Friday Catblogging: The Return Of The Tower Of Terror

The cat atop the tower is not terrifying. That was the late, great Della Street’s job. Paul Drake is a schmoozer, not an terrorist.

See No Evil

Long Live the Red Sun of the World's People, Chairman Mao, Chinese Cultural Revolution Poster

The show will go on for a few days, or a few days more if, by some odd set of circumstances, you don’t get the rest of the GOP caucus — excuse me, the GOP cult — to fold like, take your pick, Cory Gardner or a cheap card table.

C’mon…Mitt? Hahahaha.

Sure, watching Bolton testify wouldn’t hurt, but how much more evidence do you need, and how much more evidence will the MAGAts ignore?

Lev Parnas — who’s wearing an ankle monitor — is less delusional than the cultists, who’ve gone all in.

And, for who? Donald J (could be for John, could be for Jackass) Trump.

What the hell? Is George W. Bush just a lesser-of-evils in their eyes? He’d get their vote, but is kind of sophisticated and nuanced?

At this point, I doubt evidence that Trump was Putin’s personal valet would change any GOP mind. I can picture his Senate defenders saying, sure, he’s a paid Russian agent looking to destroy the country from within, but if you’re the president, that’s ok…

And the GOP base would erupt in cheers. Drink up.

Damn.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Space Lawyer

What’s not to love about the title Space Lawyer? Here’s the original dust cover:

The Roberts Option

Chief Justices Chase, Rehnquist, and Roberts.

When Neal Katyal speaks, I listen:

Yet Republican members of the Senate have signaled that they intend to uphold Mr. Trump’s unprecedented decision to block all of this material.

But it turns out they don’t get to make that choice — Chief Justice John Roberts does. This isn’t a matter of Democrats needing four “moderate” Republicans to vote for subpoenas and witnesses, as the Trump lawyers have been claiming. Rather, the impeachment rules, like all trial systems, put a large thumb on the scale of issuing subpoenas and place that power within the authority of the judge, in this case the chief justice.

Most critically, it would take a two-thirds vote — not a majority — of the Senate to overrule that. This week, Democrats can and should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas on his authority so that key witnesses of relevance like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney appear in the Senate, and the Senate should subpoena all relevant documents as well.

The Senate rules for impeachment date back to 1868 and have been in effect since that time. They specifically provide for the subpoenas of witnesses, going so far in Rule XXIV as to outline the specific language a subpoena must use — the “form of subpoena to be issued on the application of the managers of the impeachment, or of the party impeached, or of his counsel.”

As you can see, there is no “Senate vote” requirement whatsoever in the subpoena rule. A manager can seek it on his own.

Rachel Maddow asked Adam Schiff about this possibility last night. He was cagey, which is a good sign.

I hope they give this a shot. It will put the Chief Justice on the spot, but if Salmon P. Chase could do it, so can he. Roberts is just sitting there like a hood ornament right now, after all. It would be like throwing a live grenade in his lap ala Bolton-Rudy. The wheels keep on turning. Stay tuned.

Hashtag Of The Day: #MittOrGetOffThePOT

This is the first and probably the last time I’ll have a hashtag of the day. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I remain skeptical that “moderate” Republican Senators will buck their leader and their president*. BUT hope is one of the most important commodities in politics. There’s no reason to give up hope until the votes are in. Besides, the removal trial is a battle in a longer war. As Ted Kennedy said in a different context in 1980 “…the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

The leaks coming out of the Senate GOP caucus were a signal for the baying banshees of Trumpistan and Wingnuttia to do that voodoo that they do. The Turtle rarely, if ever, leaks about a vote count. This is a calculated attempt to keep the cover-up going by scaring the shit our of those GOPers  who might do the right thing and vote for witnesses.

I have no idea how this will play out BUT we went through something similar during the Kavanaugh Mess. There was a tease by some Republican Senators who claimed they might oppose Kavanaugh. Just because Willard Mittbot Romney and Susan Collins are showing some leg now doesn’t mean that they will do the right thing. It’s unclear if they even know what that means.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Willard Mittbot Romney is perfectly positioned to be the hero of this drama. It remains unclear if his cautious temperament will allow him to take the plunge. His father, George, was a balls-to-the-walls politician whose presidential dreams were crushed by the “brainwashing” gaffe. Then his political spirit was crushed by his time in Tricky Dick’s cabinet. The Mittbot prefers equivocation to risk:

Here’s hoping that Willard and a handful of his colleagues will heed the hashtag: #MittOrGetOffThePOT. But do robots sit on the pot? That’s an existential question that only Asimov or Sartre could answer. I’ll just make like the Mittbot and punt.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: In Japan

For many years, I thought of Buck Owens as the genial co-host of the cornball hickfest, Hee Haw. It wasn’t until I started listening to Dwight Yoakam, that I realized he was so much more. Thanks, Dwight.

