+ After the scenes of mass psychosis in North Carolina on Wednesday night, you’d think the Democrats would finally extinguish their happy trope about “bringing the country together”, concentrate on protecting their most valuable assets (the 4 Horsewomen of the Political Apocalypse), and throw themselves into taking POWER. As Hobbes, the English Machiavelli understood perhaps better than anyone, power is the name of the game in any kind of representative government, especially one which masquerades as a democracy. But they can’t, because deep down the Democratic leadership is a Botoxed version of the odious thing we all just witnessed.
+ Thomas Hobbes: “Reputation of power, is Power; because it draweth with it the adhaerence of those that need protection. So is Reputation of love of a mans Country, (called popularity,) for the same Reason. Also, what quality soever maketh a man beloved, or feared of many; or the reputation of such quality, is Power; because it is a means to have the assistance, and service of many.”
+ A Vietnam War draft-dodger being embraced by the hard right for saying “Love It or Leave It” is a spectacle that’s almost impossible to imagine happening 50 years ago. You’ve come a long way America.
+ It looks like Trump’s trying to morph Ilhan (the Indomitable) Omar, a sitting member of Congress, into this campaign’s Willie Horton.
+ During her evisceration of Elliot Abrams (the butcher of El Salvador) Ilhan Omar showed the Democrats how the Trump administration could be dismantled limb by rotting limb on live TV. Instead of following her example, her own party turned on Ilhan & allowed her to become a target for Trump & FoxNews’ overt racism.
+ Before stepping on the helicopter for his Reichsparteitag in North Carolina on Wednesday night, Trump slimed Ilhan Omar with the bogus slur that she might have “married her brother.” (This coming from the guy who is sexually attracted to his own daughter.)
Days suggesting Ilhan Omar should go back to Somali, Trump spreads unfounded conspiracy theories about her: "There's a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother. I know nothing about it … I don't know but I'm sure that somebody would be looking at that." pic.twitter.com/XapFKFgEXH
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 17, 2019
+ Ilhan Omar has been a US citizen six years longer than Melania Trump, who worked illegally in the US for 5 years before obtaining her “Einstein Visa” for modeling.
+ Hey, GOP, while you’re searching for the anti-Semitic remarks Ilhan Omar didn’t make, let us know if you stumble upon the husband-brother she didn’t marry.
+ How the incest smear against Ilhan Omar started and metastasized under the Birther President…
+ Omar doesn’t wilt under pressure. At the very moment she’s being trashed for being an “anti-Semite,” she moved to introduce a resolution reaffirming the right of Americans to boycott Israel …
+ Still, I worry about Omar’s safety. I know she’s perhaps one of the most courageous people on Earth. But the president has put a huge target on her back and incited his most cultish followers to believe that she is not only “un” American but “anti-“American, whatever that may mean in their fermented minds, and therefore fair game for them to attack.
+ Don’t forget that the reason AOC, Tlaib, Pressley and Omar are being slimed by Trump is that they were attacking him for running concentration camps on the border and challenging Pelosi for doing nothing to stop him.
+ Nancy Pelosi’s calculated putdown down of “the Squad” is her Sister Souljah moment. This act of public discipline and punishment is an example of the kind of soft racism perfected by Bill Clinton and used to periodically remind the Blue Dog Democrats that he wasn’t beholden to minorities–that he was, in fact, their political master. We saw it with the harsh way Bubba treated Lani Guinier, Jocelyn Elders and, lethally, Ricky Ray Rector, who he executed to boost his polls numbers during the primary campaign. Sacrificing AOC & company to the Blue Dogs is today’s equivalent of Biden’s dealmaking with the “segregationists”. And Trump is salivating at the prospect of amplifying every slur.
+ The fact that Trump is launching racist tweets and verbal taunts at AOC, Pressley, Tlaib, and Omar and defending Pelosi, tells you almost all you need to know about the current state of politics in the USA.
+ David Swanson: “If a Trump supporter kills a Congresswoman at his bidding, will Pelosi believe an impeachable offense has been committed? If so, why can’t she now before that happens?”
+ Trump and AOC were born in hospitals that are roughly 12 miles from each other.
+ Joe Biden: “There has never been a President in American history who has been so openly racist and divisive as this man.”
+ Five Presidents just as openly racist as Trump: Jackson, Fillmore, Buchanan, A. Johnson, Wilson.
+ Generally, it’s not the “openly racist” politicians you have to worry the most about. You can see them coming and organize against them. It’s the covert racists, like Clinton and Biden, who often inflict the most damage on minority groups.
+ One could argue that Trump’s lasting contribution to history is his revelation that there is no dignity to the office of the presidency, that many of the things presidents do are “degenerate” & that racism & narcissism are normal characteristics for the occupant of the office.
+ How Democrats tie themselves into knots: Instead of impeaching Trump or doing anything meaningful about the concentration camps on the border, Pelosi wants to pass a resolution censuring his racism. But it turns out that there’s a rule in the House that you can’t call someone a racist, even if they are one. Oh my…
+ Of course, Republicans whining about how the using the word “racist” to describe Trump’s tweets violated House rules is pretty rich. Aren’t they the ones crusading against the constraints of political correctness?
+ When asked why the House is going to vote to condemn the president’s tweets instead of censure the president, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said he hopes Republicans vote for it, choosing country over party. (How’d that work out for you, Hakeem. Four votes?) Is there anything this party will fight for? Anything at all? It’s mega-donors perhaps?
+ The handbook of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the use of phrases like “Go back where you came from” in the workplace violates US law…
+ Nick Estes (author of the must-read Our History is the Future): “They told us Natives to go back to where we came from. So we did. And we were arrested for trespassing.”
+ I challenge Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi to cite one remark that Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib has said that rivals the hours of anti-semitic rants Nixon engaged in with Haldeman, Ehrlichman and BILLY GRAHAM. It’s all on tape. Just put your earbuds on and press play…Here’s a random sample.
President: “Aren’t the Chicago Seven all Jews? [Rennie] Davis is a Jew, you know.”
Haldeman: “I don’t think Davis is.”
President: “Hoffman, Hoffman’s a Jew.”
Haldeman: “Abbie Hoffman is…”
President: “About half of these are Jews.”
+ Nancy Pelosi is beginning to shuffle down the hall with a Neville Chamberlain-like gait, though his speeches still sound more resolute…
+ Long before Pelosi’s deprecations of Omar and Tlaib and Trump’s vile targeting of them as America-hating anti-semitic Communists, there was…yes…Chelsea Clinton sowing the seeds.
+ Speaking of “going back to your country”…. During the Japanese internment, a federal judge in Portland, Ore. stripped the citizenship of a natural-born US citizen in part because he believed (incorrectly) that the man practiced Shintoism (ancestor worship, the judge said) & thus had to be still loyal to Japan. The Supremes overturned this odious ruling, but decided that the loyalty of ALL Japanese-Americans was suspect, just because…
+ Trump gleefully retweeted Senator John Kennedy‘s bigoted swipe at AOC, Tlaib, Pressley and Omar calling them “the four horsewomen of the apocalypse. I’m entitled to say that they’re Wack Jobs.” All of those prayer breakfasts and Trump still doesn’t understand what happens in the Book of Revelation…
+ Kennedy considers himself the comedian of the Senate. But his routines are much too manufactured, as if he’d been practicing them all morning in the senate shower stall where they elicited a snort from Rand Paul. He’s a second rate Alan Simpson, whose humor had a cruel and vicious edge to it.
+ If Trump keeps insisting that his Tweets aren’t racist will he finally start to lose some of those hardcore followers?
