In the City of Brotherly Love: Day 1 of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia

sanders-clinton-handshakeOur theme today is “United Together.” I’ll pause while we all take a deep breath and live in the hope that today’s Democratic Convention opening doesn’t look like last week’s RNC disaster.

Will Bernie Sanders go all Ted Cruz and refuse to endorse Hillary? Will the Feel the Bern-ers (who are still chalking “Vote for Bernie” on sidewalks in the Fillmore) take over the spotlight to cause a ruckus? Bernie has promised a special moment for his supporters for today, which sounds ominous…

michelle-obamaOn the other hand, Michelle Obama is also slated to speak tonight. Personally, I’d love it if she cribbed a phrase from Melania Trump, but she’s too gracious for that kind of thing.

We will see if the Dems can get their act together. That dull thunk you hear is the sound of Debbie Wasserman Schultz falling on her sword, which may not mollify the Sanders supporters, but oy, can we please at least get the  dirty laundry aired and dry cleaned before we start this party? I am so tired of watching supposed adults acting like they are five year-olds on a playgroundfive year-olds on a playground.  Come to think of it, I know better behaved five-year olds.

Party Rules

Real estate developer Donald Trump, gestures during a news conference with the PGA in New YorkSo, I know I promised this earlier in the week. It took a while for my stomach to settle down enough so I could read the Republican Party platform. Not that you’d know it from the four days of absurdly rollicking disunity and disorganization we just witnessed ( which Politico called “The most chaotic, messy and perhaps memorable political convention in decades“), but there is a written plan that theoretically outlines the champagne wishes and caviar dreams of the GOP.

2It’s 66 pages of eye-roll inducing bloviation that starts out by declaring for American exceptionalism, which to me is like starting out by stating that the sun, moon, and stars all revolve around the earth. It just ain’t true, folks–we are as exceptional as any other nation, which is to say, not at all. It also kind of hilariously flies in the face of Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.” If we are so exceptional and guided by divine right, why do we need to make ourselves great…again?

Here are some other lowlights, but I encourage you to read it yourself, particularly to friends who need encouragement to get out to vote in November. It’s scary, folks.

In no particular order, let’s start with  denial about climate change. The GOP is putting their chips formally behind fossil fuels and coal, which seems so ludicrous as to be insane. Do you really need the votes from coal miners in West Virginia so badly?

Hilariously, the platform notes that:

The central fact of any sensible environmental policy is that, year by year, the environment is improving. Our air and waterways are much healthier than they were a few decades ago. As a nation, we have drastically reduced pollution, mainstreamed recycling, educated the public, and avoided ecological degradation.

Seriously? And just who do you think was responsible for the REGULATIONS that brought about that improving? Because it was Republicans and it didn’t just happen spontaneously.

Republicans are, of course, vehemently pro life and would like to pass an amendment declaring every egg and sperm is sacred.

We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Notorious R.B.G. At work. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Along with that, the platform formally declares their desire to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood and condemns the Supreme  Court decision that allows women’s health clinics to continue to operate in Texas without undue restriction.

 

Also on the Culture War front, the platform also promises pro-life justices– enjoy this shoutout to Antonin Scalia:

Only a Republican president will appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Speaking of Scalia, the GOP is also looking to roll back marriage equality gains:

Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia,
was a “judicial Putsch” — full of “silly extravagances” — that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.” In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Check that out. That’s Republicans claiming that they were robbed of the right to disenfranchise other citizens of their rights.

PP-Casting-Out-the-MOney-Changers-by-Carl-Heinrich-Bloch-1834-1890

Hey, moneychangers: Get out.

And speaking of rights….the GOP also whines that the freedom of religion is under attack because certain institutions who don’t believe that gay marriage should be a right can’t get government grants and might lose their tax exempt status. Uh, by the way, you’re still FREE to practice your religion–you just don’t get money and tax breaks for failing to recognize the rights of others.

Other miscellany: the GOP is against gun restrictions. Of course. High capacity magazines (154 shots in 5 minutes) are a great idea especially for school shootings.

We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle.

They’d like to roll back banking reform –what little there was of that–from 2008, because darnitalltoheck those pesky restrictions keep crazy people from inventing new investment schemes that can tank the economy.

