Saturday, September 29, 2018

Boofing, Ralphing, and Devil's Triangle Fun: Blacked Out Brett Kavanaugh Vows Decades of Fast, Furious, Vengeful Times on SCOTUS High


This entry is dedicated strictly to the Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination spectacle. Most of images are not captioned. If interested in any of those, click on / download them for information contained in the file names.

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Brett Kavanaugh's performance on Thursday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- and the nation and world -- was a show for the ages. It actually managed to overshadow Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's measured, heartfelt, and very believable testimony about the sexual assault she insists Kavanaugh perpetrated on her in summer 1982.


The big development was that retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R - Ariz.) insisted on a one-week FBI investigation into "credible allegations" before he would vote for cloture and allow the full Senate to vote up or down on the nomination.


This occurred after he (predictably) announced he would move the nomination forward and support it -- but before he was confronted on camera in that epic way by two women in a Senate elevator who said they were victims of sexual assault.


Their confrontation -- and the fact that Sen. Flake actually seems to actually believe all the high-minded stuff he says EVEN THOUGH he is a deeply conservative (rightwing) Republican who is a natural ally of someone like Kavanaugh -- seems to have made a difference.


As I see it, Sen. Flake did not have to do what he did -- since the GOP on the committee had the ability to ram through this nomination on Friday and be done with it. The fact that he did is quite remarkable. As George Orwell might have noted were he still around, power doesn't usually work that way. (Just FYI, Jay Willis thinks quite differently.)


Remember: Sen. Flake AGREES with Kavanaugh's worldview and "jurisprudence" -- and he was going against his allied Republican colleagues and in the face of the usual death threats from the usual array of ignorant fascistic fuck-wipes and assorted gun nuts out there in the AM radio hinterlands who respond in that fashion to things not going their way.


As a result of Flake's actions (and apparently Sen. Lisa Murkowski concurred), Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell's timetable -- and that of the grotesque GOP dinosaurs on that Committee such as Chuck Grassley (R - Jurassic Methane Gas) and Orrin Hatch (R - Nasty Octogenarian Fuck) got scrambled and now we have a highly limited but still highly valuable one-week FBI investigation into at least some of the claims including those of Dr. Ford.


What's more, this is the chance of a lifetime that the GOP has been awaiting for 40 years: Getting a sold five-member SCOTUS block to do every fucked up thing the Federalist Society has wet-dreamed for decades, but which can be summed up as creating a hybrid world that is part Montgomery, Alabama 1950 and 1895 Gilded Age economics.


Anyway, a week from now, we're going to be right back down to the usual cage match that is rigged for the GOP to win by a single vote (and in so winning, as Jay Willis wrote the first piece linked below, "own the libs" -- always a top priority for the GOP).


As for the Thursday spectacle, the Fox News Channel-fixated MAGA crowd is widely reported to be "giddy" and "scintillated" by Kavanaugh's aggrieved and enraged white male performance. That's because the GOP "base" is now in the throes of a frenzied mania that it is a hideously persecuted minority forever the victim of "vast leftwing conspiracies." In short, it's basic present-day Trumpian politics -- and it reflects the incredible paranoia, rage, racial panic, and a sense of lost entitlement on the American right that goes beyond class issues.


It also reveals another characteristic of the American right: Massive projection of their own motives and actions onto their enemies. Indeed, on the projection issue, you can INVARIABLY tell what the GOP political and media entertainment complex itself is doing by virtue of it being the thing about which it is howling the loudest that is supposedly being done to it.


For its part, the Democratic side of the country (tribe) was appalled by what has been variously described as a howling, raging, volcanic performance by Brett Kavanaugh that revealed him to be little more than a hard-right, conspiracy-mongering Fox News partisan totally unsuited to sitting on the United States Supreme Court for the next 30 to 40 years. Or rather, Kavanaugh would have revealed himself except low-IQ, zero-curiosity, zero-compassion Clarence Thomas long ago blew up any meaningful SCOTUS standard decades ago).


(The "volcanic" description was from the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus in a signed op-ed. Remember that Ruth "Mother" Marcus is on the Washington Post editorial board and co-writes the unsigned Post editorials that represents the interests and priorities of the Beltway Gang of 500, also known as the Professional Centrist crowd.)


What's more -- and EVEN IF Kavanaugh is totally innocent of the multiple sexual assault allegations against him from his hard-drinking, white upper class-entitled, asshole Catholic high school and undergraduate days -- Kavanaugh lies like a rug on everything big and small.

And the sense of white privilege entitlement is just off the charts.

Brett Kavanaugh's calendar and de facto diary, May 1982

Among the secondary big noteworthy stories to come out of Thursday's spectacle was to learn (for the American pop cultural historical record) the importance of terms such as "Devil's Triangle," "ralph," and "boofing" to upper class suburban Maryland rightwing Catholic high school teenage boys back in the early 1980s and it's Fast Times at Ridgemont High culture.

Brett Kavanaugh's calendar and de facto diary, June 1982

A second story was the Academy Award-worthy "vapors" performance by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- Gay).

With his lady's panties knotted all in a bunch and his face wildly contorted, Lady Graham threw a real hissy fit that included the now-classic line "I'm a single white male from South Carolina, and I'm told I should just shut up, but I will not shut up."

As a Huffington Post commenter noted, "was that the start of a rant or a Grindr profile?" Haha …

Brett Kavanaugh's calendar and de facto diary, July 1982

Well, anyway, the shit-show has taken a bit of break for a few days and everyone can catch their collective breath, no matter what side you're on. And we can all go back to what's really important: Reading the Twitter feed of the Anti-Social Personality Disordered and historically mistaken President Donald Trump.

Pa and Ma Kavanaugh all emotional and confused about this inexplicable interruption to family entitlement.

Speaking of Trump, he was shockingly quiet through much of last week's spectacle with only a handful of half-hearted tweets that -- most noteworthy of all -- failed to grotesquely insult both Dr. Ford and the office he occupies.

Brett Kavanaugh's calendar and de facto diary, August 1982

In the end, I fully expect that we're going to have the same outcome: A 51-49 party-line confirmation or, more likely, a 50-50 tie broken by that Mike Pence piece of shit (half Christian supremacist fascist and half mediocre gameshow host).

You don't even need Kavanaugh to be blacked out drunk to see the Jekyll and Hyde transformation.

Once on the Supreme Court and in response to this process -- as Jonathan Chait laid out so well in the second piece linked below -- Kavanaugh is going to be the most hateful, vindictive, vengeful Justice ever, the distilled essence of a totally unaccountable Trumpism for decades to come.

As a conclusion, here are some useful pieces to read …

Jay Willis (9/25/18): Republicans Can't Abandon Brett Kavanaugh Without Confronting Their Own Depravity.

Jay Willis (9/27/18): Brett Kavanaugh Showed Us Who He Really Is.

Jonathan Chait (9/27/18): Why Brett Kavanaugh's Hearings Convinced Me That He's Guilty.



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OK, that wraps up this entry. I'm going to try to post another entry tonight. If so, it would be a Saturday evening post-type entry on Sunday. If not, my next entry will be Monday night.

--Regulus

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Wednesday Night September in the Humid Rain Update Plus a Few Thoughts on How My Life Turned Out Versus Brett Kavanaugh's and His Ilk

The abandoned Wyckoff Villa on Carleton Island, Cape Vincent, N.Y. It is also known as the Carleton Island Villa.

The abandoned mansion pictures in this entry are taken from a subset of those in this MSN photo-montage. When I ran out of those, I went to dogs and then waterfalls. They are not captioned, so click on / download them for more information. (The others are topically related to the entry.)


This entry is just a mixed personal and weather update that was intended to be a prelude to what I hoped to post later tonight, specifically, a second entry on the topic I wrote about yesterday give new developments. However, writing the entry led me to a very different place, and I'm not even going to try to post anything else tonight.


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I'm home tonight in my wee, dimly lamp-lit efficiency with the window a/c turned up high and the television tuned to the MeTV-aired weeknight lineup of old shows.

For reference, they include WKRP in Cincinnati, two episodes of Hogan's Heroes, Carol Burnett & Friends, and Perry Mason.

MeTV has cycled through the entire Perry Mason series since I began watching it, but that doesn't mean I've seen every episode since there are nights I miss and the show is also aired during the day. I think I've seen about half the 271 original episodes.

I was at the gym earlier. I spent an hour on the treadmill (timed just about perfectly for tonight's episode of Hardball on MSNBC). I then tried to do some weightlifting but unlike Monday night, I was just too beat and didn't really feel up to it. So I ended the workout with a short swim.


The recovery from my dislocated shoulder is probably on the order of two-thirds to three-quarters. The one thing I still cannot do is bench press (or rather, I don't want to risk it). The physical therapy at Pivot is going well, or at least the two times I've gone so far. I have ten more to go (twice a week). The big issue -- which I don't want to get into here -- is what will be the total medical bill and do I proceed with legal action or not (it will just come down to that). 


I've been going to the Pivot in the L'Enfant Plaza. It is in the building in which I work but at the retail level. However, I'm soon to move to the one at U and 12th St since my physical therapist, Micah, is moving there and it is near where I live.


The night is damp, warm, and very humid. There were heavy showers and thunderstorms earlier but the actual KDCA total was just 0.19 inches.

This adds to the hefty yearly surplus but KDCA still hasn't crossed the 50-inch mark. In fact, it is justl under the 49-inch mark. As for KBWI, it picked up 0.47" -- which brings its yearly total to a bit under 53-1/2 inches.

I'll post more detailed numbers in an entry in the coming days. I'm doubtful that KDCA will surpass its 2003 total of 60.83 inches, nor in the case, the 1889 pre-airport D.C. record of 61.33 inches.

The little ASOS station there always manages to miss those sorts of big records. What is easily hits are new overnight record warm minimum temperatures.


The real weather story, as far as I'm concerned, is less the wet and frequently overcast September weather but instead the relentless humidity that has characterized this summer (and is part and parcel of the ongoing global warming).


The dew point tonight at 10 p.m. is 70F at KDCA. (The air temp is 74F.) What's noteworthy is that the dew point has not been below 70F in the KDCA hourly observations since 11 a.m. yesterday.

What's more, there really isn't any sign of genuine fall weather -- cool, crisp, and dry -- with vibrant autumnal arboreal colors.


As I alluded to above, my plan was to post that second topical entry on the Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination shit-show. Mostly, it was just excerpts of excellent columns by Jay Willis (GQ), Charles Pierce (Esquire), and Jonathan Chait (Daily Intelligencer) mixed with some commentary and interspersed with topically-unrelated but pretty images (often that I get from those MSN "top whatever" photo-montages that come up on my Edge browser "feed" all the time).


However, as I'm noting here after the fact, this entry ended up spinning out much longer and more in depth -- going into places I didn't intend. That being the case …

I would like to say, this, though …

Brett Kavanaugh's teenage years as a rich, white, super-entitled prick attending Georgetown Preparatory School, an elite Jesuit-run boys high school in Rockville and then Yale -- with the alcohol-fueled parties -- is causing the predictable Post inside-the-Beltway navel-gazing about teenage life in the 1980s among the offspring of what today we call the "1 percent" and really the "10 percent."


As others have noted, that Georgetown Prep Catholic school world is basically a factory designed to mass produce elite rightwing Republican assholes (that is, it is not your mid-20th Century Catholic parochial school in an urban working class neighborhood). The Federalist Society then grooms a subset of them into lawyers in the 40-year open conspiracy to hijack the federal judiciary.


My point in this, though, is to note how utterly different -- totally alien -- is that world to my own life both in high school and everything since that time. Coming from a chaotic childhood and adolescent centered on a now-lost New Jersey family world, it eventually led to Maryland, my teenage years to include my ridiculous high school period in Glen Burnie, Maryland (Sept. 1985 - June 1988) was nothing like a Brett Kavanaugh 1982 calendar.

Yes, Kavanaugh kept his physical calendars from May - Aug 1982; above is the duly-marked-up June 1982 one upon his senior graduation.