Buck was a singer-songwriter with an edge; something that didn’t come across when he was trading jokes with Junior Samples, Grandpa Jones, and Goober. He was also a world traveler; hence this 1967 live album.

Yeah, I know. There’s an exclamation point in the title. Homey don’t play that and neither do I.

Here’s Buck and his Buckaroos doing the Tokyo Polka:

Pointless Triangulation

I know, I know, it’s Jacobin, but it’s not all that different from something really poisonous in our political landscape right now which is the tendency to act like it’s 1992: 

Joe Rogan has some views on trans issues that anyone on the Left should oppose. Unfortunately, at least half the country holds similar views. The issue isn’t whether Bernie Sanders should compromise with such positions. As a matter of principle, he can’t and shouldn’t do that. The question is whether the best way to build a movement that appeals to rather than alienating the tens of millions of Americans who have reactionary views on at least some issues is to moralistically condemn them for those views or whether it’s to welcome them in an open and compassionate way while continuing to educate them, and while sticking to our own principles.

As a matter of real-world power, it’s also worth noting that the person Rogan said he is probably going to vote for is the most pro-trans candidate in the race. Sanders was a pioneer in the support of trans rights and he hasn’t changed course. Despite the ideological flaws Rogan has on these questions, the material meaning of his announced intention to vote for Sanders is that he plans to help empower a candidate who wants medical transitions to be paid for by the only insurance program that will continue to exist after the enactment of Medicare for All.

Anyone who’s serious about changing the world has to think hard about what compromises they might be willing to make in order to achieve power. This issue has preoccupied organizers for as long as struggles for justice have existed. It’s one thing for people operating in good faith to disagree with each other about those questions. It’s quite another to denounce Sanders for “touting” an endorsement which required no such compromises.

I don’t give a fuck about Joe Rogan or, to be honest, Bernie all that much. Of course I will vote and campaign and cape for Bernie every single day if he is the nominee, post memes and declare my undying love, etc etc. You all know this by now. WRT Rogan of course I start from the assumption that any popular white male podcaster/YouTuber is a douchemook and ask them to prove me wrong and so far Rogan … has not. But this isn’t about Bernie, or Rogan, or the necessity of endorsements.

It’s about the calculation that you can win over people who don’t want to vote for you by shitting on the people who do. And more poisonous than that, that you can win over people who don’t want to vote for you by shitting on people who need you to get elected to save their goddamn lives.

Saying we should throw trans people under the bus so that we can prove ourselves to be Real Serious People is utter horseshit and I’d rather lose every election from now until the end of time than engage in this kind of pointless pandering to miserable bigots who are lying about their bigotry.

I mean they are lying. “I wouldn’t have to be a Nazi if you didn’t want to recognize trans people’s existence” is not a thing said by people who want to support you and are persuadable. There are no legions of suburban mommies out there who want to vote Democrat except for how you all support trans people. For literally no one is that their number one issue, not that that matters, your degree of bigotry has fuckall to do with anyone else’s right to exist anyway.

You know what is somebody’s number one issue? Being alive, being able to go to work and go home and go out and yes, go to the bathroom, without fear of firing or harassment or goddamn being murdered. THOSE are some real-ass stakes. Kids getting medical care, that’s skin in the game. The right to privacy, to a life free from fear, that’s a real thing, not like Gated Community Gretchen’s comfort level at book club.

Gated Community Gretchen is going to hold her nose and vote for Trump because “those people” are “taking over,” anyway. This is the thing. We act like there’s some magic denunciation of our own that will make people who dislike Democrats stop disliking Democrats and aside from it being morally monstrous it won’t even WORK.

Like in addition to that, Mrs. Lincoln, the play fucking SUCKED.

Maybe once upon a time this worked, this triangulating “I love everything about being a Democrat except all my fellow Democrats” bullshit, this “I will denounce my own party and all its works in order to win the primary to represent my own party and all my icky morally deficient supporters who need to pull up their pants and stop buying designer handbags with their food stamps.” Did it?

I feel like maybe there was a time before everybody saw through the con, but it’s 2020 and we know things now, and one of the things we know is that if a cheese-faced fascist mobster-wannabe appeals to you after he’s put immigrant kids in cages you probably have more going on than thinking trans people are icky.

