Thursday, December 28, 2017

Open Letter to Carolyn Reidy and Mitchell Ivers

(This letter has also been emailed directly to Carolyn Reidy and Mitchell Ivers just to let them know how deeply I disrespect them.)
Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: 212-698-2897
Fax: 212-632-4084

Dear Simon & Schuster, et al:

     Thanks largely to Jason Pinter and his now-viral post on Twitter, we have been afforded a glimpse of the shit show that ensued when your right wing imprint, Threshold, decided to crawl into bed with Milo Yiannopoulos last winter. Here is a guy who’d been fired by Breitbart for making apologist statements in behalf of pederasts, got banned from Twitter for life (which would’ve made for a huge plank in his marketing platform) and was banned from speaking to his old grammar school in the UK as well as Berkeley. Granted, several of these incidents had come to light after your executives had seen fit to sign Milo to a $255,000 contract with an $80,000 advance. But you must have known, should have known what you were crawling into bed with when you signed to a lucrative contract a bigoted, self-loathing gay man who had launched a speaking tour called “Dangerous Faggot.”
     And not only was he escorted straight past the editorial offices of Simon & Schuster but was even led straight to the executive suites. By his own admission, he tried his level-headed best to alienate you out of giving him a contract, showing what a self-destructive piece of shit he truly is but, when the performance art was over, you shoved a large pile of money his feet and shook his hand.
     And now here you are, embroiled in a $10,000,000 nuisance lawsuit in which your lawyers had lost the first round when they had their motion to dismiss rejected by a New York State Supreme Court Judge. And I do not feel sorry for you one bit. And this is a contract you'd actually had the gall to defend, stating. "We do not and never have condoned discrimination or hate speech in any form." Which was an odd tack to take since by the summer of 2016 Yiannopoulos had been banned for Twitter for life harassing and basically stalking black actress Leslie Jones over her role in Ghostbusters
     And, if Simon & Schuster's official corporate line is to condemn "discrimination and hate speech", then explain why you'd chosen to publish a book in which he smears feminists as fat women who own lots of cats? Or says that gay men should stay in the closet?
     This is the price you pay for getting involved with right wingers in the first place, let alone setting up a right wing imprint such as Threshold. Lord only knows why a once-prestigious publishing company would flush itself down the cultural tubes by setting up a right wing imprint instead of a progressive one that at least would’ve attracted intelligent, thoughtful writers presenting intelligent, thoughtful books. But “fairness and balance” only seems to apply when giving right wing nut jobs such as Milo a voice in the national debate.
     Your entire business model is Byzantine and perplexing. Not that this is entirely your fault. The Big Five as a whole is perplexing in its outdated and non-agile business model that never seems to be able to keep step with the Protean changes in today’s publishing business. And Lord only knows why you, Ms. Reidy, were recently honored with being made Publisher’s Weekly’s Person of Year in 2017 after embroiling your publishing company in a lawsuit that has made it, moreso than usual, the laughingstock of the English-speaking world, the publishing business in general and social media.
     Let me tell you a true story:
     About seven years ago, I got fed up with literary agents launching their flunkies at me with countless form letters because they themselves didn’t think I was worth the ten seconds it would take to hit the “send button.” So I submitted my novel, THE TOY COP, over the transom to Judith Curr, co-founder of your other imprint, Atria Books.
     Judith got back to me, sent me an encouraging letter then tried to hook me up with a buddy of hers who just happened to be a literary agent named Judith Sanders, with whom she just happened to have lunch the day before. “Send her the whole manuscript,” she said, “and we’ll take it from there. She ought to be emailing you any minute.”
     Needless to say, warning bells went off.
     Part of the publishing business’s moral leprosy consists of a generation ago your ilk making literary agents primary gatekeepers because you no longer felt like going through the slush pile. Now, in this massive, undeclared kickback scheme you audaciously call a business model, we’re forced to take on an agent and waste untold amounts of time soliciting the attention of these morons who literally fail at their jobs nearly 100% of the time.
     When an agent tries to put you in touch with a publisher, that’s bad enough. But when a publisher such as Judith Curr tries to find an author an agent, it makes it look even more like the collusive kickback scheme that ought to be enforceable under the RICO statutes. And that’s exactly what it is- It’s racketeering. It’s the publisher’s way of telling the author, “Nice property ya got here. Be a shame if… nuttin’ happened to it.”
     Here was the sticking point- Vicky Sanders had rejected 10 days earlier, through the usual form letter, a brilliant novel I’d written entitled AMERICAN ZEN. It was the last of several such letters I’d gotten from Sanders over the years and I’d already written her off on my agent contact list. So when Sanders indeed wrote me within minutes after sniffing out a possible paycheck and opportunity, I told her I didn’t want her anywhere near my literary properties.
     She then pretended she had any control over the situation and did the Aesop’s Fable sour grapes thing and rescinded an offer I’d already rejected, stating there “was too much history between us.” I responded the real problem, in fact, was that there was no history between us and she had nothing but her stupidity, laziness and arrogance to thank for that.
     So what’s the difference between Milo and me, despite the fact Milo has no talent for writing whatsoever? Milo had a literary agent, some idiot named Tom Flannery, therefore, despite his self-immolating behavior, he had instantly had more credibility than me and was led straight to the executive suites before he’d even caught sight of an editor.
     And what happened to THE TOY COP almost seven years ago? When Judith Curr realized I wasn’t going to put any cha ching in her agent buddy’s pocket, she immediately shunted me to one of her flunkies and they both passed on the book.
     And now your formerly great publishing company is embroiled in a nuisance lawsuit over the guy you did choose over me, thereby spending more money than you likely would have made by publishing that putrid piece of shit, Dangerous. Well played, Carolyn, well played.
     Lord only knows what you people were thinking. Even Milo’s right wing editor, Mitchell Ivers, a man who thinks liberals are the ones suppressing free speech (great hiring choice, there, by the way), couldn’t stand reading it. He was given a box of shit a la Steve Mnuchin and was asked to turn it into a bouquet by Simon & Schuster’s executives while they prepared themselves to ride the Milo Gravy Train.
     But a box of shit is still a box of shit and never even rises to the level of fertilizer if it doesn’t have anything viable to fertilize. I would think, seeing as how literary agents, from whom you buy almost all your properties, fail at their jobs nearly 100%, publishing executives would know that just because a person has a literary agent it doesn’t mean they’re worthy of a publishing contract.
     And the moral and legal stench of getting into bed with a guy who’d already made himself a psychedelic bozo is wafting across the internet and you have egg you likely will never wipe off your face.
     If I ever get a literary agent, I will instruct him or her to simply bypass Simon & Schuster in the submission process on the grounds I would never wish to be published by a corporation that had shown the astoundingly bad judgment of offering a large publishing contract to a hateful bigot such as Milo Yiannopoulos.
     And people such as Yiannopoulos, and by extension, Donald Trump, should and will serve as an object lesson in the dangers of doing business with such toxic individuals without first examining our souls and determining who and what we are as a species and judging how far we’re willing to go in the name of corporate profits. And, as much as I loathe Milo and everything he stands for, a part of me hopes he wins his lawsuit and you lose another $10,000,000 to that psychopath for breach of contract.
          Very Sincerely,

     Robert Crawford

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

You've Been Warned

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
"Many of us began 2017 with the consoling thought that the Donald Trump presidency couldn’t possibly be as bad as we feared. It turned out to be worse." - Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post
Today marks the 85th day that Donald Trump has spent on a golf course since January 20th. As a dwindling minority that still accepts and supports Trump as our President would know, if someone could teach them how to use a calculator, that's a quarter of Trump's first year in office. Remember that bland yet chilling inaugural speech to a shriveled post-Obama crowd in which he said he would work hard for the American people? Before anyone knew it, he was already off to a golf course with his name on it, eventually bankrupting the Secret Service in less than seven months because Trump found a way to profit off his own security detail.
     It's difficult for anyone of reasonable intelligence and cognitive capabilities to understand why and how anyone outside of the 1% that just got the biggest and bestest Christmas present in US history in the tax scam bill could still support this malignant megalomaniac but here we are. And perhaps the painfully methodical Mueller investigation and the deliberately sluggish processes of the federal government are the only things that are keeping this administration on life support.
     From the first day, Trump's Russia-enabled "presidency" is like a 20 year-old old Ford Pinto that you just know is going to blow itself and several innocent bystanders to smithereens but, miraculously, still hasn't. You know nothing lasts forever, especially in the age of term limits. And yet the exhaust pipe still keeps churning out exhausting lie after lie and becomes almost unto a miracle of perseverance.
     After all, there's no way a man like Donald Trump could last for more than a year, year and a half (perhaps even close to two years, pending Congressional testimony and grand jury indictments) in the highest office in the land. There's no possible way such a counterproductive and counterintuitive kakistocracy assembled by Trump could survive all that time in the public and media scrutiny.
     And yet, we had eight years of Bush II, with nary an article of impeachment written besides a completely ignored one written by the now-forgotten Dennis Kucinich. Bush survived eight years without one serious Congressional challenge despite having committed some of the most egregious war crimes in American history in Iraq and Afghanistan. So don't tell me pure evil doesn't have a survival instinct. It would hardly exist if it hadn't.
     And yet every time Trump screams "fake news" or "witch hunt" with wearisome frequency without being significantly challenged, the more he lowers the bar of the national discourse and the more Overton's Window shifts ever more to the right. In fact, the last 11 months have shifted that window so far to the right it's now just a smidgen to the left of Nazi Germany.

