The Trump Files

Gene L. Ford By

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This is what Biden and Harris fail to grasp. Beating Donald Trump in November should be a slam-dunk. But not if you keep playing only defense. You have to take it to him! Call him out on his lies and half-truths; don't let him get away with any of them. When he tries to shovel bullshit down our throats, counter with "the fact is..." And then let everyone know what the fact is, whether they believe it or not. Speak with the confidence and assurance of a born and bred pathological liar, as Trump does. He knows that ninety-nine percent of what he says is bogus; he simply doesn't care, as long as it serves his needs. The most gusto I've heard from Biden recently was when he shouted "I won't ban fracking! Let me say it again: I won't ban fracking!" I know that may ease the minds of a few undecided voters, Joe, but is that really the message you want to send? As for Harris, where is the fire and brimstone she showed on the campaign trail and during the presidential debates? She sounds now like she's vying to be named "miss congeniality." I hope she's saving the fireworks for the vice-presidential debate with Mike (may I hold that bag for you, sir?) Pence, which should be another slam-dunk. Trump says the only way he loses in November is if the election is "rigged"; I say the only way he stays in the White House is if Biden and Harris hand him the keys. Please don't blow it, guys. America—and the world—are counting on you. Even "business as usual" is a helluva lot better than the nightmare we've been enduring for the past four years.

September 10, 2020

Has Donald ("trust me, I never said that") Trump finally crossed a bridge too far? On the heels of suggesting to supporters that they vote not once but twice in November ("just to make sure your vote is counted"), president rally-round-the-flag has been accused of labeling those who have served our country in wartime—including those who have lost their lives doing so—as "losers" and "suckers," a charge he vehemently denies, of course. Even so, his words have been verified by a number of credible sources, even by an intelligence reporter at old reliable Fox News (an intelligence reporter at Fox News? Isn't that an oxymoron?). Speaking of morons, oxy or otherwise, a certain William G. Barr, a.k.a. (ass kisser always) the US Attorney General, was forced by his undying loyalty to the Fuhrer to DENY during a television interview that he knew that voting TWICE was illegal in every state, let alone a felony under federal law. This is not, mind you, your average moron-on-the-street, this is THE US ATTORNEY GENERAL who said he would have to "study the state laws, as many of them vary" when it comes to voting TWICE in an election! If he thinks those laws "vary," he should go to any state of his choosing and try voting twice—before being led away in handcuffs.

Trump, of course, gave himself the usual wiggle room, saying his advice applied only to those who had cast one of those dreadful mail-in ballots and wished to see if it had been counted. No more than common sense, he insisted, as most Americans have undoubtedly been double-checking their votes since mail-in ballots were first used (during the Civil War, I believe). President bone spurs' secretary of veterans affairs, Robert Wilkie, shrugged off the shameful remarks about service personnel, saying they were all about "politics" and were undoubtedly uttered in "the heat of the campaign" (even though Trump wasn't campaigning when they were reportedly made). While Wilkie was valiantly trying to drag himself out of the quicksand, president law-and-order was busy pouring oil on another fire, saying that police officers who unload their revolvers into the backs of unarmed (black) citizens, as was done to Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI, simply "freeze," like a golfer who misses a three-foot putt. In that case, everything apparently "froze" except the officer's trigger finger. To be fair, he did try to let Blake know what was coming. But instead of shouting "fore!" he hollered "seven!"

Seeking a distraction, as he always does, president darwin scolded his opponents, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, for "undermining science" when they said they would hesitate to take a vaccine based on his recommendation rather than that of health care professionals and specialists in epidemiology. "They're trying to 'politicize' the vaccine (which, by the way, should be ready before a very special date, and you know what date I'm talking about)," president no-agenda complained. "They should just drink their Clorox like everyone else and shut up."

In other news...