Every successful presidential campaign is by definition a coalition of voters who don’t agree with each other about everything but are willing to get behind a given candidate and their platform. The question is whether we’re so allergic to having people in our coalition who haven’t yet reached progressive positions on every issue that we’re willing to risk losing what is arguably the most important election of our lifetimes.

Which is more important — stigmatizing Rogan for his bad views by refusing to make any welcoming gestures when he expresses interest in joining our coalition, or shutting down Donald Trump’s concentration camps?

We heard this shit in 2004, that Gavin Newsom First of His Name, King of the Andals, etc etc was going to ruin everything on earth for Democrats forever by marrying same-sex couples. How’d THAT work out? Last I checked Gavin was presiding over the country’s largest economy and the Democrats who did lose elections on the back of marriage equality were the milquetoast half-a-loaf ones who couldn’t commit to the idea that people are people and displayed all the moral courage of wilted flan.

Take a lesson, assholes. Our fate is your fate. We are all of us safe or none of us and that is not something you can negotiate. The way this works now is people get on board with who they want to support, not the other way around. If the Rogan coalition is impossible to win without, then they’re the ones facing pressure, not the rest of us, and that’s the way this needs to be talked about. If Rogan’s audience is expected now to vote for Bernie then they’re the ones who have to get to where Bernie or WHOEVER is going. Bernie, to his credit, seems to get this.

People horny for the first Clinton administration, not so much.

We should be long past disposing of people’s fundamental humanity to appeal to some mythical as-yet-unseen voters who could show up anytime they wanted without us needing to yell slurs to get them here.

A.

The Big Picture

I’m not sure how much of today’s “defending the indefensible” session I can watch. I have a visceral reaction to bad faith and mendacity. Team Trump has previously given us The Three Amigos: Sekulow, Cipollone, and Dershowitz are the Marx Brothers evil twins. If only they were as funny. I guess that makes Rudy, Zeppo since he’s out of the act. It’s a pity that there’s not a Harpo in the bunch. The sound of silence would be a  relief after all the shouting they do. There’s not an inside voice in the bunch.

I have some scattershot observations about the big shebang in the Senate chambers. I might as well do it Odds & Sods/13th Ward Rambler style:

Adam Schiff Is A Rock Star: Republicans hate Adam Schiff. One reason is that he’s not the sort of Democrat who’s easily cowed. After 9/11, many Dems not only allowed GOPers to beat them up, they handed them a stick with which to do it. Ouch.

Adam Schiff don’t play that. The real reason GOPers flipped out over the “heads on a pike” thing was that his entire closing speech was an implicit indictment of those Senate Republicans who *should* know better but have thrown-in with President* Pennywise. Thrown-up is more like. They make me feel like Bloom County’s Bill the Cat when he’s coughing up a hairball.

These Senatorial cowards are culpable for Trump’s disgraceful performance in office by not standing up to him. They’re like Nuremberg Trial defendants Konstantin von Neurath, Franz von Papen, and Hjalamar Schacht; aristocratic conservatives who thought they could control the Hitler gang. It didn’t go as planned.

The Impeached Insult Comedian has been threatening Schiff on the Tweeter Tube. The best response comes from a former president who knew something about unpopularity:

Schiff’s closing remarks were posted on his Twitter feed:

They’re All Paulie Walnuts: I had an amusing colloquy with my beloved colleagues Athenae and Scout at Jack’s Joint:

The late, great Jimmy Breslin wrote a novel in 1969 about a group of incompetent mobsters, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. Team Trump are The Gang That Couldn’t Shut Up.

That concludes this edition of Life Imitates The Sopranos.

Can I Get A Witness? The Bolton manuscript revelation *should* force Republicans’ hand on whether or not to allow witnesses but will it? After the “heads on a pike” fake furor, I’m dubious. The involvement of so-called moderates Collins and Murkowski makes me think the fix is well and truly in. I hope I’m wrong about this. I really do.

Those Republican Senators who dislike Trump behind closed doors have gone from hostages to active participants in the cover-up. They’re not legally culpable but they’re morally and politically culpable.

That brings me to the final segment/post title.

The Big Picture: I’m gobsmacked by people who are despairing about the removal trial’s inevitable verdict. They must not have been paying attention. Nobody thought 20+ Republican senators would vote to remove the Impeached Insult Comedian. The best case scenario was always this: enough votes to call witnesses and/or a majority vote on at least one article.

Removal from office was never the expected outcome. That’s why Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff were against impeachment until the Ukraine shit hit the fan. The goal of House managers was to present a compelling case for removal that will be implemented by the voters in November.

Another goal was to put the Republican controlled Senate on trial. The House Managers have succeeded in this with fair-minded voters across the country who want a fair trial. In our legal system that means witnesses and evidence.

