Fire and fury, shock and awe

Yesterday, your Tweeter-in Chief responded to the news that North Korea now has the ability to hit New York with a nuclear weapon this way:

 “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Bluff and bluster. Dumb and dumber.

It doesn’t matter one bit that North Korea would lose in a nuclear exchange with the U.S. Everyone else would lose, too.

We would lose plenty. Even if the fat lunatic running things over there didn’t get a shot off, we would be saddled with a huge humanitarian crisis. Having broken it, we would own it, a lesson we apparently never get tired of not learning. Does the fat lunatic running things over here have a plan for “the day after”?

And if Kim Jong-un did manage to nuke a U.S. city, who will say that was a worthwhile cost to bear to shut him up?

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Our ally, South Korea, would lose more than anyone. Seoul is only 35 miles from the North Korea border. The damage to their population would be huge and the entire Asian and world economies would take an incredible hit.

China would face a huge immigration problem. Guam would be obliterated.   The world would turn against us (even more than they already have, if you can imagine that). ISIS would be emboldened, and would achieve a huge proxy victory just by doing nothing.

I’m not even going to think about the environmental catastrophe that would result.

If you want to hear a very interesting analysis of the four possible approaches we have for dealing with this, and why none of them are good, have a listen to this.

Spoiler alert: the least worst option is to let the North Korean man-baby have what he wants.

The millions who enthusiastically voted for Donald J. Trump only nine months ago may be finding out very soon what a huge mistake they made.

LALALALA – I Can’t hear you!

A draft report on climate change has been completed by thirteen federal agencies and now awaits approval for public release from the Trump administration.

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The report shows temperatures have risen drastically since 1980, and that Americans are feeling the effects right now. It contradicts statements made by the Trump administration, including citing the effects of human activity in the form of increased greenhouse gasses as the principal contributor. The authors base their findings on thousands of studies by tens of thousands of scientists.

According to the Failing New York Times, which has received a draft copy, the report states, “Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans.” You can read the draft copy here.

We all eagerly await the response of President Jackass. Will he say something like, “When new facts come to light, it would be insane not to change your opinion”? Or perhaps, something like, “Given the universally agreed-upon conclusions of the best scientific minds in the world, we have decided to rejoin the Paris climate accord.”

He’s a reasonable guy after all, isn’t he? I mean, it’s a pretty dire situation not just for Americans, but everyone in the world – and we’re the most influential country in the world, right?

And even if reason and science and common sense aren’t enough for him to do the right thing here, wouldn’t it have political advantages as well? Nothing will shake the support he has from his “base”, and this would be the perfect opportunity to silence some critics and win over some new constituencies, right?

And it would be a great opportunity to show people that Steve Bannon isn’t really calling all the shots, and that those who say Bannon and Pruitt duped him into leaving Paris are all wrong about everything.

The Climate Change Denial Department here at GOML has officially gone on the record. The smart money is betting that man-baby will do what the man-baby always has done.

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Ken Starr, please be quiet.

The other day Kenneth Starr said that the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller might be overstepping its bounds, and should not turn into a “fishing expedition”. He said the original “gravaman” of the investigation was Russian collusion in the election, and that it would be inappropriate to go beyond this question into other areas.

On hearing this, everyone who remembers Ken Starr’s years-long quest to find something, anything, that would reflect badly on Bill Clinton threw up a little bit in their mouths. CNN filed this story under the headline “Ken Starr killed irony today”.

For those too young to remember, Ken Starr was the “Independent Counsel” charged with investigating the potential wrongdoings of Bill and Hillary Clinton in a failed 1970’s real estate development called “Whitewater”. The Clintons lost money on this investment, there was never any wrongdoing found , and they were never charged with anything. There was no “there” there.

Starr was appointed to head a three-judge panel to investigate “the scandal” in 1994, just a year and a half into the Clinton administration. Even though there was never anything to it, Republicans were bound and determined to keep the travesty going, and Starr moved from one subject to the next until, with the investigation finally winding down in 1998, he got wind of some inappropriate sexual conduct  between Clinton and an intern named Monica Lewinsky.

The Lewinsky scandal became a 24/7 cable news obsession in 1998, basically blocking out the sun and other real news for months on end. It led ultimately to Clinton’s impeachment trial for lying under oath about the nature of his relationship with Lewinsky. He was absolved and continued in office.

Today is the anniversary of the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The bombings were carried out by operatives of Osama bin Laden, and presaged the 9/11 attacks. 224 people were killed in the bombings, including 12 Americans, and 4500 were wounded.

On August 20, 1998, Clinton ordered a retaliatory attack on bin Laden’s sanctuary in Afghanistan and 70 missiles hit three al Qaeda sites there, killing 24 people, but not bin Laden. 13 missiles hit a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, killing a night watchmen.

But because of the relentless and idiotic persecution of Bill Clinton by Ken Starr, who had clearly exceeded the “gravaman” of his original investigation, none of these events were regarded as particularly alarming or even newsworthy, and, tragically, none led to any increased effort to neutralize al Qaeda.

Instead, the events were reported, mainly but not exclusively by the young FoxNews network, as “wagging the dog”, meaning Clinton trying to create a distraction to get Monica Lewinsky off the TV for a day or two. A typical example of the coverage from the Washington Post:

Several Republicans yesterday raised the issue expressly. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said: “After months of lies and deceit and manipulations and deceptions — stonewalling — it raised into doubt everything he does and everything he says,” Coats said.

Administration officials said yesterday they had anticipated criticism that Clinton was following a “Wag the Dog” strategy — so-named after the recent movie in which a president tries to draw attention away from a sexual scandal by staging a phony war — but had no choice but to ignore it.

Perhaps there is a legitimate discussion about Mueller’s scope to be had now, but Ken Starr should not be part of it. His past transgressions and current hypocrisy exclude him. I don’t think it’s going too far to say that without this biased, self-important, corrupt and disingenuous fool, we may well have succeeded in limiting al Qaeda’s ability to carry out the 9/11 attacks.

To Ken Starr, I would say, “Thanks for nothing and shut the fuck up.”

Mother of Exiles redux

On July 4th, I wrote about how America is still the greatest country in the world because of the ideals laid out in the founding documents and elsewhere, e.g. in the Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus” inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.  My point was,  “If we come up short in trying to make those ideals reality, that’s one thing. But if we abandon them altogether, we are lost.”

The New Colossus described Lady Liberty as the “Mother of Exiles”, and for the millions who saw those words for the first time on entering New York harbor, it validated all the sacrifice,  hardship, and uncertainty they had faced to make their way here.

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Among those millions were the antecedents of Donald J. Trump and many others in the current administration, including Stephen Miller, the vile little worm who is “policy adviser” to your president.

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A couple of days ago, Miller was explaining the administration’s new immigration policy, which drastically reduces the number of legal immigrants we will accept, requires them to speak English, etc., and he got into an exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta, who asked Miller if these new rules honored the spirit of Lazarus’ poem.

Miller took the opportunity to say,

“the poem that you’re referring to was added later. It’s not actually part of the Statue of Liberty.”

No duh. So what? It was added because that’s what the statue meant to us (and the world), and continued to mean for the next 115 years. Until now. Miller dismisses it as something like graffiti that needs to be cleaned off.

Maybe the time is now at hand when we can no longer claim to be the greatest nation on earth because of our ideals. Maybe we are now officially lost.

I have often said that the Germans, of all people, should not presume to provide moral guidance to anyone. Not for another hundred years or so, by which time the project of re-writing history to expunge their crimes will surely be complete. I have said that until then, they can just keep their teutonic pie-holes shut and let others criticize us.

Well, maybe their time has also come sooner than I imagined. Here are some images from their Rose Monday parades a while back. You decide.

Mooch, we hardly knew ye

Anthony Scaramucci is out as White House Communications Director, as we all know by now. The hiring of the Mooch to replace Reince Preibus, who had lost the confidence of his boss, resulted in the resignation of Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, who refused to work for the Mooch.

Spicer reportedly said that Mr. Scaramucci’s hiring “would add to the confusion and uncertainty already engulfing the White House.” What he actually said was closer to “this guy is a low-life scumbag from Queens and we’ve already got enough of those around here”.

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The Mooch was recommended by that dynamic duo of king-makers and Tweety-whisperers, Jared and Ivanka, and had the “full support” of the President. For about a week. Given Tweety’s attention span, a week isn’t actually all that bad.

The Mooch became immediately famous for his profanity-laced descriptions of other White House notables, like Priebus (“a fucking paranoid schizophrenic”), and Bannon (“trying to suck his own cock”). But this isn’t really what Tweety objected to, as it’s basically the same language and attitude that he’s always been comfortable with. And anyway, none of his “base” was offended by the vulgarity because FoxNews didn’t report it, so they never knew about it.

It’s more likely that the Mooch’s knack for self-promotion and love of the limelight was what alienated Tweety, who doesn’t want anyone’s name in the news but his own.

The Mooch lost more than his job. He lost his family as well. His 38-year-old wife of three years, who was nine months pregnant, filed for divorce. She gave birth to a son while the Mooch was with the President at the now-infamous Boy Scout Jamboree speech, where Tweety bragged to an audience of kids about wild parties on yachts owned by rich friends of his.

The Mooch, on hearing of the birth, texted his wife, “Congratulations, I’ll pray for our child.”  Texted? Wow. That says it all. Everyone knows you don’t text your wife when she gives birth! What a moron. Everyone knows giving birth calls for a tweet, not a text! No wonder she divorced him.

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The main contribution the Mooch was supposed to make to the White House was to stop all the “leaking” that’s been going on. But the leaking became worse. Everything was “leaked”. It just makes you wonder why everything is such a big secret to begin with. What was so awful that got “leaked” that sent the Mooch over the edge?

Welp, the big thing they wanted to keep secret was that  Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with Tweety, Melania, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. This was “leaked” to Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, who tweeted (of course) about it.

The Mooch just about had a stroke when he saw that. He called Lizza in a rage and threatened to fire everyone in the communications office unless Lizza revealed who “leaked” it (as if Lizza would give a shit if he did). The Mooch said,

 “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”

Wow. OK. Slow down, Mooch. If you think that citizens finding out that the President is conspiring with Sean Hannity is a “major catastrophe”, you’re the one who needs to brush up on patriotism.

The catastrophe is that they’re conspiring in the first place – the rest of us finding out about it is actually what the press is supposed to do. The press is supposed to be independent, remember? As Communications Director, that would be something you should be aware of, no?

Anyway, the Mooch is history now. It was fun while it lasted.

 

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

Today, two questions are of burning interest to defenders of “royalty” worldwide:

1. Why be only a prince and merely a Highness but not Majesty, without any status?

2.  How can we explain to younger generations the usefulness of the monarchical system?

Here at GOML, the problems and concerns of “royals” have always seemed incomprehensible and quaint, and we have absolutely no idea what the answer to either of the questions might be, or, really, what they even mean.

But to Prince Henrik of Denmark, a life of bitterness and anger became his destiny when, in 1967, he married Queen Margrethe II and became the Prince of Denmark.

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“What’s the problem with that?”, I hear you asking. The problem is that’s not good enough – that’s the problem, OK? And Henrik is pretty chapped about it, as who wouldn’t be.  It’s an insult and a slight. For half a century, people have been laughing up their sleeves at him, calling him “Hamlet” behind his back, and who knows what else.

What should have happened at the time of the marriage, according to Henrik, is that he should have been named “King Consort”. The way it is, he’s a “Highness” but not a “Majesty”. He has no status! This is bullshit!

He’s now 83 years old and has been steaming about this outrage for 50 years. Today he has announced that he will NOT be buried with his wife when he dies. According to the BBC, she has accepted his decision. An unconfirmed rumor is circulating that her actual words were, “He’s a royal all right, a royal pain in the ass. As far as I’m concerned, you can make him ‘King of the Nitwits’ and he can spend eternity in an unmarked grave.”

OK, I think that may have clarified the whole “Highness vs. Majesty” issue. As for the question of how to explain the usefulness of the monarchical system, well, that remains a mystery.

The water is rising

Al Gore has been making a lot of appearances lately in the effort to drum up interest in his new movie, called “An Inconvenient Sequel”, which is a follow-up to his Oscar-winning “Inconvenient Truth”.

I saw the trailer for it in a theater recently and it looks like an even more dire assessment of  the effects of climate change, with a lot of documentation showing how predictions made in the first movie have been coming true. Here’s what the New Yorker has to say about it.

Obviously Gore hopes to get some of the people who stubbornly resisted acknowledging reality eleven years ago to wake up. Of course, this is not going to happen. “Science” is a liberal conspiracy, as everyone knows, and climate change is a hoax.

Gore got into a back-and-forth with a fisherman at a “town hall” event, where the fisherman claimed that if sea-level was rising, he would certainly see evidence of it and he doesn’t. The guy said his island was disappearing under water all right, but it was wave damage causing it, not sea level change. Gore tried to get him to see it was the same thing, but of course it was hopeless. Tweety called this guy up to congratulate him on his brilliant rebuttals.

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James Eskridge, empiricist

Anyway, Gore told the guy that he wouldn’t try to give him any comfort by citing scientists – there was no point – and that he was sorry for what was happening to him and his family. And he went on to tell this story:

It reminds me a little bit of a story from Tennessee about a guy that was trapped in a flood and it — he was sitting on the front porch and they came by in an SUV to rescue him and he said, no, the lord will provide.

And the water kept on rising. And he went up to the second floor and they came by the window in a boat and said come on, we’re here to rescue you.

He said, nope, the lord will provide.

And then he went on up to the rooftop as the water kept rising and they came over in a helicopter and dropped a rope ladder. He said, nope, the lord will provide.

Well, he died in the water and went to heaven and he said, God, I thought you were going to provide.

And he said, what do you mean, I sent you an SUV, a boat and a helicopter.

In the end, though, no one can convince anyone of anything anymore because no one is listening to anything but the sources that confirm their own beliefs and biases. Those who won’t allow science to provide them answers can get them from God in the end.

And, as the story implies, only at that point will they understand that God and science are one and the same.