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.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Bad Company

I’ve selected Bad Company’s debut album because the cover spawned the logo that the band uses to this day. The logo was designed by Hipgnosis and still  adorns Simon Kirke’s drum kit as well as providing a backdrop for their live shows.

I prefer the cover of the single of Can’t Get Enough to the LP back cover, so here it is:

Here’s the whole damn album via YouTube:

Party Is Going Down Tubes, Says Member of Bottom-of-the-Tubes Party

Jeff Flake:

SO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, buttnugget! You’re a sitting U.S. senator and a member of that party. Don’t just go on Meet My Ass and loudly deplore the tone in the room as if you’re not the one with the keys to the server. Jesus H. Butter Poached Christ, these assholes, Flake and John McCain and the Dipshit Twins, Susan and Lisa, who are currently taking a victory lap for not killing their own constituents, like that’s a moral stand.

They get to go out there and have themselves a Mardi Gras for being barely human, because being barely human is bucking the Republican Party line, and nobody seems to notice that this means THE REPUBLICAN PARTY LINE WANTS TO KILL YOU. Opposing that isn’t a grand act of bravery, but all these fools want a chest full of ribbons like they’ve charged a Nazi machine gun nest.

Fuck Jeff Flake. Your party is going down the tubes? Going? Did you just sleep through the past four decades of welfare queens and charter schools and militia-fellating? You been to CPAC ever? Your modern-day party gave Confederates a soft place to land when they jumped off the Dem train after the Civil Rights Act. Going, he says, like that train ever had to leave the station.

I mean, if you wanted to grow a conscience, Jeffy, it’s not like you lacked opportunities. There was an illegal war based on bullshit that you are old enough to remember (I won’t insult all of us by implying you might have served in any of your party’s wars) but somehow THAT didn’t make you feel squishy inside. I wonder what could have changed.

Could it be … a book tour? Is that what’s gotten you all het up about the state of your party? NAH, you wouldn’t be that cynical.

And you know, as much as fuck you, Jeff Flake, fuck also everyone who is interviewing this asshole and not asking why now, why is this a bridge too far, why wasn’t “Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers” or “grab them by the pussy” the end of this, why wasn’t the end about twenty miles back?

Just look at this trash: 

While the things he lays out in his book may well endear him to independents and even Democrats in Arizona, the radical way he takes on Trump without [sic] abandon certainly won’t help him in his first test next year: A GOP primary, where challengers — who are being egged on by the White House — are already circling.

Jeff Flake has not voted to hold Trump accountable in any way except with his stupid word hole. How “radical” is it to vote for a guy’s agenda 93 percent of the time? How is that taking on someone with abandon? He’s not abandoning shit. He’s making bank, that’s all. Get back to me when he either accepts the Resistance as his personal savior or learns his own party’s history.

A.

This Isn’t Generosity

We should stop talking about helping other people and start talking about helping everybody: 

The National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) exhaustive literature summary on the economic effects of immigration concluded that: “When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small.  To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school—who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills.”  Although the effect is small, RAISE seeks to take advantage of the finding in the academic literature by inferring that if an increase in the supply of workers slightly lowers some wages then a decrease in that same supply will do the opposite.

The entirety of society — rich, poor, middle-class — is served well when we have a strong economy, sensible immigration policies, reasonable worker protections and appropriate taxes. This isn’t just about being humanitarian. It’s about recognizing that the common good helps even the wealthy, as much as they bitch about every single cent they spend on the poor.

A.

Survivor’s Guilt Flashback

We had another weather event last Saturday. Parts of New Orleans got 8+ inches of rain in three hours. The rain was random and much worse in parts of the city leading to some flooding in the affected areas. Adrastos World HQ got 2 inches that day so we were fine.

Some of the post-rain incident discussion has danced on my last nerve. It’s not analogous to Katina/Federal Flood in that it didn’t impact 80% of the city and nobody died. It’s also less clear as of this writing that human error was a major factor as it was in 2005.  The human factor may have caused some problems around the edges but that sort of deluge is going to wreak havoc no matter how well prepared we are. Sometimes shit just happens. This was one of my initial reactions on social media:

There was much lively debate and disagreement on the thread but I remain convinced that we have to learn how to live with water in New Orleans as the Dutch have. We need cleaner catch basins and better infrastructure but severe weather is going to happen, particularly in the age of climate change. This was a random freak event and there will be more to come.

This is not the first non-hurricane/levee break style flood the city has had. It won’t be the last. One of my FB commenters, Carlos Froggy May, posted this list on the thread:

Summarizing between May ’78 and the 2005 Federal Flood, leaving out hurricanes/major tropical storms, New Orleans floods from rain alone include:

May 1978. Well documented.

Feb 1979. “Hundreds of Area Homes Flooded. New Orleans Times-Picayune, 7 February 1979 I”

April 1980. A few references.

April 1983. Major event. National media reporting.

June 1991. National media, though only sparse traces online. “The deluge, which started during the evening rush hour Monday, caught New Orleans by surprise. The downpour abated overnight, then resumed Tuesday morning.” “To have it flood two separate times in 24 hours is just unheard of,” said Rob Spangenberg, who measured 16 inches of water on the ground floor of his house.”

May 1995. Major event, very well documented online.

September 1998. Described.

June 2005. Seems largely forgotten given what happened a few months later. What have I missed?

Any time someone insists that people can triumph over nature, I think of a passage in one of Tony Hillerman’s Joe Leaphorn novels. Leaphorn is a detective on the Navajo tribal police in Arizona. I wish I could quote it directly but it involves Leaphorn marveling at white people planting lawns in the desert and being shocked when they die every time they’re planted. Hillerman’s point is that you have to learn to live with your environment. You can sand down the rough edges and minimize damage but nature will win in the end. Some may think this is fatalistic but I think it’s realistic. Can they abolish earthquakes in my native California?

It’s time to address the post title. Every time something like this happens, my post-K/Federal Flood survivor’s guilt kicks in. It’s a common malady for those of us who live in what has come to be known as “the sliver by the river.” We did not flood in 2005, so I do not like arguing with those who did. It makes me uncomfortable and uncharacteristically deferential. In the year immediately after the storm, I  cringed every time I had to tell *our* Katrina story to those worse off since we were so lucky. We did have $20K worth of damage and were in exile for 7 weeks but that was nothing compared to what so many others went through. Hence my survivor’s guilt and this weekend’s survivor’s guilt flashback. I re-posted my account of Dr. A and my sneaking into the city at First Draft in 2015. Here’s the link.

This was a terrible event but all the people acting as if it’s 2005 all over again need to take a deep breath followed by a chill  pill. Nobody died, only pockets of the city flooded, and nobody was forced out of their homes at gun point. I had some advice on twitter for local voters in the upcoming mayoral election:

Perspective not drama is called for. We should fix anything that contributed to the recent flooding but we cannot abolish nature even if there were times we wish that was possible. It is not.

That was exhausting. Any time I dredge up these memories, I feel rotten until the feeling passes a few hours later.

Finally, one of my theories in life is that there’s a Kinks song for every occasion. We’ll give the Davies brothers the last word:

Tweet Of The Week: Separated At Birth Edition

I usually save Separated at Birth for Saturday Odds & Sods but this one was too good to keep in cold storage. Besides, cold storage ain’t easy in August in New Orleans since one could steam dim sum outdoors in this climate.

Here’s the original tweet in all its glory:

Sometimes, the tweeter tube can be a wonderful place. As a confirmed twitter curmudgeon I cannot believe I just said that. Oh well, what the hell.

In researching my last Separated at Birth segment featuring Ellen Degeneres and Owen Wilson, I stumbled into some side-by-side Stephen Miller-Joseph Goebbles pictures. It’s a funny idea but other than the high foreheads and perpetual smirks I don’t quite see it. Besides, Cheadle-Miller is much funnier in a rootless cosmopolitan kind of way.

Meanwhile, the Insult Comedian is rage tweeting whilst on yet another vacation. John Aravosis compiled them so we don’t have to:

That is all.

We Rise Again in the Grass: Game of Thrones Thread

Spoilers, for the three of you who didn’t watch the hacked version or read the blow-by-blow spoilers that got posted.

Continue reading

Call It By Its Name

Finally: 

That white resentment simply found a new target for its ire is no coincidence; white identity is often defined by its sense of being ever under attack, with the system stacked against it. That’s why Mr. Trump’s policies are not aimed at ameliorating white resentment, but deepening it. His agenda is not, fundamentally, about creating jobs or protecting programs that benefit everyone, including whites; it’s about creating purported enemies and then attacking them.