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In short, I never did any of that kind of shit whatsoever.

I was, instead, just a hyperactive, deeply neurotic, obsessive-compulsive mess fixated on getting all A's but being, ultimately, psychologically stunted. And then the post-high school period was a fucking nightmare through a variety of unhappy situations and places to include that disgusting St. Mary's College of Maryland


A self-inflicted disaster at that fucked up place -- so goddamn stupid and involving what, in retrospect, was some white trash piece of shit -- led me in Sept 1992 to the University of Maryland, College Park and a rocky path through multiple, stupid graduate programs and start-and-stop jobs that led, eventually, to my current life as a middle-aged man.


This is clearly why literally every night I dream of being back at UMCP or some hybrid of UMCP and other places in some panicked and anxious mental state -- typically involving the ONLY program that worked out reasonably well there for me: the public policy one.


Until 40 and getting my current job, NOTHING worked out professionally. Now, as I am within two months of turning 49, I'm sort of holding in a decent place but that will almost certainly in the coming years -- and I don't have a particularly strong desire to tackle the job market with some bullshit can-do attitude (competing against 25-year olds) in that way that cockroaches like Wall-P insist you have while they rake in easy money as tools of the corporate and oligarchical overclass.

My personal life has, upon reflection, been mostly a fucking disaster -- but unlike Kavanaugh, I had to pay for my mistakes, including and sober versus drunk Jekyll and Hyde transformation.

Beyond that, though, virtually all the friendships through my 20s and 30s and into my 40s turned out to be unhealthy garbage (and not just those of always horrible, hateful gay men).

At least those have all ended and the few friends that remain are, in fact, worth having.


My actual family is simply my mom in Maryland and my dad in Florida and no one else (i.e., I'm an only child with no first cousins). What's more, I'll always be "single," meaning I will be totally alone in old age (assuming I make it to be an "oldster" in whatever fucking mess of a state the United States is by then) and will most likely die alone (to be found at some point).


A middle-aged gay man's life (i.e., once youth is gone) really makes no sense and has no purpose. It's different for a man who is married (and possibly divorced and remarried) with children (and lives under the rule of his wife) in that the American middleclass socio-cultural system is geared toward and around that. (Yes, I'm ignoring structural economic changes and the resulting opioid-addled downwardly mobile masses and instead just sticking to the Washington area world that I know.)


Unlike Brett Kavanaugh, I didn't have any sort of glide path set for me. Rather, the path I followed ended up a costly one filled with much pain, both self-inflicted and by-fate failure, unrealized "dreams" (or whatever I should call them), and a complete and total collapse in any faith in a loving, parental-like God that micromanages my life -- or at least pays some goddamn attention once in a while.

Being in my 20s prime in and around D.C. in the 1990s and into the 2000s -- when I should have been excelling -- was one, long, failed crapshoot.

Whatever it is now in the late 2010s, I don't even know. And I don't know or even really care where it is going.

As a Gen X'er in my situation, there is no past and no future. Just a strange present that leads to no where.

Well, at this point, I've really spun way, way beyond what I had intended for this entry. That being the case, I think I should just wrap it up. I will end with this, though:


If Kavanaugh's ugly past comes back to destroy his Supreme Court dreams and even his professional life, that's totally fine with me. What's more, I also say that regardless of how (predictably) horrible will be the next Federalist Society bot that Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell muscles into that slot.

Brett Michael Kavanaugh's life as a 1980s-era rich, white, young male whose elitist upper class suburban Maryland entitlement facilitated the alcohol-fueled sexual violence that apparently accompanied it as a belligerent drunkard …

… Followed by the searing hypocrisy of Kavanaugh's subsequent incarnation as a vicious rightwing prosecutor and puritanical sex police during his Ken Starr Bill Clinton Inquisition period that included some creepy anti-gay bigotry …

… Continuing into the 1990s with his Mr. Rogers wholesome image existing cheek-by-jowl with the occasional drunken belligerent episode …

… Into his federal judgeship and other political machinations within the Bush White House to the present with his lovely wife and two lovely daughters in a Chevy Chase dream world …

… And now, thanks to a powerful, counter-majoritarian rightwing political and media ecosystem combined with the historical tragi-farce of the Trump presidency...

… on the cusp of a lifetime, wholly unaccountable Supreme Court sinecure while remaking the entire structure of federal law into some hybrid 1950s socially neo-confederate and 1890s Gilded Age economic dystopia.

All of this being the case, it makes what is happening to him so well deserved. Fuck him.

To anyone else reading this, goodnight. And good morning.

--Regulus

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh, Rightwing Judicial Crises, and Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell's Neo-Confederate GOP: America's Cultural Civil War, Round ∞+1

Sunlight on a fall morning along Ohehyahtah Place, Danbury, Conn.

The scenic images in this entry -- it should be clear which ones they are -- come from this MSN photo montage. I was going to make as lead the one directly below of a (grizzly?) bear lumbering along Parks Hwy 3 with mighty Denali looming up in the distance, but I just love the above fall one.

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I've been having trouble posting an entry the past few days because while I would like to discuss the degenerate battle over the degenerate Brett Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination in the context of today's degenerate and amoral GOP as embodied in Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell, massive jowls and all.


However, I REALLY don't want to get into some extended, agonizing, vitriolic, indeed, outright vituperative screed about the whole goddamn topic and with everyone now in their established roles.

Close up, totally horrifying: Your typical GOP political operative and Federalist Society's genetically-modified hothouse legal orchid.

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There's so much shit flying about in this televised carnival sideshow -- think The Handmaid's Tale gets knocked up by The Outer Limits and gives birth to The $1.98 Beauty Show -- but we know the ending: A 51-49 confirmation, or more likely now, a 50-50 tie with that lazy piece of shit gameshow host masquerading as a Christian supremacist, VP Mike Pence, casting the tie-breaking vote.


Suffice it to say, read this piece from Esquire (by Jack Holmes): Brett Kavanaugh's Fox News Interview Spelled Out the Shameless Depravity of This Whole Process.

St. Kavanaugh and his wife, Lady Ashley Estes Macbeth in their Fox News "interview."

The point of this media contrivance Monday's GOP "counteroffensive" is to gin up the fundies and rubes, not change anybody's mind. The above-linked piece addresses that fact.

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About that historically double farced of an interview, Kavanaugh went on (right in front of Lady Asley Macbeth) about how he was "a virgin" until well out of college. Think of this as Koch Brothers' dark money-funded culture war prolefeed meant for consumption by hinterland rubes, fundies, kooks, and crazies.

Before He Was a Virgin*: Brett Kavanaugh's Georgetown Preparatory School senior yearbook picture, 1982

*Nod to Oscar Levant. Oh, and whatever you do, don't pull an Ed Whelan and "confuse" Brett Kavanaugh with Chris Garrett.

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The inestimable Charles Pierce (also of Esquire) sums it up nicely here.


Kavanaugh himself is the erstwhile vulgar, hard-drinking, Irish-Catholic Ivy League prep school early Gen X'er asshole morphed into a rightwing puritanical asshole with the compassion (and ruling predictability) of a Scalia but only a quarter (or less) of the intellect.

Kavanaugh back in his Ken Starr glory days. This is from a screenshot of a recent appearance on Fox News of Ken Starr -- another 1990s ghoul who turned out to be as big fucking hypocrite as he was Clinton's underwear-sniffing inquisitor.

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About the sex part, even before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's account of his attempted drunken rape at that house party in 1982 or all that Mark Judge garbage, I could tell he had a sex issue, namely, through his lurid obsession with Clinton's sex acts when he was Ken Star's minion during the Great Penis Hunt of 1998 (nod to Charlie Pierce). It turns out -- no surprise at all -- that Kavanaugh is everything he believed Clinton to be.

Meet the Kavanaughs. Looks more like a Washington suburban family overclass version of "The Shining."

Look at Mrs. Kavanaugh.

Brett the Teetotaling Virgin (since 2004, anyway) might obliterate a woman's right to choose, LGBTQ rights, not to mention all labor law and environmental laws, but in the Kavanaugh household, you can tell that Lady MacAshley tells this wussy when and when not he is allowed to use the toilet.

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Having been here in D.C. for 26 years and followed this shit for much of that time, I have to ask, though:

Why do these Irish-Catholic types always turn out this way?? There is a weird half drunken / half puritan Irish Catholic sex police that's always about (and, yes, the women are even worst). Here in D.C., they invariably are either ultra-rightwing jurists or far right pundits and they play an oversized role in our cultural wars. (The legislators tend to be neo-Confederate fundie Protestant types.)

In Kavanaugh's case, he sucks ass at being in front of a camera and has too much of a record (personal and professional, the latter not just his record during the Great Penis Hunt of 1998 but all through the Bush the Lesser's misrule).


This is actually why Mitch "The Bitch" didn't want Kavanaugh as the nominee. (Mitch is as strategic, cunning, and clear-thinking as he is totally amoral.) However, at this point, Federalist Society and its "Judicial Crisis Network" shock troops, not to mention the GOP Establishment as a whole, are stuck with him. McConnell would only pull the nomination if he absolutely had to do so.


At this point, the overriding imperative of getting that fifth vote on the Supreme Court overrides everything else, especially before the midterms (now just six weeks away) so that they have this dick (or another Federalist Society-manufactured legal bot) on the High Court for the next 30 to 50 years.


What this means is that even if the nomination of "Here Comes the Judge" Kavanaugh and his dry drunken, half-puritan, half-pervert, all-around-vicious self were somehow defeated, Cocaine Mitch and his massive jowls would quickly ram through during any lame duck session a candidate with a lot fewer personal landmines. (Indeed, the "base" would be aroused to turnout, thus offsetting the big, anger-based enthusiasm edge the Dems have.)


For this week, though, all that really matters is Thursday with the still-scheduled Anita Hill-like testimony of Dr. Ford, but in the very different context of 2018, not 1991. In terms of political power, though, the GOP still holds all the levers. Even anti-personality disordered Trump has been a relatively bit player in the lead up to it.

Look at this lot of hideous, cretin-like GOP Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.

Orrin Hatch has to be the worst -- not just because he's been around since Carter was President. He's also an asshole.

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The second accuser and possible third have just been dismissed outright by the GOP, which wants to have a quickie she-said/he-said and then ram through the Senate Judiciary Committee vote. This is to be followed instantly by a full Senate vote -- i.e., the "plowing through" that Mr. Elaine Chao referenced the other day while talking to some horseshit "Values Voters" circle-jerk.

That is, Mitch "The Bitch" wants that committee -- a bevy of pasty-faced rightwing septuagenarian and octogenarian Republican assholes (plus the very closeted gay Lindsey Graham) -- to have their up-or-down committee vote on Friday. Now Murkowski might be allowed to vote no -- but that means Collins will vote yes and we'll get the 50-50 split.

That's actually a secondary goal of this whole peep show: "Crush the Libs" by 1 vote. They love and live for that even while playing the endless cultural war victim card. You can always tell what nefariousness the GOP is up to -- just listen to whatever they're complaining about having done to them.


Of course, the GOP and its media shock troops are sufficiently self-aware of the "optics" of their upcoming peep show / kangaroo court that it is hiring some female lawyer to do the questioning for them.

Look at how many women Kavanaugh lined up for his amen choir at his less-than-worthless Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

This was a "Judicial Crisis Network" PR specialty operation.

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As a final note on all of this ugliness …

If you don't like how this whole freak show of a process has turned out, put the blame squarely where it belongs: On today's radicalized, brutal, vindictive, smash-and-grab, authoritarian, amoral GOP cult, itself a water carrier for the dark monied overclass-serving while taking advantage of the rubes. Beyond that, though, the GOP is wholly incapable of governing ignominy since it doesn't actually believe in governance.

Anyway, I have but a limited about of outrage I can muster over this latest 21st Century episode of America's endless mid-19th Century Civil War.


OK, that's enough of that, and I'm wrapping up this entry, which I didn't even want to write in the first place.

Well, on second thought, let's end with a laugh …

It's definitely true: "Even his friends don't like him." Haha

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--Regulus