Yes, I Just Invoked Godwin's Law. Here's Why.
Anyone who's even done a cursory examination of the earliest years of the Third Reich should see countless alarming similarities between it and the first year of Trump's rule. In fact, if one goes to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC (at which he'd spoken last April in which he'd robotically denounced anti Semitism without once mentioning the wave of it in this country since his election with hardly a mention from his administration), one will see a list of 14 signs of emerging fascism.

     A well-informed individual can hardly look at this list and not be tickled by one memory or another of Trump doing his woven-headed best to make these things a reality in just the first 11 months of his reign. "Corporate power protected" was honored in a big way just with the tax scam bill that Republicans rammed through (while denying the filibuster to the minority Democrats). The corporate tax rate was suddenly cut almost in half from 35% to 21% in the face of history and economic sanity that show time again that tax cuts do not create jobs. And whatever the tax "overhaul" didn't do for corporations, his ruinous Cabinet that's crawling with billionaires are busy filling in the gaps with an orgy of deregulation. "Labor power suppressed"? Check.
     "Rampant Sexism." He's Donald fucking Trump, whose entire life has been a shambling shrine to crumbling and outdated male sexism and sexual assault. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, assaulted a female reporter March last year and Trump defended him. "Religion and government intertwined"? At first, that's a hoot since Trump's a bigger fan of Hitler's speeches than the Bible. But then, showing he has some survival skills, after all, Trump nominated and shoe-horned into his Cabinet evangelical bozos such as Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson and, most notably, Mike Pompeo, who leads prayer meetings at Langley. and, in the WH, Ralph Drollinger, who once said mothers serving in public office were "sinners."
     "Obsession with crime and punishment." Trump pretty much covered that in his inaugural speech. For good measure, he also folded in "Powerful and continuing nationalism" into it, even though it's all but obvious he only cares about 1% of the nation. "Disdain for human rights." Far be it for a billionaire to be invested in human rights and Trump does his fellow oligarchs proud by strenuously ignoring that pesky human rights issue. Last September at the UN, Trump made his thoughts known on that subject and he pulled a public hissy fit because UN's Human Rights Council included his business buddies, Saudi Arabia, one of the most egregious human rights abusers on the planet.
     "Rampant Cronyism and corruption"?

     Just stick their pusses next to the words in the dictionary.
     "Identification of enemies for a unifying cause."
     Trump did this just seconds after he got off the escalator at Trump Tower the day he announced his candidacy when he called Mexicans "rapists and criminals" to a mostly paid crowd. Sally Kohn and Jon Stewart were excited about Trump's new candidacy "if only for the entertainment value." Then, like John Carpenter's Thing, entertainment nightmarishly morphed into policy.
     In "supremacy of the military", Trump is merely a typical Republican- a draft dodging chickenhawk who loves the idea of a strong, misadventurous military in the abstract while showing nothing but disdain for individual service members who prove mouthy or inconvenient. Witness Trump's despicable "he knew what he signed up for" remarks to La David Johnson's widow and sending Army Rangers into a suicide mission in Niger.

Shall I Go on?
Let's return to "Powerful and continuing nationalism," shall we? Because this is one part of those 14 warning signs that not only did Trump fulfill, but even expanded upon. In a watershed moment of his alleged presidency, there was a torchlit rally in Charlottesville organized by the alt-right, which is a paper-thin rebranding of the neo Nazi and white supremacist movement. One of their own plowed his car at 40 mph into a crowd of people, killing Heather Heyer. Trump wasted no time in demonizing those in attendance... namely the so-called "counterprotesters" who weren't counterprotesters but protesters of Nazi violence.
     The man with a Jewish son in law and daughter who's converted to Judaism defended those who'd caused that death (and who were filmed chanting, "Jews will not replace us" and that neo Nazi trope, "Blood and soil."), eventually calling them, his Jewish Secretary of the Treasury to his immediate right, "some very fine people." Later, at a failed rally in Arizona, he ridiculed the antifa movement. Yes, for the first time in US history, a sitting US president took the side of Nazis, Klansmen, white supremacists and neo Confederates. So, rather than merely honoring the fascist code of "Powerful and continuing nationalism," Trump also gave white nationalism a huge boost and a thumbs up from his campaign backer, white nationalist leader David Duke.
     Don't believe the KKK endorsed Donald Trump? Would you believe their biggest newspaper, The Crusader?
     "Controlled mass media." Hm, that's a toughie. Let's start with Trump personally banning all but Russian media when he entertained his comrades in the Oval Office the day after firing FBI Director James Comey. How about, a month into his rule, Trump banned respected news organizations such as CNN, the BBC and the Guardian from press gaggle briefings? Or when Trump threatened to eject CNN correspondent Jim Acosta? "Fake news", "witch hunt", blah blah blah.
     "Obsession with national security." This one leaves a lot of people scratching their heads. In tried-and-true Republican dogma, Trump seems to be obsessed with our nation's security while inexplicably endangering it at the same time. One needn't look any further than Trump's Asian Doppleganger, Kim Jong Un. Between calling him "rocket man" at the UN General Assembly and goading that other megalomaniac into launching missiles at our base in Guam, Trump seems bound and determined to be not just the 45th president but the 45th and last.
     Let's also return to "disdain for human rights." Less than a week after he was sworn in, Trump said on national TV that, after speaking with the highest levels of US intelligence, he asked, "Does (torture" work?" And he claimed to have been told, "I've spoken as recently as twenty-four hours ago, with people at the highest level of intelligence, and I asked them the question, Does it work? Does torture work? And the answer was yes. Absolutely." Even the Bush administration, which turned torture into a major crux of US foreign policy, bristled at the very word "torture", giving rise to the more PC version, "enhanced interrogation." For good measure, Trump also vowed to not only kill terrorists but their families, as well (a promise he'd almost immediately made good on).
     "Disdain for intellectuals and the arts"? Duh.
     And then, there's the big Kahuna,,,

