Looking Back on a Grim February (posted 3/1/21)

Today is the first day of March – unless you’ve joined me in calling it the month of “Mart,” which I argued for in a previous column.  (I was musing that I liked the Roman practice of naming months after emperors, e.g. July for Julius Caesar and August for Caesar Augustus.)  Before you laugh me out of the room – I know, too late – consider that an African-American felon and lunatic made up Kwanzaa over 50 years ago, and it’s still hanging around.  Sort of.

So with any luck, in 50 years your kids and grandkids will be celebrating Mart Madness, or noting that this year, Mart came in like a lion but went out like a lamb. 

But I digress. 

Now that February has ended, we can look back at the first full month of the late Joe Biden’s administration.  And since this site is called “Cautious Optimism” rather than “Cautious Excuse-me-while-I-put-this-loaded-gun-in-my-Mouth,” let’s look at the bright side of the first full month of leftist rule.

Um….  Well, there’s…  

Okay.  The moon hasn’t turned to blood, the locusts haven’t arrived, and we don’t have a plague of boils.  Yet. 

Other than that, it’s about what we expected.

There’s been the usual leftist suspects beclowning themselves in the usual ways. 

For example, when Donald Trump signed 7 executive orders in his first 12 days in office, he was an autocratic dictator.  So when Joe Biden signed 25 executive orders in his first 12 days, the MSM screamed bloody murder.

HA!  I kid.  They actually cheered him. 

Biden also had a Town Closet meeting in mid-February during which he claimed that “we didn’t have a vaccine when we came into office.”  Which likely came as quite a surprise to the millions of Americans who had already been vaccinated by the time Biden slurred his way through the oath on 1/20.

In fact, it probably came as a surprise to Biden too, when an aide told him that he’d been vaccinated twice by January 11th.

Correction: that wasn’t a “Town Closet” meeting, but a “Town Hall” meeting.  Sure, when Biden arrived at the venue he wandered into a closet and couldn’t find his way out.  But after a frantic search, the secret service found him there, and guided him by the elbow to a podium in a town hall.

From his “no vaccine exists” statement, Biden pivoted to saying that he was setting the lofty goal of overseeing 100 million vaccinations in 100 days.  Which, if my public-school math serves me well, means an average of 1 million vaccinations per day. 

Fun fact: in the four days before Biden staggered into office, the Trump administration averaged over 1 million vaccinations per day.

So the Scranton Sophocles said that there is no vaccine, and also that he will push his administration to try to achieve the goal of ramping up to giving almost the number of daily vaccinations that were already happening before he took office. 

Nothing surprising there.  Biden routinely says demented things.  But in his defense, he has a good excuse: he’s got dementia.

But the rest of the leftists and MSM don’t have that excuse.  Four quick examples:

1.Musically talented colossal hypocrite Bruce Springsteen is now doing a podcast with Barack Obama. Thus answering the question, “Does a podcast exist that would make me prefer to rub sand into my open eyes and perforate my eardrums with knitting needles rather than watching and listening to it?”

And – hold onto your gag reflex – it’s going to be called, “Renegades: Born in the USA.”  (Though I think “Retrogrades: Born in the USA, plus Kenya” would have demonstrated a little self-deprecating humor that I’d admire.)

2.  Our recent insanity about gender has now spread to children’s toys, with Hasbro announcing that they are rebranding “Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head” to just “Potato Head.”  Because, I guess, there has been an epidemic of kids accidentally seeing “Mr.” and “Mrs.” on their toy box, and becoming so discombobulated that they immediately started whacking away at their own genitalia with a set of sharpened gardening shears? Which were left on the floor of the nursery, beside the toy box, for some reason?

I am not making this story up.  An actual toy company is symbolically de-sexing their tuber-based toys.  Way to go, heroes – you’ve cured sexism!

Ugh. 

I say we steer into the skid with these idiotic companies, and goad them into even more woke insanity.

For example, what’s with the “bro” on the end of “Hasbro?”  That’s pretty phallo-centric, if you ask me! Why couldn’t you name your company “Has-sis,” hmm?  Maybe it’s because you’re secretly pushing… a PEPRG?!  And don’t pretend you don’t know that that means “Patriarchy-Empowering Potato-Related Game,” you FMCOs! (Filthy Misogynist Corporate Offenders.  Duh!)

So yeah.  Starting now, a generation of malleable offspring will start putting plastic hair bows, exaggerated plump red lips and thick mustaches on their unisex potato-simulating toys. 

Hey, good luck when they get to the dating years, parents of current toddlers!

