You Say You Want a Revolution

“Revolution is an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment.” —Ambrose Bierce

The attempted coup on January 6, 2021 assumed that if only Mike Pence refused to certify the indisputable election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, it would usher in—what?—the blissful reign of the new American emperor, Donald Trump?  Right.

Think of it.  Trump installed as monarch—not president, of course, because our presidents are elected—crowned to rule until he saw fit to relinquish the throne.  Imagine nitwits like Don Junior, Kevin McCarthy, Matt Goetz, and Jim Jordan plotting to rule the nation Trump-style.  Never has such a grifting, grabbing, stealing, lying, double-crossing, and mendacious gaggle of jerk-offs ever drawn breath.  Add in Moscow Mitch McConnell, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the My Pillow Guy, Mike Lindell, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a self-defeating dynasty of authoritarian ignorance.  What could possibly go wrong?

A better question is what did this sad collection of bigoted boneheads think was going to happen?  That Lord Trump would benignly bestow fiefdoms and castles on them, reinstitute slavery, and sanction beheadings?  Would they jockey for position at the foot of the throne to back-stab one another for a smile from the Caliph of Combover?  Did they ever consider the vicious personality aberrations of Emperor Donald?  What about his habit of throwing anyone under the bus who disagrees or disobeys?  Or his penchant for playing his sycophants against one another for entertainment?  No, I think his fawning coterie of parasites never thought of that.  Hell, it was just too much fun planning the riot, ushering the rioters into the Capitol building, and cheering them on from their hidey holes.  

There are no answers to my questions.  But we can be thankful that the Jan 6th would-be insurgents never thought it all through, and that they were too inept to pull it off.  

Memo to the guys and gals who stormed the Capitol that day: you will pay a price for your blind stupidity.  You say you want a revolution?  You’d have been better off to stuck with the one that got started in 1775. 

mvd

Zombie Jamboree

“Back to back and belly to belly, I don’t give a damn ’cause I done that already…”

Zombie Jamboree, The Kingston Trio

It has not been reported by any news outlet I’m aware of that Donald Trump and the Republican Party have become political zombies.  No one has been warned that although they died in the loss of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives, their wights are roaming the country in search of unsuspecting humans whose brains they can eat.  Admittedly, there are fewer and fewer brains among the GOP rank and file that would make a decent meal.  But you can still see undead Repubs like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul shuffling around D.C. in search of new prey.  

The flesh of the GOP’s political rhetoric is rapidly decomposing.  The eyeballs of what used to pass for their vision for America are rotting out of their heads and rolling across the floor.  It’s a very distasteful sight, especially if you are trying to govern in spite of upright corpses like Moscow Mitch McConnell and Kevin “Please, Donald, let me kiss  your ass again!” McCarthy shambling around the Capitol.

Make no mistake, zombie Republicans (ZOP) are a clear and present danger.  Jim Jordan, once a mere wrestling coach proudly involved in a wrestling team sex scandal, had his brain devoured early on by the Great Walking Dead Trump.  So did Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia nincompoop—though it is unclear whether or not she had an actual brain to begin with.  Both have voracious appetites for raw ignorance and reflexive lying.  Both will do their damnedest to oppose voting rights, human rights, and vaccinations.  The entire Undead ZOP is dedicated to white supremacy, religious bigotry, and the destruction of women’s rights.  Oh, and eating brains.

Democrats beware.  We know zombies do not think.  A cursory look at the ZOP makes that obvious.  Judgement and honesty have long since been replaced by an insatiable hunger for toxic rhetoric and obstruction of any effort that might benefit the American people instead of uber-zombie fat cats.  They cannot be trusted.  They will pretend to negotiate in good faith, give you the okie-dokie, and then fuck you over when it comes time to keep a promise.  The only way to defeat zombies is beat them at their own game: be tough, uncompromising, and persistent.  Do not be fearful of pissing them off.  Do not be afraid to deliver the legislative killing stroke.  They will do it to you faster than you can say, “Hey, your arm just fell off.”  The top is already a dead party, a gibbering horde fixated on destruction of democracy and the creation of an authoritarian state ruled by the evil comb-over king of the Undead.  Don’t hesitate.  Use the majority, however slim it is, while we have it. 

mvd

The Long Game

I’ve been very critical of President Biden about not coming out forcefully against the filibuster.  It’s vital to end this Jim Crow relic and allow majority votes to pass legislation in the Senate.  That’s what democracy means.  But now it occurs to me that the president may be playing the long game.  

