Sean Spicer received an extra dose of Humiliation

I’m no fan of Sean Spicer, the first Liar-in-Chief for President Trumpelstiltskin, but it did seem like he received an extra dose of humiliation for being given that day-glo “Puffy Shirt” to wear on the Season Opener for the 2019 season of Dancing with the Stars.

Spicer has a lot of balls to show up on Dancing with the Stars to begin with. Trumpelstiltskin is not out of office yet, and the wounds of his administration have not begun to be healed yet. (That will take years after he leaves office.) He’s hardly the first Conservative to show up on DWTS — remember Bristol Palin? — but he is the one most likely to be humiliated.

Well, I hope he has fun dancing with Lindsay Arnold, who is a sweetheart, a cutie, and a very good dancer. That may be the only ballast for his future humiliation. (I’m predicting that he doesn’t last long on the show.)

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I agree with Jon Legend that Felicity Huffman’s Imprisonment is Largely Meaningless

Actress Felicity Huffman was recently sentenced to 14 days in prison for her role in the college admissions scandal. The judge clearly felt that she couldn’t just let Huffman walk away unscathed by some kind of prison time.

A number of people were outraged by the short amount of prison time, especially compared with people like Tanya McDowell, who was sentenced to five years in prison for the “crime” of using a friend’s address to enroll her son in kindergarten in 2010.

But the solution here is not that Huffman get a long prison sentence but that McDowell get no prison sentence at all. To lock her up for five years is beyond ridiculous, and emblematic of what is wrong with our “new Jim Crow” society.

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New Kavanaugh allegations should not surprise anyone at all

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the Senate did not allow enough time for Brett Kavanaugh to be investigated properly before they voted to confirm him to the Supreme Court. Anyone who was following the case at the time knew that Christine Blasey Ford was telling the truth, and that the notion that she had mistakenly identified Kavanaugh was preposterous. I said as much at the time.

No one, including the FBI, interviewed Deborah Ramirez at the time, and the new allegation mirrors the one that she made. (For a detailed account of the allegations, check this NPR story published yesterday.)

Kavanaugh won’t be thrown off the court, of course, because the Senate is still in Republican control. But the Democratically controlled House could make things mighty uncomfortable for Kavanaugh, and could underline the importance of the Supreme Court in the 2020 election.

But no one should be surprised.

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It’s not Trump’s Craziest idea, but there is a Flaw in the Plan

It’s not the craziest idea that Donald Trump ever had, the idea to buy Greenland. Following World War II, the United States developed a geopolitical interest in Greenland, according to Wikipedia. Before that, in 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward worked with former senator Robert J. Walker to explore the possibility of buying Greenland and perhaps Iceland. In 1946 the United States offered to buy the island from Denmark for $100,000,000; Denmark refused to sell it. In 1950, Denmark agreed to allow the US to reestablish Thule Air Base in Greenland; it was greatly expanded between 1951 and 1953 as part of a unified NATO Cold War defense strategy.

Greenland certainly has a lot of natural resources and sits at a strategically important point both for military considerations and for trade routes.

But there is one clear flaw in the plan (as there so always is when Trump is involved): Greenland is not for sale.


If it had cost a $100 million in 1946, it would surely cost $100 billion today. But irrespective of that, the problem remains that it’s not for sale.

Yes, it would be the greatest real estate coup by the Divider in Chief, but, as we already established, it’s not for sale.

Too bad President Kumquat, better luck next time.

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We’re now a permanently Schizophrenic Country

It’s become clear that we’re now a permanently schizophrenic country, divided between people who voted for President Obama and those who voted for President Kim Jong-Don, and a few nutjobs who voted for both.

Following up on his Twitter attack against “the Squad,” Trump has now set his sights on veteran Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings, who happens to chair the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Kim Jong-Don called Baltimore a ” disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being” would want to live.

Which prompted the Baltimore Sun to pen an editorial to write that it’s better to “have a few rats than to be one.”

This is the level that the President has raised our political rhetoric to.

So let’s just remember that:

  • This is the same country that elected Barack Obama, judging him by the content of his character, and not the color of his skin.
  • This is the same country that re-elected Barack Obama, judging him by his Presidential record, and not the color of his skin.

President Kim Jong-Don has clearly calculated that the only way for him to get re-elected is to make a naked appeal to all the racists in this country. (Not necessarily “Capital R” racists, but at least “small R” racists.)

I don’t know that this strategy is going to work.

But it sure will tear the country apart.

Trump is like a Rosharch test in which half the country sees him as a refreshing counterpuncher willing to stand up to the “liberal elite” and the other half who see him as a completely incompetent übernarcissist playing the race card on every possible occasion.

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One could hardly find a less charismatic person or a more legalistic communicator than Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller may be a marine hero and well-regarded former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but appearing in front of Congress he just seems nervous and rigid. One could hardly find a person who is less charismatic. Unlike President Obergroppenführer (the Divider in Chief), who is a natural and relaxed communicator, Mueller seems evasive, defensive, and unnecessarily legalistic.

Well, this is the guy we wanted, this is the guy we got.

In the hearings this morning, we were reduced to the spectacle of:

  • Democrats reading from the Mueller report and asking Mueller if what they had read was correct.
  • Republicans attacking Mueller because of the supposed bias of his team, or because of a false allegation that the whole investigation was predicated on the Steele dossier. (It was not.)

Anybody who isn’t a die-hard political wonk (like I am) would have tuned out a long time ago, concluding that Mueller is a stiff and all the Representatives are on the make.

It would be pretty hard to follow unless you had already been following all along. Or had already read the report.

Now the most ridiculous part of this whole scenario is Mueller’s claim that a 2010 Office of Legal Counsel opinion that argues that a sitting President cannot be indicted because of the way it would interfere with the functioning of the executive branch.

Does the OLC memo mean that President Drumpf could kill Melania in broad daylight and not be indictable because that might be a distraction to the Presidency?

Mueller’s report was going to be pre-ordained, regardless of how much evidence his team found of criminal activity. If you read the report, it’s clear that Mueller’s team found at least 10 instances where President Drumpf either obstructed justice or attempted to obstruct justice.

It’s far from an exoneration of his behavior.

Drumpf’s apologists will continue to lie about the conclusions of the report, and continue to claim that the whole investigation was predicated by the Steele Dossier and should therefore be invalidated.

Propaganda, pure and simple.

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President Trump is going from being a “dog whistle” racist to an all out flaming racist.

Playing to his base, the divider in Chief picked a twitter war with “the Squad” (progressive U.S. House of Representative members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts) by imploring them all to “go home” to the broken countries that they come from, fix those first, and then come back to the United States.

Even though all of them (except Omar) were born right here in the United States.

Maybe it’s our broken country that he wants them to fix.

So Trump has moved from his not so subtle dog-whistle racism directly to all out flaming racism. To rally his base.

I’ve been saying for some time that Trump’s election was the “F U Election” where the primary objective of Trump supporters was just to stick it to us “liberal elites” as much as they could.

Mission accomplished.

Of course, there is the saying, be careful what you wish for, because you might get it. What the Trumpistas are buying themselves is a full on political civil war. There are plenty of white assholes who love this stuff, but there are now also many white suburban women who don’t like this stuff at all. And many people sitting on the fence who are not fond of naked racism of the kind Trump is now indulging.

Careful Donaldo, Obergropenführer for the masses. Be careful what you wish for.

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A literal “Sophie’s Choice” at the Border

Here is where we’ve come to: we now have a literal “Sophie’s Choice” at the border with Mexico. To make a long story as short as possible, NPR reported on Monday about a three-year old girl named Sofi, who has a heart condition. She was examined by a doctor, who confirmed that this young girl had already had a heart attack.

The border patrol agent in charge gave the little girl a choice: pick one parent to stay with her (and her two siblings) while the other parent has to return to Mexico to wait for the asylum claim.

A three year old is supposed to make the decision which parent gets to stay and which one has to go.

Seriously America?

When the little girl began to cry as the father was being taken away, the border agent told her that she said she wanted to go with Mom.

Seriously America?

In the United States. In 2019.

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President Trump wants us to believe he pulled back for Humanitarian reasons.

President Trump wants us to believe that he pulled back from bombing Iran because his military told him that about 150 Iranians would die, and that is not a proportional response for the shoot-down of a military drone. Even a very expensive one.

Trump doesn’t know anything about the military, but he does know Hollywood. And that scene is straight out of the American President.

He’s not wrong that the response would have been disproportionate. Especially since the drone the Iranians shot down most likely was flying over their territory.

It’s just that once again, Trump has created the “emergency” and then wants to take credit for solving it. Tried and tested by the President, over and over again.

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Handicapping the 20 declared Democratic Candidates

With Joe Biden’s entry into the race, that makes 20. Twenty declared candidates for the Democratic nomination for President. What’s likely to happen over the next 18 months (552 days to be precise) is that there will be a “flavor of the month” (just as there was for the Republicans in both 2012* and 2016), and right now the flavor of the month is clearly Pete Buttigieg. (And yes, I’ve learned how to pronounce his name).

*Anyone remember Rudy Guiliano’s front-runner status?

So with that in mind, let’s do some ultra-early handicapping of the 20 declared candidates:

  • Joe Biden (D): Obama’s vice President and two-time previous Presidential candidate has the name recognition and the working-class bonafides to overcome Trump in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio (states without which Trump can’t get re-elected). That’s why the Trump campaign fears him the most. Joe comes with plenty of “#metoo” and other baggage, however, and he’s already 76 years old.
  • Bernie Sanders (I): the Senator from Vermont — as most informed people know — isn’t even a Democrat. Lightning struck for him in 2016, but it won’t strike again in 2020, even though he has his hardcore “Bernie bros” followers and leads in the early fundraising. This is the candidate the Trump team wants to run against the most.
  • Kamala Harris (D): my early dark horse and the candidate most likely to be the Vice-Presidential candidate, especially if Joe Biden is the nominee heading the ticket. The California senator is tough and charismatic, but she’d have to break that glass ceiling and follow Obama’s footsteps as the second bi-racial President**, so that’s a tall order for one person.
  • Pete Buttigieg (D): today’s “flavor of the month,” Buttigieg, the Mayor of Sound Bend, IN, is certainly an intriguing guy. His status as a gay progressive Christian makes him a thorn in the side of Vice President Mike Pence, with whom he’s already feuding. As the mayor of a medium-sized city he clearly doesn’t have the experience to be President (although that didn’t seem to hurt Obama much). Let’s see if he has any staying power.
  • Beto O’Rourke (D): the former Texas congressman was the darling of progressives in the 2018 Senatorial races for his almost-win against übervillain Ted Cruz, but almost wasn’t good enough. While that was a great effort and proved he could be attractive to moderates and independents, I believe that this “one hit wonder” will discover that it’s very difficult to chart a second time.
  • Elizabeth Warren (D): the most substantive candidate in the race by far, the Senior Senator from Massachusetts and inheritor of both the Ted Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum legacies, is (for reasons that I’ve explained before) likely to suffer the same fate as Hillary Clinton, if she ends up being the nominee.
  • Cory Booker (D): the New Jersey Senator and former Super-Mayor of Newark is plenty charismatic, but may find his lane blocked by Kamala Harris. His liberal voting record may also find him too far from the mainstream.
  • Amy Klobuchar (D): the Minnesota Senator is a centrist pragmatist, but may find it hard to get noticed in this crowded field. There are also “character issue” questions arising from her apparently abusive treatment of her staff. (And no, this can’t just be swept under the rug on the basis of the allegation that it’s only come up because she’s a woman. It would also be an issue if she were a man.)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D): the New York Senator and champion of the #metoo movement left some hard feelings among her colleagues by leading the charge to oust Al Franken from the Senate. In other years she might be a good candidate, but will probably find it hard to get traction in this crowded field. Her former anti-immigrant policies won’t help.
  • John Hickenlooper (D): Colorado’s former Governor is the first of a number of “who’s that” candidates who will suffer from lack of name recognition. Hickenlooper’s strong record on gun control won’t be enough to win him many adherents.
  • Jay Inslee (D): the next of the “who’s that” candidates, the current Governor of Washington state made an interesting entry into the race by making climate change and the Green New Deal his central issue. Hard to see, again, how he gets traction in this race.
  • Julián Castro (D): the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and mayor of San Antonio is the only Latino in the race. Low name recognition will hinder his candidacy, however, and being the only Latino won’t help him enough.
  • Seth Moulton (D): the firebrand Congresssman from Massachusetts is mostly known for his attempts to oust Nancy Pelosi as speaker. His status as a former veteran will help his cause. However, many view his candidacy primarily as an audition for another top job.
  • Tim Ryan (D): the nine-term Congressman from Ohio is a centrist whose central idea is a long-term industrial strategy to make the United States more competitive with countries like China. Currently his lane is being blocked by Joe Biden.
  • Eric Swalwell (D), the California congressman, 38, is a member of House leadership and the House Intelligence Committee, and has centered his early efforts on gun control. Like fellow congressmen Seth Moulton and Tim Ryan, he could catch fire if things transpired in a certain way, but it’s not likely.
  • Tulsi Gabbard (D): the Hawaii Congresswoman has the advantage of being an Iraq war vet and the first Hindu to serve in Congress. Other than that, there is no apparent reason for the 37-year old to be running, other than to raise her national profile.
  • John Delaney (D): who’s that #3, the former Maryland Congressman “preaches a relentlessly bipartisan message of national unity,” according to certain media reports. Good luck with that. And with gaining any traction in this field.
  • Mike Gravel (D): who’s that #4, the former U.S. senator from Alaska has been quoted as saying that he doesn’t intend to win the nomination but is interested only in “pushing the field left by appearing in the Democratic debates.” I think that lane is already occupied by Bernie Sanders.
  • Wayne Messam (D): who’s that #5, the mayor of Miramar, Florida (a Miami suburb) has no reason for running other than to raise his national profile. His signature seems to be Puerto Rican statehood.
  • Andrew Yang (D): a businessman who founded Venture for America, Yang isn’t qualified to be President. The 44-year-old is running on a platform of a universal basic income, to counteract the worst effects of automation in the workforce. That will make for an interesting contribution to the discussion, if he’s allowed to be heard.
  • Marianne Williamson (D), the “A Course in Miracles” guru and Oprah Winfrey surrogate, is also not qualified to be President. But like Yang’s, hers could be a compelling voice added to the discussion.***

**Obama, like Harris, is bi-racial and not black, although most voters perceive both of them as black. Cory Booker, on the other hand, really is black.

***Williamson finished fourth in a congressional primary in California in 2014, so clearly doesn’t have much proven electoral pull.

So there you have the 20 candidates who have been declared. I haven’t dealt with “undeclared” potential candidates like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio or Stacy Abrams, the almost and really should-have-been Governor of Atlanta (but for a little vote rigging).****

Stacy Abrams, like Kamala Harris, might be an excellent choice as a running mate for some white guy at the top of the ticket.

****Abrams narrowly lost to Brian Kemp, who was Secretary of State (or in control of the elections process) during the election. Kemp refused to recuse himself from supervision of the election process during his own run for Governor.

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