A never-ending trial with Tweets and mean names.

Yeah okay, so, the Senate voted to let Trûmp keep on squatting in the White House. Which is hardly a surprise. I’m just annoyed they didn’t spend longer on the trial. So, for the case of the GOP Senators who almost without exception (Mitt Romney being the exception!) toed the Trûmp Party line, I have a new theory which is probably wrong but it’s no sillier than the shit that’s actually happening on this timeline, so hear me out: Trûmp is literally ordering hits on elected officials.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Oh) writes in NYT that his colleagues turned the impeachment into a non-trial because they’re all skeered of getting in trouble:

Late in the evening on day four of the trial I saw it, just 10 feet across the aisle from my seat at Desk 88, when Mr. Schiff told the Senate: “CBS News reported last night that a Trump confidant said that Republican senators were warned, ‘Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.’” The response from Republicans was immediate and furious. Several groaned and protested and muttered, “Not true.” But pike or no pike, Mr. Schiff had clearly struck a nerve. (In the words of Lizzo: truth hurts.)

Look, there’s a lot of hearsay in this. A lot of he said they said somebody else said someone’s threatening people. There are several degrees of separation between Sen. Brown and any statement that could be proven true or false. However? As he is in fact a Senator, there’s also a lot more proximity to the problem than most of us will ever have.

So, from his place at Desk 88 in the Senate chamber, the GOP peeps’ motivation looks especially pathetic. Sen. Brown continues:

They are afraid that Mr. Trump might give them a nickname like “Low Energy Jeb” and “Lyin’ Ted,” or that he might tweet about their disloyalty. Or — worst of all — that he might come to their state to campaign against them in the Republican primary. They worry:

“Will the hosts on Fox attack me?”

“Will the mouthpieces on talk radio go after me?”

“Will the Twitter trolls turn their followers against me?”

And again I ask: are there actual, identifiable Senators saying this shit? Are these clowns seriously afraid of the Dampnut’s Twitter account? Or is this just Sen. Brown’s speculation? Getting a little more specific:

In private, many of my colleagues agree that the president is reckless and unfit. They admit his lies. And they acknowledge what he did was wrong. They know this president has done things Richard Nixon never did. And they know that more damning evidence is likely to come out.

So watching the mental contortions they perform to justify their votes is painful to behold: They claim that calling witnesses would have meant a never-ending trial. They tell us they’ve made up their minds, so why would we need new evidence? They say to convict this president now would lead to the impeachment of every future president — as if every president will try to sell our national security to the highest bidder.

 

  1. Calling witnesses would mean a never-ending trial: well, yes, it would have taken at least a few weeks to hear out the people on the list. Are they afraid witnesses would have led to more witnesses, and then another tier of witnesses from them? Maybe. Yeah, and, as Senators, it’s their job to deal with that. I expect the real anxiety is how some of their constituents would’ve acted out during that never-ending trial with Trûmp calling them mean names on Twitter.
  2. They’ve made up their minds, so why would they need new evidence? So again, my question to them would be, why have you made up your minds already? Oh, right, we all know the Refuglican Party has collectively abandoned the pretense of actually giving a fuck about America, but then I’d like to know why they would say, in as many words, to a Democratic colleague, that they’ve made up their minds already. If this is what they’ll say out loud to someone on the other side, what are they covering up?
  3. To convict this “president” now would lead to the impeachment of every future president: now this is just sad. Those numb-nuts don’t even believe this shit. They may believe everyone else is just as corrupt and amoral as they are, but they do not actually think this trial would set a precedent that would set up every future POTUS for impeachment. They just say this because they’re covering up something much worse.

So, going back to the “he said/they said” from Rep. Schiff, my silly theory is that the “head on a pike” warning is a threat of actual death. Trûmp and his minions are making serious threats of lethal violence on elected officials who step out of line. They’ve done it often enough and credibly enough that the GOP Senators are seriously unwilling to challenge the Trûmp occupation and unwilling to explain why.