Listen.  If Biden can convince his two contrarian Democratic senators, Senema in Arizona and Manchin in West Virginia, to support a “carve out” of the filibuster that would allow a majority vote on voting rights, he may have won a greater victory than I imagined.  

The For the People Act will make sweeping changes to our voting system.  Among other things, it will make it difficult for Republican state legislatures to gerrymander voting districts to shut out Democrats; it will prevent states from putting undue restrictions on voting—particularly for seniors, minorities, and young voters—groups who normally lean toward Democratic candidates; it will overhaul campaign financing laws and eliminate dark money; and it will require presidents to disclose their tax returns.

The John Lewis Voting Act will reinstate key parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were gutted by a Supreme Court decision.

Together these two pieces of legislation will create better opportunities for Democratic candidates to win elections in otherwise red states.  And that, my intuition tells me, is Biden’s long game.  Passing these two bills paves the way for more Democrats to get elected and effectively neutralizes the filibuster threat.  Once the Democrats strengthen their majority they can eliminate it if they want, or leave it in place for the next time they want to fuck with the Republicans.  Of course I’m only speculating, but President Joe Biden is a very smart politician, one who understands perhaps better than anyone in office today the arcane and mystifying craft of passing legislation.  I pray that he is working behind the scenes.  I could be wrong, but in case I’m not, remember you heard it here first

—mvd

We Dare Not Wait

I grew up during WWII.   I saw the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf Wars 1 & 2, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  I’ve seen young men and women fighting and dying in wars they barely understood, they died out of duty.  One prays that their sacrifices were not wasted.  I never dreamed my country would face the crisis it does today.  Voting rights and the future of our democracy hang in the balance. The Democrats hold the White House, House, and Senate.  If we’re not willing to use this power to secure voting rights, fight climate change, and repair our doddering infrastructure, what on earth are we doing?  We dare not wait any longer. #mamievandoren

We Are Not Men

“All men must die.  But we are not men.”—Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones

Texas men—especially Texas legislators—better watch out.  As their hatred of women becomes more blatantly obvious, Texas could well become a breeding ground for another Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons and world class ass-kicker of men who dare to betray her.

Today Texas birthed a law offering a $10,000 bounty to anyone who successfully sues a person connected to an abortion.  This wild west-style of bullshit legislation is bound for law suites and overturning, but in the meantime it creates yet another barrier for women to control their own bodies.  For anyone with a lick of sense and an ounce of humanity it shines a spotlight on the loathing and contempt with which a significant number of men in Texas and elsewhere hold women.  

Texas governor, Gregg Abbot—as ambitious and craven a politician as you’ll find this side of Folsom—fancies that he can out-Trump Trump and take a shot at the presidency.  But there could be a serious, SERIOUS backlash of women voters come election day, Gregg.  The mean little GOPers of yours whose jobs are to overturn elections you don’t like will need to put in lots of overtime to stem that tide of angry estrogen.  

And what about the fuckers versus the fuckees?  No one mentions the men who implant those fetuses Abbot and the Texas legislators are so concerned about.  Why are the men (the fuckers) not held accountable for the care, feeding, and education of the children birthed by the fuckees?  Oh, and let’s also have a care for wasted sperm.  Guys, what happens to all that cum after you visit pornhub.com?  We need to conserve the jiz since it represents one half of all those fetuses.  I say no masturbation without representation.

Pay attention, Texas bigots.  Daenerys might well be on her way astride a fire breathing dragon.  Anybody got a light?

Voting Rights vs the New Fascist GOP

Voting Rights vs the New Fascist GOP 

“Freedom is not a state—it’s an act.”—Joe Biden

I’m behind Joe Biden one hundred percent.  His speech today at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia forcefully pressed forward his fight against the right-wing onslaught on voting rights sweeping the country.  But for all his strong and admirable rhetoric, he omitted one essential point:  we must eradicate the filibuster.  The filibuster is a relic of the Jim Crow era, whose purpose was to allow a white minority to block legislation that benefited minorities and the poor.  The filibuster was racist in its inception and remains racist today.  When Kyrsten Sinema warns that once eliminated or changed the filibuster or lack of it could be used against Democrats is short-sighted at best, or hypocritical at worst. 

You can take this to the bank: if we don’t nuke the filibuster while we have the chance, there will likely be no tomorrow for Democratic legislation.  If the GOP blocks the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and regains power through using state legislatures to destroy voting rights and gerrymander voting districts beyond recognition, we will face a long dark night of rule under the new Republican fascism.  It is naive to expect goodwill negotiations from right-wing Trumpazoids who believe the January 6th insurrection was just a loving bunch of fine folks visiting the Capitol.  These new American Nazis will give you a head fake and a smirk, and then betray you when it suits them.  It’s time to fight—and fight hard— against the ravings of a crazed demagogue who cannot accept his own resounding defeat.  If Democrats do not fight as hard and ruthlessly as the Repubs, we will lose, not only our majority, but our democracy. #mamievandoren #voting rights 

Trump & Fischetti

When news outlets started reporting on the Trump legal team, one of the lawyers representing the Great Satan and his evil empire was introduced as Ron Fischetti.  My ears perked up as I watched Fischetti speaking to a press conference about the Trump legal problems.  He made the non sequitur remark that if Bill Cosby can be released from prison, Al Capone’s name should be cleared. Go figure.

You can tell a lot about a person by the lawyer he hires.  And you can tell a lot about a lawyer by the people he represents.  In Trump’s case, he fancies himself a Don Corleone-style mob boss.  The name Fischetti on his legal team bolsters his fantasy.  Fischetti is no stranger to representing thugs like Trump, having defended Gene Gotti, brother to John Gotti, boss of the Gambino crime family.  I don’t know of any direct familial connections between organized crime and Ronald Fischetti, but the folks he represents have many.  And I know the Fischetti family has deep and ancient roots in the mafia. 

If you read my autobiography, Playing the Field, you may recall the name Charlie Fischette.  There were five Fischetti brothers—Charlie, Rocco, Joseph, William, and Nicolas—first cousins to Al Capone.  William and Joseph steered clear of the family business, but Charlie, Rocco, and Joseph became major lieutenants in Capone’s syndicate.  Charlie was sometimes known as Trigger Happy Charlie, and was said to be the trigger man who shot Bugsy Siegel through a window in his Beverly Hills home.  

I met Charlie in Las Vegas when I was a teenager.  He was a handsome guy back then who favored white tennis shirts and shorts to set off his deep tan.  You can read the whole story in Playing the Field, but suffice to say he was a charmer and I was crazy about him.  Charlie had a kind and generous side, at least to the little teenager that was me in postwar Las Vegas.  When I went alone to New York to appear in Billion Dollar Baby with Jackie Gleason, Charlie periodically sent me money to make sure I didn’t starve on my meager chorus girl salary.  During my relationship with Charlie, I got a close look at some of the inner workings of the Cosa Nostra.  Much of it makes me cringe when I recall it today.  Charlie was in the thick of illegal gambling operations, labor union infiltration, prostitution, and loan sharking, and feared more than anything the Kefauver Committee investigations into organized crime.  It was certain if he testified he would face hard time.  The week after he received a subpoenaed to testify before the committee, I was invited to meet him in Bimini on his yacht the Black Witch, but he died of a heart attack the day before I left.  

