Monthly Archives: July 2017

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.


Obscene Paragraphs—Yes, the New Yorker Edition

The Mooch mooched his way into the a White House dinner last night. Most people wouldn’t think that’s something to hide, but in the Il Douché Administration, that’s not always the case. When the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza reported on the seemingly innocuous meal (also getting only one scoop of ice cream while Il Douché enjoys two were the First Lady, Sean Hannity: Presidential Proctologist!, and former Fox executive Bill Shine) that, in a normal administration, would have been announced to public as part of the President’s calendar. But the Mooch saw something darker; he saw it as the work of that emptiest of empty suits, Reince Priebus. He even imagines Priebus’ scheming: “‘Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months’.”

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“I’m sorry Ma’am , but you’re not on my list. ” Anthony Scaramucci, trying to look tough working the VIP entrance at Mar-A-Lago (photo credit: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post / Getty)

Yes, America, it took only six months before Tr**p—who has been teasing the firing of Jeff Sessions like a season ending cliffhanger—turned the Federal Government into  The White Housewives of America.

Of course, the Mooch had to get to the bottom of the seemingly bottomless well of Douché palace intrigue. Who leaked his dinner plans?, he demanded, like Captain Queeg ranting about strawberries.

What’s truly stunning is when he tries to appeal to Lizza’s better angels:

You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”

Yes, this leak (and leak is really too strong a word for it. Idle gossip is probably closer to the truth) is a major catastrophe. Thank God that we don’t know how he ordered his steak.

 


Ja-Rent?

In his written statement to the Senate Committee investigating Russian meddling in last year’s election, Mr. Ivanka, fresh from his stint doubling Michael Sera and recording high-pitched birdcalls,  explained that he couldn’t possibly be expected to remember all this meetings with foreign governments, much less file the necessary papers.

According to today’s Forward (a paper who might be expected to go easy on the Orthodox First-Son-In-Law) not filing papers seems to be habit.

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In 2013, his company bought a 46-unit apartment complex in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Let us pause here, and consider this purchase for a moment. By 2013, Williamsburg had  long passed from an undiscovered, low-rent neighborhood into the Far-East Village, so he was buying at the top of the market. Not exactly the business savvy you’d hope to find in the man charged with “American Innovation.”) As part of the deal, he put the building under New York City’s rent stabilization law, which netted him a healthy $1.2 million tax break.

Just one problem. More than three years after the sale, the Kushner Co. has yet to register any of the units on the city’s rent stabilization roles. A spokesman claimed this was just an oversight, just like his forgetting to include those meetings with the Russian Ambassador in his security filings. But they haven’t jacked up the rents, promise. Like his letter to the Senate Committee, he thinks that should put the matter to rest.

The building’s address is 50 N. First Street; according to this real estate listing, the average rent is over $4,000. Does anyone know someone who lives there? Would love to hear from them….

 


Jared’s No Jewel…

While Jared Kushner, the Carlo Rizzi of the Tr**p family, spoke to investigators from the Senate committee looking into TrumpRussia today, and while that meeting was behind closed doors, his written statement was published by the Washington Post. He does not come off well. If there was collusion, the Russians are not getting their money’s worth. Like students at Trump University, we’re discovering what happens when you make a deal with Donald Tr**p: shoddy workmanship, passed off to underlings not trained to deliver the work promised.

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Mr. Bluth will see you now…

As you’d expect, the document is padded with Presidential venerations—how Donald Tr**p didn’t need any help from the Russians,  the campaign nimbly responded to new challenges, and that his father-in-law “had the right vision for America, and delivered his message perfectly.” All of which should let you know that either he has lost his short-term memory (because my memory was of a campaign that lurched from crisis to crisis, including getting into a shouting match with a Gold Star family) is lying, or is stupid enough to believe it.

After reading the eleven-page document, I’m going with the latter two. Because while President Father-In-Law was piling up the portfolios in Mr. Ivanka’s inbox (the Middle East! Innovation! ) he plodded along, a walking conformation of the Peter Principle.

With each new task, he told the Committee, he would “reach out to contacts…find the right person to manage the specific challenge, and work with that person to develop and execute a plan of action.” Sounds like Business 101, right? But even at that, Mr. Ivanka was overwhelmed. Why, he received nearly 200 emails a day during the campaign! From (approximately) 15 countries! How could he be expected to remember all the contacts he had with foreign representatives?

Not only that, he didn’t even know the Russian Ambassador’s name! How could he collude with someone if he didn’t know their name? Or know how to get in contact with them, even if he did.  That form he submitted about his foreign contacts? Well, he didn’t just leave off the Russians, he left off meetings with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, “Bibi” Netanyahu, and Mexico’s foreign minister. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

And, as for the  June 2016 meeting the Junior Don set up with that Russian lawyer at Tr**p Tower….let’s just say he didn’t “love it!”  as much as his brother-in-law. He didn’t even read the email.  It was “calendared,” and if iCalendar says to be somewhere, Mr. Ivanka goes. How many people were there, who they were, what the agenda was…all blank spaces in Mr. I’s memory. The one thing he does remember was that he was bored, and eventually asked his assistant to call him, so he could get out of there. Nothing to see here…

At the end of this document, which should fear in the heart of anyone who thinks that, regardless of party affiliation, government requires competent, able individuals, he writes, in bold text to you know he’s serious:

I did not collude, nor know of anyone in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance  my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to filing my FS-86 form, above and beyond what is required .