When not busy trashing members of the armed forces (living and / or dead), urging his sycophants to vote twice, overseeing the destruction of the US Postal Service, despoiling the environment and defending police officers who sadly miss three-foot putts, president facts-first was sharing with Fox News' Laura Ingraham chilling (and thoroughly debunked) tales of "dark forces" whose sole purpose is to deny him a well-deserved second four-year term at 1600 Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC. There have been, he confided, "planeloads of thugs" wearing "dark uniforms, with some kind of gear" aiming to disrupt his rallies and turn people against him, not to mention the "very stupid rich people" who are bankrolling protests for racial justice, and "people you haven't heard of" who are secretly controlling Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Yes, they are there, he said, "lurking in the shadows" while pulling the proverbial strings. When pressed for details, Trump said he would disclose their names "sometime" (about the same time he unveils his "tremendous" new health care plan). Even so, he whispered, "there's one thing I can say for certain—the dish definitely ran away with the spoon."

One thing you have to say about president modesty-is-my-middle name, he always gives credit where credit is due—and by that I mean, to himself. When called out by a reporter at a press conference after lying (for the umpteenth time) about having passed the Veterans Choice program—which was actually signed by president Obama in 2014—the fibber-in-chief simply said, "Okay, thank you very much, everybody," and hurried from the stage. Say what you will, he has always been a class act.

Speaking of the US Postal Service, which we were a moment ago, it has been accused of a multitude of sins since postmaster-general Louis DeJoy took the reins, but it really has nothing to hide. And if you don't believe that, ask congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of FL who paid an early-morning visit to the post office in Opa-Locka last week. Sorry, she was told by guards at the gate, your clearance isn't high enough to inspect our sorting equipment. Undaunted, Wasserman Schultz tried again, this time at the nearby Miami Processing and Distribution Center, where she was once again denied entry by armed "postal inspection officers." Now daunted, the congresswoman said, "I'm outraged. I'm angry." She's also not going to enter any post office as long as Trump and Dejoy are in charge, unless it's to mail a letter or order stamps.

We feel sorry for Rep. Wasserman Schultz, and even more so for poor Betsy DeVos who can't seem to buy a break in her relentless push to send federal money to private schools at the expense of their public brethren. This time, cruella's grand design was blocked by US District Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Trump appointee, who ruled that her plan to shovel more cash to private schools was, well, illegal. DeVos, however, didn't take the decision lying down. "I'll get you, Friedrich," she snarled, "and your little dog too!"

Even though president "I-can't-lose" has been trailing Joe Biden in every poll from north to south and east to west, a ray of light did appear with the primary victory in GA of a kindred spirit, one he called "a future Republican star," Marjorie Taylor Greene, a paid-up member of QAnon's kooky conspiracy cabal. Not content to merely promote such obviously factual narratives as the one wherein the federal government is actually controlled by a group of cannibalistic, Satan-worshiping pedophiles (so factual that no proof is even required), the soon-to-be congresswoman has released her first campaign ad, and it's a doozy—a photo-shopped image of Greene pointing a rifle at pictures of three liberal congresswomen of color and a vow to "go on the offense" against members of "the Squad," Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Rashida Tlaib (MI). "The Squad's worst nightmare," a caption reads. Needless to say, neither president law-and-order nor GOP congressional leaders had any comment. When members of the Squad objected, saying the ad could incite violence, Greene replied, "Can't they take a joke?"

And finally...

Okay, I owe this one to Natalie Gontcharova at the women's entertainment web site Refinery29. Knowing the task would totally exhaust most ordinary mortals, Gontcharova has done the human race a service by compiling a GMail folder labeled "Kayleigh McEnany's Lies." Needless to say, it's a rather thick volume, and growing heavier with each daily press briefing. At the first of those, on May 1, the newly installed McEnany said to the the press, "I will never lie to you. You have my word on that." As it turns out, that was McEnany's first lie, and the lying has continued almost non-stop from then to who knows when. What McEnany omitted at that first briefing were a few key words: What she meant to say was, "I will never [do anything but] lie to you. You have my word on that." Also at that first briefing, the animated barbie doll said allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, including sexual assault, were "verifiably false" (turns out some were verifiably true but he was nominated anyway) and that there was "an unfair target on the back of Gen. Michael Flynn" (who later pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators).

There's no room here (or perhaps anywhere else outside the Library of Congress) to list in their entirety McEnany's falsehoods. Instead, we present here a brief summary of her "greatest hits":

The Mueller report, she said, was "a complete and total exoneration" of president clean-hands pure-heart.

Asked about multiple accusations of sexual assault against the predator-in-chief, McEnany said those accusations "were from four years ago that were asked and answered in the form of a vote by the American people." (Not strictly a lie; more like a reprieve.)

On May 15, asked what specific crimes were involved in "Obamagate," she replied, "Mistruths that were said under oath." (Huh?)

On May 28, she said (with her usual straight face) that the US health-care system was "ready" for the fast-growing coronavirus pandemic. So how's that been going?

On June 1, she asserted (again with a straight face) that president jim crow has "a long history of condemning white supremacy and racism."

And on June 22, McEnany said without hesitation that president unbiased hadn't used the term "kung flu" to describe the coronavirus after he was recorded saying exactly that (had McEnany hesitated she might have realized she'd just told another whopper).

A week later, the lone deranger said the president hadn't been briefed about bounties Russia reportedly put on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan (yes, he had, several times).

On July 9, McEnany said president above-board's tax returns were "under audit" and couldn't be released. A blatant falsehood the president has been peddling since before his election in 2016.

Four days later, she claimed president grab-'em has "a great record" on LGBTQ+ issues. According to one estimate, Trump has made at least 172 attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.

On July 16, the "acting" education secretary / public health czar / press secretary said "it's perfectly safe" for children to attend schools in person," adding "the science should not stand in the way of this." Absolutely. Since when has science stood in the way of anything president miracle cure wants?

Skipping ahead, on August 4 McEnany said there is "ample evidence of fraud" in connection with absentee voting and voting by mail (it's a good thing she wasn't asked for proof of that).

And on August 26, she said president health-care-for-all-is-just-around-the-corner wants to protect Americans with pre-existing health conditions, whereas the fact is... but you already know that, don't you?

Is there some hidden logic behind all this lying and fabrication? In a word, yes. If you are paid to play baseball, football or any sport, that is what you do. If you are paid to wait tables, haul garbage, buy and sell stocks, act on film, teach in a school or deliver and sort the mail, that is what you do. And if you are paid to tell lies for a living, that is what you do.

One last word...

Disloyal, the new book by president evasive's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was released this week. Of course, Trump was quick to label it "fiction" ("I hardly knew the guy; he did a few odd jobs for me") and deputized you-know-who to say that Cohen had "lost all credibility," as he was convicted of lying to congress. Yes, Cohen lied—he lied to protect "Individual 1," and we all know who that is—the one wrongdoer who is always careful to cover his tracks, avoid leaving a paper trail (if one excepts his well-guarded tax and financial records) and never ever take the fall, even if that means throwing everyone else within pitching distance under the nearest bus.

September 14, 2020

In the last year or two, a veritable tsunami of books critical of president Trump have been written and published, books in which he stands accused not only of committing every one of the seven deadly sins but adding a few of his own and of masterminding every conceivable misadventure and criminal act short of the sacking of Rome. In the face of these indictments, most of which have been borne out by evidence known as facts, one question naturally arises: will those narratives serve to change anyone's mind about president leaves-no-tracks? And the answer is, no one really knows.

There are several reasons for this. First, most of the president's followers aren't merely voters, they are devoted members of a cult. As such, they refuse to see or hear any evil directed toward their infallible leader. Needless to say, they won't be reading any books in which he is less than deified. Second, there's an explicit reason (aside from his limited vocabulary) why Trump speaks to his boot-lickers on a third-grade level. To state it as tactfully as possible, he is speaking to them on THEIR level. They in turn award him brownie points for "being straight" and "telling it like it is." He not only says what they want to hear, he says it the way they want to hear it. "He's not like a politician," the underlings chorus. And indeed he is not. Unlike most politicians, president vacuum-packed has no ideology, no philosophy, no allegiances, no scruples, no companions, no competence. His only rule of thumb seems to be, how does this help me? And those who see through the shallowness and egotism ask themselves, why can't his toadies see this too? Which brings us to the third and perhaps most decisive reason for their blindness: whatever his faults, and they are many, Donald Trump is one of the world's most accomplished liars, hucksters and con men, an unsurpassed and unapologetic miscreant and schemer who has spent a lifetime sharpening those underhanded skills. Although he believes in nothing, he reasons that he has the ability to persuade everyone else to believe in him and assent without question to anything he says. Even though he is light years away from reaching that goal, he has managed to convince a large number of our fellow citizens that the emperor is indeed wearing clothes. Let us pray that number isn't large enough to earn the lying, conniving dullard-in-chief a second term in the White House. If it is, look for a large book-burning event coming soon on the south lawn.

In other news...

With election day less than two months away and certain defeat staring him in the face, president merlin disclosed that he has conjured an amazing device that will save the day—along with his portly ass. "I have built a weapon system that nobody's ever had in this country," he confided in an interview with Bob Woodward for Woodward's book, Rage, which was published last week. "We have stuff that you haven't seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before." When pressed, president bat guano said, "I worked the system out with my chief weapons analyst, a Dr Strangelove, who assures me this weapon is unlike any other in the history of humankind. What we have here is incredible. We were going to call it the Doomsday Machine but that name had already been taken. So we decided to call it the Super-Duper Missile. It's a system nobody knows about, including you—and frankly, I think I'm better off keeping it that way. As Strangelove has told me more than once, we cannot afford to have a mine-shaft gap!" When Woodward asked when another interview might be scheduled, president vera lynn replied, "Don't worry... we'll meet again... don't know where, don't know when... but I'm sure we'll meet again some sunny day..."

President einstein has also shown once again his superior understanding of math, pointing out to supporters at another of his seemingly endless (and maskless) rallies that one plus one equals... one. Mail in your ballot, he advised his sitting ducks; then go to the polling place and vote! "Felony, schmelony," he said. "If felonies were taken seriously I'd be behind bars, not standing on a stage urging you to commit one." It's not like you'd be voting twice, he assured them, adding that "even if you were, isn't voting twice the least you could do for me, your favorite president?"

Speaking of the US Post Office (and who was?), concerns have been expressed about slow-walking the mail as election day nears. Although everyone from the postmaster general on down says that isn't true, they should try telling that to Brittany Keech of Belding, MI, who last week received a Halloween greeting card with a one-cent George Washington stamp postmarked October 29, 1920. The card was written by one Flossie Burgess and addressed to a Roy McQueen. While the post office said there is a perfectly logical explanation for the slight delay, Keech said she isn't totally buying it—especially as the postman had arrived that day on horseback.

Some measure of the value of a human life has been helpfully provided by the US Department of Labor, which fined two meat packing companies, each of which is worth billions of dollars, a total of $29,109 following the deaths of ten of their workers from COVID-19 earlier this year. That's about $2,910 per human, scarcely enough to buy a halfway decent headstone. JBS, the Brazilian-owned largest meat packing company in the world, which lost six workers, was fined $15,615, the equivalent of 0.0001% of its annual income; Smithfield, also based in Greeley, CO, which lost four, was fined $13,494, or about 0.007% of its 2019 income. Who says the Labor Department can't get tough when it comes to indemnifying human life. Our hands were tied, the Department announced; those were the maximum fines allowed by law. If that is truly the case, then the law, as Dickens once wrote, "is a ass." Why can't congress stop naming post offices and conferring pointless awards for a day or so and take time to amend that law.

And finally...

One of my readers (yes, I still have a handful) asked that I let everyone know that the deadline for early mail-in voting in Texas is October 5. Anyone over 65 is eligible in that state to vote by mail, even those who read these harangues. Having performed that public service, I'll see you next time!

