Thursday, December 28, 2017

Year-end Space Filler: The 10 Lamest Stories of 2017

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Generator

With the first string gasbags languishing in St. Barts or trying to stay one step ahead of their wives' process-servers, the end of year is the time when those trapped in New York or DC fill space and air with their top ten lists for 2017.  Could anything be lamer?  Well, actually, they could – as these top 10 lame stories from the past year will demonstrate.

10. What does the Korean madman want? 

Gee, who could suss this one out?  Why does Kim Jong Un refuse to give up his nuclear arsenal at the demand of dotard President U Bum?   He is either a lunatic on a suicide mission or he has seen what has happened to fellow dictators in Libya and Iraq who tried to face down the United States without a few A-bombs in their pocket.  You make the call; your media savants somehow can't.

9.  Where will Jeff Bezos go next?

World-class city to Jeff Bezos: We have it all!
Having exhausted the labor market and gullibility of Seattle, Jeff Bezos has announced he is graciously prepared to receive tribute to locate some sort of office somewhere else pleasing to him.  The winning vassal state must have the right combination of a highly educated labor force, a major international airport, an established web of high-tech institutions and companies he can raid, and a government complaisant enough to toss him billions of subsidies for the privilege of hosting his minions.  In other words, nowhere.

Of course he will choose someplace, we hope not here, subject to sufficient bribes to please his most excellent crap merchant and labor sweater.

Let's see: educated work force, major airport, lots of culture, easily corrupted government officials.  Looks like the inside track belongs to Moscow.

8.  TV star marries unemployed Brit

Actually we like stories about plucky clever black/Jewish girls making good, and it doesn't get much gooder than landing a genuine if rather thick high-mileage British prince.  However, 10,000 words on the layers of meaning hidden in a slinky dress she wore in a photo is – what's the word? – lame.

7.  Those Silicon Valley geniuses

This lame-o perennial features a fawning profile of some Asperger's case who by dint of his coldness, ruthlessness, and just dumb luck made billions by rolling out a product that while no more innovative that what was already out there (Apple Mac, Friendster) managed to be adopted universally.  That makes the twerp the source of all wisdom on all subjects, including those on which he (and it's always he) knows nothing, like human relationships.

Never mind that such genius was utterly oblivious to Russian manipulation of his product, missed the last two major turns in technology, or had turned his startup into the sh*ttiest frat house at Ole Miss, the media hung on every banal utterance.

6.  Local person buys doughnut for The Poor

This is more a local news B-block staple following the fires, overturned trucks, and any good murder within 300 miles of the transmitter: some unfortunate person's Christmas was brightened when an unnamed/named benefactor bought doughnuts/turkeys/toys for the poor/a little old lady/whoever was standing in line behind them at Market Basket, thus showing what generous and wonderful people we are.  That these same generous and wonderful white people overwhelmingly voted for greedy, bigoted white men who devote their entire lives to screwing the poor, with tremendous success, somehow goes without mention.

5.  Grifter-in-Chief is now acting Presidential

This one was more prevalent in the first half of the year, before the media's Charlie Browns realized that Lucy was never in fact going to hold the football.  Every time U Bum managed to read a speech from a teleprompter without wetting himself, the media chorused that such effort represented a decisive turn from the torrent of witless bigoted insults that passed for a Presidential campaign.  Of course the next day U Bum resumed the cheap shots.  Meanwhile the grifting and the chaos went on as always.  We're hearing less of this narrative now as the catastrophe visited upon America by plutocracy and bigotry has become clear to even the meanest newsroom intelligence, a little too late.

4.  How we were supposed to know?

He was like totally better
Replacing lame narrative #5 has been the rising chorus of shocked self-righteous attacks on U Bum from, wait for it, Republicans.  Not Republicans who have to run for office, who remain hostage to their party's demented primary voters, but Republican gasbags who have long earned a semi-dishonest living providing much-unneeded “balance” to op-ed pages and cable news panels.

While we appreciate the return of Jennifer, Ana, Bruce, Steve, Nicole, and Billy to the side of the light, we have to ask where were they during the reigns of St. Ronald of Bitburg and George W. for Waterboarding?  Oh, that's right: working for those nefarious schmucks and shilling for their horrible policies, which bear a remarkable resemblance to those being promoted by the Grifter-in-Chief.

Thanks, but we'll look elsewhere for our moral re-armament.

3.  What makes white men kill people?

Funny when the gunman is black or brown, the answer is clear (thug, terrorist).  But when it's a white man with home-made machine guns, no one has a clue.  Usually we settle on some sort of unknown and unheard of mental illness.  The real question – why do we allow serial domestic abusers easy access to weapons of mass murder? – goes unasked and unanswered, although we suspect it may have just the teensiest bit to do with the Republican opposition to any sort of reasonable gun regulation that might get between a white wife beater and his vantage point high above the country-music concert.

2.  Why won't Hillary go away?

She won the popular vote by a margin of only 2,900,000, so why does Hillary Clinton think she has any right to participate in political life?  Especially when she refused to divorce her tomcattin' husband and made compromises in pursuit of what she saw as larger principles.  The nerve!  Surely it has nothing to do with the continued effort to silence outspoken women (although we'd be more righteously outraged if 53% of white women hadn't voted for someone else).

The question we have:  since no one ever asked this of John Kerry, John McCain, or Wilfred M. Romney, why won't this story go away?

But the winner has to be the lamest news story of 2017 (cue fanfare of assault rifles being shot and meth cookers exploding):

1.  U Bum's voters are still with him

"He tells it like it is"
Journey with our intrepid reporter into darkest (by which we mean whitest) Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, or other uninhabitable sh*thole and meet those adorable white critters who still support the Bigot-in-Chief.  Why?  Usually it takes 1000 words to get the answer, but the cuckoo eventually pops out of the clock.  It's that U Bum has given them what they want: an endless stream of bigotry and hate that matches what's in their hearts and lets them enjoy their unearned feelings of superiority as they waste away from lack of real jobs, health care, and hope.  

What the 74% of the American electorate who didn't vote for the Tangerine-Faced Pussy Grabber think one year on is of course not interesting to anyone.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Good and Dead: Former Archbishop of Boston, child torturing Antichrist, and Harvard grad

The obituary page of The Massachusetts Spy

By Luke Reschuss with
Gina Romantica in Rome

We almost buried the news of the too-long-delayed death of the evil Bernard Cardinal Law, dark Prince of the Roman Catholic Church, but as the work of undoing the evil that he perpetrated on innocent children for 25 years remains in progress, we thought we'd give him the sendoff he deserves on his way to someplace even hotter than Rome in August.