"Fraudulent elections."
Yes, of course there was fraud in the last election but not in the way Trump and Kris Kobach are obsessed with believing. Like a true banana republic dictator, it wasn't enough for Trump to "win" the Electoral College. He became obsessed with losing the popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 to Hillary Clinton and immediately claimed all three million and perhaps even up to five million voted illegally or were dead. He was so obsessed with this slight to his imagined popularity that he even set up a Voter Fraud Commission with fellow conspiracy theorist Kris Kobach.
     But that's not what Robert S. Mueller III has spent the better part of the year investigating. While Kobach's commission has not turned up one instance of voter fraud in 2016, there's plenty of evidence to more than suggest that there were loads of Republican electoral fraud and colluding with the highest levels of the Russian government to that end.
     Trump's more than suspicious relationship with Russian dictator Vlad Putin, a former KGB operative, began years before that now-infamous meeting at Trump Tower June of last year between another former Russian KGB agent, Trump's sons, a Kremlin-linked Russian attorney and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. We all know the story now: The Russians offered dirt on Hillary Clinton, Don Jr. broke his neck to get it, realized they had bupkiss, then when the story broke 13 months later, Trump personally crafted the official narrative of that meeting and claimed it was all about adopting Russian orphans.
     They weren't just talking about Clinton. Obama-era sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea were also on the table, says the Russian lawyer. In fact, those sanctions that have proved so harmful to Russian businesses and banks were the primary concern of those selfsame Russians to the point they were openly meeting with then Senator Jeff Sessions to discuss just that. Then there was the reason Michael Flynn got sacked as National Security Advisor- Discussing those same sanctions with Russian officials and lying to Mike Pence and the FBI about it. Fake news? Flynn pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI, as did George Papadopoulos.
     So, no. Robert Mueller has not been digging deeply all these months to see whether or not your abuela voted illegally for Hillary. People like Flynn, Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos are but mere pawns, rooks at best in this shameless Kremlin takeover of our electoral system in this Richard Condon novel come to life. Mueller is after the big chess piece he can topple:

      The queen.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Xmas From Our Home to Yours

      May you have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Sunday, December 24, 2017


    (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Constant Reader CC)
     Did you ever see SILVERADO? It was one of the best westerns of the 80's, maybe of all time. The bad guy Cobb was played by Brian Dennehy. And every time Cobb said he was making "an adjustment", he would wind up killing someone.
      "Don't force me to make an adjustment," he said to one character. Translation: "Don't make me kill you."
      Seems as though they're all Cobb, now, especially AT&T, who are using weasel words and phrases such as "workforce adjustment" to justify 1000 layoffs right after the holidays. I honestly believe these executive cunts actually enjoy firing people just before Christmas. It probably gives them erections, maybe putting people out of work and announcing it just before Christmas even makes them spontaneously ejaculate. And it's always just before Christmas when firings and layoffs are announced. Even at his worst, Scrooge didn't lay off Bob Crachit.
     So, how is this GOP tax scam bill going to create jobs, again, Trump? Oh yeah. Empowering the actual labor force was never the intention, was it?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

