Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday Night Creature Feature: Scotty the Swamp Monster's Satisfying Departure, But Still Stuck in TrumpWorld; Summer Weather Doldrums; Plus, Shredding Papers & Culture the Wall-P Way

Small urban yard and row houses, 1500 block 16th St NW, Washington, D.C., 6:35 p.m. July 4, 2018

A subset of pictures in this entry -- namely, the low-quality, dull-looking ones -- were taken by yours truly over the past several days, as noted in the captions, including on July 4th. They are topically unrelated to this entry and are just here to break up the text. It should be obvious which ones they are.

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Corner house, 1500 block, 16th St NW, Washington, D.C., 6:37 p.m. July 4, 2018

I've mentioned before that in all my decades of living in / near D.C., I've never actually been in or known any one who owns one of these multi-million dollar 16th Street row houses.

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I had intended to post this entry last night (Thursday night) but it simply got too late to do so. It is Friday evening as I post this. My work day is done, and I'm the only one in the office. I've updated this entry to reflect the later posting. I'm in the office with overhead lights off, desktop lamp light on, listening to Bryan Wright's Shellac Stack No. 130 podcast.

Despite the lovely music, I'm in a rather shitty mood right now, as is reflected in my update at the end of this entry.

OK, onto the original entry …


A bit of good news in this dystopian Trump time: The worst member of Trump's vulgar, hateful, incompetent kakistocracy -- other than Trump himself -- namely, Scotty "Swamp Monster" Pruitt has resigned and is no longer EPA Administrator.


Pruitt's staggering level of corruption -- resulting in 13 to 15 ongoing investigations (depending on who's counting) in just over 500 days of being EPA Administrator -- in his overriding desire to join the ranks of the ultra-rich and his fundamentalist evangelical-based anti-ecological, pro-extractive industry worldview that made him little more than a sock puppet for the worst of the worst polluters is something of a legend now.

As Samantha Bee tweeted, "Imagine being too corrupt for the Trump administration."


Pruitt's half-nightmare/half-dark comedy tenure will be remembered as hands down the worst EPA Administrator ever -- no competition -- that went way beyond the fact that he was on a jihad to destroy the very agency he headed and its mission (we saw that coming) but featured a the mind-numbing scale of corruption that made even friends and natural allies -- Sen. James Inhofe and Laura Ingraham among them -- publicly urge him to step aside, as well as a toxic, paralyzing reign of terror for those under him.


How the Deputy -- Andrew Wheeler, another Trump crazed kakistocracy deplorable -- will govern as Acting Administrator isn't much in doubt (completely counter to the agency's mission, of course) but the brazen, flamboyant level of corruption and crazy enrichment should be substantially less. (Wheeler has previous experience with EPA that wasn't just suing the agency, as was Pruitt's.)

Awesome cover of the New York Daily News print edition, July 4, 2018

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Of course, Trump kept Pruitt around as long as he did precisely because he is a kindred spirit in terms of conscience-free amorality, narcissism, self-dealing for the purposes of self-enrichment, and that all-important element for anyone in Trump's orbit: loyalty to Trump over any legal or ethical constraint. (Please …)

Fountain, Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., July 1, 2018

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In addition -- as Jonathan Chait pointed out in this column from Tuesday that argued Trump would not get rid of Pruitt for his very reason -- Trump wanted Pruitt around in case he (Trump) successfully pressured Sessions to resign (rather than fire him) as Attorney General, which would have allowed him to appoint Pruitt for up to 210 days as an interim Attorney General -- and promptly squash the Mueller investigation.

There were stories that Pruitt basically promised Trump that he would do this. In the end, though, this tactic isn't going to happen.

Early evening view on an early summer evening, Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., July 1, 2018

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As for Pruitt, this Vox piece by David Roberts from this past April (and updated to reflect his resignation) perfectly encapsulates the monomaniacal rightwing political tribalism of his world view and why he behaved as he did -- not just as EPA Administrator but back in Oklahoma with its savagely reactionary tribal politics.

Roberts writes:

Pruitt is a pure creature of this new hyper-conservative GOP. He came up in Oklahoma conservative politics, where alliance with fossil fuel industries and hostility toward federal regulators are taken for granted and the only serious political threat is from the right. Liberals and environmentalists mostly exist as grotesque caricatures on the conservative media that dominate the airwaves.


Pruitt has lived his life in a conservative bubble, and much like Vice President Mike Pence, his intense religious convictions, his naked political ambition, and his industry-friendly policy agenda are in perfect alignment, with nary a hint of cognitive dissonance. God called on him to deregulate the fossil fuel industry. The more power he gains, the higher he rises in politics, the more he can carry out God's will.

In this way, Pruitt is cognitively incapable of grasping that he did anything wrong -- hence the resignation letter blaming his many perceived enemies -- and we as Rebecca Leber wrote, we can probably expect to see Pruitt mount some political campaign, probably as Oklahoma Senator.


I recommend reading Ms. Leber's original Mother Jones profile of Pruitt (link embedded): Making America Toxic Again.

As Roberts ends his thought-piece (borrowing and adapting Barry Goldwater's famous line): But Pruitt may still have a long and comfortable career in conservative politics, where corruption in service to tribe is no vice at all.

From a practical standpoint, getting rid of Pruitt as this point helps Trump in the coming Supreme Court nominee reality shit-show whose outcome -- a radical Federalist Society bot with a lifespan of 50 years -- is a forgone conclusion. Trump's only requirement is that they "look the part."

1900 block 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:26 p.m. July 4, 2018

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The resignation was announced by Trump by tweet -- probably toilet tweet during his many hours of Executive Time watching Fox News. (About that, Trump is staffing up the White House with Fox News creatures including a former exec caught up in the Bill O'Reilly sex scandals (Bill Shine) and assorted pundits.)

Exterior mini-yards of the ornate row houses numbered 1631 and 1633 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:32 p.m. July 4, 2018

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Trump will also be meeting his beloved Putin in Helsinki next week with a meeting involving only the two of them. They can talk about the intricacies of laundering all that Russian oligarch money for Trump's own sprawling, multifaceted criminal enterprise and, yes, that pee tape.

Trump and Putin: Two pees in a pod.

1600 block 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:34 p.m. July 4, 2018

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Oh, and of course, Trump's stink-ass FART of a trade war with China, Canada, and EU nations starts in the next few days as tariffs kick in on an ever-expanding array of imports, which in turn will be met with tariffs on U.S. exports to those countries.

Yours truly in my apartment, Washington, D.C., 11:14 p.m. July 4, 2018

Interesting how crappy the cellphone picture is. My apartment walls are white (yes, like Wall-P's -- see below). 

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Those retaliatory tariffs are being targeted to hurt the Trump-worshiping parts of America to include agricultural products, but those white, ethno-nationalistically panicked, Red State Trump worshipers can be distracted because Fox News will start yammering about Hillary's emails and Democrats' desire for "open borders for MS-13 gang members" or whatever is the ginned-up, distractive bullshit propaganda-du-jour.

Late morning view to the west from my apartment, Washington, D.C., 11:33 a.m. July 5, 2018

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Speaking of Putin and Russian malevolent interference in other countries' affairs, I would like to note another Jonathan Chait piece about the unfolding scandal in the UK over Russian/Putin financing of the pro-Brexit side.


Putin appears to have funneled millions to support the Brexit vote, just like Trump’s election. His British partner's cover story is falling apart.

New Hampshire Ave and T Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:21 p.m. July 5, 2018

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I would like to say here that I was wrong to celebrate the outcome of the Brexit vote. I only did that because I knew it would upset The Washington Consensus crowd (e.g., the Sebastian Mallabys and the Jim Hoaglands of the world) -- but it turns out that this was part of Putin's plans to wreck havoc in the Western world, and it worked.

1800 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 1:21 p.m. July 1, 2018

This is the Harrowgate. I lived in that building between Feb. and Nov. 2001 -- my first actual place in the District. I took the picture because there were two dogs about to meet, but the image didn't come out well .

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My own view is that the Brexit vote outcome should be nullified because -- like the 2016 American election -- was so tainted and done on false pretenses. (And there's NO WAY it would pass today in the UK if put up for a revote.) Britain's parliamentary system is much more amenable to this than this country's goddamn intractable, GOP-hijacked, nothing-ever-changes, 19th Century system.

As for Chait, he and Charlie Pierce are my two daily go-to reads in this Trump GOP dystopian time.