Republicans have a short-term strategy: to get through the trial quickly and survive their primaries. They’re not looking at the big picture.  They cannot look at the big picture as long as Trump is pulling the strings. BUT there are voters who will punish them for putting on this show trial.

It’s hard to imagine Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, and Martha McSalley winning in November if they don’t vote for witnesses. They’re afraid of being primaried, which is not an unreasonable fear, so they probably will not. They’re putting party above country and their short-term selfish interests over the national interest.

History will not be kind to Republican senators who knew better but refused to stand up for their country. Here’s hoping they will be punished for their unpatriotic cowardice this fall. Make it so, voters, make it so.

Repeat after me:

It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial.

They’re All Paulie Walnuts.

The last word goes to Marvin Gaye, Dusty Springfield, and the Rolling Stones:

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati -“Stop him, he’s bolton” edition

Quick one today:

New York Times: Bolton draft book manuscript says Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to political investigations
CNN ^

Posted on 1/26/2020, 7:28:29 PM by janetjanet998

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump in August told his then-national security adviser John Bolton that he wanted to continue holding military aid to Ukraine until the country helped with investigations into Democrats — including former Vice President Joe Biden — the New York Times reported Sunday, citing multiple people’s descriptions of an unpublished draft manuscript by Bolton.

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

as predicted here is the “Bolton bombshell” media leak
1 posted on 1/26/2020, 7:28:29 PM by janetjanet998
Before we look at the replies in this thread, let’s take a little time trip back to  2018, after Bolton was appointed :
To: CaptainK

 

Bolton will kick butt!

2 posted on 3/22/2018, 5:33:02 PM by freedumb2003 (robert mueller is an unguided missile)

To: CaptainK

 

Bolton should have been there since day one he’s awesome!!!

23 posted on 3/22/2018, 5:36:54 PM by Sarah Barracuda

To: dforest

 

Bolton is a great pick.

Staunch supporter of Israel and kicks ass.

24 posted on 3/22/2018, 5:37:01 PM by Col Frank Slade

Ah, memories….
.
Back to the original thread now :
To: pnut22

 

Anyone still want Bolton to testify?

7 posted on 1/26/2020, 7:33:19 PM by gibsonguy

To: janetjanet998

 

Is that how Bolton is going to be paid off by the Dems? It will have to be a lot because no republicans will buy his book or be willing to employ him.

I guess he could always lick the boots of the creeps at CNN.

29 posted on 1/26/2020, 7:39:22 PM by McGavin999 (Queen Fancy Nancy Of North Poopistan)

To: laconic
I knew this draft dodging warmonger was no good from the start. 

DJTs worst pick, and he’s had some real beauties…Bolton does remain a big hit among the perpetual war crowd.

52 posted on 1/26/2020, 7:55:53 PM by JonPreston
.
You guys should really make up your minds.
See everyone next Monday.
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Six, and Beauty

kick.six

Dear Kick,

Today you are six, and you are beautiful.

I don’t mean that in some metaphorical way, like your soul is beautiful, though it is. You are relentlessly cheerful and generous and always thinking of something you can do to make other people smile. You are kind to animals and strangers and homeless people on the train, patient with younger children, dedicated to your schoolwork and your chores. And physically, you are beautiful, to the very T of American beauty standards. You are slim and strong. You have long straight fair hair and wide blue eyes and perfect delicate features and every time you turn around someone is commenting on your looks.

Which you barely seem to notice. It happens to be true: You are lovely. But usually after someone says something like that, they add in something else. Something like, “I hope you’ve got a gun, dad, because the boys are coming.”

Or, “Don’t let her look too grown-up, too fast.”

Or, “You’re going to have trouble when she’s a teenager.”

I don’t even think we hear ourselves, half the time. Society, I mean. I don’t think we hear what we’re saying when we say that beautiful young girls require this kind of caution. That when you start wearing a bathing suit or shorts or a pretty dress, when your hair gets long or your smile gets sly, it’s not time to marvel at your coming into your own, it’s time to recoil with dread.

It’s part and parcel of what I talked about last year around this time, the idea that we should be in mourning for the past and always looking backward with longing for who you were, instead of ahead with excitement as you rush forward to the future. It’s such a reductive, shitty, joyless way to look at childhood and this is just another extension of it, the intonation of “here we go” that tells you we don’t approve of and don’t like and don’t enjoy you exactly as you are or want to support you in your becoming.

Our culture imposes on young girls as a rule; makes them the carriers of shadows and secrets, makes them guardians of virtue and the sacrifices of the same. We shrink them down to that, talk about them as if they’re not there, and as much as we all rail about objectification, that’s just as much of it as catcalling is. It’s still putting you in a box, and maybe it’s more insidious, that it’s meant to be some kind of protection.

Protection from whom? From what? We certainly don’t tell you. We don’t say that girls have to be careful because society gives men a pass, we don’t say that your dad needs a gun because some other dad never taught his children what love looks like and how power is used. We don’t talk about that.

No, we say, you are the danger, and you are the enemy, even unto yourself.

What I don’t want for you, as you grow up, is for you to be afraid of your body, to think that what you are is “trouble.” It makes it impossible to accept desired affection, makes you think there’s something bad about wanting or being wanted, adds so much weight to interactions with your peers.

Does your every new hairdo — curls! — or foray into lipstick — for a Halloween costume, fer chrissakes — or nail polish have to be an opportunity for fear and shame? Must we always withhold approval, admiration, out of terror that you might come to like being approved of, or being admired?

Can’t you enjoy it, being beautiful? Shouldn’t it be something to enjoy?

The whole “Dads Against Daughters Dating” t-shirt industrial complex has been constructed without a single thought as to what happens to those daughters. Who do they become, loaded up with the knowledge that their parents fear and resent their loveliness? What does that teach them about  their qualities, their abilities, things they had no choices in?

A girl who is beautiful according to our — false, ridiculous, harmful — standards doesn’t choose it any more than one who isn’t.

It’s not possible to force you — strong-willed, wild, glorious you — into a box of childhood forever. So how best to help you? Shield you from a world that sees your beauty as a guarantee of future pain, guard you with a gun, bar the door with “jokes” that aren’t funny and pretend your parents are somehow obligated at a certain age to begrudge you?

Or show you that yes, this is one thing you can be, among a thousand, and not place too much importance on it, either by validating the focus on how you look, or denying the fact of it out of fear.

The other day, you called me over to the back door during breakfast to look at “the amazing sunrise” and as we stood there, I leaned down to kiss your head and asked you to promise to remember this moment when you grew up and we were driving each other crazy. I’m sure we will. I’m sure you’ll be infuriating and I’m sure I’m already infuriating with my insistence you let me brush your hair — you don’t get all the tangles out! — and check on your loose teeth and try to make sure you’re wearing warm clothes.

I’m sure the worries I have for you will grow and change as you grow and change, but I promise you I will try to remember which are my concerns for you, and what your obligation is to them.

Which is nothing, absolutely nothing, at all.

You are beautiful. I hope that, like all your other gifts, you can claim it as your own, glory in it, carry it as lightly as you do your impulse to help and heal, your need to follow rules, your love for LEGOs and Carmen Sandiego, your loathing of onions. There’s no part of you I want you to be afraid of. There’s nothing about you I want you to deny.

I want you to love everything about you as much as I do.

Always,

Mama

Saturday Odds & Sods: Handle With Care

Saturday Morning by Edward Hopper.

It’s been a busy week. so I’ll keep this introduction brief. And I mean it this time.

This week’s theme song was originally supposed to be a George Harrison single, but it turned up on the Traveling Wilburys first album in 1988. The song is credited to the band, but the primary writer was George. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have four versions of Handle With Care for your listening pleasure: the Wilburys original, Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Stephen Stills & Judy Collins.

If you can handle it, let’s jump to the break but with care. Always with care.

Continue reading

Quote Of The Day: Adam Schiff Edition

Apologies for being a removal trial slacker. I feel like a juggler with too many balls in the air. That’s life.

Adam Schiff’s closing on Day Two of the trial was passionate and downright brilliant. Ain’t nothing better than a lawyer who believes in his case. This passage, as published by TPM, was a standout:

Schiff cited impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s declaration that he was doing what’s right by testifying against Trump because “right matters” in the U.S.

“If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost,” the Schiff said. “If truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost.”

Schiff warned that acquitting Trump would give the President license for future wrongdoing and imperil the U.S.

“This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed, because right matters,” he concluded. “Because right matters, and the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost.”

Words to live by.

Here’s the video via a TPM tweet:

 

 

 

Bayou Brief: A Tale Of Two Tones

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. The writing process was somewhat unusual. I had a mostly humorous piece ready to go when the exposed corpse at the Hard Rock Hotel collapse site story exploded. I kept the first segment about the aftermath of LSU’s national championship intact. I ripped apart the TFC segment and toughened its tone considerably; hence the title A Tale Of Two Tones: Of Tigers and TFC.

FYI: TFC stands for This Fucking City.

I did a phone interview with Richard Fausett of the New York Times for a story he co-wrote with Katy Reckdahl about what could be called Tarpgate. I was even mentioned. The way to get a mention when you’re interviewed as background for a story is to get the reporter laughing. It works every time:

“Peter Athas, a political blogger and columnist for The Bayou Brief, an online news site, has accused Ms. Cantrell of clumsily handling the disaster, and aligning herself too closely with the developer.”

Thanks for indulging that bit of egomania.

There will be a protest march this afternoon against the city’s mishandling of this disaster. Mayor Cantrell’s team is circling the wagons and lashing out at critics. The proper approach would be to distance the administration from developer Praveen Kailas and his partners. A bit of humility is in order but it’s in short supply on Team Cantrell.

This tweet concisely sums up my attitude about the Mayor:

I have a new sign off as the 13th Ward Rambler. I stole it from Walter Cronkite’s closing during the 1979-1980 Iran Hostage Crisis. I only steal from the best. I might as well use it here today:

And that’s the way it is on the 104th day since the Hard Rock Hotel collapse.

Friday Catblogging: Rugrat Cat

We have a new rug in our living room. Paul Drake approves:

Guest Post: Lobby Day; A Peaceful, Queasy Feeling

My old friend Parenthetical grew up in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He currently resides in Charlottesville. In 2017, he wrote a guest post about the prelude to the Charlottesville white supremacist riot: Lost Cause Fest, Virginia Style.

The punny title for this post was his idea, I didn’t force it on him. I suspect, however, that he was pandering to me. If so, it worked,

Here are his thoughts about the gun nut non-riot in Richmond on MLK Day:

You knew this Richmond Gunpalooza was going to be big after Governor Northam told the press that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”

I’m sorry, I’m being told that was Governor Ronald Reagan upon signing 1967’s Mulford Act prohibiting open carry in California, enacted in direct response to the Black Panthers’ armed visit to the state’s capitol.

As for Virginia’s own Locked n’ Loaded LinkedIn event, certain folks have been doing online victory laps on behalf of the thousands of gun enthusiasts who packed the area on Lobby Day, a traditional day for coming to speak with one’s state representatives. Compared to the Unite The Right rally three years ago, the day’s lack of homicides and beatings warrants a hearty huzzah, to be sure, but let’s put some context around this “accomplishment.”

  • The governor declared a state of emergency days in advance, due to out-of-state unwelcome “militia” members.
  • Neo-Nazis with a machine gun and reported designs on attending were arrested the week prior, and who knows what other advance intel proved fruitful.
  • State and local police coordinated well ahead of time, a lesson learned the hard way in Charlottesville.
  • Fencing went up around the Capitol, and access was controlled.
  • Streets shut down.
  • Some nearby business shut down for the day, accepting the financial hit in an abundance of caution.
  • Area residents stayed indoors, and people in other parts of town stayed away.
  • Counterprotestors largely skipped the event, zero counteraggression present.
  • Organizations who would have otherwise participated in Lobby Day exercised caution and stayed away.

At the end of the day, everyone from taxpayer-funded authorities to residents to Antifa made choices and/or absorbed expenses to keep the peace or steer clear. The result? A crowd full of tactical fashionistas had the place practically to themselves in a highly unnatural environment, and now they’re all, “HEY MY GUNZ AND PALS AND ME MADE A PEACEFUL!”

Obliviousness to privilege on Capitol Square for Dr. King’s birthday, what a thoughtful gift.

One photo captured the extremely small police presence near the rather cramped throng of protestors, and from here, that looked like the last stroke of genius in the law enforcement’s strategy: Pack them close and give them nobody to fight with, not even the police. People I know who went appeared to have a lovely time. One likened it to tailgating.

Of course, it did overshadow and undercut Lobby Day itself. Citizens had to choose ahead of time: be a part of Lobby Day sans firearm, or walk around with your favorite appendage outside of Lobby Day. The vast majority opted for the latter, wanting their outrage over gun measures to be “heard” rather than actually going in and, you know, being heard.

By the way, I know 99% of attendees consider themselves freedom-loving patriots, so I figured they’d be very supportive of my Monument Avenue compromise: Find a nice new home for Stonewall Jackson, and replace it with a new monument to Nat Turner.

If you’re into Virginians fighting for personal liberty, it doesn’t get much more Sic Semper Tyrannis than Nat Turner, right? And yet, my proposal seems to have fallen flat. Confounding.

At the end of the day, if you want to lobby, you come and lobby. If you want to protest and show strength in numbers, you protest and show strength in numbers. But when a vastly white, vastly male crowd of over 20,000 elects instead to convene downtown with firearms and all the combat trimmings including flags of varying insurrectionist relevance, a lot of them are trying to do something else.

These people who want personal judgment to replace public policy in all aspects of firearms ownership and usage are the same people who post Civil War 2.0 videos to their social media.

Who believe Alex Jones.

Who shared reports that busloads of false flaggers have rolled into town to make trouble and fool the lamestream media.

Who told me that Mike Bloomberg and George Soros had bought up all the public parking.

Who think the world is neatly divided into fixed pools of Law-Abiding Citizens and Criminals.

Who look up and down Monument Avenue and see forefathers’ encouragement instead of a lost cause.

(Is it just me, or are some folks only going to let go of the last Civil War if they get another one to grab onto?)

I’m sure several of the day’s attendees have a somewhat better grip on reality, but Virginia is increasingly not interested in catering to that mindset, as it demonstrated at the polls. Have fun at the range and in the woods, guys. Ignore the data about firearms in the house, because of course it won’t happen to you. Posture and get your gear on all you want. But maybe next year, leave Lobby Day for the people who actually want to lobby. And if you’re chafing at the prospect of background checks and other popular measures so badly that it just might spread to your trigger finger at the wrong time, consider an ointment.

It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial

I almost called this post Confessions of a Slacker Blogger but the reason I was silent about the removal trial is that I was crazy busy the last two days. I was preoccupied with writing my latest 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief. When it was finished, more shit hit the fan in the Hard Rock/Kalias collapse story. A major rewrite ate yesterday morning and the trial gnawed away at my afternoon.  More on that later.

I have a few random thoughts and scattershot comments about the big shebang going down in the Senate right now:

The post title says it all. Impeachment has already happened. Trump will forever be the Impeached Insult Comedian. The purpose of the trial is to decide whether Trump will be removed from office. I realize that I’m howling at the moon on this point, but I like calling things what they are. Trump, like Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, will always wear the scarlet I for Impeached.

The House managers have done a superb job, especially Adam Schiff who opened and closed the first full day of argument. He spoke like a latter-day Clarence Darrow only without suspenders. Snap.

Jerry Nadler is not half the orator that Schiff is, but his presence surely irked the Impeached Insult Comedian. Nadler fought valiantly against a Trump real estate development on Manhattan’s West Side and succeeded in reducing its scale and footprint. That’s why Trump’s hate for Nadler is pure. The congressman welcomes his scorn.

There are still people looking for a savior. Chief Justice John Roberts is the latest candidate. Never gonna happen, my friends. Roberts is a Rehnquist protege and the latter conducted the Clinton removal trial with a light hand. For good or ill, Roberts is staying in the Rehnquist lane.

There’s been much grumbling from Senate GOPers about how “boring” the removal trial is. It’s what you wanted, STFU. And sit in your seats. That’s your job. You work for us, not vice versa.

The outcome seems preordained but the House managers aren’t just speaking to the Senate, they’re speaking to the country. Their goal is to put Senate Republicans on trial and they’re off to a good start in that regard. Keep the pressure on them, make them regret their time as Trumper toadies.

Speaking of false saviors, never trust Susan Collins. I’ll believe that she and other Senate “moderates” will act when it happens. The guy to watch is Lamar Alexander. While he’s unlikely to vote for removal, he might vote to hear witnesses. He’s already announced his retirement so he’s not subject to the same red hat political pressure that other GOPers face. Besides, he’s the first Senator on the roll call, if he votes to hear witnesses others could follow. Senate Republicans are followers, not leaders. Will this happen? Beats the hell outta me.

A removal trial is neither fish nor fowl. This one feels fishy and has a foul odor attached to it. The Senators are both judge and jury. Past removal trials had witnesses and evidence. Mitch McConnell prefers a see-no-evil approach. It may work in the short term, but voters want a fair trial and that includes evidence and witnesses not named Biden. The political blowback over this show trial could be fierce among educated suburban voters. It’s up to the House managers to make it so.

Repeat after me: It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial.

Coming Attractions

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On Tuesday, Moscow Mitch — who hates being called Moscow Mitch — anyway, Moscow Mitch was so determined to display how thoroughly zombified his caucus is that he earned a new nickname from Carl Bernstein…while his zombie caucus stumbled and shuffled across the floor of the chamber, dutifully doing as they were told in vote after vote.

Yesterday they did the same as the House Democratic Managers presented a devastating case.

Today will be no different.

The final vote, when it comes, will be Democrats on one side, Zombies (Zomblicans?) slowly shuffling around on the other.

DJT will proclaim it the greatest victory ever, far surpassing the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Which means that, while impeachment definitely will leave a mark, Trumpism — which is now the entire GOP — can only be defeated at the ballot box.

