Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Shadow of Grenfell Towers

Today’s New York Times long read on the Grenfell Towers tragedy is heartbreaking, maddening, and frightening.

Heartbreaking because those who lived and died there trusted government to have  their safety as the paramount objective; maddening because both Tory and Labour governments put the profits of business ahead of the safety of their citizens; frightening because Tr**p and his  rapacious Randian Cabinet are gleefully taking a machete to all manner of  regulations.

Nearly every time he opens his mouth—after reminding everyone of his glorious electoral victories and executive order signings—he crows about how many regulations he has manfully stricken from the books. Scott Pruitt has turned the EPA into the “Excessive Polluters Association,” the mentally ill have their inalienable right to buy firearms restored, and every federal agency has been directed to look at regulations with an eye on meeting his campaign promise of cutting 75%.  At the moment, United States housing codes are strict enough that a Grenfell-type tragedy is unlikely here.

But safety rules are already in Tr**p’s sights. He’s already rescinded The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rules put in under President Obama.  As Brian Martin, the top UK civil servant in change of drafting building safety guidelines said, requiring that builders make sure the exterior of a building non-combustible “limits your choice of materials.” And when Il Douché laughed at the size of the scroll charting the rules and regulations he says builders have to follow “just to build a road, “how many of those have to do with safety? I mean, building a highway that can withstand earthquakes, storms, droughts, and the wear and tear of gas guzzling SUVs riding over them also limits your choice of materials.

So it can’t happen here…yet. But in the world that Il Douché and other “free marketers” imagine, Howard Roark wouldn’t have to blow up a housing project to protect the purity of his design; he’d just have to make sure they use the cheapest, most flammable materials  possible, and wait.


Fox & Friend-ly Fire?

Of all the odd statements, verbal tics, word salads, and tweets coming from Il Douché, the ones that strike my ear most clangorously are the ones like this:

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It’s that overly proud “Enjoy!” (also used in the covfefe kerfuffle) that grates. He’s the President, I don’t need to “Enjoy!” his televised appearances; I just want to be assured that there’s an adult at the wheel. That “Enjoy!” makes him sound less like a world leader than a Chef explaining the dish he’s prepared: “Today, we’ll be having a foreign policy pigeon a la Russe, with ketchup and mayonnaise. And on the side: spaghetti Putin-esca dusted with a secret Spicer blend. Enjoy!”

As for the interview itself, it was just as you’d expect. Of course they sent Ainsley Earhardt, because, other than bragging about how much he knows to military strongmen, Tr**p likes nothing more than bragging about how much he knows to a blonde woman.

(But first—he’d never heard the word “unmasking” before?)

And he wants to make sure she knows the reason he didn’t tape Comey had something  to do with government surveillance (and, of course Obama), which makes you wonder: he didn’t record them because he’s worried that the government might record them. He’s been in office for six months. You’d think he’s realize he is the government.

It would appear, though, that his lawyers have gotten to him. He had the phrase “I didn’t tape” set on repeat.  But even with Earhardt lobbing him softball questions and stroking him with compliments, managed to incriminate himself.  When she gushed that pretending to have tapes “was a smart way to keep [Comey] honest,” you could see his chest inflate and his eye brows rise as he leaned in conspiratorially. “It wasn’t stupid,” he told her (although admitting he made a threat to influence a witness’ testimony probably was), proud that he got Comey to change his story and admit that he wasn’t under investigation.  (It may have been the case when he met with Comey but, to quote Ron Ziegler, “that statement is no longer operative.”)

But before he could get himself in too deep, Earhardt threw him a line and asked about Mueller. Returning to his lawyers advice, he put “there was no obstruction, there was no collusion” on auto-repeat, adding “virtually everyone agrees to that,” notwithstanding the fact that probably everyone in that room didn’t agree to that.

If enjoyment was the objective here, I’ll have to take it for later, when interviews like this could be used as evidence in an impeachment trial.


Dan Auerbach at KCRW’s Apogee Sessions

 On stage at Apogee Studios, playing songs from his new album, “Waiting On A Song” (Nonesuch/Easy Eye) for a future broadcast on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic,  Dan Auerbach certainly looks relaxed. Hair a trifle shaggy, his eyes a little sleepy-looking, he appears to be a man without a trouble in the world.

It’s an attitude matched by the music; the album is breezy collection of pop-country tunes, like a summer afternoon playlist from an imagined AM-radio station. As he told KCRW’s Jason Bentley, the songs were the result of a period of enforced leisure, the first time in eight years he had nothing on his calendar. It allowed him, he said, to explore  his adopted hometown  of Nashville, and hang out with local musicians and songwriters; the album is the result of those collaborations. They’d spend the first part of the week working on songs, the second half recording them.   It’s also something of a calling card for his studio, Easy Eye Sound, and the musicians he’s gathered around him: Nashville legends Dave Roe and David Ferguson (who co-produced); Bobby Wood and Gene Christman, part of the house band of  Memphis’ American Studios; and guitarists Mark Knopfler and Duane Eddy.

