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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Lil' Donnie's New Toy

Ever since I took "Global View," a class on international history from a Global Southern perspective, in my sophomore year of college I've been hooked on international development. After college I joined the Peace Corps and since then I've devoted the last 30 years to bringing the best that the United States has to offer to the rest of the world, learning from what folks overseas have to offer to us, and then sharing that with my fellow Americans. I guess it's been a bit of a vocation for me.

So when Donald Trump decided to nominate the eminently unqualified Heather Nauert to replace Nikki Haley and become the next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations I thought, wait for it....

"Well, that makes sense."

Think about it. Donald Trump is nothing if not consistent, especially when it comes to trashing institutions that don't fit neatly into is crayon-colored black and white (mostly white) dystopian picture of the world. He takes great delight in hiring folks to lead these institutions (or in Nauert's case, represent the United States) the very people who can best serve as human wrecking balls to smash to smithereens the credibility of said institutions. The list is long and is only growing longer as Trump scrapes the bottom of the barrel to find some random right-wing clown to fill these critical posts: Scott Pruitt (and now Andrew Wheeler), EPA; Ben Carson, HUD; Betsy DeVos, Education; Ryan Zinke, Interior; Jared Kushner, Saudi Tyrant Whisperer; and Ivanka Trump, ...????.

And if denigrating the institutions weren't enough, Trump insults the very class of people from which he has selected his nominee. Of course, it's important to nominate women to the highest levels of the executive branch. I don't need to remind any of you of just how woefully inadequate Trump has been with respect to diversity and inclusion in his cabinet. But can anyone tell me with a straight face that Heather Nauert is the most qualified person, never mind woman, available for this post? She brings... let's see...wait a minute, let me think...hold on...well, she, that's not relevant. Ah, right! She worked at the U.S. State Department where then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thought so much of her as a spokesperson for the department that he refused to let her tag along on his official trips overseas.

It reminds me of how former President George H.W. Bush (RIP) chose to replace Thurgood Marshall, one of the greatest lawyers of the 20th century, with "Fifteen Cents," aka, Clarence Thomas. N.B. My wife corrected me, Clarence Thomas was a worse choice and has probably done more damage to the credibility of the Supreme Court as an institution than Heather Nauert is likely to do at the U.N. But (don't tell my wife I disagree) it isn't just the United Nations that she'll be trashing, it's the institution of diplomacy and international relations. What message does Trump send the rest of the world by nominating someone who clearly is way out of her depth, has had no relevant experience and whose only credential is her unwavering commitment to repeat and forcefully advocate for whatever nonsensical lie comes of Trump's combed-over, empty head?

Hint: It probably won't get him invited over to the UN Secretary General's for Xmas dinner.

No the real answer is that this decision is yet another move by Trump and his white nationalist brain trust (bust?) to intentionally undermine the U.S.'s global leadership.

I'm now officially tired of winning.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Kaep's Got Nothing on Me!

Hey, Sportsfans! It's been a month since my last 'toon. Work travel and the holidays, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada...Whatever.

Ever since my family moved to the Washington DC area in 1972, I've been a diehard 'Skins fan. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, the Skins were actually good, in fact, really good under Joe Gibbs, winning three Super Bowls. After a lost decade in the 90s, something akin to football purgatory, we wound up in football hell when Dan "the Danny" Snyder bought the team and proceeded to gut it while turning it into a mostly winless money making plaything for himself.

I won't rehash all of the boneheaded moves the team has made over the past two decades. Professional sportswriters - my favorites being Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser - have already documented the rapid descent of the team to the depths of mediocrity. What I will highlight today is the extent to which the team has lost its soul.

Now, before we get too much further, let's be brutally honest about this franchise. First, back in the day it was first owned by George Preston Marshall, an unrepentant racist, until Baalzebub saw fit to bring him back home. Thanks to that SOB, the Redskins were the last team in the NFL/AFL to integrate, resulting in the many Washingtonians becoming fans of the much-hated Dallas Cowboys, which was the first to do so.

Second, there's the name, which has to be the most vile, racist name of any major franchise in professional sports here in the U.S. To make matters worse, the Danny has dropped major coin to fight legal battles to protect the team's right to retain it, which the vast majority of Native American nations have rightfully insisted to be a grievous insult on top of the injury of their peoples' genocide at the hands of white European colonists.

Okay, I think we've established that this franchise is obnoxious and repugnant. Why do I still root for them? That'll be the subject of another post. The Point Is...Just when you thought the 'Skins couldn't go any lower, they went ahead and claimed Ruben Foster, who is currently charged with multiple counts of domestic violence, off of waivers. And, yes, let's back it up a bit. The 'Skins already are starting a known child abuser, Adrian Peterson, as their star running back.

