Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Good Times at Gotham City, 4/19/17

Work Your Ossoff

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
The kid almost pulled it off last night with a single knockout punch but there has to be a round two.
      When "President" Donald Trump tapped Tom Price to be his HHS Secretary, I'm sure his aides and advisors, or those few whose voices he heard over his own, assured him, "Go ahead and nominate Tom Price, Mr. President." "It's a solidly red Republican district," they said. "Georgia 6 has been in GOP hands since 1976," they said. "They could put out a flour sack with Newt Gingrich's face scrawled on it and it'd win," they said.
     Not so fast, Georgia 6's voters said.
     Last night, documentary filmmaker and political neophyte Jon Ossoff almost pulled off the impossible and came within 1.9% of winning the mandated 50% he'd've needed to win the seat outright. And his 48.1% of the vote was against a crowded field of 18, including 11 Republicans, four other Democrats and two Independents. The next-best finish by a Democrat was when Ragin Edwards and Ron Slotin each finished with a measly 0.3% of the vote, or 990 votes between them.
     It was supposed to be a cakewalk for Karen Handel, former Georgia Secretary of State and a safe choice, so thought the Powers That Be. Ms. Handel is thought of as an establishment-friendly Republican. This wasn't supposed to be a bellwether election, a test of Trump's so-called mandate, a synecdoche of the bloodbath to come in next year's all-important midterms that, historically, go against the party of a new President (something that's failed to happen only twice, in 1934 and 2002).
     But the stage for this battle royale of legitimate contenders and wannabes had already been set Election Day last year and before that. Consider that in 2012 when he ran against President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney took Georgia 6 by 23 points. Yet when Trump ran last year, he edged Secretary Hillary Clinton by a razor-thin margin of 1.5%, nearly the margin that kept Jon Ossoff from being a Congressman-elect today.
     During that same election, Tom Price romped to victory by winning 62% of the vote. But then Trump settled into his three White Houses and tried acting presidential, promptly breaking virtually every promise he made on the campaign trail. He'd release the tax returns then he wouldn't. He'd leave Syria alone then he bombed them. He'd leave Social Security alone then went after it. The Mexicans would pay for the wall then we would.
     Enter the rise of the white collar voter and Jon Ossoff.

Revenge of the Jedi
In our cinecentric day and age, it doesn't hurt to make an occasional cultural reference for the sake of context, provided it's an apt one that helps to illustrate the writer's point. So let's look at this in a Star Wars context (Not my idea, but Ossoff's and the Republicans', except theirs failed spectacularly)- Jon Ossoff is the young Jedi knight who's trying to rally the defeated rebellion of Georgia 6. At 30, he'd be barely old enough to run for the US Senate.
     He seeks to replace a bland Darth Vader in the person of Tom Price, whose new job as HHS Secretary is to kill as many Americans as possible without having to resort to Tomahawk missiles or MOABs or an Imperial Death Star. The Emperor, played by Donald J. Trump, elevates Tom Price to his new role as Darth Vader because, really, what could possibly go wrong?
     This part of the Evil Empire has been in (un)friendly hands for 40 years, as has the entire state of Georgia. But they didn't count on young Luke Skywalker, played by young Jon Ossoff, to try to rally the troops of the beleaguered Rebellion in this tiny outpost of the Empire (Georgia 6). The problem was, the Emperor and poor Darth didn't count on Ossoff's personal appeal and good looks to earn him so much assistance from outside the outpost.
     They didn't count on Ossoff, a quick-witted and knowledgeable Georgetown Political Science major, to amass a war chest of $8.3 million, 95% of which coming from outside the state. Ossoff spearheaded a one man Democratic juggernaut behind hostile enemy lines and, when the straw polls began rolling in these past few weeks, it became obvious to the Empire that it was all they could do to keep young Luke from retaking the outpost in one fell swoop. They knew they wouldn't score a Round One knockout, so the little wannabe Tom Price's swarmed and clinched, praying they'd be saved by the bell.
     Something else the Emperor, or Vader, didn't count on- that Georgia 6 is the most highly educated of the Empire's 435 outposts (and the Empire's candidates historically don't fare very well in districts where voters have some education) and that it would contain a lot of disaffected Caucasian white collar voters who seemed to like Tom Price well enough but were left cold by Trump (Remember, he took the district last November by just 1.5%). That doesn't exactly make a mandate.

A New Beginning?
Let's keep some facts in mind- While Handel may have won another spot at the table, when Republican voters in GA6 had an actual choice, she got less than 20%. She may bill herself as a Trump supporter but she hardly mentioned Trump at all. In fact, it can be said her approval of Trump's first 100 days has been more tepid than that of her Republican rivals. Even Ossoff, whose campaign was billed as, "Make Trump furious again", hardly mentioned his name. Despite his robocall recordings, Trump's essentially as much a nonentity in GA6 as he was on Election Night last year.
     Trump and his team of psychopaths infamously live in a bubble and they honestly thought they had this seeming bellwether of a race in the bag. There were the usual Republican dirty tricks, such as stolen voting machines out of a precinct manager’s car, which wasn't immediately reported as stolen, before the election, a "corrupted" data card that held up the results and deliberately deceptive data from a Republican company.
     Still, Ossoff wound up with almost as many votes as his 17 rivals combined. In fact, if the run off election was held today with exactly as many voters casting their ballots today as last night, Ossoff would still lose by just 2.7% of the vote (50.8% to 48.1%). Now, polling data is wonky these days to begin with and that's no truer than in runoff and special elections. But not all Republican voters are going to rally around Handel as the establishment GOP's already doing. It can be assured that Ossoff's base will not desert him, especially considering the dismal showing by his two closest Democratic rivals.
     The speeches delivered by the candidates and the available polling data we have show that, at best, it's a dicey proposition latching onto Trump's coattails and oversized Rodney Dangerfield tie at least in this district. And, with the close scrape in Kansas' 4th district earlier this month (if anything, KS4 was an even redder district than GA6) that saw Ron Estes emerge victorious but battered shows voters are having buyer's remorse and political sticker shock.
     The Republicans have the advantage in GA6 in that they have the structure and longtime brand name recognition. And,  should they unanimously rally to Handel's side, they certainly still have the votes to pull off another slim win. But Ossoff's base is growing and his support came all the way from the Beltway. This is like Ned Lamont Redux.
     Let's just hope that, unlike Lamont, Ossoff doesn't get talked into watering down his message by focus groups just looking for a 1% mandate.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Let Him Eat Cake

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
(Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Mrs. JP for this priceless catch)
You don't need to have a Major in Political Science or a Doctorate in Psychology to know that there is something deeply, and dangerously, wrong with Donald John Trump.
     Here's a man who bombed a virtually deserted Syrian air field, after alerting Putin about it a half hour beforehand (and, as the game of Telephone dictates, Putin then helpfully told his other buddy Assad). A nearly forgotten, throwaway paragraph in the Daily Telegraph article told us this in passing:
Six Syrian soldiers were reported to have been killed in Friday’s missile strike, which destroyed as much as 90 per cent of the base. Syrian officials said nine civilians, including four children, were also killed.
     But thank God chocolate cake was involved.
     As with his first military action in Yemen on January 29th, Trump gave the order to bomb Syria while having dinner, this time with Chinese President Xi. Then Trump told a panting Maria Bartiromo on Fox this morning about the Chocolate Cake (because it deserves to be capitalized). As usual for the weekend, he was at Mar-a-Lago, a place that sounds like an hourly rate, hot bed motel in a Carl Hiaasen novel.
     Then he decided to whip out Donald, Jr (not the oleaginous figurative prick, the literal one), kneaded it in front of the Chinese President and when he was ready to launch, said, "Hey, watch this."
     The Chinese President wiped his face and approved because it was all about the 34 children that were gassed to death in Syria, don't you know, and what's 4 compared to 34? And, besides, Ivanka had a sad so Daddy decided to bomb a nation (and 14 innocents) because, well, nobody puts Baby in a corner and makes her cry.
     But the important thing to remember is not only was there chocolate cake but
     "We're now having dessert—and we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you've ever seen—and President Xi was enjoying it."
     Now the narrative we're hearing in the MSM is that this proves once and for all that there is no Trump-Russia connection, despite that his onetime campaign manager Paul Manafort accepted $1.2 million from a Ukranian pro-Russia group (under the table, of course) and that key members of his campaign, transition team and administration met with Russian spy ambassador Sergey Kislyak then lied about it under oath while testifying before Congress.
     And we're also hearing that Putin's hopping mad at Trump over having created relatively minor collateral damage that didn't even keep the Syrian planes grounded for more than a day (except if you remember those 14 innocents who were killed that no one seems to want to talk about). And now Trump's blaming Putin for the chemical gas attack used against Syrians that Trump would never let in this country on a dare (that would be a little too compassionate because those little brown kids might eat up all that delicious chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago).
     Bullshit.
     It's all theater, shadow boxing designed to look as if Putin had no hand in throwing the US election to Trump and his pork rind-stained minions, that there really weren't millions of transactions between the Russian elite and Trump and his Russian properties and that he really doesn't have a verifiable track record with Russian mobsters, after all. Fake news.
     To put a nightmarish cherry atop this chocolate cake anecdote, when Trump was dishing about this courageous strike, this $100,000,000 (oddly enough, about how much, well, cake Trump has made off Russia), 59 Tomahawk missile way of saying, "I'm not Putin's Cum-Smeared, Sobbing Fuck Doll!", Trump forgot which nation he'd bombed. He told Bartiromo, who was breathlessly panting as if she was going to ask for war porn photos of the dead, twisted and dismembered bodies of the 14 innocents who were killed, that he'd bombed Iraq.
     "Syria," Bartiromo helpfully says just so Fox viewers don't get the right idea, which is that our nation and the Free World is run by a walking brain stem. Trump looks at her uncertainly and says, "Yeah, Syria."
     Because, really, when we're talking about dirty brown people, which country you just bombed really doesn't matter, does it?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"Thanks for flying United and may the odds be ever in your favor."

     (Special tip o' the tinfoil hat to constant reader CC for the documentation)
     Because this country is getting so nasty, especially to non whites, that we're inexorably becoming the world of the Hunger Games. If you don't step forward in tribute, get the shit knocked out of you.
     By now, I'm sure you all know about the savage beating suffered yesterday by Dr. David Dao. Apparently, even with computers and software that does all the work for them, United Airlines is still too stupid to count and they overbooked Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, KY. Realizing their error and trying to make room for additional crew, they asked some passengers at random if they'd give up their seats for $800. None of them took the offer because, I guess, like Dr. Dao, they judged getting home in a timely manner was worth more to them.
     The Chicago airport police then grabbed Dr. Dao, a paying passenger, at random, beat him until he was bleeding from the mouth, yanked him out of his seat then literally dragged him down the center aisle in front of dozens of horrified passengers. The assault was documented from at least two angles.
     This is horrific enough as it is, that the third largest airline in the world would think so little of a paid passenger that they'd use airport police as their personal goon squad to make room for some of their employees. But what followed was even more horrific, if you can believe that:
     I can't recall the exact wording of yesterday's first press release by United but they've since scrubbed it from their newsroom page. But, true to form, United laid the blame squarely on the passenger. Since then, it's been replaced with more conciliatory press releases, including this masterpiece by United's CEO, Oscar Munoz, who earlier today called Dr. Dao, "belligerent" and essentially said he got what he deserved.

     Then, after United lost well over half a billion dollars on Wall Street's trading floor yesterday (at one point their share losses were as high as 4.4% or $990,000,000- Remember, it took even a world-class fuckup like Donald Trump all of one year to lose $918,000,000), this is what Oscar said:
     The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.
     I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
     It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.
     I promise you we will do better.
     Sincerely,
     Oscar 
     Oscar, Oscar, Oscar...
     Using weasel words and phrases like "what happened", as if the assault happened spontaneously and was beyond everyone's control, is not going to put oil on the waters. Your underlings fucked up, overbooked a flight then instructed O'Hare's goon squad to pick a person at random to make way for one of your people. Which no one with a sound mind is interpreting as you putting employees first, as the narrative now goes.
     And shaming the assaulted passenger for prior transgressions is not going to make your own crime any more justified by conspicuous relief or with time. Yet this is the narrative we're reading in right wing outfits such as the Moonie Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as as local TV stations and other outlets.
     Oh, speaking of the pro-corporate Wall Street Journal, their first article about it today, in which they quoted Munoz as calling Dao "belligerent", has since been rewritten and had adopted a softer tone, as has the beleaguered CEO, into this.
     Winston Smith lives and it's on the internet.
     Meanwhile, the Daily Mail in the UK and (typically) Business Insider as well as just about every other mainstream media outlet has started piling on the victim because, well, his criminal past meant he should keep paying for his crimes even after he had.
     But the airport cops didn't know that when they just grabbed Dr. Dao at random and beat him to a pulp before literally dragging him off the plane as if he was some jihadi terrorist. Not that their violence would've been excused, since the man had already paid for his crimes. And, without that context, he could've just as well had been the Dalai Lama in mufti, for all they knew.
     But this attitude goes far beyond United Airline and even the airline business in general. This goes to show how much corporations and banks loathe their own customers. They will use local police as their goon squad (and cops will always hop to when a call comes in from a moneyed individual or entity). We saw this thuggery during Occupy Wall Street, we saw it again a year ago with the Dakota Access Pipeline and where ever people all over the world protest these actions.
     Because with money and power comes a lot of sociopathic arrogance and the only thing that will make them even disingenuously conciliatory is when their bottom line is threatened on Wall Street or elsewhere.

Update: Thanks to a timely comment on Facebook from other longtime reader Mithras, apparently not only has United dropped $1.4 billion from its market cap since yesterday, but this whole incident is affecting the stock price of nearly every major airline.

Monday, April 10, 2017

IOKIYAR and a Fucking Redneck God Bag

     I'm sure it was strictly for a Bible Study retreat.
     It makes no sense to me that Don Siegelman went to prison on trumped up if not outright fabricated bribery charges (and didn't even get a pardon from Obama) while Bentley gets to slither out of the Governor's mansion in Alabama relatively unscathed. It also makes no sense to me that Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, got impeached for lying about a blow job while this evangelical hot prick Bentley never came close to impeachment even after also lying about it and even threatening people to maintain the coverup.
     Oh yeah, and he also has to answer to two misdemeanor charges that include using campaign funds to pay for private use and failing to file a major contribution report.

     This is his smiling mugshot taken today at the Montgomery County Jail when he officially resigned. Says the WaPo:
The events leading to the end of Bentley's career were spelled out in the 3,000 pages of a report released by the House Judiciary Committee attorney Friday detailing various indiscretions the governor may allegedly tried to keep secret as he carried out an affair with his married aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

     The report says Bentley texted heart-eyed emojis to Caldwell -- texts that were linked up to his now ex-wife's iPad -- and made threats to the first lady's staff to keep the affair secret. The report also detailed what allegedly went on behind closed doors when Mason, according to the report, left the office “with her hair tousled and her clothing in disarray.”
     So he resigned and pled guilty to the misdemeanor charges to avoid jail time, which he almost surely will. A $37,000 pay out and he gets to resume his life.
     I don't know what's wrong with Alabama but the state that was the last to jettison its ban on interracial marriage saw fit to install a State Supreme Court Justice in Roy Moore then kick out, twice, and a Governor who couldn't keep it in his pants and had the audacity to say no one has the right to judge him because he'd already answered "to a higher authority."
     What do they both have in common? They're both arrogant fucking God bags who think the law doesn't apply to them and that they're immune to tepid criticism because they chose to believe in a certain sky wizard. 
     Well, that higher authority wasn't powerful enough to save him from the comeuppance of the Alabama Ethics Commission and the state House Judiciary Committee. The Big Kahuna also didn't have the juice to keep him in the Governor's mansion, either.
     Good riddance. Bentley, go fuck yourself, you Bible- and Aide-banging hypocrite. The very fact that a woman called you "delicious" is enough to make me vomit everything I've ever eaten since 1959.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Found on Facebook Last Night

      From Brent Terry: "If, as ABC News is reporting, the US warned Russia of the missile strike, and if, as it appears, Russia warned Syria, that leads to a very interesting possible conclusion. Consider the implications: Trump warns Putin, who warns Assad, which means the three of them were working in concert in what becomes not a military operation against a foreign enemy, but a staged event, a stunt, a piece of political theater. But to what end? The only thing I can think of is that it was an elaborate scheme to provide Trump with political cover at a time his entire presidency was imploding. Now we know enough about our narcissist in chief to see that on his end this is a perfectly reasonable assumption. But what does Putin have to gain? Well, he has invested years and who knows how much money in shepherding Trump into the White House, so he has plenty of reason to prop him up. And Assad? He will do what Russia tells him to do.
      This seems to be the direction the dominoes are falling, and the repercussions will be earth shattering. I mean a US president colludes with not one, but two foreign leaders who are antagonistic to our national interests at the very least, in order to stage a phony and staggeringly expensive "attack" for the sole reason of propping up a president in free fall. Let's look past the obvious betrayal of the American people and the latest seemingly treasonous actions of a mad president, and look at the deeper moral implications.
      Trump used the gas attacks perpetrated by Assad against his own people, and which caused the suffering and death of many children, as an excuse to launch the missles, but in actuality was working with the monster who gassed the children in the first place. He had no problem whatsoever using the suffering and death of children to manufacture political cover. And then he went on television and dared to present himself as the defender of "God's children." No American president that I can think of has put on such a depraved and inhuman performance. How much longer can we allow this monster to run this game, allow him to be the face of this country?
      Do I know this is what transpired? No. Does the evidence point in that direction? It sure seems to. This monster has to go. What say you?"
      This is pretty much how I see it. One would have to have about 100 pounds of brain damage (and most right wingers, especially Trump supporters, do) to believe that Trump would pick up where Obama left off and actually do what he did, which was fight a proxy war against his old buddy Putin to take down Assad's government.
     The mayor of Homs, Syria claimed that five men died in the bombing raid. If that's so, that means Trump spent millions on 50 missiles and killed five innocent human beings just to give himself some wag the dog action. And if this extra-Congressional missile strike proves anything, this just brings Trump's complicity with Putin into greater relief. By that I mean, as a partisan political stunt, it failed miserably because it further exposes that Trump's even deeper in Putin's hip pocket than we'd ever thought.
     And the consensus I'm hearing that Assad did indeed launch that chemical weapon strike is disturbing and not benefiting from serious analysis. Obama's administration had been saying for years that Assad's been using chemical weapons against his own people without providing a shred of evidence to support those allegations. And if Trump, Putin and Assad would work in concert to keep a blithering idiot like Trump in power, is it so much of a stretch to believe that either the Russian or US president wouldn't think twice about killing 31 children and more adults for a political stunt? Both Trump & Putin are fucking ogres and would think nothing about killing children to achieve a short term political end (especially after Trump's thoughtless misadventure in Yemen in January that killed almost a dozen other children, one of whom being an 8 year-old girl who was a US citizen.).
     And if Trump cared so much for "God's children" he wouldn't be cutting federal funds to sanctuary cities and he wouldn't be stopping Syrian refugees from coming into our country. He'd be showing compassion toward these people, not bombing their country into the Stone Age.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Good Times at Gotham City, 4/7/17


Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Fool's is the Cruelest Day

     To show you what a topsy-turvy two and a half weeks it's been, allow me to summarize:
     On the 15th, I got a contract offer from a British publisher to bring out Tatterdemalion and four other Scott Carson books. He said he'd send me the first draft of the contract in two weeks and that passed three days ago. Since the 16th, I've been working feverishly on the sequel, The Murder Machine, not knowing how short of a deadline he'd give me to finish it.
     Then, two days after I walked around in just a tee short and very comfortably, Mother Nature essentially says, "Fuck you, it's not spring until I say it is" and dumps several inches of snow on us since last night (it's still snowing). That pretty much scuttles our plans to watch the Red Sox season opener against the Nationals at the Naval Academy. And maybe not spending that money's for the better because when our landlord showed up this morning to do the snow removal, he handed us something that I only wish was an April's Fool's prank:
     He's raising our rent by $100 a month and if we don't like it, the cocksucker's giving us just 30 days, the bare legal minimum, to get out. Obviously, we have nowhere else to go and will be forced to sign the new lease when he gets around to drafting it out.
     It goes without saying this will make things that much tougher for Mrs. JP and me for the remainder of the time we'll be living in this dump. God only knows why our landlord thinks our place is worth $750 a month- The sole entrance to our unit is so narrow we can't fit a couch through the stairwell (Yes, we haven't had a couch in over eight years). There's no cabinetry or counter space in the kitchen and we have a jury-rigged shower involving a garden hose installed in our 100+ year-old claw foot caste iron tub. But it is what it is.
     Obviously, we're going to need a bit of help, to the tune of $100 more a month just to cover the rent increase. To add to our growing list of troubles, I will not be able to drive my car legally as of today because the corrosion of the undercarriage will prevent my getting an inspection sticker which expired yesterday, so we'll need to get another second hand car.
     The timing may look suspicious as this is the time of year when people get their tax refunds but that wasn't my intent, regardless of how bad the optics look. It just so happens that this shit is hitting us literally all at once and on April Fool's day at that.
     So any help will be even more appreciated than usual until (hopefully), the money starts coming from my book royalties in about a year and we can finally stand on our own two feet. In the meantime, please make use of the Paypal button on the top right of the bottom of any post.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Heavy is the Double Weave That Wears the Crown

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)

"Now does he feel his title hang loose about him, like a giant's robes upon a dwarfish thief."
    -Shakespeare, Macbeth Act V, scene 2

Perhaps we've taken this, "In America, anyone can grow up to become President" thing we say to our kids a bit too far. Of course, in order to be an effective President, one must first actually grow up.
     Many conservative voters, we'll charitably call the walking brain stems who thought Trump would actually have their back, still identify themselves with the Party of Personal Responsibility. But I would like to ask these people to name one time that Trump has ever actually taken personal responsibility for any lie he's told, any misgovernance, any fuckup whatsoever.
     I guarantee in every case, it will result in a deer in the headlights look to be hastily followed up by an angry denunciation somehow involving the word "leftard" or "libtard" or some iteration or permutation thereof. But the point I'm making is that enough people in enough red states voted for this buffoon so that, even though he did not carry the majority of votes in what's supposed to be a democratic society, we nonetheless shoved into the Oval Office the world's oldest toddler.
     Toddlers and children in general famously do not have a sense of personal responsibility for the simple reason that they fear comeuppance from the authority figures in their lives. Personal responsibility means being no longer able to test boundaries and doing what comes natural to them, which is a propensity for chaos, the natural state of the juvenile.
     This is what comes to mind whenever I hear Donald Trump blame someone else for some fire that some unlucky staffer has to put out or at least downplay by telling us to ignore the smoke, that smoke doesn't mean there's a fire and if there is a fire, it's because of those damned "fake news" reporters who simply have it in for Trump.

     This inability for Trump to take any responsibility for anything reached its most sinister phase when the Trump-controlled National Enquirer, that bastion of fair and factual reporting that gave us Hillary/Alien hybrid love children and statues of Elvis on Mars recently reported that Trump and Trump alone caught the Russian spy in our midst.
     Joe McCarthy would be so proud.
     The "spy", of course, was one of the major players in his campaign, transition team and, for a brief time as National Security Advisor, his administration and that spy's name was Michael Flynn. Trump has the capacity to think of a hundred different reasons for throwing Flynn under the wheels of his semi, and pinning the entire Russia connection on him. But here's the likeliest reason.

From Russia, Without Love
The Trump-trumpeted scandal sheet would have you believe that the head of our government undertook a dangerous mission a la Mr. Phelps and turned up a dangerous double agent all on his own. But the plain fact is that Flynn could very well be volunteering everything he knows to the FBI in exchange for immunity for his testimony. (Think of John Schindler's famous observation that those who turn state's evidence first get the lightest sentences).
     The problem with this strategy of Trump's is that literally dozens of members of Trump's Cabinet and his administration have verifiable connections to Putin's Russia, starting with Trump himself and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Then it goes down the line with Paul Manafort, about whom we're not hearing so much these days, Trump's onetime campaign manager and who absolutely brokered very lucrative deals to hatch schemes that would benefit Putin's government while being detrimental to Ukranian interests. Blaming just Flynn for Trump's Russia connection is like blaming the carnage at Pamplona on the guy who just opened the bullpen gate.
     If anything brings down Trump, it'll be this because it's looking increasingly clear it compromised our very electoral process and put the wrong candidate in the Oval Office. Leading Republican hardliners such as John McCain and his vestigial twin Lindsey Graham haven't been very shy about mentioning Trump and Russia in the same sentence as well as hinting at harsh sentences for those involved. Which is only fair- The Russia connection and Trump's surrogates obviously were meeting with a certain Russian ambassador (If by ambassador you mean recruitment spy) named Kislyak.
     Nowadays, every Republican who ever met him, and there have been many, now snap their fingers and wear puzzled expressions when they hear Comrade Kislyak's name.
     The time will come either just before or after the midterms which will be a bloodbath for Republicans, if they don't get their act together and denounce Trump and his Russian connection soon, when they, too, will be snapping their fingers and wearing puzzled expressions when accused of meeting with Trump. And if they suffer the fallout from voters they so richly deserve, there will come a time when Republicans who are hip deep in this quagmire (starting with Devin Nunes) will be questioned by Democratic-led committees, "Are you now or have you ever been involved with ex President Donald J. Trump?"

