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the Moore we know

December 11, 2017

So tomorrow Alabama voters will choose a replacement for embattled Jeff Sessions.  Doug Jones, the Democrat, is described by Trump as soft on crime, although he successfully prosecuted two of the Klansmen responsible for a church bombing that killed four black girls.  He also, according to The Donnie, loves the hordes of illegal aliens that aren’t pouring over the borders.  You remember them, yes?  When they weren’t raping, they were voting three to five million times for Hilary.

Judge Roy Moore, the Republican, recently said that America was last great during slavery.  Even with the weight of all that nostalgia, he was able to court underage girls when he was in his 30’s.  Maybe I shouldn’t use “court”.  The Gadsden Gadabout was banned from the Gadsden Mall for Advanced Creepiness.

Leigh Corfman, one of his targets, said he fondled her when she was 14.  Moore denies it.  Many people say that Corfman told them about it right after the incident.  Beverly Young Nelson said Moore sexually assaulted her behind the restaurant she worked at when she was 16.  Moore denies that as well.  Several other women say he harassed them.  Moore . . . well, see above.

Moore’s wife of 32 years, Kayla, is standing by her man.  He first spotted her at a dance recital when she was a teenager, and he knew that she “was going to be a special person in my life.”  When Kayla is not standing, she’s earning $65K a year as president of the Foundation for Moral Law, which Roy founded in 2002.

The Foundation does God’s work, like outing Obama as a Muslim and opposing the appointment of Col. Kristin Goodwin as Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Academy because she’s a lesbian.  You can certainly understand Roy’s opposition to Col. Goodwin: she does other unfeminine things like fly B-52 bombers, and she’s not a teenager.

When the Foundation is not doing God’s bidding — like accepting a contribution from a neo-Nazi group — it’s explaining to the IRS why its tax records are inaccurate, and why its holy work overlaps the Judge’s political career.

Moore’s ardent supporters have reacted to the women’s accusations as if they’d just been told that Jesus wasn’t all that white.  They say that an inscription by Moore in Nelson’s yearbook is invalid because she added the day and place he signed it.  Nelson’s attorney, Gloria Allred, says Moore’s signature has been confirmed by an independent hand-writing expert.

One rabid right blogger reasoned that it couldn’t be Moore’s writing because the tacked-on date was December, and yearbooks come out in the spring.  How can you argue with that?

Many prominent Republicans, including Alabama’s other U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, oppose Moore.  The White House is “troubled” by the allegations, but Trump desperately needs a GOP hold here.  So he’s been coyly campaigning for the Judge with robocalls and appearances in Florida and Mississippi.  The only reason I can figure as to why he won’t actually go into the state is that he doesn’t want to risk being photographed with Moore.

Not to worry.  Steve Bannon, a slightly thinner version of Trump, has been barnstorming the state decrying that The Forces of Evil think Alabama voters are a bunch of rubes.  We’ll know for certain tomorrow.

The Democrats have contributed robocalls from Obama and Joe Biden.  Cory Booker and civil rights legend John Lewis went in-state to rally black voters.  We’ll know the effectiveness of that soon, as well.

Either way, the Dems will get an early Christmas gift.  A Jones win cuts the GOP’s razor-thin advantage in the Senate even further, although they would probably maintain it only until the slot comes up again in 2020.

A Moore win continues the massive embarrassment until the Repubs can somehow neutralize him.  The Judge’s views are so antiquated his campaign appearances should be in scratchy black and white archival footage.  He’s George Wallace, Lester Maddox, Orval Faubus and Ross Barnett born again.

And he won’t go quietly.  He has God’s Agenda, which supercedes Trump’s.  His ongoing presence can only fuel the #MeToo movement, which is already raging hotter than the Southern California fires.

So stay tuned.  Will Moore be able to wave his tiny pistol in the Beltway?  Will his base be so galvanized that it can’t move?  Will he be denied due to a write-in candidate (I’m hoping Boaty McBoatface)?  Or will Jones turn the Crimson Tide?  Jude and I will be watching CNN all evening.  But, then again, we always do.