Cardinal Law and his flock

Speaking of Hell and Rome, we were as appalled as, though of course less personally injured than, any of Bernie's no longer young victims by the splendid funeral the dead felon got in St. Peter's Basilica, attended by an eminence no less exalted than Pope Francis himself.  We'll let The Boston Globe (which seems to have a little problem of its own these days with a coverup of misconduct somewhat less grave than the Archdiocese's) explain the final insult to the victims of child rape thusly:

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis prayed Thursday for a merciful final judgment for Cardinal Bernard Law, symbol of the Catholic Church’s failure to protect children from pedophile priests and its arrogance in safeguarding its own reputation at all costs.
In a final blessing at Law’s funeral Mass, Francis blessed his coffin with incense and holy water at the foot of the back altar of St. Peter’s Basilica and recited the ritual prayer commending him to God.
‘‘May he be given a merciful judgment so that redeemed from death, freed from punishment, reconciled to the Father, carried in the arms of the Good Shepherd, he may deserve to enter fully into everlasting happiness in the company of the eternal King together with all the saints.’’
The dean of the college of cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, celebrated the funeral Mass, along with some 30 other cardinals, and eulogized Law without making any mention of the scandal. Following the typical protocol, Francis arrived at the end of the service to deliver the final prayer.
US Ambassador-designate Callista Gingrich and her husband, Newt, as well as some other members of the diplomatic corps were on hand in the pews, . . .
Turnout was otherwise limited, with the basilica ushers stacking extra rows of empty seats before the Mass began.

Frankly we're surprised more didn't show up to stick pins in the stiff to make sure he wasn't faking, although the attendance of Callista the Sword-Swallowing Ambassador and her adulterous liege added one more sparkling jewel of hypocrisy to the already glittering tiara.

Speaking of merciful judgment, how much mercy was shown to the scores of children whose lives were destroyed by Cardinal Law's betrayal of every moral basis of every religion ever?  We'll let the Globe's Kevin Cullen sum up the quality of Cardinal Law's mercy:
But, please, in the name of everything we hold sacred, let’s not disabuse ourselves of the abuse he enabled. Bernie Law presided over one of the worst networks of sexual abusers ever assembled. Thousands of children were raped and molested on his watch. Some of them killed themselves. Some were dead, in their souls, from the moment they were inappropriately touched by a priest. He sent the priests who raped and molested on to other parishes to do more of what they did, rather than call scandal to his church. . . .
He forsook his position as a bishop, protecting his flock. Instead, he protected the institution and the men who used Roman collars as bait to abuse young people. He moved them to other parishes and places where they could rape again.

That is his legacy. That is what should be carved on his gravestone. It is the hard and horrible and inescapable truth.

And if the Catholic Church doesn’t have the truth, what does it have?
 
Now maybe it's the doctrine of the Catholic Church to forgive such evil.  In the shul we go to though we're told that for the sins that man commits against man (or child), God doesn't forgive.

And neither do Cardinal Law's legion of victims:
Another survivor, Alexa MacPherson of Holbrook, had a different reaction to Law’s death.

Now he resides in an exclusive
gated community
“I hope the gates of Hell are swinging wide open to welcome him,” said MacPherson, 42, who grew up in Dorchester.
So what is Cardinal Law's infernal legacy?  He escaped Boston one step ahead of the grand jury and retired to a lifetime of ease at a sinecure in Rome.  His church, having grudgingly coughed up a few more raping priests and their enabling bishops, has recently decided that it had suffered enough and let its Commission on Priestly Sex Abuse waft off into limbo, accordingly to the notoriously anti-clerical National Catholic Reporter.

We also remember that for years the Church's clever Boston lawyers frustrated the claims of of priestly molestation victims for compensation as substantial as their injuries by citing the Massachusetts law limiting the civil liabilities of charities, of which the Archdiocese of Boston was unarguably one, to $20,000.

In response, efforts were made to persuade the Great and General Court to amend Massachusetts law to exempt claims for injuries due to sexual abuse from that paltry limit.  You'll never guess what happened:
James F. Driscoll, executive director of the Catholic Conference, said in May 2012 that the measure would “have an immediate and harmful impact on the ability of all nonprofits, not just the Catholic Church, to serve thousands of people who rely on these organizations.’’
So the Archdiocese is good about the forgiving, but as for promising to compensate any future victims fairly, it's more like can't we just all get along?  The good news is that in his new home Cardinal Law should have no trouble getting along with his new colleagues.  After all, they're just like him.  And after all those summers in Rome, he's used to the heat.

As for the rest of us, it's much too soon to forgive an institution that still labors mightily to deny justice to children victimized by sexual predators in clerical collars.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 18, 2017

SPONSORED CONTENT -- When your little Harvey wants to come out to play

The Massachusetts Spy is made possible by a generous if untraceable grant from Don-n-Vlad Hospitality Partners (Cyprus), LP

Monday, December 11, 2017

Why We Fight: Know Your Allies, Chapter 35,549

KABUL, Afghanistan — “You’re ugly, Maryam, everyone says so, but I guess you’re a virgin so when you’re ready to have sex, let me know and I will be glad to …” Her male co-worker, writing on her Facebook account, finished the sentence obscenely.

It was 10 a.m. on a normal day in the life of an Afghan working woman. The journalist Maryam Mehtar, 24, said she had already that morning been harassed or assaulted at least five times: in the bus to work, on the street waiting for the bus, by a man who grabbed her buttocks, by another man who asked how much she charged and by a young boy who said she had a “pretty vulva.

. . . .


When women speak up, they take a big risk, said Shaharzad Akbar, 30, who works as an adviser to President Ashraf Ghani and says she was sexually assaulted when she was an intern early in her career. “In Afghanistan, women can’t say they faced sexual harassment. If a woman shares someone’s identity, he will kill her or kill her family. We can never accuse men, especially high-ranking men, without great risk.”

They fear not only the vengeance of the abusers, but sometimes even that of their own families, Ms. Akbar and others said.

Zubaida, 26, was a police officer whose superior groped her breasts and demanded sex. She quit her job, but does not dare give her own full name or her abuser’s. “If I said his name, definitely he would kill me or one of my family members,” she said. Worse, if it became public, she said she would fear that her own family members might carry out an honor killing against her.

Even rape victims are sometimes killed by their own relatives, who believe the shame attached to rape is worse than the suffering of the rape victim.

“In Afghanistan, we are both the victim and the criminal,” Zubaida said. “I can’t even tell my own family that I quit because of sexual harassment. Western women are so lucky.”

. . . .

One woman gave up on government employment after repeated harassment and started her own nongovernmental organization. She began applying for grants from the United Nations, the United States Agency for International Development and various Western embassies.

“Every time the same thing: The Afghan staff would say, ‘I’ll approve your proposal, if you have sex with me,’” she said, asking that her name not be used because she still hopes to find a grant and does not want to anger potential donors. “Everyone thinks that those women who work outside the home are whores, and Afghan men can say and do anything they want with them.”

. . . .

When Ms. Mehtar posted on Facebook her view that “Afghan women are not safe even in their own homes,” she was deluged with a mixture of hate mail and sexually abusive comments. She received hundreds of Facebook and Twitter messages — which she has archived. One came from an Afghan writer named Jalil Junbish, who described himself as an authority on women’s rights. It read: “You’re a whore and have had sex with many men.”

Contacted by Facebook Messenger about the abuse, Mr. Junbish not only confirmed that it came from him, but repeated his accusation. “Maryam is a whore,” he replied to a female Afghan reporter for The New York Times. “Why are you her friend?” He added, “You’re a whore, too.”