Friday, March 24, 2017

Behold the Omnibus of Progress

     So yesterday, while Tangerine Nightmare was feting trucking executives who thought it would be a great idea to bring a semi on the grounds of the White House (what, no mud? They could've held a Monster Truck Rally thursday, Thursday, THURSDAY!), the House, without Trump knowing it, had punted voting on the Trumpcare bill until today. Then he got behind the wheel of the big rig and played Smokey and the Bandit for a few seconds after promising to blame truck drivers if the bill fell one vote short of passing. (Yes, he did.)
     No doubt, as he took the wheel of the inactive rig and went "Vroom, vroom", he was secretly fantasizing about running over Muslims and screaming, "How do you like it, you ragheaded motherfuckers?!"
     Now, Paul Ryan, a man who's two heartbeats away from the Presidency (and you know he'll be Pence's VP when, not if, when Trump's finally removed from office like the opportunistic foreign object that he is), is talking about cutting taxes when he can't even get his own party to agree on how to kill tens of thousands of Americans when they finally stick the gladius down the gullet of Obamacare.
     And when the GOP can't even agree on how they want to kill you, then there's surely trouble in Republican paradise.
     Essentially, Trump's tap dancing on the ceiling and it's a miracle he's managed to avoid any appreciable fallout for not having a health care plan worthy of replacing the ACA. Or any plan to stop ISIS. Or any plan at all that'll benefit the American people. And then, of course, there's Nunes practically rear-ending his own career by doing what he's been doing regarding Trump's ties to Russia. Apparently, the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee Chairman saw something that straightened out his pubic hair and immediately sought to minimize the damage even if it meant hoisting himself on his petard by possibly leaking classified intel. (Among the bombshells: Pence and not Trump was the intended target of the surveillance sweep.)
     Really, at some point, a bleeding heart liberal has to almost feel sorry for Sean "Bantam cock" Spicer and Kellyanne "Crack Whore Barbie" Conway in turning themselves into human countermeasures at least five days a week for this burning blimp of an administration led by a Mussolini Mini Me who pretends to drive trucks when he's not pretending to be President.
     Of course, the operative word is "almost" because, while I do not wish to see this country fail as Rush Limbaugh did on Election Night 2008, this administration has to officially fail and fall because not only can the center not hold, it's been butt-fucked into oblivion faster than Nunes did his career.
     And Congress, the Justice Department and We the People have to wake the fuck up and realize that Trump is the Yamchurian Candidate, he is Vlad Putin's fuck doll and our last election, shitty pair of presidential candidates or not, was compromised. Trump called on Russia to hack Clinton's email account and release the missing 30,000 emails and, days later, that's what happened.
     The Republicans aren't talking about St. Ronnie so much these days because St. Ronnie, when he wasn't accidentally walking into broom closets on his way to briefings he'd immediately forget, was a staunch foe of Russia back when it was still the USSR. He was against walls such as the one dividing East and West Germany and he sought to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons, not accelerate it.
     Trump had wrenched the Republican party into his own hideous image and now, within a generation, he's got Republicans cheerleading for Russia while Democrats rattle their sabres against it. Meanwhile, health care is in tatters, a spot on the Supreme Court is still open after more than 13 months and all Republicans can talk about now is lowering taxes for those least deserving.
     If Reagan could come back from the dead, he'd spit in Trump's face.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It Must Be Asked...

     ...how Trump's voters feel about his campaign promises now. Because...
     ...after Trump lambasted the 1% and promised to keep them out of his Cabinet, he then stuffed it with multimillionaires and multibillionaires and Wall Street insiders.
     ...after promising to make Mexico pay for his vanity wall, he then asks Congress to give him 20,000,000,000 of our dollars to build it.
     ...after promising to give Americans a better alternative to Obamacare, one in which more Americans than ever will be covered, 17,000,000 Americans instead will lose their health care.
     ...after promising to destroy ISIS within a month, Trump's first major military offensive was an unmitigated disaster in which children and a Navy SERAL were killed and the actual target taunted Trump in an audiotape and ISIS is as at least as strong as ever because Trump has no plan, after all.
     ...after promising not to touch your Social Security, he then immediately began gunning for your Social Security. And your Medicare.
     ...after promising not to waste taxpayer dollars on golfing and vacations like Obama, Trump has already been to Mar-a-Lago five weekends out of the first nine since being sworn in to play golf and sleep.
     ...after promising we'd use American steel for the unpopular Keystone XL pipeline, Russian steel began showing up with suspicious speed after Trump authorized the pipeline.
     ...after promising to save American jobs, the only ones he's "saved" involved corporations who got sweetheart tax breaks and those who haven't gotten them are still offshoring American jobs like crazy.
     ...after promising to "Make America Great Again", Mexico's president refused to meet with Trump, the Australian Prime Minister got hung up on and Germany's Chancellor and the Japanese Prime Minister had given him strange looks in public.
     ...after promising to reveal his tax returns, he then decided not to.
     ...after promising that his inauguration day was all about we, the people and that he would work for us, he immediately went on vacation the next day and when he returned set about stealing your health care, your school lunches,your Medicare, Meals on Wheels, your Social Security and everything a growing percentage of Americans need to keep body and soul together.
     ...after promising that neither he nor his campaign had any ties to Russia, it then turned out virtually everyone in his administration did have ties to Russia and lied about it even after being exposed as liars.
     So, how do you like your "President" now, morons?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Good Times in Gotham Ciity, 3/20/17

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Yes, Angela, We All Feel That Way

     After the clusterfuck with Trump and Merkel and him refusing to shake her hand in the Oval Office right after his clusterfuck with the Irish Prime Minister, I think we can now safely say that Angela Merkel is the leader of the Free World. Yes, Adolph Hitler's successor, the current Chancellor of Germany, is the Leader of the Free World. Let that sink in for a moment, folks...
     I'll bet Merkel is now nostalgic for the days when she was getting publicly molested by George W. Bush.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I'm Having a Better Day Than Julius Caesar

     It was getting to the point where I thought I'd never get to write this post. After hundreds and hundreds of form rejection letters from literary agencies on two continents and four countries, I was beginning to lose hope. Then today, on the Ides of March, I get the email I've been waiting literally decades for:
     I found a British publisher for Tatterdemalion. The acquisitions editor emailed me early this afternoon to tell me he loved it (I submitted it on March 3rd). I can't mention the name of the publisher just yet until I sign the contract, which ought to arrive in the mail in a couple of weeks.
     But these people are legit. I'd checked them out on their website both before and after I'd submitted and they're not some vanity press or third party publisher like the one from Athens that approached me on Christmas Eve (they wanted 200 Euros to cover advertising costs). They've also published two of my Facebook friends. I'm going to get 50% on the Kindle sales and 30% on the print edition, with author copies sold at 40% off. They also want to sign me to a three book deal, plus the two Scott Carson short stories and the Carson novella on which I've been working since 2015.
     Hopefully, they'll do for me what Bookoutre (another startup publisher that recently got snapped up by the Hachette Book Group) did for Robert Bryndza and his The Girl in the Ice (which I'm reading right now). That book sold over a million copies in just under a year.
     I'm so excited right now, I don't know whether to shit or wind my watch.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Good Times at Gotham City, 3/12/17


Saturday, March 11, 2017

19th Century Reasons for Being Institutionalized

     I think we've all come to the conclusion that Donald Trump is shithouse rat-on-fire insane and should be in a loony bin instead of the Oval Office. But when I saw this on Facebook this morning, I looked at this equally crazy checklist of reasons for institutionalization in the late 19th century and was tempted to take stock of what would've gotten Trump put in a rubber room back in the day:

  • 1) Intemperance & Business Trouble: One but not the other. Trump doesn't drink but his first divorce and business empire nearly falling would've put him in four point restraints.
  •  2) Hereditary Predisposition: Well, considering his grandfather Friedrich was a whore monger, tax cheat and draft dodger, it's obvious the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
  • 3) Ill treatment by husband: If a woman could be sent to the loony bin for being abused by her husband, then what does that say about the man who treats his wife like shit?
  • 4) Hysteria: Imaginary porno movies by Miss Universes? Imaginary illegal voters in the millions? The previous president bugging his house? The mass media our biggest enemy? All put out on Twitter in the wee hours of the morning? Hm...
  • 5) Immoral life: Do I really have to elaborate on this?
  • 6) Jealousy and Religion: Again, one but not the other.Trump's about as much of a Christian as Christopher Hitchens but jealousy when he thinks someone's stealing his thunder? Oh yeah.
  • 7) Laziness: Consider that every weekend since being sworn in, he's been jetting to Mar-a-Lago to play golf and sleep.
  • 8) Periodical fits: See #4.
  • 9) Political excitement and politics: "I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose a single vote!"
  • 10) Bad Company: I refer you to Trump's business associates and Cabinet.
  • 11) Business Nerves: If I had to declare bankruptcy four times, I'd be nervous, too.
  • 12) Domestic Affliction & Trouble: Do two divorces count?
  • 13) Egotism: Oh boy, where would I even start?
  • 14) Excessive sexual abuse: Does this reference being abused or being the abuser? If the latter, well,then...
  • 15) Greediness: Hasn't paid taxes in at least 20 years and brags about it.
  • 16) Seduction and Disappointment: Gee, how many women have rejected Trump's countless sexual advances?
  • 17) Sexual Derangement: "You can grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything."
  • 18) Feebleness of intellect: See Cabinet, Trump.
  •     Now, as for the reasons that would never apply to Trump?

  • 1) Imprisonment
  • 2) Over action of the mind.
  • 3) Over study of religion
  • 4) Over taxing mental powers
  • 5) Religious enthusiasm
  • 6) Death of sons in wars
  • 7) Decoyed into the Army
  • 8) Excitement as Officer
  • 9) Exposure in Army
  • 10) The War
  • 11) Fell From Horse in War.
  • Thursday, March 9, 2017

    Profiles in Sociopathy

    (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to faithful and long-suffering reader, CC)
         The New Yorker once asked, "(George Bush) looms small in memory... Having obliviously made murderous errors, Bush now obliviously atones for them. What do you do with someone like that?"
         It's a good and a fair question. Now, Bush has been out of his purloined office for over eight years, nearly 100 months, and he still threatens to inspire intellectual vapor lock in the ablest and most nimble of us. Looking back on it now, it's a miracle I was ever able to cogently to write about this walking brain stem for my first four years as a political blogger.
         And the "atonement" to which the New Yorker had referred happens to be Bush's latest artistic project, unironically entitled, "Portraits in Courage", which shot to #1 on Amazon for perverse reasons we'll never know, the proceeds of which going to the equally unironically named George W. Bush Center's Military Service Initiative in Dallas, Texas.
         Bush had hygienically painted (off photographs) the portraits of 66 veterans (Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, oddly, didn't make the cut) whose bodies and/or minds were fucked up beyond recognition by Bush's lies and the war crimes that resulted from them. This would be ironic if he'd never sent them into an illegal war of regime change on behalf of oil companies considering he's a draft dodger who used Daddy's connections to get him into a champagne flight in the 60's. But considering he did dodge the draft then sent tens of thousands of souls into that quagmire known as Iraq, while seriously floating the idea of cutting their pay and benefits at the same time he was bloating the Pentagon's budget... well, that falls under the heading of monstrous irony.
         This series of clumsy paintings that literally look like something Van Gogh would've produced if he had just a torso and instead had to paint by sticking a brush up his ass proves the psychiatric adage of "once a sociopath, always a sociopath." One does not get better from this condition just as psychopaths and those with Asperger's Syndrome don't just get better one day. This was proven during Bush's salad days as a wannabe Winston Churchill, a man who actually saw the consequences of sending men into a war, when he began painting self portraits and other world leaders. It took all these years for Bush to finally realize that, hey, there are other people in the world who aren't heads of state and that real human beings fight wars.
         You'd think if the man had an ounce of human decency, he'd donate the proceeds of this improbable #1 bestseller to those whose lives he'd ruined or at the very least compromised by ordering them into a war that never should've been waged. Not to some ironically-named thing with his name already on it.
         But that, too, would arise from the faulty assumption that Bush has any scruples or human decency instead of being the disingenuous sociopathic war criminal that he's always been and always will be. And lest you think I'm rudely interrupting the carefully spun narrative that #43 has mellowed in his old age and is even now morphing into America's kindly grandfather, allow me to pass on this tidbit that has slipped through the cracks:
         In another article linked in the one above, there's an anecdote of Bush finally meeting in person one of his subjects on (of course) a golf course. This man had lost an arm and an eye on his third deployment in Afghanistan and Bush actually quipped in front of this man, "Looks like your modeling career is over", to raucous laughter. Because, yes, it's hilarious after a while when our warriors who are thrust into a wrong-headed war lose body parts thousands of miles from home.
         We can only hope that this piece by the Onion becomes true because God knows in this world we coddle war criminals no matter how heinous their crimes. From Operation Paperclip to the strenuous attempt to gentrify one of the world's most notorious mass murderers, this trend continues. And if this life won't exact due justice, then perhaps the afterlife will.

    Tuesday, March 7, 2017

    Physician, Heal Thyself, Stat

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
    "Happy slaves are the bitterest enemies of freedom." - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
    "Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.” - Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
    There's a question that is being seriously asked on Facebook and elsewhere: Have any of Ben Carson's patients actually survived?
         It needs to be asked because Carson's obvious stupidity and intractable ignorance would seem to be inconsistent with the intelligence and erudition that's necessary for the job of brain surgeon. Over the decades, we've come to regard neurologists and rocket scientists as the most intelligent and learned among us. Yet everything that comes out of the new HUD Secretary's mouth would indicate that he seriously needs to be examined by one of his colleagues.
         In his introductory comments to his Housing and Urban Development staff yesterday, Ben Carson actually said, 
    There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.
         He delivered this incredible reimagining of the horrors of slavery while sounding as if he'd smoked a pound of hash before his address. USA Today was the first to break the story and it immediately went viral on social media. Yes, incredibly, this is exactly the man the Republican party wanted to lead HUD: A former brain surgeon whose only qualification for the job was having lived in subsidized housing as a boy and now wants to do away with it.
         It would be easy to ridicule and dismiss Carson's insanely clueless remarks about slavery if he was a white man waxing nostalgically about it. We laughed off Cliven Bundy when during his standoff against federal officers called for the return of slavery and cotton picking. But Dr. Carson is an educated African American and a member of Donald Trump's cabinet.
         There are no words. There are no excuses.
         But there is recent precedent for this line of thought.

