Monday, November 18, 2019

A candidate for fragging

About 35 years ago I had a job interview at the New York Times. I was asked what I admired about the paper and what I disliked.

I said I thought it devoted way too much space to East Side socialites and that I most admired the reporting of Tom Friedman. I was thinking of his work from Lebanon in those days.

No one said anything, but when I brought up Tom Friedman's name there were scowls on the faces of my interviewers. Later a friend at the times told me that the managing editor who asked the question wanted nothing more in the world than to become a member of East Side society.

I wasn't offered a job there.

In the '90s Friedman wandered off into areas that did not interest me and I have not paid much attention to him in a long time, but he had column in the Times today that was absolutely right.

 How can Pompeo think he’s got what it takes to make the hard decisions needed to lead a nation as president, and send soldiers to war, when he can’t make a clear-cut easy decision to protect one of his own diplomats from being smeared by people acting outside our system.

It is a good thing that Mike Pompeo did not graduate at the top of his class in 1969 the way William Taylor did. Had Pompeo commanded an infantry company in Vietnam in those days he'd have had a grenade thrown into his tent.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The wheels on the bus go round and round

I went to pick up my grandchildren from school today. There was a long line of yellow buses out front, and at the end of it was a sodden pile of blue gabardine. A closer look revealed it to be Rudy Giuliani.

Where's Rudy?

If Alexander Chalupa did the things that Republicans are accusing her of, why isn't she being prosecuted?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Release the kraken!

At today's hearings on impeachment rightwingers made much of their demands to call their own witnesses, demands largely rejected by Chairman Schiff.

It was not the most carefully thought out attack on the inquiry. Claire McCaskill, onetime Democratic senator from Missouri, asked why aren't they demanding to hear from Rudy Giuliani?


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Panem et circenses

I don't recall anything the least bit entertaining about the Clinton and Nixon impeachment scandals.

The Clinton one was stupid and sordid from start to finish and no one could have been anything but disgusted by the typical bicycle seat-sniffing Southern Baptist sex creep Ken Starr. Anyone who grew up among Southern Baptists, as I did, knew he would eventually be exposed although it took nearly 20 years.

I cracked a smile then.

As for Nixon, the only opportunity to smile came when some bright young thang with a microphone in her hand asked Sen. Sam Ervin if he didn't think that Nixon's offenses were the greatest crisis the nation has ever faced. Sen. Sam's eyebrows danced as he said that, no, he thought the Civil War was more serious.

The Trump impeachment, though, is a laff riot.

We have Rudy Giuliani the influence peddler masquerading as a cyber security expert butt dialing reporters and locking himself out of his iPhone.

The sanctimonious Jim Jordan being exposed as another Republican sex creep.

And Michael Flynn's new wrinkle on the insanity defense, in which he tells the judge: "Your Honor, my lawyer is crazy."

And so much more. My sides hurt from laughing.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Not knowing your enemy

The left continues to fail to recognize the pure evil of America's right-wing. A little after 10 o'clock last night, opinionators on both CNN and MSNBC were saying it would be difficult for Republicans to personally attack Lieut. Col. Vindman, a decorated Purple Heart Army veteran.

As I switched off the television I said to myself, that's just silly. Trump and his evil little cheerleaders love to attack veterans and especially men who served in combat in Vietnam. Rober Mueller most notably, but he is far from the only one.

Before I woke this morning Fox was already sliming Vindman.

I am old enough to remember McCarthyism. I did not understand at that time what was going on, but I watched it in action. The opinionators are too young to remember McCarthyism but that's no excuse for not studying it. What we're going through now is McCarthyism pure and simple.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Epater les bourgeois

The Republican game of keep away when Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper was due to testify to the House of Representatives takes us back to the very beginning of fascism.

Fascism originated in France as the Action Francaise. Its first tactic -- long before the Italians introduced of castor oil and the Germans staged torchlight parades -- was to run wild in the French parliament. The young fascists scoffed at the grave democrats, pulling their mustaches.

A democratic legislature is helpless against such tactics. It does not matter if it can be shown that the rowdies are hypocritical, uninformed or stupid -- and the GOP mob was all three. If the level heads don't react, they lose. If they do react ,they're down in the gutter wrestling with the hotheads.

Either way they are diminished and their institution is wounded.

As I have said before, I do not believe that the Trump fascists are consciously copying the tactics of the French, Italian and German fascists. For one thing, most -- but not all, some probably studied political science -- are too ignorant to know in detail how the French, Italian and German fascists operated.

No, this is a matter of attitude. The same childishness leads to similar conceptions. It is very characteristic that a  schoolyard bully like Trump would come up with this sort of meanness.

The rot in the Republican Party has gone very deep. It wasn't just the 25 most immature members of Congress. A number of others spent Thursday accusing the Democrats of running a 'Soviet' style of hearings.

This is McCarthyism pure and simple.