Category Archives: Politics

Tinman/Scarecrow/Lion

On January 6, 2021, I was fulfilling one of my duties as First Lady of the United States of America, and accordingly, I was unaware of what was simultaneously transpiring at the US Capitol Building.

As with all first ladies who preceded me, it was my obligation to record the contents of the White House’s historic rooms, including taking archival photographs of all the renovations. 

Former first lady melania trump, july 21, 2022

Why didn’t the Trumps have a pet dog in the White House? For fear, like Toto, it might pull back the curtains to expose the emperor’s wife who literally, on occasion, wore no clothes in public. Not since John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, has one individual played as many roles in a single espionage saga as Melania Trump.

According to her own account of how she reacted to the events on January 6th, she was not even encouraging rich kids at a parochial school to “Be Best!” Instead, she had her head buried in some newly laid carpet much as any cowardly lion would have. To make matters worse, she praised her ability to pull off this White House coup without a hitch.

Several months in advance, I organized a qualified team of photographers, archivists, and designers to work with me in the White House to ensure perfect execution.

I guess we should thank our lucky stars she was not in charge of the insurrection. Or had mentored Giuliani, Flynn, Bannon, Stone, Eastman, Powell, et. al. With her self-proclaimed level of executive skills, it might have succeeded.

For Melania to think we would buy her fable she must, as did the scarecrow, lack a brain. We would also have to believe she was also blind and deaf. Having been in the White House on occasion, I can tell you there are always secret service or military guards in every room. Surely, her own security detail would not have left her alone with a horde “…of photographers, archivists and designers.” And do not tell me there was no reaction to the chatter on agents’ headsets as the Capitol was breached and the vice-president was whisked to a secure location.

But even if you give her the benefit of the doubt, her Sargent Schultz justification–I saw nothing, I heard nothing, I know nothing–would be less damning if she had said, “If I had known…,” followed by any indication she actually cared. She might have condemned the attack on the Capitol and implored the rioters to go home. Or at least expressed sympathy for those who lost their lives defending “the People’s’ House.” But that requires a heart. More likely, she was wondering where she left her “I REALLY DON’T CARE DO U?” jacket.

Of course, we cannot give her the benefit of the doubt because we know she is lying. As Jim Comey would say, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes!” In this case there were no tapes, but we do have other receipts. At 2:42 PM on January 6th, just 18 minutes after Orange Mussolini put a bullseye on Mike Pence’s back, Melania’s former chief of staff Stephan Grisham sent her a tweet.

Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?

A rather strange request on what Melania perceived as an otherwise uneventful Wednesday afternoon. Out of curiosity, any living, breathing human would have asked, “Why would you ask me to do that?” You do not need to ask if you already know the answer. Instead, the cowardly, brainless and heartless first lady replied, “No”.

When I hear Liz Cheney say “Trump must never again be anywhere close to the Oval Office,” of course, I agree. But the same pertains to Melania and the White House. If we wanted someone in that position who was clueless, Alicia Silverstone would be first lady.

POSTSCRIPT

In addition to her service on the select committee, Liz Cheney has taught us something else. On July 19, Cheney joined 46 other GOP representatives and voted for the Respect for Marriage Act protecting the rights of same-sex unions in all states. Two days later she was one of eight Republicans to join Democrats in passing the Right to Contraception Act.

What does this suggest? Once you leave a cult, you can start to think for yourself again and listen to what your constituents want. I expect that as long as she remains in Congress she will continue to disagree with Democrats on economic issue such as taxes and regulations. She might oppose most social spending bills though I think she may occasionally surprise us. But on votes that protect constitutional rights and personal privacy, she seems to be all in. We can only hope others will follow her lead.

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP

Right Again, Damnit!

In my June 13 post Fool Me Once, I warned Mitch McConnell would use the toothless compromise on gun safety to protect Republicans from having to take a stand on real gun safety legislation. At the time, I knew I was in the minority, even among some of my own followers.

Well folks, yesterday I was proven right, not that there is any satisfaction in that. Following the transformation of an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois into a “killing field,” the GOP responded exactly as expected.

NBC News reached out to several Republican lawmakers including those who voted for the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.” They concluded, “Republicans show no signs of interest in reopening the gun debate a week and a half after Congress passed the most substantial gun reform in 30 years.”

That assessment was immediately confirmed by (drum roll) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

I think yesterday’s shooting is another example of what the problem is. The problem is mental health and these young men who seemed to be inspired to commit these atrocities.

To add insult to injury and DEATH, McConnell claimed the new law “…targeted that problem.” For those of you who are not fluent in McConnell-speak, let me translate.

I do not want to talk about weapons of war being the common denominator in these massacres of innocent men, women and children; so I green-lighted a bill that would not offend the NRA, gun manufacturers who fund us or our paranoid, conspiracy ravaged voter base. Why aren’t they offended? They know it doesn’t affect them.

When will Americans realize when they say “enough is enough” after each mass shooting they too are missing the target? They need to bring the same attitude to the table each time they are “Mitch-slapped” into thinking the Kentucky senator and his lemmings believe, in the shadow of a July 4th bloodbath, they are the pro-life party.

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP

“You’re Hired”

NOTE TO TUCKER CARLSON: The following is what is known as satire. Stephen Colbert and Triumph the Insult Dog suggested I remind you of that.

MAN’S VOICE: Washington, DC is a real jungle, and if you’re not careful, it can chew you up and spit you out. But if you don’t care about the rule of law or the Constitution, you can really hit it big, I mean really big.

Good evening, I’m Donald Trump and welcome to The Apprentice: Sedition Edition.

Tonight, five teams will compete to see who can come up with the best way to stage a coup and and keep me out of prison. Let’s meet the teams and their captains. First, we have The Big Liars and captain Roger Stone. [Applause]

STONE: Our coup strategy is to convince people the only way you can lose is if it is rigged. Our motto? You can never start too early. [Applause]

TRUMP: Roger, a chip off the old block. I love it. Next, The Early Birds and Captain Rudy Giuliani. [Applause]

GIULIANI: We’re going to show you how to stage a coup by declaring victory before all the votes are counted. Let’s here it folks. STOP THE COUNT! STOP THE COUNT! [Applause]

TRUMP: That’s what I love about you Rudy. Everybody else thinks that’s a stupid idea, but I can dig it. Next we have The Batshit Lawyers and their captain Sydney Powell. [Applause]

POWELL: We plan to wear down the competition by filing hundreds of frivolous law suits. We call it the spaghetti against the wall strategy. [Applause]

TRUMP: Sydney, you’re making me hungry with all that spaghetti talk. Next up is The Alternate Electors and who else would you want at the helm than John Eastman. [Applause]

EASTMAN: It’s an honor to be here. As we love to say, two slates in the hand is better than one in the Pence. [Applause]

TRUMP: I don’t know, John. You’re talking about coordinating over a hundred people in six states. That’s a bigly ask. And last but not least, Team Hanging Loose with co-captains Proud Boy Enrique Tarrio and Oath Keeper Stewart Rhodes. [Applause]

TARRIO: C’mon patriots. Three cheers for the red, black and blue. [Applause]

TRUMP: Mike, are you watching?

Just to remind our audience, here’s how it works. Each team has one week to implement its strategy. The judges, the offspring from my first marriage–Don, Jr., Ivanka and The Other One–will grade each team’s performance. The team with the lowest score is eliminated. The other teams get to come back for round two where they each will be asked to come up with more ways to get those chumps, I mean supporters, to continue sending us monthly donations for the Not-a-Fund.

The competition ends when there is only one team left. And each member of that team wins a nomination to the cabinet position of his or her choice in my next administration.

So, let’s begin and don’t forget, you get extra points for flattery and butt kissing. See you next week.

ANNOUNCER: The preceding program was brought to you by My Pillow, the perfect bedding to cover your head when the FBI comes knocking at your door with a search warrant. And Goya Foods, when you want to be as full of beans as the conspiracy theories you’re spreading.

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP

Fool Me Once…

Amnesia runs deep in the Democratic Party. Especially when it comes to compromise with Republicans. In 2009, Democrats watered down the Affordable Care Act to secure bi-partisan support. Yet not one GOP senator voted for the final bill. In 2015, they accepted Mitch McConnell’s justification for blocking consideration of Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court and took him at his word he would feel the same way if the president were from his own party. Can you say, “Justice Amy Coney Barrett?”

Which is why I do not share the enthusiasm of those who believe the compromise on gun legislation reached by the Murphy/Cronyn working group represents “progress.” I’ve not heard one Republican say, “This is a good start.” If not, what is it? Look at the trade-offs to secure 10 GOP votes. It looks more like “the end.”

Consider this one example. In lieu of raising the age from 18 to 21 for purchase of a semi-automatic assault weapon, the drafters agreed to “enhanced background checks” for purchasers under 21. This morning Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy who put the working group together explained how this provision might have stopped the shooter in Uvalde. When he walked into a gun store to purchase the two AR-15s, the dealer would have been required to contact local police to see if the shooter had ever had a run-in with law enforcement.

Senator, I know you mean well. You have been the leading advocate of gun safety laws since Sandy Hook. But this provision, WITHOUT background checks at gun shows and on-line sales, ensures weapons of war will continue to fall into the hands of young men who will use them on victims in such a brutal way the corpses are beyond recognition. What good is an ENHANCED background check if there are still pathways to acquire these weapons where the seller is not required to follow the same procedures as the owner of a licensed gun store.

