The kind of Republicans we used to have (and how that makes us giddy)

Yesterday, we had the services for George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States. Old Pops Bush looks pretty good these days, especially in comparison to the moron we having holding down the Presidency at the current time.

It’s interesting. When #41 was President I certainly wasn’t a fan, but I didn’t hate the guy. He seemed kind of goofy, and Dana Carvey of SNL did a great impression of him.

Now Bush is being feted as one of the last of the great traditional Republicans. Everyone is talking about his civility, that he was a gentleman, that you could negotiate with him. That he wanted to have a kinder and gentler nation.

Well, yes and no.

I mean, it was Bush who employed Lee Atwater[1] who created the famous Willy Horton ads. Dog-whistle racism, a preview of what we get from the Trumpster and his minions now all the time.[2]  In addition:

  • Bush is credited with signing the Americans with Disabilities Act, but more of the credit should really go to Senators Tom Harkin and Ted Kennedy. But Bush did support the ADA and did sign it.
  • Bush is credited with helping to stabilize NATO after the reunification of Germany, which made a lot of European governments nervous given the history of German militarism.
  • Bush is credited for his prosecution of the first Gulf War. Of course, it was also Bush’s ambassador April Glaspie who practically invited Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait.
  • Likewise, Bush was credited with the successful invasion of Panama to topple dictator Manuel Noriega. Again, the Americans under both Bush and Reagan had done much to first build up Noriega.

I’m not and will never be a Republican. In George Lakoff’s model of moral politics, I’m not into the “strict father” model of government. By contrast I believe in the notion of a Commonwealth, where we actually take care of people’s needs and try to level the playing field.

But all of that notwithstanding, the point is this: George H.W. Bush was a decent human being. He was a human being one could negotiate with, a human being  who actually felt some compassion. He was a human being who actually had the courage to serve in World War II, where the plane he was piloting was shot down.[3] He was so much better than the conman/übernarcissist who currently resides in the White House, that it’s made us all giddy with nostalgia.[4]

That’s where we’ve arrived at in politics in 2018 in the United States. Sad!, as the Coward-in-Chief might tweet.

[1] Lee Atwater eventually became famous for his deathbed confession, in which he appeared to regret some of the cruel ways in which he went about his business. But then, that may have been more about the perception from others that Atwater was a racist then genuine regret for the way he went about his business.

[2] Some commentators have noted that Bush left the attack dog aspects of his campaign to associates, so that he could continue to play the role of the “proper gentleman” in his own dealings.

[3] Bush had the good fortune to be rescued by a submarine.

[4] We’re so giddy that there was a meme going around Facebook because a camera caught George W. (#43) sneaking some candy to Michelle Obama because – gasp! – they’re actually friends. There is practically no person on Earth who is friends with #45.

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Some day the Conman-in-Chief will also get a state funeral, and that burns me

I realized, watching video of George H.W. Bush lying in state at the national rotunda, that some day the Conman-in-Chief will also be getting a state funeral.

For some reason that really burned me.

The Conman-in-Chief doesn’t deserve a state funeral. He deserves an end closer to that of James “Whitey” Bulger, who was essentially beaten to death in a federal prison. For all the people that the Conman-in-Chief has lied to, has deceived, has caused pain to, or who died because of the actions of the Conman-in-Chief, that’s what he deserves.

Sorry folks, that may be harsh, but that’s how I feel.

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This was a seriously odd High-Five

Some of you may have noticed the very odd high-five between Vlaidmir Putin and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summitn in Argentina last week.

That’s the same Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who was recently found to have ordered the assassination of Washington Post Journalist Jamal Kashoggi.

Boy these two guys really seem to like each other.

Naturally, SNL spoofed the whole thing, including how none of the other leaders at the G-20 summit seemed to want to have anything to do with the Trumpster.

It sure makes you wonder. What the hell is going on out there in this great World of ours.

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America Should be Ashamed of Itself

On Tuesday night Mississippi elected Cindy Hyde Smith as its Junior Senator. The election happened now, at the end of November, because it was a run-off. The original election, back on November 6th, was not decisive because neither candidate got the required 50%.[1]

In the runoff it was close.[2]

And all of this happened even though Cindy Hyde-Smith was heard saying some of the most remarkable things on the campaign trail. For example, she said about Colin Hutchinson, a cattle rancher who had just praised her, that ‘If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.’[3]

Say what?!

Oh sure, Hyde-Smith “apologized” if anyone had been “offended.” [3] She said that it was just meant as a “joke.”

The joke is that someone like this can get elected Senator in 2018 in the United States.

Oh and later she “joked” about voter suppression. Haha, that’s funny as well!

This is the fourth time that we had a “moral victory” and the fourth time that we came up short. The other three were:

  • Ron Gillum
  • Stacey Abrams
  • Beto O’Rourke
  • Bill Nelson (sort of)

Ron Gillum and Stacey Abrams – both African-Americans – ran for Governor in Florida and Georgia respectively, and they came close to knocking off their Republican opponents. It’s pretty clear that in both states voter suppression played a big (and probablydecisive) roll in keeping them from winning.[4]

Beto O’Rourke – the “new Obama” – came close to knocking off übervillain Ted Cruz, but it wasn’t enough.

