Living Large In Carson City: A Scoundrel, A Crook And A Ninny Edition


“Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious” Oscar Wilde

The Donald Trump’s UnMagical Mysterious Tour in an ongoing spectacle of bad taste and effrontery traveled to Japan this past week to the G20 meeting of world leaders. The results were predicable and not unexpected. The tour became more of a chance for Trump to hobnob with the world’s strongmen autocrats  (a group he desperately wants to be included in on the world stage) including his pal Vladmir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam, and a wild card visit to Eddie Munster grown up look alike, Kim Jong Un. Trump hit a trifecta of sorts by embarrassing himself and/or America in every meeting. With Putin, it was a mocking comment about not meddling in the 2020 election. With MBS, he rudely talked to the Saudi murdering prince while standing on bleachers at the group photo shoot. The biggest surprise came at the end of his trip when  he decided to go to North Korea to further his bromance with the despot Kim Jong Un and the chance to be the first American president to ever visit the North Korea pariah state. It is fair to ask the question does Trump understand why no American president ever visited the rogue empire before?

The prospect of writing a blog post about the G20 meeting is both excruciating and useless because nothing happened at the conference except for Trump’s grandstanding; an all too common act of idiocy this president is wont to engage in wherever he goes. This lull in actual illegal acts committed by Trump allows the nation to stop, contemplate, and reflect on the other members of his party, and their outrageous shenanigans. This week provided more than enough ammunition to highlight the growing band of America’s scoundrels, crooks, and ninnies. Following are some of the more egregious and baffling accounts of how these people see American democracy.

First up, under the crooks category, is Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) from one of Southern California’s reddest districts. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted for misuse of campaign finances for personal gain. In a recent development of the bizarre case, Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty for conspiring to misuse campaign finance money. She is expected to cooperate with the prosecution in her husband’s oncoming trial. Records show the couple used the ill-begotten money for travel, fine dining, gifts, and generally as a “secret” checking account that they dipped into whenever they liked. They then falsely reported the “expenditures” to the Federal Election Commission as legitimate campaign expenses.

Duncan is embroiled in his own trial at the moment and has taken an unusual defense surrounding his actions. While accusing his wife of creating the entire fiasco in the first place, Hunter also used the funds to engage in five affairs over the course of the election campaign. Among the women Hunter had affairs with, three were industry lobbyist, one of his own campaign staffers, and an official of Republican National Committee. This is where it gets weird.

In a new move this week, Hunter’s lawyers have come up with a unique defense for his actions. Laura Clawson, staff writer for the Daily Kos, writes his lawyers are claiming his extra-marital affairs were . . . campaign expenditures. Clawson wrote,

These women were, after all, professional contacts for Hunter. The relationships, the lawyers argue, “often served an overtly political purpose,” so “Unlike intimacy, the fact that an individual’s relationship with Mr. Hunter includes a professional aspect that directly, or indirectly, relates to his campaign or duties as a holder of Federal office, is directly relevant to whether Mr. Hunter could properly use campaign funds for an expense in connection with that individual.” Daily Kos

Certainly, the devoutly Christian Republican Party will no doubt call foul mentioning among other things infidelity, theft, conspiracy, lying to federal officials, and other mundane crimes that Hunter seems to think are inconsequential. In normal times such claims would be laughable, yet, this is Trump’s world now. Anything goes.

The Ninny award this week goes to who else but Ivanka Trump. Trump is fond of taking his daughter with him to various functions like the G20 around the world. Part eye candy, part presidential adviser (?), and part emotional support to the president, what exactly Ivanka’s diplomatic talents are are still up for debate. From fashion maven to international expert adviser is a pretty big leap for anyone, but for Ivanka, surely so.

In Japan this week and in North Korea, the blonde headed stick figure and her equally bland and monochromatic husband, Jared, were seen everywhere. This isn’t a good thing. It seemed as if Ivanka showed up everywhere except the places where she was wanted. In a reception line, she and Jared took center stage effectively blocking out Mike Pomepeo from a place of importance. It wasn’t until he called this to Ivanka’s attention did she and Jared begrudgingly make room for him but not without obvious reluctance. Many experts question her qualifications and why in the world she has become a familiar Trump doppelganger that acts as if she has something of substance to offer. Kaitlan Collins of CNN Tweeted it this way,

CNN Newsroom


Ivanka Trump’s role at the G20 summit is under scrutiny.

CNN’s @kaitlancollins reports: “There are questions about the role she played with these other world leaders. … and whether or not she is qualified to be in those meetings.” 

One particular incident stood out and became the focus of a much ballyhooed speculation on why Ivanka was even there. The incident involved a group of high level European diplomats engaged in an intense conversation including French president Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and International Monetary Fund head, Christine Lagarde. As May makes a point, the hapless Ivanka can be seen trying to wheedle her way into the conversation. Babbling inane bullshit obviously, the leaders, and especially Legarde, cast jaundiced eyes toward the president’s daughter as if wondering, “Where did this ninny come from?” For her part, Ivanka, like her father, seemed unruffled or aware that she was being shunned by her betters.

Finally, the scoundrel award is shared by two equally despicable lawmakers, Mitch McConnell (R Ken) and loopy Louie Gohmert (R Tex). The sins of McConnell are widely known ranging back to Barack Obama’s first administration. There are literally too many incidents to chronicle here. This week, however, he played his role as partisan suck up to the president when he used an underhanded dirty trick to block the Senate from reeling in the president’s ability to go to war with Iran. Not only was his act a selfish partisan hack job, but it surely gives Trump the green light to attack Iran before the 2020 election where upon Trump would do god knows what.  Declare martial law? Suspend the election? 

Leave it to loopy Louie, however, to inject a bit of “country humor” into the national political debate. In an attack on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Gohmert reacted to Mueller’s subpoena by Democrats in the House of Representatives by attacking his integrity and referring to Mueller with an odd pejorative. Kate Riga of Talking Points Memo put it this way,

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s impending congressional testimony has some House Republicans speaking their mind about the square-jawed lawyer.

“He’s done some irreparable damage to some things and he’s got to answer for them,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told Politico. “It reinforced the anal opening that I believe Mueller to be.” .

“Anal opening”? Leave it to loopy Louie to obfuscate when a simple “asshole” would have worked better and been more clear. Maybe it’s his skewed religious fervor that makes him believe anal opening is less disgusting than asshole. Maybe a lesser sin? Who can say?

Next week will surely be taken up by the obscene Fourth of July “celebration” planned by Trump and his merry band of “anal openings”. The event is shaping up to be a doozy. Tanks, jets, armed personnel carriers, VIP sections, friends, family, and the partisan riff raff that seems to be Trump’s stock and trade. Hold on to your seats. At least we haven’t bombed Iran . . . yet.








Living Large In Carson City: Racism Is The Greatest Cancer Of My Lifetime (Charles Barkley) Edition


“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”  U.S. Rep. Steve King

Pardon my above icon, but I wanted to say something about Iowa Representative Steve King to not allow his shameful ideas to get lost in the shadows. While his recent transparency about his alt-right beliefs are not surprising, his latest soiree into his deeply held beliefs were too egregious not to point out. The man is beyond despising verging on loathsome. Yet, he feels emboldened enough to make the above statement as if it is a perfectly natural thing to ask even in polite company. What is surprising is that the Republicans finally did something to reel him in by stripping him of his committee memberships. Here a Washington Post clip that lays out his behavior in clear, unequivocal detail; also, here is a timeline of his more damning statements. .

King is a nine term U. S. representative from Iowa and has a history of publicly making claims dating back to 2002 about the supremacy of white culture over others including those who happen to want to come to this country simply to have the chance for a better life for themselves and their families. In the above Post  video you will hear House Minority Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) opining about how King does not represent the beliefs of the Republican Party and that he will be stripped of his committee assignments which is all well and good . . . except for one thing. It’s a lie.

The Republican Party has become the party of white supremacy and has done little to nothing to dissuade the American public otherwise. Now, Americans are finding out that  House of Representative member, Crazy Louie Gohmert, crawled out from under his East Texas rock to support King and his racists beliefs. Gohmert who has a long list of racist and bigoted remarks of his own had this to say about King’s caustic statement,

“We have the only country that I’m aware of that would shed its most valuable treasure —American blood — for freedom, not for hegemony, just for freedom,” Gohmert said. “There’s never been a group that’s been more philanthropic than American citizens. That was a fair question — when did Western civilization become a negative?” Louie G

Crazy Louie doesn’t seem to have the capacity, or chooses not to understand, that the way Western Civilization is used by King is referring to the “white” Western Civilization, not all Americans. In his defense, Crazy Louie is only doing what he normally does by replying without regard to the substance of the issue. As a dyed-in-the-wool Tea Party member, his only avenue of expression is the lowest common denominator of any issue. In his case and King’s, there go to stance is to support aging white voters who make up the majority of their base.

Of course, this view is shared by the leader of their party, Donald Trump. Trump’s lies, innuendos, and bigoted statements are legend in the New York world of real estate and the national Republican Party. Trump has single handed put racism and bigotry at the forefront of his party and base like no one before him. From calling white supremacists “fine people” to denigrating third-world countries as “shit holes” to treating immigrant children at the Texas border like animals, Trump has lowered the bar on race like no one before him. He is the face of both the white supremacists of America and the intolerant Republican Party all in one tidy package for the world to see.

Anyone who grew up in the South during the 1950s and 1960s knows that racists and bigots are as hard to stamp out as cockroaches on a meth/bad acid high. They lack the insensate ability to see the plight of others as an extension of their own actions. When all is said and done, race is a creation of culture, not a natural human reaction to the differences of skin color or place of origin. Simply put, racists are racists by choice not by a plan of some wacked out god or inter species rivalries. People have to make a conscious choice to treat others with disdain and rancor because they are different from one’s own neighbors.

The real threat that people like King, Crazy Louie, and Trump pose is legitimizing racism and bigotry for others. We already see the results of these sown seeds of discord in the way young people are reacting to others not like themselves. This weekend’s spectacle of a group of young white men sporting Make America Great Again gimme’ hats from Covington Catholic School in Kentucky, and the way they dealt with Omaha Nation elder and Vietnam War veteran Nathan Phillips was heartbreaking to watch and see unfold. Phillips was part of the American Indian Indigenous March that was finishing up their part of the festivities.

The parents and chaperones are making excuses for the way the young boys acted, and granted, maybe there were extenuating circumstances involving a third group of hecklers, but the smirk and laughter directed by the young boys toward Phillips told a different story. No one can excuse the disrespect and uncouth actions of the group as a whole. Father Edward Beck, a CNN Religion Commentator, stated,

“It wasn’t a time to thrust both cheeks, smirking, into the face of that elder. So, yes, where were the chaperones? This situation was escalating. you had the group that you mentioned with racial slurs. You then had kids behind them seemingly mocking this elder and smirking and laughing at him,” he said. “I don’t understand how the chaperones don’t step in and say, first of all, boys, get to the bus, to defuse the situation. that’s why a chaperone is there,” he said. CNN

To be honest, this incident was an anomaly that was a product of several different circumstances revolving into a perfect storm of hate speech and actions of a few bad apples. It was an act of young boys so full of themselves they saw taunting someone different as sport and a chance to have a good time at the expense of someone no like them. The fact that there was a separate group apart from the young boys and the American Indian marchers is irrelevant in light of the multiple videos that show the encounter and how the incident unfolded. Trump’s response? Here is a tweet from late yesterday,

Donald J. Trump


Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements (sic) proving out to be false – smeared by media. Not good, but making big comeback! “New footage shows that media was wrong about teen’s encounter with Native American” @TuckerCarlson

Not surprisingly, he gets it wrong and tries to make it into a “win” for himself and his team. No, Trump, the media didn’t get it wrong. The videos were taken by people on site that tells the story of what happened. Sandman has been representing himself as the victim of the event and calling foul that his actions were taken for what they were, race baiting. It is doubtful that anything will come of this event other than negative exposure on all sides. The real lesson that intolerance and hatred should not be condoned or allowed to stand will be swept away by Trump and his minions who see what they want to see and nothing more.

Does it make America Great Again? I don’t think so.