Monday, June 18, 2018
Every week under this Administration is hideous, with the most recent one possibly the worst yet. Who knows what the near future will bring? It's only Monday.
So if you're in need of a gentle grin, here is one courtesy of Mad Dog PAC, which has funded a mobile billboard in Washington, DC, every day this week. And at the height of tourist season, too! Mad Dog is going to end up in a lot of home videos and photos on the Face Thing.
Next up: a rolling billboard taking on the evil Trump-Sessions family separation policy.
If you'd like to help fund these billboards and other Mad Dog projects, click here. We cats PURR.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
...Sophie, with an inanity poised on her tongue and choked with fear, was about to attempt a reply when the doctor said, "You may keep one of your children."
"Bitte?" said Sophie.
"You may keep one of your children," he repeated. "The other one will have to go. Which one will you keep?"
"You mean, I have to choose?"
"You're a Polack, not a Yid. That gives you a privilege — a choice..."
"Mama!" She heard Eva's thin but soaring cry at the instant that she thrust the child away from her and rose from the concrete with a clumsy stumbling motion. "Take the baby!" she called out. "Take my little girl!"
At this point the aide...tugged at Eva's hand and led her away into the waiting legion of the damned. She would forever retain a dim impression that the child had continued to look back, beseeching.
—Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Gosh, we've just lost another distinguished photojournalist. But we guess that's what happens when you're well into your tenth decade.
Hard on the heels of Art Shay, Clemens Kalischer has died. At 97, he'd seen a lot of life — and not just through the lens of his camera.
Kalischer and his family escaped the Nazis in 1933 and made it to New York after being separated (and reunited) in a series of adventures so unlikely that even in the golden age of Hollywood they'd have been left on the cutting-room floor. Then in 1946, Agence France-Presse recruited him to record the arrivals of refugees from war-torn Europe. The result was affecting images like the one above.
Kalischer's photos of "Displaced Persons," depicting moving reunions of those who made it safely through the Golden Door, have special resonance now — and not in a good way. Because this is the photo that sums up America's treatment of refugees today:
Friday, June 15, 2018
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Wow. When even Franklin Graham is slamming you, you've got a problem. Maybe the Trumpsters should rethink their child concentration camps?
Folks on Twitter are already comparing Trump's and Sessions's rip-the-kids-from-their-parents policy at the border to the Holocaust, and we cats can understand why. In fact, we've been thinking quite a bit about World War II these days.
First, that it's a war we never thought we'd have to re-fight. Sure, we often have to be vigilant about protecting hard-fought gains, like women's rights and civil rights. But beating National Socialism? We thought we did that. Now we have Nazis in the streets of Charlottesville, and ICE agents acting like the SS. Incredible.
The United States used to be the place that everyone wanted to go. It was the only country on earth that you could arrive with nothing and be lifted up. We've had our national sins, but in so many ways and for so many years we were seen as a force for good. That's why, when the Third Reich was collapsing in 1945, German soldiers desperately tried to surrender to American troops rather than the Soviets. They knew that our guys would treat them humanely. The Russians, not so much.
You can argue till you're blue in the face that Nazi troops would have deserved everything the Soviets, whose country Hitler invaded, could have dished out — and it still won't matter to us. Stories like that make us proud to be American.
Today, though, we're not proud at all. We're appalled. We're disgusted. We're aghast. And we're not sure we can ever step foot in a Walmart, either. We cats HISS.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Once upon a time — not too long ago, in fact — Virginia was touted as a breeding ground for the kind of Republican who could go far: commonsense conservatives who masked their right-wing beliefs behind veneers of pleasant blandness, and thus were able to appeal to folks across party lines in the suburbs. Dudes like George Allen, Jim Gilmore, and of course, the one whom the national GOP seemed most eager to vault to national prominence, "Transvaginal Bob" McDonnell.
Ah, those were the days. Republicans haven't won a statewide race in the Old Dominion in a decade, and last night's primary results just added insult to injury. A white supremacist Trumpster, Corey Stewart, grabbed the GOP nomination for Senate, eking out a win just a point or so over Nick Freitas, who as a state legislator was the more "establishment" candidate.
Virginia Republicans are privately whining to Larry Sabato today, and the media have pretty much summed it up like this: Racist hater Stewart will repulse all the moderate and cross-over voters that the GOP so desperately needs in the fall — not to beat Senator Tim Kaine, which now seems impossible, but to save endangered members of their Congressional delegation, like Barbara Comstock. On top of that, Democrats just nominated a passel of strong candidates. So it sounds like the Virginia GOP is toast.
We cats are tickled about that, but it's not escaped our notice that the punditheads and pontificators, in selling the narrative of the state party versus Stewart, are missing an important part of the story.
Coming in third behind Freitas in the primary was total nutcase E.W. Jackson. (He's not only crazy, he's the Harold Stassen of Virginia's extreme right. He just keeps running, and losing, and running, and losing.)
Anyway, Jackson got 12 percent of the vote. You know what? Add that to Stewart's near-45 percent, and you have a Republican electorate that's 57 percent haters and whackjobs. That's in a primary, kids — not a party convention, which can get way more fringe-y.
With numbers like that, mainline Republicans have to do more than wring their hands. They need to take stock of themselves and figure out exactly how long they're going to allow racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and xenophobia to rule their party. It's going to take courage to snatch the GOP back from the Trumpsters. It may take running the teabaggers out of the party altogether. But they need to do it: Banish the haters back to the shadows where they belong, or face oblivion. We cats HISS.
(IMAGE: Just in case you're wondering, Stewart is from Minnesota.)
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
We cats are irritated by Robert DeNiro. Not because we disagree with what he said at the Tonys on Sunday night — and not because we're prudes (although we kinda are) — but because it just wasn't clever. You resort to the "F" word when you don't have something more witty to say.
Pierre Trudeau said as much 47 years ago. (That's Pierre, Larry Kudlow, not Justin. No wonder you had that heart attack.) Except in the senior Trudeau's case, it was about the "A" word, plus "SOB," epithets with which Richard Nixon had rudely tagged him. "I've been called much worse things by better men," Pierre sniffed. Game over.
So: Nobody wins in battles of rudeness. Justin has proved that very well.
How so? Through his measured performance at his press conference, after the G7 had concluded and the ever-petulant Donald Trump was wheels-up for Singapore. "Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable," he said. "But we also will not be pushed around." Trump, from his perch as the world's supreme pusher-arounder, was outraged. Trouble ensued.
But did you catch what happened after that? The Canadian House of Commons condemned the Trumpsters' attacks on their Prime Minister. Unanimously. Across party lines.
When was the last time Canadian MPs voted on something without a single dissent? We're glad you asked, because Trump won't like this, either: It was on the anti-Russian Magnitsky Act, in October 2017.
Justin, meanwhile, has lain low while his House of Commons eloquently speaks for an annoyed True North. Which kind of brings us back to DeNiro. If Canada hasn't just said "F you" to Donald Trump and his nightmare Presidency in the most civilized way, call us cats Chihuahuas. And of course we PURR.
Sunday, June 10, 2018
The joint was really jumpin' in Charlevoix on Friday and Saturday, and not in a good way. Donald Drumpf arrived late and left early, insulted our allies, including with hostile body language that said he'd rather be anywhere than there, and threw a tantrum after he left.
In between, Angela Merkel trolled him with a photo that made him look like a toddler who wouldn't use his potty chair.
Before we run and hide under the bed in anticipation of Singapore, here are a few of our own thoughts.
Re Trump's attack on Justin Trudeau: Remember that everything Trump says is projection. So accusing Trudeau of being "weak" is a telling move. Only somebody whose arguments — like his character — are as feeble as Trump's would do everything he could to avoid our allies and then bluster at them in cowardly tweets when they were no longer face-to-face. (P.S. Justin didn't say anything in his post-summit press conference that he hadn't already said to Trump in person.)
Also re Trump's attack on Trudeau: Trump is already in a deep, deep hole with women voters. This is going to drive him deeper — not just because Trudeau is young and handsome but because he's a feminist.
If a "gaffe" is defined as "accidentally telling the truth," we must report that Fox News has described the Singapore confab as a first-time meeting "between the two dictators."
Finally, a chilling reminder of where we're at, from our day trip to Hyde Park yesterday:
In a special exhibit of posters from World War II, the FDR Presidential museum was running the first chapter of Frank Capra's award-winning documentary, "Why We Fight." Capra pointed out that in each of the Axis countries — Germany, Italy and Japan — dictators rose to power in part because their respective legislatures abrogated their responsibility to serve as a check on executive aggression. As we've said before, November can't come soon enough. We cats HISS.
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Desperate to immerse ourselves in a Presidency with some true leadership, we cats visited the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum today. (And yes, we'll have plenty to say about today's G7 — oops, G6 — meeting that Donald Drumpf threw a stinkbomb into after he flounced out for Singapore. What a despicable coward he is.)
Anyway, here is the huge portrait that greets you when you walk into the Roosevelt museum. We chose this because we thought the FDR quote that accompanies it could not be more opposed to the dark, hateful spirit of the current Administration.
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
Hanging on until happy days are here again, we cats PURR.
Friday, June 8, 2018
On the one hand, we cats need to thank Willard Mitt Romney for handing Democrats a great 2018 campaign ad today. What could drive more of us to the polls more effectively than a prediction that we're in for six more years of Donald Drumpf? (Mia Love, who has a tough re-election fight in her Utah Congressional district, must be furious.)
But Willard is still just a disgusting piece of you-know-what. His behavior lately has reminded us how spot-on we were in 2012 to despise him as a phony and a knave. Even when he was declaring back then that it was Russia that posed the greatest threat to the national security of the United States.
Turns out he was right about that. But we hesitate to give him any credit — because of his silence now.
Drumpf has just announced that he thinks his good buddy Vlad Putin should be let back into the G7. Mind you, the Western democracies kicked Russia out after its annexation of Crimea in 2014. But that doesn't matter to Drumpf: Putin has something on him that makes him do Russia's bidding.
And from the Republicans? Not a peep — not even from Willard.
It is very, very bad for the United States to be isolated from its allies, and very, very good for Russia to have us fighting with them. How fast is Ronald Reagan spinning in his grave? (And how quickly will Drumpf invite the Russian-born captain of the Washington Capitals and his Stanley Cup-winning teammates to the White House?) Until we hear the GOP and, especially, Willard Mitt Romney, speaking out about this — let's just say it — treason, we cats HISS.