    Shuckin' and Jivin'
    While weighing in on gay marriage in the Supreme Court's historic ruling (pdf file), Justice Clarence Thomas, another learned black man, detoured from the subject in his minority dissent by saying,
    Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.
         It's a sad time in our nation when enlightened whites, a century and a half removed from the time of slavery, have superior empathy and a better grasp of its evils and the human toll it exacted of its victims than the descendants of those victims. And what does it say about conservatism that it arrogantly seeks to replace history with a palimpsest that portrays one of the most evil facets of our history as a voluntary economic opportunity?
         We also laughed off Donald Trump the day he threw his hat down the escalator and into the three ring circus that is the Republican Party when he told Bill O'Reilly, "If you are an African-American youth right now, you’re in worse shape than you practically ever were in the history of this country." That is until the very next day when Dylann Storm Roof walked into an AME church in Charleston with a loaded hand gun.
         Four and a half years ago, an Arkansas state legislator, Jon Hubbard, wrote and published a book in which he actually said, "[T]he institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise." Just for the record, he flipped his concerns for the people who need it most, white Christians, when he bloviated about immigration, "{T}he immigration issue, both legal and illegal ... will lead to planned wars or extermination. Although now this seems to be barbaric and uncivilized, it will at some point become as necessary as eating and breathing."
         Art Robinson, a GOP Congressional wannabe, published a book of his own in which he cheerfully wrote, "The negroes on a well-ordered estate, under kind masters, were probably a happier class of people than the laborers upon any estate in Europe." (Let's forget for a minute that slavery was abolished across Europe by much of the early 19th century, especially in Great Britain and that not all slave owners were "kind".)
         Bob Vander Plaats, head of an ultra right wing organization called Family Leader, talked presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum into signing his pledge that stated, "A child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President."
         Then there was this from David Horowitz: "If slave labor created wealth for Americans, then obviously it has created wealth for black Americans as well, including the descendants of slaves." Which is like saying today's Jews, including Horowitz, are benefiting to this day from the slave labor of their forbears in the Nazi death camps.

    A Mind Enslaved by Conservatism is a Terrible Thing to Waste
    Only a conservative mind, insulated by wealth and privilege, could look at this infamous picture taken in Louisiana in 1863 and pronounce this slave's whip scars as a road map to success.
         But insularity alone doesn't account for this stubborn ignorance in the conservative brain. Neither can we blame the fading, tenuous reach of distant history. After all, anyone who's read Alex Haley's Roots or of the exploits of the brave men and women who operated the Underground Railroad immediately (one would think) have more insight into slavery. Insularity can be penetrated. History may yet reach us through its chroniclers. There is a deeper issue that explains this intractable, willful ignorance and it's a lack of empathy, a hallmark of the conservative mind.
         This explains how even prominent African American men, including two of the most powerful members of our government, can remain so clueless about the actual effects of slavery on their ancestors. Carson and Thomas had both benefited hugely from Affirmative Action and subsidized housing and health care, educational grants, etc. Note that all the advantages and programs listed above are also perennial targets of their party of choice. In other words, the tried-and-true conservative tactic of pulling up the ladder after themselves.
         It's this sociopathic lack of empathy that makes possible complete ignorance of the existence and purpose of the Underground Railroad, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (part of a quintet of bills ratified by Congress to mollify the Slave States to forestall a civil war) and Carson's incredible statement that immigrants came here on slave ships rather than ordinary passenger steam ships or that immigrants captured in Africa arrived in the belly of slave ships yet were doing so of their own volition.
         There is something very deeply, dreadfully wrong with the conservative mind that would ignore the fact that Great Britain had inserted a network of spies in the slave states during the mid 19th century (including the incredible story of Robert Bunch in Charleston) with the intent of undermining the slave trade that Great Britain had found so abhorrent. In fact, the mental dysfunction of the conservative mind is so pronounced, several respected psychologists and psychiatrists have weighed in on the matter.
         And this serious dysfunction in the Republican-conservative mind allows for incredible statements and beliefs among African Americans that the confederate flag is about "heritage" and that slavery was a "choice" (thereby completely ignoring the efforts of abolitionists such as John Brown and Frederick Douglass). This stubborn ignorance and lack of empathy or even a baseline of sympathy for the victims of slavery cannot be remedied by education. And, in the case of Secretary Carson and Justice Thomas, they especially have no excuses for their warped view of their own peoples' history.

    Monday, March 6, 2017

    Going... Down?

         Every time I see this picture of Putin, I think of Ian Fleming and Sean Connery. It looks just like the kind of cutting edge invention Dr. No or Goldfinger would use. And after 15 years of being Russia's dictator, it's fairly obvious by now that Vlad Putin, former KGB official, is now a James Bond-class super villain.
         Donald Trump, on the other hand, while he'd love to be a dictator on a par with his buddy Vlad, is exactly like the kind of super villain you'd see in an Austin Powers parody. Or rather, he's like Mini Me to Putin's Dr. Evil.
         Now we're hearing in several news sources, including the Daily Mail, Politico, CNN and the New York Times, that Trump had a screaming hissy fit in the Oval Office last Friday and booted his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and his Propaganda Minister Steve Bannon off Air Force One's passenger manifest at the last minute. And why did he do this?
         Because they didn't do enough to stop Jeff Sessions (KKK-Alabama) from recusing himself from any DOJ investigation into Trump's connection to Russia. The ship is going down fast and Trump's losing whatever little self control he may have had before improbably sliding into Obama's old chair.
         It doesn't do any good to bring up the fact that the Executive Branch should not in any way interfere with the Department of Justice, especially in matters directly concerning the Attorney General. Karl Rove can tell you all about that. And it profits no one to bring that up because Trump's an incurious idiot who makes George W. Bush, a lesser idiot, look like a PhD in Political Science by conspicuous relief. He has not displayed the slightest bit of pragmatism in how our government works aside from successfully installing a Fifth Column within it with the intention of destroying the departments and the people they're supposed to serve.
         And while I know that dossier on Trump in Russia was compiled by someone who used to be British Intelligence, the story about the golden shower shows put on for Trump remain apocryphal at best and don't get to the heart of the real issues. And the questions should be, what does Putin know, when did he know it and how is he using it?
         The longer this administration shambles on between the Potomac River and Mar-a-Lago, the more it begins to resemble an adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate as interpreted by Benny Hill or Monty Python. It's like a creepy, reverse version of 50 Shades of Grey only in this case it's the billionaire (and everyone under him) who's getting fucked.
         We all know why Sessions got chosen and confirmed as Attorney General. It was the sleaziest and skankiest of nods: The One Issue Nomination. Jeff Sessions, racist baggage containing his Klan costume and all, was essentially a Button Man installed in the Justice Department's Big Corner Office with the intention of killing any investigation into Trump's ties with Russia. Even during his campaign, it already looked as if Trump was being blackmailed by Putin for something and what that is remains to be seen.
         But the shipments of Russian steel provided by one of Putin's oligarch pals have already begun arriving (and very rapidly, as if the cargo ships were closer than that Russian spy sub off the coast of Connecticut) after Trump signed an executive order permitting the building of the Keystone XL pipeline after airily proclaiming it would use nothing but US steel. And now, the same people who were screaming about the pipeline to begin with are now screaming that American steel isn't being used, after all. As if it's OK to build this largely useless pipeline (it would create a few hundred jobs, tops, for Americans) as long as we use the right steel.
         As usual, we're missing the big picture while focusing on tremendous trifles. While the GOP falls in line with the diktats from the WH that everything Russian is A-OK despite it being a quasi-Communist hellhole, we're focusing on unsubstantiated stories that have yet to rise above the level of conspiracy theorizing. Our nation is being run by a foaming at the mouth madman who still refuses to believe that Russia hacked into the DNC and helped to hand him the election but believes Obama got a FISA warrant to spy on Trump Tower.
         Because he heard it on Breitbart.
         Think about that for a minute. As I'd predicted here months ago, Trump is a chimp with a machine gun, an epileptic juggling hand grenades. And while the decisions and executive orders he signs are officially his, they come from alt right conspiracy theory websites like Breitbart and God only knows where else.
         So, even if only for the wrong reasons, Trump did himself a favor by keeping people like Priebus and Bannon away from him during this, his latest in an endless string of vacations (although Bannon made it after all on a separate flight).
         But Donald Trump is as out of touch with reality, especially the inconvenient kind, as Putin is very in touch with it and gaming the giant geopolitical chess board like a true, albeit evil grandmaster.

    Thursday, March 2, 2017

    This Cartoon Wins the Internet


    Wednesday, March 1, 2017

    The State of Our Union

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
    Someone kidnapped Donald Trump last night and replaced him with some pod person simulacrum just before last night's State of the Union Address.
         It was almost successful. He was virtually what a Republican President should sound like in his boilerplate orthodoxy but something was off. It was like looking at the best mannequins at Madame Tussaud's or Mitt Romney and marveling at the reproduction of humanity. But something was missing.
         Trump's first State of Union before a joint Congress was everything the usual leaks promised it would be. Hidden in a dark closet in the White House or Trump's mind was the usual snarling, paranoid serial tweeter screaming about phantom terrorists in Sweden or nonexistent porno movies by Miss Universes or three to five million illegal aliens voting or the media being the "enemy of the American people." 
         Pushed out of sight was the cryptofascist who chose for brtual exclusion the citizens of seven Muslim majority nations with whom he just coincidentally has no business dealings. Gone for a couple of hours was the guy whose executive orders have kept doctors from arriving at their jobs to heal the sick, detaining Australian children's book authors and Muhammad Ali's son.
         Poof. Like magic, that man was held at bay away from the incurious eyes of his 62,000,000 voters.
         This new, improved version of Donald Trump, whose job title as President is as irrational and inconsistent with sanity and rationality as King Elizabeth II was almost, well, normal.
         He did many if not all the right things such as reading his usual Bannon-Miller speech, even using his teleprompter instead of winging it. He used as political window dressing the widow of the Navy SEAL who was killed while he was somewhere else, tweeting, instead of the Situation Room as that botched operation, the first of his so-called presidency, played out like a Greek tragedy.
         He spoke about amnesty for younger undocumented immigrants and putting them on track toward citizenship, being "eager" to reach across  the aisle and working with Democrats to actualize his bumper sticker slogan of making America great again.
         But the Democrats weren't having it. While Republicans, as always during a SOTU delivered by one of their own, stood up and applauded every few minutes, those on the other side of the aisle remained seated, stone-faced. Afterward, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told the press it was the least important State of the Union in recent history because Trump only said what he was going to do rather than how he was going to do it.
         It was a good performance by a nonhuman homunculus like Trump to even try to act statesmanlike, like watching a poodle walk on its hind legs for a few seconds- One was surprised to see it even attempted much less actually acted out for as long as it had.
         But then, the aware remembers Trump's last few statements before taking the well at the House- How liberals are to blame for the Jewish cemetery descrecations in Pennsylvania, blaming Owens for his death in Yemen while Trump was tweeting about a TV appearance, whining about health care being so complicated...
         ...and then we realized Donald Trump wasn't kidnapped by aliens and supplanted by a pod person, after all. The career tax cheat and draft dodger who hadn't an ounce of political experience prior to January 20th has finally learned how to reinvent himself and lie in a more plausible manner.
         Last night was the night Donald Trump finally became a professional politician, a run of the mill Beltway insider. The Executive and Legislative branches became, at least in the short term, cold-fusioned.

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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  • Top 10 Events at the Romney Olympics.
  • Mitt Romney's Top 10 Wild & Crazy Moments.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Dick Cheney Got a Heart Transplant.
  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
  • My Top 10 Resolutions.
  • Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign.
  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
  • Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter During #OWS Eviction.
  • Top 10 Herman Cain Pickup Lines.
  • Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign.
  • Top 10 Inaccuracies re bin Laden's Death.
  • Top 10 Ways to Prevent a TSA Patdown.
  • Top Ten Things Not to Say When You're Pulled Over.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Donald Trump Bowed Out of the Presidential Race.
  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Today's Parliament Inquiry into News Corp.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why There Was No Vote on the Debt Ceiling Last Night.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Dick Cheney's Upcoming Memoir.
  • Top Ten Ways Americans Will Observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
  • Top Ten Advances in Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • Top Ten Inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Book About Lincoln.
  • Top Ten Suggestions From the Cat Food Commission.
  • Top Ten Worst Moments in George W. Bush's Presidency.
  • Top Ten Facts in George W. Bush's Memoir.
  • Top Ten Reasons Terry Jones Postponed His Koran Burning
  • Top 10 Causes for Dick Cheney's Congestive Heart Failure
  • Top Ten Ways That Jan Brewer Will Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
  • Top Ten Demands in Sarah Palin's Contract
  • Top Ten Whoppers in Karl Rove's New Book
  • Top 10 Items Left Behind in Rush Limbaugh's Apartment
  • Top Ten Things Barack Obama said to Rush Limbaugh in the Hospital
  • Top Ten Bizarre Promos Offered by the New Jersey Nets
  • Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal
  • George W. Bush's Top Ten Lesser Achievements
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Salon.com.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
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