September 19, 2020

Donald J Trump, who has claimed many times (falsely) to have written the book The Art of the Deal (Tony Swartz is the actual author), now says he would like to make one more deal—this one with the US Constitution. After he wins a second term in November (and he has no doubt that he will), president snake-oil says, he'll start to "negotiate" for a third term, as "we're probably entitled—based on the way we've been treated—to another four [years] after that." To bolster his argument, president proof positive pointed to the Constitution's 22nd amendment, which clearly states that "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice (unless, that is, he is treated unfairly)..."

And once he has nullified the Constitution, president forevermore doesn't intend to stop there. In 2019, he told a cheering crowd of brain-dead worshipers that he may remain in office "at least for ten or fourteen years," and his supporters "might demand that I stay even longer." China's Xi Xinping has the right idea, Trump said at another rally. "He's now president for life. I think that's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot someday." That "someday" now appears to be right around the nearest corner with the Constitution a topic for debate. Already, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, scion of ex-White House press secretary Sarah ("I couldn't lie well or often enough") Huckabee Sanders, claims he has been chosen to "head up" Trump's 2024 re-election campaign. Parroting president gray matter's self-evident reasoning, Huckabee says Trump is "entitled" to a third term in office "due to the illegal attempts... to oust him as POTUS...." Attempts such as impeachment, which apparently has been deemed "illegal" as it pertains to Trump. For his part, the president says former FBI director James Comey is largely to blame: "Our rights and liberties," he whimpered, "were illegally stripped away by this dishonest fool. We should be given our stolen time back?" Asked to name the specific "rights and liberties" he was referring to, president oil-slick replied, "I'll be happy to name them for you... sometime... probably in about two weeks or so."

And he promises to weave a "tremendous" new comprehensive health care plan out of thin air, also in "about two weeks or so."

In other news...

President laser-focus said at a press conference that CDC director Robert Redfield was "confused" and "didn't understand the question" when Dr Redfield testified UNDER OATH before a congressional committee that a coronavirus vaccine wouldn't be widely available "until the third, [or] late second quarter, of 2021" and that face masks may be an even more effective coronavirus deterrent than a vaccine. Obviously, those answers weren't what president election-on-my-mind wanted to hear, having claimed repeatedly (without any evidence) that an effective vaccine would be available before the magic date of November 3. "There are a lot of people (specifically, waiters) who think that masks are not good," Trump said during a televised town hall event this week. "I hope the vaccine is going to be a lot more beneficial than the masks." At the White House, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dutifully bent over, puckered her lips and said the president "has always supported mask-wearing."

That support, however, may be fading as a new contender enters the arena: herd mentality -I mean, immunity (Freudian slip)—promoted by president sawbones' new pandemic guru, Dr Scott Atlas, late of Fox News and a previous employment at Stanford University, which had nothing whatsoever to do with the care and feeding of viruses. In fact, the Trump administration has been quietly rescinding mask-wearing requirements in states across the country, spurred by the illusion that "herd mentality" may end the viral threat, as president malaprop tried to explain to George Stephanopoulos at that town hall. "It'll disappear one day, even without a vaccine," our wizard-in-chief vowed—as would, he neglected to mention, the lives of anywhere from three to six MILLION American guinea pigs before the threshold of "herd immunity" was reached. That's not me talking; the World Health Organization says herd immunity would require that roughly seventy per cent of a population be infected. That's an awful lot of sheep—I mean, true believers—who wouldn't live long enough to bask in the warmth of that "immunity." On the other hand, it's a small enough price to pay when the alternative is actually doing something to neutralize the pandemic.

Still reeling and back-pedaling after an article in The Atlantic magazine reported that president flag-waver referred to American servicemen and women as "losers" and "suckers" for sacrificing their livelihoods and lives for their country, the Trump administration produced a digital ad whose theme is "Support Our Troops." Problem is, the "troops" in the ad, which was created by the clear-sighted Make America Great Again Committee, are marching below a Russian-made MIG-29 fighter jet, and one of the three soldiers is carrying a Russian-made AK-47 assault weapon. "We're mystified as to how that could have happened," a spokesperson for the MAGA committee said. "We consulted beforehand with president Putin, and he said the ad was perfect. In fact, he was the one who recommended that we buy the image from Shutterstock."