3. Seattle, fresh from months of encouraging subliterate, mouth-breathing Biden voters to destroy their city, have come up with a use for all of the taxpayer money they are saving by not employing cops.  Their DESC – which, though you might assume it stands for “Depraved Execrable Sinister Cretins“ actually stands for “Downtown Emergency Services Center” – has produced two handy flyers targeting a core element of the Democrat voting base: incorrigible drug addicts.

The first flyer advocates smoking heroin, rather than injecting it.  Because – and I cannot stress enough how I am NOT making this up – “smoking is a lower-risk alternative to injection.  Give it a try!”

Yes, by all means, give it a try! 

Your city is a burned-out husk, and you’ve lost any chance at employment now that every sane business owner has fled the feral leftist hordes vandalizing what used to be their businesses.  So while you’re sitting around in piles of human excrement and dirty syringes, playing with a discarded plastic toy with full breasts, male genitalia and a bowler hat attached to it, it’s not like you have anything better to do than smoking some heroin.

But wait!  The second taxpayer-funded flyer proposes an even better way to get your heroin fix than shooting or smoking it: sticking it up your arse.

Again, on my honor as a hilarious genius and a gentleman: I am not making this up.

This actually-existing flyer introduces the charming phrase “booty bumping.”

If you’re anything like me – and what a sweet world that would be! — when you first heard “booty bumping” you probably thought that it was a euphemistic reference to the way in which Comma-La started her political career in CA.  Or, possibly, what the nascent Biden administration has already started doing to the gullible American citizens who voted for Joey Gaffes because they believed he was a “moderate.” 

But no.  The flyer educates Seattle-ites that the rectum is “very efficient at absorption.”  So cue the NBC “The More you Know” musical theme on that one.

It goes on to say that introducing heroin into yourself rectally “is a good choice if your veins are hard to hit,” and that, “it doesn’t leave tracks.” 

Skid marks, probably.  But no tracks.  So you’ll have that going for you.   

That’s it in a nutshell, folks.  Socrates suggested that the unexamined life is not worth living.  Christ advocates treating others as you would be treated.  The Founding Fathers urged us toward the highest use of our Creator-endowed liberties and faculties.

But the Democrats who run Seattle have their own words to live by: “Sticking heroin up your butt: Give it a try!”

4. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell – and here I miss Rush even more, as I can hear his nasally, mocking pronunciation of “Annn-drea Mitchell” – thought she’d school Ted Cruz.  When he compared the Dems’ unhinged impeachment trial to “sound and fury, signifying nothing,” and attributed that reference to Shakespeare, Mitchell jumped in with a snooty correction: “No, that’s Faulkner.”

And yes, it is fair to call that “a tweet told by an idiot.” (THAT’S how you deploy a subtle Shakespeare reference, Andrea!)  Because, of course, the original quote is from Macbeth, and Faulkner took it as the title for his novel The Sound and the Fury.  (By the way, remember when that mediocre prof whose name you already forgot from last week’s column assured us that “Shakespeare isn’t timeless?”)

I’m sure that a quick look through Mitchell’s previous tweets would find more “corrections.”  For example, she has probably assured others that Shakespeare also had nothing to do with “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “What Dreams May Come,” and “The Dogs of War,” which came from Ray Bradbury, Cole Porter, Richard Matheson and Frederick Forsyth, respectively.

Also, “All the World’s a Stooge” is a reference to the 1941 classic film starring Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer and Grandma Squanto, rather than some obscure Shakespeare play.

Sorry.  My research staff tells me that “All the World’s a Stooge” actually starred Moe, Larry and Curly. 

Honest mistake.

Anyway, I guess we shouldn’t be too hard on Andrea, because Penn poli-sci or journalism majors can’t be expected to know—

What’s that?  Her degree was in English Literature?  And she currently holds a position as “Chair of the Board of Overseers of the School of Arts and Sciences?”  But she doesn’t recognize one of the most widely known quotes from one of the most famous plays written by THE most famous playwright in the known universe?

Perfect. 

So let me close with a quick game that I just made up to help Andrea brush up on her Shakespeare, lest she embarrass herself further. 

It’s called, “Match these Shakespearian insults to the current Democrat they most clearly fit.”  I’ve included the answers in the parentheses after each quote.

“Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.” (If that’s not Joey Gaffes, I’ll eat my hat.)

“Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.” (Any Nile reference could only be to Imhotep Pelosi.)

“Thou lump of foul deformity” (Jerry Nadler.  Or Bill Clinton.  Or a Cuomo to be named later.)

“I must tell you friendly in your ear, sell when you can, you are not for all markets.” (That genius economist AOC.)

“I scorn you, scurvy companion.“  (Fang Fang’s boyfriend, Eric Swalwell.) (If by “scurvy” you mean “syphilitic.”)

“More of your conversation would infect my brain.” (Adam Schiff, but the judges would also accept Ilhan Omar.)

“The tartness of [her] face sours ripe grapes.”  (Tie: Maxine Waters and CAW CAW.)

“Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee.”  (The entire Democrat House and Senate membership.)

I’m going to print out these words and tape them to the bottom of my tv, and then watch the Dems debate the $1.9 trillion corrupt-o-crat bailout bill of 2021: “Thou art a general offence, and every man should beat thee!”

Nancy “out-venoming tongue” Pelosi/ Sandy “not for all markets” Ocasio-Cortez, 2024!

Morons Hate Shakespeare (posted 2/22/21)

The Cautious Optimism Roving Correspondent for Affairs (and Stuff) – CORCA – has a potent combination of gratitude and mockery to start your week.

The danger of writing almost non-stop sarcasm and mockery is that when you want to be serious and non-ironic, people don’t know how to take it.  But I start today by running that risk, because I want to thank you all.  After my last column on Friday, some members of CO nation followed CO’s lead, and hit my tip jar, and said some very complimentary things about my writing.  I was very touched by that.

Not in a creepy way, like if I were a young woman at a Biden presser, locked in a Greco-Roman clinch while he massaged my shoulders and sniffed my hair.

HA!  I am incorrigible, and cannot resist a low-hanging joke. 

Which, if my Mandarin is not too rusty, is what I believe was Fang Fang’s nickname for Eric Swallwell.  I don’t want to know why.

Anyway, though I’ve now botched this moment of sincerity, I really do appreciate the kind words from so many of you over the last 4 years.  Reading and writing for this site has been great fun, and it is immensely gratifying to receive responses, likes and shares from so many of you.  And to get actual contributions in the tip jar is – honest to God – humbling.

So John, Jamie, Ed, Daniel, Roger, Amarayah, Gail and many others who have been so generous: thanks! Really.  And only because several people have asked, I do have a Venmo account (@MartinSimpson), and I know the Paypal (Msimpson528) Tip Jar is hard to see on my site.  But since my tech support department is off kicking academic butt in her freshman year of college… my tech savvy is on par with AOC’s understanding of basic economics.

Having said that, please don’t ever feel any compunction to hit the tip jar, because your reading and responding and being part of the community on this website is reward enough for me.  You’ve helped me turn a sharp tongue and snarky attitude from an eccentric social deficit into a rewarding way to blow off steam, and I can’t thank you enough for that!

Okay, now I’m starting to feel like some infomercial weirdo, so let’s get to a few news stories.

Shakespeare is hated by morons.  Unfortunately, many of those morons are alleged educators. 

Sidebar: I find it a troublesome red flag when teachers insist on being called “educators.” That’s almost as much of a poker tell that people are too full of themselves as when they get a ludicrous Ed D degree and insist on being called “doctor.” 

(By the way, if you read my column on Friday, you won’t be surprised to know what appears beside Reza Aslan’s pic on his Twitter posts.  That’s right: “Dr. Reza Aslan.”   Ugh.)

On a totally unrelated note, I would rather take a class from – or undergo thoracic surgery at the hands of – Dr. Suess, Dr. Octopus, or Dr. Evil, rather than from “Dr.” Jill Biden.  (She didn’t spend several grueling months in fake doctor school and write a term paper, in crayon, on the JUCO’s crucial role in the American economy to be called, “Ms. Biden!”)

Where was I?  Oh, yeah.

Morons hate Shakespeare, and they hate him for moronic reasons.  Like because he was an icky white male, so his politics must have been wrong.  According to one article, “For the new breed of teachers [Martacus’ editor’s note: I’m going to guess that breed is either Angus or Hereford] Shakespeare is seen… as a tool of imperial oppression, an author who should be dissected in class or banished from the curriculum entirely.”

A group who founded “#DisruptTexts” say that the Bard is all about “white supremacy and colonization.”

I wish I could have been in the board room where this brain trust came up with their fancy hashtag name.  I’m guessing early contenders were, “#DisruptLogic,” “#DownwithThought,” and #BooGreatThings!Boo!”

The story goes on: “The anti-Shakespeare teachers say fans of the plays ignore the author’s problematic worldview. They say readers of Shakespeare should be required to address the “whiteness” of their thinking.”

First, “anti-Shakespeare teachers?!”   You might as well say “anti-empiricism scientists,” or “anti-cheesecake Pritzkers” or “anti-violence Antifa.”

Second, “Shakespeare’s world view was ‘problematic?!’”  This from a crowd who believes that thinking has a color, logic is oppressive, math is racist, and Joe Biden has just the kind of youthful energy and fresh thinking that our country needs.

Even when they are compelled to teach Shakespeare, these numbskulls have to dilute his genius by paired it with leftist claptrap.  One Minnesota teacher “gives her students Marxist theory when reading ‘Coriolanus’.”  NJ high school teacher Sarah Mulhern Gross [I’m pretty sure that there’s an understood “is” in that name] bragged about adding “toxic masculinity analysis” to lessons on “Romeo and Juliet.”

That’s what you want to do: add something terrible to something great, because how could that ever go wrong? “You’ve got to try my filet mignon! I sprinkle it with toxic mold, and serve it with caramelized dog droppings on a bed of fresh poison ivy.  And you can wash it down with an exquisite glass of Château Lafite Rothschild.  I urinate in every bottle!”

Someone named Lorena German, who came up with “#DisruptingShakespeare” claims that, “He is not ‘universal’ in a way that other authors are not. He is not more ‘timeless’ than anyone else.”  Says Lorena German, who you’ve never heard of before the previous sentence, and never will again, after you read the following paragraph.

Would it be cruel to note that four centuries after his death, Shakespeare’s works are being read, discussed and performed all over the world, while Lorena German won’t be remembered 17 hours after she dies alone in her rent-controlled apartment, even by her put-upon students or her between four and nine cats?

But hey, in case you think that England’s greatest problem is the seismic tremors they are experiencing due to all of their great writers spinning violently in their graves, check out this Breitbart story headline: “’We Have Been Treated Like Criminals’ Complain Migrants Who Entered Britain Illegally.” 

You don’t say. 

What’s next?

“’Everyone Keeps Ogling Us,’ say Gorgeous Women Wearing Almost Nothing.” Or

“New Yorkers keep looking at me like I killed their grandparents,’ says Andrew Cuomo.” Or 

“’Everyone keeps laughing at my witty columns” says #Hilarious Genius.”

The Breitbart article is worth reading for all Americans, if only because they’ll find the stunning ingratitude and whining by entitled d-bags to be sadly familiar.  We’ve seen people sneaking into the US, only to immediately begin screaming about how the home country they fled is so much better, and Somalians we rescued from their dangerous, unstable country, only to get elected to Congress and offer taxpayer-funded speeches about the horrors of the US.

In the UK, the ingrates are outraged that they’ve been put up in military barracks.  Because how could they be expected to suffer the kind of low standard of living that British soldiers deal with every day? 

They’re also not happy that the barracks don’t always accommodate enough social distancing to guarantee they won’t get covid. 

They really said that.  After they broke into England by cramming onto boats, where they sailed cheek-to-jowl for hours or days. 

I’m here to reassure you that you’re not crazy.  The world has turned upside down, and we’ve just got to hang on to our sanity.

On the bright side, after having made it through three and a half tortuous years of the Biden administration, at least our suffering is almost o—

What’s that?  It’s only been a month?!

Oy.

Avenatti/Lorena what’s-her-name, 2024!

How to Properly React to Death (posted 2/19/21)

Rush Limbaugh has died, and leftist celebrities, creeps, and MSM figures – but I repeat myself – are showing the kind of class and empathy we’ve come to expect from them.   In a series of repulsive tweets and social media postings, they are demonstrating for the world their complete depravity and moral bankruptcy.

I get it.  Rush was smarter than them and funnier than them, and he was able to skewer their pretentious bloviating, while carrying on a master class of tongue-in-cheek bombast of his own.

He was flawed and imperfect, as are we all.  But he was a happy warrior for those who love America, and a thorn in the side of the “blame-America-first” detractors on the left.  He gave voice to the common-sense conservative views of millions whom the MSM constantly denigrates.  He knew that we aren’t deplorables, and he cheerfully counter-punched the condescending scolds who looked down their Pinocchio noses at us. 

I don’t need to provide a roll call of hateful leftists who are gleefully dancing on Limbaugh’s grave.  Instead, I’ll just mention one typical example, which I came across in a NY Post article on a triumvirate of nauseating UC Riverside professors who sent an email to media sources pitching their own availability for interviews, calling themselves “Rush Limbaugh experts.”

A paragraph into the story, I came upon the name of Reza Aslan, a small-minded bigot so vile that even CNN couldn’t stomach him, and fired him a few years ago.  So naturally, he got a job as a professor. 

Sidebar: do you remember when Bill Clinton had to give up his law license in the wake of his perjury in the Monica Lewinsky scandal?  I had thought that that indictment had to be the all-time most damning: not ethical enough to be a lawyer! 

