Time to Answer Back

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This is going to become important because Julián Castro has just announced that he is running for president.

Now, that leads to an obvious question: Why in the wide wide world of sports does the name Julián require the accent? Well, let’s see. His name ends in the letter “n.” This means that by regular rules of pronunciation in Spanish, the emphasis would be on the second to last syllable. So, without the accent, the man’s name is Ju-LEE-an. And that just doesn’t sound right.

I for one am glad that the name Julián Castro requires an accent because it’s not potentially bothersome enough to Trump voters for me that his last name is “Castro.”

I mean I say that tongue-in-cheek, but at the same time, I am struck by an overwhelming feeling that it’s important for the Democratic party to nominate a brown person and/or a female person in 2020.

Because I think that all of this needs to be answered.

All of this. You know, don’t you, that Trump’s first major platform plank was an attack on our neighbors south of Tejas, right? I mean, first he presented his erection about the crowd’s size. Then, he rattled through ISIS, China, and Japan. And then he laid the cornerstone:

When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically.

The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.

Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

The first thing Trump attacked was our neighbors to the south. And he continued to be his Donald Trump self, bludgeoning people of color, people who speak Spanish, both, and women. He insulted Carly Fiorina’s appearance. He associated anchor Megyn Kelly with blood. He has repeatedly chased down Sen. Elizabeth Warren with an insult club called “Pocahontas.” He has separated children from their families and still maintains concentrations camps for those children, based solely on those peoples’ legitimate quest for asylum in the United States and because they are brown people. He said that a judge ruled against him due to the judge’s Mexican heritage. He referenced some nations as “shithole countries.” He pardoned Joe Arpaio. He made a major issue of American citizens, also known as “football players,” for legitimately protesting the state of race relations in the United States. He asked reporter April Ryan to establish a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus for him because she was a black woman who asked him about the Congressional Black Caucus.

And then there was Charlottesville. Remember Charlottesville? “On both sides?” Really?

As I think of the Democratic primary process and as talented, smart people begin to toss their hats in, I have to think at this point that we have a chance to answer all of this, a chance to clap back, a chance to raise a fist and to declare ENOUGH!

Yes, Julián Castro’s name requires an accent. So, I believe, does the Democratic nomination process.

Defending Pelosi

One thing you learn when you’re a lifelong Democrat: The phrase “gun control” can also apply to people who like to take the safety off, aim directly at their little piggies, and full-on open fire, then sit there laughing and pointing at the spurting blood.

Democrats are like that.

I have read reports today that there are as many as 18 Congress-critters who won’t vote to renew Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, 12th District, California) as Speaker. This is so woefully stupid it should be in a Star Wars prequel.

I have researched and will continue to do so, but I have yet to find one of these mouth-breathers who have offered a significant reason short of personality politics for their opposition. They do not indicate displeasure with the Speaker’s legislative record. They do not point out any particular legislative failure. There is a vague notion that “new blood” is needed, that a “new voice” should be offered the gavel.

Now. Are you ready for the stupid part?

They don’t have a candidate.

A few have talked about running for the job. None have come directly forward and said they intend to seek it. There is a letter of intent from a bunch of these idiots saying they won’t vote for her. This is supposed to “scare” Pelosi into not running.

I am not making this up.

I have a friend who said he didn’t like that Pelosi answered a question by saying that she um, wanted to work together with the preznit. Yeah, um, that’s not what the broad actually said. Ahem:

In terms of working with the President, I just would say that I worked very productively with President Bush when we had the majority and he had the presidency. We passed one of the biggest energy bills in the history of our country. We passed one of the biggest tax bills in terms of stimulus for low-income people as well as middle-income people in his presidency. And the list goes on. PEPFAR*, he wanted PEPFAR*, we won it big, and there are so many issues we worked with together with him but ultimately opposed him on the war in Iraq.

But the point is is that we worked together. The President (Trump) said we’ll wait for them to send me something. Well, we have ideas, and we can send him something, but the fact is we’d like to work together so our legislation will be bipartisan. We’re not going for the lowest common denominator, we are going for the boldest common denominator. Our position will be a consensus within our own party of what we can support while also welcoming other ideas.

*President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

This was not a capitulation to the Great Orange ID of Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a challenge. And it did not address oversight; she contained her remarks to legislation. She specifically, and correctly, criticized Trump’s approach to law-making and indicated that his nonsense approach would end in the next session. This was not Kumbaya. It was Twisted Fucking Sister.

Nancy Pelosi ushered passage of the Affordable Care Act in the House, and guess what? The House version included a public option. She marshalled through the Lily Ledbetter Act, which directly addressed income inequality. Dodd-Frank. Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.

(Credit due: I am cribbing directly from Sarah Wood.)

I will continue with this list now that you know who I’m cheating off of:

Increased transparency required for credit card vultures. More money for Pell grants. Greater FDA authority over tobacco and food safety. The first minimum wage increase since 2009. Hate crimes, now a thing the federal government can enforce. The Office of Congressional Ethics. The DREAM Act (which floundered in the Senate). An extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Blah blah blah blah blah.

And yet, the following Congress-critters say they’re voting “no,” and, as far as I can tell, there is no more specific reason than that they don’t want Pelosi’s stink on them. Tim Ryan. Seth Moulton. Kathleen Rice. Ed Perlmutter. Kurt Schrader. Filemon Vela Jr.. Marcia Fudge. Bill Foster. Brian Higgins.

See, I don’t think my own Senator, Chuck Schumer should be re-hired as minority leader. But I can tell you why. President Obama concluded one of his greatest foreign policy triumphs (in my humble opinion), the very good Iran disarmament deal, and Schumer chose to use it as a hanky. I think this belies bad judgement, and there are a whole lot of folks I think can represent the ranking side in the Senate much better.

I am not seeing such details regarding opposition to Pelosi, who can now add to her list of accomplishments the greatest margin of win in the House since I didn’t have hairy legs. This is not the time to test a new speaker. This is the time to allow Rep. Pelosi to utilize her accumulated political capital to start setting shit right again.

And, oh, hey. Charles Pierce has a neat idea. Instead of ousting the Speaker? Replace the Whip.

Duh.

Kavanaugh 2

So when you spend most of your adult life listening to ska music, you eventually encounter a song called “Longshot Kick De Bucket.” And you will inevitably get the lyrics wrong and have no idea what the song is about.

The song is about a horse, and, if you’re curious about that story, you can read it over at skabook.

“Longshot” has been playing a lot in my personal brain jukebox lately due to my own tendency to get the lyrics wrong. Rather than hearing “Caymanas park,” my hearing of it is more akin to “Kavanaugh spa.” And that’s been that way like forever, long before this Kavanaugh dude wanted to be a U.S. Justice.

Speaking of Kavanaugh: In 2003, during his confirmation to the federal appeals court, Sen. Dick Durbin called him the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics … whether it’s Elian Gonzalez or the Starr Report, you are there.”

Remember the Starr Report? Are you a fan? Well, one of the authors you revere is Brett Kavanaugh.

Here’s a bit of an explanation from Stephen Bates, another co-author of the famous Starr Report:

The Starr Report was the product of an office. It didn’t represent the individual views of any one staffer. Nor did it have a single drafter. Andy Leipold principally drafted the introduction; Craig Lerner and I were the principal authors of the factual overview; and Brett drafted the outline of acts that potentially constituted grounds for impeachment. I don’t want to overstate this division of labor. Everyone in the office worked to some degree on all parts of the referral, as we called it. But broadly speaking, it’s fair to summarize the division by saying that the presentation of law in the impeachment counts of the document is mainly Brett’s prose; the presentation of facts in the narrative is not. When disagreements arose, final decisions ultimately were Ken’s. And once he had made a decision, on the referral or anything else, we all set aside any disagreements and implemented that decision.

So. United States Justice candidate Brett Kavanaugh A) Was wholly responsible for blowing up the myth that Bill and Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster, and B) helped author The Starr Report, which spelled out in explicit detail President Clinton’s physical relationship with a lady, a report that was released to the entire American public and that probably still be purchased at your local Barnes & Noble to this day.

Why do you reckon Brett Kavanaugh has such a paranoid hard-on for the Clintons?

Kavanaugh

“The reputation you develop for intellectual and ethical integrity will be your greatest asset or your worst enemy. You will be judged by your judgment. … Treat every pleading, every brief, every contract, every letter, every daily task as if your career will be judged on it… There is no victory, no advantage, no fee, no favor, which is worth even a blemish on your reputation for intellect and integrity. … Dents to the reputation in the legal profession are irreparable.” (Vince Foster, commencement address at University of Arkansas law, May 8, 1993)

In July 1993, Vincent Walker Foster Jr., a lifelong friend of a fella named Bill Clinton, transition team worker for that particular executive, and deputy White House Counsel, died.

Foster had been depressed and was prescribed the antidepressant trazodone over the phone by his Arkansas doctor. The next day, Foster was found dead at Fort Marcy Park in Virginia.

His autopsy determined that he was shot in the mouth.

No other wounds were found on his body.

Foster’s death was officially investigated five times, once by the United States Park Police and the FBI; once by Independent Counsel Robert B. Fiske; twice by Congress; and once by Independent Counsel Ken Starr.

By October 1997, Starr’s office concluded what all the other investigations did: Vince Foster took his own life.

For several years before that conclusion, though, the driving force behind Starr’s office’s interest in Foster’s death was a 30-year-old lawyer named Brett Kavanaugh.

Yep, the fella who fought for his life today in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to become a United States Justice was at one time one of the prime movers and shakers of the fukakta idea that Bill and Hillary Clinton murdered their longtime friend and close adviser.

That’s the guy who today called Christine Blasey Ford’s charges “a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election.”

Kavanaugh was one of the original conspiracy engineers. He lit on fire the libelous notion that the President of the United States murdered his friend. And one foolish conspiracy theory carries others across the threshold. The President is a secret Muslim and wasn’t even born here. Death panels. FEMA camps. Benghazi. What about her emails. Lock her up.

