Wake up and take a look at the headlines in the paper, if, like me, you cannot refrain from doom scrolling. I also check youTube for a quick, surveillance capitalism-curated primer on what people who don’t read the paper think is important and whoa!, there’s Will Smith charging up to a comedian and smacking him in the face on live TV then threatening him if he doesn’t take Smith’s wife’s name out of his fucking mouth. He angrily says this twice to make his point. The comedian behaved with great dignity, after Smith, who initially laughed at the in-poor-taste joke (at the expense of his wife’s alopecia), lunged on to the stage, Jack Ruby-like, and slapped Chris Rock, hard. Rock was philosophical “…that was the greatest night in television history” he said while managing not to rub his stung cheek.
Americans, of course, did not see this moment of TV history — you know how the fucking “f-word” can destroy a young life (it clearly destroyed mine). You can see it here:
On a similar censorship note, Putin’s Supreme Court has closed down the Russian archive that documented all the atrocities of the Second World War. That’s what you do when fighting Nazis. Here’s Brook Gladstone with the story The Death of Historical Memory.
Speaking of Nazis, the Washington Post had a long piece entitled Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power about hard-line Tea Bagger Lyin’ Ted Cruz losing friends after his ardent defense of the Big Lie (spread by Cruz who announced, on January 5th and 6th, that 39% of Americans believed his lie) and his pivotal, essential role in the January 6 insurrection conspiracy. My first thought was — Cruz had friends? One was J. Michael Luttig, the former federal judge, a movement conservative (as they call themselves) for whom Cruz, and John “Greenbay Sweep” Eastman, once clerked (don’t worry, Cruz and Eastman are still cool). Cruz said of Luttig “he was like a father to me.” Luttig was the author of a NY Times op-ed defending Barr’s decision to do Trump a favor in dismissing Mike “Lock Her Up” Flynn’s guilty plea (fucking Comey should’ve done the right thing), and his discretion in calling the lies Flynn pleaded guilty for telling “immaterial”. He has since come out against Trump’s riot at the Capitol, advocates closing loopholes in the Electoral Count Act that Cruz attempted to drive a convoy of anti-vax trucks through, and had some unflattering things to say about Cruz, about whom there is little flattering to say.
Unless, of course, you are Ginni Thomas, who used her protected First Amendment right to voice any opinion whatsoever, in this case in a series of texts to Trump’s chief of staff urging him to fight the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, the certified, recounted results of which horrified this apocalyptic right wing Christian extremist. Ginni is famously married to movement conservative Clarence Thomas. Thomas, always taking his cues from his master, the brilliant, evil Antonin Scalia, has refused to recuse himself from cases involving his wife’s high-powered political activism (among other things she’s on the board of the secretive non-profit that brokered the deal between Trump and the Evangelicals prior to the 2016 election ). Clarence Thomas did, however, recently disclose that Ginni had recently taken in over $600,000 for such work, as required when updating his financial disclosure forms. Now she’s being politely asked by the January 6 Committee to come in and invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, over and over. She will likely demand a subpoena, that she will refuse to obey, but presumably Clarence has her back if the case makes it up to his rarefied, unappealable court, the group of lifetime appointees that claims to enforce its own ethical obligations.
The Trump Six on the Supreme Court have been fairly loyal to the incompetent, insane fuck who appointed half of them, ruling (often on the Shadow docket, no debate, no legal reason needed) in a way sure to make America as great as it was in the era of de jure segregation, back alley abortions for the poor and homosexuals Biblically stigmatized, out of faithful loyalty to what the top preachers claim Jesus loves and hates, the only guide needed by these carefully vetted zealots.
Speaking of loyalty oaths, former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yavonovich revealed the other day that Trump’s goons, before smearing her reputation with lies and having Transactional Trump unceremoniously remove her from office, tried to get her to sign an oath of personal loyalty to the leader of the GOP. A loyalty oath? As we call it the Führer Oath:
“I swear by God this holy oath, that I will render to Adolf Hitler, Führer of the German Reich and People, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, unconditional obedience, and that I am ready, as a brave soldier, to risk my life at any time for this oath.”
Seriously though, Cruz had friends?
Ginni Thomas sits on the board of directors for the powerful, secretive, right-wing political activist nonprofit Council for National Policy — here is their deal with Trump in 2016:
NELSON: . . . Cruz is a formidable intelligence and strategist. He was not a winning candidate outside Texas. So the fundamentalists convened something like a thousand leaders and representatives in New York City in June of 2016 at the Times Square Marriott. They brought Trump out to parade him before them, and they had a number of leaders from the Council for National Policy there on the program. And publicly, what that event was about was to sell Trump to this thousand fundamentalist leaders, many of whom had been Never Trumpers, and they were like, “This is going to be your guy. You need to go home and tell your flocks that this is the plan.” But the second part of that agenda involved meetings where they cut a deal with Trump. They said, “You don’t have a war chest, you don’t have ground troops for the election canvassing, you don’t have a strategy. And all indications are you’re going to get creamed.” So we have all three of those that we can put into your service. But in return –
GARFIELD: We have a shopping list.
NELSON: We have a shopping list, and it’s basically got three items.
The first one was enact some of our policies by executive orders. So when suddenly the Republican platform has this new anti-trans, anti LGBT language that was literally written by the president of the Council for National Policy, Tony Perkins, Trump enacted the anti-trans policy for the Pentagon against the Pentagon’s wishes, which, you know, the Pentagon said, “This is disruptive of our operations and trans people are not a problem,” but Trump had to deliver on his deal.
The second part was to create an evangelical advisory council. Obama had a religious advisory council, but it included Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims. This one was 100% Protestant, and none of these other religions needed to apply. The leadership of this council were in and out of the White House on policy discussions and photo ops on a weekly basis.
The third was by far the most important, far reaching, and devastating to our democracy. And that was when they got Trump to agree that any federal judges he nominated would be approved from a list that was submitted by three organizations run by members of the Council for National Policy. These were the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, and the National Rifle Association. Now, what business the NRA has in recommending federal judge nominations? I do not know, but that’s how it played out, and after his first confirmation, he invited the representatives of these groups, most of them from the Council for National Policy, for a little victory luncheon at the White House.