And even then, it will continue to shuffle around, undead, looking for brains to consume…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Case Of The Hated Senator

This post is dedicated to Mitch McConnell.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Cool Sound Of Albert Collins

Watching Trump’s lawyers lie with the Chief Justice seated behind them makes me want a cocktail. That’s where this 1965 album comes in.

Let’s have a drink with the Iceman:

Here’s the album via the YouTube playlist format. Bottoms up:

Guns at the Statehouse

One of my earliest memories is of a dead deer.

I think it was a deer. Might have been an elk.

Anyway, big dead animal. Hanging suspended from the garage ceiling, its blood draining into a bucket below.

Smelled pretty bad. My mom wasn’t thrilled. That was the spot, after all, where she was supposed to park her car, and my dad killed this critter, dragged it home, and was now preparing it to be made into sausages. Stew meat. Salami.

Plus a taxidermy head, to be mounted on the wall in the living room.

Dad had bagged this thing and we were gonna use every inch of it, because that’s what you do with something you kill. You eat it, or wear it, but you sure as hell don’t waste it. You respect it, and the process by which it arrived in your driveway, your freezer, your belly. Somebody earned that.

I thought about that deer watching hundreds of assclowns parade around downtown Richmond, VA comparing extremely mild firearms regulations to Jim Crow laws, heaving their camo-coated butts up and down the streets in front of the statehouse wearing riot shields against, I dunno, a run on the Applebees salad bar or something.

It was the kind of protest where the organizers had to beg people not to wear Nazi shit or carry Confederate flags, lest someone come to the conclusion that a big group of pasty pantloads in MAGA paraphernalia was in some way racist. Some people, of course, brought Confederate stuff anyway. Others just went the “racially tinged” route and stuck to teabagging.

And they’re all so exhausting. These fucking toolsheds, pointing loaded weapons in the air and at each other, with the trigger discipline of 8-year-olds in a video arcade, in their Kevlar vests with the plates all removed so they could stuff snacks and water bottles in the pockets. The tactical vests on the service dogs. The night vision goggles in broad daylight. The way the ammo belts stretched and strained.

I saw a lot of people calling this stuff cosplay. Calling this international exhibition of braggadocio and dumbassery cosplay is insulting to cosplayers, who generally a) care about the accuracy of their costumes b) wear custom gear that fits them c) make sure their weapons are clean.

Then there was all the yelling about tyranny. Just fucking … just stop. The American Revolution was not a reaction to wife-beaters being denied their fourth Glock. Crispus Attucks and co. did not die so that you could open fire on the wicker reindeer in the Christmas section at Menards.

Those guys were fighting the entire British Army with four sticks and a bucket of snowballs, you don’t get to put on their clothes, not when you duck and cover every time somebody in your cube farm makes microwave popcorn. Samuel Maverick called, and he said your mom has musket balls.

But back to the dead deer at the beginning of this post.

You see, back when I was growing up, the guys who went hunting and ate what they killed mocked the kind of urban cowboys whose trophies all had powder burns. Buy some deer meat from a guy, that’s fine, but sit in a tree drinking beer all day waiting for a buck to wander underneath so you can shoot down on it, or worse, go to a “preserve” where you can kill it in a cage, like screw you, pal. Work for your supper.

Hunting for food and shooting for sport were presumed to be actual pursuits, engaged in deliberately. You go to the range or some deserted area to practice. You have a rifle for deer, handgun for bear or mountain lion when you’re camping. You lock them up away from your kids. You sure as shit don’t keep them loaded. And you don’t jaw on all day in public about what guns you have and where. That’s a good way to get robbed, or worse.

At some point in the past 30 years these guys who knew how to handle their weapons made common cause with a whole bunch of other people, who were loud and scared and stupid. The latter group weren’t into shooting for food or for fun. They were into it because it was life and death, them or the brown hordes, and in order not to die, they had to arm themselves however they saw fit. As was their inalienable right.

When people who actually did deal in life and death, like officers of the law or members of the military, pointed out that their weapons were subject to processes and procedures, the people who saw a buck to be made lobbying legislators ginned up the usual phony “savages coming to steal your white women and children” nonsense and suddenly everyone who wasn’t a member of the NRA was a wine-sipping communist puss.

That we can’t see that it was about money, that people benefited from this fear and rage and it sure as shit wasn’t the ordinary hunters and sportsmen, will never fail to make me crazy. As much as I make fun of those guys up there, those angry morons, they’re only buying the bullshit. The NRA and gun manufacturers and the GOP are shoveling it, and they don’t even have the tiny shriveled sack to stand on the street for it.

They leave that to the men and women who, really, should be home with their kill, making salami.

A.