What else? They’re against stem cell research, natch, and against GMO labeling, but for proof of citizenship to vote. (Hey, what if everyone had to name the nine –well eight–justices of the Supreme Court in order to qualify? Then only recently-minted American immigrants will be able to vote.)

keystone-xl-pipeline-tar-sands-cartoon-1024x701Republicans are for fracking, more oil and gas drilling (hello, Keystone XL pipeline) and against food stamps. They want to break down Obamacare and build a wall on the Mexican border. They want to penalize cities that give sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, but pass a law allowing bible study in public schools. Affirm the right to life while restoring the death penalty. Oh, and this:

Quite simply, the Republican Party is committed to rebuilding the U.S. military into the strongest on earth, with vast superiority over any other nation or group of nations in the world.

KKKristian-690x460

I don’t think these people live in Seville, Spain.

You’ve got the idea. Basically they’d like to give lip service to Christian values, while standing against all the things Christ actually represented like helping the poor, forgiving sins, renouncing violence and worldly goods, and unconditional love for your enemies.

 

Happier Thoughts

Anyway, in prep for tonight’s extravaganza, I offer you a few things that made me happy from last week, in hopes that this will set the tone for this week.


Party Like It’s 1984: The GOP Convention Day 4

  Thank God it’s Friday. Really. The convention is finally over. Now begins the long national nightmare of the campaign. 

I know that some of you are probably thinking that nutjob Donald Trump is still at the podium in Cleveland wrapping up his acceptance remarks. Maybe he is. That was an excruciatingly long speech and it seemed like it would never end. (It clocked in at 75 minutes making it the longest  acceptance speech ever. Is there hope he will just bore voters to death?)

I have no highlights for you. The entire affair was a discouraging bombastic exercise in self-aggrandizement. I really want to have as much fun with it as the Twitterverse does, but I’m so demoralized. Still, it did cheer me up to read some of the best tweets:

“I’ve heard this sort of speech a lot in the last 15 years and trust me, it doesn’t sound any better in Russian,” tweeted Russian chess great Garry Kasparov.

“So @medeabenjamin got into the hall and onto the floor twice? This is the party that’s going to lockdown our borders?” tweeted writer Gregg Levine.

  Hilariously, Trump extended some Big Tent love to Bernie Sanders supporters. Sanders, who is handy with Twitter himself, retorts “Those who voted for me will not support Trump who has made bigotry and divisiveness the cornerstone of his campaign.”

Anyway, there are fact checkers who are going to do better than I ever could with the barrage of claims he made in his hour-and-fifteen diatribe. But what’s staying with me is how hard it is to explain Trump. 

The daughter of a good friend staying over last night. She’s eight years old and very bright, loves to read, but is an expat living outside the country in Central America. I was explaining words to her like “demagogue” and “egomaniacal.” But what really struck me was when she asked what would happen if Trump became President. I was a little flummoxed because where do you even start? Does the earth split open and swallow us up whole? Do we lose all civil rights? Are we engaged in a ground war with Iran? Are people of color rounded up without regard to rights or status and taken off to prisons or just shot in the spot? 

How do you explain why starting a trade war with China is a horrible idea? How do you explain that the Arab Spring had nothing to do with Obama or Clinton? How do you explain that a man up there spouting self serving platitudes and half-truths is a fraud and has been for thirty years?

This is a guy who can’t be bothered with getting details right. Look at the handling of Melania Trump’s speech. People on the Democratic and Republican sides are aghast at how slipshod the preparation was--not even basic checking seems to have taken place. But that’s typical of Trump’s shoot from the hip style. “Don’t bother me with the details. I build towers.” 

To many Republicans, the lapse seemed frustratingly inevitable from a candidate who has not just eschewed the backstops of a major political campaign — he has mocked them as a waste of money. His campaign slogans, “America First” and “Make America Great Again,” echoed Pat Buchanan and Ronald Reagan. His social media graphics were crowdsourced on Twitter and Reddit by an aide who formerly managed Mr. Trump’s golf club in Westchester.

  And that results in I’m-simultaneously-laughing-while-crying kinds of gaffes. Like that time that Donald Trump tweeted an inspiring photo of himself and an American flag…superimposed over a photo of Nazi Waffen-SS soldiers

You’ve gotta ask, is his campaign really that phenomenally incompetent or is this just one big amazing piece of performance art? 

I mean look at this image from The NYTimes last night.   

Is it not pretty much this image?

 
Trump is offering to create a perfectly Orwellian dystopia for America and PEOPLE ARE EATING IT UP. 

If you haven’t had a chance, read the New Yorker article on Tony Schwartz, who ghostwrite The Art of the Deal. I want to excerpt the whole thing, but let’s start with this.

“Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,” Schwartz told me. “It’s implicit in a lot of what people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it. And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ” Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” he said.

“Trump stands for many of the things I abhor: his willingness to run over people, the gaudy, tacky, gigantic obsessions, the absolute lack of interest in anything beyond power and money.”

This is the self-serving charlatan who’s running for president. 


Jokers Wild: The RNC Convention Day 3

TedCruz-smugWell, that was fun.

Top moment of the RNC convention so far? Ted Cruz being booed from the floor as conventioneers realize that he will not say the words, “I am in bed with Donald Trump.”

No seriously, this is the kind of petty infighting usually reserved for Democratic Party contests… and it’s giving me no end of pleasure to watch it unfold. Last night on the NPR/PBS coverage, one of the male commentators who clearly thought he was off-mike could be heard muttering “…so undisciplined…” I really hope it was David “No, not Trump, not ever” Brooks.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 7.40.14 AMSo as Ted is wrapping up his “Vote for me in 2020” speech, as the crowd is unleashing a spectacle of boos and “Endorse Trump” shouts,  the Donald himself sweeps in on his Trump-copter and strides into the arena like this is “Wrestlemania 23: Battle of the Billionaires.” He joined his family in the VIP boxes and TOTALLY upstaged Ted as everyone flipped back and forth between him and Cruz.

Donald-TedScowlingRNC

Win Mcnamee/Getty

In the end, it started feeling ugly and Ted’s wife Heidi had to be escorted from the Convention space (by “Never Trump” proponent Ken Cuccinelli, no less). She could be seen wildly gesticulating as the crowd yelled “Goldman Sachs!” at the Goldman Sachs private wealth investment manager and she shooed at them like mayflies. (These are the folks you’re hoping will support you in 202, Ted?  Hooo-kay.)  I could sense the feed producer cutting from camera to camera with glee as they split-screened Ted’s big finish being booed with Donald Trump scowling from the sidelines.

 

 

Ted exhorts us to get out there in November and vote our conscience and it’s not clear if he is saying, “Vote for Hillary,” or “Vote for Gary Johnson.” Or maybe “Vote for Lucifer,” just to stick it to Ben Carson. And then he blessed us and scurried off the stage, no doubt thinking he was being a hero. He certainly thought he scored some points because this morning he doubled down on the non-endorsement: “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” even though he was reportedly kicked out of Sheldon Adelson’s luxury suite after his little display.

Ah, that was bracing.  I missed the apparently hilarious spectacle of Newt Gingrich trying to get things back on track by translating Ted’s remarks into their proper obsequious tone.  I know I ask this every year, but why the hell is ANYONE listening to Newt Gingrich anymore? Oh I know, we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for speakers this year–heck, Marco Rubio didn’t even bother to show up in person, but sent in a milky taped endorsement that came across like a cheap late-night infomercial. But can I just mention once again that Newt was forced to resign as Speaker of the House when he admitted to having an affair with intern while married to his second wife AND while pursuing impeachment against Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky?? He comes up this year as a Veep possibility when the man was fined for ethics violations by the House of Representatives. What the hell? how is it that people are going on about Hillary and Benghazi, but conveniently forgetting Newt and his affairs??

Trump-Pence

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Anyway, there’s no one who can really out-do Cruz. Trump’s VP nom Mike Pence gave us a pretty solid, if smarmy speech, full of all the right notes for a Republican also-ran. And Trump appeared upstage of Pence during the bows — literally upstaging him–because there can’t be a nanosecond of time that isn’t All About Trump. Reports came out later that up till midnight Trump was still trying to “get out of” choosing Pence as his VP, but Pence seems to have soldiered on like good cannon fodder.

Only one more day to go! Phew!

If you haven’t watched Laura Benanti on Colbert with a spoof of the Melania Trump speech, you must.  It’s a side-splitter!

Up next: The Republican platform (yes there really is one).

 

 


Not Playing with a Full Deck: The RNC Convention Day 2

Sunny JimSo Day 2 of the RNC Convention.

Know where I wasn’t? In front of the TV. No-sir-ee-bob. I was in a swish, West Coast liberal, San Francisco restaurant, enjoying the turpitude of an over-priced cocktail indubitably made for me by an immigrant–or the child of an immigrant, or the descendant of an immigrant–and concentrating hard on advancing the moral degradation of the human race with my pursuit of dangerous San Francisco values like compassion, justice and a living wage.

The very name of the establishment is “The Progress,” and you know what that means.

(That it was the name of the former theater where the restaurant is now housed which closed in 1925.)

head-explodeAs I left the restaurant, I checked my phone to find nine frantic text messages from my husband, each more agitated than the previous one, starting with “WTF Chris Christie?,” moving on with words like “apoplectic,” “bile” and “vomiting” and reaching a fever pitch with the phrase “I’m RNC drinking now.”

No, he wasnt talking about that devilishly delicious norovirus outbreak that is creating some havoc and sending GOP conventioneers into quarantine. (Isn’t that to be considered some kind of plague visited
upon the sinners? If not, why not?)

“I blame you for Chris Christie,” he fumes at me as I walk through the door. He’s furiously folding laundry and skirting our toddler who’s running around clad only in her diaper.

“What did I do?”

19lateshow-master768I sense that somehow I’m going to have to take the hit of social responsibility for the very existence of the culture that gave rise to Snookie and “The Jersey Shore.” But what about Jon Stewart?

“If I ever see Jon Stewart, I’m gonna slap him,” my husband lashes out.  (BTW, if you haven’t noticed, Jon’s come out of hiding and is hanging with Colbert again….)

Okay, you see how this is going?

“I taped it for you,” he says, with a delightful anachronism that takes me back to 1992. “You’re going to watch it.”

alien brain hemorrhageI get it. Misery loves company. But I’m going to need a stiffer drink.

“And I’ll take an Alien Brain Hemorrhage please? Up, with extra Baileys.” Especially if you’re gonna drop me right into Christie’s idiotic excuse for a speech.

“I used to be a federal prosecutor…” he says. And I’m thinking, maybe this is why you aren’t a prosecutor anymore — ’cause you’re not very good at this.  And by “this” I mean taking facts backed up by hard evidence and assembling them into a cogent argument. But, by all means, go ahead.

Within minutes, I’m on the couch myself sputtering, “Oh, because placing Boko Haram on a terrorist group list was TOTALLY gonna stop them from kidnapping those girls in Nigeria.” “SYRIA?  That’s rich!  You personally, Chris Christie, are on record as saying you’d ban Syrian orphans under age 5 from ever setting foot in this country, but you blame Hillary because you think she should have saved the lives of 400,000 Syrians?”

I won’t bore you with all my outbursts, but let’s note that the NY Times had a very nice neat fact check of Christie’s claims this morning (cooler heads than mine). And The New Yorker offered this assessment of Christie’s spectacle, “The general opinion was that Christie had debased himself and had gotten nothing for it.”

gettyimages-577715706_custom-b190f90e76637967ce47eec068abe107b15174dd-s900-c85Bobbleheads

You know what I’m distracted– nay, fascinated by? Who are the people on the convention floor?  I’m thinking about that while Ben Carson rambles on about Lucifer –“So are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer? Think about that.”Uh, wait, what? What the heck are you talking about?? Is it possible Ben Carson performed neurosurgery on himself?

But I digress. Who are the people vacantly nodding their heads out there on the floor and shouting “Lock her up” at every ad hominem attack? Are they hired? Are they real? Do they think, or are they drugged? Do they have norovirus? My stars, I hope they are giving out norovirus with every stupid ten-gallon hat.

Overall, it was a pretty lackluster night in terms of messaging and speakers, though I admit, I did not see UFC’s Dana White take the podium.

tiffanyI did watch Tiffany Trump onstage, who certainly did a bit better than Melania on Day 1, but that’s not saying much.  There’s a strange inauthenticity to both of them that makes me feel like I’m eating waxy, low-quality chocolate. Sickeningly sweet, and it leaves behind a kind of film that you just can’t get rid of.

Tiffany is that other kid. Not the ones  you’ve seen on the campaign trail whose mom is the glam Ivana Trump, but the daughter of Marla Maples, whose name spawned a thousand bad jokes.  I feel sorry for her.  Her speech comes off like a badly written college essay.

My dad is a natural-born encourager, the last person who will ever tell you to lower your sights up give up your dreams. I always looked forward to introducing him to my friends, especially the ones with preconceived notions, because they meet a man with natural charm and no facade. In person, my father is so friendly, so considerate, so funny and so real. My friends walked away with a glimpse of all that he is, and all that he means to me, of the strong, protective, kind, endearing man I am so proud to call my father.

All in all, if you’re skipping these early days of coverage, you’re not missing anything good, or even bad — it’s all just as you might expect: infuriating, yet in a very mediocre way.

Here’s the latest poll trends from Huffpost:

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 4.12.02 PM


Rules Are for Other People 

 Have I mentioned that I’m tired? No, it’s not that I’m weary from carrying a toddler all weekend. Not just weary from the constant barrage of tragedies that seem to unfold daily on our TV screens. I’m weary from all the mental energy expended–wasted really–on Donald Trump. Wondering how he got this far. Wondering how  it is that he can bully and bluster and foment divisiveness while calling it unity, racism while calling it patriotism and inchoate rage while calling it populism— and get away with it. Wondering who those people are on that convention floor cheering him on with their brains fully switched off. Wondering if this really is who we are as a nation? Good God, I hope not. 

He is the definition of the word demagogue. Look it up: 

  

Yeah, this is me, collapsed on the couch watching the GOP undertake a useless shouting match on the floor over rules while a crude, loud mouthed, xenophobic, misogynist know-nothing glides into the nomination. 

Center Square But hey! Today’s celebrity A-list lineup includes that guy from “Duck Dynasty,” Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato, Jr.  It’s like watching Hollywood Squares. 

They have pithy things to say like, “It’s been a rough year for the media experts–I don’t even know if they know how to talk to people from Middle America … who like to hunt, and fish, and pray and actually work for a living,”(clearly since I only hit one out of four, I am not ‘Murican enough) and “Is Donald Trump the Messiah? No, he’s just a man… a man doing this out of the goodness of his heart, because he wants to help.” (If you believe that, I have some old steaks and bad vodka to sell you. Possibly an airline and a university too.) And I believe I actually choked audibly when Sabato said, “Donald Trump believes in one America.” (N.B. it looks white, has bad hair and paints everything in gold.)

Yeah, go ahead and take a moment. I’ll wait while you get “goodness of his heart” unstuck from your craw and roll your eyeballs out from the back of your head. This is the kind of quality you get when Tim Tebow and Don King aren’t available to speak at your convention. But hold onto your hats, people, Ultimate Fighting Championship prezzie Dana White hits the podium on Tuesday. 

In the mean time, we have possibly the most disorganized, off-message slate of speakers on a convention day 1 that I’ve ever seen. Who were the two Benghazi survivor guys who reminisced up there like they were on a poorly attended Comic-Con panel? I kept falling asleep before I could read their names. 

And then there’s Michael McCaul. I’m wondering who the heck this guy is and why he gets a slot when he’s nattering on about “And Donald will never allow terrorists to gain ground against America — he will shake the ground they walk on.” Then he says, “I’m proud to serve as part of Trump’s national security team” and I can’t stop the hoot from exploding from my mouth. This nincompoop is your national security advisor?

  “I don’t know how much more of this I can deal with,” says Eric flatly. I think he’s worried that early exposure to all this bigotry and rabble-rousing pseudo-patriotism will ruin our daughter neurologically. 

“We’ll watch through Giuliani and then switch to something calming like ‘Orphan Black,'” I assure him. 

So we grit our teeth and hang on til Giuliani appears, looking wider than usual, or maybe that’s just the aspect ratio in my TV being off. He proclaims that what he “did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America.” Immediately, I flash back to the 90s in Spanish Harlem when I walked daily through police checkpoints on the street –they stopped every black resident to demand ID (even from old ladies) but never once glanced at me, the whitish-Asian chick. Yeah, he’s not lying, Donald Trump would do that for America. 

