Wednesday, July 27, 2016

DNC DAY TWO.

There were highs (Joe Crowley stripping the hide off Donald Trump for "cashing in" on 9/11 while Hillary was helping survivors and first responders) and lows (Lena Dunham and America Ferrera making Oscar-telecast-dumb jokes), but I'm a Democrat so it's always fun to watch Bill Clinton work. Headlines suggest it was about selling himself as the First Whatever, but the speech was both more generous and more targeted than that. Bill breezed past his own accomplishments, including the Presidency, to talk about hers; much of it was like some kind of Charlie Kaufman experiment where the President of the United States is a minor figure telling in awestruck tones the life story of some minor politician. It was strange and charming to hear how the future leader of the free world was "dragged around" on an unelected official's quest to get more kids in pre-school. Of course the romantic stuff helps; everyone likes courtship and sending-the-kid-to-college stories. But they were there mainly so the usual assholes couldn't notice their absence and go into their sham-marriage shtick. And even the cute stories were turned toward heroic biography -- it's not just that she was a good mom, but that she was a good mom while doing all these other things. I would add that it was a measure of Clinton's cunning professionalism that he left the implied rebukes to the Trump campaign -- which we all know he is both motivated and equiped to deliver at operatic length and scale -- to a few minutes at the end, as if, compared to the woman he'd just described, the shitheel on the other ticket wasn't worth the sweat off his balls. A+.

Speaking of shitheels, Jonah Goldberg managed to embarrass himself before and after the speech. In the prelude Goldberg does his usual inept search for poetry in slander -- get a load:
The notion that Bill Clinton, of all prominent Americans not convicted of a violent crime, might be officially named “First Gentleman” is a crime against all logic, fact, and decency.
"Ecrasez l'Infame" it ain't, but if you're a wingnut legacy pledge who thinks fist-shakings over Clintons are your sluice to the Pantheon, you're not likely to do better. Eventually Goldberg stumbles into the realm of Clinton fanfic:
I think he could help himself enormously by offering some glimmer, hint or suggestion of remorse or apology for what a spectacularly horrible husband he has been. Everyone in the audience — well, at least the TV audience — knows he’s been a cad. It makes his potential status as the “First Gentleman” endless fodder for late night comedians — and Donald Trump. It might happen, but I doubt it. Bill is a gaslighter...
A few hours later, as the Wells Fargo Center rings with cheers and Clinton is adulated for yet another brilliant speech, Goldberg shakes his head at the gaslit masses and attacks Clinton for not telling them what a shitty family man Goldberg thinks he is:
The simple fact is that everyone expects husbands to speak well of their wives — even Bill Clinton. That was a box he could have checked in 10 minutes of his speech. Instead, he took the 9,072 minutes of his speech (by my rough estimate) reading Hillary Clinton’s C.V. The biggest problem is that the more he talked the weirder it was that he didn’t address the elephant(s) in the room. This is not a great marriage by any normal person’s definition, unless you measure them almost solely on the metric of political success.

I’m not saying there weren’t effective bits. But my God that speech was boring unless you’re already fascinated by Hillary Clinton.
Yeah, because why would people watching a national political convention want to hear about the candidate? It's a good thing Goldberg's writing never had to sell anything except the perpetual renewal of his wingnut welfare.

Monday, July 25, 2016

DNC DAY ONE.

My fellow Democrats are less interesting to me than the gibbering freaks and glowering goombahs of the GOP, but what the hell, let's have a look in. At 9 p.m. I've been watching an hour of second bananas, some better than others (Bob Casey was earnest but not refreshingly earnest; Arizona state senator Pat Spearman was sharp and righteous; Al Franken should have woodshedded that routine, but there were some laughs).  I note that it's late and we haven't had our first primetime speaker yet -- and that's one of the charming things about this party -- every night is open mike night and nothing's on time! Not like Il Douche, who kept the disembraining running on time.

UPDATE. I like Sarah Silverman I don't care if J.D. Vance and Rod Dreher think that means I'm looking down on them. (By the way, I was born poor and it's not a sin nor treason to my class to enjoy words of more than one syllable and laughing at idiots.) And Franken's come in to turn it into Burns and Allen, or maybe Sacco and Vanzetti. (I wonder if the chanting multitudes are even listening.) And then they bring in Paul Simon! Who seems pissed that he almost walked into the guitar player's instrument. (Yeah, well, I hear he's an asshole. But for the Left!) He sounds like shit singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water." I bet Art Garfunkel is laughing his goddamn ass off. He's probably manically calling for coke and whores, screaming into the ceiling mirror, "THIS IS IT! THIS IS MY PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION!"

UPDATE 2. Eva Longoria accuses Trump of insulting her Mexican mother, and she sounds like she can back that up. Eat that, pendejo!

UPDATE 3. I like Cory Booker, but someone has to tell him that yelling isn't a signifier for sincerity. He's right, though: "Rugged individualism didn't map the human genome." It isn't the only worthy effort in our nation, but after Trump's convention and the conservative pandering to the most resentful, anti-education Americans, it's a breath of fresh air.

That was a great reading of "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" too -- as a call to love one another. "When we are indivisible, we are invincible." And now that he's smacking up Trump for mocking the disabled, veterans, and immigrants, his screaming suddenly seems absolutely appropriate. And "I'm from Jersey, and we've seem how [Trump] 'leads' in Atlantic City" is dynamite -- calling Trump out as part of "a handful of people growing rich... in a nation descending into crisis" is too. Booker is a big Christian -- not the hypocritical, shitheel kind we've been forced by experience to associate with the term, but the real kind that's comfortable talking about love as a force for public good. "We are not a zero-sum nation, it  is not one America against another America, it is you and I... when we respect each, other, stand up for each other work for each other against our challenge... when we show compassion and grace, then we are the United States of America, one nation, indivisible, that is when we are stronger..." Even the we -- will -- rise refrain is kicking. "From Seneca Falls to those who stood at Stonewall Inn..."

OK, bud -- you can shout if you want.

UPDATE 3. I've always thought Michelle Obama was kind of a pain in the ass. I mean, you've seen her looking tough at Barack, right? And, I admit, that led me to believe she wasn't thoughtful. But after a minute or so of this speech, when it became clear that in talking about her daughters and how she told them to deal with the cynicism and slander (including birtherism) that came with their father's Presidency -- "when they go low, we go high" -- that she wasn't just sharing a Mommy moment, she was really talking about Trumpism and the Democratic alternative to it. And when Mrs. Obama talked about how Hillary had been "picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughed" and "never buckled," I saw how brilliant a feminist argument she was laying down -- especially when she talked about how someone with the nuclear codes can't be "thin-skinned," and everyone knew what pissy little macho-bitch of a quasi-billionaire she was referring to, and how overmatched he was by this nominee.

"Don't let anyone tell you this country isn't great -- that we need someone to keep it great again." Amazing, for those of us who remember when the wingnuts tried to tie her to a fanciful "whitey tape" eight years ago, to portray her as someone who didn't love her country -- and then nominated a presidential candidate who fit their own fantasy perfectly.

These guys are smarter than I thought.

UPDATE 4. YEAH LIZ TELL THAT FUCKING RICH CUNT.  The BernieBros -- Christ, I voted for Sanders and I hate these sanctimonious pieces of shit -- are trying to throw her. But I've seen her speak in person and she don't throw.  Elizabeth Warren is not roaring like Senator Booker; she's reason itself, she doesn't wait for the crowd, she just invites them to catch up as she lays out Trump's many moral failings -- "the great Trump hot air machine" --  and sums up, "what kind of a man does that?... I'll tell you what kind of a man: A man who must never be President of the United States." She's so right than I'm going to take a break now, confident she'll continue being right. Back soon!

UPDATE 5. The crowd is roaring over Bernie's intro, and there's some tension over whether it will stop. Sanders tries to ride the wave, raising his arms, thanking the crowd, trying to start his speech, raising arms again... Finally he presses on, thanks Warren, thanks Mrs. Obama, and thanks his volunteers -- mere enough, after all they did! -- and thanks the "two and a half million Americans" who kicked in money (and he got the crowd to cry out the average contribution: $27!) -- and the "13 million Americans who voted for the political revolution!" There's a bit of cheer turmoil before he mentions tomorrow's roll call -- that seems to discharge their energy (maybe they think they'll win!) and they settle down. He addresses their disappointment -- and rushes so as not to be overtaken again -- assuring them "our revolution continues." And I'm thinking: Bernie -- you better give them something more.

He mentions "all of us and not just the 1%," and says he looks forward to being "part of the revolution, but emphasizes this is not about the candidates, nor about strategies, nor about things "the media spends so much time discussing" (HUGE cheer!), but about "the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and our grandchildren... ending the 40-year decline of the middle class." (He also refers to the poor -- "the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality today" -- but his is an old-fashioned, post-Nixon Democratic message; the middle-class is still the centerpiece.)

Sanders mentions the devastation of the 2008 recession -- when "the world's financial system was on the verge of collapse" -- and he acknowledges that Obama took good care of that, and thanks him, but adds that "much more needs to be done." That's splitting the difference! Now comes the next step, and that's the revolution. But first, 2016: Compared to Trump, "Hillary Clinton must become the next President of the United States.. the choice..." The crowd is making it hard for him to finish. "...this election is about a single mother I saw in Nevada with tears in her eyes told me she was scared about the future because she and her daughter couldn't make it..." This was a working mother, Sanders says, and he has faith that Clinton knows this woman shouldn't feel scared. Again, this is a mainstream Democratic pitch, and once you accept that, you can't be too pissed about Hillary.

Otherwise Sanders is hot on his usual topics. He stops after the words "Koch Brothers" to make room for the boos; he repeats "Citizens United" several times; says "brothers and sisters" and "oligarchy" and a bunch of the words that distinguished him from the neoliberals and have excited his followers, including me.

Then he does the hard sell -- "The Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate" -- and gently leads his listeners to understand that despite his and Clinton's "different approaches," they now have a deal: "83% of our population will be able to go to a public university, tuition-free!" Also, on climate change, "Hillary Clinton is listening to the scientists" and we can create "hundreds of thousands of jobs transforming our energy system." And she wants an "opt in to Medicare," etc. Negotiations were had; Sanders is satisfied. It ain't Jerusalem, but maybe next year.

Every so often he brings up Trump -- he describes Trump's policies, such as they are, with the same contempt that he's always used on the retrograde thinking he's been fighting within the party. And in fact Trump -- not only a literal friend to the rich and enemy to labor, but also an authoritarian and self-centered scumbag -- is, despite his alleged innovations in working-class appeal, a better avatar than Clinton or any other Democratic trimmer for everything Sanders, and indeed every decent American, has been fighting against.

