has a great title and a fine cover. The story behind the cover is just as good as the artwork itself:

The album cover features the band in Nudie suits. Parsons had taken the band to designer Nudie Cohn to have custom sequin suits made for all the band members especially for the photo shoot, but Parsons’ was most unusual, featuring a naked woman (rendered as an old-school sailor’s tattoo on each lapel), red poppies on the shoulders, deep-green marijuana leaves on the front, and embroidered Seconal and Tuinal pills scattered elsewhere. Paradoxically, Parsons asked that a flaming red cross surrounded by radiating shafts of blue and gold light cover the back of the jacket. The suit now hangs in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Tom Wilkes, who was the head of the art department at A&M at the time, explained to director Gandulf Hennig in 2004, “We decided to take them out to the desert and do something kind of surreal with the Nudie suits. And they looked great anyway. They looked funky and kind of country western and kind of rock. I felt that look was great. They didn’t really need the Nudie suits.” The album cover was shot by Barry Feinstein.

After the build-up, here are the  front and back covers:

Finally,  here’s the whole damn album: