Monday, August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder, June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016

From Start the Revolution Without Me (1970):

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"He's like the polestar of human evil..."

Everything I pick up to read lately seems to have a direct connection to Donald J. Trump. Last week it was the parallels to August Melmotte in Trollope's The Way We Live Now.  Last night I finished reading Part Two: Perestroika of Tony Kushner's Angels in America in which Donald Trump's mentor Roy Cohn is a major character.

Louis Ironson has slowly come to accept that his current lover is married, a lawyer, a Mormon, and even a Republican, but when Louis is told by Roy Cohn's nurse that his new lover is also working for the abrasive McCarthyite lawyer who taught Donald Trump everything he knows, then Louis loses it:
I don't believe you. Not Roy Cohn. He's like the polestar of human evil, he's like the worst human being who ever lived, he isn't human even, he's... You think everything is black and white, good and evil, just because somebody is Republican they're in bed with Roy Cohn. People like you finally fail to have an adequately grown-up, nuanced view of the world, you're Manichean... [Act Four, Scene 2]

Not all Republicans are in bed with Roy Cohn, but at least one was and is, and he's running for President now.

My next book is John Meacham's American Lion about Andrew Jackson. I wonder if there will be any Trump parallels there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

'Ambulance Blues' is the song of the night

In the car tonight I listened to all of Neil Young's On the Beach, one of my favorite albums since I first bought it on vinyl in 1974.

These last lines from the last track are stuck in my head. I want them stuck in yours too.

I never knew a man
could tell so many lies
He had a different story
for every set of eyes
How can he remember
who he's talking to?
Cause I know it ain't me,
and hope it isn't you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"

A Hillary Clinton speech just ended on CNN.
While Donald Trump has been ending all his rallies with "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (against the Stones' wishes), Hillary ends with this:

"When a man's frauds have been enormous there is a certain safety in their very diversity and proportions."

At this point, about two thirds through Trollope's The Way We Live Now, shadowy London financier August Melmotte is making his first foray into the political world, running for Parliament and finding out that one of his recent shady real-estate transactions might be exposed publicly right after he had hosted a dinner in his home for the Emperor of China attended by the great men of England and Europe.

My current pleasure reading takes a political turn.

...I think he took some pride in his own confidence as to his own courage, as he stood there turning it all over in his mind. Very much might be suspected. Something might be found out. But the task of unravelling it all would not be easy. It is the small vermin and the little birds that are trapped at once. But wolves and vultures can fight hard before they are caught. With the means which would still be at his command, let the worst come to the worst, he could make a strong fight. When a man's frauds have been enormous there is a certain safety in their very diversity and proportions. Might it not be that the fact that these great ones of the earth had been his guests should speak in his favour? A man who had in very truth had the real Brother of the Sun dining at his table could hardly be sent into the dock and then sent out of it like a common felon. (page 472 of Penguin Classics paperback)

With pending legal cases about Trump's so-called "University" still pending, his complicated tax returns still unreleased, a history of bankruptcies, thousands of "minor" lawsuits, and more, the "diversity and proportion" of Trump's financial shenanigans put August Melmotte's to shame (though Melmotte did it from nothing without being given a head start by his father). If we see do see any of Donald Trump's tax returns before November 8 (unlikely at this point as he continues to thumb his nose at the voters and the media), the chances are that, unless he gave nothing to charity or paid no taxes, the rule-bending in those thousands of pages would be so financially arcane that it would take teams of forensic accountants to root it out and another team to try to reduce it to layman's terms. It's only "the small vermin and little birds that are trapped at once."

If I entertained any notion that Donald Trump might have the attention span to tackle it, I might think that he had modeled parts of his life on The Way We Live Now.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Is there any proof that Donald Trump ever voted (before voting for himself)?

Trump on Facebook, 13 August 2016, promising to
change system from "Rigged" to "Fixed."
It was strange when Ivanka and Eric Trump couldn't figure out the rules for voting as Republicans in this spring's New York primary (I figured out how to switch from "No Party" to "Democratic" even without my father running), but maybe voting has never been a high priority within the Trump family before 2016.

This feeling was reinforced when Donald Trump said the following to Bill O'Reilly as he started his latest free-fall in the polls:
“The whole thing with voter ID identification I think is really — I mean people are going to walk in, they are going to vote 10 times maybe. Who knows? They are going to vote 10 times. I am very concerned and I hope the Republicans are going to be very watchful and I hope the authorities are going to be very watchful.” --Trump on Fox News, August 2

Who knows? Anyone who has ever been at an actual local polling station knows that this sort of casual "going to vote 10 times maybe" would be impossible. I've only voted in five different places in two states (New York and New Jersey). None of them ever required photo IDs, but once you signed your name in the book, there would be no way to sign twice (or ten times) without having created multiple identities at multiple addresses in advance. How could a significant number of people be recruited to commit these crimes?

By this week in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump was keeping the same conspiracy theories alive, though now admitting that the thousands or millions of vote fraudsters might only be voting half as many times:
"We're gonna watch Pennsylvania. Go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don't come in and vote five times. ... The only way we can lose, in my opinion -- and I really mean this, Pennsylvania -- is if cheating goes on. I really believe it." --Trump in Altoona, Pennsylvania, August 12
Trump is currently down by more than 9 points in the latest Keystone State polls, and he has never led there, but if he loses in November it will only be due to "those people" voting 5 or 10 times? This is dangerous anti-Democratic and anti-American demagoguery aimed at the most credulous elements of his uneducated base of supporters, and it will be amplified by the Republican spokespeople of Fox News who still harbor fictions about Romney losing Pennsylvania because of fraud.

Now, even though every polling place already has official poll watchers from both parties at every local site (something that most 70-year-olds with a lifetime of voting behind them would probably know), Donald J. Trump is asking supporters on his website today to volunteer as "Trump Election Observers" to "Help Me Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election!"
As seen on on August 13, 2016.
There has never been more of a need for an absolute landslide for Hillary Clinton. Every vote in every state counts in 2016. A decisive electoral college victory will not be enough to convince the most hardcore conspiracy theorists, but a popular vote burial of trumpism will insure that the conspiracy theorists might remain a very small nutcase fringe rather than a main current of Republican thought.

And are we ever going to see any documentary proof that Donald Trump visited an actual polling place before he voted for himself in 2016?

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Video Preview of the First Clinton-Trump Debate...

...starring Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis:

Donald Trump may be the only person on the planet who has even more trouble saying the words "apologize" and "I'm sorry" than Stupid Otto.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Great minds and all that...

When I posted my snarky little piece about Donald Trump's official weight this morning, I had no idea that the Pulitzer-worthy journalists of the National Enquirer were asking the same question about the Democratic nominee. So I was a little surprised when this was the cover that greeted me on the checkout line as I bought my lunch this afternoon:
"Hillary Gains 103 Lbs!" ?
By the way, the same internet sources that gave Trump's weight at 198 pounds this morning give Hillary's weight as 132, so I'm not sure where the crack researchers and punctilious fact-checkers (and creative Photoshop artistes) of the Enquirer got their "Then" and "Now" weights of 186 and 289 respectively.

With #HillaryHealth trending on Twitter this week for no reason other than the fact that Assange, Trump, Shkreli, Alex Jones, Breitbart, and Putin's, have all decided it is the attack of the week, I probably shouldn't be surprised to see Donald Trump's favorite bathroom reading joining in the fray. The message from Trump Tower headquarters must have gotten a little bit scrambled though; while most of the right-wing echobox is touting capitalist vampire Martin Shkreli's expert claim that Hillary has Parkinson's, the Enquirer seems to have transferred that ailment (with a side of Alzheimer's) to Hillary's husband.

Who is going to factcheck Google on Trump's vital statistics?

I have to preface this by saying that I'm 6'3" and I've weighed between 175 and 220 over the last forty years, so I have some idea what 198 pounds should look like on Donald Trump's frame. There is no way that he weighs 198 unless his belly, butt, and double chins are all filled with helium.
Google search for "How much does Trump weigh?" on 11 August 2016.

I've never had the appropriate job experience judging the weights of strangers at a booth in a county fair, but my partially-educated guess is that he weighs about 240. Anyone else have a guess they want to leave in the comments?

The American press doesn't really treat Donald Trump  in the way he deserves. He needs to be treated the way the Daily Mail did when they greeted the appearance of the junk-food-eating tycoon at his golf resort in Scotland with an illustrated article in 2012: "Maybe he should try EATING greens instead! Stout Donald Trump tees off at his new Scottish resort."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"I don't think Trump is Hitler at all; I think he's fuckin' Satan" --Marc Maron

Anyone who listens to Marc Maron's WTF podcast (and if you're not listening, why not?) knows that the highlight can often be the twenty-minute preface/rant/chat before the conversation with the comedian, actor, writer, or POTUS sitting in the chair across from him in his L.A. garage even begins.

The subject line of this post comes from Episode 729 with Roseanne Barrwhich I listened to on the ride from work tonight. I get the sense that Marc normally tries to avoid pure political speeches that could date these recordings, but in this episode he couldn't resist questioning why anyone would support Trump other than as a nihilistic way of saying "Fuck it. Fuck it all." After the rant about the pure evil that is Donald Trump, he gave a short peroration to the dudes in his audience (and his audience has a lot of dudes) about the reluctance some of them might still be harboring about supporting Hillary Clinton. I felt like it might be helpful to transcribe it for my readers (some of whom also have a reluctance to support Hillary):

...And I know a lot of people, a lot of intelligent people, men specifically, I know I know I know, it's hard man. You just want to see that woman lose. It's hard for a lot of men who are secretly infantile, who feel gipped, who have issues their mommies or their daddies. It's uhhh, you know, when you watch a woman with authority speak with authority, deliver a strong leadership vibe, a grounded person ... for a dude sometimes there's only one way to take that in, and that is, "Uuhhh, I hate this teacher. Uuuuhhh, she's so mean this teacher. I wish the substitute was here. Remember that guy?"
Grow up! 

That's all the righteousness that may come out of me for this cycle. We'll see. Don't get alienated. Just let me have my feelings. OK? Can you do that? Can ya?...