He concludes by hoping this “puts the matter to rest.” Can’t imagine that will be the case.

 


Obscene Paragraphs: Minimize the Moocher Edition

Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci, Il Douché’s newest hire, and understudy for the part of  Tight-Lips” Louie in the inevitable live action Simpsons musical, made his debutante’s run of the Sunday morning chat shows this morning. It did not go well.

 

 

His appearances did little to assuage the sense that the reason he got the job was his willingness to repeatedly declare his undying loyalty to his Don (twenty times, according to the NYTimes).  Sure, he outed his boss as an anonymous source, first telling Jake Tapper “Somebody said to me yesterday—I won’t tell you who—that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those emails, you would have never seen it, you would have never had any evidence of them.” When pressed by Tapper, he reacted like a cornered bully in a playground fight: “How about it was the president, Jake?” Not exactly a compelling comeback.

But, at heart, he’s just another one of Tr**p’s hedge fund buddies who thinks he knows how to “fix” government without knowing how it actually works. And while having a friendly coffee with the folks over on “Fox News Sunday,” After less then two days on the job, he already knows what the problem. It just happens to be his Don’s biggest concern: leaks. All those illegal leaks on “Fake News.” (Left unasked: if those leaks are illegal, then the information—and the reporting of it—can’t be fake. If someone tells you a fake story, they’re not a leaker—they’re a liar.)

And The Mooch knows just how to stop those “unprofessional” leaks. His solution:

Scaramucci on Sunday said he would “pare down the staff” to stop White House leaks, but made clear… that he wants to start anew. “As far as I’m concerned, there will be a new start for everybody on the team,” said Scaramucci, whose appointment as communications director forced the resignation of Sean Spicer, who had held that post.

 OK, the less people who have access to information, the less chance of it leaking (and it’s easier to find the leak). Only one problem: The Douché Administration is running with a historically small staff. Some of the agencies have only a single Tr**p appointee. And it’s not obstruction, at least not on the Democrat’s part. According to the Washington Post.

President Trump has a major staffing problem. He has been president for five months, and yet his agencies are severely understaffed at the highest levels. And, no, it’s not all Senate Democrats’ fault…Trump is way behind other Presidents in nominating people for the Senate to vote on.

Obscene Paragraphs: Tying One On Edition

Il Douché has joined forces with Ty Cobb. No, not that one, but a distant relation. Given the Georgia Peach’s love of sharp spikes and views on race, it’s amusing to entertain the thought that the connection appealed to Tr**p. But, if he was going to choose a new lawyer you’d think he might look to someone who doesn’t resemble a villainous Wilford Brimley.

But the facial hair of the Douché legal team (and if this Russia matter is a hoax, you have to ask why he needs real lawyers to manage it) is not the subject of today’s Obscene Paragraph, although it does come from today’s Times’ story on Cobb’s hiring. No, it’s the reason why  they need a new lawyer. The stress of being a Douché family consigliere has caused Marc Kasowitz to take on a hobby: threatening people who email him. That leaves him precious little time for actual legal work.

Not that if matters. If you believe Il Douché, being elected President has given him new, God-like, powers. As the Times puts it:

But Mr. Trump has flouted his own lawyer, bragging to people around him that no one can control his actions.

No one can control his actions. Let that sink in for a moment. This is a man who thought that simply being a “star ” gave him license to grope women— “they let you do it. You can do anything.” 

I’m beginning to think Il Douché is too kind. Maybe Kim Jong Il Douché is a better fit.

 

 


Obscene Paragraphs: Rasslin’ Wonk Edition

For a while I wondered why Sebastian v. Gorka, or Shere Khan from the Jungle Book given human form, had been allowed outside the hermetic right-wing media biosphere. He’s shown up on CNN, each time reciting what he claimed were their poor ratings, letting them know he felt it was beneath him to have to appear explain how the Junior Don was innocent of all wrongdoing on a channel whose numbers were lower than Nick at Nite. It must have taken all his restraint for Anderson Cooper not to roll his eyes.

It ends up that this is what Il Douché wants to see on all the TV he’s not watching.  A haughty  Neo-Nazi who will put that “Fake News” in its place. According to the semi-professional stenographers masquerading as White House Correspondents for Breitbart, Tr**p and his nationalist base see Gorka as “a rock star” (which makes you wonder what music they’ve been listening to lately).

Gorka is the rare wonkish television surrogate who can also, to use a rasslin’ term, cut quite the promo. His foreign accent makes him sound like he’s a bit of a heel, but Trump’s base sees him as their heel who is eviscerating Trump’s foes in the legacy media.

The Junior Don was so impressed he tweeted that “Gorka’s a SAVAGE!”

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Because savagery is what Tr**pism respects.  And they wonder why people hate them so.

 


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