Archive for the ‘Deep political thought’ Category

Just. One. Senator.

August 27, 2018

One senator could make a difference? What a Capitol idea.

That’s all it would take, given the present composition of the Senate, for that august body to do its fucking job for a change.

As James Fallows notes:

Every one of them swore an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, not simply their own careerist comfort. And not a one of them, yet, has been willing to risk comfort, career, or fund-raising to defend the constitutional check-and-balance prerogatives of their legislative branch. …

In any circumstances, the Senate’s arcane procedures mean that lone senators, determined to make a stand, can hold up business or block nominees to get their way. When the ruling party holds only 51 seats, or for the moment 50, the power of any one or two members goes up astronomically. With great power comes great responsibility—a responsibility that 50 men and women are choosing to shirk.

John McCain goes west

August 26, 2018

Just a little souvenir wisenheimery from the bad old days.

You’re going to see some relentless hagiography about John McCain from the national press for the better part of quite some time.

That’s the audience he played to, after all.

For a different perspective, check out Amy Silverman’s piece in the Phoenix New Times. Silverman, who covered McCain in the 1990s, calls him “one of the most fascinating politicians in history,” and a few other things, too.

I saw him mostly as a ruthless opportunist, a tireless self-promoter, focused on John McCain the Brand®. You could dig down into what seemed on the surface to be some statesmanly act and see the real McCain down there, smirking and rubbing his hands together. He recalled President Eisenhower’s secretary of defense, Charles Erwin Wilson, who famously told the Senate Committee on Armed Services: “For years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa. The difference did not exist.”

Substitute “John McCain” for “General Motors” and you’ll see what I mean.

Like George W. Bush he achieved high office thanks in part to a famous name, unearned wealth and a pugnacious ignorance that some mistook for straight shooting. Unlike Dubya, McCain was a sure-enough tough guy. But both suffered from the delusion that their guts held all the answers they’d ever need.

Hammers in search of nails, they teamed up to bring us the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which continue to rack up bills and body counts. For an up-close-and-personal look at the latter, see Pulitzer-winner C.J. Chivers and his excellent book, “The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Remember “that old Beach Boys song? ‘Bomb Iran?'” You can be sure the Iranians do. As do more than a few American pilots who already had plenty on their plates, I imagine.

Here’s another lame joke that happily fell flat: For his last presidential bid, in 2008, McCain scraped the bottom of the Republican barrel and came up with running mate Caribou Barbie, in a stroke legitimizing the Tinfoil Beanie Brigade. Some think this is the shove that sent the Republic on its drunken stagger toward Il Douche, but we’ve always leaned in that direction and it was only a matter of time before we finally got there.

When you hear all the sermons about McCain’s selfless devotion to country, remember what he was willing to do to win the presidency. He would have sacrificed us all on the altar of his own ambition.

• Editor’s note: Charlie Pierce, who had a much closer look at McCain than I did, recalls a man he liked and admired, while adding that he “was destined, always, to disappoint me politically, but that was only because we didn’t agree on anything.”

Orange crush?

August 21, 2018

His Lardship on the throne.

For all the Trumpetistas who are having trouble reading the tea leaves, in the words of Mandy Cohen, mother of Brian of Nazareth:

“Now you listen ’ere! ‘Ee’s not the Messiah, ’ee’s a very naughty boy! Now go away!”

The (non-) shit monsoon

August 18, 2018

There’s some water up there this morning, and by this afternoon it may be down here.

Following the news lately reminds me of John Prine’s intro to “Dear Abby,” from his “Sweet Revenge” album.

Talking about reading a small English-language newspaper in Italy, he observed: “Every time you turned a page something just jumped right out at you.”

The deer didn’t get this one.

The old fight-or-flight reflex can only handle so much of that. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, close the laptop, and walk away.

Lace up the shoes and go for a trail run. Log some Miles. Enjoy a frosty beverage. Watch the hummingbirds battle.

Stop and smell the roses.

Read something that doesn’t make you insane.

Listen to something that makes you want to dance. Then play a little something yourself.

Go for a nice long bike ride. Make sure it has fenders. Like the fella says, it never rains, but sometimes it pours.

 

Chickensheet

August 13, 2018

Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump chuckle (“Sheeeet”)
before getting back to work.

Before we celebrate the utter failure of the “alt-right” to attract anything like actual numbers to their “white civil rights rally” Sunday in DeeCee, let’s remember that they still have control of the Justice Department and the White House.

Space farce

August 9, 2018

The Empire has cornered the Tang market in preparation for galactic conquest. | Liberated from @Todd_Spence on Twitter.

Emperor Pompatus wants a Death Star.

It figures he’d have an interest in space, since there’s so much of it between his ears. Also, and too, he looks like an astronaut wanna-be who couldn’t make the weight and washed out of the program after a Tang overdose.

Might be nice if we settled a few of the fights we’ve picked down here on Earth before we blast off in search of the Rebel Alliance, don’t you think?