In the end, we were weighed down by the sheer volume of shite–“I don’t know, honey. Is a firkin of shit bigger than a crock of shit? Maybe it’s a methuselah of shit. And do you use liquid measure for that?” In any case, flattened by despair, we watched Melania –hey what the heck is Donald doing introducing her when no candidate ever shows up on day 1–Trump. 

Her speech is so surreal as to be otherworldly. Caring for the poor?? When has he ever cared about the poor?? Then the NY Times reported on passages from her speech that were weirdly similar to Michelle Obama speech at the 2008 convention. Ah, that’s why it’s surreal–it was someone else’s speech. Hey, Mel, plagiarizing ideas doesn’t mean you’re unifying them. 

Ugh. Okay, we turned it off after that. Maybe Bob Dole danced naked on the 50-yard line afterward (though I doubt it) but we didn’t see it. 

The polling sez so

So here we are with two of the least liked, most unfavorably rated candidates ever. One has a resume that includes “member of Congress” and “Secretary of State” and the other has a string of failed businesses, a loud mouth and a Twitter account. So naturally, we will evaluate them based on the traditionally accepted standard for American politicians, which is whom you would most like to have a beer with. No, scratch that. Trump is a notorious teetotaler and Hillary enjoys craft beer, so by that standard she should be way ahead. Nope. I just don’t know why the polling is so close. 

Regardless, I’ll just remind everyone of a few things:

In this modern age when people mainly have cell phones and won’t talk to pollsters, you have to ask if polling is dead in the water from the start. 

Polls leading up to and following conventions always show a “bounce.” There’s still four months of shenanigans to watch after that, so don’t worry, the numbers will be up and down much more than you’re seeing today. 

Poll trends that take in many polls and not just one are far more interesting, which is why I’ll be following aggregators like Electoral-Vote.com

  And speaking of electoral votes, for better or for worse, that’s pretty much all that matter ultimately. So I’m less interested in hearing about the 52%-48% split nationally than I am about how candidates are faring in key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. I’ll also watch FiveThirtyEight. Yes Nate Silver got blindsided by the Trump juggernaut, but I believe he’ll adjust accordingly and take the crazy pants seriously in his future calculations. Who knew you had to pay attention to a snake oil salesman with no political experience whatsoever. 

Well, that’s all for now, folks. Tune in again to watch us foam at the mouth some more. Does anyone here know first aid?


And so it begins…

Fired up? Ready to go? Or just tired of the insanity before we even get to the first convention?

The rookies

Oh wait, sorry, let me introduce myself. I’m  M.E. and it’s been four years since my last confession… drink… political convention… blog post. Take your pick. 

Important housekeeping notes: I’m posting on a new app and so there will be glitches as I get this blog going again. And will I be producing the epic 10,000 word rants that I put up in 2008 and 2012? Probably not. I have a toddler, people. Still, I can think of no more fitting occasion for a return to the blogosphere than the run up to the Republican National Convention which starts well, now. 

Though no one can replace the beloved Grousy Cat, our wide-eyed Rookie Correspondents Messi and Xavi have agreed to take on the daunting task of leading us through this election year. Thanks for joining!

Feed the birds, Tuppence a bag

So yeah. Trump. Helluva thing. Let’s dive right in. 

A friend of mine remarked on Faceplace that she will forever think of the Trump-Pence ticket as “tuppence.” Well, that makes me think of an old 18th century London ad for gin: “Drunk for 1 penny, Dead drunk for tuppence, Straw for nothing.” Dead drunk. I’ll keep working that in as we navigate Cleveland this week. 

Seriously, though. I know that the questions about the insanity of the race didn’t start this weekend, or even last May when Trump clinched the nom. But let’s start with who is on the Donald’s marketing team?  

This is the logo of someone trying very hard to make himself a laughingstock. Pro tip: before releasing your new branding, put it in front of a focus group of teenage boys for evaluation. 

Speaking of laughs, the lineup for the GOP Convention is out (Watch it live July 18-21. Order your Ativan ahead.) Big surprise, nobody really wants to put themselves out there on national TV for Trump.  As the Melissa Warnke puts it in the LA Times, “Tune in on Monday night to see two intimate apparel models and zero Latino people take the stage. Only in Trump’s America.”

And journalists are gearing up for the big event with gas masks and bulletproof vests, because while tennis balls and tuna cans are not permitted in the “event zone” in downtown Cleveland, guns are A-ok (open carry state, folks.) Fasten your flak jackets, people, it’s going to be a bumpy week. 

Redefining Success… Or Huckster Extraordinaire

But back to The Donald. Because we can never get away from talking about the Donald. (Do read Vox pundit Ezra Klein’s take on Trump’s intro of Mike Pence last week: “…It was the single most bizarre, impulsive, narcissistic performance I have ever seen from a major politician.”)

I thought I’d drop in a list of highlights from this oh-so-successful businessman’s career. (release your tax returns, Donald.) Check out Rolling Stone for a more comprehensive take–these are just my faves. 

Trump Entertainment Resorts: I’m going to quote Rolling Stone because this is pretty succinct. 

Trump has filed for bankruptcy on his Atlantic City properties alone three times. First was the Trump Taj Mahal in 1991 — which was $3 billion in debt after just one year in operation. He was back in bankruptcy court in 2004, and not just for the Trump Taj Mahal but for the Trump Marina and Trump Plaza casinos, which along with a riverboat casino in Indiana had a debt burden of some $1.8 billion. After the bankruptcy, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts reorganized as Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. Four years later, Trump Entertainment Resorts missed an interest payment on a $53.1 million bond; the company declared bankruptcy, and this time Trump stepped down as its chairman.

Trump Airlines: borrowed $245 million to buy Eastern Airlines, outfitted the planes with gold faucets and the flight attendants with pearl necklaces…and in two years had defaulted on the loan. 

Trump Steaks: yep, this was a thing. As was Trump Vodka, Trump Wine and Trump Ice (water).

Trump-the Game: launched the board game at the height of the Gordon Gecko 80s. Out of circulation by 1990.

Trump University: the fraudulent for-profit school Trump started that is currently facing two class action suits.  

In blunt testimony revealed on Tuesday, former managers of Trump University, the for-profit school started by Donald J. Trump, portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay tens of thousands for Mr. Trump’s insights.

 Rookie 1 The Rookie sez: I’m not eating that stupid Trump Cat Food and what is wrong with you humans anyway?

Up next time: polls and polling


Farewell to our beloved Hallgerðr Longlegs

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Hallgerðr Longlegs. 1992-2013

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Editor-in-chief Grousy Cat

We are grieved to relay the news that longtime Political Rant editor and provocateur Hallgerðr–sometimes known as “Grousy Cat”–passed peacefully Tuesday afternoon attended by her family of human servants, including her companion of 21 years, following a two-month battle with Squamous Cell Carcinoma. She was 21 years old.

Born in Tucson, Arizona in April, 1992, Hallgerðr Longlegs was named not only for the Icelandic heroine of “The Saga of Burnt Njal” but also for her questing spirit and propensity for skillfully climbing in and out of boxes, cabinets, closets, baskets, etc.
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Sarastro & Nirvana awaiting Hallgerðr’s wisdom, dispensed from on high.

A shy cat, by nature, she preferred to allow others–like her sister, Auðr the Deep-Minded, who predeceased her in the late 90s– to shine in the spotlight. Hallgerðr was, nonetheless, a quick-witted and astute feline who did not suffer fools gladly. Fast on the paw when hunting insects, and yet always ready to radiate sleep rays upon unsuspecting humans, she was a creature of contradictions. To her friends, she could be tolerant and warm—a plushy ball of purr on cold San Francisco nights, tempered with the noblesse oblige of her exalted rank—while her adversaries feared the disciplining swat on the nose which she did not hesitate to dispense when provoked.

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Hallgerðr & the Magic Shirt celebrate the Obama win in 2012

In politics, though she declined to state an outright affiliation with any party, Hallgerðr’s leanings tended to the Liberal side. Still, she found much to discredit with a sharp barking meow on either end of the political spectrum, and her brief, yet cutting remarks were often a refreshing commentary during campaign speeches and debates in election season. Feisty to the end, she did not hesitate to make known her mind, or to offer her human servants corrective notes when necessary, even if that occurred at 5 a.m.

Throughout her long life, Hallgerðr brought great comfort and also the vaunted “black cat’s gift” of good luck to her chosen humans.

 Hallgerðr is survived by her housemate, and sometimes foe, Nirvana, and her two adoring monkey-servants.

Hallgerðr enjoyed mind games.

Hallgerðr enjoyed mind games.


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