Sanders wants to go further, and he's being given some room for it -- he wants to break up Wall Street institutions, he wants to stop the TPP! But he's willing, at least for the moment, to work within the system for it. "Our job is to see a strong platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, and Democratic House, and a Hillary Clinton Presidency! And I am going to do all that I can to make that happen!"

OK -- you have to be a total fucking asshole to say, screw this, I'll vote for Jill Stein and heighten the contradictions. Thanks for making that clear, Bernie. I'm glad I voted for you.

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the GOP convention and the continued conservative slide into objective pro-Trumpism.

Among the outtakes: Michael Brendan Dougherty of The Week comparing Trump's speech to that of Pat Buchanan at the 1992 GOP convention, in which the ancient nativist invited his party to relate to National Guardsmen fighting off black mobs in the recent L.A. riots (“and as those boys took back the streets of Los Angeles, block by block, my friends, we must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country”). The punchline: Dougherty was comparing Trump's speech unfavorably to Pitchfork Pat's: “at the heart of Buchanan's speech," said Dougherty, "were communities taking care of each other with self-sacrificial love.” Trump’s speech, on the other hand, “never mentioned God,” complained Dougherty.

Also worthy of mention: Charles Hurt of the Washington Times, who looked upon Trump's children at the convention and declared, "A new Camelot is born." If Trump wins, the Ministry of Propaganda will not want for applicants.

Friday, July 22, 2016

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Reagan's president elect/ Fascist god in motion

• There are all kinds of things you can say about Trump's speech last night, and pundits are busy saying them.  What I will say is that in terms of policy it was perfectly consonant with 50 years of American conservatism -- by which I mean, there was no policy, except to scare voters out of their wits and then offer to let Daddy take care of them. This has been the traditional appeal of even the more avuncular GOP candidates like Reagan, whose celebrated sunniness was only powerful in contrast to the dark Democratic dystopia he and his henchmen were constantly portraying as the only alternative to himself. If Trump is more frightening to some people than Reagan or any of the others, it's mainly because when he does this routine, he indulges very few of the fake pieties I talked about yesterday with which conservatives traditionally try to make their bait-and-switch look socially acceptable. That's his main innovation. But just because you're scared doesn't mean other people don't find it attractive. Just like Reagan, Trump has a sunny shtick -- those goofy faces he pulls, the snarl-smile with thumbs up, seem wolfish and creepy to me. But then I didn't buy what Reagan was selling either, and I bet a lot of whatever customers of his are still alive are voting for Trump.

What I'm saying is, make sure your passport's renewed.

• And be not deceived about the #NeverTrumps: Many of them are at least Trump-curious already. Jonah Goldberg, for example, still attacks Trump, but in the middle of it says
Many Republicans I’ve talked to find Trump’s willingness to outsource actual policymaking to Mike Pence or Paul Ryan reassuring. And in a sense, it is...

If Trump could be trusted to simply play a ceremonial role, serving as a kind of corporate motivational speaker for the country, I might board the Trump train. But can anyone say with confidence that Trump has the discipline to do anything of the sort?
This is a wussy way of saying, this Hitler's an intemperate fellow but at least he has the sense to delegate important work to von Ribbentrop, perhaps the Nazis can persuade me. Meanwhile at NeverTrump redoubt Erick Erickson's The Resurgent, Steve Berman says of Trump's speech. "It’s honestly the most terrific, finest, greatest speech I’ve read/heard in quite a while (and the crowd reacted very energetically)–and Trump was very well suited to give it. If the speech could run for president, it would win hands down." He does add, "Except there’s no bifurcating Trump from his speeches," and does the usual Trump-is-a-very-bad-man shtick, but finally says, "If the speech wins, and we get Trump along with it, at least it won’t be Hillary." Like I said, Trump is selling standard-issue conservatism with the mask off, and these conservatives, with whatever difficulty their social anxieties cause them in admitting it, are all hoping he'll win.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

CONVENTION NIGHT THREE.

I only watched a little of the proceedings last night. I saw one of those Trump Boys -- Uday or Qusay, I can never remember which; this was the one who really looks like he's telling the Student Council what an outrage it is that his frat's panty raid is being characterized as a sexual assault. The Trumplet is mainly known for murdering jungle animals, which he sought to counter last night by bragging on a charity he runs. Speaking of public-relations ass-covering, he also devoted a significant chunk of his time to extolling his father's repairs on the Wollman Rink in Central Park, offering this as proof that Pop can get things done when Big Gummint fails. This will convince the sort of people who are already convinced, while everyone else will wonder what kind of hair gel he uses and whether he has a collection of Huey Lewis and the News CDs and an axe back at his apartment.

Speaking of hair gel, Ted Cruz left the usual oil slick -- attributing the success of the Apollo moon mission to "freedom," rather than to the Big Gummint that self-evidently achieved it, was among the wetter spots. His Big Nope at the end was amusing but, while one can admire the execution of his trollery, let us not forget that it's just one hustler getting over on another: Donald Trump's only significant differences from Cruz or any of the 327 other unsuccessful candidates for this nomination are 1.) the specific donors and cronies who can expect to benefit if he wins (at least at the top layer; defense contractors, for example, will make out no matter what); and 2.) the baldness of his authoritarian affect. As President, Cruz would be at least as much of a nightmare as Trump, but he would also take time every so often to evince humility, understanding, and all the other Delsarte positions a President has been heretofore expected to display. Trump blows them off because he has cracked the code and knows his minions only want the rooster displays and to hell with any less butch emotions. I mean, in his speech Ted Cruz actually pretended to give a shit about black and gay people! This vestigial arnaqueur oblige seems quaint in the present case, and the NeverTrumps probably don't realize how hard it will be to bring it back into fashion among their increasingly feral constituents.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

CONVENTION NIGHT TWO.