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              Pat McLaughlin (l) and Dan Auerbach performing for KCRW’s Apogee Sessions                         (photo: Brian Lowe)

But at Apogee, it was just Auerbach and Pat McLaughlin on acoustic guitar and mandolin. Seated on stage, they could have jut as easily been playing at the Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe as in Santa Monica. Loose and intimate, it’s an approach that showed off the songs’ craftsmanship, but also exposed their limitations. They’re catchy, but insubstantial; the less attention you pay to the them, the better they sound. The lyrics show off a puckish, Roger Miller styled humor, but like most jokes, you only need to hear them once. “You only got a couple of miles to go/if you’re trying to drive me insane,” he warns on the kicky “Shine On Me” (which misses Knopfler’s springy guitar), the chorus of the sprightly psychedelic stomp “Stand By My Girl,” admits “because she’ll kill me if I don’t.” But they’re performed with a sidelong charm and affection that makes it hard to dislike. It’s best to see Waiting on A Song as Auerbach’s busman’s holiday. 

 

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/0OSYZ7EMRs14RPvwowd13F

 

 

 


So It Is Written….

 

Watching Il Douché give his Miami rant today, it hit me. His entire agenda is to undo everything the man he still believes to be the Great Kenyan Usurper accomplished. He probably imagines himself to be Pharaoh Seti in DeMille’s The Ten Commandments: “Let his name be stricken from every book and tablet, from all pylons and all obelisks….”
Healthcare, Foreign policy, Cuba—just knock them all down. Do they have anything to put in their place? You’ve got to be kidding. Doing anything other than try and whitewash the last eight years away…why, that would mean legislating, which is something actual governing parties do. Can’t have that.
But, as he does in so many things, he doesn’t know when to stop. Scandals were unheard of during the eight years of the Obama Administration.  Tr**p will do the exact opposite, and couldn’t even go eight weeks before instigating a Constitutional Crisis.

 


Covfefe Away With Me….

We’ve entered into the Garcia-Marquez era of American History: If the President types it, it’s a word…

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The Three Scariest Things We Learned About Tr**p today…

Every story about this White House is frightening, but here are the three scariest things about this Washington Post story on Il Douché’s mulling a White House purge:

1—In the constant, Tudor-like  political roiling of the White House waters, the bloated body of Steve Bannon has floated back to the top. Setting up a “war room” to do battle with the government that Tr**p leads has his fingerprints all over it. What makes Bannon dangerous  is his lust for chaos and disruption. It’s all about “The Fourth Turning,” a potted history that Bannon reveres.  The book argues that history unfolds in 80 year cycles, each made up of four 20-year “turnings.” We are now in the midst of the fourth, or “destruction” turn of the Post-War era. (The book even uses the term “winter is coming,” so you know every time he turns on “Game of Thrones,” he sees confirmation.) But he’s not content with letting the destruction happen. If the times aren’t going to conform to the book, he’s going to make sure they will. Also back is his spirit animal, Kellyanne Conway.

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2—Il Douché is quickly on the road to becoming America’s first Potemkin president. What to do when Tr**p’s not feeling so good about himself? Throwing things at his “enormous” big-screen TV, yelling “Fake News! Fake News!” even when Fox is on?  Why, throw a few rallies. He can take Marine One directly from the White House lawn,  put a cordon around the landing zone, have a friendly crowd on the road, let him grab a few dignitaries’ hands, put him in front of a few thousand of his fans, and it’s all good!

3—They actually use “Godfather” quotes to describe their actions. Two people “close to the [War Room] discussions” said they were “going to the mattresses.”


Is That The Other Shoe I Hear…?

Russian Ambassador Told Moscow That Kushner Wanted A Secret Communications Channel With Moscow.

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

You read that correctly—Russian Ambassador Told Moscow That Kushner Wanted A Secret Communications Channel With Moscow. Now, before we start bringing out the Champaign to christen the good ship Impeachment,  let’s take a breath.

This could just be Russia toying with us, throwing yet another pailful of dezinformatsiya  to the mainstream media like so much chum, roiling the water just to show they can. Putin might have tired of Il Douché, and decided to throw a shot across his bow, stepping on the relatively good news of his foreign trip.  Who knew he’d be so high-maintenance? The constant preening, and having to be in the front row of every picture?  (The most Tr**piest part of that shove? The East/west nods and the tug on his jacket as he took his place, a bullying narcissist’s show of importance that wouldn’t look out of place on a mob boss.) And he just won’t shut up. Being an ally of Il Douché is like hooking up with every nightmare relationship you ever had. You couldn’t blame he if  Putin decided he’s not worth the trouble, and cut him loose.

Or it could just be they’re really that stupid. Right now, that option seems the most likely.

According to the story, Kislyak

was reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

 And that sounds like something Tr**p would demand. You can imagine him telling Jared to demand a secret office in the Russian Embassy. It’s the kind of Maxwell-Smart-meets- the-Sopranos style of governing coming from the White House.

Whatever the reason, this takes the story right to the heart of the Tr**p Administration. If true, you can’t imagine that Kushner, the most trusted man in the White House, made that demand without approval from the Boss. And it’s illegal, even if they’re going to claim this was some ninja-styled negotiating move. Can’t wait to hear Jeffrey Lord try to defend this steaming pile of crap.

 


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