+ Liz Cheney is now being presented as a “GOP leader.” All you really need to know…
+ Many of Trump’s former business associates have said that he simply doesn’t understand numbers, which may explain all of the bankruptcies (including the trillion dollar deficit he’s run up in 2.5 years). Apparently, he’s passed the trait on to his son Eric, who claimed this week that his dad had the approval of “95% of Americans.” Trump is achieving levels of popularity that Stalin didn’t reach even at gunpoint…
+ When Trump said he “doesn’t have a racist bone” in his body, he was, of course, plagiarizing the Great Plagiarist himself, Joe Biden, who weakly invoked the same phrase in his own self-defense a mere two weeks ago.
+ “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” said a former employee of Trump’s Castle, in Atlantic City.
+ “You know, they talk about people of color,” Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania told Vice News in defense of Trump. “I’m a person of color. I’m white. I’m an Anglo Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don’t get offended.”
Kelly might be surprised to learn that recent research challenges the entire notion of an “Anglo-Saxon” England. The genetic and cultural evidence of an Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain after the Roman abandonment is scant at best, with the historiography coming largely from a few suspect passages in Gildas and the perhaps not-so-venerable Bede. See Susan Oosthuizen’s recent book, The Emergence of the English.
+ It is un-American to criticize the nation while I’m running it. It is your patriotic duty to trash the nation when the other woman’s running it.
+ Where did Kellyanne Conway want Jewish reporter Andrew Feinberg to “go back to”, Bergen-Belsen?
+ Trump’s approval rating among Republicans edged upward after three days of nonstop coverage of his racist Tweets.
+ Sen. Tom Tillis, who was at the president’s rally last night, on his impression of the Send Her Back chants: “A group of people chanted, he didn’t ask them to chant it. You can’t control that any more than you can control the reaction at a rock concert.” Tillis, of course, was the annoying guy who, high on Mexican weed for the first time, kept yelling FREEBIRD! during the Rascal Flatts show at the Ryman Auditorium…
+ Chuck Schumer’s pockets are deep, but never too full to refuse money from Wall Street super-predators…
+ “Speaker Pelosi clarified today she is not calling Trump a racist, she is calling Trump’s words racist.” (We understood you all along, Nancy.)
+ Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin quickly dismissed any implication that Trump’s tweets were racist. Mnuchin himself comes from the most “crime-infested” neighborhood in the US…Wall Street.
+ Whoopie? Joy? Someone, anyone, please make her stop…
+ We all know that McCain’s protégé Lindsey Graham wants to sound like Joe McCarthy but does he really scare anyone, except his own constituents? “We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of Communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own Country, they’re calling the guards along our Border (the Border Patrol Agents) Concentration Camp Guards, they accuse people who support Israel as doing it for the Benjamin’s, they are Anti-Semitic, they are Anti-America, we don’t need to know anything about them personally…”
+ Xeni Jardin: “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my oncologists didn’t say ‘It’s fine if a few cells remain active to metastasize and murder you later.’ Nearly killed me killing all the cancer, but no half measures. And here I am, bitches. Racism is a cancer. Nuke it from orbit.”
+ Texas may be running out of water. Many of its small towns are being rocked by frackquakes once every 3 days. The air in Houston is poisonous. The rates of diabetes are soaring. There are children in cages along its border. But the state is now a safe space for ChickfilA. Amen.
+ Over the past five years, Immigration Judge Agnelis Reese (who is also a pastor at the St. Luke African Methodist Church in Montgomery, Louisiana) has heard more than 200 asylum claims for entry into the United States. She is the only immigration judge in the country to have rejected each case. Nationally, such claims are granted 35% of the time. Reese, a registered Democrat, was appointed by Bill Clinton.
+ A 13-year-old girl hung herself because her father, despite trying three times, couldn’t make it across the border to be with her.
+ On the occasion of Mike Pence’s scripted visit to a border concentration camp, I recommend reading Andrea Pitzer’s account in One Long Night of the lengths the Soviets went to coverup the horrifying conditions at the infamous Solovki camp for a visit by Maxim Gorky who emerged saying the concentration camp was “absolutely necessary … and only by this road would the State achieve in the fastest possible time one of its aims: to get rid of prisons.” The year was 1929.
+ Our very own IG Farben…Six officials at Southwest Key, a nonprofit that runs migrant child shelters, earned more than $1 million in 2017.
+ ICE illegally detained (kidnapped) three children born in the US at O’Hare Airport in a plot to “bait” their parents, who are legal residents of the US, into an arrest. Who knows what being a “US citizen” means anymore…
+ Invoking a 37-year old law called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, passed after the disclosures of ex-CIA agent Philip Agee, the CIA is trying once again to make it easier to prosecute journalists for exposing agency malfeasance.
+ So Rand Paul has placed a senatorial hold on the 9/11 victim compensation fund. Imagine, for a moment, the national hysteria if Ilhan Omar had done the same (instead of co-sponoring the bill)…
+ Paul claims that he is not “blocking the bill” merely stalling it until the Senate agrees to vote on his amendment to “offset the costs.” Where was this kind of fortitude in the face of humanity when it came to Trump’s tax cuts?
+ In 1824, John Quincy Adams (one of the better humans to serve as president, if not a great president) lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson by 10.44%, but prevailed in the Electoral College by almost 2%, thus postponing the Jacksonian terror for 4 years. The others who lost the popular vote but won the presidency through the intervention of the electoral college are some of the most dismal figures in American political history (George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison). Trump seems poised to do it twice.
+ Let’s not forget that Trump’s political role model is Richard Nixon, who thought nothing of explaining his debased views about blacks to his secretary Rosemary Woods while (thankfully) the White House tape machine was rolling:
Bill Rogers [then Nixon’s Secretary of State] has got — to his credit it’s a decent feeling — but somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York. He says well, ‘They are coming along, and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.’ So forth and so on….My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years. I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.
+ I find it fascinating that these sexually-insecure politicians are not afraid of being alone with other men. Those are always the morally fraught situations that get the Almighty so pissed off he whips up tornadoes, floods and earthquakes, according to the extreme weather alerts on the 700 Club…
+ With Beto running on his own fumes, we badly needed another comic figure to enliven the Democratic debates. Enter billionaire Tom Steyer, here offering his deepest thoughts on the nature of inequality: “Karl Marx failed to consider software.”
+ House Democrats who voted against raising the federal minimum wage, including our very own Kurt Schrader, who squats on one of the safest Democratic districts on the West Coast…
Anthony Brindisi (NY-22)
Joe Cunningham (SC-01)
Kendra Horn (OK-05)
Ben McAdams (UT-04)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02)
+ So when Biden starts compromising with “the other side” will he begin with the Democratic House members who voted against raising the federal minimum wage or jump right to Louie Gohmert?
+ Matt Negrin: “The Republican Party protected a child rapist, endorsed a child molester for Senate, is bragging about putting children in concentration camps… and the Democratic leadership’s message is “soon they will realize the folly of their ways and we will work together with them”
+ Biden, who lies as regularly as Trump though much less smoothly, tried to smear Sanders and Warren with a false charge that moving to a single payer health care system would harm cancer patients by causing a “hiatus” in their treatments. He just made that shit up.
+ Joe Biden, in New Hampshire, trying to rationalize his Iraq war vote : “The mistake I made was trusting President Bush, who gave me his word he was using it for the purpose of getting inspectors in to see what was going on, whether they were producing a nuclear weapon.”
You’d have to be dumber to swallow this explanation, than Biden was to trust Bush…
+ The only policies where there are sharp differences between Biden and Trump are on trade and the Iraq war, both of which are advantages to Trump. Trump even curtailed some of the worst features of Biden’s crime bill. It’s easy to see how this campaign will unfold…
+ There’s a theory, zealously promoted by NYT op-ed writers from Maureen Dowd to Frank Bruni, that Trump really wants to run against AOC. He likes to take pot shots from the safety of his Twitter account, but he doesn’t want to meet her face-to-face. AOC embodies almost everything Trump fears most in life. I think she’d eat him alive…
+ What AOC & Co. are up against: the Dems are an aging party that values loyalty to leadership and seniority more than , ideas, vigor & innovation. In the House, there are 20 standing committees, only 4 are chaired by people younger than the ave retirement age in the US (62). Three are chaired by people 80 or older. Is it any wonder their policies are so immune to any kind of change?
+ Post-ISIS horror in Syria: more than 4,760 bodies have been exhumed from a series of mass graves in and around Raqqa since January 2018.
+ Asked about Amazon’s meeting with ICE to sell face Rekognition technology, a company executive said: “We believe the government should have the best available technology.”
+ In 1992, Trump invited Jeffrey Epstein to Mar-a-Lago for a party featuring dozens of young women, including a group of cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills. At one point Trump leans next to the convicted child rapist and says, ““Look at her, back there. She’s hot.”
At another point, Trump roughly gropes one of the cheerleaders from behind. The footage comes from a NBC show hosted by Faith Daniels, during her interview with Trump she recalls how surprised her by kissing her on the mouth at a Celebrity Chef event. He grins foulishly and says, “I did it when your husband wasn’t looking.”
+ It’s going to be amusing to watch the fallout from this clash of overhyped attorneys entangled in the Epstein affair…
Alan Dershowitz: “I have had sex with one woman since the day I met Jeffrey Epstein. I challenge David Boies to say under oath that he’s only had sex with one woman … He has an enormous amount of chutzpah to attack me and challenge my perfect, perfect sex life.”
+ Bernie Sanders: “If we could implement Medicare without computers in 1966 in twelve months we can manage the implementation of Medicare for All now.”
+ U.S. military operations since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have released 766 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, from 2001 through 2017. That includes 400 million tons emitted in major conflict zones. Add in facilities and other routine factors, and the total carbon footprint over those years rises to 1.2 billion tons.
+ A senior DOJ official said AG Barr made final call on decision not to move forward in prosecuting Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Eric Garner’s murder, siding with EDNY recommendation over DOJ’s own Civil Rights division, which recommended prosecution.
+ Christian Book Distributors (CBD) is changing its name to ChristianBook because people kept confusing it with a marijuana distributor…
Yes, that’s the book for me
I get so high
I can touch the sky
Sniffin’ those pages of CBD
+ A man from Colombia was arrested at the international airport in Barcelona after Spanish police discovered a half-kilo of cocaine hidden in his wig. I wonder if that’s why Hound Dog Taylor was so desperate to get his back…
+ Police pull over a car with expired plates. The car turns out to be stolen. The driver license is expired. His passenger has a gun. (At this point, almost any black person would have been shot.) She is a felon. Under the driver’s seat the cops find a bottle of whiskey. In the backseat, there’s a terrarium housing a rattlesnake. In the trunk, there’s a canister of uranium. Just another day in Guthrie, Oklahoma, the FrackQuake Capital of the USA (341 in the last 365 days).
+ The last worthy Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens who died this week at 99, was Justice Stevens was in the stands when Babe Ruth called his home-run shot during the 1932 World Series.
+ The slide in Black homeownership didn’t start under Trump, but he’ll probably find a way to brag about bringing it to a record (low) level …
+ Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Roger Stone violated her gag order and banned him from using any social media until his trial is over.
They’ll ground you when you’re tweeting in your car
They’ll ground you when you’re tweeting from afar
They’ll ground you when you’re putting on your drawers
They’ll ground you when you’re on the Infowars
But I would not feel so all alone
For now, they’re only grounding Roger Stone…
+ For the Dime’s Worth of Difference file: John Ehrlichman: “I wasn’t a huge of fan of Nixon’s politics. If someone had asked me to work for Kennedy, I would have.” (From the wonderful documentary, Our Nixon. Much of the footage is from home movies filmed by Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman. It’s on Amazon Prime.)
+ I got a dreadful update last night on the health of our pal Paul Krassner from Michael Simmons. Paul is very ill and has been moved to hospice care. I just talked with Paul a few days ago. He was bitching at me in his customary way (and with reason) about when his latest story was going to appear in CounterPunch magazine–we’re a little behind. But he was otherwise jovial and didn’t at all let slip just how sick he is. Krassner made life in this country a lot more bearable for people like me…and you too probably, whether you realize it or not. More personally, Paul helped free me to say & write exactly what I thought without giving a damn about those who might take offense.
+ Nuclear Power: the grift that keeps on taking…the shutdown of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plants, some 40 years in the making, will cost at least $1.2 billion.
+ After having screened all six episodes of Chernobyl and found it benign, the members of Trump’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission are considering a plan to reduce inspections at aging nuclear plants in the United States.
+ A new study from the University of Arkansas details how climate change has intensified the drought in regions of the US: “Higher temperatures brought about by climate change led to an increased ‘coupling’ of land and atmosphere, which further increased the severity of heatwaves.” You’d think that word “coupling” would catch Trump’s eye…
+ In 60 years over one-third of the Earth’s population could be exposed to dangerous heat conditions of 127 degrees Fahrenheit (53°C) or more.
+ Hottest Global Mean Temperature ever recorded for the month of June…and July is sizzling.
The average number of “heat waves” in American cities each year has tripled since 1960. These extreme heat events happen more frequently, they persist longer, they’re hotter and more deadly.
+ DC as Death Valley may strike some of us who lived there as a little redundant but still…OUCH!
+ By 2070, Joshua Tree National Park won’t have any Joshua trees and Glacier National Park won’t have any glaciers. But there’ll still be cannonballs and headstones at Gettysburg–if they don’t build condos over them…
+ Russia’s permafrost is melting, to deploy one of Trump’s favorite phrases, like no one’s ever seen before. The Alaskan permafrost may even be melting at a faster rate. The consequences for the planet will be dire. In fact, it could all unravel in real, as opposed to geological, time.
+ Hurricane Barry set an all-time rainfall record in the state of Arkansas for a single cyclone event: 16.56 inches.
+ Half of all food-insecure countries are experiencing decreases in crop production — and so are some affluent industrialized countries in Western Europe.
+ Of the nine tiger species, three are already extinct, and the remaining six remain at risk of the same fate.
+ Charlie Hill, Oneida-Mohawk-Cree: “A Redneck told me to go back where I came from, so I put a tipi in his backyard.”
+ Police in Alabama issued a warning that flushing drugs is creating meth-fueled alligators.
Sweet home Alabama
Your swamps are the best
Sweet home Alabama
Where all the gators are on meth
+ Quentin Tarantino says his version of Star Trek will be “Pulp Fiction in space.” So basically the same thing Trump has in mind for Space Force…
+ Sidney Lumet on cinematic style: “Critics talk about style as something apart from the movie because they need the style to be obvious. The reason they need it to be obvious is that they don’t really see. If the movie looks like a Ford or Coca-Cola commercial, they think that’s style. And it is. It’s trying to sell you something you don’t need and is stylistically geared to that goal.”
+ Beware the writer as houseguest? The first time Cockburn came to stay with us he arrived four hours late in the Imperial, which was leaking oil and took up half the parking slots on our block, with an unannounced houseguest (female), his Fax machine, typewriter, a leather bag with half a roasted chicken, two bottles of hard cider, and some salmon that had begun to emit a foul odor. He was late for his LA Times column, so he promptly began working on an antique desk, which he soon spilled ink and Turkish coffee on. The Fax began spitting out dozens of pages from his intern at the Nation, which soon covered the living room floor in a blizzard of paper. He tended to scoot back in his chair to proof his pages before faxing them to LA, leaving deep gouges in the wooden floor. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship…(Things weren’t quite as messy after we got him on his first Blueberry i-Book.)
Ha, Ha Charade You Are….
What I’m reading this week…
Seasons: Desert Sketches
What I’m listening to this week…
The Long Goodbye
Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
Then I Try Some More
(Team Love Records)
Silence is Pessimism
Carlos Fuentes: “I discovered very quickly that criticism is a form of optimism, and that when you are silent about the shortcomings of your society, you’re very pessimistic about that society. And it’s only when you speak truthfully about it that you show your faith in that society.”