You may not understand what is going on here, but I can assure you Mitch McConnell does. The proposed legislation has more loopholes than the tax code. Which means there WILL be another Sandy Hook, Parkland or Uvalde. And McConnell will come out of his shell and declare, “We restricted gun sales and that did not stop these travesties. That proves it was NEVER about access to guns. So let’s stop pretending it does. We have enough laws on the books. Let’s enforce those before we consider new ones.” [After which, McConnell holds a fund-raising conference call with the NRA and gun manufacturers and reminds them how he predicted passing the 2022 bill would shut down any possibility of REAL gun legislation.”]

This morning Joe Scarborough quoted Abraham Lincoln to justify this incremental approach to sensible gun legislation. “I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.” Joe, if memory serves me correctly, Abraham Lincoln was the victim of gun violence. So was Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “The arc of history is long but it always bends toward justice.”

Sadly, these and other “slow walkers” took their last steps way before their time. And in the cases of Lincoln and King, we still have not realized their respective visions of a reunited America or racial equality. Instead, we should be listening to Albert Einstein. “To do the same thing over and over and expect a different result is the definition of insanity.” Approaching gun safety the same way America dealt with reconstruction and civil rights suggests, 100 years from now, we will be engaged in the same discussion we have following every mass shooting.

No, we will not have taken a step backwards. Instead, we will have been stopped dead in our tracks.

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP

Deja Vu All Over Again

For me, one of the most enlightening moments in the aftermath of the tragic events in Buffalo on Saturday came when a number of journalists and pundits were chastised for referring to the shooter as a “lone gunman.” What were the critics of this reporting trying to tell us? While one person pulled the triggered, he had a host of accomplices who created the environment in which he believed his actions were acceptable, if not justified.

In the course of drafting the historical novel which has taken me away from this blog for the past several months, the research took me to Tallahatchie County, Mississippi in 1956. This was the time and location of the infamous torture and murder of Emmett Till, only one of several similar violent responses to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. What was it about northeast Mississippi that made it the epicenter of mid-20th century racial conflict?

David Halberstam's Mississippi apprenticeship - Columbia Journalism Review

One possible answer was provided by then aspiring journalist David J. Halberstam.  Seventeen years before this Pulitzer Prize winning author published The Best and the Brightest, Halberstam penned an article for The Reporter titled, “Tallahatchie County Acquits a Peckerwood.”  Following the acquittal of Elmer Kimbell after the murder of Clinton Melton, an African-American gas station attendant, he wrote:

A friend of mine divides the white population of Mississippi into two categories. The first and largest contains the good people of Mississippi, as they are affectionately called by editorial writers, politi­cians, and themselves. The other group is a smaller but in many ways more conspicuous faction called the peckerwoods.

The good people will generally agree that the peckerwoods are trou­blemakers, and indeed several good people have told me they joined the Citizens Councils because otherwise the peckerwoods would take over the situation entirely.  But while the good peo­ple would not act with the rashness of and are not governed by the hatred of the peckerwood, they are reluctant to apply society’s normal remedies to the peckerwood. Thus it is the peckerwoods who kill Negroes and the good people who acquit the peckerwoods

David Halberstam, “Tallahatchie County Acquits a Peckerwood,” The Reporter, April 19, 1956.

Sound familiar? From his own manifesto, we know the Buffalo assailant is an anti-Semitic, white supremacist. But he is someone who Halberstam, if covering the weekend events, would also call a “neo-peckerwood.” But the phrase in Halberstam’s article that haunts me is, “…several good people have told me they joined the Citizens Councils (the organization created to fight school integration) because otherwise the peckerwoods would take over the situation entirely. “

How is that any different from Mark Esper, John Bolton, Bill Barr, Kellyanne Conway and every other former member of the previous administration who claimed they were protecting us or “the peckerwoods would take over the situation entirely?” No, they did not protect us. They silently endorsed the behavior.

And how are Tucker Carlson, Elyse Stefanik and a host of MAGA-inspired candidates for office in 2022 distinguishable from the “good people” of Tallahatchie County who believed their silence in the face of bigotry and hate made them better than the peckerwoods. Stefanik, the third highest ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives believes she is absolved of her complicity by Tweeting, “Our nation is heartbroken about the tragic news of horrific loss of life in Buffalo.” Just days after calling those across the aisle pedophiles and grifters who were promoting illegal immigration, a dog whistle for “replacement theory.”

Is there no one in the Republican leadership who will recognize how they contribute to the bile that has poisoned the body politic and the nation? Rather than banish the Liz Cheneys who dare call them out, is there not one member of the current party elite who will emulate Prince Escalus in Act V of Romeo and Juliet when he chastises the lovers’ parents for creating the conditions which led to a tragic end. “See what a scourge is laid upon your hate.” Instead of ending his screed with “All are punished,” a modern day Prince would declare, “All are peckerwoods.”

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP