Taking Down the Robert E. Lee…

Everything about this afternoon’s presser was insane: the stagecraft—coming off the elevator to a waiting podium, the Cabinet Secretaries standing uncomfortably beside him (that animatronic Steven Mnuchin they trotted out needs work, though; he did not seem very lifelike at all), his snarling interactions with the press, his insistence that Saturday’s statement about Charlottesville was “fine” (the way he said it, he sounded like someone trying to convince the pawnbroker that the ring they’re selling is 24-caret gold), to his putting statues of Generals Robert E. Lee and George Washington on the same pedestal (I tweeted a short history lesson to him) and calling some Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists “nice people”), to his walk-off through the lobby was nuts. But for a man who claims he likes to wait before making a state so he knows it’s true told quite a few whoppers. One of them was about something I took personally at the time.

While introducing his new, streamlined process for approving large infrastructure projects (they’ll still have to be reviewed by the EPA, he assures us, although given this NYTimes story about Scott Pruitt, that doesn’t really count for much), he remarked that, as a builder, he knows from over-regulation. Why, he had to deal with regulations to build Tr**p Tower. And that’s the issue.

Before that platinum-plated memorial to one man’s bad taste was erected, the corner of Fifth and 57th was the home of Bonwit Teller, a department store that catered to the carriage trade. The store was built in the late 1920s, and the facade included lovely Art Deco bas reliefs. While I was growing up, my mother’s mother, Sylvia Rothenberg worked there in what was then called the “foundations” department (if you were a woman of a certain class and age, it was a good bet you were fitted for your bra by my Nana). We used to visit her there, and I was always fascinated by those reliefs (it didn’t hurt that they depicted scantily clad ladies).

When Il Douché bought the property, to get the various tax abatements and, yes, regulatory approvals, he agreed to preserve the reliefs, and the gilded latticework over the main entrance. The Museum of Modern Art wanted them for their collection. As did the New York Historical Society. But when it came time to demolish the building, the wrecking ball destroyed them. Asked why, John Barron (one of the aliases he used to speak to the press) said his people told him they were “without artistic merit.” The longer the story remained in the news, the cost to remove them went up. First it was $32,000, then $500,000, and finally, he gave up on the cost, and blamed it on safety issues.

It’s now a (sadly) too familiar story: Tr**p makes a promise, breaks it, using the excuse that some people  told him something, lying about the cost, then making up another excuse entirely. Anyone who really believes he’s going to make a “pivot” is simply lying to themselves. Being a conniving liar who makes promises without any intent to keep them is who he is, and is not going to change.


What a difference nine months make…

 

President-Elect Donald Tr**p, praising a “very smart” Vladimir Putin for not expelling US diplomats, December 30, 2016. 

President Donald Tr**p today thanking Vladimir Putin for expelling US Diplomats. “It cuts down our payroll,” he says of the 800 foreign service workers who, I guess, are now out of work. (What happened to “jobs, jobs, jobs”?)

But he’s totally not colluding.


Obscene Paragraphs—Soot Bull Jeepers Edition

Now it gets scary.

Il Douché is now engaged in a nuclear game of chicken with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un,  possibly the only leader who matches him for impulsive lunacy. Their foreign policies can both be reduced to “There’s only room on this planet for one egomaniacal man-toddler with nuclear arms, and it’s me!”

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 1.38.13 PM

Up until now, most of what Il Douché did (or tried to do) could be reversed. We could rejoin the Paris Climate Accords when a saner person occupies the Oval Office; Obamacare remains the law of the land, and even if he allows it die of of a thousand cuts, a competent administrator could revive it; and he has shown precious little ability to get bills passed. About the only action he’s taken with lasting impact has been the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and he only was given that chance by Mitch McConnell’s willingness to stamp his feet and hold his breath until a GOP president could make the nomination.

But with North Korea’s brazen tests, we’ve entered into a world where even the slightest misstep or misreading of the often subtle diplomatic signal could plunge the world into nuclear war.

And how does Il Douché react. Just as you’d expect: like a spoiled child, with bluster and threats. From the New York Times

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Let’s unpack this for a second—North Korea has been making the kind of threats that normal states don’t. His response: make the kind of threats not made by a normal state. Our only hope is that the adults on both sides of the table (and there appear to be precious few in the White House) can get these two undisciplined  toddlers into a “time out” and deal with this before either one of them decides to show he can wear his big boy pants and hits the button. Otherwise, we’ll be looking for those old fallout shelter signs.


Take The Fox News-heads Bolling

Fox News: as Harry Shearer puts it, “Nice people doing nice things.”

Now it’s Eric Bolling, who since Bill O’Reilly’s departure has become the channel’s most favored blowhard, has discovered that you just can’t reach out and grab ’em by the pussy—or make send them pictures of what NPR, the nation’s maiden aunt who whispers whenever she’s talking about sex (and also a national treasure that must be funded), primly describes as “unsolicited photo of male genitalia” (or, as I imagine he calls it, his “Bolling pin”).

That makes three of Il Douché’s high-profile Fox News defenders who have been forced away from the station over sexual harassment. Roger Ailes and O’Reilly preceded him out the door before him; a fourth—Bill Shine—has been touted as a replacement for Anthony Scaramucci). That qualifies as a trend, doesn’t it? And tells us something of the mindset of Tr**p supporters. Jesse Watters, an overgrown frat boy who looks like the kind of guy who doesn’t believe date rape exists, had better start erasing his browser history. Or ask Tr**p about that computer “acid washing” he goes on about.

What about Sean Hannity: Presidential Proctologist? I don’t think he’s capable of sexual feeling. He probably masturbates to videos of Tr**p rallies. Instead, he forces his employees sit through that movie he produced and is flogging on his show, a turgid God-fearing melodrama called “Let There Be Light.” Going by the trailer, the movie—the tale of the “Muhammad Ali of outspoken atheist celebrities” (how awful is he? his book is titled “Aborting God”)  whose non-faith is tested by a family tragedy—combines of the subtly of Ayn Rand, the clunky plotting of the “Left Behind” movies, and acting inspired by “Davey and Goliath.”


Obscene Paragraphs: Forty Loesches Edition

This is the face of evil.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 5.14.20 PM

This is Dana Loesch, the NRA’s Spokes-virago.

They’ve  released a new ad that is jaw-droppingly awful, even considering the source. This rancid, bile-spewing harpy claiming to be the voice of “we the people,” goes on an unhinged minute-long rampage against the New York Times, putting the paper on notice that she will not stand for their “narratives” (one wonders how she expects it tell stories without narratives. I doubt she has much use for the  experimental novels of Ronald Sukenik or Robbe-Grillet. Is this now a coded term on the right, like “cosmopolitan“?).

“Narrative” is not the only odd locution in the ad. She sneers out her contempt for what she claims is The Times “protection of [its] Democrat overlords” and the paper’s “pretentious” assertion that is it “truth or fact-based journalism.” She also engages in a bit of protection, claiming that the Times “refuses to accept any truth that upsets the fragile construct that [it] considers ‘real life’,” which is odd, since “refusing to accept any truth that upsets a fragile construct” is practically the slogan of Sean Hannity: Presidential Proctologist, and other pro-Tr**p media.

She’s not done, though. Things really gets strange about 30 seconds in, where she promises to “fist” the paper. Some believe she actually says “Fisk,” as in a detailed analysis, but that’s tough to square with the her promise to find “just what deep, rich means” to the paper she calls an “old gray hag,” who, if that’s not bad enough, is a “dishonest, untrustworthy rag,”  before falling into a Randian swoon, claiming that it has “subsisted on the welfare of mediocrity” for “one, two, three more decades.” (Notwithstanding the sudden change of tense, what does this mean?). She promises lasers (maybe she’ll find polyps?) and more unpleasantness before getting to what, you have to think, is the meat of her message: “we’re coming for you.”

Plus the video is accompanied on the NRA site by the hastag #ClenchedFistOfTruth. (Then again, just about everything about Loesch could be described as “clenched.”

Is this what we have become after a little more than half -a-year of Tr**p? Where an  organization representing an armed populace feels comfortable enough to make public threats against the Free Press. When a group that believes not just gun possession but open carry should be legal calls on its membership to go after a newspaper, how soon before they rustle up an armed posse to visit Times bureaus across the country, to say nothing of its headquarters. Does the NRA really believe that the Second Amendment trumps the first?

If they do, were probably in more trouble than we think.

 

 

 


Obscene Paragraphs: Secure Is Worse Than The Lease Edition

You’d think that modern-day Presidents would do almost anything to keep the Secret Service nearby—these are the people pledged with protecting them; agents will quite literally take a bullet for the President. But other Presidents weren’t Il Douché.

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 4.15.23 PM

Since his election, the Secret Service has set up a command post in  Tr**p Tower,  one floor below the President’s residence. But no more. According to the Washington Post,  the agency and the president’s company were unable to reach an agreement on a lease,  and they’re treating the Secret Service the same way they treat a tenant who has leased a storefront that could get higher rent from a band or Duane Reade: demand a rent increase, and if they don’t ascede, evict them. In July, the post moved from the apartment into a trailer on the sidewalk in front the building, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street (which much have made the neighbors—carriage trade retailers such as Tiffany and Bergdorf Goodman—cringe).  As a spokesperson for the Tr**p Organization put it:

“After much consideration, it was mutually determined that it would be more cost effective and logistically practical for the Secret Service to lease space elsewhere,” spokeswoman Amanda Miller wrote in an email to The Washington Post.

You’d think, that with Robert Mueller’s office getting ready to empanel a Grand Jury that could look into their business dealings, the Tr**p Organization might have more pressing issues than squeezing every last dime out of the government Tr**p supposedly leads. You hear people making all kinds of sacrifices for what was once called the “privilege” of public service, but not our Douché. He’s determined to get as much cash from being holding office as he can, even at the cost of his (and his family’s) safety.

 


A moment of joy, a hideaway from Tr**p’s America

I’ve been house sitting, spending my days  with a lovely senior dog named Romeo. He’s a good old dog, but an enthusiastic licker. After the first hour or so, I didn’t mind. It’s the most action I’ve gotten in a while. The house in the part of Mid City that wants badly to be known as Wilshire Vista Heights, which are three nice words, but putting them together renders them meaningless. Wilshire Heights Vista or Vista Wilshire Heights would do just as blankly. Pico/LaBrea or Roscoe’s Adjacent are more accurate, but probably not euphonious enough for the Neighborhood Association.

As I was taking Romeo for his afternoon walk, I heard music coming from across the street, and saw the tops of what looked like giant paper mache marionettes. It was too much for Romeo, so I brought him back, and checked it out solo. They weren’t marionette but dance puppets that anyone could put on and celebrate the Fest of St. James de Santiago.

There was a brass band (playing corridas that at times verged into something that sounded like Klezmer). And people couldn’t have been nicer. They patiently explained to the uni-lingual me (what little French I remembered from PS 90 did me little good) what was going on, then insisted I eat (my phone battery died before I could take pictures of the tamales). It was the nicest of urban surprises: coming across something you had no idea about five minutes earlier, and getting an ear-, eye–, and mouthful of another culture.

As I walked back, all I could think about is why would anyone not want these people to be part of their country? They are everything GOP says they love about this country: Church-going, open, and working for a better life. But Il Douché keeps looking for ways to make their life worse; his recent speeches demanding the police shoot first and ask questions never are not worthy of an American President.

They—and we—deserve better.


%d bloggers like this: