Just a couple of observations and witticisms from the desk of Mick Zano. I look at today’s politics through a decidedly different lense, one of bemused detachment. It amazes me how I live in a country where nearly 60% of the population believes a Trump presidential run is a nonstarter, yet, despite this fact, we’re still barreling toward a Grover Cleveland scenario. That’s quite the fuxtaposition. Watching Donald Trump’s political career over the years, I can’t help but think he somehow poses a threat to actress Jamie Lee Curtis each Halloween. On the flipside, this same country can’t actually circle back and share the key takeaways of COVID, after 3 plus years. What’s the latest supplement studies saying? What stats are important? What worked and what didn’t? How did we fare as compared to other countries? What’s the prevalence of vaccination side effects? Why are stats shifting sharply to more COVID deaths for those vaccinated? What is the actual fucking plan for the next pandemic? Has anyone in authority discussed this in some highlight-reel fashion? I for one, no longer give a rat’s ass about my local hospital staffing issues or overflow. Most of us here in ‘Murica can’t afford to get fifty feet from such facilities in the first place, so that should keep admissions down, eh Nurse Ratched? Oh, I forgot these are our ‘Heroes.’ Yeah, I finally got COVID last week, tested quickly, and I called my provider to see if I was a candidate for the oral supplement. He said, in not so many words, sure, make an appointment and come in, so: A. we’re beyond the date of relevance for supplemental medication, but B. I can still bill shit. Nice. Ask your doctor if cramming as many billing codes into a seven-minute checkup is right for you.
Phoenix, AZ—Residing in a predominately republican community amidst one of the most populous red cities in the US reminds me of the book Lord of the Flies, but in the larval stage. [Preying DeSantis joke swatted with a newspaper by the editor]. When I lived in Pennsylvania, the Keystone State always sat in the political thick of things, but these days the southwest is making its own mark, well, at least in a mildly amusing way. Yes. I now describe the loss of our democracy as ‘mildly amusing.’ But, as an AZ resident, I almost feel like Governor-wannabe Kari Lake has a point. How is Arizona on the verge of pulling off this midterm upset? It’s shocking. My community only allows HOA-endorsed Blake Masters and Kari Lake signs to adorn our terminally beige subdivisions. Since relocating here, I decided to mark the calendar the day I overheard an intelligent conversation somewhere. Sadly, I overhear my share of chit chat while out in the local cafes, coffeeshops, and bars, but two plus years finds this calendar woefully empty. So, where are all these secretly liberal folks hiding? Now in Tucson or Flagstaff you have your typical conversational mixed bag: some good, some bad, and some ugly, but Phoenix (located in the most populated county, Maricopa) is a very different beast. I’ve described the libraries here thusly: it’s like if Gordon Ramsey threw up on Tucker Carlson at catechism. Yep, that pretty much captures the literary schiessgeist here in the Valley of the Sun. Two recent conversations were so disturbing I nearly intervened, but then I stopped to consider two things: rightwingers are allergic to any and all facts, and I have yet to meet my health insurance deductible this year. I find it stunning my state may yet help fend off disaster, or at least it seems so in this too close to call moment. The loss of democracy is still too close to call. Either way, don’t pop those champagne corks, kids. There will be a next red president, which means there may never be another blue one again.
Oh, wait, the republicans are gaining with in-person voting. Nice.
Phoenix, AZ—At this hour, armed vigilantes are stationing themselves near voting ballot boxes in the great state of Arizona and there is concern that as election day grows closer such intimidation tactics will only increase. These self-designated Election Integrity Officers are referring to themselves as …well, probably something with a lot less syllables. The Democratic National Committee is acting fast to counter this deplorable situation by ordering thousands of Voter Safety Kits. These are being rushed, right now, to every registered democrat in the state. Along with the above costume, this kit comes with a non-toxic Sharpie for blackening out your teeth. Studies suggest the less teeth the better. Also included is a pamphlet with common safe phrases that can be used when facing an armed person with the IQ of a turnip.
It’s exciting to write article after article, pay a subscription to several prominent political publications, and then wait patiently for months, years, or even decades to finally see your own original ancient cognitions in actual print! What great fun! All hail our intelligentsia! I kid the smart people. In an Atlantic article this week, republican commentator Peter Wehner reminded us how he nailed the Trump personality disorder diagnoses back in 2016, yet he’s still botching the bigger picture. He said, “Trump never found a way to escape the antisocial demons that haunt him. But here’s what turned a personal tragedy into a national calamity: He imprinted his moral pathologies, his will-to-power ethic, on the Republican Party.” Wow. This is like pondering that chicken or the egg question and then ordering the waffles. Imprinting? Really? That chapter usually ends for humans around age two, so how about dimprinting? Wait, I guess that does make sense for the GOP. And don’t bring Nietzsche into this; were he alive today he’d thrash you with his giant mustache. First off, I diagnosed the republican party with a personality disorder as a collective, ages ago. Second, I predicted a sociopathic choice would emerge on the republican ticket, because circe 2016 only braindead Gordon-Gekko types need apply. For the last time, Trump did not fall out of right field. This was a steady downward trend, like The Discord site stats. Also, from a psych perspective, one does not easily overcome one’s ‘antisocial demons’. Some can charm their way through any role, which is usually more dangerous, but personality disorders are the hardest fix over in the psych department. A President Desantis may introduce us all to a more effective Axis-II package. Can’t wait. The republican party is like a psych class I never wanted to take. Is it too late to major in full-contact anthropology?
For those who missed it, this week confirmed what most of us already knew: former AG William Barr covered for Trump’s obstruction of justice during the Mueller investigation. I would add another sarcastic surprise-emoji face, but Winslow needs to order more. Here’s the highlight reel of the memo between Mueller and Barr (paraphrased):
DOJ: There was no collusion, no underlying crime.
Team Mueller: That’s not what our report said. It said that there’s evidence. It’s just that we didn’t think there was evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to prove conspiracy, because it’s a high bar, Barr.
DOJ: Well, you can’t hit someone with obstruction, if you can’t prove a crime.
Team Mueller: Not true, which is why we added all the precedencies right in the friggin’ report. Trump obstructed our investigation, plain and simple. Interesting interpretation there, Sparky.
DOJ: Well, we’re not going to make this memo public, because it will make us look like dicks.
Mary Trump tossed her uncle into a Wizard of Oz analogy this week. She said something like, “Remember how aggressively the flying monkeys defended the witch? But after she melted, the fever just broke? It’s going to be like that.” I have never been as concerned with the shelf-life of this particular warlock, so much as the fact we’re creating an army of flying monkeys in the first place. And this bunch isn’t going to join forces with Glenda the Good Witch or move into the Shire with the rest of Munchkins down in Munchville. Post Trump, they’re going to occupy that angry orchard and amass apples.
The Hill tried to tackle the subject of political outrage this week, with mixed results. I don’t disagree with the entire article’s premise, and yet it fails to capture the scheissgiestic struggles of the Zano Nation (both of us). But sit back and relax, kids, because I’m going to dissect this one like a frog in a 7th grade science lab. This Hill article does eventually get to the heart of the matter—or maybe it’s the liver; I failed biology—but a University of Nevada piece starts off this Saga.
[80s music video “On the Loose” joke returned to MTV, postage due.]
Looks like I owe you an apology, Pokey. You were right about the existence of an IRS scandal. You just got the wrong president, is all. America runs on Dunkin? Sure, but The GOP runs on projection. Former Spooks Andrew McCabe and James Comey were both audited by the IRS under Trumpsylvania. What are the chances? We’ll get to that, but first: the NYTs claims these special and specific audits originated from the same tiny division of the IRS:
“According to the I.R.S., there were about 5,000 such audits in 2017, 4,000 in 2018, and 8,000 in 2019 — chosen from about 154 million individual tax returns each year. Mr. Comey’s audit was for his 2017 tax return; Mr. McCabe’s was for his 2019 return.”
Never during the darkest hours of the invented Obama-IRS scandal did we have such a clear picture of auditular wrongdoing (yes, that’s a word). Still, it could be just a coincidence, right? Stranger Things have happened …in Hawkinsville.
For those who missed it, 7 of Stephen Colbert’s employees were arrested at the Capitol this week for trespassing, so our rightwing false-equivalency-maestros wasted no time claiming this comedy troupe’s shenanigans were akin to an all-out insurrection. Kidding, wasting time is all they do. This was an authorized shoot but, apparently, this band of jokesters wandered off a bit—a situation that totally parallels the events of January 6th, 2021 …well, unless you are familiar with the concept of sketch comedy, or mob violence, or the term ‘parallel’ itself. But, you know when these comedians receive the equivalent of a slapstick on the wrist, Fox & Friends are going to lose their minds. Kidding, having one of those is a prerequisite for that activity.