But Reza Aslan has outdone even Handsy McGroperton: Aslan is too hateful to work at CNN!

If you haven’t heard of Aslan, consider yourself lucky, and pardon me for introducing you to his work.  In addition to sullying the name of C.S. Lewis’ great Christ-figure lion from the Narnia books, Aslan has sullied himself.  In the latest press release, he called Limbaugh a, “one-man hate industry,” who “sowed hatred and fear,” and concluded that “America is objectively a better place without Rush in it.”

Judging from his criticism of Limbaugh’s “hate,” you might assume that Reza is a regular font of love in his own writing. 

Sadly, you would be wrong.  

For a little taste of Reza’s warm-and-fuzzy approach to “commentary,” we need go no farther than his take on Trump’s reaction to a rash of terrorist attacks carried out by some oh-so-peaceful jihadis in London in the summer of 2017.  “Oh the joy when this lying conniving scumbag narcissistic sociopath piece of s**t fake president finally gets what’s coming to him.”  Also, he also expressed the pithy sentiment that Trump was “a piece of s**t.” 

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died late last year, he tweeted, “If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f**king thing down.”

Did I mention that Reza is a professor of religion?  Yeah.

I haven’t read all of the hadiths and suras and what-not, but I’m not sure there’s one that counsels, “When someone with whom you politically disagree dies, go thou out and publicly urinate on his grave, and celebrate his death as if thou wert a hell-spawn socialist demon-ghoul.” 

Now, from what you’ve just read, you might think that I believe that it’s never appropriate to joke about and celebrate somebody’s death.  But long-time readers of my column know that that’s not the case, as they may remember from my comments when we used a drone to kill a man named Turki al-Bin’ali in Syria in 2017. 

He held the exalted title of the Islamic State’s Grand Mufti, and some of his own people had criticized him as having too high a profile as he traveled around the Middle East. They said that he was “too visible,” a decision which allowed us to give him a good ol’ drone-delivered proctological strike.

At the time, I came up with a dad-joke that I told my daughters after reading them the story: “That’s one Turki who didn’t make it until Thanksgiving!”

Groan if you must.  My daughters certainly did.

And as annoying as it may be when someone laughs at his own jokes, I also wrote a line that still makes me snicker when I think of it: “Does anyone else see the irony in a bunch of misogynists so prudish that they force their women to hide themselves in bee-keeper outfits, getting defeated because their Mufti was too visible?”

Boom!

Please send your complaints to the great and powerful CO, founder of the Cautious Optimism website.

So the moral of today’s column is this:  It is appropriate to laugh at someone’s death only if that person is either manifestly evil, or engaging in an evil act when killed, or both. 

I’ll close with two instructive examples ripped from today’s headlines:

First, on Monday, 61-year-old Harold Runnels knocked on the door of a house in Aiken, SC.  When 79-year-old Lois Parrish came to the door, he pushed her aside, forcing his way into the house and pulling a knife on her.

Unfortunately for Runnels, Lois Parrish is married to 82-year-old Herbert Parrish, who is a veteran.  Even more unfortunately, he is a veteran who owns a shotgun.  And when he saw Runnels threatening his 79-year-old sweetheart, he killed him with his shotgun.

At first, the idea of an 82-year-old defending himself with a shotgun might sound unusual, but not extremely so.  Most old folks have the strength to pull a trigger, after all.  (Even Joe Biden – if he were still alive – could probably manage that.)

But you’ve jumped to the wrong conclusion.  I said that Parrish killed him with a shotgun, not that he SHOT him with a shotgun.

That’s right.  Octogenarian Herbert Parrish beat septuagenarian-wife-attacker Runnels to death with his shotgun.  And I know what you’re thinking: how does an 82-year-old whip someone’s arse with a shotgun?

Well, it starts with taking a wide, well-balanced stance, and not choking down too far on the barrel.  Then you have to remember that you don’t need a home run; you just have to make good contact.

So what have we learned from this story?  First, even at 82, Herb can still go yard! 

Second, just as the leftist thug who attacked Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha learned not to bring a skateboard to a rifle fight, Harold Runnels learned not to bring a knife to a shotgun fight.      

Finally, in the feel-good story of February, Breitbart’s headline caught my eye: “Accidental Blast During Bomb-Making Class Kills 30 Taliban Fighters.”

It seems that a clot of happy-go-lucky jihadis had gathered in a mosque (where else?) in the Afghan village of Qultaq to learn the finer points of blowing people up.  Even though the crowd included “six foreign nationals who were expert mine makers,” it apparently also included at least one dim-witted lummox who hadn’t yet gotten to the Koranic verses on the subject of, “Don’t touch that wire!”