A.

Confederates or, Who You Are in the War

Ta-Nehisi Coates: 

Storytellers have the right to answer any question they choose. But we do not need to wait to examine all the questions that are not being chosen: What if John Brown had succeeded? What if the Haitian Revolution had spread to the rest of the Americas? What if black soldiers had been enlisted at the onset of the Civil War? What if Native Americans had halted the advance of whites at the Mississippi? And we need not wait to note that more interesting than asking what the world would be like if the white South had won is asking why so many white people are enthralled with a world where the dreams of Harriet Tubman were destroyed by the ambitions of Robert E. Lee.

The problem of Confederate can’t be redeemed by production values, crisp writing, or even complicated characters. That is not because its conceivers are personally racist, or seek to create a show that endorses slavery. Far from it, I suspect. Indeed, the creators have said that their hope is to use science fiction to “show us how this history is still with us in a way no strictly realistic drama ever could.” And that really is the problem. African Americans do not need science-fiction, or really any fiction, to tell them that that “history is still with us.” It’s right outside our door. It’s in our politics. It’s on our networks. And Confederate is not immune. The show’s very operating premise, the fact that it roots itself in a long white tradition of imagining away emancipation, leaves one wondering how “lost” the Lost Cause really was.

Others with more at stake have said much of what needs saying about this garbage (we get THIS but have to wait forever for the next David Milch project) but I’d like to talk about it in the context of the reimagining of history generally and the dystopian stories of the past decade. The earth caves in, there’s a nuclear devastation or famine or a plague, and then what?

There’s always an element of wish-fulfillment in these stories, that the last-millennium skills you’ve been nurturing would come to be of value after all, that your foresight in stockpiling liquor and ammo would attract fertile females and fierce warriors to your side, that everyone who thought you were a loser in the old world would value you in the new. So many people go through life thinking they don’t matter, or can’t matter, without some fanfare and a smoking crater where their home used to be.

But in walking that line, the best of our TV stories — 12 Monkeys, Galactica, The Expanse — come back around to the point that if you say you know who you’re gonna be in the war, if you long for the war so that you can be a certain person, you’re a bankrupt idiot who has no idea about anything. You think you know who you’re going to be? You have no idea.

You think that there’s some moment, where history hinges, at which you could rise up a hero and what, prove yourself worthy of mighty deeds?

As if you don’t have those moments every single day.

Jesus tits, look around you. Are you seeing a shortage of people to save? In the past WEEK the political party leading this country in every way that matters has tried to take away chemo from sick kids, ban refugees and asylum seekers based on religion, make legal immigrants tally up their virtues to prove they need to be here, close clinics that provide breast exams to poor people, and that’s just the stuff I remember off the top of my head after two glasses of wine at the end of a very long day.

You think you need a fantasy about the South winning the Civil War in order to overthrow slavery? Every political issue group on earth is offering free blowjobs to anyone who’ll campaign for them on a dozen issues that would impact racial equality in the United States, you don’t need this fanfic. Hell, buy and donate half a dozen books by young writers of color to your local library and you’ll have done more work than you would have in front of your TV every week. I know it’s not as sexy as imagining yourself part of the super-underground Underground Railroad, but it’s necessary and good nonetheless.

If your heroic fantasy just will not be satisfied without a firefight it’s not like the local recruiting station turns people away.

We think there’s some point at which we had more at stake. Than today?

If that’s truly the case, then you already know who you are in the war you’re imagining. You’re the guy sitting on the sidelines, telling himself he’ll fight when another conflict — one worthy of his magnificent gifts — comes along.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Touch Of Gray

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère  by Edouard Manet, 1882.

It’s my birthday today. We’re planning a relatively quiet day with dinner at one of the great restaurants in New Orleans, Brigtsen’s. It’s located in an Uptown cottage, not far from the river. The service is great and the food is even better.

A note on the featured image. I’m such a Manet fan that I named a black female cat Manet. She was long-lived and lovable. We had a game that we played together wherein we compared artists. I’d ask “who do you like better, Picasso or Manet?” The answer was always the same: “Manet.” She lived to be twenty, dying in 2005 not long before Katrina. I’m glad she missed the upheaval and disruption of our nomadic evacuation. It’s hard to be a grande dame when you’re on the move.