 

Speaking of heat …

July 27, 2018

Pat Oliphant knew the devil when he saw him at the crossroads.

… my favorite go-to pundits, Charlie Pierce and Kevin Drum, both wonder if we’re finally at the crossroads, where the devil does his pickin’ and grinnin’ and invites you to dance along to his smokin’ licks.

Notes Kevin:

“I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s reminded by this of the years-long drip-drip-drip of Watergate revelations. I was only barely old back then enough to really follow along, so it looks like now I get a second chance in full adulthood. But I’m not sure that helps: so much shit is going down that I still have a hard time keeping up. What’s going to happen next week?”

Chazbo, as usual, has the more colorful take:

“I have no faith at all that enough people will do what needs to be done about this compromised and dangerous man. My first reaction to this news was that it would get folded into some nonsense that pops on the Friday news cycle — a barely coherent rage-tweet, or something stupid from the House of Representatives. But this is the yes-or-no moment. If CNN is right, and if Cohen is telling the truth, then, in the immortal words of J. Fred Buzhardt, that’s the ballgame.”

 

Vlad gets a little face time

July 16, 2018

Well, there you have it. And to think people went batshit when the black guy bowed to the emperor of Japan. At least he didn’t blow him in front of the whole world.

Henceforth, voting Republican shall constitute prima facie evidence of treason, as well as incontrovertible proof of brain death, and whoever is standing closest to the decedent should be empowered by law and paid at the prevailing medical wage to pull the plug. We can settle the treason issue afterward, perhaps in the obituary.

Charlie Pierce makes an excellent case for how to proceed from here. Sadly, his advice makes so much sense that no one will take it.

One less cracker in the barrel

July 5, 2018

Scott Pruitt is going back to lifting twenties out of the collection plate at First Baptist in Broken Arrow, sneaking tips off nearby tables at Cracker Barrel, and surreptitiously peeing in Tulsa’s municipal pools.

As Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Well shucks. It makes a man’s eyes damp, for sure.”

The Good Doktor was speaking of Nixon fluffer Pat Buchanan, who was whimpering publicly about the harsh treatment afforded The Boss as the hyenas of Watergate gnawed on his political carcass, and what Thompson had to say about that administration 44 years ago goes double for this one:

“By bringing in hundreds of thugs, fixers and fascists to run the Government, [Nixon] was able to crank almost every problem he touched into a mindbending crisis. About the only disaster he hasn’t brought down on us yet is a nuclear war with either Russia or China or both but he still has time, and the odds on his actually doing it are not all that long.

“This is the horror of American politics today — not that Richard Nixon and his fixers have been crippled, convicted, indicted, disgraced and even jailed — but that the only available alternatives are not much better; the same dim collection of burned‐out hacks who have been fouling our air with their gibberish for the last twenty years.

“How long, oh Lord, how long? And how much longer will we have to wait before some high‐powered shark with a fistful of answers will finally bring us face‐to‐face with the ugly question that is already so close to the surface in this country, that sooner or later even politicians will have to cope with it?

“Is the democracy worth all the risks and problems that necessarily go with it? Or, would we all be happier by admitting that the whole thing was a lark from the start and now that it hasn’t worked out, to hell with it.”

I’d let Pruitt run the siren all the way back to Oklahoma, if he didn’t mind that his personal vehicle was a splintery rail. Meanwhile, his replacement as EPA chief is a former coal lobbyist, because of course he is. Right again, Doc.

• Bonus Extra Credit Venom: Read HST’s obituary of Richard M. Nixon, who many of us thought — wrongly, as it turned out — was as bad as a president could get. 

 

Today’s pig is tomorrow’s bacon

June 19, 2018

This is not the President Pigasus for which the Yippies had hoped.

There are seven pigs for every person in Iowa.

In DeeCee, of course, the pig-to-person ratio skews even higher on the Sooey Scale, and thus the relentless oinking from that quarter has become deafening.

The truth is simply not in these swine, when it comes to immigration detention or anything else. If Kirstjen Nielsen told me the sun was rising in the east I would step outside to verify it. And all she’s doing is spreading the aromatic manure provided by her boss, Il Douche, King Donald the Short-fingered.

“(N)o law actually requires that families be separated at the border,” says The New York Times.

Even tools like Texas Ted Cruz the Gucci Shitkicker, Orrin “Down the” Hatch and Joe “The Moderate Mannequin” Manchin find the separation of children from their parents distasteful. And those guys will swallow anything.

Ironically, this administration may have provided its own solution. Il Douche wants a space force? Fine. Let’s draft him and every one of his appointees, fixers, enablers, thugs and stooges, and deploy them via Elon Muskmobile to Mars.

The Martians may detain them in cages for a spell, just to see whether “they could be murderers or thieves and so much else.” Especially since we’ll stencil that warning on the exterior of the spacecraft. “Contents: Murderers, thieves and so much else.”

But hey, they’ll just be trying to protect their interplanetary borders. Ack ack!