President Humpty Dumpty Trumpty had a Great Fall. Some people have said it was the greatest fall of all time. No one has ever seen anything like it.
In fact, there may never again be anything like it—because we might not survive this one. The last we heard, President Humpty Dumpty Trumpty retained full authority to demand the nuclear football, right along with his next bag full of Big Macs.®
If we were in a comic strip, the joke would be on the angry, overweight, overgrown child. Alas, we’re not; the joke is on us. For all his vain posturing, the real Michael Richard Pence lacks the stern moral courage of the fictional Lucy van Pelt, who would long ago have triggered the 25th Amendment with glee.
If we get really lucky, though—yes, we know: Lucky? What a preposterous thought, in the year 2020!—we will never again see anything like this because 1) the majority of us will not stand for it, and, 2) despite longstanding custom and many sacred Constitutional provisions to the contrary, the will of the majority will have a determinant effect on public policy. But we get ahead of ourselves.
First a minor housekeeping note: for the rest of this Rant we’ll use HDT for short. Studies have shown that seeing the real name of the person in question in print has been known to cause nausea in 24 percent of the public in general, and 87 percent of our readers. You could look it up! Also, before going any further, we must expunge all doubt that this Great Fall took place.
After a long and utterly pointless delay, that proof finally emerged this fortnight. In keeping with the unique tone of his administration, it was revealed by the very efforts of HDT’s “legal team” to obfuscate it.
Less clear is the matter of who is on this team. Lacking assistance from the late Bud Abbot and Lou Costello—creators of the immortal “Who’s On First” routine—we cannot say which among this host of improbable goofballs—who have been springing up around the country like psychedelic mushrooms around cow flops after a spring rain—are currently employed by the President, and which are simply ordinary Americans unable to afford their medication, who may have wandered into the courtroom in search of a rest room.
We submit Exhibit “A”: Sidney “Kraken” Powell. As recently as November 14th, HDT cited Powell as one member of “a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers and representatives!” Less than a Scaramucci later, Rudy Giuliani, HDT’s personal lawyer, and Jenna Ellis, a “senior legal advisor” on his “elite strike force team,” issued a statement saying, “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.”
This change in status came shortly after a November 19th press briefing at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C. Powell asserted that voting machines around the country had switched millions of votes from HDT to Joe Biden. The software running the machines, she said, had been created at the behest of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who, technically, has been dead for seven years.
If we have this right, Powell may have been bounced for alleging that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp threw the election for Sleepy Joe Biden in exchange for a large bribe from George Soros.
Nevertheless, in a heart-warming display of consideration for a person with a handicap—she’s too bonkers to be on the elite strike force team—Powell somehow managed to submit some kind of legal document—pieces of paper with words on them, anyway—to courts in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin. These have provided welcome amusement to real lawyers. Their comedic touches range from slapstick—the word “district” misspelled in several different ways—to more subtle and esoteric amusements stemming from errors in legalistic intricacies, which frankly are beyond our ken. Suffice it to say that this elite strike force team has, by losing literally scores of these ludicrous cases, established beyond any doubt that, yes, HDT did, in fact, have a Great Fall.
Granted, that Fall was a direct result of his having been pushed by seven million voters. All the same, gravity took over in the end, and that’s what matters. That, and a mess of states certifying the election results.
What will be the consequences of this Great Fall? We cannot be terribly specific. Doing so would require the use of facts; these days, every fact brings with it a question: what is its source? Before you know it, you’re tripping over your own footnotes.
Indeed, writing about current events at all these days is like trying to stab marbles with a spork. Somewhere, in another dimension, Heisenberg decided to test his uncertainty principle by releasing Schrödinger’s cat. It’s been chasing butterflies, with predictably chaotic results.
For example, the New York Times reported on Thursday that, despite losing the election, HDT’s frenetic fundraising has brought in $207 million.
It is perfectly normal, under these circumstances, to assume a state of catatonic paralysis. Indeed, given the present risk of exposure to a potentially-lethal virus, that may be the wisest choice. Unfortunately, few of us are able to conveniently avail ourselves of that option.
We have found that it helps to abandon our old fixation on certainty, and embrace a more fluid understanding: we must simultaneously entertain any number of contradictory possibilities. Having cleared that up, let us proceed….
According to a real rumor, vaguely attributed to occasionally-reliable sources, HDT is planning one last official act to display his contempt for…well, everything except himself. He may skip Joe Biden’s inauguration.
There is even talk that, on January 20th, 2021, HDT plans to hold a huge event—no masks required—to announce his 2024 Presidential Campaign. No joke. Well, obviously a joke, but, seriously, people are talking about this. And one would be a fool to rule it out.
One would naturally expect him to time this tawdry event for noon—it would be right out of the WWE playbook. [That’s World Wrestling Entertainment, for you effete snobs. – The Ed.] By scheduling his event to coincide with Sleepy Joe’s, though, he’d be passing up a tremendous opportunity.
He’ll still be President until noon that day, and apparently able to get away with anything. Be prepared, readers, around 10:00 or 11:00 a.m., for the January Surprise: a campaign kickoff at the Lincoln Memorial.
Let us be clear, here: the better angels of our nature hope this does not come to pass. The nation’s escutcheon has no need of yet another disgraceful blot.
The perverse little devils on our other shoulder, though, are praying that it does.
We can almost see Letitia James, Attorney General of the State of New York, marching up those hallowed steps, trailed by a squad of attorneys bearing binders full of indictments, and apprehending the Miscreant-in-Chief. What a unique and memorable career arc! From Queens to Manhattan, from Mar-a-Lago to the White House, and, finally—and forever, one would hope, the Big House.