It's Time to Remember Edwin Lemkin

     I just got done looking at the obituary of my old Social Studies (what we used to call it in the 70's) teacher, Mr. Edwin Lemkin. It dutifully notes that he was 89 when he passed away in West Palm Beach, Florida on July 23rd, 2010. However, there isn't a mention of his career as a professional educator in East Meadow, New York, where I'd completed high school, or anywhere else. There's no picture. There's just a ghostly trail tracing some of the courses he taught in 1966 and beyond.
     A decade after that, I formally made Mr. Lemkin's acquaintance when it had been decided I would have him for Social Studies in my senior year. He was a short, squat fireplug of a man, with a borderline pugnacious personality. He made no bones about the fact he was former Navy and looked as if he had been born to be a Navy Chief or higher. I used to love making jokes that his booming voice called to mind a naval foghorn.
     But Mr. Lemkin was much more than a man who quit the US Navy and carelessly decided on a second career in education. He turned out to be quite an astute and learned man and, all jokes aside, I quickly realized why East Meadow Senior High had chosen to contract his services.
     I don't know what action he saw in the Navy but I'd be willing to bet he saw early action in Vietnam, a war that had just ended so recently, it hadn't even begun to be taught in high school curriculums. But if there was, I'm sure he could've given us his thoughts and impressions on the war in Southeast Asia. Perhaps he'd even seen action in WW II or Korea.
     But I'm writing this 40 years after the fact because present conditions in our nation's Capitol, which are having a ripple effect in every corner of Sarah Palin's "Real 'Murrica" make me think of one thing Mr. Lemkin said in either 1976 or '77.
     Out of the nine months we had him as our senior year Social Studies teacher, the one thing he said that stuck in my mind the most was his thoughts on George Wallace.
     "George Wallace stands for hate... and that's why he's never going to get elected President of the United States," he confidently said. And we three dozen or so students in his classroom perhaps were comforted that such a noxious racist such as George Wallace, while not exactly relegated to the fringes of American society (he took five states in the 1972 primaries), would never go on to the most powerful and exalted office in the free world.
     George Wallace was the last of the nationally known Dixiecrats. He never changed party affiliation to the end of his days but he would fit in perfectly with today's GOP. The man who had once famously pulled a stunt such as standing in a doorway at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and who said in his inaugural address just months earlier, "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" cynically tried to garner mainstream support by proclaiming he no longer supported segregation.
     Yes, a man that filled with racist hatred was actually winning states in the 1972 Democratic presidential primaries and that was frightening enough. And it took a wouldbe assassin's bullets to derail his presidential aspirations forever.
     Mr. Lemkin, were he alive now, would be appalled to see who we'd elected president just last year. Perhaps he was appalled by Jeff Sessions' ascension to the junior Senate seat in Alabama but Sessions, as we soon realized to our individual horror, was just the hors d'oeuvre in the rancid banquet of racism to which we've been subjected since Trump threw his double weave in the ring in June of 2015.
     It started very much like Trump doing the same thing four years earlier. He was in and out in three weeks and made not a ripple in the political waters. He went back to his ill-gotten real estate empire, shitty reality TV show and beauty pageants and we thought that was that.
     But after eight years of a biracial President, "Real 'Murrica" decided it had had enough. Wall Street's Dow Jones going through the roof wasn't enough for them (a fair enough assessment, since Main Street and Wall Street have two completely different economies where the wildest fortunes of the latter have little or no impact on the former). Rising employment wasn't enough for them nor health care that insured an additional 20,000,000+ Americans.
     By 2015, "Real 'Murrica" had had it up to here with the Obamas and wanted to elect someone who was the polar opposite of Obama, someone who'd infamously called the Hawaiian-born President a fraud, that he was born in Kenya, thereby trying to delegitimize the most unassailably legitimate President since Bill Clinton. And Donald Trump had finally found his audience and at the perfect time.
     Birther Zero's campaign took off since Trump said to his largely mercenary crowd, which he almost stiffed as he had so many others he'd contracted over the decades, that Mexicans were rapists and criminals and that he was really really rich. It no longer mattered to the fact-allergic crowd that early in his presidency, Obama had ordered the deportations of up to 2.5 million people, mainly Hispanics. Because Trump promised...
     ...a wall.
     One not seen on such a massive scale since the Berlin Wall was erected in the days after Checkpoint Charlie. Only this one would be far more massive and militarized than East Berlin's wall.
     And that was all they needed to hear. He would give them a wall after effortlessly demonizing an entire nationality and then audaciously saying he'd make Mexico pay for it.
     Two and a half years later and almost a year into his so-called presidency, Trump had not delivered on that wall, much less one for which Mexico had pledged to pay.
     Instead, since then we've heard comic book ideas such as a transparent wall to foil drug runners, "a virtual wall" and other bizarre ideas even Rube Goldberg wouldn't have dreamed up. Alas, so far the only concrete evidence we've seen of the plans to build a wall along the southern border are the US government's land grabs along southern Texas, the same state that Trump won by 9 points. Many of those landowners who've seen their land stolen from them by "eminent domain" or bought for pennies on the dollar were Trump voters who cheered for the very same wall that they, not Mexico, they will subsidize with their ancestral land.
     In other words, it's the same tired refrain from Republican voters who also went to the dark side as they have most of their lives, "Yes, well, he's a lunatic but since I voted for him, his insane bullshit won't splash back on me." These were the same people in the Rust Belt and other depressed parts of the flyover states that Trump effortlessly conned for a year and a half that he would make them great again, too, until their jobs continued disappearing overseas and the 1% got a fat, greasy $1.5 trillion tax cut at their expense.
     But I'm here to talk about Mr. Lemkin and racism and his premature confidence that a man like George Wallace would never get elected president.
     No, he didn't. But we elected far worse.
     Say what you want about the former Alabama Governor but he was a lifelong politician and regardless of whether or not the Klan would've gotten him elected had he not been shot, he probably would've had the survival skills to throw them under the bus if something like Charlottesville had happened on his watch. After all, by 1972, realizing there weren't enough racists to get him elected, Wallace went populist and had repudiated segregation.
     But this summer, Trump embraced the racists, even calling them "very fine people" even after one of them murdered an innocent woman named Heather Hyer. In the one statement he made denigrating the racist troublemakers in Charlottesville's alt-right rally, he delivered it with the reluctance and insincerity of a five year-old boy forced by his parents to apologize to his neighbors for putting a baseball through their window.
     And indeed, the very next day at Trump Tower, Donald Trump essentially took back everything he'd said the day before and that's the day he called the white supremacists, antiSemites and KKK members "some very fine people," hardly disguised dog whistle language that immediately pricked up David Duke's ears.
     In fact, Donald Trump has gone after African Americans with more vitriol than he ever had the white nationalists who'd taken a life and inflamed the entire nation. It was the Nexus phase of the development of a man who with his father was sued by HUD for denying leases to African American applicants.
     And, before we entirely leave the subject of Alabama, there was Trump's reluctant and cynical championing of a racist made straight from the crumbling Wallace mold: Pedophile Roy Moore, a man who'd said that America's best days were during slavery.
     No, Mr. Lemkin, George Wallace never got elected President of the United States. What we got, instead, four decades later was the refinement of that message in the form of Donald Trump, President of a Disunited States of America, a man who brought millions of outraged women to the National Mall less than a day after his nightmarish inauguration. A man who makes the late Governor Wallace look like a model of statesmanship by conspicuous relief. And we slowly and gradually tolerate this overtly racist behavior. Worse than that- We're assimilating such racism back into our national culture.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

This Boy's Thug's Life

Paul Ryan spontaneously ejaculates as he is looked at by Donald Trump.
     Those of you who are fans of Leonardo DiCaprio may remember a relatively little-noted film he did with Ellen Barkin and Robert DeNiro entitled This Boy's Life. It was the film version of Tobias Wolff's memoir of the same name. It's a very thinly fictionalized account of a horrendous relationship suffered by Wolff and his mother.
      In the movie, Ellen Barkin's character embarks on a hare-brained scheme to mine uranium after leaving behind another in a long string of disastrous relationships. She's nice, is sympathetic as a struggling single mother trying to make a better life for her son Toby. But she's a little on the stupid and/or naive side.
     She proves it by getting mixed up with a guy named Dwight Hansen (impeccably played by Robert DeNiro). Dwight sweeps her off her feet when they meet in Seattle and she agrees to move her and Toby to his hometown of Concrete, California.
     Concrete's a drab little town but it promises a better life so the mother and son move in. By this time, however, Dwight showed his true colors with Toby in Seattle when alone in his truck he physically assaults the child for impersonating him.
     Soon after they move in and Wolff marries Dwight and becomes the next Mrs. Hansen, things immediately start to fall apart. Hansen's pissed with his new girl because she's a crack shot and did better than him in the town's annual turkey shoot, insisting his sight must be off. His violence toward Toby escalates as the boy defies and opposes him at every turn. All during this time, the mother tries to talk "sense" into Toby, telling him he'd better knuckle down before they find themselves homeless.
     Finally, Dwight's cruelty escalates to such proportions that even Toby's mother cannot ignore it any longer. In the final scene, as the Wolffs run away and leave the dust of Concrete behind, Dwight runs out of the house and whines, "What about me? What about me?" over and over.
     I give you President Dwight Hansen, more popularly known as Donald Trump, aka IQ45, aka the Cheeto Bandito aka Donnie Dumbo aka Double Weave.
     Because Scott Dworkin reported on Twitter yesterday that people close to the WH are reporting that Trump's furious about not getting enough adulation about "overhauling" or "reforming" the tax code. And this was after getting publicly fellated on the front lawn of the White House by every Republican on Capitol Hill except for John McCain. This was also probably after an especially unctuous Cabinet meeting where everyone in attendance fellated Trump again under the big square table of the Cabinet Room. That would be the same one in which Trump couldn't resist taking another stab at the "fake news" media.
     That would be the very same fake news media that aren't singing his praises loudly or often enough outside of Fox "News" sound stages and other right wing fox holes and bunkers.

     And now we're hearing Donald Trump's whining yet again to Nikki Haley at the UN, who responded by proxy penis-slapping the 128 member nations that stood unified against Trump and publicly condemned his idiotic comment that's getting people killed about recognizing the Palestinian capital of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This was Trump several minutes after the UN General Assembly vote:

     Again, I give you President Dwight Hansen. A man who vows revenge and that we who have wronged him will all remember him when all is said and done.
     Even if it's as a villain.
     But the triple-chinned and two-faced Republican Party that says very unflattering things about Trump on social media and in DC watering holes somehow found the lack of intestinal and testicular fortitude when they finally passed their $1.5 trillion tax scam bill that is sure to lead us into another Great Depression.
     Paul Ryan, who after the September 7th 2016 revelation came out about Trump's Hollywood Access tapes where he bragged about grabbing women "by the pussy" refused to further campaign with either Trump or Pence, visibly ejaculated when Trump turned around to look at him.
     Because $1.5 trillion in tax cuts buys a lot of withered Republican souls already in the supernatural bargain bin. And as for Trump, aka President Dwight Hansen, it doesn't matter how much adulation or money-driven adulation he gets- It'll never be enough to fill that empty hole where his soul should be. It's like pouring one pitcher of water after another into a desert- It'll disappear and still gape for more.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Gang That Couldn't Shred Straight

     This is how stupid the Trump administration is:
     Robert Mueller's office asked the GSA for 50k emails from the Trump transition team. They got them in full. Mueller then simply asked Trump's transition people for the same emails. They got about 10% of them. That means all Mueller and his people have to do is focus on the 90% they didn't get again to see what Trump wants to hide.
     If anything's going to save our democracy, it won't be Mueller's intelligence but Trump's own stupidity.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

No Moore

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
If God forbid Roy Moore had been elected to the Senate last night, he would've been the first one to take the oath of office on a copy of Lolita.
     And the bombshell pedophilia allegations made against him right after the Republican primary were just some of the reasons for Moore losing last night to upstart Democratic contender Doug Jones. In a previously crimson state in which Trump won 13 months ago by 28 points and where his approval and disapproval numbers are split down the middle at 48, Alabama voters sent a clear message to Capitol Hill- "We're not as red as you thought."
     Unless you've been living under a rock in Upper Volta since the heyday of the Civil Rights movement, one needn't belabor Alabama's history of racism and deep red state voting trends. The last time Alabama voters sent a Democrat to the US Senate was when turncoat Richard Shelby won in 1992, a full quarter century ago, who then became a Republican two years later.
     But aside from the abstract result of the election, a Democrat getting elected, there are some ironies and huge takeaways about it that cannot be ignored. For one thing, despite a race-based oppressive Voter ID law demanding registry-issued identification and the state then closing down registries in exclusively black neighborhoods, the African American vote comprised 29% of the electorate and 92% of it voted for Jones, beating the total when Barack Obama won that same voter bloc by 91 points in 2012, a year in which the black vote accounted for 28%. That's right- a white centrist Democrat beat the numbers of the nation's first black president. Only 4% of the black Alabama vote voted for Moore.
     The irony comes in Jones, a law and order Democrat who convicted Klansmen for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, replacing Jeff Sessions, whose own history of racism simply cannot be denied. Then also, there's the question of last night's election lengthening Trump's losing streak.
     It all started with the loss of Trump's boy, Luther Strange, in the GOP runoff election earlier this fall. Trump supposedly was talked into supporting him by Mitch McConnell. who became a heavy-hearted foe of Roy Moore. It continued during last month's pre-midterm elections across the country that saw one Trump ally and lap dog after another lose to Democratic upstarts and political novices. If last night's stunning upset victory for Jones showed one thing, it's that the Trump magic that saw his anointed ones going 4-4 earlier this year had long since worn off. Absolutely this was a referendum on Trump's universally loathsome agenda and character.

As usual, virtually all the polls and pundits were absolutely wrong. Until recently, it was a statistical probability in politics for straw polls to get more accurate the closer a race gets. But last night simply wasn't the case. Right wing blowhard and aspiring journalist Mike Cernovich took to Twitter last night and dared people to screengrab his prediction of a Moore victory. One poll had Moore ahead of Jones by 5 points. Others had Jones up by 10. Every one was wrong. In short, the polls leading up to last night's election were "all over the place."
     In a typical Republican dick move, Moore has yet to concede, thinking that a recount he'll have to pay for out of his own pocket (since Alabama law stipulates margins of a victory of 0.5% or less mandates an automatic recount) will save the day for him. Only after the balloons and confetti had been swept up was Trump himself proven right (albeit after the fact, with even Trump's hindsight being 20/20, even though just yesterday he predicted a win for Moore.)- Alabama voters did do the right thing.
     Of course, the importance of this very rare Democratic win in Alabama cannot be overstressed. With Republicans about to see their majority in the Senate shrink to 51-49, this makes Democrats' chances of retaking the Senate a distinct possibility. However, there are a lot of ifs, ands and buts for that scenario to become true. In this year's midterms, 23 Democratic Senate seats are up for grabs as opposed to just eight Republican seats and those eight tend to be in very red states. That means in order to avoid the scenario of a tie-breaking Mike Pence balefully lurking in the wings, Democrats have to win back every single one of their seats plus grab two more from Republicans in states that are historically hostile for Democrats.
     Such as Alabama was until last night. And last night's mind-blowing upset victory had energized Democratic operatives and candidates with a fervor that we haven't seen since Hillary Clinton mugged Bernie Sanders in the primaries a year and a half ago. Alabama voters, led by African Americans and females were appalled by Moore's very existence and short-term viability as a Senate candidate, sent a clear message to the Beltway- "If we can win in Alabama, we can win anywhere."
     That new President smell has long since been lost in empty McDonald's wrappers and cans of Diet Coke. The Trump mystique is over and it's showing as more and more Trump voters experience sticker shock. They're proving it at the ballot box as they realize the depravity of the toxic Republican agenda that only uses Trump as a very temporary useful idiot who has vowed, like them, to give massive tax giveaways to the 1% while shortchanging those on Social Security and Medicare.
     The only thing that remains to be seen is how Democrats fuck up the probationary breathing room voters across the nation are poised to hand them in both chambers in this November's incipient bloodbath. Because the last big takeaway from last night's election is that machine Democrats in both the DNC and Senatorial Campaign Committee had already conceded the election to Roy Moore and gave virtually no help to Doug Jones.
     That is, until the very last minute. I think Dr. Samuel Johnson would have a thing or two to say about blatant opportunism.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Most Busted Name in News

     As stopped clocks tend to be twice a day (or, in Trump's case, twice a year), Donald Trump and the Trumpettes were right about CNN ("the Most Trusted Name in News ™") after it was revealed last night that their breathless, exclusive exposé was a steaming pile of dog shit. It even gave rise to a right wing bot-driven hashtag on Twitter: #ThingsItrustmorethanCNN.
     And, believe me when I say it pains me more than you'll ever know since I've never been the biggest fan of either the WaPo or Glenn Greenwald but... I have to give credit where it's due and link to Greenwald's article of this morning in the Intercept. It was up to the Washington Post, with its second "scoop" in as many weeks, to set the record straight.
     It's all about the "exclusive" that CNN pimped for hours and hours, which everyone in the Democratic Party, it seemed, principally Rep. Ted Lieu on his Twitter account, had disseminated. And that "bombshell" that turned out to be a smoker grenade was about some guy named "Michael J. Erickson" who'd sent an email to Donald Trump, Jr on September 14th last year (remember that date) telling him about a massive cache of hacked emails that was offered to the Trump campaign by Wikileaks.
     Except CNN, in its finite wisdom, and without even reading the email in question, reported that the email was sent to Trump's namesake on September 4th instead of the date it was actually sent, which was September 14th. This week and a half is a crucial distinction to remember because by September 14th, Wikileaks had already made public the cache of emails that had been hacked by (take your pick). In short, all this "Erickson" was doing was offering Don Jr and the Trump campaign purloined emails that were already in the public domain.
     Further fanning the fake flames was that this Erickson was offering Don Jr a GRU encryption key to unlock the Wikileaks cache of Clinton emails. If we were take this at face value (which millions of Trump haters did in the MSM, Capitol Hill and social media), this would seem to be the smoking gun that would finally tie the Trump campaign to the collusive Russians and their so-called conduit in Wikileaks.
     To make matters worse, CNN had dug up an old tweet from Don Jr that mentioned the Clinton emails on September 4th, the date originally given by CNN and, later, CBS and MSNBC, as the date Erickson had sent the email to Donald Trump Jr. Of course, that tweet is worth the paper it was written on.
     Making this fuckup even more maddening, after they'd solemnly and quietly wiped the remnants of the prank cigar off its collective puss, CNN then refused to give any transparency about how the aforementioned fuck up even was possible. In other words, as with administrations and political parties and other powerful organizations the world over, they're circling the wagons, deleting or quietly amending stories without even offering an apology for essentially lying to the American public with, you got it, real fake news, this time. Their arrogance and complete lack of transparency and contrition is breathtaking.
     Of course, the Trump Misadministration that's been treating CNN like a red-headed stepchild since it was the Trump campaign, has been short-stroking this and will be milking it like a 10,000 pound cow for the rest of the winter. Of course, this does not invalidate in the least CNN's credible and factual reporting on the Trump team's collusion with Russia or Robert Mueller's findings.
     And one had to wonder if the two unnamed sources who'd fed this email that CNN, incredibly, couldn't even be bothered to read, were operatives working for the Trump White House to discredit CNN. Knowing of the dirty tricks done by and on behalf of the Trump administration, it's certainly within the realm of possibility. If so, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and perfectly predicted CNN's laziness and sloppy reportage of this non-issue.
     Maybe it's time for Winston Smith to retire from MiniTru.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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