When the reporter contacted Mr. Junbish by telephone, he confirmed that the Facebook account was his own, but he then claimed that it had been hacked by someone else who sent the abusive messages.


 . . . .

In one of the country’s most outrageous cases, last month, an Afghan air force colonel was accused of demanding sex from a subordinate. The woman secretly videotaped his assault on her, with his face and identity clear. Posted on Facebook anonymously, that video and a more explicit second one went viral in Afghanistan.

. . . .

Recently, the Ministries of Interior and Communications jointly set up hotlines to report sexual harassment, with separate numbers for women (989) and men (999). Since the interior ministry is in charge of the police, many assumed the hotlines were for reporting problems with police officers.

A woman who answered the 989 number said that was not their role; they handle only phone harassment cases of the heavy-breathing type. “If a policeman harasses you,” the hotline operator said, “you should slap him, or ask other women to slap him. We can’t help you.” 

The New York Times, Dec. 11, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Where in the world is Chaim Weizmann?


By Henry Cabot Lodge
Diplomatic Correspondent

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Never let it be said that subscribers to the New York Times don't receive the finest in service journalism for their thousand-dollar annual subscriptions.  We're not talking just about their coverage of obscure eateries at the very end of subway lines you never took east of Grand Central or south of Fulton Street, what $2 million will buy you in Tribeca (a parking space), or their glossy fashion spreads on how to look like an anorexic borderline junkie for only $75,000 a night.

No, included with your daily paper is a veritable fount of geographical learning.  Why just today you could learn where the capital of Israel is:
Jerusalem.  . . . is our capital and it always will be. It was taken away from the Jewish people by force. It was recaptured by force. If necessary, it will be preserved under Israel’s jurisdiction by force, too.

President U Bum says this isn't the capital of Israel . . .
So if your answer to the question “What is the capital of Israel?” was Bridgeport, Connecticut, you lost!  Don't you feel like a schmuck?  If you did, feel free to send a thank you to Shmuel Rosner, who embedded that geographical nugget inside an op-ed column that concluded with warm praise for President U Bum's latest diplomatic clanger:
But the president — often criticized for being blunt and never shying away from saying what he wants to say — will have his Trumanesque moment by refusing to pretend that Israel has no capital. If violence is the result of that, we will all regret it. But it is worth remembering that Truman’s recognition of Israel was also met with violence — and it is still remembered as a great American moment.
Who is this great melamed, Shmuel Rosner?   Is he the same guy who told American Jews a mere nine years ago that their job was to support whatever the Government of Israel did, no questions asked?  Well, maybe it's a common name in Likud circles:
I think that what American Jews can do--the best service they can give as to advance Middle East peace--is to support Israel as much as they can.  . . .   I want them coming for visits, I want them caring, I want them lobbying.  And no--I do not want them to be criticizing Israel in public and trying to pressure Israel on matters of policy and trying to "save Israel from itself" and all that condescending crap. 

Who likes condescending crap?  Not us, Shmuelkeleh.

 . . . or this . . .
On the other hand, Israelis like Rosner get to condescend to American Jews by telling them that U Bum's disastrous announcement on Jerusalem is nothing more than a reflection of geographical reality.  It's like we're all schmucks, a stereotype perhaps fostered by the spectacle of thousands of Reform Jews rampaging through the streets of Boston after spending more than six bucks for coffee and a roll at Eataly.  Can you believe it?

Of course, the Likudniks and their even-more-loathsome allies know that U Bum's slurred declaration was not about geography; it's about destroying any hope of a two-state solution.  In that same edition of the New York Times you could find the kind of candor that Israelis lavish on themselves:
Naftali Bennett, the education minister and leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, said American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “shows that Israel’s strategic patience has paid off.”
“We have been told again and again that if we want more acceptance, we have to cut off parts of Israel and hand them over to our enemies,” he said. “What we are learning is the contrary: The world respects strong countries who believe in themselves and looks down on countries willing to give up their homeland.”
Translated from the Likud-speak, this means that U Bum's witless Jerusalem announcement vindicates the Israeli right's rejection of a two-state solution and territorial compromise with the Palestinians, because if you wait long enough, Sheldon Adelson will install in the White House some demented grifter stupid enough to look the other way whilst Israel paves the West Bank with settlements in preparation for annexation.

And according to the annexationists, Israel will get away with it because those pesky Arabs are too preoccupied with with all the other things they f**ked up, like Yemen or indeed the entire Sunni-Shiite feud:
But even as Arab and Muslim leaders across the Middle East condemned Mr. Trump’s announcement, doubts were raised about the stamina of the anger. The Palestinian issue, long a binding force in Arab politics, has slipped in importance in recent years, overshadowed by other conflicts.
The expansionists either deny the existence of the Palestinians as a people entitled to self-determination, or more smugly lump the Palestinians in with the Tibetans and the Kurds as history's losers whose demands can be ignored without consequences.  How's that working out in Northern Iraq, anyway?

At the risk of being labelled as “condescending,” we feel compelled to suggest that the consequences of U Bum's gift to his reactionary Jewish and evangelical base are unlikely to be in the best interests of the Jewish state.  Subsequent on-line editions of the Times report that violence has broken out in the West Bank and in Arab capitals and that Americans are being warned against traveling in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Some Israelis seem to think that the loss of any number of Palestinian lives and perhaps a few 19-year-old IDF soldiers is but a small price to pay for burying the peace process.  We, along with maybe a few million other condescending American Jews, think that the death of even a single fearless pony-tailed or stubbled teenaged IDF draftee is far too high a price to pay for stupidity.

 . . . but his Holy Roller buddies
think this might be soon
The point of the consistent U.S. position on Jerusalem was not that the Israeli capital should be moved to Trump Towers Beersheva.  Rather, past U.S. policy was designed to give the Palestinians the hope that some day the peace process might result in a tenable state with a capital somewhere in the large annexed land mass Israel refers to as “Jerusalem.”  It was also intended to preserve the United States' unique position as the one power sufficiently trusted by both sides to broker a real and honest peace.

Well, that's all gone now, at least for the remaining weeks of the Grifter-in-Chief's Administration.  So why did the Master Negotiator embark on a path with no upside and tons of downside?  Consider that, in addition to Sheldon and his Likudnik Empire-Builders, there's one other group close to U Bum's tiny clotted heart who's pleased: Christian fundamentalists.

Why are they so devoted to sabotaging the peace process and ushering in Israeli dominion from the sea to the Jordan River?  If you read that book they carry around with them, you'll learn that a lot of them think that it's part of a cycle that leads to Armageddon, the restoration of Jesus Christ as the ruler of Jerusalem, and the rapturing of all good Christians.  None of this sounds too terrific for the Jews.

Even if you accept the protestations of these Holy Rollers that they don't actually support President U Bum on the grounds that he is helping to bring about the end of the world, you might want to pay heed to the words of Chaim Weizmann, the great Zionist leader and first President of Israel:
There must not be one law for the Jew and another for the Arabs....In saying this, I do not assume that there are tendencies toward inequality or discrimination. It is merely a timely warning which is particularly necessary because we shall have a very large Arab minority. I am certain that the world will judge the Jewish State by what it will do with the Arabs.
Stop condescending, Chaim.

Update, December 9, 2017: The Times op-ed editors must think that anyone who pays one large a year to get a newspaper must be pretty dim, because they reprinted the same geographical tidbit today, as mansplained by laziest Times columnist of the week Bret Stephens.  It's must reading if (and only if) you still think that the capital of Israel is Tombstone, Arizona.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Weapons of mass stupefaction


By Nellie Bly
Washington Bureau

We follow adorable U Bum cheerleader and Westworld barmaid Katrina Pierson on Twitter.  Every so often she come up with something that provokes us, if only to further consideration.  This was one:



We were thinking of tweeting back that calling out sexual abuse and harassment by others is not a good look for the Groper-in-Chief's dwindling band of true believers, but it made us stop and think.  Katrina Pierson doesn't have to shoplift her talking points anymore; they are provided to her by propagandists who know what they're doing.

So what are they doing?

They're using what John Oliver calls whataboutism to inoculate the Grifter-in-Chief from facing the consequences of his actions.  Sure, he admitted violating women and barging in on underage girls disrobing in their dressing rooms, but no one can hold that thought in their heads very long in the face of barrage after barrage about supposedly similar conduct by Democrats as prominent as Russell Simmons.  The scandal of President U Bum's sexually assaulting 18 women is lost in the stench of everyone does it until the little train carrying the public careens into the next chamber of the White House of Horrors.

The Bigot-in-Chief used the same technique with great success in his campaign.  Remember Hillary Clinton's pointed and accurate attack on U Bum as Putin's stooge?  The tangerine-faced insult comic fired back with “You're the puppet!”  It made no sense then and makes none now, but it brought public consideration of the collusion between the Chancellor of Trump University and a hostile foreign power to a grinding halt, soon to be replaced by email risotto recipes that were thought to “cast a shadow” over the campaign of the nominee who was not a Kremlin puppet.

As anyone who has survived this long in Occupied Territory knows, the bullshit barrage is so unceasing that it makes rational thought impossible.  Just today, between slurring a Senator for expressing pride in her heritage during a ceremony honoring war heroes of that same ethnic background and blowing up an independent federal agency in a blatantly lawless coup, we have neither the time nor the energy to remember that the President of the United States has admitted both sex crimes and impeachable obstructions of justice.

So we take it back (and btw that's good advice for Katrina the next time she finds herself in Macy's jewelry department) – Katrina Pierson, at least until the batteries need a recharge, is a superbly effective agent of disinformation.

Friday, November 24, 2017

America's laziest columnist wakes up, unfortunately

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Generator

Just this week, The New York Times sent us an ominous envelope that in past years it has used to inform its remaining brain-dead print subscribers (like us!) that due to increasing costs including the publisher's alimony the price of your subscription would sadly rise oh-so-slightly to a yearly total that now has a comma in it.

So imagine how surprised we were when the letter within, signed by credulous columnist Nick Kristof, thanked us for supporting The Times' journalism and the efforts of its hard-carousing [Surely, hard-working? – Ed.] reporters.

That was nice.  Unfortunately today his even lazier colleague Maureen Dowd emerged from her Georgetown crypt to remind us what else our stack of Benjamins pays for: a full column of racist talking points supposedly issued by her brother “Kevin.”  Long-time Spy readers will recall that we had taken a close look at his previous effort here, here, and here.

It shut him up for a year, but like herpes, he flared up again with an all-new column carefully analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the first 10 months of the U Bum Administration.

We're just f**king with you again.  Of course he didn't; he just recycled the racist bigoted talking points pinging around the Republican bullsh*tosphere.  We're still recovering from too much turkey so we can't spend too long on “Kevin”'s latest effort, but we thought we could put about as much effort into reviewing it as he and his sister put in composing it.

Kevin speak more good!
As you might have surmised,  “Kevin” thinks that the Grifter-in-Chief is the greatest thing since lynching bees.

He looks back with unconcealed white male glee at U Bum's colossal list of achievements, including installing Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.  This was actually thanks to Mitch McConnell's refusal to allow Merrick Garland so much as a hearing, but that was OK with “Kevin,” because Gorsuch is already proving to be such a blazing success. What's the source of this bromance? Was it Gorsuch's apparent desire to read Baker v. Carr (outlawing malapportioned districts) out of the Court's body of precedent?  Who knows? Not “Kevin.”

“Kevin” is equally enthusiastic about the Grifter-in-Chief's demolition of real President Obama's “burdensome regulations.”  Which ones particularly chapped his sagging white butt?  Was it the one that prevented those with serious mental illnesses from obtaining lethal weapons? Or the one that protected us from dumping of lethal mine waste?  Or the one that requires employers to disclose their illegal mistreatment of employees?  Or the one that allowed killing bear cubs?  Don't ask “Kevin” – he heard Brian Kilmeade say this yesterday and that's good enough for him.

But what of course really floats “Kevin” out of his recliner are not the exiguous achievements of U Bum; it's the chance to rubbish Democrats.  Did you know that Democrats don't always treat women respectfully?  Now you do:
The dam has broken on sexual harassment and worse. It has already claimed Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Charlie Rose and threatens to make a ghost town of Hollywood and the Capitol. It has also brought back Bill Clinton for an unwanted encore of his colorful past.
Is there any other figure in public life that might have a problem with his treatment of women?  Hello?  Maybe he could ask his sister, who has had any number of chummy interviews with the Groper-in-Chief.

There's more, or rather there isn't much more.  Among the topics that “Kevin” doesn't believe are worthy of discussion are proposed tax cuts for the idle rich and their mouth-breathing spawn, U Bum's ill-fated effort to steal health insurance from 23 million, the record of Russian collusion and Putin-scrotum-kissing that has made the United States the laughingstock of the world, the obstruction of justice that occurred when Comey was fired, the undermining of all efforts to save the planet from the devastation of global warming, and U Bum's endless hate-filled appeals to racists, Nazis, and bigots.

Actually, come to think of it, “Kevin” did have time to note approvingly any number of those rants.  Who isn't glad to know that the Grifter-in-Chief and his band of brownshirts were so successful in lighting “Kevin”'s tiki torch?

We just have one thought for the good folks who continue to pay Maureen Dowd to recycle third-hand disinformation: don't put “Kevin”'s musings in next year's thank-you letter to subscribers.  They might wonder if their $1000+ might be put to better use elsewhere.

Update Nov. 27: We don't know how we missed this steaming nugget although in our defense it was quite a pile, but “Kevin” pans for comedy gold by making fun of the ages of Democratic leaders: “The Democrats have their own issues. Their leaders are all on Medicare . . .”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is 77.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is 67.

“Kevin”'s choice for effective, energetic leadership, the Grifter-in-Chief, is 71.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fall Review of Unreadable Books: Living in Fantasyland

Editors' Note: Every so often our Literary Editors, none of whom recall being forcibly kissed, groped, fondled or ridiculed by Leon Wieseltier, share with you, the innocent reader, their discovery of a book so dreadful, so empty, so clich├ęd that it cannot possibly be read.  We call these books “Unreadable” to warn the literate public (Alabamans can skip to the next item) not to go near them with a 95% off coupon.  Here's their latest find.

Fantasyland
by Kurt Andersen '76
Random House [How appropriate – Literary Ed.]
$30, already marked down to $20.28

Who among us fails to remember with fondness those long dinners in Dunster or Lowell with you and your brilliant friends and their brilliant friends and some graduate student in need of a shower and hairbrush sharing their brilliant take on the history of the world, the fate of humanity, or the inevitability of their brilliant career?  It was brilliant, right?

Whatever happened to those guys?  Some have faded into obscurity, by which we mean law or medicine or academia.  Some lied us into a lethal war of choice in Iraq.  Others used their legal talents and propensity for brown-nosing to reach the pinnacle of the American justice system, where they toil indefatigably to transform the U.S. Constitution into a vehicle for the exclusive protection of rich white reactionaries like themselves.

Others achieve literary fame and fortune, like the author of the instant unreadable book, an effort to explain why the United States finds itself enmeshed in a web of lies that have left democracy and the rule of law trapped and devoured by those in power.  Our author, Kurt Andersen '76, relies on his 30-year career as an intellectual and social historian conducting painstaking research and inquiry into the dark and treacherous waters of the American past.

Nah, we're just bullsh*tting you.  Our author has been f**king around New York City since graduation: editing a humor magazine, trying his hand at the occasional novel, and serving as the host of the well-known public radio program The Kurt Andersen Tower of Power Hour.  [Louise, get the name of his f**king show – Literary Ed.]

So it's no surprise that he pads out his almost 500-page compendium of trivia by starting with the first European settlers, who according to Our Historian embarked on their journey guided by their wild fantasies of what they would find.  This presumably distinguished them from the deeply rational, thoughtful churls they left behind in early 17th Century England.

A random walk through American bs
From there, it's a whirlwind journey through American bullsh*t, up to and including President U Bum, at the end of which Kurt concludes that there are a lot of idiots out there who didn't go to an Ivy League college so what after all can we expect?  And can you believe how much the co-op board is assessing us for a new boiler?  Jesus H. Christ!

Had he actually mastered American history in all of its tawdry sanguinary glory he might have noticed, as so many others have, that American insanity tends to run in entirely predictable and well-worn channels.  He might have have drawn a line connecting centuries of lies about those African folks brought to America in chains, a line as thick and unmistakable as the coffles of chained slaves sold down the river by the good fathers of Georgetown University for the profit of those white men who endowed the great Ivy League universities whose tables were graced by Kurt and his buddies.

He might have observed the uncanny similarity between the lies told in the 17th Century to justify enslaving said individuals to the lies told in the 19th Century by those who would betray their country to protect their interest in slavery to the lies told in the 21st Century by the immiserated yahoos of Johnstown Pa., who claim not to understand why black athletes protest before games but love to tell you that NFL really stands for N***** for Life.

Kurt might even have cast a glance back at his very own Alma Mater, which peddled eugenic nonsense and myths of racial superiority from the mid-nineteenth to the late 20th centuries.

Or he could have taken a look at the not just American tradition of treating women as property until the middle of the 19th Century, or in the case of Republican Senate candidates, repulsive movie moguls, and loathsome comedians, until deadline today.

Then having done so he might have noticed striking consistencies among the lies Americans, especially the white ones, have told themselves for centuries, but of course that would require research, rigor, and a willingness to face some unpalatable truths.  But if his classmate John Roberts doesn't think that racism remains a problem today, how could Kurt be expected to grasp truths obvious to those whose skin color or chromosomes differ from his?

What would it take for Kurt and classmates to understand?  Easy: they would have to be willing to shut up and listen.  Sadly that's the one skill they didn't teach these boys in college.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

From the Archives, 2008: Normalizing the Unthinkable

Editors' Note: There's a lot of pixels being excited these days by the shocking outrages of the U Bum Administration and the danger of normalizing the criminality, brutality, and subversion of his gang, including his mouth-breathing offspring.  Some of the commentary comes from those who have loyally questioned the morality of prior Republican armies of destruction, but a surprising amount emanates from those whose sensibilities were once less easily offended.  Let's climb into the Waybac and see how some of these worthies normalized the apparently petty peccadilloes of George W. Bush and his co-conspirators.

By Robert Jackson
Contributing Editor, International Law

The increasing tempo of revelations about the grotesque and indefensible tortures employed by the Bush Administration has been met by an unyielding and relentless effort by Republican apologists and neocons to justify them as perfectly reasonable responses to an apparently endless and boundary-less “War on Terrorism.”

Kristol: 'Perfectly normal'
The Republican chattering class seems to have no difficulty accepting as normal and appropriate 183 acts of waterboarding against a terror suspect designed to elicit a false statement about the nonexistent ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, the torture and degradation perpetrated against random detainees at abu Ghraib prison, or the brutality, up to and including anal rape, practiced by the CIA against detainees at Baghram in Afghanistan.

The entire campaign of illegal torture and brutality, summed up brilliantly in Jane Mayer's new book, The Dark Side, has been regarded by all civilized Americans as abhorrent.  Here's one typical example, from History Professor Alan Brinkley (from his review of Mayer's book): “it would be difficult to find any precedent in American history for the scale, brutality and illegality of the torture and degradation inflicted on detainees over the last six years; and that it would be even harder to imagine a set of policies more likely to increase the dangers facing the United States and the world.”

But Republicans don't seem to have a problem with any of it.  For example, Republican spin doctor and concoctor of lies intended to justify the disastrous War in Iraq Billy Kristol, far from condemning the extra-legal torture practiced by the CIA and others, has called upon W. to pardon the torturers, apparently concluding that behavior that sufficed to justify the execution of Japanese generals as war criminals is now just another normal part of war, at least when the torturers are American.

Frum: 'Nothing to see here people'
He specifically urged the President to normalize waterboarding: “The CIA agents who waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, . .  should not have to worry about legal bills or public defamation. In fact, Bush might want to give some of these public servants the Medal of Freedom at the same time he bestows the honor on Generals Petraeus and Odierno. They deserve it.”

Former Bush Administration coatholder David Frum similarly regards torture and brutality as nothing to get upset about.  In his world famous blog, the Frum Forum, he normalized the efforts of fellow mouthpiece John Yoo to define away torture by disregarding the definitions built into American and international law for at least two generations.  Frum said that Yoo's frivolous arguments were part of a good-faith dispute and demonized those who corrected Yoo's perversion of law as having “the incidental effect of recategorizing some of the most brutal enemies the United States has ever faced as pitiful victims.”  In other words, Frum thought that the degradation and torture defended by Yoo were a perfectly normal part of American government and jurisprudence.

Likud Party spokesgal Jennifer Rubin similarly sees nothing abnormal about throwing away the rules governing civilized warfare that predate the Nuremberg Trials.  Referring to torture by Bush's preferred euphemism, “enhanced interrogation,” she normalizes it by repeating the false claim that it helped in the fight against bin Laden.

Rubin: 'OK by me'
As for former impeachment hellhound and faithful family man Joe Scarborough, he has never used his morning gabfest to express outrage over the protracted torture campaign and its attempted cover-up.  Instead, he has consistently sought to normalize such vile conduct by claiming falsely that it is an effective and long-standing part of intelligence-gathering.

Further, his supposedly heavyweight panelists seem unable or unwilling to point out the truth.  For example, on Tuesday's show, Washington gasbag and Ladies' Man Mark Halperin joked that he'd be willing to be locked up and chained to the production intern with the “great yabbos.”  He was followed by creative writer Mike Barnicle, who told a story about how Whitey Bulger was caught because a Boston cop named Jimmy Burke beat the crap out of somebody in 1946.

Scarborough: 'As American as apple pie'
The danger of course is that conduct such as freezing detainees to death, stripping them and forcing them into a pigpile, and even raping detainees with enemas containing food becomes normal if those who should know better fail to speak out.  If we cannot even condemn obvious outrages like torture, what further attacks on our democracy and the rule of law can we expect?  Collusion with Russian efforts to subvert our elections?  Presidents subject to blackmail due to their escapades and financial dealings with Kremlin-backed gangsters?  An entire government devoted to protecting the personal wealth of a demented President?

Laugh if you like at these admittedly ludicrous examples, but if we let our government get away with torture, what else will we end up normalizing?

Also on Scarborough's malarkey festival with Halperin and Barnicle was busto casino operator Donald J. Trump, who was willing to disagree with the prevailing sentiments on at least one issue:  “Which one, Mark?  The one in the control room?  Hell, my daughter has a better rack than that.”

Monday, October 23, 2017

From the Archives, 1967: Who dares criticize a 4-star general?

Editors' Note: The recent effort by White House Press Secretary and Girl Who Blackballed You from Her Sorority Because Your Name Ended With a Vowel Sarah Huckabee to elevate a retired general to the level of infallibility enjoyed by the Pope reminded us that there were other times when those who dared question the wisdom of four-star Generals paid a rich price for their effrontery, as this dispatch from 1967 shows.

WESTY HAILS VIETNAM PROGRESS;
ANTIWAR PROTESTERS ASSAILED 
FOR QUESTIONING HIS JUDGMENT

By Douglas MacArthur
War Correspondent
with material from The New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 – General William Westmoreland, Commander of US Forces in Vietnam, today told Congress and the Administration that the United States was gaining the upper hand in Vietnam and at the current rate of victory more troops would be needed for another two years at most.

Westmoreland said he had “never been more encouraged in my four years in Vietnam,” as he stepped off his military jet in Hawaii on his way back to brief President Johnson and other Administration officials.

The New York Times reported that Administration officials had been hoping that Gen. Westmoreland's claims of steady progress would offset reports from fake-news media on the scene in Vietnam that the war was stalemated and victory was nowhere in sight.

At present there are 467,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, with another 45,000 on the way.

Some are questioning Gen. Westmoreland's claims
of a great victory at Dak To
The optimistic assessments from Gen. Westmoreland come as news of the bloody, inconclusive battles in Dak To and the surrounding Central Highlands reached the U.S., with some questioning the value of sending U.S. forces into the back country as ambush bait and then withdrawing them from the militarily-useless hills and bases they had bought dear with their blood.

Appearing on Meet the Press, the highly-decorated four-star General told NBC News that U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were “winning the war of attrition” and said it was “conceivable” that troops could start to withdraw if the war continued at the same tempo for another two years.

His views were echoed by U.S. Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, who also appeared on the venerable Sunday morning softball tournament.  Ambassador Bunker took the opportunity once again to bash the media for creating the “erroneous impression” that the U.S. was not winning the war.

The veteran U.S. envoy cautioned the media and anti-war protesters from second-guessing the statements or methods of General Westmoreland, saying that questioning a four-star general was disruptive, disrespectful, and arguably unpatriotic.  He praised the willingness of Gen. Westmoreland to take questions from reporters who were not themselves related to troops who had given their lives in Vietnam or elsewhere.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, in a testy news conference yesterday, relied heavily on Gen. Westmoreland's upbeat assessment in rallying support for the war, which has touched a new low of 23% in the Harris Poll.  The President responded to critics by citing the General, warning so-called “Nervous Nellies” not to question the judgment or integrity of a four-star general.

“There is nothing more dangerous in time of war than doubting the veracity of the generals who are fighting it, ” the President said.

Vietnam War boosters say that Gen.
Westmoreland wears his credibility
on his shoulders
But critics within the Pentagon point out that the North Vietnamese have committed only one-fifth of its 250,000-strong Army and think that up to 1,000,000 American troops may need to fight for five years to attain victory.

President Johnson told the nation that Gen. Westmoreland had personally assured him that such gloomy predictions were “about as stupid as thinking your landlord should run for President because you like the marble in the lobby.”

The public remains unconvinced that the Johnson Administration is on the right track, despite the optimism expressed by Gen. Westmoreland.  In fact, many appear to be largely oblivious to the war.  On Park Avenue, a young playboy of military age emerged from a limo, his arms under the minidresses of two young blonde women he introduced as as Svetlana and Tatiana, and said he wasn't worried about the war.

“I wish I could be in Vietnam fighting alongside all those schmucks who didn't have a rich father, but I got a deferment due to my sore bone.  Don't worry, it'll get better soon, believe me” said Donald Drump, 19, of Queens, N.Y.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

All Hollywood wants to know: who will win the Harveys?

By Roscoe Arbuckle
Entertainment Editor

It's the most glamorous night of the year of the week tonight in Hollywood.  It's the Harvey Awards, and all Hollywood is preparing to party like it's 1925.  The show airs tonight on Fox News at 9 ET (6 PT, and 2 a.m. in Switzerland, where the eponymous Harvey Weinstein will be watching on the DL at the home of his best friend and legal adviser, Roman Polanski).  The show features an all-star line-up of hosts and presenters, including Mel Gibson, O.J. Simpson, Bill O'Reilly, and former President Bill Clinton.

To help you prepare for this glittering night of must-spew [Surely, see? –Ed.] TV, The Spy has provided this handy cheat sheet handicapping the nominees.

The Chaplin Silence is Golden Award.  This Award, celebrating those who enabled a toxic culture of sexual abuse by keeping silent, will be handed out by legendary director and worst prom-date ever, Woody AllenBen Affleck was considered an early favorite for this award, but some think his lame Twitter apology to one of the women he groped was too loud.  This may allow Weinstein creation Matt Damon to snatch the coveted “Golden Shush.”

The Harveys are named after the famous movie mogul,
fresser, and plant benefactor Harvey Weinstein, shown
here in a private meeting with an aspiring actress
Best Performance by a Mouthpiece.  There were many outstanding nominees for this award, given to the lawyer or PR flack who most shamelessly tries to bury the news about his or her loathsome clients, but there are two clear favorites.  First is the glamorous Lisa Bloom, whose ridiculous claim that “many” of the claims against Harvey Weinstein were “patently false”  was utterly unrelated to Weinstein's picking up her script, but her chances were hindered by her last-minute withdrawal from defending the indefensible Weinstein.

This leaves Weinstein mouthpiece not named after an 80's porn star Charles Harder as the front-runner, for his thunderous performance as a shyster threatening to file a defamation suit against the Times for what appears to be a completely accurate and well-substantiated story, which has later been buttressed by reporting from numerous other outlets.

Sadly, Susan Estrich's smearing of the reporter who broke the Roger Ailes sexual abuse story occurred before the deadline for this year's Harveys, but fortunately she'll be presenting the award to this year's winner.

Best Hypocritical Performance.  One of the most hotly contested categories this year, the nominees for this award include Kellyanne Conway, for her feigned outrage over Hillary Clinton's supposedly lukewarm condemnation of Weinstein even as Kellyanne lies shamelessly for an admitted serial sex offender.  Many feel the brazen gusto with which she peddles this blatant hypocrisy makes her a shoo-in for this coveted award, although similar nonsense being peddled by any number of Fox News talking heads may split the vote, thus allowing the another Murdoch propaganda organ, the New York Post, to win for condemning Clinton while helping Weinstein smear actresses he had raped.

Although a late entrant, there's a lot of buzz around write-in Maureen Dowd, for her withering condemnation of Hollywood's mistreatment of women, while ignoring the sexual depredations of the Groper--in-Chief, whom she sat down with for jolly softball interviews throughout 2016.

Best Performance by a Female Enabler.  This award is given to the woman who does the most to betray the interests of women everywhere by blaming the victims for the crimes visited upon them by the Harvey Weinsteins of the worlds.   Kellyanne Conway and Katrina Pierson are nominated in this category, but the two favorites have nothing to do with politics.  Insiders expect this award may go to Donna Karan, who designs sexually provocative fashions for women and then says women are “asking for it” by choosing fashions that cause Weinstein's loins to boil over into the nearest potted plant.

As expected, Kellyanne Conway has
been nominated in multiple categories
But others think that adorable Hollywood veteran Mayim Bialik may take the award for her preposterous op-ed in the New York Times promoting her strategy of dressing like a frummie as the best way women can protect themselves against sexual predators.  This strategy is of course why sexual abuse is unheard of among Orthodox Jews.

Captain Renault Golden Whistle for Best Humbug.  This award, the highlight of the Harveys, features a number of Hollywood heavyweights, beginning with the ultra-prestigious studio pawn Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which expelled Weinstein last week when news of his crimes became public and undeniable, and only 25 years after everyone knew about them but did nothing.

But many feel the leading contender has to be Bob Weinstein, who has rigorously insisted he had no idea that his brother and co-conspirator Harvey was regularly abusing women over more than two decades, but who now declares himself shocked, shocked over his brother's “sick and depraved” conduct.

Darryl F. Zanuck Lack of Humanity Award.  This award, given every year to the entertainer who has done the least to promote healthy respectful relationships between men and women, goes this year to Donald Trump.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Coming like never to The Spy

Exclusive to the Spy: an excerpt from the forthcoming best-seller Championship Baseball by Dave Dombrowski

Thursday, October 5, 2017

You read it first in The Spy, Foggy Bottom edition

A former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Mr. Tillerson has never found his place as a subordinate to the hard-charging, unpredictable president. He has bristled at being undercut, as he was over the weekend when Mr. Trump publicly said Mr. Tillerson was “wasting his time” by trying to open talks with North Korea. At the same time, Mr. Tillerson has alienated lawmakers, foreign policy veterans and the news media while demoralizing the State Department, and critics inside and outside the White House consider his troubles self-inflicted.

The president initially viewed Mr. Tillerson as a granite-jawed cabinet secretary who fit Mr. Trump’s requirement that top advisers look as if they came out of “central casting,” as he has put it. Mr. Trump regularly boasted about hiring the head of the world’s largest corporation — and in the presence of a profoundly uncomfortable Mr. Tillerson, whom the president for months referred to as “Mr. Exxon.”

But the deliberate, slow-talking oil executive has little personal chemistry with the quick-talking, impulsive Mr. Trump. Mr. Tillerson has avoided expressing his pique to the president. But aides and Trump associates who have been in the room with them said Mr. Tillerson’s body language, eye rolling and terse expressions left little doubt that he disapproves of Mr. Trump’s approach.

Mr. Trump, they said, has noticed how Mr. Tillerson slouches in his presence, particularly when he disagrees with a decision. When overruled, Mr. Tillerson often says, “It’s your deal,” to the president’s irritation, according to two former administration officials. . . .

“Rex Tillerson has been dealt a bad hand by the Potus & has played it badly,” Richard N. Haass, a State Department official for Republican presidents and now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote on Twitter, using the initials for president of the United States. “For both reasons he cannot be effective SecState & should resign.”

Mr. Tillerson has been frustrated for months, not just by Mr. Trump’s unpredictable policy positions but by his provocative leadership style. He publicly distanced himself when Mr. Trump blamed “both sides” for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and bristled when the president gave a political speech to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Mr. Tillerson once headed. NBC reported that he was so offended by the Boy Scouts speech that he threatened not to return to Washington from a visit to Texas.

The New York Times, Oct. 5, 2017

The sentient among us are supposed to buy Assistant Principal Mike Pence's line that [Rex Tillerson]'s qualified to serve as Secretary of State . .  . , because he ran a big oil company that did a lot of deals abroad, like with his BFF Vladimir Putin.

Now we've known a few CEO's in our day.  They shared a number of qualities:

  1. An insane oversupply of unearned self-regard
  2. A laser-like focus on next year's bonus
  3. A proven record of relentless kissing up that brought them to their current pinnacle of success
  4. A childlike love of barking orders and insults to subordinates
  5. A paranoid belief that everyone is out to get them

Of those qualities, the only one that might be helpful to a Secretary of State is the last: a Secretary of State, especially in an Administration as dysfunctional and directionless as that presided over by the Grifter-Elect, needs to keep in mind what his enemies are doing to f**k him and how he can f**k them first.  And not just enemies: it's good practice for dealing with foreign states, whether they are our allies, like Russia, or our enemies, like France.

The other attributes, not so much.  Tillerson will trouser $200 million even if he sits on the Seventh Floor and plays pinochle.  The kissing ass will of course be required, but he'll have to take a ticket just to get anywhere near that sagging bronze butt. Of course, Tillerson will shit all over anyone and everyone in his Department, but that will only ensure that he is not informed about things he'd be better off knowing, like who else in the U.S. Government is trying to do him dirty.

The bigger problem is that the skill set so helpful to climbing the oily pole doesn't do you much good in Foggy Bottom.  You can throw your briefing book at foreign service officers or even foreign ambassadors, but that won't help you decipher the ever-more ominous pronouncements from China before the guns go off across the Straits of Taiwan, much less the Delphic emanations from the Pentagon that they will favor you with while muscling poor bespectacled State out of the way.  See Iraq, Victory in.

And if you're thinking that the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil doesn't have to take a call from, and do the bidding of, Santino, Fredo, or Michaela Trump, well, brother, you're going to be shot out of the saddle, because you're about as indispensable to the Grifter-in-Chief as Rudy Giuliani.