Just top this crap sundae off with a chunky cherry-flavored nugget, the 'Skins have repeatedly, publicly made clear that they will never sign Colin Kapernick, a very good quarterback, despite having lost their starting quarterback to a gruesome leg injury.

All that is just to point out the obvious fetid, shameless hypocrisy on the part of the Redskins:

Child abuser? No problemo!
Wife/girlfriend beater? Hakuna matata!
Principled protester against racial injustice? Never!

I truly wish that all of this revolting behavior was enough for me to swear off watching this team or any football team for that matter - concussions anyone? it's not as if the rest of the NFL is made up of saints - but it probably isn't. I'm sadly stuck as diehard fan and I'll most likely watch them again and again and again. But that won't stop me for registering my disgust with how this franchise continues to plumb new depths in rotten, inexcusable behavior. It's enough to make me feel all (black and) blue.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

AND He's Better Looking

The attack on Jews worshipping at their Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh underscores what no American Jew, including this one, ever wants to admit: we're not safe in our own neighborhood, or in our own country for that matter. Who can we thank for this miserable predicament? Why our very own president, Donald Trump, of course, along with his gel slicked spawn, Don Jr. They have both been shamelessly flogging anti-Semitic tropes since the 2016 presidential campaign, spreading virulent hatred to activate their (i.e, the Republicans') "base."

Predictably, Republican party "leaders" have taken one of two tacts. They've either run for cover, complicit, even while they continue to cosign the rhetoric and actions of this amoral bloated gasbag of a president who famously described neo-Nazis as "very fine people." Or, alternatively, they have puffed up and assumed an even more sanctimonious pose, as if that were even possible, and insisted that all sides tone down the rhetoric and return to civil dialogue.

They assume this same pose while mouthing the platitudes about our nation being a tolerant one, and then, just like Trump, quickly return to vilifying people of color, immigrants, women or whomever they need to demonize to mobilize their base of six-fingered, knuckle-dragging, tea-bagging, sister-shagging, false flagging moral degenerates. Meanwhile, while we all fume and sputter at the audacity of it all, they go right back to their real mission - to populate the judiciary with as many racist, fascist judges who will institutionalize white minority rule for generations to come.

So what if a few Jews get massacred in in the process? Nothing will get in their way of achieving the Republican solution to the slow, steady colorization and resultant diversification of our society. Solution, eh? Where have I heard that one before...? I'm sure the "Fake Jews" in the Trump family -  Jared, Ivanka and their brood - aren't sweating it...They'll just hop in their private jet and skip town while the rest of us are left in this seething cesspool of antisemitism that is America.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Oh, the Horror!

In a few evenings, all the little buckaroos in our neighborhood will be turning up on our front porch for some Grade A sugar bombs, packaged and marketed oh so lovingly by the humanitarians at Big Agriculture. I'll certainly be glad to do my part to feed these kids' budding (raging?) sugar addiction.

Meanwhile, the 24/7 Horror Show that is the Trump Administration doesn't need a single, special day in the year set aside for scaring and terrorizing Americans. With Donald Trump, every day is Halloween. For our dear friends on the right of the political spectrum, it's a nonstop, year-round binge. Every time they say their boy, bellowing and braying at his enemies, real or imagined (mostly imagined), they gobble down that strychnine-laced white supremacism he feeds them, hoping his next empty, spiteful act will satisfy their craving for the ultimate white rage high.

For my brothers and sisters on the left, it's another anxiety-filled day, wondering when the nightmare will ever end. All too understandably distracted by the daily geyser of white hatred, they fail to see that much of what Trump is clumsily rushing to do - rollback of civil rights for people of color and LGBTQ folks; demonization of immigrants and asylum seekers; dismantling of environmental, worker and consumer safety regulatory frameworks; and the degradation of the basic norms of our democratic institutions - is part and parcel of a process that began long, long ago.

Fredrick Douglas told us that power concedes nothing without a demand but he may not have realized just how quickly power lashes back against any progress - however incremental or just it might have been - once it has been accomplished. That's what I've experienced in my lifetime. I was born too late to witness the major gains of the 1960s' liberation movements; instead, over the past 50 plus years, I've watched the power elites plot and carry out their slow, steady claw back. Sure, it's scary. Yes it's hurting and even killing people, innocent people, but let's not fool ourselves. It's nothing new, and it's unlikely to stop anytime soon, and certainly not with the election of scary clowns from the other side of the aisle.

On that note, the best way to overcome our fears is to laugh at them. Here's my contribution. Enjoy the 'toon!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Wake Up, Little Susie, Wake the BLEEP Up!

"Whoa, Nellie! And it's Barf Throwitup as our newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court in a 'Squi-ker!'"

By just a few votes, cast by a handful of particularly spineless Senators, the Republicans were able to ram the Kavanaugh nomination through the Senate on a collision course with the U.S. Supreme Court. I was going to write something about the Supreme Court being the last pillar standing in our democracy, but that really isn't or has been true. Whatever institutional integrity the place might have still had was jettisoned long ago with the infamous Bush v. Gore ruling. The best democracy (Republican) money can buy, yessiree Bob (Corker)!

It's with some reluctance that this week's rant 'n' rave is reserved for Susan Collins. While I don't want to single her out, I'm gonna single her out. For the men who fell in line, I'm not at all surprised - gender equality and gender equity are probably #4,391 on the list they actually give a hoot about. They'll simply bumble along with the rest of their white, entitled lives in utter, blissful ignorance of how much harm they just caused the nation with their scruple-less act of misogynistic white supremacy.

Back to Susie Q. As has been written much more eloquently, Senator Collins sold out her gender and her soul. For what exactly I'm not sure. Is she such a loyal patriarchy-loving fool that she simply fell in after a good solid mansplaining from the triple-chinned blunder, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? Was she offered a carrot - maybe a cabinet position, a committee chair or some campaign financial assistance to counter the likely avalanche of contributions her 2020 opponent will receive? Was she threatened with a stick - the denial of all of the above?

I guess I'm asking for a little help here. One thing is for sure. Women, people of color, recently arrived immigrants - legal and undocumented, non-evangelical Christians, people living with disabilities, and yes, you too - "blue collar" working class folks - we're all in for world of pain and suffering. Unless, of course, we stop focusing on what separates us and instead on what will bring us together.

Let's all try to have some patience with each other and realize that all of us are traumatized by living in this savage, winner-take-all society, the "leaders" of which are always multiple steps ahead in their centuries' old strategy of divide and rule. Whatever Alex de Tocqueville might have thought he saw here almost 200 years ago is now only hanging on for dear life. Time for all of us to start doing some serious non-rapey CPR on our social fabric so that we can restore bonds of mutual tolerance, acceptance, trust and, dare I say it, love. Our nation's survival depends on it. And yeah, Donald "Pop a Couple of Tic Tacs" Trump is hereby banned from this collective exercise, unless Susan Collins is still looking for her big fat wet sloppy "thank you" kiss.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Animal House (of Justice)

Well, that was something...I admit that I watched/listened to chunks of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which both Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh had opportunities to tell their respective stories. Dr. Blasey-Ford's testimony was filled with an incredible combination of raw emotion and scientific precision...a peer reviewed journal article, told with grace from a still-wounded heart. Judge Kavanaugh chose instead to borrow a page out of his patron's, Donald Trump's, play book, and color it in bile and vomit with liberal (can I use that word?) splashes of orangutan orange, rage-filled red, and snot-hued greens, a veritable Picasso of putridness and self-pity.

And that is what white entitlement looks like, smears of bodily effluvia: blood, spunk and chunks of Ralph. And that is what Donald Trump, George Bush (père et fils) and Ronald Reagan have used to decorate the Supreme Court, smearing it with this toxic mix of white supremacy, plutocratic disdain, and savage unrestrained hyper-capitalism. Throw into the mix the stench of skunk beer, a few ripped panties and one-piece swimsuits (and multiple established precedents) and, voilà! The transformation is now complete: what was once the Corinthian-columned heart of U.S. jurisprudence and the rule of law, has now become the Animal House of Justice!

When's pledge week?

Here's the toon:

Sunday, September 23, 2018

He Pled the (Twenty-) Fifth

I wonder if Mel Brooks has one more movie left in him, some combination of the Producers, with the  big hit number being "Midterms for Hitler." Probably not, he rightfully deserves to spend his last years on earth just enjoying his health. That means the rest of us schlubs have to pick up the slack.

Here's my contribution. It turns out that Rod Rosenstein, whom Trump and the Republicans would surely love to show the door, might well have been plotting to unseat the Donald. I'm not sure what his motive was - after all, he chose to serve in this administration - but I'm guessing it's because he felt "used" by Trump when Trump used Rosenstein's memo as his justification for firing Comey.

Thins soup, I know, but I just can't see anyone in the Trump cabinet (or in Rosenstein's case, just below) having the intestinal fortitude to chuck the Orange Menace from the White House. Maybe I'm wrong, in which case Rosenstein's days are surely numbered. I guess he's okay for now, since Trump's toadies (you can't spell toadies with "aides") convinced Trump not to jettison anymore high ranking officials for fear it might give the "wrong impression" that the White House really is a chaotic shambles. Wouldn't want anyone getting that idea.

I do miss Mel Brooks. His humor formed/warped my own when I saw his string of hits in the mid-70s as a young kid. And I need that sense of humor - never mind to cartoon - but just to be able to get through each day without plummeting into a deep depression over the sorry state of affairs we're in. But not to despair, the midterms are almost upon us, and hopefully our very own comb over Hitler will be put into a deep freeze.