For some reason known only to fools and horses, president self-effacing agreed to nineteen interviews spanning more than forty hours with award-winning journalist Bob Woodward for Woodward's new book, "Rage," which quickly claimed the No. 1 spot on the New York Times' list of nonfiction works. The president was reportedly enraged, not by the book's contents, but because of the failure by Woodward and his publishers to adopt Trump's suggestion for its title: "Mein Kampf."

When it comes to meddling with the US electoral process, who needs the Russians? Never one to wait for foreign intervention, the GOP (Guileful Old Party) has recruited and paid a group of young people, code-named GTFT (Gullible Teens for Trump), to unleash a barrage of false and misleading information on social media, all designed to glorify president regal and his toadies and to demean and slander the opposition. An analysis underwritten by The Washington Post of more than 4,500 such near-identical messages determined that it probably represented a fraction of the over-all output. A spokesperson for Turning Point USA, the organization behind the deception, said, "This is sincere political activism conducted by real people who passionately hold the beliefs they describe online!" He declined to explain why those zealots had to be paid to express their "passionately held" beliefs.

Those wildfires that are rampaging through California, Oregon and Washington state? Simple solution, says president woodsman. These (Democrat-run!) states need to pay more attention to forest management. Fell those trees; rake those leaves. Get your act together and voila! no more devastating fires to interrupt your busy lives. Climate change? That's a hoax; even scientists aren't sure about that (yes, they are). When Trump generously offered his solution to officials in California, one of them reminded him that more than half of California's forest lands are under federal, not state, control. "It'll get cooler," president climatologist replied. "Just wait—it'll get cooler." As for the federal fire management budget, "It'll get smaller. Just wait—it'll get smaller." And indeed it has. The federal outlay for vegetation management has fallen from about $240 million annually in 2001 to $180 million in 2015, a decline of 24 per cent. Meanwhile, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, of the ten years on record with the largest acreage burned, nine have taken place since 2000 including the peak year, 2015. All this while the price of rakes and chainsaws has skyrocketed...

And finally...

In the long run, none of this really matters. Why? I'm glad you asked. It's all because of a conference held ten years ago in Tokyo, Japan. Well, not actually the conference but what came after. Leaders from 196 countries gathered in Japan that year for the Aichi Biodiversity forum to establish a ten-year plan and set twenty environmental target goals to conserve the world's biodiversity, promote sustainability and protect ecosystems, all of which are closely allied to lessening the effects of global warming and climate change. The goals were to be met by the year 2020.

Well, here we are ten years later, and the UN Global Biodiversity Outlook report has announced the number of goals that have been met. In round figures, that number is zero. There has been some slight progress, but of the twenty goals, only six have been "partially achieved," according to the UN report. Aside from that it has been business as usual, and by that we mean that while environmentalists may voice their concerns, money speaks much louder. Everyone wants to fight climate change and global warming, but not if it costs them any cash. "Humanity stands at a crossroads with regard to the legacy it leaves to future generations," the UN report warned. When faced with that fork in the road, most humans will choose the one that leads away from altruism and common sense and toward security and capital gains. The environment? Yes, it is deteriorating before our eyes. Climate change? Still heading our way and picking up speed. But as those we've chosen to lead us out of the swamp so often say, that's not our problem. We'll leave it to future generations (if there are any) to take care of it. Relax. There's plenty of time before... oh, shit!

September 24, 2020

Let's begin today with a few simple definitions.

Hypocrisy: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform.