And now, even at the precipice of working under the same roof where folks like Warren Burger and Thurgood Marshall toiled, he still can’t stop relying on the wickedest motors of humans.

I think Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

I don’t know if I think he shouldn’t be due to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony.

But I do think he shouldn’t be confirmed because this is a guy who 50 years ago would have been running the mimeograph machine to hand out this week’s study of the Protocols at the meeting. Kavanaugh has proven himself to be an enormous part of the problem that is breaking this country. And he did nothing today to mitigate that concern.

John McCain

I’ve been reading the accolades, what a great man John McCain was, blah, blah, blah. I’ve been especially struck by people referring to the time he told that crazy woman that Barack Obama was just alright with him when she expressed to him in some weird kind of pidgin that she feared him because she was convinced he was an “Arab.”

And all I’ve been able to think about that incident is that IT’S JUST HIM PISSING ON A HOUSE HE HELPED SET FIRE TO.

I have been wishing all day to find a writer who could sum it all up better than I ever could.

Thank you, BRANKO MARCETIC.

The Protocols of the Elders of Blah Blah Blah

One often hears a meta-debate about whether it is wise or warranted to compare this event or that event to the massive event from 1941 to 1945 referred to as The Holocaust, or Shoah. There is “Godwin’s Law” to consider, concerns of resorting to reductio ad Hitlerum, and therefore having one’s points rendered as moot due to such reliance on an obviously accepted logical fallacy. One could even register a moral concern over comparing anything in contemporary experience with the unique horrors that event unleashed.

It is problematic.

I had the privilege of studying Holocaust history under Saul Friedman in my college days at Kent State. Professor Friedman was a tall man, perpetually in a sports coat, a serious face, and more gravitas than most people anyone has ever met. His challenge was to teach the iceberg to people who grew up shown the tip and thought it was all there was. You remember. From middle school forward, the teachers would show us the pictures of emaciated people stacked up in rickety wood bunks, they would drill those incomprehensible numbers into our heads, six million Jews, six million others; the higher-skilled teachers would even perhaps note the grappling irony of “arbeit macht frei.”

But those lessons did not even try a bit to explain the origins of these hideous ideas. I think that most people whose Holocaust study occurred merely through high school graduation got the impression that the hateful ideas that led to the “Final Solution” began and ended in Hitler’s warped brain, and that is by far not the truth. Professor Friedman’s greatest impression upon me was to pull back the curtain to reveal how ancient, how matted into the soil, how far back the ugly tendency of humans to massively scapegoat goes.

Russia in the late 1700s forcibly restricted the movement of Jewish people, who were made to live in the “Pale of Settlement,” and yes, this is from where the phrase “beyond the pale” comes. But the practice of ghetto-izing Jewish people goes back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Indeed, the practice of murdering Jews en masse is nearly as time-honored: Pogroms in Ukraine and Belarus killed some 150,000 from 1918 to 1922.

Russia is of course the origin point for a book called “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which first raised its horrible head in 1903. This book purports to detail a Jewish plan toward world domination, which they would achieve by subverting the morals of non-Jews, by taking over the banks and the press, and, ultimately, by destroying civilization.

You can buy yourself a copy at Amazon right now!

Egyptian scholar Dr. Samir Taqi Al-Din has a well-thumbed copy, apparently. He recommended it as a source of truth in April 2018. Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Malla of Damascus is a fan, too. He thinks the World Cup is part of the plot outlined therein. He said this just last week.

The practice of and the notions behind mass scapegoating are deeply engrained over centuries and as modern and current as Cardi B.

During the 2016 campaign, I expressed alarm to friends I knew were going to vote for D.J. Trump, who essentially campaigned saying that this group of people and that group of people are causing the problems, so we’re going to get rid of those groups of people. That is an argument that cannot help but engage the worst tendencies and the worst practices of people.

And now we have toddlers appearing alone before immigration judges and a Muslim ban with the Supreme Court’s stamp of approval.

Nope, I see no similarities whatsoever. Nope.

I’ve Seen The Future and It Will Be

So news reports across the land today are saying that President Trump has been saying that the infamous “Access Hollywood” video may have been faked. And everyone is clutching their pearls and are all like Wow! The Trump is nuts! He’s lost his mind! He is bereft of reality!

Lucky for us it is likely that President Trump does not ever listen to public radio.

Because, in fact, faking such a video is now officially not beyond the realm of possibility. I recommend taking some time to listen to the following podcast from RadioLab:

Breaking News from RadioLab

Here’s the video regarding Adobe VoCo.

The RadioLab piece actually discusses the “Access Hollywood” video. And it raises some of the questions that such developments ultimately must lead to: How can a democracy survive a world where anything in media can be utterly accurately faked?

Knowing VoCo exists is to understand that, indeed, the “Access Hollywood” video could have been faked. Indeed. Easily.

Get ready. The next few decades are going to be interesting.