Chris Cox of the NRA is, unlike his beef-faced senior officer Wayne LaPierre, a bland doughball, head almost perfectly round and face almost uninterrupted by features. But he can yap the party line as well as anyone. He tells us "a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court means your raht to own a fahr-arm is goawn!" Also, Hitlery has Secret Service, which is hypocritical for someone who doesn't want all America to be Westworld. The worst and most typical thing is his reference to the NRA as "the largest and oldest civil rights organization in America” — which I guess is their way of telling white people that they're not racist, but actually advocates for arming all and even black people, under the right circumstances. Ha. Look up Huey P. Newton Gun Club on Google; look at the older articles by National Review gun nut Charles C. W. Cooke, when he was pimping that club as a sign of how Second Amendment activism and wingnuttery was for all the races:
In August, as the outrage over the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., dominated the news, an African-American group calling itself the Huey P. Newton Gun Club took to the streets of Dallas, rifles in hand, to protest. Local businesses were supportive, and the city’s police chief confirmed in a statement that his department “supports the constitutional rights of all.” On Twitter, the hashtag #blackopencarry prompted a warm response from conservatives.
Then look at wingnut stories about that Club after the recent Baton Rouge shooting, e.g. this one from Breitbart News: "EXCLUSIVE – MILITANT BLACK GUN CLUB FOUNDER ON BATON ROUGE COP KILLINGS: ‘NATURAL LAW TO TAKE UP AN ARMED APPROACH’..."
According to reports, Micah X. Johnson, who carried out a deadly shooting against police officers two Friday’s ago, “liked” the Huey P. Newton Gun Club on Facebook... 
The past two weeks, armed members of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club have been seen at demonstrations in Dallas and Baton Rouge...
Haven't heard from Charlie Cooke about the Gun Club since then. I bet he's real disappointed that his favored black avatar of Guns Everywhere hasn't passed muster, and hopes he can find another group of black gun nuts that his cracker buddies can endorse, some of these days -- but no need to rush into that until after the election.

UPDATE. Ugh, who doesn’t hate Paul Ryan — that fake-suffering, fake-hopeful face, that lacquered hair, that slightly-too-large jacket meant to make him look younger and slimmer. “I found some other things to keep me busy,” he says fake-humbly about the 2012 election, and laughs at stupid Obama and Biden who’ll be cooling their heels in some big-gummint hellhole while he’s on the dais with Donald Trump

“Have we had our arguments this year?” he says, and there’s a rueful hoot from the crowd. But those are “signs of life,” Ryan says, rather than the garbage fires they appear to everyone else. The “Democratic Part Establishment,” by contrast, offers “a third Obama term offered by another Clinton.”

Ryan also throws in “politically correct” — drink! “Four more years of it?” he says, referring to national leadership without racial slurs. The crowd is agin it! Also, the libtards “look down” on them, etc. “Wages never seem to go up… When it comes to ideas, the advantage goes to us.” Heh, check the 2012 wave of “reformi-cons,” and the Trump-friendly “Cure for Trumpism” by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, and you’ll see “ideas” are something the wonks play with in the back room while the big boys play Ooga Booga and Conan The Republican.

Ryan’s a terrible attack dog, but the 327 people on the convention floor give him a lot of support, especially when he runs sentences together at the end to signal the climax. (He drops “America” from the “God Bless America,” one would like to think out of shame.) So this convention is not a total departure from tradition.

UPDATE 2.  Fuck, ABC’s running that golf chick and not letting me listen to Renfield — I mean Chris Christie! Christie is mad because “we’ve seen the Justice Department refuse to prosecute her… as a former federal prosecutor” — yeah, once upon a time people trusted him with that job! Well, it was Jersey — “I welcome the opportunity to hold Hillary Rodham Clinton accountable…” The crowd chants “Lock her up!” Christie, used to being humiliated by the boss, welcomes this turnaround.

Anyway, as Form Fed Pros, he promises, “I’m gonna present the case now against Hillary Rodham Clinton!” He means for this to be a mock trial, like Night of January 16th, but his argument is more like Libya is a mess, so she’s guilty right? Boko Haram, so she’s guilty, right?  And the crowd screams Guilty! If he asked them to scream Kill the bitch, or The gun is good, the penis is evil, they'd do that too. He even knocks Clinton for sucking up to Putin! Yeah, in defense of Putin's buddy Donald Trump! (In his gilt tower, Trump is laughing his ass off and wondering what he'll do to shame Christie when he gets back -- maybe make him eat a cowflop.)

I can't imagine that, each time the goons chant "lock her up," I'm the only one who thinks that, no matter how debased we've learned Christie to be, this is beneath contempt.

UPDATE 3. There's no need to repeat anything the attractive and poised Tiffany Trump is saying. What's maybe important is: Why is this important? I mean, everyone knows that every single one of the 27 family members whom Trump is having speak at the convention is, in the broader scheme of things, a waste of protoplasm, wealth-holders burning up capital, the effluvia of Trump's ambition. Nothing any of them has said in any venue has ever been noteworthy except as something to attach to a boldface name in a gossip column, or believable even when it's about the patriarch. (The guy at ABC News says he heard some "cute anecdotes" about Donald Trump. Please forward them.)

UPDATE 4. That was a nice "Star-Spangled Banner."

UPDATE 5. Forgive me, PBS just showed this afternoon's Trump convention manipulations and I thought for a second we had started all over again. In the tape, Reince Priebus is explaining to an uninterested and/or cowed audience that none of the challenges to Trump's candidacy were ever going to get anywhere, and brings in some poor, terrified woman to read some rules about the times, dates, and business of the Convention they're right in the middle of. Priebus is now speaking Parliamentarian super-fast like a tobacco auctioneer, which must look like shit to any normal people listening in -- and I'm sure none were. Wow -- and these are the Constitutionalists?

The really sad (Sad!) thing was, I missed Donald J. Trump Jr.'s speech, which I'm told was exactly what you would expect.

UPDATE 6. Crazy motherfucker Ben Carson is on, raving about the “politically elite” — yes, that's "politically elite," not "political elite"; I guess his brain sagged at the nexus of “politically correct” and “ruling elite,"  caved in on itself and smushed together. He's descrying “the narrative that’s being advanced by some in our own party — that a Hillary Clinton Administration wouldn’t be so bad…” The crowd snarls. “They’re not using their God-given brain,” assures Carson. Because, he warns, Clinton’s Presidency would be something America “may never recover from.” At first I thought he meant she’d make herself dictator for life — he’s capable of that sort of hyperbole  — but no, he meant she’d appoint judges who would have a “deleterious effect for years to come,” which to hear him tell it would be just as bad.

Then he gets into Saul Alinsky — and the crowd boos! They know about Alinsky, unlike most normal Americans, including the Democrats who are allegedly in his thrall. “Let me tell you something about Saul Alinsky," says Carson. "In the dedication page of his book he acknowledges Lucifer…” And guess what — Carson doesn’t get the joke! He goes into a weird tirade about how God is on all our money, yet Alinsky and the Democrats want to worship Satan — which is like saying, “Ellen Burstyn was in The Exorcist, so if you ever go see Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore you’re trying to take God out of our lives!”

Then Carson talks about Thomas Jefferson and the crowd knows immediately without any prompting because he is crazy Ben Carson that this is Tree of Liberty/Blood of Homosexuals time and they go screaming nuts! “He knew," howls Carson, "that we the people would recognize what was going on, and we would rise up…” REBEL YELLS! Perhaps Carson wanted to explain further, but they’ve already shoved him off stage as GE Smith and his Band of Mercenaries plays Shining Star and the old folks shake their butts and a Code Pink demonstrator carrying an anti-racism banner is grabbed and dragged out of the hall.

Monday, July 18, 2016

CONVENTION NIGHT ONE.

The younger guy from Duck Dynasty is on (Willie), and here to pray on Louisiana (“we love you through pain”) and says Trump and he have three things on common — success in business, hit TV shows and good-looking wives. The media don’t know what-all it’s doing and that’s how they missed “the Trump train — they don’t hang out with regular folk like us,” who used to look like A&F models before the rebrand. “They don’t know how to talk to middle America,” he adds, so they talk real slow — Jeff Foxworthy did script-doctoring I hear. “America is in a bad spot, and we need a President who will have your back,” he says. “…if you're looking for a job, or tryin’ to start a business like I have, Donald Trump will have your back.” Just don't ask for money. He’ll do the same for cops — big cheer for cops! And he’ll do the same for “average Americans” abandoned by “faraway leaders.” He does the “not politically correct” thing, but assures us that though Trump spits slurs, he always “tells the truth as he sees it,” which makes it better. And — what, that’s it?

And here’s Chachi! He starts by thanking all the brave men and women of the military, always a good opening — show biz smarts, still! Scott Baio trusts Trump, thinks America “the greatest country God every created. America is an easy place to get to —“ I thought he was going into an immigration riff there, but instead he pivots to “getting free stuff,” like the blahs do. “Sometimes doing the things you don’t wanna do… to get where you wanna be.” Like this speech? Like the Duck guy, Chachi too thinks America’s in a state —so “we need Donald Trump to fix this.” Chachi admits that Trump is not a “messiah,” just someone who wants to “give something back” to America, because that’s the Trump way. He scores the Democrats for “policies that make us unsafe,” whereas Trump is “doing this from the goodness of his heart” — another inside joke? -- whereas “Hillary Clinton wants to be president for Hillary Clinton.” Sure, pitching anyone as more selfish than Donald Trump is a gutsy move, but — wait, he’s done?

UPDATE. Rick Perry and his wife met a "talk-drink-o-water" military man at a base once and invited him to visit them. And he did, and here he is -- "the lone survivor, Marcus Luttrell," an authentic war hero. Luttrell's father was "shamed out of his uniform" -- dunno what that was about, but Marcus makes a positive of it; he became a Navy Seal, and is humbly oblique about his celebrated fighting career. He got to meet "one of the greatest people America has to offer." Doesn't say who it is. Luttrell wants to make sure "the hell the veterans came from is not the hell they come home to." Well, there's a clear difference from the Democrats!  Here's another: "The only way we're gonna keep America safe is to have an elite military, alright?" he says. "...each and every life under the flag is family and needs to be treated that way." Ah, okay, here comes Benghazi. No, a pivot: "In order for any part of life to matter, we all have to matter." As for the next generation, "Your war is here... I was allowed to walk with giants... who among you are gonna step up and take the fight to the enemy, because it's here!" The world outside America is "a scary place," America is the "light," and now Luttrell is worked up, but gets off the stage because there's really nothing else to say.