Beloved theatergoer and baseball fan Mike Pence says that Tillerson is qualified because he's a great negotiator.  Whether all those oil deals prove to be good, bad, or indifferent remains largely unknown.  The answer depends on a combination of luck, hunches, and the future prices of various types of energy.  In any case, those deals all came down to dough.  Guess what: that's not how it works when the sign in front of you reads UNITED STATES and not EXXON-MOBIL.

How on earth is Tillerson supposed to balance support for Taiwan against enlisting Chinese help to stop North Korea?  Dumping the Iran nuclear deal versus protecting tens of thousands of Boeing jobs?  Balancing concerns about energy supply and human rights in places like Angola?  Actually, we're just pumping your derrick: you know where Tex-Rex is going to come out with that one. . . .

The next-to-most-recent time the Presidency was entrusted to a Republican manifestly not up the job, the State Department was torn to shreds between the devious, paranoid Al Haig and the reactionary boob sent to babysit him, a former state judge from Reagan's California kakistocracy.  We remember how Judge Clark and his fellow red-hots thought that they could stop a Russian oil pipeline by yelling, screaming, and threatening European allies as if they were subordinates who could be booted out at whim.  It didn't go so well.  It took George Schultz years to clean up the mess, by which time St. Ronald Reagan and his BFF Mikhael Gorbachev had agreed to destroy their nuclear arsenals.

If our Senate had regard for anything except passing tax cuts for the rich and destroying health care for the poor (hi, Ambridge!), it would send this toxic nomination up the pipe and flare it off.  Instead, we suspect that Tillerson will be narrowly confirmed to take his place as another piece of unqualified and crazy that will make the next four years a burning clown car if we are lucky.  And if we are not, no one will be left to tell the tale.

 – The Massachusetts Spy, Dec. 13, 2016

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

In re Petition of Jennifer Rubin for Readmission to the Human Race

MR. JUSTICE GONZO, presiding

Comes now petitioner Jennifer Rubin, columnist for The Washington Post and apparently retired Likud Party mouthpiece, seeking readmission to the human race on the grounds that since January 20, 2017, she has pretty much every single morning torn President U Bum a new one.

Just today she thundered: “President Trump wants to talk about the NFL because other than that, there’s virtually no topic he can address without reminding his followers of the most dreadful week of his presidency.”

The previous day she launched this 75mm shell: “Trump delights in talking about divisive culture issues that stir racist sentiments in his base. If only he had spent half the time and energy condemning neo-Nazis, one of whom allegedly killed a woman, as he did blasting a silent exercise of First Amendment rights, his poll ratings might not be in the cellar.”  The emphasis was hers.

The day before she sent this rocket up: “Republicans remain entirely oblivious to the popular rancor they have stirred up. Do they imagine no one will notice that Trump and his ilk will wind up with big tax breaks, which exacerbate income inequality and drive up the debt? The mentality that brought us multiple health-care plans that cut Medicaid spending and cut taxes for the very, very rich persists.”

If the current Mrs. Bibi gets hard time, look for
Petitioner to make her move
As that quote demonstrates, she not only slices the Grifter-in-Chief into orange shreds often several times a day, she lays bare the hypocrisy and mendacity that is today's Republican Party.  And she's the conservative columnist for The Washington Post, or at least the one that still has some higher cognitive functioning left.

With columns like that you could almost forget why she was drummed out of the human race.  Let us set the Waybac for the era when the President of the United States was a brilliant, impassioned moral leader and force for good in the world.  It's almost hard to believe, isn't it?

And what did Petitioner Jennifer Rubin think of President Obama?  As no one will remember, not much.  Here's a representative sample from a hit job entitled “The country has had it with Obama.”

First, it seemed the wheels were coming off the bus internationally. Our people were murdered in Benghazi, Libya. Iraq crumbled. Then Libya crumbled, again. The Islamic State conquered vast stretches of territory. Russia grabbed part of Ukraine. Israel and the United States fought while Iran inched closer to getting the bomb. Our Sunni allies publicly lashed out at the administration. China pressed its advantage.
Now the wheels, which were none too secure here at home, are spinning off in every direction on the domestic side. President Obama got caught flat-footed on Ebola. His 2012 executive move on immigration set off a border crisis. The president then doubled down and created a firestorm with an immigration overreach so vast and unprecedented that it surpassed any act of executive brazenness since Watergate . . . .

The sad irony is that the one thing Republicans hoped that Obama (no red states, no blue states, etc.) could do [Name three – Ed.] — help reduce racial tensions and be an example of racial progress — he is now singularly unable to do. Virtually everything he says or does inflames and aggravates multiple segments of society. It is not that in the specific cases of Eric Garner or Michael Brown he did anything all that provocative. [Mighty white of you, Jennifer – Ed.]  To the contrary, he tried to walk a very thin line. Rather, it is because in the six preceding years he chose to govern as a vicious partisan, jamming through his signature issue on strict party lines with a legislative gimmick and constantly taking delight (most recently in the immigration context) in sticking it to his opponents instead of brokering deals (e.g. the grand bargain he threw away). Forget about governing; he can no longer coexist amicably with Congress or even many members of his own party.

His rhetoric and actions did not cause these recent racial incidents, but they come in a context he certainly created [He created white racism? – Ed.]. (The Washington Post, December 4, 2014)

We don't intend to relitigate each preposterous whopper contained in those paragraphs although relying on the dismay of our “Sunni allies” struck us as particularly hilarious at the time and even more in retrospect, now that our staunch Sunni allies have turned their attention to threatening Qatar for allowing some semblance of the a free press.  Not to mention that in the ninth month of the U Bum Regime, the whining about “executive brazenness” and legislative gimmicks seems almost quaint.

What was really getting Petitioner's tzitzis in a tizzy wasn't immigration or health care or the Battle of Benghazi.  It was that Obama dared to question the eternal wisdom of the man Jennifer Rubin thought should rule the United States:  the thus-far-unindicted Bibi Netanyahu.  You may recall that President Obama successfully turned aside Iran's nuclear ambitions by offering to give Iran back its own money, which sounded like a pretty good deal to us. Not to Jennifer's King and Shield of Abraham.

Rubin's most damning attack on President Obama was therefore that he dared to disagree with Netanyahu:
President Obama’s effort to put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, his personal pique frequently displayed toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his ambush of Netanyahu with the “1967 borders” speech,  . . . 
The Washington Post, June 13, 2016.

Pretty uppity of Obama to dare to disagree with a real President who ordered American forces to attack Iran while he paved the West Bank with settlements, thus joining Palestinian dead-enders in a successful torpedo attack on the peace process!

We could cite examples ad nauseam, but it would make us nauseous.  And we think the point is made.  Petitioner's effort to rejoin the human race on the basis of her rational opinions adopted on or after January 20, 2017 is hereby DENIED.  She remains banished to a swampland of hellish fire and toxic smoke and gas, populated by grotesque half-human-half-turtle monsters who kill and maim with impunity.  You and Petitioner know it as Washington, D.C.