1

Irony remains thoroughly dead.

From The Bulwark, by Charlie Sykes:

The RNC put out a press release denouncing Biden for meeting with Putin, and other GOPers followed suit.

The Trump confidant Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, told Hannity that Biden was practicing “appeasement” of Putin. Mike Pompeo, Trump’s former Secretary of State, said on the same show that refusing to hold a joint press conference with Putin—as Trump had—was an admission of “enormous weakness” on Biden’s part. During the summit, three Republican senators—Ted Cruz, John Barrasso, and Ron Johnson—put out a joint statement that said Biden was “sending a message of weakness and appeasement to our adversaries, encouraging and emboldening them.”

As Winston Churchill might say, AYFKM? The past does not exist, and memory, like happiness (to paraphrase Putin) is an illusion. Helsinki is erased, and the entire Trump presidency ret-conned before our eyes.

2

Get Ready for the Shitstorm That Will Follow the Arizona “Recount”

From The Bulwark, by Tim Miller:

Your whole life, like a sandglass, will always be reversed and will ever run out again,—a long minute of time will elapse until all those conditions out of which you were evolved return in the wheel of the cosmic process. And then you will find every pain and every pleasure, every friend and every enemy, every hope and every error, every blade of grass and every ray of sunshine once more.

—Friedrich Nietzsche, “Notes on the Eternal Recurrence

At some point during our schooling we were all met with a frustrated social studies teacher who was forced to fall back on the old saw about how those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it in order to implore a class of checked-out brats that the history lesson before them is not without value to their imagined future lives as architects/importer-exporters.

Generally this argument is employed to make the case for learning the lessons of the Holy Roman Empire, or Cromwell, or some other travail of a long-dead Caucasian. But today I am the annoying teacher, the Republican party and its enablers are the checked-out students, and the historic event that they need to learn from happened all of six months ago.

In the months between Trump’s electoral schlonging and the January insurrection, the GOP establishment participated in the coup two-step, during which they tried to ignore Trump’s antics when they weren’t actively enabling it by just asking questionsThis strategy was a failure of historic proportions, resulting in the disruption of America’s practice of peaceful transfers of power, a violent siege of the Capitol, and the deaths of their own supporters, who had bought the lies they were fed.

You would think this history lesson would be something Republicans might learn from.

But no.

Today the insurrection is ongoing and the next potentially violent inflection point will come in the weeks after the results of the Arizona “audit” are revealed. The audit, which is being conducted by the “Cyber Ninjas” and funded at least in part by my old pal Lin Wood, is set to deliver some type of result soon. The state senate’s audit “liaison” Ken Bennett (congrats on the fancy title, Ken) said that they expect the process will take most of the “rest of this month.”

Much like Trump’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping coup attempt, the Arizona audit is being ignored by Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell and Kevin Mccarthy, who are not engaging on the subject publicly and privately consider it shambolic sideshow. This while conservative allies dismiss those of us who are alarmed about the ongoing risks to democracy.

Meanwhile the whole Arizona circus is being taken deadly seriously by Trump himself—he called Republican pols who are ignoring the audit “weak”—and by his radicalized supporters who still want to “stop the steal.”

Doesn’t this all sound a little too familiar?


There’s more.

Activists in the QAnon movement have described the audit as the first step in “The Great Awakening.” And Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward has threatened “arrests” of those who did not comply with the audit. (N.B.: The Arizona Republican Party does not yet have the power to detain citizens for crimes against MAGA.)

One Arizona GOP precinct committeewoman, Gail Golec, has quit her job as a real estate agent to focus on uncovering “fraud” full-time, which she details on her Facebook and YouTube pages. One America News has hired a local propagandist, Christina Bobb, to “cover the audit”—while also fundraising for it.

Now that’s some journalisming.

Steve Bannon’s War Room, which was the official podcast of the “Stop The Steal” rallies last fall, is playing the same role in unofficial fashion in Arizona and has found an audience for the grift. (At the time of this writing, War Room was the tenth-biggest news podcast on the Apple charts.) The thirstiest and craziest MAGA Republicans around the country have all made the hajj to Maricopa to either learn how they can bring the insurrection to their states or signal their allegiance to primary voters. The frontrunner in the Missouri race to succeed the retiring Senator Roy Blunt, Eric Greitens, is the latest of this latter group.

Again, I ask: Doesn’t this all sound pretty fucking familiar?!!!

Sometime soon the results of the Arizona audit will be brought forth. It seems quite likely, given the participants, that the auditor ninjas will claim that Donald Trump won Arizona. Or probably won Arizona—who can say! Or would have won Arizona, if not for those meddling kids.

And if this happens, the former president and his MAGA media echo chamber will once again stoke the flames of insurrection. Q-adherents will convince themselves that one of the seven seals has been revealed. Millions (tens of millions) of Republicans throughout the country will believe it. And some of them will demand action.

So when the Arizona audit bell tolls, what exactly is McConnell and McCarthy’s plan?

Because it sure looks as though they are dooming us all to repeat the same history we just lived through, humoring Trump’s delusions and hoping that none of their supporters die in their imaginary fight for freedom this time.

2

I Don’t Know Nuthin’ About Subpoenas, Miz Scarlett

From CNN:

Ex-top Trump Justice Department official Rod Rosenstein has told people in recent days he was not aware of a subpoena that targeted the data of Democratic members of Congress while he was deputy attorney general, a source familiar with Rosenstein told CNN on Saturday.The attorney general at the time of the Apple subpoena, Jeff Sessions, was recused from all matters related to the Russia probe so a related leak investigation would have fallen under Rosenstein, CNN has reported. Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who took office a year after the subpoena was issued, also said Friday he does not recall discussing a probe of lawmakers.

AG Barr Brushes Off Trump's Attack As a 'Deposed King Ranting': CNN
“HEY, BEATS ME.”
Rod Rosenstein: Democrats urge Congress to protect Russia probe
“WE’LL JUST PRETEND WE NEVER HEARD OF IT.”

1

The covid vaccine made me magnetic — and I love it

Satire from The Washington Post, by Dana Milbank:

“I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures all over the Internet of people who have had these shots and now they’re magnetized. They can put a key on their forehead, it sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over and they can stick because now we think there is a metal piece to that.”

— Sherri Tenpenny, testifying to the Ohio legislature about coronavirus vaccines at the request of Republican lawmakers

I remember clearly the moment it began: right after my first covid shot.

I was going through security at the airport, and I set off the metal detector. Annoyed, I removed my gun from its holster and put it on the conveyor belt. I still beeped. I removed my machete, nunchucks and grenade launcher and put them through the X-ray machine. But I still beeped!

I had become magnetic.

The next morning, as I was eating my oatmeal, my spoon stuck to the roof of my mouth. I might have choked, but fortunately the spoon was jarred loose when the magnetic force slammed me against the refrigerator, where I remained suspended until family members were able to pull me down.

Things really got weird after my second dose. Strolling back to my car from the vaccine clinic, I suddenly found myself plastered to the grill of an idling UPS truck. I took a walk in the woods to get away from all the metal, but I got lost: My compass stopped pointing north and pointed only at me. Worst of all, I discovered it’s true that opposites attract. Walking through the Capitol one day on my way to a hearing, I turned a corner and was suddenly joined at the hip with Marjorie Taylor Greene. Awkward!

Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

I know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that “receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic” because they are “free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth alloys.” I know the “real” scientists don’t give a twopence about Tenpenny’s claims. They say that even if the vaccine were 100 percent metal, it wouldn’t be enough “to allow magnets to be attracted to your vaccination site.”

Oh yeah? Tell that to the cast-iron wok that is currently stuck to my left shoulder.

These “scientists” are the same ones who tell us the vaccine doesn’t implant microchips in us and does not cause our bodies to “interface” with 5G cellular towers, as the osteopath Tenpenny professes. Yet I canceled my Verizon data plan shortly after my second dose, because I am able to stream video through my vaccination site. I was never good at trivia before, but now I blurt out every answer while watching “Jeopardy!” — in Siri’s voice! Explain that, CDC.

Admittedly, it is possible that none of this is really happening. It may instead be that I am dead, but I don’t know it. Fox News’s Tucker Carlson and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) have suggested that loads of people died after getting the vaccine. Scientists say that’s the classic “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” logical fallacy, and that those who died were no more killed by the covid shot than they were by watching Carlson’s show or listening to Johnson’s speeches. But why listen to scientists? Tenpenny and her ilk say the vaccine makes you infertile and disrupts your menstrual cycle — and I’ve had neither offspring nor menstruation since getting my shots.

It took some getting used to, but I’ve begun to enjoy my newly magnetic personality. In fact, I’ve tried to maximize my magnetism by getting a third vaccine dose, and a fourth — Pfizer, Moderna and J&J. Now I no longer have to pay Metro fares; I simply run toward a moving train and peel myself off its side when I get to my stop. Whenever I go to the beach, the tide comes in as soon as I arrive.

Tenpenny and her ilk also say the vaccine alters our DNA. Those fun-sponges at the CDC say “the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way.” But I’m not so sure. Since taking the vaccine, I’ve stopped believing in anything resembling science in favor of stuff I read on social media. I’ve become totally immune to what “experts” call “facts.” And I have a feeling that my magnetic powers have become so great that the whole universe revolves around me.

See? The vaccine did change my DNA: It turned me into a Trump Republican.

3

Louie Gohmert Remains the Undisputed Emperor of the Crazy People

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

Long ago, at least in Blog Time, when Michele Bachmann vacated Congress, we searched here in the shebeen for a new Padishah Emperor of The Crazy People. After a thorough accounting of various portfolios of The Stupid, we settled the crown atop the shining dome of Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas). We never have felt for one second that we chose poorly, not even when Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene descended on the House of Representatives and obviously began styling themselves as possible contenders over the past couple of years. We knew that Emperor Louie had deep reserves of lunacy that were still untapped. We have not been disappointed.

In a hearing on ways to cope with the climate crisis, Gohmert got a chance to ask questions of Jennifer Eberlien, the associate deputy chief of the National Forest Service. (The hearing also involved officials from the Bureau of Land Management.) He was curious about what strategies might be employed by the NFS and the BLM to mitigate the effects of the crisis, and he wasn’t talking about half-measures, either. Emperor Louie was thinking big.

Is there anything that the National Forest Service, or BLM can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun? Obviously they would have profound effects on our climate.

Eberlein took an obvious two-beat, probably to allow the thought balloon above her head, reading, “Thank god I’m doing this remotely” to dissipate, before telling Gohmert:

I would have to follow up with you on that.

To which Gohmert suggested that, if Eberlein could figure out how to turn Smokey the Bear into Captain Marvel, she should get back to him about how to do it. The Management would like to remind you that, the last time that Louie Gohmert won re-election from the First Congressional District in Texas, he did so because 216,726 humans—or, 72 percent of the humans who voted—voted for him. To borrow an epigram we usually use elsewhere: This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.