Looking west down the 1700 block of S Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:23 p.m. July 5, 2018

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As a brief update, I went to the gym earlier and now I'm home watching the late night MeTV lineup (Hogan's Heroes, Carol Burnett & Friends, and Perry Mason ("The Case of the Careless Kitten"). 

Earlier, I went to see my doctor up in Chevy Chase (Friendship Heights) for an annual checkup. I got a tetanus shot and some blood was drawn for blood work. I also got a referral to an ophthalmologist at Georgetown Hospital for my blurry vision but that's a topic for another entry.

Argentinian Embassy and New Hampshire Ave and Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:27 p.m. July 5, 2018

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It is a warm and humid night with 11 p.m. air temps of 84F at KDCA, 81F at KBWI, and 82F at KIAD and dew points around 75F. There is also a warm, southerly breeze.

Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) advisories updated 11:27 p.m. July 5, 2018

This totally failed to pan out.

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There is actually a flash flood watch in effect for part of the area including here in D.C. proper for heavy showers and thunderstorms later tonight and tomorrow in association with a surprisingly strong (for early July) cold frontal passage that is to usher in a much drier air and tad cooler Canadian air mass. Dew points for the weekend should be down to about 50F -- and combined with an 80F high on Saturday and 82F on Sunday -- should make it quite nice, and all the more so if we get decent rainfall on Friday. (Which we did not, so screw you, too.)

NWS/WPC/NDFD surface forecast weather map for the Lower 48 valid 18Z (2 p.m. EDT) July 6, 2018

This did not verify whatsoever in terms of precipitation for the D.C./Baltimore areas.

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Tomorrow is a regular work day, although I might be the only person in my little office there at L'Enfant Plaza. As I mentioned in my previous entry, having the 4th of July holiday on a Wednesday this year has created the odd quasi-reality of a hybrid five-day work week weekend.

Update before posting …

OK, the would-be heavy rain didn't amount to diddlysquat. It is still too warm and humid -- around 86F with a dew point of 71F at KDCA at the 5 p.m. hour, but that stupid front is pushing through -- minus any rainfall here.

NWS high-res surface weather map for a portion of the eastern U.S., valid 18Z (2 p.m. EDT) July 6, 2018

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I'd also like to mention that I just finished a shredding job of papers from my past …

Specifically, I shredded all my pre-2012 tax and finance information -- stretching back into the late 1990s and through a nightmare shit-show of a period in the early to mid '00's including getting unemployment checks, an agonizing life as a 1099 and IRS installment payments, paystubs and a copy of an old Maryland driver's license belonging to Wall-P, a.k.a., Pity Shill, when he co-signed for my apartment.

To clarify, it was for the apartment I had prior to the current one but in the same building.

If I sound ungrateful, please. You don't know the full arc of the story. He is a horrible, totally "flat" person with the personality of a telephone dial tone who has no clue what he doesn't know but, of course, considers himself a genius because of his wealth.

In fact, Wall-P is a stooge-bot tool of the corporate oligarchical overclass who wields his top 5% wealth as a weird weapon; otherwise, he has all the meaning and depth of a Toshiba mini-vacuum cleaner.

As for his wife, let's not even go there.

Suffice it to say he's just another straight guy morphed into a buccal-pumping frog -- in his case, not in the suburbs in a house filled with sticky, poopy, bratty American children (well, now teenagers) but instead a large Adams Morgan manse.

A man in which every room has been repainted off white and today is filled with oversized plasma screen TVs, wholly incongruous African face mask art (he's neither African or African American, nor has any cultural connections), 500-pound chunks of coral dynamited out of distant tropical seas that he purchased online, and -- for whimsy -- a large Plexiglas shark mouth and a Velvet Elvis.

Oh, yeah, and a bevy of tropical fish aquariums that regularly turned into some primordial ooze, biological evolution starting anew.

Anyway, it was nice to get rid of that much shit from the deeply regretted and regretful past.

Here's a picture of me at Off the Record bar with Fred on July 3rd after work. We had gone to dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill (Corner Bar) and then stopped there.

OK, signing off for now. My next planned entry -- or pair of entries -- will be my usual Saturday night duo. It should just be a typical weekend.

--Regulus

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