Friday, November 22, 2019

Too much television

I've never been inclined to binge-watch TV — even the most dramatic and convoluted fictions just can't hold my interest for more than an hour or two.

Then I got hooked on the impeachment inquiry — not for new revelations nor even for the inevitable confirmations of my preexisting beliefs.  I was hooked on the human drama: the personalities of the witnesses, and their distinctive responses to the singular circumstances of Congressional scrutiny.  It was "reality television" at its best.

The career diplomats (aka "deep state") expressed a degree of moral clarity rarely encountered in our day-to-day lives.  I felt I could trust Alexander Vindman with all my passwords and account numbers; Marie Yovanovitch's grace under fire tempted me to join in the standing ovation she received as she exited the hearing room; Fiona Hill's testimony, of course, was literally breathtaking; and the earnest courage of the less senior diplomats, who disobeyed Tr*mp's orders to ignore Congressional subpoenas, was genuinely inspiring.

The most interesting character study, though, was Gordon Sondland.  Gregarious, self-assured, and puckishly self-deprecating at times, he came across as somehow likeable as he sought to thread a narrow path between perjury charges and presidential revenge.  His role in the Congressional teledrama was, to me, Shakespearean: a "man of parts" brought down by vain ambition — and wishing he'd blown that million bucks on anything else.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Quick take

Many were amused when Lindsey Graham suggested that the Tr*mp administration is just too incompetent to hatch a plan which would force Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.  Well, Tr*mp & Co. certainly were too incompetent to get it right.  Sondland's amateurism and Giuliani's dementia made sure of that: they got caught.

I think it's just as amusing tha their incompetence – and Tr*mp's – are now the basis of the Republican defense against impeachment.  "Ukraine got the money," they say.  "There weren't any investigations."  Right.  The plan didn't work.  They got caught.

Clearly, Jim Jordan was added to the intelligence committee to provide sound bites for Fox.  I can't help thinking his greatest qualification is that he, like Tr*mp, actually believes the conspiracy theories about Ukraine, rather than Russia, being responsible for the 2016 election interference; and that it was done to benefit Democrats.  The Red Hats, needless to say, happily will believe it as well.

Monday, November 11, 2019


Virtually all the talking heads are in agreement: Our President will be impeached by the House and acquitted in the Senate.  This is based on the irrefutable fact that Republicans are so deep in his sh*t all they can do is pretend they can't smell it.  That leaves them struggling to agree on a strategy to defend him; and at the moment, it looks like all they have are Giuliani's conspiracy theories.

Our President, it appears, sincerely believes in those conspiracy theories, so you can be sure he regards "believing" them as a test of loyalty.  Needless to say, the conservative media (and the Russians) are doing a pretty good job of selling them to the loyal Republican base.  The Nazi "big lie" stratagem still works — and social media helps it work even better.

Just for entertainment value, I'd love to see public testimony from Rudy Giuliani.  (I know I'm not supposed to laugh at the handicapped, but in Rudy's case, I'll make an exception.)