Out of compassion for the soon-to-be-former First Family and its entire extended network of grifters, we suggest a whole wing at Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth. We understand northeastern Kansas, on the fashionable left bank of the Missouri River, is lovely all year round.
This proposal would dovetail nicely with HDT’s reported plan for a post-eviction media empire. Passive consumers of televised dreck are already conditioned to gawk at the incarcerated. Imagine the kind of ratings he’d get as the star of “Jail to the Chief!” Through the roof!
Speaking of roofs….
After so many years of that odious name appearing in huge fake-gold letters around the world, is it really too much to ask, just once, to see it where it truly belongs?
A lone Trump supporter ventured into Market Square last Sunday night, bravely bearing the banner of his widely-despised hero. For moral support he dragged along a nearly life-sized image of the Chief Executive giving a double-barreled “thumbs-up” sign and grinning for no apparent reason.
House Republicans to Americans:
by Jake Johnson
staff writer, CommonDreams.org
With mass layoffs persisting at an unprecedented clip, coronavirus deaths surging, and hunger on the rise nationwide, a group of House Republicans on Thursday attempted to pass a motion to adjourn the chamber in what Democratic lawmakers denounced as an “outrageous” stunt by members of a party that continues to stand in the way of desperately needed economic relief.
Though the motion, introduced by House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), was ultimately defeated by the Democratic-controlled House, the attempt to adjourn was viewed as another telling example of the GOP’s refusal to take seriously the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic crisis.
“People are going hungry and they’re treating this like a game,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in response to the motion, which Republicans used to complain about House rules allowing proxy voting to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on Capitol Hill. “Leaders don’t abandon people in their time of greatest need.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) called the GOP ploy “batty” and noted that “Americans are in dire need of food and paychecks.”
Over the opposition of the chamber’s Republicans, House Democrats in October passed legislation that would send another stimulus check to most Americans, restore the lapsed $600-per-week federal unemployment boost, and provide aid to cash-strapped state and local governments. The Republican-controlled Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has refused to consider the measure.
“More people died yesterday from Covid-19 than any day [before],” Swalwell said Thursday. “We have work to do. Yet, the House GOP just motioned to adjourn Congress. What the hell are they doing?”
“Isn’t this a procedural stunt you ask? Sure,” Swalwell continued. “What makes it outrageous is a single vote now takes well over an hour to occur with Covid-19 restrictions in place. Then the chamber must be sanitized. These are final days of Congress. It’s like pulling the fire alarm during a final exam.”
Other Democratic members voiced similar outrage over the motion, introduced as U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations soared to a record high and the Labor Department reported that a million Americans filed jobless claims last week, a blaring signal that the economic crisis is nowhere near over.
The House GOP’s procedural maneuver came as coronavirus relief negotiations showed signs of life for the first time in weeks, with a possible government shutdown just seven days away and the end of the year rapidly approaching. Failure to approve additional Covid-19 relief before year’s end would be disastrous, economists have warned, particularly given that more than 13 million Americans are set to lose unemployment benefits as emergency federal programs expire on December 26.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and President-elect Joe Biden have expressed support for using a $908 billion bipartisan compromise proposal unveiled earlier this week as a framework for talks going forward, while acknowledging that the plan—which lacks direct payments and provides just $300 per week in additional unemployment benefits—is nowhere near sufficient.
“Of course, we and others will offer improvements, but the need to act is immediate and we believe that with good-faith negotiations we could come to an agreement,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement Wednesday. “In light of the urgency of meeting the needs of the American people and the hope that the vaccine presents, it’s time for Leader McConnell to sit down with Democrats to finally begin a true, bipartisan effort to meet the needs of the country.”
McConnell and Pelosi spoke by phone Thursday afternoon for the first time since the presidential election and, according to the Kentucky Republican, had a “good conversation” about coronavirus relief and an end-of-year spending package to avert a government shutdown.
“Compromise is within reach,” McConnell said in a floor speech Thursday. “We know where we agree. We can do this.”
The Republican leader’s remarks came just days after he circulated a relief proposal of his own that was immediately dismissed as a non-starter by many Senate Democrats and progressive critics, who lambasted the plan’s sweeping liability shield for corporations and exclusion of additional weekly unemployment benefits.
Jeremy Funk, spokesperson for government watchdog group Accountable.US, slammed McConnell for “shilling for special interests” instead of offering real relief to the tens of millions of Americans struggling to afford basic necessities and possibly facing eviction in the near future.
“The McConnell Senate enabled the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the health crisis and still insists on doing as little as possible to contain the economic fallout,” said Funk. “McConnell’s big idea of giving corporations permission to mistreat workers with impunity during a pandemic and giving more handouts to coal CEOs means absolutely nothing to the millions of families who face hunger and homelessness in the Trump recession.”
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The city’s newest recreational space now has an official sign. Carved above the name–Paul McEachern Park—are images of a thistle and a shamrock; they signify the Scottish and Irish ancestry of a much-loved local son. Our sources in the neighborhood say it will soon be joined by another, more playful monolith, for the delight of future generations.
57 Years On…
The 57th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy came and went this fortnight with little if any notice. It could be seen as the opening shot of the Vietnam War: three million men sent to the other side of the planet to rain mechanized destruction on hungry peasants. That war and the Warren Commission sowed the seeds of American mistrust in government. Their combined effects helped created the world in which we live today.