Either way, I know the GOP is the true Red Menace and the rightwing element in America has collectively lost its goddamn mind.

We progressives can’t make them see reason…but we can outvote them this November.

Moscow Mitch and…Moscow Mike?

Theory which will probably never be conclusively proven or disproven: the reason why nearly all the GOP Senators voted to block witnesses at the impeachment trial is they expect witnesses to provide incriminating information about Bitch McCandlehead and Mike Pence.

I’m just like, if they’re determined to acquit Lord Dampnut regardless of witness testimony, why not allow the witnesses to testify, and then vote to acquit?

A few of them are up for re-election in 2020, and if the rest of them don’t want to risk losing their Senate majority, then they could…vote to remove Lord Dampnut from office, perhaps? Do all those Senators really care about Cheeto Hitler that much? Nah, I don’t think they do. They want a Repub in the White House, sure, but what’s wrong with having President Mike Pence instead?

I mean, Bitch McCandlehead’s been acting like he couldn’t possibly lose re-election no matter what. And he may think so, but his openly announcing on network TV that he’ll totes give the defense everything they want…that kinda makes me wonder whom he’s trying to impress? If he only needed to impress Lord Dampnut, he could’ve said that shit behind closed doors. I suspect he said that shit out loud to prove his loyalty to the Kremlin. And if any witnesses at the impeachment trial spill hot tea about him, his Moscow overlords won’t be happy.

Right, okay, so then why are all the other Senators giving that turtle-face muthafucka what he wants? Do they really care about him so much? Seriously, I don’t think they do. He may be able to blackmail some of them, but that many? Nah, I think they’re afraid of something else. If they can’t allow witnesses because then the voters will demand they vote to remove the Dampnut, then why not remove Dampnut and let Mike Pence step up?

Do they think the Dampnut can win re-election but Pence can’t? I don’t think that’s it, either.

Are they afraid witnesses will get the turtle-face in trouble? Let’s be real, there are plenty more GOP Senators who’d be happy for a chance at Senate Majority Leader.

But here’s something that would really scare the shit out of the Senate GOP: Witnesses not only spill all the tea about Cheeto Hitler, and about the turtle-face muthafucka, BUT ALSO they know enough to know allowing witnesses would get Mike Pence in trouble. And they don’t want Pence in trouble because then they’d get Acting President Pelosi. Which is something that REALLY keeps those chucklefucks up at night.

That, or they seem to think a Pence presidency would be worse than the current situation with Cheeto Hitler. I don’t think it’s his domestic policy that would bother them. Either way, it suggests Pence has been involved in shit we don’t know about.

I have become a worse person because of this administration.

The Lost Administration has fucked up my sense of normal so hard that at this point, I can’t tell where on the Venn diagram the “bad for Trûmp” area doesn’t intersect with the “good for America” one. Some hostile nation could firebomb the shit out of everything within a 2-block radius of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and as long as Trûmp was among the body count, I expect the attack wouldn’t bother me.

 

Don’t give Moscow Mitch what he wants.

A few days ago, WaPo ran an op-ed by Prof. Lawrence H. Tribe, in which he advises the Dem reps to do pretty much exactly what Pelosi is doing now:

Consider the case of a prosecutor armed with a grand jury indictment who learns that the fix is in and that the jury poised to consider the case is about to violate its oath to do impartial justice. In that situation, the prosecutor is under no affirmative legal obligation to go forward until the problem is cured and a fair trial possible. So, too, the House, whose historical role is to prosecute articles of impeachment in the Senate after exercising its “sole” power to impeach, is under no affirmative constitutional obligation to do so instantly. That is especially true when the majority leader has made clear that he is, for all practical purposes, a member of the defense team.

I think the Dems should drag this out for as long as possible. It is vanishingly unlikely that the Senate will vote to evict Cheeto Hitler from his squat in the White House, but if the House prosecutors can keep the impeachment trial going for most of the next year, that’s the next best thing.

