Friday, January 31, 2020

R.I.P. American Democracy — murdered by the almost unanimously corrupt, self-serving, and hypocritical Republican Party.

Prescient art, found on a brick wall in hipster Brooklyn, November, 2017
This is how Democracy dies. Not by foreign conquest, although that could come after Democracy's death. Not by nuclear holocaust, although that could come, too. Not by flood, and drought, and famine, and epidemic, although it is not certain yet how close our negligent Republican government under Trump has brought us to all of that.

Democracy dies when a smug Senate Republican leader, his fat cat party members, and a handful of cowards sell out the very idea of democracy to save their Senate seats for themselves, even though they know that what they are doing is wrong. 

They are about to do just that.

As I write this, the Republican-dominated United States Senate is about to shut down Donald Trump’s impeachment trial by preventing John Bolton and other witnesses from testifying. To do so, they’ve twisted themselves in knots to justify smothering the truth.

The House of Representatives “didn’t try hard enough” to hear witnesses, like John Bolton who has only recently stepped forward, they say. Therefore, we must not hear him. 

The house managers have already “proved their case,” which the Senate will nevertheless reject, on the grounds that the house managers have no case. And therefore we must not hear any evidence that might bolster the case.

There will be no new information, they say, without waiting to hear whatever information Bolton and others can provide.

These are not reasons. These are part of a sham. The White House, almost guaranteed, will classify all or most of Bolton’s book, to make sure the citizens of the United States never learn what happened in the White House, although anyone with half a brain has a general idea.

The idea that is America is finished, murdered by Donald J. Trump, and by Mitch McConnell, and by his band of servile Republican senators, and by the law whores like Alan Dershowitz who fashion their legal opinions to match the needs of the highest bidder.

The United States of America may continue on for a while, until the vultures pick it to pieces little by little — its economy, its trading power, its alliance-based military strength. For America is more than an economic engine, and more than a military arsenal. It is an idea, an idea based on justice, and fairness, and international leadership, and support for the little guy. That idea is all but officially killed as I write this.

And when the idea dies, so does the United States of America.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Mme. Galzogorist unleashes psychic dings and Gypsy curses against Donald Trump. (I wouldn’t flush even once if I were you, Donald.)

Parisian graffiti (circa 2014) of a different Donald with
related-but-different issues.
I just knew this was bound to happen. 

Madame Galzogorist, the fortune teller who occupied a walk-up space near my office in the seediest block of New York’s Garment District, back in the days when I had an office, has put a monster-sized hex on the Trumpster.

I found out about it when I stopped by her business digs, in search of a prediction about who would win the Democratic Party’s nomination for President, and whether that person would beat Donald Trump in the November elections. 

“Forget it, just forget it, wipe it out of your mind,” Mme. Galzogorist nearly shouted when I posed my questions to her. “I have no answer for you. I have trashed my crystal ball. Ditto the tarot cards and the tea leaves. I’ve had it trying to predict that creep. From now on, when it comes to politics, I deal only in curses.”

“Same as most of America,” I told her.

Hexes, dings and hernias

“No no no, not that kind of curse,” Mme. Galzogorist said. “I’m talking about deep hexes. I’m talking about humongous dings. I’m talking about conjuring doom and gloom onto The Trumpster’s head. I’m talking about about the kind of witchcraft that brings on vomiting and hernias and incurable migranes.”

That sounded slightly scary, so I asked Mme. Galzogirst what specifically she had done.

“Many horrors, many afflictions straight from the bowels of hell!” Mme. Galzgorist said.

“Yes, but for example?” I asked.

“I have cursed Trump’s toilet, so that it will lack the capacity to flush away the crap he deposits into it daily. I have cursed it to overflow ceaselessly, flooding his bathroom, creating a fetid pool of toilet backup around his bedroom slipper and his ankles, and getting soaked up by the cuffs of his pajama every time he sloshes into or out of his bathroom.”

“That’s pretty gross,” I said. “But he can just call the White House maintenance staff to patch things up….”

Stephen Miller 
isn't safe, either

“No! I have also put a hex on anybody whoever cleans up after Donald. That includes not only maids and plumbers, but also everyone from advisors to special assistants. For example, all the hair that once grew out of Stephen Miller’s head? That will now grow out of his nostrils and his ears in thick clumps. It will be difficult to cut. It will be almost impossible to keep up with.”

“I think Miller could fix that with a pair of scissors,” I said. 

“It will soon grow really fast, Mme. Galzorist said. “He can keep chopping away at it, but if Miller ever appears on TV, it will have to be with a pair of scissors up his nose.”

“That sounds terrible,” I said.

“You don’t know the half of it. I have also cursed Trump’s taste buds. It takes a while for that curse to kick in, but when it does, hamburgers will taste like spinach to him. And hamburger buns will taste like kale.”

“You’re so heartless!” I said.

“In fact, everything will taste like spinach or kale to him.”

“You’re impossibly cruel,” I said.

Confidentiality agreements?
You ain't seen nothing yet!

“I’ve also cursed his teeny little weeny,” Mme. Galzogist volunteered. I have filled it with spiritual jello. His woodie days are over. From now on, it’s eternally soft and trembly. Wait until you see the kind of non-disclosure agreements his lawyers are going to be writing the next time he tries to get involved with a woman. They’ll be rolling on the conference room floor. Not that they'll be able to disclose the source of their mirth."

“What else have you cursed?” I asked. 

“His comb over. May it fall out and need to be replaced by a wig, and may the wig blow off very publicly in a gust of hot air. Also, headaches. To punish him for writing off those poor GIs in Iraq who experienced severe concussion brain injuries which Trump dismissed as  ‘headaches,” I’m going to give him the Mother of All Headaches. I’ve got an incantation for that.”

“You know,” I said, “if all these things actually happen, Trump may suspect you of witchcraft.”

“Good,” said Mme. Galzogorist. “Then let him start a witch hunt.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Megan Shmegan, Harry Shmarry. The world is teetering on the edge of catastrophe, and the press keeps harping on the royal(ish) couple.

King Louis XIV is what royalty used to look like when
 it really mattered.Thankfully, the world has progressed
beyond that. Except when it comes to Megan and Harry.
Does anybody in the American press really care about the state of anything other than royal unions in England?

We have, probably at best, ten or eleven years before climate change becomes irreversible and earth goes down the chute and becomes something like Mars. (Yo! Yes, I’m talking to you, you astronomers on the Planet Nictubombolius, or whatever you call it. Those things that look like canals in your telescopes, indicating there might once have been life on earth? You’re right. Those are canals, specifically the Suez, the Panama and the Canal St. Martin in Paris. You also might want to check out the Gowanus, if you can find Brooklyn on your sky chart.)

To continue. Eighty-seven percent of the world’s oceans are dying. Half the world’s coral reefs are already dead. Australia’s on fire. The Amazon basin’s on fire. California is no longer on fire because there’s almost nothing left to burn. But Donald Trump is torching democracy to the ground. And what do you fill up our media space with?

Megan and Harry. 

First of all, common decency (to them) dictates that they ought to be left alone. Slavery is against the law even in Great Britain, or what’s left of it, last time I checked. If Megan and Harry don’t want to live like royals (whatever that means) and endlessly open shopping centers and host charity balls, or whatever else it is royals do these days, let them be.

But, but, they want to hold on to the royal trademark and their royal house? 

Y’know what? I don’t give a flying Brexit. That might be a small legitimate concern for Brits, but it’s as relevant to anything that currently matters in the USA as a raft full of rubber duckies drifting down the Thames.

So why is NPR giving it the time of day? Or the New York Times? Or any of our nation's network news media?

Yes yes, I know the answer, too. It raises ratings. But this is a time when the press ought to do as they say they want others to do. If you’re going to babble on and on about Harry and Megan at all, perhaps you really ought to go after it from the point of view of racism in the British press, some of whom deserve the same treatment meted out to Hitler's lieutenants. 

Can we please all learn to ask like news reporters instead of Dr. Goebbel's Propagandasteffel? A little more substance, people. A little less bubbleheaded gossip.

Yeah, that’ll be the day

Sunday, January 12, 2020


This is not right. But what is?

Sorry. Due to unexpected interruptions in my thinking, this blog has been dormant for the past week and may remain so for a bit longer. However...

Check back often. I'm not done railing yet.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Trump, Ivanka, Chelsea, witch hunt, cheese, strawberries, "Queeg balls" — and clear evidence that life imitates Bogart

It’s old and rather tiresome news that just when you think Donald Trump’s administration can’t get any crazier, it becomes crazier.

Recently, news emerged that the interminably long Trumpian opera buffa, now going into perhaps its forty-thousandth act, pulled yet another cuckoo clock out of its hat, and it’s a wowser. 

Talk about witch hunts!

In 2017, the State Department, then still under the command of Rex Tillerson, instituted an investigation. The investigators delved into who in the USA's  mission to the European Union in Brussels “liked” a tweet that Chelsea Clinton posted on Twitter, according to both The Daily Beast and Salon 

The tweet actually got half a million “likes,” but the concern was that one or two of the "likes" — or maybe, God forbid, a dozen of them — might have been posted by U.S. Government employees.

All this started in July of 2017, when The Trumpster decided that instead of directly participating in the G-20 meeting of the world’s economic powerhouses in Hamburg, his daughter Ivanka should round out her resumé by attending in his place and perhaps sharing her learned economic expertise with the world's leaders and finance ministers.

For some reason (I’m sure the Trumpster can’t imagine what reason), this attracted a wave of criticism. So The Trumpster took to Twitter to defend his then-most-recent act of nepotism. In one tweet he wrote: “If Chelsea Clinton were asked to hold the seat for her mother, as her mother gave our country away, the Fake News would say CHELSEA FOR PRES!”

Whereupon Chelsea tweeted back, “It would never have occurred to my mother or my father to ask me. Were you giving our country away? Hoping not.”

As previously stated, half a million Twitter followers “liked” that tweet, including some from the U.S. mission to the European Union. 

Fire in the hole!

Those "likes" must have ignited an explosion of paranoia. The Daily Beast tell us:
That kickstarted a weeks-long investigation, prompted by the secretary’s office, into who exactly at the Brussels mission had access to the Twitter account and hit “Like” on Clinton’s tweet, according to two former U.S. officials. (Full disclosure: Clinton sits on the board of IAC, The Daily Beast’s parent company.) At least 10 people were interviewed about whether they, as administrators of the account, had mistakenly or deliberately pressed the “Like” button. All of them denied any wrongdoing, those sources said. One individual familiar with the exchanges said the secretary of state’s top managers in Washington “wanted blood” and called Brussels numerous times demanding the name of the culprit.
Somehow, all this brought to mind The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, a movie derived from a novel by Herman Wouk, in which another seemingly insignificant affront to an authoritarian figure launched an investigation.

So now we have life, or at least the real life Donald Trump, imitating Bogart in search not of a cheese pilferer or a strawberry thief, but of a tweet-liker. You can’t make this stuff up, which I find to be a cause for hope.

Because if life continues to imitate Bogart, we may ended up with Trump at a Bogartian denouement, in which Trump, like Bogart, loses his shit during a public legal proceeding such as, say, a Senate impeachment trial. 

The the only significant difference might be that instead of using a pair of steel ball bearings as if they were worry beads, Trump will fiddle with his cell phone and its Twitter app. Go ahead, watch the scene here, but imagine that Humphrey Bogart is orange: