IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Trump/Nixon

The president is reportedly fuming (again) and shooting down any suggestions from aides that he resign. He’s particularly peeved that anyone inside his circle is even mentioning the name Richard Milhouse Nixon in his presence. From CNN

And he has made clear to aides in separate conversations that mere mention of President Richard Nixon, the last president to resign, was banned. He told one adviser during an expletive-laden conversation recently never to bring up the ex-president ever again.

Yet, if one is being honest, as deceitful and treacherous a president as Trump Nixon could be, it is he who should be insulted by comparisons with Donald J. Trump. This vignette stands out.

So, you have an unpopular president who on his own meets with his detractors in person at the Lincoln Memorial. Which, as you know, is at the other end of the National Mall from the U.S. Capitol. And the purpose of his visit is to ease tensions as opposed to escalating them. And, to reiterate, he goes himself. He doesn’t send others to do his bidding.

Also, of course, Richard Nixon was reelected.

Banana Stand Republics

It’s crazy, when you think about it. Arrested Development premiered in 2003. It’s the story of a cravenly corrupt real estate magnate and his four grown children, three of whom are extremely dsyfunctional. Only Michael (Jason Bateman) has a moral center.

So the parallels are all right there—with the exception of Michael, and don’t for a moment think Ivanka; no, you don’t. How ahead of its time was this series, anyway?

Here’s Will Arnett, who played Job, having tons of vicious fun at Jason Bateman’s expense. You’ll laugh.

NFL Homonyms

This weekend Tom Brady will face Drew Brees in an NFL playoff game for the first time. Between them Brady and Brees have completed nearly 14,000 passes (they’re 2-1, respectively, on the all-time list), have thrown for nearly 160,000 yards (again, 2-1 all-time), and have each thrown more than 570 TD passes (1-2 on all-time list). They’ve also lived a cumulative 85 years and play a cumulative 41 seasons.

I doubt either will retire after this season. I also doubt either will lead his tam to a Super Bowl win (but I do hope that Tom Brady is playing in Lambeau a week from Sunday).

Next spring the NFL draft will be held and you should know that you’ll probably hear the name “Brady Breeze” called in the second or third round. He’s a defensive back from Oregon (that’s really his name) who was the Defensive MVP of the 2020 Rose Bowl. Solid player. It is probably his sincere wish to one day intercept Brady or Brees, if not both.

One Officer’s Story

In the days, weeks and months ahead you’re going to hear more and more detail about all the horrific stuff that happened at our nation’s Capitol building on January 6th. And I think we’ll all feel tremendous relief that as much of a catastrophe as it was, it could have been far, far worse. Something that those of us watching in real time (at least me) did not quit appreciate in the moment.

Sometimes, though, all it takes is to hear one officer’s story. This is the tale of Michael Fanone. That’s obviously him talking up top and then there’s video o how he was nearly murdered, in broad daylight, at the foot of the U.S. Capitol, is a Blue Lives Matter flag obscures him. Pure poetry, no?

****

A thought: if I were a shameless white supremacist with a lot of anger and weaponry, and sincerely butt-hurt that my racist president lost his election, to the point that I was willing to delude myself that he did not lose fairly, I might circle the date January 16th, Martin Luther King Day, to make my statement. I imagine our friends at the FBI have already considered this.

Joe Lives Matter

Yesterday came the news that officials in Australia were preparing to euthanize a pigeon, whom they’d named Joe (above). Seems it was believed that Joe had flown 8,000 miles from the USA to the land Down Under and officials there were concerned that he may be carrying strains of an American-borne disease (such as racism).

The sentence? Death.

But, unlike our current American administration, which has been putting actual people to death with nary a care in the final weeks of the presidency, Australian officials dug a little deeper. They discovered that the leg band Joe was wearing that identified him as being from Oregon (a militia pigeon?) was likely counterfeit and that he was most likely an Aussie bird.

And so they have granted him a reprieve.

Aussies: better than Americans again.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Unprecedented!

(But Not Un-presidented)

Ladies and gentleman, your first two-time impeached president, Donald Trump (are you tired of all the winning yet?). If you’re scoring at home, that’s two impeachments and also 0-fer-2 in popular elections. Trump’s 1-1 in Electoral College elections, which cater specifically to deals the founders made with slave owners long ago in order to get them to buy into forming the union. So he owes his lone win to racism. That fits.

From CNN:

As President Trump made history tonight as the only US president to be impeached twice, one White House adviser said “everybody’s angry at everyone” inside the White House, with the President being upset because he thinks people aren’t defending him enough. 

He’s in self-pity mode,” the source said.

The story goes on to say that even Hope Hicks has departed. That’s right: all Hope is lost.*

*By the way, and I’m not making this up, if you visit Hope Hicks’ Wikipedia page, next to height it reads: ” 5’9″ (same as Chris Christie).” Oooh, snap!

AOC Sounds Off

I mean, not bad for a barmaid.

A Beard Grows In Brooklyn

The borough of Brooklyn is flush with millennials sporting outlandishly overgrown beards, but James Harden just became the most famous one. And perhaps the wealthiest. The Houston Rockets sent the former MVP-with-no-gruntle-remaining to the Nets in a multi-player trade. He joins long-time-ago OKC teammate Kevin Durant, another former MVP.

In nine of the past 11 seasons, either Harden or Durant has led the NBA in scoring. How will this work? Perhaps if former two-time MVP and assists wizard Steve Nash, the coach, puts himself onto the active roster.

For Clarity’s Sake

It may be too late to ever persuade all the Casey Affleck-lookalike wack jobs who stormed Capitol Hill that “Stop The Steal” is, as Yale prof Timothy Snyder has said, “The Big Lie” (this will be the title of Michael Lewis’ book, no?). But that does not mean that every GOP senator and representative who parroted President Trump’s false claims the past few months should not publicly reverse course. To quote The New York Times (something New York Post staffers are no longer allowed to cite as a news source…meaning everything you’ll read in the NY Post from now on will come directly from Twitter):

Republican lawmakers who objected to the electoral vote results on the grounds of mythical election fraud should immediately and publicly apologize, repudiate their lies and admit that Joe Biden won the election fairly.

We need clarity. And honesty. That is, as this editorial attests, the first step.

Clarity and honesty from all the GOP in Congress who repeated a lie to help make it grow and take root.

The next step? Clarity and honesty about what took place last Wednesday. You keep reading about how the details of what went down inside the Capitol would leave Americans shocked. You know what? Shock us. Or are they waiting until after Jan. 20 to share this news?

And, by the way, what is the excuse for Mitch McConnell to not think the Senate needs to convene to hold a conviction trial on impeachment? As we stated on Monday, the most plausible reason is that he doesn’t want to be the Majority Leader when it goes down. Let that be Chuck Schumer’s dog.

Iran-sacked

You gotta give the Iranian students and radicals—I’m assuming they thought of themselves as “patriots”—who stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979, this much: at least they didn’t kill anybody.

As we watched the storming of the U.S. Capitol unfurl last week in real time, those of us old enough to remember the Iran Hostage Crisis noticed how similar the scene looked: an unruly mob bent on destruction and violence criminally trespassing on U.S. government property and taking it over.

But again, they never killed a single American. Last week’s mob did, police officer Brian Sicknick. I guess it’s not terrorism if you think your side is in the right against Uncle Sam. I’d point this out to anyone in a MAGA cap but they’re either too dumb or too brainwashed to comprehend analogies that fit.

Or expose them to their own hypocrisy.

To them I say, “Argo f*ck yourself.”

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Money Talks And Bullshit Walks

What happened was: Major corporations such as Airbnb, Amazon, American Express, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Comcast, Commerce Bank, Dow Chemical, Marriott, Mastercard and Verizon all announced that they were halting donations to the GOP (should major corporations be allowed to donate to either party, I wonder? Hmmm.)

Then what happened was: Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell and Liz Cheney suddenly found themselves to have a conscience, either saying they would vote to impeach Trump or at least, in Mitch’s case, not defending Trump.

The money spoke. Their consciences? Their consciences?!? The fuuuuuuck outta here.

Below, that’s Kenneth Langone, who has done some marvelous philanthropic work. But also a Trump backer. Amazing to me how people like this let their wallets be their conscience and fancifully ignored every last aspect of Donald Trump’s character and behavior until it was almost too late.

Randy Rainbow Coalition

Almost too easy, but still brilliantly done by our old friend.

Nobody Died In Watergate

On Sunday I tweeted that Trump would be out of a job by Friday and that Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan and Josh Hawley would be gone in a month. Those predictions may have been a little over-caffeinated, but Trump is going to be impeached today. The first president to be impeached twice. This nation had two impeachment in its first 242 years and now it’s had two in less than 13 months.

As for those senators and representatives, stay tuned. I truly believe we are at the incipient stages of a plot for treason. Congressmen and women who aided and abetted the rioters, particularly in the planning stages, should be hanged. Seriously. But at the very, very least they must be expelled from Congress and never be allowed to run for public office again.

Westy

All the events of the past two weeks caused us to neglect noting the death of one of our favorite Suns (favorite sons), Paul Westphal. He died of complications from cancer at age 70 last week.

I fell in love with the NBA during the 1972-73 season. The Knicks were my team and their nemesis was the Boston Celtics. Although Jo Jo White and John Havlicek were the men in green I feared most, I remembered this 6’4″ rookie who’d come in off the bench and just be a major pain in the ass for my guys Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe.

(Future NBA coaches who’d lose to Michael Jordan in the Bulls in the NBA Finals: Westphal and Jerry Sloan)

Westphal, a SoCal native who attended USC (when UCLA was THE PLACE to play hoops… would love to know why he didn’t team up with Bill Walton to play for John Wooden…. Wooden, Walton, Westphal, it just alliteratively fits), played in Boston for three seasons and won one ring there.

Then Boston traded him to Phoenix. I didn’t think much of it until the Suns made it all the way to the NBA Finals and there were all these dudes on their fun team with great tans: Westphal, the Van Arsdale twins, Alvan Adams. They were positively tanorexic. It was as if Westy had gone to Canyon Ranch and never returned.

Two years later, my family moved to Phoenix. A year after that, my parents got us two tickets to a Suns-Celtics game as a Christmas present. I went with my brother to the old Madhouse on McDowell, Veterans Memorial Coliseum, as Westphal and the Suns were playing a Boston team with a phenomenal rookie, Larry Bird.

It’s the best NBA game I’ve ever personally witnessed. Here, in the first season of the three-pointer, two future Hall of Famers dueled. Entering the fourth quarter the men in green led 107-96, which sounds like a final sore an sounded even more like one back in that era. This was just a high-scoring, exciting game with a Finals atmosphere (both teams were great that season, winning 61 and 55 games, respectively).

Larry Bird would finish with 45 points. But Westy, not to be too much outdone, paced the Suns with 34 and led them back from that 11-point deficit. The final score? Phoenix 135, Boston 134.

Yes, the Gar Heard game from three seasons earlier, these same two teams in the NBA Finals, lives in fans’ memories. But this midseason classic that I was fortunate enough to witness had a playoff fervor. Again, the best game I’ve ever attended. And Westy was the hero. He would become a terrific NBA coach and is in the Hall of Fame. And now he’s gone. He’ll always be that tanned zephyr with the flowing brown locks to me.

A female sportswriter (of great renown) once noted offhandedly that he was, in her mind, the best-looking NBA player ever. One person’s opinion. But I never forgot that she said that to me.

The other thing about Westphal? He was universally liked and loved. You have to watch this above. As “Chuck” says, “That’s a perfect example of who he was.”

I remember watching this play as it happened. It was hilarious. The Suns had already clinched top spot in the West, had already won 60 games. This was the third-to-last game of the regular season. And they still pulled this one out, in Portland, 115-114. I remember sitting on my futon couch and howling with laughter.

We Nearly Overlooked This, Too

There’s still 1:20 to play in the quarter when this young man loses track of time and tosses a full-court shot. That goes in. This is hilarious. How many kids that age can even toss the ball that far? I know I couldn’t.

Don’t you love how he turns to his coach with that “My bad, I know” reaction? Man, as someone else on Twitter noted, he should’ve flashed the double-guns, gunslinger reaction, then put them back in his holsters. But that might be too much to ask from one defining moment.

And He’s Not Even A St. Bernard

You Hate To See It

In yesterday’s New York Times, an amusing story titled “Lost Passwords Lock Millionaires Out Of Their Bitcoin Futures”

Here is the lede, by Nathaniel Popper, and it’s fabulous:

Stefan Thomas, a German-born programmer living in San Francisco, has two guesses left to figure out a password that is worth, as of this week, about $220 million.

The password will let him unlock a small hard drive, known as an IronKey, which contains the private keys to a digital wallet that holds 7,002 Bitcoin. While the price of Bitcoin dropped sharply on Monday, it is still up more than 50 percent from just a month ago, when it passed its previous all-time high of around $20,000.

The problem is that Mr. Thomas years ago lost the paper where he wrote down the password for his IronKey, which gives users 10 guesses before it seizes up and encrypts its contents forever. He has since tried eight of his most commonly used password formulations — to no avail.

“I would just lay in bed and think about it,” Mr. Thomas said. “Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn’t work, and I would be desperate again.”

True story: A few years ago I bought two of these Bitcoin-related currencies. Also about that time I began, at long last, to keep a small notebook that had all of my passwords (but what if someone steals that notebook, you ask? I guess you just have to take that chance. It’s better than constantly having to create new passwords).

Just last Saturday, after not having taken a peek at either currency’s status in at least two years, I decided to check them out. One of them, Coinbase, had improved more than 700% since I bought it. The other, Bitstamp, has a new level of verification in which it asks for my social security number. Sorry, guy, no go. You can keep the money.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

DeVonta-Plus

Though he never caught a pass after halftime—a dislocated finger early in the third quarter ended his night prematurely-—Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns for the Crimson Tide.

All in the first half. Quite a validation of that Heisman for the Slim Reaper.

(Turf enough, but not fast enough)

Alabama beats Ohio State, 52-24 (that’s the same score the Tide beat Texas A&M by) for the national championship. It’s Nick Saban’s record-breaking 7th title in the AP poll era, his sixth in Tuscaloosa. Incredible.

Meanwhile in Tuscaloosa… a super-spreader event.

Patriot


New England Patriot football coach Bill Belichick stuns me by spurning Trump’s offer of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Belichick’s statement:

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.

“Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team,” he continued. “One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and county I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”

You may recall that Trump appeared onstage with Belichick on the final day before the 2016 election.

Was this the final blow?

All The President’s Mendacity

(And the beauty of it is that those flags also may function as bludgeoning instruments)

From The Washington Post, an outrageous story of betrayal by the commander-in-chief last Wednesday. It details how Kevin McCarthy, Lindsey Graham and even Kellyanne Conway all tried to contact Trump last Wednesday afternoon in the early stages of the riot and he ignored all of them. Grampa was having too much fun watching his program.

Of course, the MAGA you know will disbelieve the story purely on the basis of who published it. Or blame the riot on Antifa infiltrators. Anything to avoid accepting the truth.

Worth reading. Remember as all of this mayhem takes place that America daily laps the world in coronavirus deaths. Donald Trump is a monumental failure.

The Big Lie

As Jake Tapper tweeted yesterday, from 1984 by George Orwell, “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” What did Hillary call them? Deplorables? That was too kind. I prefer “Y’all Queda.”

I don’t know about you, but this has been my experience: I’ve disagreed with family and friends who’ve supported Donald Trump in the past, but we’ve all been able (mostly) to continue to get along. Last Wednesday’s insurrection, for me, was the crossing of the Rubicon. If there are people who still support Donald Trump—even freakin’ Deutsche Bank has announced it will no longer do business with him—then those relationships are effectively over. You broke my heart, Fredo. You broke my heart.

Done. Finis.

Stand back and stand by, he said last October. And they did. And they’re planning more mayhem. It was so weird last night to listen to cable news stations nonchalantly mention the impending terrorist threats on all 50 state capitols and to realize that the people planning such terror were the loudest anti-terrorism (read: anti-Muslim) voices for the past two decades. And he person fomenting all of it was the president. Funny, that.

And yet, as Don Lemon noted on CNN last night, they’re the biggest SNOWFLAKES you’ll ever see: Viking horn guy is whining because they won’t serve organic food to him in lock up while many others wail because they’ve been put on no-fly list. That sound you hear is white privilege reckoning, for the first time, with consequences.

Also, every last Republican who still voted against ratifying the election results last week committed treason. They need to be dealt with. From Paul Krugman in The New York Times: “…the cynicism and cowardice of leading Republicans is, I would argue, the most important cause of the nightmare now enveloping our nation.”

True dat.

I mean, I could go on and find an item about a panda that plays chess or the world’s largest strudel, but between now and January 20th, what’s the point? This is no, “I like the Yankees and you like the Red Sox”-level argument. This is a battle for the future of our country. Do we want to be a nation of jack-booted thugs who render free elections non-existent and promise security in exchange for groupthink and white nationalism? Or do we want to be a democracy where open division still exists but where the individual may still think openly as he or she pleases and where disputes are settled by debate and voting?

We know what MAGA wants. This is the fight of our lives.

“I Pledge Allegiance”

To the flag (which I will use to bludgeon my opponents, including police)

And to the United States of America Donald Trump

And to the eventual fascist state,

For which white supremacy stands,

With liberty and justice for all those who think and act exactly the way I do

There are two Americas on display this week. The America we’ve always known, where we don’t always agree but where we express our differences with opinions and debate. And the America of those radicalized white terror caravans above, who seek to impose their will with guns and violence.

Another tip of the cap to Osama bin Laden: the greatest threat to America and freedom was always Americans. Someone simply had to unleash it. He did. In less than 20 years. Even he would be surprised, I think, that it happened so fast.

My hope: That Donald Trump is sent to jail and there, in a solitary cell, they put a camera on him (he’s always craved attention, right?). There is no sound and he has no access to the internet or even writing materials. The camera just remains on him as if he’s an animal in a zoo. That is how he should live out the remainder of his days.

*****

Last thing from me today (until something else comes to me): There are armed protests being planned at all 50 state capitols, which ordinarily would be seen by the President of the United States as a most grave threat to our democracy. All the president needs to do between now and then is to call a televised press conference, stand in front of the cameras, and implore every one of his followers to stand down.

Will he do it?

Being the narcissistic sociopath that he is, Trump probably will not do this. Later he will complain that his access to Twitter was cut off, denying him the ability to reach people. He’s the world’s most powerful man. He could call a presser and within half an hour all four major networks, plus every cable news channel, would televise it live.

People will die because of his silence this week. A political leader or two may be assassinated. Every death, every ounce of blood, is on Donald Trump’s tiny hands if he refuses to step up and tell his mob to stand down.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

I scribbled some words over the weekend (Saturday Morning Musings) that you can access via the hyperlink if you’re interested and haven’t yet read.

Lock Him Up. Now.

I don’t know what anyone still needs to see. The man staged a rally right beneath the Washington Monument early Wednesday afternoon, flashed the white power symbol (above), told his brain-dead army that they cannot take this country back with “weakness”, told him he’d go down with them (of course he didn’t), and within a few hours five people were dead.

Benghazi: four dead Americans.

U.S. Capitol Riot: five dead Americans.

Didn’t they cry “Lock her up!” over Benghazi even though Hillary Clinton was not even to blame? So where are the chants of “Lock him up?”

Donald Trump has 10 more days of (legitimate) power. He should be denied every one of them. Not only as punishment but out of precaution. Is there anything in his past that does not inform you that he will try every last trick possible to remain in power? This could become very, very dangerous. And deadly, for many.

Congress and Mike Pence—particularly Mike Pence—still have a chance to thwart him. They should not squander that chance.

By the way, how must Mike Pence be feeling now? He stands by Donald Trump for four years, lets himself be appointed coronavirus czar (so he can shoulder all of the blame), then with less than two weeks to go, tells the president he can’t overturn the election for him, and Trump basically tells his followers to go lynch him. And they wanted to!