Whereas, Moscow Mitch aka Bitch McCandlehead clearly wants to keep this as quick and quiet as possible because he has completely abandoned the pretense of being an ethical lawmaker who doesn’t wipe his ass with the Constitution. Moscow Mitch should not get what he wants.

 

Dumpster of Dragonfire: Dany should not like Gendry Baratheon

Might as well do this in little chunks if that’s what it takes to get it done at all.

First complaint about Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks”: Dany legitimizing Gendry. Really, Dany, why would you do a thing like that?

No actually the first question is HOW she thinks she can do a thing like that. It’s one thing for her to say Gendry is the legitimate son of Robert Baratheon and all those gathered at Winterfell should treat him as such. That, she can do. It’s quite another for her to designate him Lord of Storm’s End.

Unless/until Dany actually wins the war over Cersei, Storm’s End isn’t hers to give to anyone.

At this stage, Dany isn’t recognized as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. She may be recognized by the North, the Iron Islands, and Dorne, but not by the Stormlands. They still recognize Cersei as their ruler. Grudgingly so? Perhaps. But they haven’t been sitting around waiting for some upstart girl from Essos to tell them who gets Storm’s End since House Baratheon died with Stannis. The Stormlander nobility may not like Cersei, but they’re not under Dany’s authority, and as such, they’re not about to honor Dany’s decree of Gendry being Lord of Storm’s End. It would be more realistic to say they’ve been fighting over Storm’s End since Stannis died and if some other lord hasn’t already taken the castle, it’s still in dispute. Either way, if some kid from Flea Bottom rolls up to the castle and says Queen Daenerys says he’s lord, it’ll be about three minutes before someone murders him.

Then there’s the question of why Dany would even want to legitimize Gendry. Does it make him grateful to her? In the short term, sure. Is it in her interest in the long-term?

If the ensuing drama with Jon is any indication, Dany should definitely not want to designate anyone as the only living legitimate son of Robert Baratheon. It would be better for her if the Baratheon name dies out entirely.

No matter how much good she does as queen, there will always be some people in Westeros who don’t want Dany as their ruler. Those people will always want to grab onto any perceived alternative. If there’s a nice kid named Baratheon getting comfy at Storm’s End, they’ll see him as their alternative. If he’s not only a Baratheon but in fact Robert Baratheon’s son, they will rally behind him. Doesn’t matter if Gendry doesn’t want to be king. Jon doesn’t want to be king, either, but Dany recognizes that Jon will be seen as competition regardless of his interest in ruling. She should recognize the same thing about Gendry. It is not in her interest for him to be a Baratheon.

Her legitimizing Gendry in the same episode as begging Jon not to tell anyone about his true parentage is just one of the many glaring absurdities of the season.

Electoral affirmative action for…?

The Electoral College supposedly forces candidates to take more interest in the needs of people in rural areas.

There are cities in Wyoming and Montana and there are rural areas in New York and California, but never mind that. The Electoral College, we’re told, makes it so rural folks don’t get ignored by Presidential candidates.

What really happens, though? Is the candidates are all obsessed with a handful of “battleground states” that alternate between Dem and Rep votes and whose Electoral counts are big enough to tilt the balance. It’s not about rural folks versus city folks. It’s about Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida versus everyone else.

And anyway, I don’t buy into the premise that rural areas warrant a bigger share of electoral power. Lots of populations are vulnerable to the tyranny of the majority. That’s how it feels when you’re queer and your state is putting same-sex marriage up for a popular vote. We LGBTs are much, much more outnumbered by cis-hets than rural folks by city folks. It’s scary to know there are a lot more of them than you, isn’t it? Doesn’t mean the bigger states should be diminished.

Dumpster of Dragonfire: still getting our hopes up

Of course I have shit to say about GOTS8, Ep4, “The Last of the Starks.” First thought upon seeing that title: “They better NOT be the last of the Starks!” Anyway. There’s a lot of things happening in the episode. And it’s not all bad! Part of the problem with the ep, and with the season in general, is there’s some content in here that’s really promising.

I just don’t know where to begin.

Dumpster of Dragonfire: the Shortest Long Night

GOT Season 7 left us with certain expectations, and GOTS8 got off to a promising start. Now the Snow Zombies are coming and it’s time for the big battle at Winterfell!

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Dany and Jon stand on a hilltop as the entire Dothraki horde charges at the Army of the Dead.

 

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Dumpster of Dragonfire: Death is the enemy.

I’m linking a few posts I wrote on Tumblr right after the later episodes in GOTS7:

Seems WordPress just embeds the whole-ass Tumblr post now. Works for me! But I’ll cut this for length.

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Dumpster of Dragonfire: Simpler Times

It’s almost 3 AM and there’s a cat climbing on my chest.

For this post, I’ll take a look at the first two episodes of Game of Thrones, Season 8 (GOTS8). The first third of the final season is not bad at all. This is not the ripe load of flaming hot nonsense. This is the part where we think the final season is good and will do justice to all the years we spent paying attention. Episode 801 is a perfectly serviceable GOT episode. It is, perhaps, emblematic of the last two seasons of the show being rushed. Feels like checking off boxes, but what happens is reasonable. Episode 802 is outstanding. Gets our hopes way, way up. Much of our frustration with GOTS8 in general must be understood in the context of the ways these first two episodes appeared to be making sense.

Theon and Yara! Much of Theon’s arc in GOTS7 was about balancing the identities of Greyjoy and Stark. So for this episode, the balance is that he rescues Yara and she gives him her blessing to go fight for the Starks while she resumes control of the Iron Islands. Okay! Theon goes back to Winterfell and Sansa is super happy to see him and it’s adorable. He offers to guard Bran in the godswood as restitution for having forced Bran and Rickon out of their home in Season 2. See now, this is fine. Bran accepting Theon’s offer is a good example of restorative justice. The correction is in being of service to those he’s harmed, rather than being punished. So we may ask, how does Theon’s showing up for the battle keep up with the theme of balancing Greyjoy and Stark?

Cersei has hired Bronn to go and kill her brothers. This is fine. Bronn is good at killing, and her brothers need to be punished for turning against her. I was hoping Bronn would show up in time for the battle, though. Ah well. Anyway, Cersei’s looking pretty lonely in KL, having to fuck Euron Greyjoy to keep him on her side. He wants to get her pregnant and she thinks to herself, “Okay, I can use this.”

Bran insists Jon needs to know he’s really the son of Rhaegar Targaryen. Of course he delegates the task out to Sam, as Bran has more important things to do. But still, Bran wants to make sure Jon knows, before the big battle, that he is the true heir to the Iron Throne, and surely Bran knows it is entirely possible that Jon will go and tell Dany about this and Dany will have some feelings on the matter. So we’re left to assume there is a reason, in-universe, why Bran wants Jon to know about his parentage, and there is a narrative-structure reason why, first, Jon needs to be a Targ at all and second, why Jon needs to know he is a Targ and why Dany needs to find out.

Arya tells Jon Sansa is the smartest person she knows. First demonstration of Sansa’s brainpower is when she meets up with Tyrion and she already knows Cersei isn’t acting in good faith. Speaking of Tyrion, when was the last time he did anything especially clever? Really?

Speaking of Bran having more important things to do! While Sam is telling Jon he should be Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Bran is sitting out in the cold all night long waiting for Jaime Lannister to show his face at Winterfell. Not that I blame him; I’d sit out there waiting for that face to show up, too. That Bran made such a priority of being the first one to greet Jaime at the gate suggests he still has some feelings about having been thrown out the window, and that’s fine. He’s allowed to feel that way. That he says “the things we do for love” at the trial scene in 802 is another example of his needing to hear Jaime’s apology. 

But first! The entire reason why Jaime needs to be put on “trial” at all is that his lonely arrival proves Cersei is full of shit, which means Dany is embarrassed, and rather than just admit she made a bad deal and get on with the battle, she’s gotta put on a show of turning Jaime into the bad guy. And this is where Sansa really puts on her Smarty-Pants. She lets Tyrion march himself into a trap, and she pretends to agree with Dany juuuuust long enough to goad Brienne into making Jaime look like an angel in front of the entire Winterfell court. But then! Look at what happens after. Dany is pissed as fuck at Tyrion for letting his sister pull one over on them, and Sansa tells her to get her head on straight and take some responsibility. So…Sansa has just played Dany like a fiddle, hammered a fat wedge between her and Tyrion, but also stays in control of the situation long enough to make sure Tyrion isn’t punished. Sansa is clever. She is not careless.

Now back to Bran waiting up for Jaime! The apology is private, and there’s a reason for that, which is that Bran doesn’t need anyone else to know Jaime’s the one who tossed him out of that window and that is because he believes his siblings would execute Jaime if they knew, and Bran foresees Jaime being of vital service in the coming battle. What happens after the battle? Bran doesn’t know. Anyway, Jaime does apologize for the harm he did to Bran, and he insists he’s not that person anymore, and for his part, Bran seems to…accept his apology? He’s all like, hey man, we cool, I’m glad you’re here.

The fact that Jaime does apologize to Bran, and Bran does accept his apology, should count for something.

But more importantly, that Bran says just enough at the trial to make Jaime squirm, but also does nothing to mitigate Sansa playing why-are-you-hitting-yourself on Dany, suggests something about his priorities. He’s made sure Jon is aware of his parentage, and he has no problem with Dany embarrassing herself in front of the Northern court and her own troops. This is undermining Dany’s authority, before the battle. Which suggests either Bran is totally unwilling to present a challenge to his big sister, or he feels like Jaime’s contribution to the battle will be more important than Dany saving face with her armies.

More on battle planning! They ask Bran if dragonfire is effective against White Walkers. He doesn’t know. Which tells us, first, there are limits to Bran’s powers. (Or he’s pretending to know less than he does, which would be incredibly irresponsible.) Second, it establishes that Jon and Dany really don’t know if the dragonfire will be of any use against the WWs. They already know any sort of fire gets rid of wights. That much is established. Jon also knows Valyrian steel gets rid of WWs. What they know, contrasted with what they don’t know, really ought to inform their battle strategy.

Sam gives Heartsbane to Jorah Mormont to use in the battle. Again, Valyrian steel is a known, effective weapon against White Walkers. VS is a rare commodity and there are a limited number of combatants on the field who are carrying VS blades. Jon, Arya, Jaime and Brienne, and now Jorah. Sam giving his family’s VS blade to Jorah should be a reminder to us that they need every VS-wielding soldier they can get.

Arya fucks Gendry! It’s understandable that Arya doesn’t want to die a virgin. Gendry isn’t just Mr. Right-Now, though; Gendry’s a dear friend to her. She once told him, “I could be your family.” They could have a future together.

Back to Jaime! He really seems to be living his best life in 802. “This isn’t about loyalty, this is about survival.” He makes sure to apologize to Bran, and he means it. We know he finally went cold-turkey from his Cersei Addiction in the S7 finale, and since then, he’s doing just fine. He could stay and talk with Tyrion about how they’d like to kill Cersei, but instead of having that conversation, he gravitates toward Brienne. I mean, he also confirms that Cersei’s pregnancy is real, which suggests that could be a concern for him later. For now, though? He’s all about his big wench. He wants to fight under her command. He scrambles to his feet when she enters the room, and he wants her to sit beside him. He bestows knighthood on her and it is glorious. He…really seems to be doing just fine without his Cersei Fix, as long as he has Brienne. One might think it’ll stay that way.

Dany and Jorah are super-adorable together. Jorah is the advisor she needs, if not the one she deserves.

Missandei and Grey Worm are super-adorable too. I can see why they’d want to get the heck out of the North at the first opportunity. We’re rooting for them to run off to Naath together.

I’ll probably think of some more points after I’ve slept.