Bill Nelson, the incumbent white senator in Florida would also likely have  won his re-election if not for voter suppression in that state.

And now Mike Espy forced a run-off with Cindy Hyde-Smith.

I can only say, fuck the moral victories.

We need to be winning these things. And we should be ashamed as a nation that we let people like Cindy Hyde-Smith win, that we let people like Brian Kemp suppress voters and win, that we let down great candidates like Beto O’Rourke who don’t win. Shame on us.

Following the Hyde-smith win, NPR had a story on how shocked election officials around the World are when they hear that election officials in the United States can sometimes regulate their own elections.

In the meantime President Dumpf and his Republican allies are braying about voter fraud and about how illegal immigrants allegedly vote in large numbers.

They don’t.

They can’t.

But let’s not let reality supersede a good story, while the real villains not only get away scot free, but  actually get themselves elected.

In the United States.

In 2018.

[1] Another right-wing Republican, Chris McDaniel, received 16.5% of the vote, enough to deny Hyde-Smith her 50%. Even so, Hyde-Smith was at 41.5% while Mike Espy, her Democratic opponent was slightly behind at 40.6%. Combined, both Republicans (Hyde-Smith and McDaniel) were at about 58%, so clearly above 50%.

[2] No it wasn’t close. It was only close if you think of a 7.7% difference as close. It isn’t.

[3] The video of her saying this prompted lots of outrage – for crying out loud, even Walmart Stores Inc. pulled its support for her campaign and asked for her to return a $1,000 donation – and it was clear to just about everyone that she was referring to lynchings, of which there have been far too many in Mississippi.

[4] Brian Kemp was the Secretary of State in Georgia before running for Governor (or really, while running for Governor), and it’s clear that he in particular engaged in voter suppression efforts.

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When the Donald says ‘Lock her up,’ is he talking about Ivanka?

You really can’t make this shit up anymore. Ivanka Trump used her personal email for government business.


Isn’t this the same Ivanka Trump who is the daughter of one Donald J. Trump who practically made it his campaign slogan to “lock her up” (referring to Hillary Clinton) because she used a private email server while serving as Secretary of State.

My irony meter broke a long time ago, but still.

Of course, the Trumpster himself still uses his personal iPhone on a regular basis, which is a much bigger privacy risk than Hillary’s use of her well-protected private email server ever was.

Trump apologists will say that there are hypocrites on both sides of the aisle. Oh no, not like this. That, my friends, is a false equivalence, something that the Donald is truly an expert at invoking.[1]

[1] Oh sure, Ivanka’s attorney Abbe Lowell immediately went into overdrive trying to demonstrate the differences between what Hillary did and what Ivanka did. I’ll tell you the primary difference: Ivanka had four years of Hillary’s example to demonstrate to her why using her private email for government business would not be a good idea.


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Thankful for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts?

This morning I’m writing ten words that I never thought I would write.

Today I’m grateful for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts

What happened to precipitate this? Roughly, here’s what happpened:

  • A federal judge, specifically U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, issued a temporary restraining order against Trump’s asylum policy Monday morning because it violated a provision of the current federal asylum law.
  • Trump criticized Judge Tigar on Twitter, calling him an “Obama Judge” and promising that things were going to change.
  • In a rare rebuke, Chief Justice John Roberts responded that “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”
  • Trump, being who he is, immediately picked a feud with the Chief Justice, responding “Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’ and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country.”

Is there anyone with any authority on this planet that President Drumpf has not started a feud with?

But go ahead President Drumpf, pick a feud with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It’s not like you’re ever going to need him to decide in your favor.

Are you?

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Of course the Donald stands with the Saudis

So, a number of people were surprised when the Donaldannounced that the United States would remain “steadfast partners” with SaudiArabia after it’s become clear that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Kashoggi.

We made our beds with the Saudis a long time ago. It’s not like they are new to human rights violations. Just look at what Amnesty International had to say about them for 2017-18. The Saudis are well known to engage in arbitrary arrest and torture, arbitrary capital punishment, to condone (or at least ignore)human trafficking and sexual  slavery. If we actually cared about human rights, we would have stopped doing business with these people a long time ago.

The only difference is that this time it was one of “our guys.” By one of our guys I don’t mean an American citizen. But I do meansomeone who worked for the Washington Post, who had permanent residency here,and where three of his four children were American citizens.

Trump, as is his wont, rejected the unanimous conclusion of the American intelligence community that bin Salman ordered the killings because it did not suit Trump’s narrative. So, Trump claims, we may “never know” whether bin Salman was involved.

Admittedly we didn’t catch bin Salman with the smoking gun actually pulling the trigger. Or even on tape actually ordering the hit. But folks, they sent over a 15-person assassination squad to get one poor journalist who happened to be a critic of the regime. As he was going to the embassy to apply for a marriage certificate.

The Crown Prince didn’t know?

And the Pope is no longer catholic?

But Trump still treats us all as is we were all imbeciles. And his supporters still swallow this bile as if they were all lap dogs.

Sheesh. Democracy in 2018!

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