Feeling a little betrayed, Mike? Welcome to America. By the many of us have known for a long time that anyone who swears fealty to Trump eventually gets tossed under the bus. We’d have thought you’d seen that move enough times not to be surprised by it.

Love this line from David Remnick in The New Yorker:

The millions of Americans who understood this Presidency from its first day as a national emergency, a threat to domestic and global security, can be excused for finding it curious that so many are now taking the exit ramp for the road to Damascus three years and fifty weeks later. 

Arnold 1, Kevin Sorbo 0

Pay attention, please:

Heroes And Villains

Wednesday, January 6, was the day that launched 100 books, one future Peabody Award-winning PBS Frontline doc, an Adam McKay or Paul Greengrass film, a Mark Wahlberg heroic role (but on which side?), and for sure an FBI and Congressional investigative committee.

It’s simply too soon to begin to pretend we have any of the answers as to who was responsible, how sophisticated and far-reaching was this plot, who on the inside helped plan or facilitate or coordinate it, and what if anything will be done to bring them to justice. What I do know is this: As a news story, this is already bigger than Watergate. Way bigger.

Unlike 9/11 or anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes, this was an attack on America by… Americans. Americans who are so deranged that they believed that the most patriotic thing that they could do was storm the U.S. Capitol and jackboot their guy back into the presidency.

I wrote it on Saturday and I’ll repeat it again: Democracy cannot survive in a land of White Supremacy and White Supremacy cannot survive in a land of Democracy. Right now, for the first time in my life, I’m legitimately not sure how this is going to turn out.

Yes, there were plenty of villains (that we already know of): Trump and his family, Rudy, Matt Gaetz, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Jim Jordan, etc. There were also heroes, and it shouldn’t surprise that one of the cops who will be remembered as heroes for his actions inside the Capitol building is black.

That’s Officer Eugene Goodman (above, and up above), who lured the rioters away from the Senate chamber by baiting them into chasing him. Smart, and brave, cop.

Scenes From A Desecration

Notice how no video has yet emerged of Officer Brian Sicknick’s murder? He was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. Was he inside the Capitol edifice itself? Outside? Don’t they have plenty of cameras inside the U.S. Capitol? Weren’t plenty of rioters filming everything?

So, assuming that his murder is on film, who knows about it, who has it, and who is keeping it private? And why? Let’s assume someone official has access to that footage? Are they keeping it hidden so that they could track down the murderer without him being aware of it (which is odd, because wouldn’t they crowd-source it normally)? Are they keeping it hidden out of respect to his family? Are they keeping it hidden because it would be a death-knell of sorts to Trump’s last gasp to his illegitimate claim for power? Are they keeping it hidden to keep peace (how’s that working out)?

I really don’t know. But it is unusual. In the meantime I suggest you watch this short video from Don Winslow…

and read this excellent and mostly humorous and caustic essay via Caitlin Flanagan….

…and listen to this:

Steel Curtains

The game’s opening shotgun snap to Ben Roethlisberger sailed over his head (he’s like, 6’5″) and was recovered by Cleveland in the end zone. It was 28-0, Browns, at the end of the first quarter.

Cleveland, which last won a playoff game in 1995, beat Pittsburgh, which has won two Super Bowls since then. The final score, 48-37. Due to COVID, the Browns hadn’t practiced all week and their head coach, Kevin Stefanski, was at home (presumably in his basement because that makes a better visual).

Is it the end of the line for Big Ben, star-crossed legend-cum-sexual assaulter? It sure looked that way, watching him seated alone on the bench afterward.

Oh, The Places You Won’t Go!

(Svalbard: You go Norway and I’ll go mine)

Usually about now, The New York Times publishes a FOMO/YOLO special for adventure travelers called “52 Places To Go In (Year)”. But it’s still coronavirus time, so this year’s piece is simply called “52 Places To Love” (as opposed to “Make Love”… which reminds us of an old Newlywed Game anecdote that is apocryphal but still very funny, but this is a family blog so we won’t repeat it here).

You can hit the hyperlink and see some of their picks.

SATURDAY MORNING MUSINGS

by John Walters

We all see it. We alllll see it.”

–This had never happened before: the flag of the Confederacy inside the U.S. Capitol. What’s next, the flag of Nazi Germany? Because that’s all these people are: Nazis.

(“Coup Klux Klan?” That’s gold, Jerry)

–As I was doing the night clean at the supermarket last night, two-plus hours of wet and arduous work, a contradiction to the five-figure sum I’d earned in the stock market the same day hours earlier, I had plenty of time to think. Many things occurred to me, but the overriding idea is that this is only the beginning of a civil war. And it will not take place on battle fields such as Antietam or Gettysburg, since the war is not over land but over ideas. It will take place wherever prominent politicians or heads of states and cities who never bowed to Trump reside. It will take place between security details and armed militias. And right now? The former side is wildly under-staffed and under-prepared and it probably doesn’t help that more than a few of them are (sympathetic to the) MAGA-dolts. We’ve seen this time and time again, from cops on Wednesday waving barrier-breakers into the Capitol to the cops in Kenosha not even thinking to stop Kyle Rittenhouse as he walks toward them with a long gun after just having shot two people to death.

–Whenever I deal with an entitled or annoying customer at the supermarket, I mutter under my breath, “The customer is always white.”

–I hope the Dept. of Justice and the FBI track down as many from the Capitol mob as possible. I hope that each one of them serves jail time and I particularly hope that every last one of them is given a black or Hispanic cell mate. Please let this happen.

–Seriously don’t know why the House hasn’t already called a special session to impeach Trump. But that’ll happen Monday. Then Moscow Mitch will drag his heels for eight days and bring it to the Senate on January 19th. That at least is his plan. Mitch don’t want the Lindsey Graham-at-the-airport treatment, people.

So Trump will serve out his term, and Mitch and MAGA will be able to blame the Democrat-led Senate for impeaching Trump post facto. It still must be done, and as Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, all Republican Senators who don’t want to be labeled as anti-Trump need to do is not show up for the vote. All it requires is 2/3 of the Senators in attendance. And the Senate will already have 51 Dems, 52 if Lisa Murkowski of Alaska defects. If just 20 GOP Senators are AWOL, then you’d only need three or four Republican Senators to vote to impeach. That seems probable, particularly if the militias do anything crazy (ya think?) between now and January 19th.

–For decades—I can remember seeing them back in the ’80s in the outskirts of Phoenix—armed white militias have been training for this doomsday. You know what happens when you practice the piano over and over and over and never have a recital? Eventually you get bored with playing the piano. You need something to look forward to and then, at some point, you need to have the damn recital. For these white supremacists, it’s recital day. And they say they’d be happy to die for Trump. Let’s give them that chance.

–I think what particularly depressed me as I took the power hose to various saws last night is how fragile this democracy of 330 million people is. If Brad Raffensperger does not do his job, if Gabriel Sterling does not do his job, if Stacey Abrams does not become the most potent non-elected force in the deep South since MLK, if any number of appellate judges do not do their jobs, we’re stuck with Trump and Fascism. Going forward, will the police and military, both of which have more than a few white supremacists in their ranks (“a few bad apples”), do their jobs?

–What we need is a Tuskegee Airmen-type security detail for elected officials. Honestly. The biggest, baddest, blackest mother*ck*rs we can find. Arm them. Swear them in like the Secret Service. Maybe we call them “Wakanda.”

Put Wakanda in charge of security detail for President Biden, Kamala, AOC, Stacey Abrams, etc. Secretly (or not so secretly), I’ve always felt (and covering college football and the NFL only reinforced this) that a great deal of the White Male Rage toward African-American men is that these dudes know deep down that, physically, blacks are superior to whites. They just, on average, are. And that scares the bejeezus out of them. So they try to retain control of the things that will keep the black man from becoming empowered: wealth, education, guns.

Get me that Tuskegee Security Detail. Get me Wakanda.

–To think of all the courageous men who fought and/or gave their lives fighting the Nazis in World War II only to see their sons or daughters, grandsons or grandaughters, or grand-nephews and grand-nieces marching on the U.S. Capitol in defense of Nazi ideals on Wednesday. That is sickening.

Of course many of these people, or those who cheered them on, have been brainwashed into thinking that they’re fighting on the side of the red, white and blue. This is simply a matter of a lack of intelligence, an inability to separate symbols from principles. Just because you carry the flag doesn’t mean you’re always right. No, carrying the principles of America is what makes you right. And the principles involved here are democratic elections and the rule of law. Both of those these people stamped on the other day. They refuse to acknowledge it while failing to see just how closely they align with Adolf Hitler and the early stages of the Nazi Party in Germany. Or, some of them do see this with clarity and embrace it.

White Power is either in its final throes in this democracy or this democracy is in its final throes to be subjugated by White Power. That’s the choice.

— I’m continually shocked and rocked by the “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” attitude of countless Trumpers. Many that I know personally. It’s incredible to me that no matter what the truth and evidence shows, they’ll only believe what Donald Trump (a serial liar going back five decades) tells them. The fact that a woman was screaming “AUDIT THE VOTE!” at Lindsey Graham yesterday after the REPUBLICAN Sec. of State of Georgia already did exactly that and still declared Biden the winner shows you their inability to accept facts. It’s only factual if we get our way.

On Thursday night Yale history professor Timothy Snyder appeared on Rachel Maddow’s show. He’s either a highly intelligent man or a liberal elite, depending on your sway. Snyder said something that has remained with me since. He noted that so many of the Trump supporters claim to be fighting for the freedom to do what they want and to say what they want. But they’re actually not free at all, he reminded. Why not? Because everything that they do or say is predicated on what Donald Trump tells them to do or say or think. They are willingly putting themselves under his spell. They’re not free thinkers at all. They’re sheep. But they’re just too stupid to see it.

I loathe Trump and Trumpism with the heat of a thousand blazing suns but even I readily conceded that he won the electoral vote in 2016. He may not be a legitimate human being, but he legitimately won the election. These people simply listen to Laura Ingraham or Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson or Rush Limbaugh or NEWSMAX and these people tell them what they want to hear, absent any evidence, and they lap it up like Oliver Twist on his first bowl of porridge. So sad.

My First Rule of Trumpism is 1) Always lie if the truth will damage you.

Second Rule: 2) Never accept blame or cop to any error or crime.

Third Rule: 3) Accuse your opponent of exactly the thing that you are doing.

I spent about 30 seconds watching Fox News on Thursday evening, just to see what they were saying. And you know what they were saying? That the “liberal media” is “gas lighting” its readers/viewers. There’s your Rule No. 3.

–Go through as much footage of the storming of the U.S. Capitol or all of the attacks on state houses or a governor’s mansion this past week. You know what you will not see a single instance of? A law enforcement official putting one of these cretins in a chokehold. I wonder why that is.

–If there’s another attack on our democracy, I would encourage NFL players to take a stand by not playing their playoff games. A distraction is not what this nation requires. A call to justice is what it requires. Meanwhile, I hope plenty of NFL players, black and white, take a knee today. Why wouldn’t you?

(But this dude was the threat to democracy. Riiiiiiiight.)

–Joe Biden is scheduled to be sworn in on January 20th but this is far from over. I really think the most important thing going forward is that we get the goose-steppers and Nazis out of the ranks of the police force and military. Otherwise, the safety of our elected leaders is at great risk. Like I said, deputize a Tuskegee Airmen security detail. Deputize a Wakanda.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Get Out!

Even the Wall Street Journal—the Rupert Murdoch-owned WSJ—is attempting, way too late, to wipe its hands of the pathetic loser that has always been Donald J. Trump. From its editorial board:

“This goes beyond merely refusing to concede defeat. In our view it crosses a constitutional line that Mr. Trump hasn’t previously crossed. It is impeachable. If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign.

Donald Trump must not be allowed to finish his term. It’s not about the length of days left in his term. It’s about the message it sends: that this attempted coup that he incited is somehow just a naughty boy being naughty. No.

Everyone involved must be held accountable. Trump must resign, be impeached or the 25th must be invoked (there’s video of he and his family watching the riot live and whooping it up as if it’s a Super Bowl party).

Every single Capitol stormer who can be identified (let’s begin with Jake Angeli, above) needs to be prosecuted. Deliberately deceitful senators (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Josh Hawley, for starters) and Congresspeople (Matt Gaetz, et al), who STILL objected to the election results minus a shard of evidence and after the riot must be called upon to resign. If not, all need to be voted out of office.

Also from that WSJ editorial: “This week has probably finished him as a serious political figure… it is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly.”

I disagree. He needs to go away noisily. And there needs to be a public display of disgrace and retribution.

Other enablers in the media, from Joe Kernen (CNBC) to Clay Travis to the monsters at Fox News (you know who they are) should be publicly shunned. Free speech, sure. If their bosses (Clay is his own) want to keep them on air, let ’em. But Americans who love democracy and liberty should shun them at every turn.

Don’t Buy This Crap

Only one day earlier this asshole was inciting the very riot he now condemns. An hour or two later, he was telling the rioters to go home but that he loved them and that the election was robbed from him. A blatant lie.

And only a few months earlier, in a presidential debate, he was saying, “Stand back and stand by.”

This is the Donald Trump we rarely see, the one we saw last night. The last time we saw it was after he was caught on tape making the “grab ’em by the pussy” remark. It’s the Trump where even he knows that he’s gone too far and that he’s going to need to behave like a good little boy for at least a few moments until the outrage and fervor subside. Then he can return to being the prick and demagogue he actually is.

Don’t buy this crap. Not for a moment.

Let us, please, remember a little history that is not even 100 years in the past:

1923: the Beer Hall Putsch takes place in Munich. It is an unsuccessful coup d’etat in Germany undertaken by the Nazi Party. From the Wikipedia page:

Approximately two thousand Nazis marched on the Feldherrnhalle, in the city centre, but were confronted by a police cordon, which resulted in the deaths of 16 Nazi Party members and four police officers.[2]

Hitler, who was wounded during the clash, escaped immediate arrest and was spirited off to safety in the countryside. After two days, he was arrested and charged with treason.[3]

1933: Adolf Hitler, the principle force behind the Beer Hall Putsch, becomes the leader of Germany. This only after an emergency decree following the Reichstag fire, which was blamed on a communist but most likely ignited by the Nazis themselves to fake a state of emergency.

Ten years. That’s all it took.

Tuesday was America’s Beer Hall Putsch and at the moment the MAGA-dolts who took part feel downright empowered. Everyone involved must be prosecuted. Everyone who sticks up for them must be shunned. These are Nazis. It’s that plain and simple.

4,100

You’d think this should be the top story. For the first time we hit 4,000 fatalities due to the coronavirus in the USA. That’s the item. We just had our worst day for the coronavirus, after yesterday’s worst day of the coronavirus.

Blue Lives Don’t Matter

The same white supremacist mob who’ve been shouting “Blue Lives Matter” for seven months were responsible for the death of Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, 42, on Wednesday. Sicknick succumbed to injuries incurred while battling protesters inside the U.S. Capitol building. This is murder of a cop. Donald Trump incited it.

White Rage On Steroids

This, from NBC News, nails the crux of the issue. It’s not about socialism or DACA or even THE WALL (although The Wall is an expression of it)

. Here it is in part:

“It’s entirely about the perceived loss of the power of whiteness,” said Bree Newsome Bass, the human rights activists known for taking down a Confederate flag at the South Carolina Statehouse in 2015. “People feel like they are losing something if whiteness no longer carries privilege and power. If there’s racial equality, they feel like they have been denied what the country was supposed to be.”

There’s White Rage, And Then There’s Rage Against The Machine

The ’90s band Rage Against The Machine, led by guitarist Tom Morello (a Harvard alum) and vocalist Zach de la Rocha, were at least 20 years ahead of their time. This morning Morello tweeted out the first line of the band’s most famous song, “Killing In The Name,” in response to the fact that some of the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Tuesday were actually off-duty cops who flashed their badges to gain entry.

I wonder how many hooligans listened to RAM and got off on the naked energy in its music without really listening to the words. Because the band totally called everything that has happened during the Trump era. Here are lyrics from their other big hit, “Bulls On Parade”:

Weapons not food, not homes, not shoes
Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal
I walk tha corner to tha rubble that used to be a library
Line up to tha mind cemetery now

What we don’t know keeps tha contracts alive an movin’
They don’t gotta burn tha books they just remove ’em
While arms warehouses fill as quick as tha cells
Rally round tha family, pockets full of shellsRally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells
They rally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells
They rally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells
They rally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells

Bulls on parade

I first saw the video while playing pool in a bar in Amsterdam in May of 1994. I was with two buddies from Sports Illustrated and it came up on the TV. I’d never heard of Rage before and wasn’t used to that much anger and well, rage, from a vocalist (even Kurt Cobain, who’d died a month earlier, wasn’t that hostile). But the energy and power behind the music was unmistakeable. Then I began paying attention to the lyrics. This band was way ahead of its time.

On David Bowie’s 74th Birthday

You can make a solid claim that David Bowie was the smartest man ever to play the rock-and-roll. Or, more to the point, the most insightful. Or the most engaging. Here are two short videos well worth watching that demonstrate his acute wisdom.

First, on the internet (from the late 1990s)

Second, on MTV’s subtle racism. Look at him here: so handsome, so dashing, with that winning grace and style, and then he just threads the needle and puts in the hook. And that final blow, well, it lands like a hammer. We could be heroes? He was.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Yes We Klan!

What. A. Day.

–I won’t game-story it. You all saw it. The White Lives Master march. I was out shopping (picked up a sweet Nirvana t-shirt at Target) and swimming laps and when I emerged from the pool saw someone tweet, “Is this the worst day since 9/11?” Unaware of the gravity of what was transpiring, I nearly tweeted as a reply, “Since the Bush Push.” But I’ve grown up a little (I said “a little!”) and let discretion be my guide. Did not tweet.

–No AP calculus-level math needed here. On sites such as Parler and others, MAGA folks gathered online for weeks plotting this day. Trump invited a member of Proud Boys into the Oval Office. He used yesterday’s rally on the National Mall as an excuse to gather them all (when has a lame duck president with two weeks remaining in office ever needed to stage a rally?). Then he gave them their marching orders, chiding them with “you will never take our country back with weakness.” And Rudy G. added a Game of Thrones reference, suggesting “Trial by combat.” And then it was a short mile or so walk across a rectangular lawn to the Capitol. If that isn’t inciting a riot, actually, inciting sedition and treason, I don’t know what is.

–My query today is how complicit the top ranking folks at the Capitol Police were with this attempted coup. And that’s what it was, make no mistake. Stephen Sund heads up this unit and he’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. Here’s what I wonder: Did they know this was coming (only a fool wouldn’t have) and decide, from up top, that there would be no guns drawn except in a last-ditch effort inside the Capitol? Because it sure seemed as if there were more than enough reasons to use lethal force outside the Capitol building and these cops never did more than fight back with fists? Were they scared? Were they sympathetic? Or were they following orders from above?

–As easy as it is to vilify the Capitol Police today, let’s look at it from the other side. No one in Congress was abducted or killed. Only one protester was shot, and there’s no video footage of that (yet). MAGA did not get the Kent State moment it wanted, its “Remember The Alamo” moment. Which is maybe what Trump and Giuliani (and where were they?, you wonder. Well, of course, they’re not going to personally get their hands dirty) wanted, an armed conflict around which MAGA could rally for years (They shot innocent protesters on the steps of the Capitol in cold blood!). So, taking the long view, maybe the restraint was, while seeming craven in the moment, the right thing to do from a long-term perspective.

–The FBI will easily be able to locate and/or use facial recognition to arrest hundreds of these criminals. They should and they will. As soon as Trump leaves office. President-elect Joe Biden may want to soothe the nation’s temperature and prevail on us to unite, but there needs to be a reckoning for what happened. People need to go to jail. For a long time. Lock them up.

–Josh Hawley. Ted Cruz. Lindsey Graham. Rudy Giuliani. Matt Gaetz. Every Senator and Congressman who objected yesterday on the grounds that (my quotes) “we didn’t like the outcome.” All of these men and women’s names must be remembered and repeated and placed along that of Benedict Arnold.

–There have been terrible days in these United States, from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 to two high-profile presidential assassinations. There has not, in my memory, been a more shameful day. Even Richard Nixon and Watergate and the resignation, that was just a handful of people led by an amoral president drunk with power (psst: He was ahead in the polls anyway and he still authorized the break-in).

https://twitter.com/SamHustis/status/1347078527078723586?s=20

–If you have traveled around the country, or even just wandered out beyond your New York/LA/San Fran bubble the past decade or two, you’ve met these people. You’ve spoken with them or had encounters with them. They are overwhelmingly white, male, facial-haired losers. They believe the apotheosis of existence is owning a Ford F-150 and being able to shoot something and playing tough guy around women or men physically smaller than they are. They’re proud of not being well-read or yelling “FUCK YOU!” at an NFL game or MMA contest. They look forward to a road-rage incident. They are angry, though about what exactly they cannot quite articulate.

So kudos to Donald Trump. He found a way to rally them and organize them as a political bloc the way no major politician had before. And yesterday, after years of suppression and muttering under their breaths what they’d like to do, they went out and did it. And yes, it might have been much, much worse. Now it’s time to stuff their asses in a garbage can and jail them.

–Oh, and by the way, a record number of Americans, nearly 4,000, died from the coronavirus yesterday. So I’ve got no fucks to give for the stupid woman who charge police inside the Senate chamber after being warned to retreat and got her ass shot to death. She had it coming.

–You can always count on Rudy to be mind-numbingly stupid. He’s the Slim Pickens of the Trump cabal.

–Cards on the table, bottom-lining this thing: It’s White Supremacist America vs. Everyone Else. That’s all any of this is. There’s a bunch of people who believe their ancestors came to this country and settled it and that they then imported thousands of African slaves to facilitate growth. And when that president from Illinois emancipated them, well, those slaves were supposed to know their place, keep their damn mouths shut, and just be happy we weren’t lynching them or sending them back to Africa. This is how these people honestly feel. Democracy is cool, sure, as long as we all remember that white people are in charge. The second people of color organize and become a political force to be reckoned with (thanks, Obama), then the Constitution and the rule of law no longer matters.

https://twitter.com/BNONews/status/1346910919729631238?s=20

–Donald Trump should be removed from the White House today and charged with conspiracy to commit treason. As many have noted, he’s been banned from Twitter and Facebook but he still has the nuclear codes? Oh, and maybe now you see why he fired those important people in charge of the Dept. of Defense and other agencies and installed lackeys in their place.

–This isn’t over. He’ll never “learn his lesson.” It’s all about how much worse it needs to get before he is removed from office, forcefully or peacefully. If I had Donald Trump’s brain and utter lack of ethics, and if I saw that yet again no one was moving to strip me of power, I might send out a signal to all those racist Duck Dynasty types who stormed the Capitol yesterday and invite them to a sit-in at the White House on January 19th. You want to evict me? You’re going to have to deal with my militia first. Don’t bet against it.

–Finally, I believe in metaphor. I believe in micro leading to macro. I believe in the smallest incident being a wonderful indicator of who a person is and how his or her actions will translate to a larger stage (e.g., George Bush was a guest on Letterman once and they cut to the show during an extended commercial break where you, the viewer, are supposed to get a look at what it’s like when they’re not “on” and it’s supposed to keep you from changing the channel; Bush (43) can be seen reaching to clean his glasses and using the hem of Letterman’s female assistant’s sweater to do so; told me everything I needed to know about him). Anyway, I believe that yesterday Donald Trump grabbed America by the pussy. He let us know that this is who he was four-plus years ago, it’s on tape, and too many people forgave it. This is always who he was. He grabbed America by the pussy. The question now is, Will America just let him get away with it?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

ImPeachtree’d

It took awhile, almost his entire presidency, but Donald Trump at last achieved his goal of making America great again. In Georgia’s two Senate run-off elections, both Pastor Raphael Warnock and Jon “Laughing My” Ossoff won narrowly.

Both are Democrats. That means beginning in two weeks, the Senate will have a narrow Democrat majority. In just a few short years, Donald Trump has helped transform both the House and the Senate into Democratic majorities.

Wonder Woman 2021

(Nice callback here to Lady Olenna from Game Of Thrones)

They’ll be making a movie about Stacey Abrams some day. And because Hollywood is still Hollywood, I can imagine Meryl Streep in the title role.

Two years ago Abrams, 47, an attorney, lost Georgia’s gubernatorial race to incumbent Brian Kemp. Instead of whining about it or phoning Brad Raffensperger to find her some votes, Abrams got off her ass and become a one-woman dynamo in terms of registering people to vote and looking out for voters’ rights.

Tuesday was Abrams’ day of validation. Make no mistake: No single human being (other than Donald Trump himself) did more to oust the state of Georgia from red to blue during both the presidential election and the senate run-off election. She destroyed both Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.

Crown her ass.

And erect a statue to her.

(Also, let it be known that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is a graduate of Howard and Abrams an alumna of Spelman. Both are Historical Black Colleges, a.k.a. HBCUs).

It Was Only A Dream, It Was Only A Dream

Funniest thing we read last night was someone attempting to parody the lyrics from “Mr. Brightside” to describe the run-off elections (Now I’m falling asleep/And he’s calling DeKalb…). But there’s no denying that “It was only a Dream,” as in the Atlanta Dream, helped pivot the outcome of this election.

Back in the summer, Senator Kelly Loeffler (R), who was appointed to her position and is a part owner of the WNBA Atlanta Dream, spoke publicly with contempt for her players openly showing any support for the BLM movement during games.

“This is a very divisive organization based on Marxist principles,” Loeffler, who has been a co-owner of the Dream since 2011, told Fox News. “This week, they threatened to burn the system down, literally and figuratively, if they don’t get what they want. This is an organization that seeks to destroy American principles, and I had to draw the line.”

So the players reacted by wearing these shirts. At the time Pastor Warnock, who was running directly against the person who figuratively signs their checks (Loeffler), was polling at about 9%. Yesterday, he won.

Game, blouses.

Mr. Smith Goes To Heisman House

On the same night as justice prevails in Georgia, it also follows suit in the Heisman race as the most deserving player, Alabama wideout DeVonta Smith, wins the bronze statue. Smith is the first non-QB/RB to hoist the Jay Berwanger totem since 1997 (Charles Woodson) and the first WR to win it since 1991 (Desmond Howard).

The man they call the Slim Reaper is fully deserving. Forget his 2nd-and-26 walks TD catch in overtime of the 2018 national championship game that ended Georgia (in Atlanta). I mean, don’t forget it entirely, but what he did his season validates his winning: He led the nation in receptions (105), TD receptions (20) and receiving yards (1,641). That’s pretty good.

May this begin a trend.

Weird note: Smith’s teammate and the starting tight end for Alabama, Miller Forristall, was the QB at Lawrence’s high school before Trevor Lawrence beat him out.

Also of interest: Including Smith himself, Alabama probably had SIX first-round WR picks in the time he has been in Tuscaloosa (the first three are already in the NFL): Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Smith, Jaylen Waddle and Jon Metchie.

That’s sick.

America? First!

It didn’t even make ESPN.com’s list of headlines, but at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton, Team USA blanked Canada 2-0 in the gold-medal game.

The Yanks lost the opener of the tournament on Christmas day to the Russians, then went on a six-game win streak allowing a total of five games. Great to have the trophy back where it belongs.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

Listen, Ringo, we’re trying to stay on the path of the righteous. We’re trying to go full Lloyd Braun until January 20 and keep repeating our mantra: “Serenity Now.” But Agent Orange is trying our patience. And yours. So we may mention a thing or two about all that. Sorry.

by John Walters

en route to a “Stop The Steal” rally in Alpharetta

The Walking Dread

Georgia. It’s the location for filming of AMC’s The Walking Dead. What’s that, you ask? For those who don’t know, it’s a series that has remained on air about four years beyond it’s jump-the-shark expiration date. It pits a courageous and resourceful band of lucid human survivors against a relentless swarm of brain-dead zombies.

Why do I bring that up today? Oh, I dunno.

Profile In Courage

Because the White House had phoned 18 previous times to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office before Brad Raffensperger took the call, we can assume that he was prepared for Donald Trump’s effluent bullshit when he finally answered. Still, Raffensperger’s (and his attorney’s) restraint during that phone call is admirable.

What is also admirable—and it’s a shame we need to be saying this, but we do—is his integrity. He’s a Republican and he knows what Donnie Brash Co. is asking him to do—TO CHEAT TO HELP HIM WIN—but he opts to do the right thing.

(When even the sound tech dude is dragging you...)

This is an important thing to commend but also an important lesson to keep in mind for the future. The only mistake Trump made was not having enough corrupt sycophants in enough important posts to overturn the will of the people. But 81 million votes in favor of the Biden-Harris ticket were still at the will of a few state election officials and electors…less than, say, 1,000 people. And that’s a little scary.

For now, a salute to Raffensperger and to all the electors who did the jobs they were called on to do.

And a reminder…Trump and his followers are adhering to the First Law of George Costanza: It’s not a lie if you believe it.

Here’s Jamelle Bouie (yes, that sounds like someone black because it is) asking the fundamental question: “Can Only Republicans Legitimately Win Elections?

The Warriors Need To Sign This Kid

To Live And Die In L.A.

From above-the-fold in this morning’s Los Angeles Times:

Ambulance operators are being told not to bring patients who have virtually no chance of survival to hospitals, as officials scramble to ensure they can provide enough lifesaving oxygen for critically ill patients.

That first clause. So ambulance operators are being given authority to decide who should live and who will die? Does that sound a little to you like… death panels?

Thanks, Obama.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not blaming the health-care workers in Los Angeles, ambulance operators, or the public health system. Merely pointing out that the same people who told you that the previous administration’s health-care plan would foster death panels now has their man in office (for 15 more days) and we have actual death panels happening due to his negligence and incompetence.

Above: a Venn diagram showing the overlap of COVID-19 deniers and election result deniers.

If It’s All White, It’s Alright

Here’s Chris Rock in his absolute prime (and I was fortunate enough to see him on this tour) sharing the unspoken Republican mantra.

Election results a fraud, but only those votes that went to Biden but not those that went to Republicans, even though all of those votes can be on one ballot since you don’t just vote for the president on your ballot? Sure. If it’s all white, it’s alright.

Senators and house congressmen (and women) voting to object to the election even though every state election official ratified the results and more than 50 lawsuits have been thrown out on the basis of no supporting evidence? Sure. If it’s all white, it’s alright.

The first Thanksgiving: a white artist’s rendering. Truth is they all would’ve died if the Pequots hadn’t save their asses.

At its core, Trumpism is all about white supremacy.

And so you ask a Trumper, what is it about black or brown people becoming empowered in this country that so terrifies you. And if they’re being honest (at least in their own mind), they’ll tell you something about how this nation was founded by white men from Europe.

And then you remind them that this land was originally settled by brown men, most likely originally from Asia (with a sprinkling of central America). And then they tell you, Yeah, but those people were savages. The European settlers were savages.

What was civil about it?

And then you remind them that while the Native Americans were not complete pacifists, they didn’t go out and kill more than half a million of their own kind over a silly dispute about slavery. Yes, the Civil War remains not only the deadliest war ever to take place on American soil, it cost the most American lives of any war. That includes World War II.

So, savages? Well, who fits that description better? The white man.

So once you prove that point to them, they just give you that “I don’t care” look. There’s only one guiding principle to these people: POWER, and how to keep it. Everything else they say or purport to be about is bullshit.

Remember that.

And do yourself a favor. Read two excellent books by Nathaniel Philbrick: Mayflower and The Last Stand. It’s a wake-up call to the pioneer myth.

You’re Up, Mike

If you’ve paid any attention to Mike Pence, a.k.a. the Vice President, over the past five years, then you should already know the following:

  1. He ain’t stupid
  2. He’s a brilliant political tactician
  3. He’s ambitious
  4. He’d rather not take a stand on anything (other than pro-life, gun rights, leaving NFL games early and visiting chain restaurants in New York City)

Alas, for poor ol’ Mike, Fate has finally called his number and he cannot avoid it. Tomorrow in the U.S. Senate he has to decide whether or not to formally ratify the Electoral College’s vote that gives Joe Biden the victory. It’s supposed to be a mere formality, of course, but everything about the rule of Trump is unprecedented.

This is what Mike Pence, as Vice President and thus President of the Senate, is charged with doing tomorrow (from The New York Times):

As president of the Senate, Mr. Pence is expected to preside over the pro forma certification of the Electoral College vote count in front of a joint session of Congress. It is a constitutionally prescribed, televised moment in which Mr. Pence will name the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

President Trump, just last night, said that he hoped Pence would do the right thing (by him).  “I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you,” Trump said at a Kelly Loeffler rally last night (where he called her “Karen,” which is just the 4,000th thing in this presidency that is simply too delicious to have made up). “”Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him as much.”

So this is Mike Pence’s conundrum: Stick with the rule of law and be remembered in history as someone who, in the biggest moment of his life, chose integrity? Or stay loyal to Trump and, at least in the short term, stay cool with 45 and the Proud Boys and your neighbors who’ve replaced their “Trump/Pence” lawn signs with “STOP THE STEAL” lawn signs.

Should be riveting viewing.