Now Pat Smith, whose son was killed at Benghazi. She's very upset, and it's terrible to see. Her son told her the night before the event, "Mom, I am going to die," because security had been pulled and no one could tell him why. She lost a son, and "the American people lost the truth... I blame Hillary Clinton." Blood-red roar from the crowd. "I blame Hillary Clinton personally... Hillary Clinton blamed it on terrorism... she lied to me and then called me a liar... she looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible." The crowd is seething, bubbling under. Smith says she has kept after Clinton for a better answer, but "whenever I called the State Department, they refused to speak to me, because I am not a member of the immediate family... How can she do this to me?" People are yelling things from the crowd, snarls, rebel yells. "Donald Trump is everything Hillary Clinton is not," Smith says, and will keep us safe -- "he will not hesitate to kill the terrorists that threaten American lives!" Smith is catching the energy of the crowd. "That's right, Hillary for prison! She deserves to be in stripes!"

And they cut her off with a Swift Boat... I mean, a Benghazi video.

UPDATE 2. Two guys from Benghazi, Mark Geist and John Teigen, up there now, talking into hand mikes, talking about the situation on the ground, comparing it to whack-a-mole — “another guy’d stick his head up and you’d shoot him.” It’s straight reportage, telling about the mortar attacks, the casualties they sustained, with the traditional poetry and humor of war stories (“The debris was so thick you couldn’t see the stars… I don’t want to die [falling off a roof], I wanna go out in a blaze of glory”). I think the idea is to get the folks back home to know something of the warriors before accusing Clinton of murder again.  (Interestingly, they say they got some help from "Gaddafi loyalists" whom, they note, Clinton wanted to get rid of.)

Ah, here it comes: “...opportunities squandered when Hillary failed to protect her people on the ground. Had she done her job that night… Ty, Glenn, and Ambassador Stevens would be alive today. Now we as Americans, we have an opportunity, and that opportunity is to elect someone who will make that country safe again… someone who’ll have our backs… won’t leave anybody behind…” With all due respect: You’re talking about Donald Trump?

“We did our part — now it’s time you do yours,” says the other guy. If you don’t vote Trump, you’re letting down the U.S. military.

UPDATE 3. Ah, now it’s time for the Messicans! They show filmed footage of a couple of folks who lost a loved one thanks to “Obama’s failed Fast and Furious operation.”  The idea, I guess, is to show the human fallout from Obama policy so that they don't just look like angry nuts mad at minorities and foreigners.

And speaking of which — a guy with a Spanish name! Oh, wait, it’s Italian? This is the underwear model, right? Antonio Sabato Jr. lets us know up front he believes in Jesus, and America is “weaker by almost every measure” because of the Democrats. Anyway, Sabato came here legally and others “should follow the same rules… there should be no short-cuts… my mother was born in Communist Prague… I know what socialism looks like, I don’t want that for my children.” Obama and Clinton are socialists, while “Donald Trump is for unity,” a different thing altogether. “None of this is hateful,” Sabato tells us. I guess that’s for anyone who might be wondering, which no one in this crowd is, apparently.

Now, a story about a cop killed by a drunken illegal Mexican. Jeez, Obama's killing everybody! "It's time we had an Administration that cares more about Americans than about illegals," says his mother.  Another woman lost a son to a drunken illegal Guatemalan, who got just 35 days for killing him. Sounds like their beef is with the judicial system, but she's mad at "Crooked Hillary" and considers Trump her "life saver... build the wall, Americans need to come first."  Another fellow, a black man from Los Angeles, had a son shot to death by an illegal Mexican gangster. Since the guy was targeting blacks, "you'd think Obama'd care, because 'Black Lives Matter.' No!" The relief at having a black guy say this is palpable.

And now here's a politician, so who cares.

UPDATE 4. Ah, now they’ve got a black guy who’ll say some crazy shit, and it’s not Ben Carson! “BLUE LIVES MATTER IN AMERICA,” hollers future America’s Sheriff David Clarke. He tells the crowd that yet another Baltimore cop got off on the death of Freddie Gray, which really lights them up. “MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN,” yells Clarke. He says that “many Americans increasingly have an uneasiness” about their safety, which is not the same thing as actually being in danger, but so what, we have a Trump to push so “Americans don’t always feel safe” will have to do. Anyway, we all have to “play by society’s rules… built on a foundation of trust…” Martin Luther King was all about the “network of mutuality” and wanted the law applied equally to everyone. Sounds good to all of us, right? Well, Black Lives Matter is “anarchy” so forget about that. Trump “speaks to the values that are the foundation of the social contract,” and he knows contracts, amirite? “What can make our nation safe again is a recommitment to justice … no elected official, even Hillary Clinton… can claim privilege above the law!” When Trump wins this guy is gonna arrest Clinton for spitting on the sidewalk and by that he means the Constitution!

Now it's a couple of reality TV stars, the Campos-Duffys, who make lame jokes about Crooked Hillary and denounce "the corrupt socialist regimes our families left behind."  (Sean Duffy's people are from Ireland.) They're actually shouting so much Sean is getting hoarse,  so they must know we're getting tired out here.

Ah, now another black guy, who makes a joke about "change" but not Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Anyway, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson don't speak for him, and All Lives Matter; if he were running for Senator of this convention instead of Colorado I'd say he had a shot.

I might come back for Giuliani but only if I can find some Pepto-Bismol in the medicine cabinet first.

UPDATE 5. Fucking Giuliani, who has been getting worse every day and covered a few months.  He cheers that Trump is a New Yorker, which the crowd seems divided on. He’s here to tell us about being safe and like Clarke he says people don’t feel safe and that’s what’s important. Also cops have a “target on their back.” He roars thanks to the Cleveland PD! “We know the risk you’re taking,” he roars. “When they come to safe your life, they don’t care if you’re black or white — “ Here his voice becomes keening, like a bagpipe — “THEY JUST COME TO SAVE YOU!” For a twist, Giuliani admits there is such a thing as an unjustified police shooting. BUT! “ONE AMERICA!” The bagpipe again — “THERE IS JUST AMERICA! WHAT HAPPENED TO IT! WHERE DID IT GO! HOW HAS IT FLOWN AWAY!” He tells us he made New York safe — and “what I did for New York Donald Trump will do for America!” (But no gun control this time!) Now the personal touch: He’s known Trump 30 years and he’s accomplished “great things.” And Trump has “a big heart.” He helped fallen cops, but asked not to be mentioned! Despite his famous modesty, Giuliani will out him as a great humanitarian! “I AM TELLING YOU THIS BECAUSE I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE DEFAMATION OF DONALD TRUMP…” Jesus, did he work with a coach? Does he think the mike isn’t on? He’s getting hoarse, which may be the only reason he’s pulled back. Now he’s on the “Islamist terrorist attacks” — yah gotta say it! “ISLAMIC EXTREMIST TERRORISM!… I DID NOT SAY ALL OF ISLAM!” Anyway, for the ones he’s really talking about, “YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! AND WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU!” Rudy throws in “politically incorrect,” which is the theme of the evening, I guess (that and "Hillary kills our families"). He gets nice fat boos for Obama, because the foreigners think we’re weak, we must put them “on defense” — so we must commit ourselves to UNCONDITIONAL VICTORY, which would include, believe it or not, getting rid of the Iran treaty — which is almost totally backwards; he claims Iran is funding the terrorists. Well, Trump will break that up. Hillary’s “dereliction of duty” led to the murders in Benghazi, she and Obama “lied” about it, but Hillary lied more since she’s running for President. Rudy gets apoplectic about “What difference at this point does it make?” which is golden with this crowd, and proves she “should not be allowed to be our Commander in Chief. Who would trust Hillary Clinton to protect them… Donald Trump will change all that.” You have to be drinking the Kool-Aid to buy that one, but these guys are swimming in it. “DONALD TRUMP IS THE AGENT OF CHANGE AND HE WILL BE THE LEADER OF THE CHANGE WE NEED!”

You just know Giuliani's thinking, "And they think Trump is the new Mussolini! I should have tried this screaming shit in 2008."

POST-MORTEM: As Heet Jeer and others have observed, the program is calculated to strike fear into the hearts of viewers because fear is what turns people right-wing (unless we're talking about right-wing writers -- then, the come-on is easy money!). But the out-party always fear-mongers against the in-party; see Joe Biden earnestly telling black voters Republicans would put them-all in chains, one of my favorites. But until Hillary brings Philando Castile's grieving family out, crying and shaking, to accuse Donald Trump of murder and demand he be thrown in prison, I can safely say the Republicans have set a new bar.

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the rightbloggers' status as Trump takes the crown. I've been expecting the #NeverTrump people would come around by election time, and with the exception of the most embittered dead-enders that's the way they're heading, though most hang onto plausible deniability with some prefatory anti-Trump talk before telling us the real priority is beating Hillary Clinton.

I think the real test will be whether the old timers can get with the new style laid down by the more enthusiastic, fuh-real Trumpbloggers. Take the guys at Breitbart.com like Matthew Boyle. Boyle's current headline sounds like a typically ominous take on Il Douche: "FEAR AND LOATHING IN CLEVELAND: DONALD TRUMP COMPLETES NATIONALIST POPULIST TAKEOVER OF GOP AT REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION." But read the copy and it turns out he's not saying it as a bad thing --
Lobbyists aren’t welcome around the convention, and typical D.C. power-brokers are running as far away from Trump as possible. Trump, who has campaigned aggressively against these insiders, doesn’t want them here anyway... 
Right now, the world is on fire. Cops are being killed by black liberationists, illegal aliens are pouring across the border, and the government is placing “refugees” with tuberculosis in cities and town across America... 
Trump, a blue collar billionaire who’s made his fortune in real estate with many of the same rough and tumble tactics Americans have seen on the campaign trail, feels that anger...
Sounds like a publicist for The Joker, doesn't he? Pre-Trump, Republicans played their Daddy-Party cards with Nixonian decorum; now it's Helter Skelter, coming down fast. If the George Will types wish to remain viable in this Grand New Party, they'll have to get comfy with chaos. I expect they will; I mean, it's not like they have to believe in it.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

THE FIRST THREE DAYS OF THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION.

There are plans to emphasize different themes each night of the convention. Mr. Trump wants to touch on a few of his favorite hot-button issues, like the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, former President Clinton’s infidelities and border security. — New York Times

NIGHT 1

[A soft-rock beat as the corpse of MUAMMAR GADDAFI is dragged around the stage by ARABS wearing dark greasepaint and loose-fitting muslin clothes; as they leave, U.S. MARINES march jauntily in place as AMBASSADOR STEVENS sings to the tune of Toto’s “Rosanna”:]

Thought it was my callin’ after Lib-i-ya had fallen to clean up the place —
Benghazi, Benghazi!
Shoulda known that Hillary the Traitor would get in my face!
Benghazi!
I tried to help the Arabs even though they’re filthy scarabs but they called me a fag —
Benghazi, Benghazi!
Then Hil-la-ry, she sent them after me just to disgrace the flag!