A year or so later I met his brother, Joseph, in Miami.  He didn’t know I had a relationship with Charlie, but took a liking to me.  He and Charlie were as unalike as any two brothers could be.  I was with Joseph and some of his cronies while they made the rounds of night clubs and saloons collecting protection money.  As I watched them strong arm club owners for money. I realized I was way out of my depth.  I excused myself to the ladies room, locked the door, and scrambled out a second story window.  I clambered down a fire escape to the ground floor and called a cab to take me back to my hotel.  I never saw a Fischetti again until the Trump indictment news conference. 

Trump as always been and will always be a wannabe.  He is a failed developer, failed billionaire, and failed president.  His one triumph was playing-acting a successful billionaire businessman on television.  Perhaps Ronald Fischetti has a magic formula for representing thugs and thieves in his DNA, but he’d better bring the best game he has to the Trump trials.  The corruption and malice of the Trump family business will be on full display soon.  It will be interesting to see if Fischetti can represent Trump without being stained by him.

The time’s plague

“Tis the time’s plague, when madmen lead the blind.”

—Shakespeare

If you believe you are at last safe from COVID19, you should read this. I spoke to a top doctor in Little Rock, Arkansas today. She is my cousin, as skilled, dedicated, and brilliant physician as you will find anywhere. When I called, she frantically texted back, “Busy!!” It turns out her medical facility is being deluged by scores of patients infected with the COVID19 Delta variant. Many of them are young, some very young. They run high temperatures and get sicker and sicker. Then they die. Ninety percent are not vaccinated.

Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and many other southern states have very low vaccination rates. They are wall to wall with conspiracy whack jobs, Trumpazoids, white supremacists, and anti-vaxers. They like stories about how the vaccines contain microscopic transmitters so Bill Gates can keep track of us; or COVID is a hoax perpetrated by the Deep State to keep Americans under control; or that Biden, Kamala, Obama, and Hillary are part of a Marxist cabal bent on establishing a communist utopia, when they’re not busy selling children into slavery. What these ignoramuses don’t like are stories about how effective the vaccines are. Because it’s TRUE.

These folks are not gonna get the shot. But they probably are going to get sick. Not only will they risk dying from the virus, but before they do, they will provide a nifty host for the virus to grow and mutate, perhaps into something even more deadly. So it can kill more of us.

The hundreds of cases my cousin sees everyday will grow. And this is only July. By fall, when the weather begins turning cold, COVID Delta will grow stronger—it likes cold weather. The virus will spread from the MAGA states into the east, west, and central population centers, and, presto! we’ll have a brand new pandemic.

In the course of her day, my cousin wears two masks, a full face shield, head covering, gloves, booties, and gown. She’s been vaccinated, but she’s scared. She and her staff are working around the clock to deal with the tide of misery. This scenario will play out in other states. Dr. Fauci and others warned us about the dangers of the mutating virus, and about taking down our masks too soon. The fat lady has yet to sing in this pandemic. If we become careless now we risk triggering a new global contagion, one more spreadable and deadly than its parent. Don’t stop wearing your mask. #mamievandoren #covid19delta

Stop Cringing & Start Fighting

It defies logic that Krysten Sinema, Democratic senator from Arizona, would not support legislation that would ensure voting rights for ALL Americans. Our country is in an uncontrolled skid to the far right. State after state is enacting legislation to limit voting rights for people of color and young people. The GOP realizes they can’t win if blacks, latinos, and the young—groups likely to vote Democratic—can vote unimpeded. By creating barriers to voting, the Republicans continue the wave of blatant racism, bigotry, and oppression begun by the would-be fascist who once occupied the White House, Donald Trump. A doom scenario for human rights is upon us because the Democratic Party refuses to act in unison to achieve their goals. Senators like Sinema would do well to take a lesson from the Republicans’ fiercely united determination not to compromise. Instead of cringing in a corner and whining, “Please don’t hurt me,” the Democrats need to locate their balls and do what’s desperately needed for the American people and our under siege democracy.