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what, if anything, was going through his head?

November 28, 2017

Trump has a mind-boggling ability to fuck up the easiest tasks.  Yesterday, as part of National American Indian Heritage Month, all he had to do was honour Navajo Code Talkers from World War II.  These men saved countless U.S. lives in the Pacific Theatre by sending radio messages in their native tongue.  The Axis was never able to decipher it.

So how does POTUS shit on it?  He takes a poke at Elizabeth Warren, calling her “Pocahontas” because she claims to have Native American heritage.  She has only anecdotal evidence of that, but that doesn’t need to be resolved while respecting genuine heroes.

Trump tried to mollify his remark by telling the three veterans in the White House, “But you know what?  I like you.  Because you are special.  You are special people.  You are really incredible people.”  He said it in his hyper-condescending way, like they were lucky he was even noticing them.

And he did it under a painting of his role model Andrew Jackson, POTUS 7, who presided over the Trail of Tears tragedy, in which more than 4000 Cherokees died.  The optics were the worst since Trump stood by the CIA’s Memorial Wall in January and boasted of the size of his Inauguration crowd.  To his credit, though, he did mention that the Wall was “very special”.

oh, how the midgets have fallen!

November 10, 2017

The tsunami of sexual harassment charges is the swiftest and most comprehensive social upheaval I’ve ever witnessed.  It’s redefining the most fundamental ways humans interact, bringing up our deepest secrets and spotlighting our worst hypocrisies.  Example: someone on my slice of Facebook questioned why it took dozens of women to corral the odious Harvey Weinstein, but only one man to collapse Kevin Spacey’s world.

Although I applaud this phenomenal change, I hope that due process of law doesn’t get swept away in the turmoil.  It’s refreshing to see Louis C.K. own up to his misdeeds, but not a total shock if you’re familiar with his stand-up routines.

Far to the right of Louie is Roy Moore of Alabama, the GOP’s choice to succeed Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate.  Moore is a legend in the state.  He was removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 for refusing to take out a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building.  He was re-elected in 2013, then suspended in May of last year for ordering probate judges to continue to enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriages even though it had been declared unconstitutional.

Yesterday a Washington Post article alleged that Moore had sexual contact with Leigh Corfman when she was 14 years old.  He was 32.  Moore has strongly denied this but admitted he may have dated other teenaged girls when he was in his 30’s.

His defenders offered precious little help.  State Auditor Jim Ziegler averred that it was “much ado about nothing”, then segued from Shakespeare to the Bible with an oblique reference: “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter.  They became parents of Jesus.”  Ziegler wrapped it up with “there’s just nothing immoral or illegal here.  Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Moore has already made this a titanic struggle between good and evil, because that’s what Christian extremists do.  Persecution and martyrdom are the coin of their realm.  Indeed, Alabama voters may still elect him December 12th.  He was well ahead in the polls.  But check the Real Clear Politics website in a few days to see how this affects the race.

He could easily clarify matters by submitting to a polygraph test, preferably while placing his hand on the Bible.  Maybe he would remember the Commandment about not coveting thy neighbour’s underaged daughter.

Moore’s Democratic opponent Doug Jones is a formidable opponent.  As U.S. Attorney for northern Alabama, he helped bring down domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph.  Jones also convicted two Klan members for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four black children.

Alabama is no Virginia.  It is very red.  The state university’s nickname is even The Crimson Tide.  But the tide is quickly turning.  National GOP leaders seem petrified by this.  Bombarded yesterday with reporters’ questions about Moore, Mitch McConnell could only muster that mirthless turtle smile.

 

 

so long, Aging Orange

November 3, 2017

I got so caught up in the dark doings of last month that I realized I was being as negative as Trump.  Even today, as he rails about the pure evil of Bowe Bergdahl and Hilary (anew), I struggle mightily not to get pulled into his vortex of vilification.  So I’m taking that crucial first step: I’m not going to refer to him by nickname any more.

Sure, I’ll miss Aging Orange, Cheeto, Mad Yam, Tangerine Tantrum, Tall Troll and such.  And I may use apropos adjectives like “cowardly” and “unbalanced”.  But denigrating sobriquets are really his thing.  While he goes petty, I’ll try to stay above it.

For one thing, it’s piling on.  Everyone is on his case.  He complains about it constantly.  Believe him.  Nonetheless, there’s one word to describe him that I can use without guilt: pathetic.

I draw no joy from this observation, but the empirical evidence is staggering.  I worked for many years on psych units.  The guide used for diagnosing patients there is the  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, now in its fifth edition.  Consider some of the DSM-5 criteria for a narcissistic personality disorder: “exaggerated self-appraisal”, “goal-setting is based on gaining approval”, “impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others”, “relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation”, “feelings of entitlement”, “self-centeredness”, “condescending” and “admiration seeking”.

I’m not claiming any expertise on this, but can you read this list and not think of Trump?

“sacred”? jarhead, please

October 21, 2017

I believe that a Trump unchecked has unlimited potential to fuck things up beyond all repair and recognition.  Ergo, I  have deeply appreciated the efforts of fellow Marine John Kelly to mind the baby.  Until a few days ago.

Kelly had been the calm center of Hurricane Donnie until Trump bungled the condolence call to Myeshia Johnson, widow of  soldier La David Johnson.  Sgt. Johnson was one of four soldiers (including Staff Sergeants Bryan Black, Justin Wright and Jeremiah Johnson) killed in the Niger ambush.

Ms. Johnson and her family, along with U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson — a long-time family friend — were on their way to receive Sgt. Johnson’s body when Trump called.  He was put on speaker phone.  According to Wilson and family members, POTUS did not use Sgt. Johnson’s name.  He did say, however, words to the effect of  “he knew what he he was getting into when he signed up, but it still must hurt”.

Trump swore that those words were suggested by Kelly, who listened to the call on speaker phone along with other officials.  I can see how Trump might have rewritten the first part as he filtered Kelly’s words through his brain, the Swamp Too Deep to Drain.   As former cannon fodder, I agree that Sgt. Johnson likely considered the possibility he might get killed, yet you don’t enlist with that goal.

But I’d wager that “it still must hurt” was an ad lib, like when he reads off a teleprompter, then goes off script with something inane like “and that’s really important”.  Trump usually gets into trouble when he speculates about human emotions, like Sheldon Cooper does.

So the game was afoot and Trump went to his playbook.  He claimed that Obama and other presidents didn’t even make condolence calls, a charge quickly shot down.  He railed about Rep. Wilson “SECRETLY” listening in, even as he, Kelly and others (I’m guessing some other white guys) did the same.

Then he went long.  He had Kelly attack Rep. Wilson.  He called her an “empty barrel”.  He stated erroneously that she had boasted in 2015 about securing funds for a building named after Gerry Dove and Benjamin Grogan, two FBI agents killed in a 1986 Miami shootout.  She did give a speech about working with Republicans to name the building, but she wasn’t in Congress when it was funded.  Nonetheless, Kelly was “stunned” by this non-incident.  And, of course, Trump had to pile-on.

Then it got weirder.  Kelly said that condolence calls should be “sacred”, like women were when he was growing up.  Back when they had equal pay and comprised half of Congress, General?

Then it got even weirder.  Sarah Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, thought she might put matters to rest by saying it was highly inappropriate to question a four-star general.  She has since walked that back.  Sanders is the daughter of former GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee.  He’s an ordained Southern Baptist minister.  I’d love to see her have to do a press conference with her hand on the Bible.

It’s still a fine mess.  The Niger ambush that started it all is beginning to look like the Republican fantasy version of the Benghazi incident.  I hope Kelly will do a 180 and challenge Trump.  I fear he’ll do a 180 and quit.  And I fear that he may have gone over to the Dark Side.  However it plays out, the plot gets more Stygian.

 

 

Trump fiddles (around) while Santa Rosa burns

October 14, 2017

Full disclosure: I have even less objectivity than usual this post.  Jude and I have family in Santa Rosa.  They had to evacuate their apartment because they live in the still endangered Bennett Valley area.  And my daughter’s brother-in-law and wife were on alert to evacuate in nearby Rohnert Park.

We are aghast as we view the photos of destroyed places that were part of our lives: the Applebee’s where I introduced her to my best friends; the Luther Burbank Center where we saw Ellen Degeneres; Annadel State Park where I often hiked.

So I’m maddened by the response (lack of, more accurately) to this ongoing disaster.  It’s bad enough that CNN — which seemingly can’t get enough of the Las Vegas massacre — treats the fires like a red-headed stepchild.  But I’ve yet to see Trump even acknowledge their existence, let alone extend any sympathy.

I understand he’s busy turning every other news story into a personal slight or his Best Accomplishment Ever.  And he has the responsibility to alert the nation again about the bogus War on Christmas.

How can he ignore a catastrophe so ghastly that some of its victims can only be identified by the serial numbers on their hip implants?  Thanks for asking.  Here’s why: Northern California, like Puerto Rico, is of no political value to him.  It’s voter rich, but strongly Democratic.  Texas has 38 electoral votes and Florida has 29.  There’s no talk of FEMA help being temporary there.

We know that Trump makes decisions based strictly on the math, never the misery.  And we know that he read off some sympathetic notes regarding the Las Vegas slaughter.  So maybe a body count of 58 is the Donnie’s threshold point.  Puerto Rico is at 48 and California is at 31, with hundreds missing.

 

P.S.  For better coverage of the fires, try http://www.PressDemocrat.com.

 

taking a symbolic knee

September 27, 2017

Yesterday POTUS 45 saw his zombie health care bill die yet again, watched the candidate he backed in a special election lose, and faced mounting criticism for the slow response to Puerto Rico’s deadly predicament.  Given his worries over uppity athletes, he may not have noticed.

In my last post, I foolishly noted that the odds a hurricane would again eat a major U.S. city a month later were astronomical.  Then Irma ate a state and Maria ate a nation.  That’s why I don’t bet.

I was trying to prepare for a tumultuous September.  But Trump is exceeding my fears yet again.  Why should he tweet about vital national issues when he can create a non-issue designed merely to beef up his base’s hunger for . . . well, beef.  The recklessness he showed in conflating a genuine concern — police violence against black men — with something as vague as patriotism confirms that his connection with reality is non-consensual.

Trump can hold a grudge indefinitely.  His current dust-up with the NFL is another chapter in a story that started in 1986.  He owned a team, the New Jersey Generals, which was part of the fledgling U.S. Football League.  He and the other owners filed a $1.7 billion anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL to force a merger.

Trump and company won on the merits of the case, but was awarded only $1.  Four years later, SCOTUS upheld the decision.  With the added interest, the new league ended up with a whopping $3.76.  But the nearly quadruple payout didn’t matter.  The cost and embarrassment of the lawsuit had already caused the USFL to fold.  So now the Don can only continue to abuse executive privilege by trying to micro-manage the NFL.

I kneel with the athletes.  As a veteran, I refuse to be lectured by a coward who got a draft deferment for short-lived heel spurs.  How can a brief peaceful protest possibly intimidate the (regrettably) most powerful man in the world?  Trump would like to give the flag the sanctity of the Shroud of Turin.  But if it truly does represent all the good the U.S. has done, doesn’t it also have to cop to all the shit it’s pulled?

Let me ask you this, Mister President: if Ivanka were drowning and the only way you could save her was to reach her with the flag, would you?  Would you for Eric?  For Mike Pence?  Mitch McConnell?  Colin Kaepernick?

And, by the way, POTUS: Kaepernick got the idea to kneel from a former Green Beret.