[Music shifts to "Ride of the Valkyries"; a swarm of Cirque du Soleil acrobats identifiable as HILLARY CLINTONS by their fat-butted pantsuits and blonde hair swoop in, with small puppets — also Arabs, on the model of Achmed The Dead Terrorist — strapped to their chests. The HILLARY CLINTONS’ arms and the Arab puppets’ arms are connected, so that whenever an ARAB clubs, stabs, or sodomizes STEVENS — or OTHER LOYAL AMERICANS who wander in at some point — it is clearly a HILLARY CLINTON actually doing the clubbing/ stabbing/ sodomizing. Some HILLARY CLINTONS also restrain the U.S. MARINES to the sides of the stage, where they brandish their weapons impotently.]

[After STEVENS and the LOYAL AMERICANS are all dead the ARABS, gibbering contentedly, drag them offstage. The MARINES sadly march forward. A huge hologram of MUAMMAR GADDAFI appears and laughs derisively, joined by holograms of derisively-laughing HITLER, STALIN, and ELIZABETH WARREN. The MARINES brandish their weapons at the holograms till they fade away, supplanted by a hologram of DONALD TRUMP, whereupon the MARINES cheer, stand at attention, and go “ooh-rah”; then they get in solemn formation as the music changes to "The Ballad of the Green Berets." Far upstage, effigies of HILLARY, BILL, and CHELSEA CLINTON, clearly dead, are borne aloft on halberds by men dressed like REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIERS. MARINES sing to the tune of the Ballad:]

Let their deaths not be in vain!
Shoot each Clinton in the brain!
Throw their bodies in a dump
And go vote for Donald Trump!

[Cheers, gunfire.]

NIGHT 2

[A troupe of dancers enact a series of attempted sexual assaults by chubby white men with white pompadours to the tune of "Midnight Rambler" by The Rolling Stones. BILL CLINTON comes onstage, dragging by her hair over a carpet of dollar bills a dancer who looks like PAULA JONES, whom he drops and leaves comatose before strolling center stage and addressing the audience as the music vamps:]

Hi, y’all. I’m former President Slick Willy Clinton. [pause for boos] Now as y’all know I’m from the South — but not the good South you folks know, where Jesus reigns and certain people [pushes in nose] know their place. [Pause for cheers.] No, no, I’m not from your Bible-beating, fag-bashing South at all — I’m from what them Black Lives Matter types call the Dirty South, the ATL — that stands for “Anti Traditionalvalues Lesbianism” — where people like me learn deviant sexual ways from rapists like Emmett Till. [Pause for boos.] Sure, some people say he was innocent, but they said the same about that “gentle giant” Michael Brown, know what I’m saying? [pause for cheers] Hey, did y’all know my Momma was a whore? [pause for cheers] ‘Scuse me, I meant [finger quotes] “single mother” [pause for laughter]. And between that and my other “dark” influences, I can’t help myself — as the nation’s first black president — sorry, Bah-rack! — and I just gots to force myself on white women! And one of the first white women I forced myself on — though I can’t be sure, there was so many — was Hillary — who warn’t much to look at even then [pause for whoops, cheers, gunfire], but though she was in love with the black stuff, at the same time she was too racist — ain’t that right, Clarence! — [gets “thumbs up” from Clarence Thomas in the gallery, cheers, gunfire] — too racist to have relations with an actual black man! [whispers into the mike] That’s right, America — every fantasy you ever had about liberals being n-word-lovers and racists all at the same time — even when your liberal friends the schoolteachers, federal employees, bookworms and sissy-boys said you was crazy — is proved to be true by me, right here on this stage tonight! [Cheers, gunfire, fistfights, self-pegging. BILL CLINTON sings to the tune of "Midnight Rambler":]

Talkin’ ‘bout the midnight Clinton
I’m havin’ sex ‘most all the time
Talking’ ‘about the midnight Clinton
Unlike your sex, mine is a crime
Your wife submits to your advances
Because her preacher says she must
A gal who goes with me free-lances
It’s totally immoral lust.

Talking’ ‘bout the midnight Clinton
Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones
I held ‘em down and made ‘em take it
Just like with the Obamaphones!
I might have sex with any woman,
Might even have it with your wife
If she sleeps with me because she wants to,
Then what’s that say about your life?

[HILLARY CLINTON emerges from the wings, physically restrains the PAULA JONES dancer while BILL CLINTON simulates intercourse with her; this goes on an uncomfortably long time; URL, 800 number flash at the bottom of the screen, asking for donations to TRUMP.]

NIGHT 3

[PETER THIEL comes out to confused, quiet applause.]

Good evening, I’m Peter Thiel. [Still confused, quiet applause] Come on, you know! I made PayPal! PAYPAL! [Slightly less confused, but still quiet applause] Yeah, well who cares what you stupid littlebrains think. Anyway I made a game for you to play. [Smattering of applause.] Oh, yeah, you like that, don’t you, peasants? And it’s about illegal immigrants! [Applause increases.] Ugh, who needs this! Go play you stupid game, you waste products! I own you!

[THIEL storms off the stage as consoles are distributed to the delegates and a game takes place on stage — the good guys try to build a wall out of bricks, the bad guys try to get their avatars (who all look like Danny Trejo) to hop over it, and when they do hop over it the good guys try to shoot them. The delegates play this excitedly until the fence-hoppers start to win, at which point the delegates take out their real guns and start shooting each other, at which point coverage is suspended and GOP officials blame it all on Islamic terrorism.]