It’s sad how few pictures we have of our pre-digital camera era cats. This is a good shot of Manet in her Dowager Empress period:

Holy lagniappe catblogging, Batman.

August 1st was the 75th anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s birth. I miss Jerry, which is why the Garcia-Hunter tune, Touch of Gray, is this week’s theme song. It was the Dead’s only genuine hit single, which is remarkable given their longevity and popularity.

We have two touches of gray for your listening pleasure: the  VH1 pop up video of their skeletony promo video and a live version from 7/4/1989 in Buffalo. Notice Jerry and keyboard player Brent Mydland touching their own gray hair before launching into the song. Oh well, a touch of gray, kind of suits you anyway. Literal but still swell. Brent died in 199o. I’ve often said that being the keyboard player in the Dead was much like being the drummer in Spinal Tap. I don’t believe in jinxes but this one has a kernel of truth.

Oh yeah, both videos were posted by someone who spelled gray with an E. So it goes.

Now that I’ve made y’all feel old and decrepit, let’s limp to the break.

Continue reading

I got defriended by a “nice young lady in a blue shirt.”

The buzz about Stephen Miller’s “cosmopolitan” comment to Jim Acosta had me thinking about the reason he can actually get away with something like that. It’s the same reason why Gov. Scott Walker gets away with ripping the University System and it’s the same reason I usually tell people I “work at the U” in hopes that they think I’m a janitor.

We have far too many people who get excised about perceived slights and publicly draw attention to things that so many others would just look at and say, “Really?”

This week, I was trying to dodge summer grading when one of my friends on Facebook (a tangential connection based mainly on doc school and research connections) noted that she returned home after an exhausting 16-hour trip in which the highlight was being called a “nice young lady in a blue shirt” during a stop at a gas station.

The woman went on to say that she had a huge problem with this “framing” of her. She sees herself as being trained to be polite and that she was NOT young and that the shirt she was wearing was from the Kinsey Institute, all things that would have better indicated her actual self.

I naturally assumed that where she was when this happened (somewhere between Texas and South Dakota), it was some old codger who was making an observation. I asked if the guy was an asshole or something, as to try to understand why this was so offensive.

It turned out that it was actually a woman in her 20s-30s who was referencing her to someone else. Her response also noted was that she was NOT young (she was 40ish although any photo I ever saw of her would have had me pegging her at about half that age), calling her a nice lady was indicating that she was in some way a compliant, pliable figure and that her “ironic chastity” powder blue shirt should not have been the first thing the person noticed. She said it was quite upsetting and that it demonstrated larger societal problems regarding how people frame women.

I decided to step off the thread at that point, worrying I was hijacking this whole thing, even though other people (women, even) asked her what the problem was with the “young” thing and how she would prefer to be noticed in passing public situations.

For some reason, I couldn’t let this go. I was having trouble wrapping my head around how “nice,” “lady” and “blue” in this (or almost any other context) would connote such a dark subtext in a public situation as to undermine her as a person. I hopped on chat to ask one, private question:

Not to belabor a point in what is clearly something that won’t end well for me, but is it at all possible that through your self-framing, you’re reading way, way, way too deeply into this passing comment? A (person) at a gas station made an observation based on recognition (color) not cognition (Kinsey, ironic chastity) and made simple and positive reflection on an interaction (wow, she was nice).

The response was as follows:

The “you’re making too big of a deal out of this” has been used for a long time to justify discriminatory comments and behaviors. This comment had an impact on me. I don’t like it, and I am going to talk about why I don’t like it and find it offensive. If you think I am making too big of a big deal out of something that I find offensive, please feel free to unfollow or unfriend me because I am going to continue to talk about all the stupid things people say to me or about me.

 

I told her I was sorry I upset her, that I disagreed but that I would leave her alone and that I hope to see her at an upcoming conference.

She unfriended me later that day.

A couple things sat in my head both during and after this exchange:

  • I did not say she was making too big of a deal out of something. I asked if, in a perhaps more reflective moment later, given what others were asking, did she maybe read into this too much. A) I’m a scholar and I’ve read the lit on stuff like this and B) I’m not an idiot, so I could tell she was upset. Obviously there was something there for her, but I wasn’t seeing it, so I wanted to know if, after not really answering the questions as to why this upset her, maybe she figured that she had made a mountain out of a molehill.
  • The defriender told me that referring to her as a “nice young lady” (not to her, mind you but in describing her to someone else who asked about something) was akin to a white district attorney once having called a black lawyer “boy” in an attempt to discredit him. “There’s literature on this,” she told me. True, but there’s also literature on the “Passage of Salt” (obviously meant as a spoof but it actually got through; we use this one in our doc sem to show that sometimes, “Lit Happens.”) and the misapplication of literature is a common dodge when we’re wrong (trust me). It’s also true that common sense has to factor into life at some point. It wasn’t a white guy shitting on a black guy on a professional environment. It was one woman offering a description of another woman at a gas station. Of all the people involved in this situation, the one person who probably would never have guessed in a million years that this much shit had hit this much of a fan would have been the person at the gas station.
  • This is exactly the reason I hate dealing with academics. Yes, I have a Ph.D. but if anything, I’m a self-loathing academic: I get that theory, practice and research all have to coexist in a broader context, but I have always hated people who spend the majority of their time looking at things only through their hyper-educated lens of reality. It’s why I found myself once being screamed at for having the temerity to call a “personal street ingress” a “manhole.” I get that language matters, but if I fell down one of those things, I’d be dead before someone figured out where I was if you kept calling it that. It’s one of the many reasons I tend to now shy away from the “Big Name U” schools when I get the urge to go job hunting: The last thing I need is to spend half my life pondering the existential dilemma of comma usage and its ability to undermine developing social constructs.
  • I honestly felt sorry for her, which I’m sure would infuriate her more. It is absolutely exhausting having to ponder every, single aspect of life, acting or failing to act for fear of engendering a deeper subtext that would lead to public castigation. I imagine it is equally exhausting and infuriating to have to apply that level of analysis to the motives and actions of every single person you encounter on a daily basis. When I’m in church with The Midget and some 90-year-old woman in front of me says, “Oh, what a cute little girl you have there!” I don’t stop her and say, “By calling her cute, you denigrate her ability to rise past the social norms that women should be judged solely on their looks. She is unlikely to be treated equally in society if you and others continue to ignore her intellectual attributes.” I say, “Oh, thank you very much,” and smile because again A), I’m not an idiot and B) there is such a thing as context. When it was raining this morning, I was entering my office building in front of someone else dashing to the door. I held the door open for her and walked through. I did not do it because I was attempting to reinforce a gender code written decades ago that men should do such things, nor was I doing it because I was attempting to reinforce the stereotype that physical activities should be gender normed toward men. I did it because it seemed like the right thing to do for a fellow human being. (And yes, I have held doors for men before. This does not make me a weirdo.)

 

It’s interactions like this that stick with people and that open the door (so to speak) for people like Stephen Miller to create the “gods and clods” argument in his favor. It’s why the term “social-justice warrior” has become a pejorative term for anyone who doesn’t think that the world should be stuck in the 1950s. It’s the academic version of the surfer buying lobster with food stamps.

And yes, there are times when calling someone “young lady” or “young man” can come with the intent to demean. And we do need to stop people from denigrating others or casting aspersions because they need to know that “check out the tits on that chick” doesn’t cut it in polite society. However, of all the things this interaction could have taught me, I only came away with two:

  1. She’s not a nice person, lady or otherwise.
  2. If you want to be considered not “young,” you might want to grow the fuck up.

 

Friday Catblogging: Beer Boxer

Della Street loves it when we shop at Costco. They provide a variety of boxes for her sedentary amusement. This box originally contained two twelve-packs of Urban South beer. It’s a New Orleans brewery, which means that Della is boxing locally.

UPDATE: I had an online run-in with the people from Urban South. This is Della’s last box with their logo on it. They lost my business today. So it goes.

The Bayou Brief

In addition to my “duties” (it’s no duty, it’s a pleasure) here at First Draft, I’m pleased to announce that I will be joining the Bayou Brief as a contributing writer. It’s a brand spanking new progressive news site focusing on the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

My first task will be to write about the New Orleans Mayoral race. Don’t worry: I’ll still be here posting weird pictures, telling jokes, mocking the Insult Comedian, defogging history, and doing what I do. Saturday Odds & Sods and Friday Catblogging will continue. Oscar and Della Street will see to that.

Here’s the official, but not officious, Facebook announcement:

The Fog Of Cosmopolitan History

I wish I were writing about the drink they were obsessed with on Sex and the City or the magazine of that name. Not that I’d drink a cosmopolitan since they contain the demon vodka. I’m referring to comments by made by alt-right nutbar Stephen Miller in response to a question posed by CNN’s Jim Acosta. Acosta is on the verge of becoming the Dan Rather of the current White House press corps. You may recall that Dan the Man was the teevee reporter who really got under Tricky’s skin when the Watergate shit was hitting the fan. Splat. Tom Brokaw was a mere fly to be swatted away. I’m surprised Nixon didn’t make Ron Ziegler his designated fly killer. He was vaguely Priebusian, after all.

Back to the “pride” of Duke University who makes up for his lack of people skills with his use of buzz words:

The conversation went off the rails. At one point, Acosta implied the policy would favor immigrants from English-speaking countries — a logical assumption, if English speaking skills are prioritized in green card applicants.

“Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?” he asked.

“No! This is an amazing moment,” Miller said triumphantly. “This is an amazing moment. That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hardworking immigrants who do speak English from all over the world.”

“Of course the are people who come — ” Acosta began.

“But that’s not what you said, and it shows your cosmopolitan bias,” Miller said.

“It sounds like you’re trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country as policy,” Acosta said.

“Jim, that is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things you’ve ever said,” Miller said. “The notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting”

That part of the exchange was too juicy to cut. I’ve bold-faced the buzz words: cosmopolitan bias. There has been much back and forth as to whether this makes a white dude with a boring name a Nazi neo or otherwise. It think it shows his inclination toward Putinesque neo-Fascism since Putinism is derived from Soviet Communism when it metastasized into kleptocracy.

“Rootless cosmopolitanism” was a Stalinist buzz word deployed during a post-war anti-Semitic campaign waged by the Soviet dictator and his lackeys. Many of the enemies purged by Stalin during the Thirties were Jewish but the post-war campaign had more to do with the Red Tsar’s paranoia and dipsomania. Stalin was a vodka drinker. What more evidence do you need that vodka is Satan’s beverage?

It really doesn’t matter what one calls the likes of Miller be it Nazi or Facisct. He’s a white nationalist aka white supremacist aka racist aka bigot. He’s also known as a malaka, which ends in aka. We have a theme here, which has nothing to do with the Mardi Gras Indian song Aka Aka. Yeah, I know, it’s Iko Iko. Cut a brother some slack, y’all. I have a pun community to tend to.

Miller is also historically illiterate and an obnoxious know-it-all. That makes him the perfect Trumper. I am filled with glee whenever the White House trots him out to alienate everyone who isn’t a fan of Jeff Bo and Bannon. Thanks, Donald.

This is as good a time as any to point y’all at the Vanity Fair profile of Miller that discussed in a Saturday post in a segment called Annals of a Duke Puke. The segment title is as true now as it was two months ago.

I don’t feel like writing a treastise on my views about immigration. I’ve already done that so I’ll point you in the direction of a 2014 post, Pulling Up The Drawbridge. It says it all.

Finally, I feel bad for rock and roll hall of famer Steve Miller for having the same name as the Duke Puke. The Real Steve Miller gets the last word with a song that, despite the title, has nothing to do with MAGA maggots.

“Somebody get me a cheeseburger.”

What’s more American than that?

This Week In The Annals Of Being Presidential

andrewjackson_trump_475

The war in Afghanistan is…like renovating the 21 Club in Manhattan. Seriously.

Trump told his advisers that the restaurant, Manhattan’s elite ’21’ Club, had shut its doors for a year and hired an expensive consultant to craft a plan for a renovation. After a year, Trump said, the consultant’s only suggestion was that the restaurant needed a bigger kitchen.

Officials said Trump kept stressing the idea that lousy advice cost the owner a year of lost business and that talking to the restaurant’s waiters instead might have yielded a better result. He also said the tendency is to assume if someone isn’t a three-star general he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and that in his own experience in business talking to low-ranking workers has gotten him better outcomes.

How nice of him to think of the low-ranking workers. Truly Jacksonian.

Meanwhile, Trump conceded yesterday that he, well, lied about the much smaller matter of whether he received recent phone calls from the Boy Scouts and President of Mexico . On the one hand, this demonstrates the degree to which lying is routine, even compulsive…on the other, I guess you could argue this is being presidential using the George W. Bush model, who was also known to lie about even the most petty things.

But what really gets me, is that, as with Bush Junior, there’s a floor of some 20-30 percent who’ll not only accept the Liar-in-Chief, but apparently revel/rejoice in him…at least until they’re on the firing line…

At this point, we’re beyond Amateur Hour. We’re even beyond The Gong Show. It’s like The Gong Show movie…if the Gong Show Movie was a one-man show starring Anson Williams in an ill-fitting blond wig. Heaven help us…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Werewolves On Wheels

I was watching Americans Pickers the other day and one of the pickees was a collector of movie ephemera. Mike Wolfe spotted a poster for a flick that I had no idea existed: Werewolves on Wheels. It was a biker movie made to exploit the success of Easy Rider.

This poster has me wondering if the folks behind True Blood were influenced and/or knew of this movie. You may recall that the biker gang in the teevee show were werewolves. I googled it and came up empty. Woe is me, bop.

It’s trashy trailer time:

Finally, I hate to be a  cliché on legs, but there’s only one way to conclude this post:

 

Deep White House Shakeup Thought

If the new chief of staff is supposedly being all pivoty and cleaning house, why did they let alt-right nutbar Stephen Miller off his chain?  It’s fun how quickly Miller switched his allegiance from  the “beleaguered” Jeff Sessions to Trump.  My head is spinning like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist:

Some people are buying the pivot bullshit. Check out this tweet from former Republican Bruce Bartlett wherein he heaved a sigh of relief:

The problem is that the bull goose loony aka the president* is still there. Besides, today was Miller Time. So much for the shakeup.

 

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.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Mighty Quinn

Another Wednesday, another Sixties psychedelic album cover. I’m familiar with the loopy grandeur of Manfred Mann’s hit version of Bob Dylan’s The Mighty Quinn but I’d never seen the album before. It has a wicked cool cover by Victor Moscoso who got his start as one of the Fillmore poster artists. Moscoso has persisted and thrived since he executed this album cover in 1968.

The back cover is nothing to write home about. It’s a pity that the band is not depicted in Eskimo regalia sitting outside an igloo. Now that would be cool.

It was not exactly a shocker that this album isn’t online. Here’s the smash hit title track:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Screwing The Mooch edition

I can’t keep up.

I have NEVER started an “Obsession” post a week before  its publication date.

Ever.

But the hits just keep on coming. So – it’s bonus “Obsession” time.

First, it’s:

Anthony Scaramucci RESIGNS as White House Communications Director
WBEN Buffalo ^ | JULY 31, 2017 | WBEN Buffalo

Posted on 7/31/2017, 1:44:10 PM by johnk

07.31.17 Anthony Scaramucci RESIGNS as White House Communications Director Comes less than a week after hiring

JULY 31, 2017 Washington, DC (ABC/WBEN) Anthony Scaramucci resigns as White House Communications Director.

This comes the same day John Kelly was sworn in as Chief of Staff. Sources tell ABC Scaramucci resigned, asking to be redeployed at the Export Import Bank as chief strategy officer.

Scaramucci had not been on the job less than a week. It may be most memorable for an expletive-laden conversation with a New Yorker reporter that disparaged other members of the Trump team.

1 posted on 7/31/2017, 1:44:11 PM by johnk
Then, it’s :

SCARAMUCCI FIRED by John Kelky(sic) Twitter ^ Posted on 7/31/2017, 1:47:31 PM by tellw

Then, it’s :

Trump Removes Anthony Scaramucci From Communications Director Role
The New York Times ^ | July 31, 2017 | By MAGGIE HABERMAN, MICHAEL D. SHEAR and GLENN THRUSH

Posted on 7/31/2017, 1:44:17 PM by abb

WASHINGTON — President Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his position as communications director, three people close to the decision said Monday, relieving him just days after Mr. Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the president’s senior staff.

The decision to remove Mr. Scaramucci, who had boasted about reporting directly to the president not the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, came at Mr. Kelly’s request, the people said. Mr. Kelly made clear to members of the White House staff at a meeting Monday morning that he is in charge.

Well, WHICH IS IT??  Did the mooch resign, was he fired by Kelly, or was he shitcanned by The Darnold?

ThatEscalatedQuickly

This news hit Freeperville like a string of firecrackers being tossed into an Open Carry demonstration.

Click the linky thingy for the fireworks.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,