Friday, June 24, 2022

Happy Friday

Stupid Is …  Notes from Charlie Pierce on the gang that couldn’t shut up.

WASHINGTON—I would have preferred a mass bust like the one they dropped on the mob families in Apalachin, New York, back in 1957, where there was one big gathering of ratfckers in one place, and the law broke in, and all the ratfckers had to scatter through the woods in a blind panic and their good shoes. But this will do, people. This will surely do. From the Washington Post:

Agents conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity Wednesday morning at different locations, FBI officials confirmed to The Washington Post. One was the home of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector. The other was the Virginia home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico. The FBI officials did not identify the people associated with those addresses, but public records list each of the locations as the home addresses of the men.

Among those who received a subpoena Wednesday was David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who served as a Trump elector in that state, people familiar with the investigation said. Shafer’s lawyer declined to comment. Separately, at least some of the would-be Trump electors in Michigan received subpoenas, according to a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. But it was not immediately clear whether that activity was related to a federal probe or a state-level criminal inquiry.

The Feds also grabbed the cellphone belonging to the Nevada state GOP chairman. So, basically, if you took a call from any member of the Cockamamie Corps working for Camp Runamuck in the aftermath of the 2020 election, the DOJ would like a word with you. And if you happened to talk to the person, the DOJ would like several words with you—and, perhaps, with your attorney as well. This was a serious roundup of serious varmints, and there’s every indication that it is not even close to over, especially if these folks start turning on each other, which they will, because they can’t all be as stupid as Rudy Giuliani.

FBI agents delivered a subpoena to Lane on Wednesday morning at his home in Virginia, according to the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. After leaving the Trump campaign, Lane has worked for the Republican National Committee’s election efforts in Virginia, this person said. A video posted online in 2020 appears to show Lane handing out paperwork for electors at the Arizona Republican Party’s Dec. 14 alternate elector signing ceremony in Phoenix.

They had videos, because of course they did. They had a ceremony. Throughout this whole sorry episode, from the day of the insurrection onward, I had running through my head the scene from The Wire in which Stringer Bell is pitching the idea of a co-op to the leaders of all the other drug gangs and, at the end, he catches Shamrock writing the minutes of their meeting.

Is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?

Videos. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Ceremonies for the appointment of fake electors. These people simply could not shut up. Stringer Bell would have taken one look at these clowns and gotten out of the business entirely. Thursday’s public hearing of the House Select Committee, the last one for a while, will focus on how the plotters tried to pressure the DOJ to get in line with the fake-electors scam. In the current DOJ, I suspect this will occasion great hilarity.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Not From “The Onion”

Part of an irregular series of posts wherein I challenge you to read a story that is not a parody.  This entry is via Charlie Pierce.

Here is a member of the Wisconsin state legislature who is about to become very Internet Famous. His name is Treig Pronschinske, and he represents the district surrounding the city of Mondovi, a lovely place in Buffalo County along the Buffalo River where somewhere short of 3,000 people live.

(For the record, Wisconsin killed off its wild buffalo population somewhere around 1830, but, thanks to a good Wisconsinite named Wallace Grange, who reintroduced bison to the state in the 1940s, there is now a small population in the Sandhill Wildlife Area. It’s nice that the old buffalo herds have a county and a river for us to remember them by. And I know that bison and buffalo are different, but hey, it’s the thought that counts. Wisconsin used to make so much sense.)

Sayeth Pronschinske:

If you can’t see the virus, how’re you going to do it? How you going to do it? How can you stop it? You physically cannot see the virus. You don’t know if it’s in this room or outside or if it even exists right now in here. You have no clue. How’re you going to stop that?

Is someone going to tell him that he can’t see oxygen, but that doesn’t mean he should stop breathing?

This is one reason why I pay the state an extra $25 a year to have a license plate that says “SUPPORT EDUCATION.” I’m not bragging; I’m begging.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Too Dumb To Shut Up

The geniuses behind the January 6 insurrection keep talking and finding themselves on the business end of the law.  Via Charlie Pierce:

Once the good people of America completely convert this old republic into a Dollar Store dictatorship, I am still going to be astonished at how baffled the January 6 insurrectionists apparently are by the concept of covert operations. Yes, the person who left the pipe bombs in front of the two national party headquarters remains at large, but that person is a tiny exception to a massive rule. On the day of the insurrection, the lot of them behaved like grandmothers on their first trip to Vegas. Between Instagram videos, Tweets, and Facebook extravaganzas, these people simply don’t know when to shut…the…fck…up. They can’t even do it while talking to law enforcement officers who are committed to throwing them into the sneezer for several seasons. Take, for example, this Mark Andrew Mazza cat, who pretty plainly is not the smartest person ever to come out of Shelbyville, Indiana.

Mazza stopped by the Capitol on January 6. He was accompanied by his weapon that looks like it was pried off the deck of the USS Iowa. Originally, Mazza told investigators that he had lost track of his Precious in the parking lot of an Ohio casino on his way back from Washington. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, this story was complete bullpucky. Mazza also lied to the local police about his whereabouts on January 6. The Capitol Police soon found that Mazza had uploaded videos of himself inside the Capitol on that date that Mazza had posted to his own Twitter account. Tradecraft!

Now, back to that mutant firearm that Mazza somehow misplaced. When the Capitol Police came to Shelbyville—“Join The Capitol Police And See The World!”—Mazza was initially reluctant to walk away from the obvious nonsense he’d been peddling. But after what appeared to be at least 25 seconds of prodding, he came clean.

The police asked him how his hand-cannon had come to be “stolen.” According to the affidavit filed by the investigating officer, Mazza began his response by saying,
“Uhh…do you want the official version?”

This is not anything Mazza’s eventual lawyers are likely to find helpful. They replied that the truth would be just fine, thanks, whereupon Mazza told them the truth which, as it happens, was worse.

First, he insisted that he and a “friend” had entered the Capitol to try and stop what Mazza believed were obvious left-wing agitators from ruining the high purpose of the authentic insurrectionists. “We knew it was Antifa,” Mazza told his visitors, “because we don’t loot.” He says he lost his firearm at some point when he was being bum-rushed out of the Capitol. Why, then, did he bring his Judge—no kidding, that’s what the big boom-boom really is called—into the Capitol in the first place. This is where it gets really terrible:

“It was cold as hell that day…all three days…Never did talk to Nancy. I think Nan and I would have hit it off. I was glad I didn’t because you would be here for another reason, and I told my kids if they show up, I’m surrendering because I may go down as a hero.”

Dude, you just copped to wishing you’d “hit it off” with the Speaker of the House of Representatives while carrying a firearm that could stop a garbage truck at top speed. Good luck getting out of this one.

The reason many of these nitwits thought they could get away with these antics is because their fearless leader has the same attitude: they are above the law and they are the true patriots. Trump, of course, has skirted the law all his life and bragged about it; why shouldn’t they be able to do the same?

Theodore Parker (1810-1860):

I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.

Short version: You’ll get yours. You too, Trump.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Happy Friday

Did he really say that?

After a presentation Thursday, which touched on the disinfectants that can kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces and in the air, President Trump pondered whether those chemicals could be used to fight the virus inside the human body.

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said during Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

The question, which Trump offered unprompted, immediately spurred doctors to respond with incredulity and warnings against injecting or otherwise ingesting disinfectants, which are highly toxic.

“My concern is that people will die. People will think this is a good idea,” Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center,told The Washington Post. “This is not willy-nilly, off-the-cuff, maybe-this-will-work advice. This is dangerous.”

If there are people out there who will mainline chemicals (“It’s so easy when you use Lestoil”), then perhaps this will prove that yes, Charles Darwin, there are those who are too stupid to live.

It occurs to me that if Trump had listened to the people who are in a position to know and whom his administration had in place to warn the nation about the virus in the first place and given the doctors, the scientists, and the public health officials the stage and let them do their work, not only would this have slowed the spread of the disease, it would have made him look like the calm and dedicated leader this situation requires to reassure a nation and the world.  And it could have boosted his chances for reelection to the point that he could coast to November on his amazing skills in a time of crisis.  But no; he had to be the grifter, the bamboozler, the political hack that we have come to know and have known since the beginning: finding someone else to blame, denying, lying, fomenting insurrection in one breath and calling himself emperor in the next.

If there are enough people out there who would vote him back into office, then perhaps that would prove that yes, Charles Darwin, there are entire civilizations that are too stupid to live.

Since I like to put up something soothing for Fridays, contemplate this scene while you wonder what Nature has in store for us next.

Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

Monday, February 3, 2020

America, Stop Electing Stupid People

Via the Washington Post:

Rep. Rodney Garcia, a state lawmaker in Montana, told a roomful of Republicans he believes the U.S. Constitution says socialists can be jailed or shot simply for being socialists. Garcia initially made the statement at an election event, then he reiterated it to a Billings Gazette reporter.

The Republican Party in Montana swiftly rebuked him.

Garcia’s inflammatory assertion first came Friday night, after former interior secretary Ryan Zinke gave a speech at the party event in Helena. According to reporting from the Gazette, Garcia said he was concerned there were socialists “everywhere” in Billings, which he represents in House District 52.

Billings Gazette reporter Holly Michels later asked Garcia to clarify his remarks, and the lawmaker doubled down.

“So actually in the Constitution of the United States, [if you] are found guilty of being a socialist member you either go to prison or are shot,” Garcia told Michels.

Garcia was not able to say where he finds that in the Constitution, the Billings Gazette reported.

Anthony Johnstone, a law professor at the University of Montana, told The Washington Post that “nothing in the Constitution of the United States authorizes the government to punish socialists or anyone else on the basis of their political beliefs.” In fact, the First Amendment prohibits punishing political speech, and the Constitution of Montana “expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of political beliefs,” Johnstone said. All state lawmakers swear an oath to uphold those doctrines.

Rep. Garcia can’t help it if he’s a stone-cold idiot, but the people in Montana should know better than to give him a job where he actually has power over the lives of them, much less access to sharp objects.

By the way, the Constitution starts off with “We The People,” which sounds pretty damn socialist.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

“Who Says I’m Dumb?”

Trump says that if he wanted to commit impeachable offenses, he’s smart enough, by golly.

As Donald Trump gets dragged deeper, and deeper, and deeper into his Ukraine scandal and the impeachment inquiry accelerates toward a likely House vote before the year’s end, the president is increasingly insistent that, if he wanted to commit a crime, he wouldn’t be stupid enough to get caught.

At other times, Trump has privately avowed that if he wanted to commit the crimes or outrageous actions he’s accused of, he’d be smart enough to do it—and that people should stop saying he’s too dumb or incompetent to do crimes.

Last week, the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal launched a novel defense of Trump, who Democratic lawmakers allege—as Capitol Hill testimony from senior administration officials suggests—attempted to force the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a top political rival of Trump’s, in exchange for military aid that was being held up. The newspaper’s esteemed board argued that any talk of impeaching Trump is silly, in large part, because this president is likely too bumbling to execute that kind of scandalous quid pro quo.

“Intriguingly, Mr. [Bill] Taylor says in his statement that many people in the administration opposed the [Rudy] Giuliani effort, including some in senior positions at the White House,” the editorial board wrote. “This matters because it may turn out that while Mr. Trump wanted a quid-pro-quo policy ultimatum toward Ukraine, he was too inept to execute it. Impeachment for incompetence would disqualify most of the government, and most presidents at some point or another in office.”

Trump, a routine morning reader and skimmer of several newspapers’ print editions, saw this editorial—which was obviously meant to defend him—last week. And the president promptly began complaining about it to some of those close to him.

“[The president] mentioned he had seen it and then he started saying things like, ‘What are they talking about, if I wanted to do quid pro quo, I would’ve done the damn quid pro quo,’ and… then defended his intelligence and then talked about how ‘perfect’ the call [with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky] was,” said a source familiar with Trump’s reaction to the Journal editorial. Another person familiar with the president’s comments on the matter corroborated the account.

“He was clearly unhappy. He did not like the word ‘inept,’” the first source added.

Okay, then how about “thick”? “Doltish”? “Numbskull”? “Inadept”? “Unapt”? “Incompetent”? “Loser”?

Proving once again that stupid people don’t know they’re stupid because if they did know they were stupid they wouldn’t be stupid in the first place.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday, June 9, 2017

That’s Your Excuse?

Speaker Paul Ryan says that Trump is too dumb to know what he’s doing, so give him a break already.

“The president is new at this,” Ryan said. “He’s new to government. And so he probably wasn’t steeped into the long going protocols that established the relationships between DOJ, FBI, and White Houses.”

When a reporter questioned why that’s an “acceptable excuse,” given that Trump has a staff and counsel that should have been informed, Ryan reiterated that Trump did not know what he was doing.

“He’s new at government,” Ryan said. “Therefore I think he is learning as he goes.”

He’s saying this about the man who claimed to be “very smart,” “I’ve got a great brain,” “I know more than … the generals,” but now he’s trying to give him cover because he’s too new and requires coaching?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We Have Confirmation

After denying that he gave code-word clearance intel to the Russians last week, Trump basically confirms that he did.

I fully expect North Korea to conquer America by telling Trump, “Hey, your shoelace is untied.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Not Guilty By Reason Of Stupidity

The New York Times has a backgrounder on the mood and atmosphere at the White House.

The bad-news stories slammed into the White House in pitiless succession on Tuesday, leaving President Trump’s battle-scarred West Wing aides staring at their flat screens in glassy-eyed shock.

The disclosure that Mr. Trump divulged classified intelligence to Russian officials that had been provided by Israel was another blow to a besieged White House staff recovering from the mishandled firing of James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director.

And the day was capped by the even more stunning revelation that the president had prodded Mr. Comey to drop an investigation into Michael T. Flynn, his former national security adviser. That prompted a stampede of reporters from the White House briefing room into the lower press gallery of the White House, where Mr. Trump’s first-line defenders had few answers but an abundance of anxieties about their job security.

The president’s appetite for chaos, coupled with his disregard for the self-protective conventions of the presidency, has left his staff confused and squabbling. And his own mood, according to two advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity, has become sour and dark, and he has turned against most of his aides — even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — describing them in a fury as “incompetent,” according to one of those advisers.

Yeah, it’s the White House aides who are “incompetent.”  Who hired those bozos in the first place?

The stress was taking its toll. Late Monday, reporters could hear senior aides shouting from behind closed doors as they discussed how to respond after Washington Post reporters informed them of an article they were writing that first reported the news about the president’s divulging of intelligence.

So they sent out H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, to issue a flat non-denial denial, hoping that a combat veteran could take the heat.

As he was working on his statement, General McMaster, a former combat commander who appeared uncomfortable in a civilian suit and black-framed glasses, nearly ran into reporters staking out Mr. Spicer’s office.

“This is the last place in the world I wanted to be,” he said, perhaps in jest.

Meanwhile, the administration is coming a rather unique defense of why Trump blabbed to the Russians.

In private, three administration officials conceded that they could not publicly articulate their most compelling — and honest — defense of the president for divulging classified intelligence to the Russians: that Mr. Trump, a hasty and indifferent reader of his briefing materials, simply did not possess the interest or the knowledge of the granular details of intelligence gathering to leak specific sources and methods of intelligence gathering that would harm American allies.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client is too stupid to have knowingly committed this crime.”

That might actually work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Insurance Won’t Cover Stupid

Via LGM and the Atlanta Journal Constitution we meet a young Republican who disdains any idea of help from the guvamint.

Blake Yelverton is taking a break with a burger that doesn’t cut any corners. Cheese and bacon and everything. He’s 23, a burly young man with a big red beard, and he works on his father’s cow farm.

“I don’t believe it’s the federal government’s job to provide health care,” he said. “It’s communism, socialism anyway.”

Yelverton hopes Trump trashes the whole thing, and he’s not too fond of the GOP plan being discussed in Congress either. “They’re doing a lesser evil of Obamacare,” he said.

His insurance?

“I’m on my parents’ plan,” he said.

So, Yelverton, it turns out, benefits from Obamacare. That’s because the law allows parents to keep kids on their insurance until age 26 — a widely-popular element of Barack Obama’s signature health law that Republicans intend to keep in their replacement plan.

Confronted with that information, he pauses for a moment.

“I haven’t been to the doctor in four or five years,” he said.

Unfortunately for this guy, even Obamacare won’t cover an extreme case of a lack of self-awareness.  But we’ll be sure to send flowers.

Monday, February 27, 2017

No Shit, Sherlock

Via TPM:

Trump told a bipartisan group of governors at a White House reception Monday morning that GOP tax reform would have to wait for lawmakers to move on repealing Obamacare, cautioning that, “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

“I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” Trump said.

For health policy experts and Democrats who spent the last eight years overhauling the nation’s health care system in the face of GOP intransigence, Trump’s admission that health care is hard dripped with irony. Republicans, in the mean time, voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but made little progress on settling on what their replacement would look like, a conundrum that is haunting them now.

You mean a 3,000 page law that the Republicans said in 2010 was unbelievably complex can’t be repealed by passing a law that says “The Affordable Care Act is hereby repealed”?  Who could have known, besides everybody?

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Sheesh, what a dope.

Numerous members of the British parliament have complained that they have received multiple emails from the Trump campaign asking for a donation.

But wait, there’s more.

Accepting contributions from foreign nationals is illegal of course though in this case it seems more a matter of incompetence than criminal intent, as though Trump has bought his email list not for a party list vendor but maybe from a Nigerian email scammer. In any case, it’s not just the UK. It turns out some or perhaps all members of the Icelandic parliament have also receiving fundraising emails from the Trump campaign asking for money.

He’s gone to the other end of the world: Australia reports they’re getting them, too.

This is gotten the attention of people who regulate these sort of things.

Fred Werthemier, the president of Democracy 21, said that Trump’s fundraising pleas to foreign members of parliament are “a strange and unique development that we have not seen before in campaign fundraising.”

Campaign finance law prohibits campaigns from knowingly accepting or soliciting contributions from foreign nationals. It’s not clear whether the Trump campaign purposefully sent the emails to foreign members of parliament.

Also, a number of Nigerian princes and Russian widows are complaining about Trump going after their business.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Qualified Support

Hey, remember Dan Quayle? Yeah, that guy who was vice president under George H.W. Bush way back in the 80’s.  Ever wonder what he’s been up to since then?  Yeah, me neither.  But he’s still around and he still has the charm of inanity that endeared him to late-night comedians and sit-coms.

Hillary Clinton may be a more qualified presidential candidate than Donald Trump “on paper,” former Vice President Dan Quayle said Thursday. But Trump is more qualified in another respect, the Indiana Republican suggested.

“He’s more qualified in the sense that the American people, I think, want an outsider,” Quayle said in an interview with NBC’s “Today,” remarking that he would support him as the Republican Party’s nominee. “And they want an outsider this time. She’s not an outsider, so if you’re looking for an outsider, no, she’s not qualified, and he is.”

So he means that if you don’t really care what “qualified” means, then Trump’s your guy.

Leave it to someone who can’t spell “potato” to re-write the dictionary.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Low Information Voters

I think we should forget about holding an election and just turn the whole thing over to American Idol.

Via C&L:

We aren’t sure whether to laugh or cringe about this one.

As the presidential candidates duked it out in [Saturday] night’s ninth Republican debate, viewers used it as a chance to familiarize themselves with the contenders who stood out to them.

Unsurprisingly, Jeb Bush – who got caught in one of the night’s biggest clashes while defending his family against Donald Trump’s criticisms – was among the candidates being looked up online.

But according to Google Trends data, it wasn’t so much Bush’s policy experience that people were interested in.

The top trending question asked about him in South Carolina was, “Is Jeb Bush related to George W. Bush?” [emphasis added]

No, he’s the brother of the guy on TV who sells the baked beans.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

We’ll Get Back To You

Via Twitter:

Fox host asks why guns should be regulated in the US if “we’re not regulating the car”

I’ll tell you why just as soon as I pay my mandatory auto insurance bill.  I had it here somewhere buried under my state-required registration renewal, which was attached to the federally-mandated recall notice for my federally-required air bag.  Oh, there it is, in my wallet underneath my state-issued drivers license.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Military Genius

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) demonstrated his military know-how by saying that the way to defeat ISIS is to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria.  That will take care of the problem.

Well, there’s one little detail.  As Martha Raddatz of ABC News reminded him, ISIS doesn’t have any aircraft.

Well, see?  It’s working already.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

That Settles It

Well, what a relief.

“America isn’t a racist country, not even close,” she wrote in an op-ed in The Hill on Monday. “The left falsely saying so promotes not progress but division. American history includes slavery and racism, but its current status and future as a whole does not.”

And she should know because she has never heard a racist epithet about her.  So there.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Keeping The Dough

Josh Mandel, the Treasurer of the state of Ohio, got $1,500 from Earl Holt, the white supremacist who inspired Dylan Roof, for his Senate race in 2012.  Everybody else who got money from Mr. Holt has either sent it back or donated it to charity.

But not Mr. Mandel.

The money he donated was spent over two and a half years ago so it cannot be refunded,” said Chris Berry, a spokesman for the treasurer who made clear he was speaking on behalf of Mandel’s disbanded Senate campaign as a volunteer.

Mandel’s treasury from that campaign still has $49,694 in the bank, according to its April report to the Federal Election Commission. It would be permissible under federal campaign finance law to use that money for a donation to an outside group or charity, according to a number of people involved in political campaigns. That’s exactly what some other politicians are doing.

But Mandel, who manages Ohio’s public funds, appears to view this as a matter of strict accounting for specific sums at specific times: When Holt’s money came in, it was spent almost immediately on Mandel’s Senate campaign. The surplus left after the election came from other donations.

Berry said later Monday, “Treasurer Mandel and our entire team deplore racism and bigotry of any kind. We cannot manufacture a donation that has already been spent.”

Um, yeah, any CPA worth their calculator says you can.  And even if it takes a little bit of accounting wizardry, every ounce of morality and decency says you should.