Irony: the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

Shame: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

You may have guessed by now where we are going with this. Hypocrisy, thy name is Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham, and every other GOP senator who has "changed his or her mind" about the nomination of a Supreme Court justice not only during an election year but less than two months before the election is held. McConnell, who refused to even hold a hearing for Merrick Garland, then-president Barack Obama's nominee to succeed the late Antonin Scalia some eight months before the 2016 election, saying "the people should decide," now says President putz's nominee, whoever he or she may be, "will receive a vote on the floor of the US Senate." For his part, Graham said that "if there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination," adding that "I want you to use my words against me." That was, however, before McConnell and Graham were mesmerized by the Cult of Trump. My, how their tune has changed since the passing of justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week created an opening on the court. The new refrain goes like this: "We have the votes and we're going to use them, people be damned."

Not only do McConnell, Graham and most other Republican senators refuse to acknowledge their hypocrisy, they fail to see the irony epitomized by their position on the Garland nomination, nor do they feel any shame at reversing course to assure the nomination and confirmation of a conservative justice before "the people" have a chance to show them the door in November.

As for the Democrats, there's not much they can do to slow the juggernaut. Some, including House judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler, have suggested that when (not if) the party wins the White House and majorities in both houses of congress in November they should consider adding more justices to the court to level the playing field. Other Dems will probably cringe at the idea, saying things like "we can't 'pack' the Supreme Court; it would set a precedent (it wouldn't), and besides, it wouldn't be fair." There's that word again, the one that reveals in starkest terms the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Fairness. Dems pussy-foot around controversial issues because taking a forceful stand one way or the other could "look bad" and people "might not like us." Republicans cleave to a far simpler and more self-indulgent playbook whose philosophy is spelled out in large block letters: "WIN AT ANY COST." It's the main reason that Democrats, who according to polls have well over half the country in their corner on most issues, tend to underperform in campaigns and elections. If they underperform in November, which is hardly out of the question, the rest of us can kiss the American democratic experiment goodbye and make way for Reichskommandant Trump and his black shirts.

For the record, this is what the Constitution says about the Supreme Court: The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

The Constitution says nothing about the size of the court, which began with six justices and has had as many as ten. It also says nothing about lifetime appointments or about term limits, another splendid idea whose time may have come. A term limit of, say, ten or twelve years would enable a justice to serve through three elections, which is plenty, and enable the president of whichever party was in power at the end of that term to nominate a replacement. That would certainly level the playing field.

Which brings us to a fourth definition (the last one, I promise).

Anarchy: a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority.

This week, president punch ordered his hand puppet, William G Barr, to direct the department of injustice to declare three cities: Seattle, Portland and New York City "anarchist jurisdictions," whatever that means. Theoretically, it means that either these cities have no practical form of government or that their government has for some reason abdicated its responsibility to, um, govern. Ludicrous as that may seem, they are after all led for the most part by Democrats. Case closed.

Trump's reasoning (and we use the word "reasoning" in the broadest possible sense) seems to be that Portland and Seattle have allowed mostly peaceful civil rights demonstrations to drag on for months, while New York City has a Democratic mayor? Whatever the reason, in practical terms this means that the government in DC (which is patently idiotic but not anarchic) may withhold federal funds that are badly needed during a pandemic whose costs they have largely borne, thanks to Washington's failure to, um, govern.

In other news...

Should Republicans succeed in their effort to tilt the Supreme Court even farther to the right, one program that would be in grave danger is the Affordable Care Act, generally known as Obamacare, which could fall victim to president spiteful's unrelenting effort to erase anything with which the name "Obama" is associated. In 2018, a federal judge in Texas invalidated the entire law, and earlier this year the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. If the court should rule in favor of its abolition, it's really no big deal. Americans could surely get along without Obamacare, especially the estimated 133 million who have pre-existing conditions that would no longer be protected by the law. They could simply purchase insurance policies at rates set by the humane, grand-hearted insurance companies.

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Interview with Zappa and the burning strings
Highly Opinionated
Zappa and the burning strings
Interview with Ornette Coleman: An Outsider Cracks the Egg
Interview with The Trump Files
Highly Opinionated
The Trump Files
Interview with Craft Recording's Chet is a Rare Win for Baker
Interview with Blue Note's 80th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative
Interview with Good Vibes, Bad Vibes: Jazz in Film
Interview with Bolden: A Movie Review And Beyond


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