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Showing posts from July, 2018

The Trouble with Sean Spicer

It was great to see someone make Sean Spicer squirm.  He's been out promoting his new book and trying to drum up support for a talk show. He's received a friendly audience for the most part, but not Emily Maitlis.   She let him have it in a BBC interview.

Spicer benefited to some degree from Melissa McCarthy's hilarious portrayal on SNL.  People loved him if nothing more than for this caricature.  He even used it in a cameo appearance on the Emmy Awards show, which Maitlis referenced.  She noted that this led to an acceptance of his toxic mix of fact and fiction that she didn't feel he deserved.

Yet, Sean keeps making the rounds, even when he gets confronted at a book signing in Middleton, Massachusetts.  Book reviews haven't been very good either.

So how did this guy go from being the Easter Bunny during George W. Bush's administration to press secretary under Trump to urban folk anti-hero following his abrupt resignation?  The guy was never more than a joke.…

Wrecking Ball

Trump is doing his best to channel Miley Cyrus, as he tries to drag down the whole country to his level.  Apparently, Wall Street no longer reacts to him.  How else to explain a nearly 200 point rise in the Dow on the same day he announces a $12 billion bailout to farmers to cover the cost of the retaliation to his tariffs?  Trump just swings back and forth like in Miley's video, singing the same song over and over and over again.

In one of his latest tweets, Trump proudly proclaimed "Tariffs are the Greatest!"  I'm surprised he didn't put it all caps like his love letter to Iran.  He told a Kansas City audience that he would have Europe crawling to him for relief.  It seems he was referring to the planned visit of Jean-Claude Juncker today.  The White House is expecting some kind of trade offer, but the EU Commission said there is no deal on the table.  Most likely the two will trade barbs and Trump's team will spin it to their advantage on the conservative…

A Pirate Looks at 90

While some conservatives pine for the days we had a real president, some progressives lament the missed opportunities under Obama.  Max Boot said Obama's recent speech marking the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela was a real watershed, as it profoundly illustrated what a President should sound like.  George Soros invested a lot of money in Obama's 2008 campaign and didn't get the return call he expected.  He was hoping to be part of the administration, but instead "he closed the door on me."  Soros felt there was a lot he could contribute, especially in regard to Russia and Eastern Europe, which Obama and his inner circle knew very little about.

Soros is probably right in that Obama badly misread Russia's intentions in Eastern Europe, thinking he could restart relations with Medvedev, who briefly served as President, while Putin rewrote the Constitution in the Duma to allow for his comeback.  It seemed Obama put little stock in the Russian annexation of fo…

Spies Like Us

There's something about a sexy red head wielding semi-automatic weapons that just makes conservatives salivate.  That's certainly the case with Maria Butina, the latest Russian spy to have infiltrated the conservative establishment, notably the NRA.  She will no doubt get some kind of sweetheart deal to return to Russia, and if she is made to face charges in America, Trump will most likely pardon her.

You just have to wonder if these organizations and conservative figures do any background checks.  As it turns out you don't even have to be sexy, just full of gun-toting bullshit to get an audience with these guys, as Sacha Baron Cohen discovered.  He managed to get no less than five Congresspersons, active and retired, to take part in his "Kinderguardian" promotional video, where he arms four-year-olds to defend themselves in preschools.

So why are conservatives so gullible?  We see the occasional liberal getting punk'd but nothing like what happens with cons…

It's the end of the world as we know it

Trump may have been onto something when he played REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It" over and over again at his rallies.  It's an incredible song as it foreshadows a Trump administration, even if Michael Stipe was pissed off he received no royalties from its use.

The chaos and confusion that spills out in the song is a very close approximation to what we see day to day from Trump.  We think it couldn't get any worse, but somehow he finds a way to top himself, or bottom himself as the case may be.  As bad as his NATO summit and meeting with Theresa May went, nothing compares to the Helsinki summit, in which he capitulated to Vladimir Putin in the worst possible way, laying our country prostrate before the Russian leader's feet like a vanquished opponent in a virtual reality Medieval battle.

We have no way of knowing what deals were struck, what level of infiltration occurred, what degree of collusion took place during and after the 2016 elect…

Baby Trump

What have we learned about Trump on his latest European trip?  He doesn't like women, at least those who would be consider his peers.  He doesn't like immigrants, especially Pakistanis who become important mayors.  He doesn't understand that you are supposed to come before tea time, leaving the Queen checking her watch on the royal stand.  And, he hates to be mocked, but then we already knew that.

Trump left a lot of persons scratching their heads this time around.  Determined not to be a wallflower again, which he was when he attended the NATO summit last year, he immediately ripped into Germany at breakfast the first day, claiming that it was "captive" to Russia because of the Nordstream pipeline.  This had less to do with Germany's reliance on cheap Russian natural gas than it did his animosity toward Angela Merkel, who had stolen all his thunder at the last NATO summit.  He was determined not to let that happen again.

Then came the infamous Sun interview

Moscow Mules

We all know of Trump's questionable relationships with Russia, but I don't think anyone was quite ready for a delegation of 7 Republican Senators and one Representative to visit Moscow as a prequel to Trump's Helsinki summit with Putin.  The unannounced visit had apparently been planned months in advance before any knowledge of a summit with Russia's strongman.  So, what exactly is the purpose here other than taking in a bit of Moscow's cultural scene?

Russian oligarchs not only funneled money into Donald's campaign, but also various GOP Congressional campaigns, including that of John McCain, one of the more ardent Russophobes on Capitol Hill.  Albeit, McCain's sugar daddy hailed from Ukraine, so he might have been confused in thinking he was supporting a different cause.  Maybe Mackie planned on going before being sidelined with the recurrence of his cancer that garnered him so much sympathy.  One would like to think their intents were noble, to restart n…

The Jefferson wines

Imagine the surprise to find a bottle of 1787 Lafitte handpicked by Thomas Jefferson.  This is what Bill Koch thought when he purchased four bottles in 1988 at well over $100,000 each.  It would have been a great find if it was real, but as it turned out there were a couple of glaring clues that these bottles were fake.

The first was that the signature Th.J was inaccurate.  According to Monticello's resident historian, Jefferson initialed his name Th:J.  The second and most telling is that Jefferson made no record of these purchases in his diaries, and as we all know he was an extremely dutiful diarist, cataloging his life in exquisite detail, except for his relationship with Sally Hemings.

So, why didn't a billionaire like Bill Koch do his due diligence before making such a hefty purchase?  For one, he trusted their providence since the bottles were originally sold at Christie's, a well-respected auction house; and two the temptation was just too great to pass up.  When …

The Dispossessed

While CNN and BBC focus almost exclusively on the 12 Thai boys and their coach being led out of the water-logged caverns of Chiang Rai, little progress is being made in reuniting over 2000 displaced children with their parents. 

The Trump administration has been slow to meet a court order to return all these displaced children by July 26, claiming they don't have enough information.  DNA tests have ensued in an effort to match families, but the problem is that many parents have already been deported and it will be difficult to get these tests done. 

ACLU lawyers say the US government is trying to extort some parents by making them give up their asylum claims in return for their children, adding another pernicious layer to this very ugly drama.  These kids are spread out through the entire country, as US officials didn't have enough space in their detention facilities along the border to house them.  Many of these kids find themselves in Christian foster homes, with additional…

Roanoke

Imagine my surprise when Doris Kearns Goodwin appears at the beginning of episode five of American Horror Story's Roanoke House.  She lends credibility to the story of Edward Mott, a late 18th century English dandy who builds a private mansion near to the fabled Roanoke Colony, which forms the mystical backdrop to season 6.  Doris had me there for a moment, but Mott's delicious tale, like much of Roanoke House, is contrived.  She was just having a good time.

The Roanoke Colony is prime fodder for a horror tale, but sadly the writers just turn it into a bunch of pagan nonsense, linked to ancient Druid societies rather than embedding it in Native American folk tales.  The only thing they took from the local culture that flourished before Sir Walter Raleigh arrived was the word "Croatoan," which they turned into some sacred word to ward off evil, when in actual fact it was the name of the tribe that lived on Roanoke Island, or at least the bastardized English interpret…

Dirty Laundry

The Freewheeling Donald Trump has been all over the place in recent rallies, bragging about his crowd sizes rivaling that of Elton John, how great his writing skills are, lashing out at Maxine Waters, John McCain and George H.W. Jones, but he seems most obsessed with Elizabeth Warren.  It has reached the level of stalking, and one wonders why so many people play into his insidious tweets and rally calls for Elizabeth to take a DNA test to "prove" her Native American claims.

Our dear Megyn Kelly felt compelled to chime in on the issue, making one wonder why she ever left Fox News.  NBC granted her a legitimacy she doesn't deserve, as she was never more than one of those "bubble-headed bleach blondes" Don Henley alludes to in his song Dirty Laundry.  That's pretty much what all this talk about Elizabeth Warren and Pocahontas is.

Trump picked it up on the campaign trail in 2016 when Warren openly challenged him.  It refers back to a time Warren was listed on …

Happy Fourth?

If you look close you can see the states and territories on the caps.  One kid represents "Porto Rico,"  The little Eskimo Alaska, and I assume the kid in the grass clothes Hawaii.  All were territories in 1902, and only Puerto Rico remains a territory, yet it is the closest to the mainland of the United States.

More than that, the image shows the cultural diversity of the country at a time such matters weren't openly discussed.  Lady Liberty is telling Uncle Sam, "It's all right!  There's no fighting!  The noise you hear is just my family celebrating."  Words we should take to heart.

Alas, this Fourth of July is a bittersweet one as our president and conservative pundits have turned patriotism into a sledge hammer, appealing to the xenophobes among us who want to see a whiter America.  This was made even more apparent by an order issued by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to revoke Obama-era guidance in regard to diversity on college campuses, although a…
It's shaping up to be a wild one.  One can still feel the reverberations of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' victory.  So much so that Alex Jones is warning conservatives of a plan to launch a Civil War on July 4 by the Democrats.  Of course, it's nothing new from InfoWars, but Alexandria's embrace of democratic socialist values has lit up the conservative blogosphere, exclaiming a new socialist revolution is underway!

Meanwhile, the Democratic Den Mother, Nancy Pelosi, downplays Alexandria's surprise victory, noting the broad range of values represented in the party.  Alexandria isn't the first "Berniecrat" to raid the big tent.  That title went to Nanette Barragan two years ago, who rode into the US House of Representatives on pretty much the same message as Ocasio-Cortez, although with a stronger political background.

I think what galls many about Alexandria's victory in the New York primary is that she is a bartender from the Bronx.  People are igno…

O Canada

Today is Canada's National Day and for Americans that's not a good sign.  New tariffs kick in which will have a big impact on American manufacturing and agricultural industry.  The United States and Canada haven't been at odds like this since the early 1970s, when President Nixon declared the "special relationship" between the two countries dead in the wake of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's decision to diversify Canada's economy, so that it was no longer so dependent on trade with the US.

Eventually, the US forgave Canada for its insolence, but a love-hate relationship has remained, especially when liberal leaders come to power like Justin Trudeau.  We tend to prefer conservative leaders, like Stephen Harper, who preceded him.  It was Harper who pushed the Keystone Pipeline to get his ugly crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta down to Houston refineries, which Republicans tried in vain to get through Congress.

Donald Trump wasted no time approving the…