(Preliminary reports that the dullard in question was one Ahmed al-Biden have not been confirmed.)

The story notes that jihadis fairly regularly experience such mortifying examples of the male scourge of premature detonation. (HA!)  For example, “a similar blast occurred at a mosque in Balkh’s Chahabar Bolak district in August.” 

Also in the village of Sikandar Khel, and earlier in the Ghazni district, and in the southern province of Zabul.

So what can we learn from this hilarious vignette? 

First, all Afghan place names have apparently been translated from the original Klingon.

Second, one way to promote the idea that your religion is super peaceful might be to stop using your places of worship as combination ammo dumps/demolition schools.  

Third, don’t be discouraged, jihadis!  Remember the sura that goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try– KA-BLAM!

Thus ends today’s lesson.

RIP, Rush.

Avenatti/Reza “not the Jesus-Lion” Aslan 2024!

Three People I Disdain (posted 2/15/21)

In my last column, I mentioned three people I admire (Ron DeSantis, Denzel Washington and Thomas Sowell).  Today, I turn to three people I disdain.

Mitt Romney

There are a few things in life that I am not good at; one of the worst is admitting when I’ve been wrong about something. 

In my defense, that is mainly because I’ve not had much practice at being wrong.  After more than a half-century spent being almost constantly right about everything, it’s disorienting when it turns out I was mistaken. 

I can still remember the day in 2nd grade when I found out that I’d been singing the line from “God Bless America” wrong.  It’s the one that goes, “stand beside me, and guide me/ through the night with the light from above.” 

I had been singing, “through the night, with the light, from a bulb.”  Which, I would argue, makes perfect sense.  (See?  I’m not good at this.)

I also remember that until about age 12, I thought girls were really gross.  Then I saw a young Sophia Loren at the height of her powers, climbing out of the Mediterranean in a clingy shirt in a tv re-run of Boy on a Dolphin.  So mea maxima culpa on that one.

Also, I was in college before I found out that there is only one “r” in “sherbet.”  Everyone I knew called it “sher-bert.”  So thanks a lot, friends and relatives in Marseilles, Illinois in the 1970s.

To mention a more current example, next month I will have been married for 32 years, and during that time my wife and I have had 367 arguments, and I’m like 364 and 2, with one tie.   (I still say the socialist relative I threw out of my house until he apologized is going to come crawling back some day with a mea culpa, so that one is technically yet to be determined.)  

I’m practically the Rocky Marciano of martial fights, is what I’m saying.  And sure, my wife would probably disagree with that stat.  But as you might gather from my marital fight record, she’s wrong a lot. 

For example, in the first decision we each made in our marriage, I decided to marry her, and she decided to marry me.  So right there, I’m up on her 2-to-zip.

Anyway, the last time I was wrong was in 2012, when I – and these words are getting caught in my throat somehow, even though I’m typing them – enthusiastically voted for Mitt Romney.  

I know, I know.  He wasn’t nearly conservative enough for my taste, or likely for yours. 

But almost nobody is.  Reagan and Milton Friedman are dead.  Margaret Thatcher and Friedrich Hayek are dead, and they weren’t US citizens.   And Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson won’t run. 

So I thought that of the choices we had, Mitt would be a good one.  McCain had been pathetically eager to roll over in 2008, and after four disastrous years of Obama, I thought the time was right for someone like Romney.  Public opinion polling – and countless yammering focus groups — had suggested that people really, really wanted centrist competence more than combative partisanship. 

We’d get that with Mitt, and even if he was a semi-invertebrate RINO, he couldn’t help but be two standard deviations better than Barry O and his toxic combination of arrogance, incompetence, and disdain for America.

Here’s where I went wrong.   I thought that Romney had run MA as a mushy moderate, barely right of center governor because he’d had to.  The reality is that there are (tragically) a lot of purple or light-blue states in the country, and if we’re going to have any elected GOP congressmen or senators or governors in those states, they’re going to have to be lukewarm moderates. 

Susan Collins is a good example.  Maine is a blue-ish state, and with a 50/50 senate split, I’m more than happy to have her in the senate, rather than running a rock-ribbed conservative who would lose, and thus give us one more Dem senator. 

But Romney has since shown himself to be a particularly contemptible sort of Republican, because he’s fundamentally dishonest.  He didn’t govern as a RINO squish in MA because he had to to get elected.  Now he’s a Senator from Utah, for crying out loud!  He could be an actual conservative like he pretended to be – in fact, he’d be rewarded for it!  But he’s not that guy.

He only pretended to be.

Maybe the worst part is that he’s not even too genteel to have the stomach for a political fight.  That’s been the fallacy that a lot of moderates have pushed:  Bush 41 and 42 and McCain and Romney and dozens of other GOP office-holders were gentlemen, unwilling to get down in the mud and trade punches with the Dem sleaze merchants who always take the low road.

But they were lying about that, because since then, most of them have shown little compunction about attacking Trump, or other conservatives.  I still think well of W as a person, but you could not get him to slam Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, and he could barely manage to criticize Gore or Kerry, even when he was running against them! 

But somehow he was willing to throw mud at Trump, going so far as to say that he wouldn’t vote for him, even against creeps like Cankles McPantsuit or Joey Gaffes.  As I’ve said before, Trump had some big flaws, and in the abstract, I can respect someone who was too offended by them to support him. 

But the Bushes and the Romneys lambasted Trump for his lies, while staying mute about Barack “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” Obama.

They were terribly offended that Trump spoke in crudely sexual terms about women, but they never expressed any public thoughts about Bill Clinton groping every female within arm’s length and raping Juanita Broderick, or Joe Biden digitally penetrating at least one female supporter.

Romney watched Bill Clinton turn the Oval Office into a combination brothel and illicit campaign fundraising boiler room.  He watched Obama use the IRS to oppress and silence his domestic political opponents, while paying off mullahs in Iran and standing by while jihadi thugs attacked a US consulate and murdered our ambassador.   He stood mute while Joe Biden said that he – Romney – wanted to enslave black Americans! 

He didn’t get mad.   He didn’t get offended.  And he never suggested impeaching Clinton or Obama, and – spoiler alert — he’ll never EVER suggest impeaching Biden.

But he’s taking a brave stand now.   Because Trump has a big mouth and said some stupid things, Marshmallow Mitt has drawn his line in the sand, and is supporting the baying mob of leftist hypocrites who are ramming through second baseless impeachment of a GOP president. 

I don’t think it’s too much to ask of politicians that they be consistent.  If you’re a rough-elbows brawler type, then sure, brawl with those on your side of the aisle who you think are wrong, just like you brawl with the opposition.  And if you’re a conciliatory diplomat, then be diplomatic with your own side and the opposition. 

But Romney – and many other RINOs – are the worst of both worlds: spineless and obsequious with the leftists, yet willing to turn on and attack conservatives at every opportunity.

I can’t help but think of the words of John — not McCain, but the Revelator — who said in disgust, “Because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I will spew you out of my mouth.” 

That’s what Mitt Romney is to me.  He seems like a decent and loving family man, and his business and executive accomplishments are untainted by any hint of scandal or unethical achieved some impressive accomplishments in his life, but he’s a human political spit take. 

Someone in the Utah GOP – please, I’m begging you! – primary that guy!

Bruce Springsteen is a very talented songwriter and musician, and I’ve gotten a great deal of enjoyment out of his music over the years.  His music made up part of the soundtrack to my young adulthood, and the album Nebraska is one of my top 10 favorites of all time. 

And yet he is a colossal, hypocritical d-bag.  I thought his Jeep commercial during the Super Bowl was simultaneously great and nauseating. 

Removed from its context – i.e. without Springsteen’s (and the Democrat party for whom he is a spokes-celebrity’s) long-standing record of sleazy smears and immoral Machiavellian tactics – it is well done, and even stirring.   The stark, wintry scenery evokes a nostalgia within me for my Illinois childhood.  The script, calling for unity, and laced with Biblical imagery and allusion, resonates. 

(By the way, did you notice how the usual legion of hateful leftist Christophobes™ were somehow able to not be triggered by all of that nasty religious stuff?  Why, it’s almost like they’ve sold their soul to Saul Alinsky, and can’t be trusted to react honestly to literally anything!)

But of course the ad DOES come with all of that context… which ruins it completely.  It’s more than galling to see a malicious rhetorical bomb-thrower like Springsteen wax eloquent on how we all need to unified, and respect each other.

His ersatz good will is as phony as his cowboy boots and hat.  And for that matter, the idea that a disdainful leftist like him would be caught dead driving around in a jeep and lighting a candle in a church in the middle of flyover country.

I like to imagine the army of CO readers, as they watched that video, having the natural reaction.

Hey, Mr. Boss.  They’re not saying, “Bruuuuuuuce,  Bruuuuuuce!” 

They’re booing you.

Finally, we have Virginia Heffernen.

She’s the small-minded lefty columnist and New Yorker who wrote an ultra-creepy column about a terrible thing her Trump-supporting neighbors did to her.

Did they egg her house? Spray-paint a Confederate flag on her garage door?  Force a maga hat down onto the innocent head of her crying toddler?

No.  They shoveled her snowy driveway for her.

Those b*stards!  

I’m sure you’ve all read the story by now.  She compares neighbors who performed an unrequested favor for her to the anti-Semitic terrorist group Hezbollah, anti-Semitic loon Louis Farrakhan, and… wait for it… the Nazis!

Yes.  The Nazis.  Because if there is one thing they were known for, it was their vaunted “shovel-krieg.”  (Which I believe is German for “lightning-fast snow-removal war.”)  I know Anne Frank’s family was constantly complaining about how if it snowed even an inch or two, the pesky National Socialists had their driveway cleaned off before you could say, “Arbeit Macht Ice-Frei.”

I know: bad taste.  Also, too soon.  But I’m not the one comparing thoughtful neighbors to Nazis!

Unfortunately, this hate-twisted lady is all-too typical of a leftist mindset you can see from Biden on down.  Their talking points are all “unity this” and “civility that,” but they despise half the country, and repay kindness with contempt.

The only appropriate response is to defeat them in elections, and pray that they get well soon.

In the meantime, we should rent a small fleet of trucks, transport many tons of snow to Heffernen’s house, and then dump that snow all over her driveway, house and yard. 

And over her, if she happens to be outside.

Avenatti/ Virginia ”Get off my driveway” Heffernen  2024!

Three People I Admire (posted 2/8/21)

I could easily spend this column talking about all the stuff that has immediately started going terribly wrong with the fledgling Biden administration. 

For example, Hacky Psaki™ is already drawing ridicule from even the far-left media, for her constant refrain of “I’m going to circle back on that.” to even the simplest questions.  AOC is telling fabulous tales of that time she was almost killed because she was four blocks away from a building where a handful of idiots wearing Viking horns broke in and took selfies and made scary noises. 

And after nearly four years of explicitly inciting their mouth-breathing followers to physically attack all elected Republicans, the Democrats in congress are gearing up to impeach a former president because he supposedly incited some of his followers to violently attack Democrats… in a speech in which he literally said, “March down to the capitol and patriotically and PEACEFULLY protest.” 

As I say, I could easily talk about that stuff. 

I could, for example, compare the Biden administration getting out of the gates to the start of an ill-fated horse race.  One in which the gun sounded, spooking several of the horses into throwing their riders and then trampling them to death, while several of the other horses sprang forward, collided with each other and went down in a cacophony of snapped fetlocks and equine screaming, and in which the lead horse, just as it was breaking away from the pack, somehow burst into flames. 

Even though horses are normally pretty reliably known to not be the least bit flammable. 

I could write about that stuff, and much more.  But I’m not going to.  Because it’s a Monday, in the mid-winter of our discontent, and I want to focus on something positive, in the form of three public figures I admire.   You might not be surprised that one of them is a thinker and writer.  But the other two are from very unlikely fields: one politician, and one actor.

When it comes to professions, even the famously low-status ones don’t strike me as worse than politicians.  I’ve bought several cars from used car dealers that weren’t total lemons.  I’ve employed a few lawyers over the years, and none of them tried to double-bill me for time they spent with hookers.  Speaking of which, even though – and I cannot stress this enough – I have NO first-hand experience with hookers, I’ve been told that they at least allow one to do to them what our politicians routinely do to us.

But let’s not let the 95% of terrible politicians give the other 5% a bad name. 

And one of those 5% is the governor of my state, Ron DeSantis.  A veteran, military lawyer and congressman, DeSantis just barely won in 2018, defeating far-left incompetent Andrew Gillum.   

In a lot of ways, DeSantis’ election was the opposite of the heartbreaking razor-thin losses in 2020, in which equally terrible far-left creeps like Ossoff and Warnock and Biden and Harris managed to win.  And in the ensuing two years, the judgment of the voters in electing DeSantis has been richly rewarded. 

Though not especially telegenic or charismatic, DeSantis has demonstrated the positive qualities of Trump – he governs like a conservative, is impervious to leftist criticism, and doesn’t back down from any political fights – while avoiding the negative characteristics of Trump.  He’s not bombastic, and he’s disciplined, and he aims his fire at the real opposition, rather than at his own feet. 

And the results speak for themselves.  When the MSM were shrieking that Florida would soon be a covid deathscape – and never mind those blue states, where wannabe-dictators destroyed their economies, oppressed the working class and churchgoers, and produced death rates much higher than Florida’s – DeSantis stood his ground.  He trusted the citizens to assess the real risks of the virus, and take appropriate precautions, and run their own lives, free from enforced micro-management from a bullying government. 

To pick just one almost laboratory-perfect example, consider the two Disney theme parks in America.  The one in deep-blue CA, ruled by Ken-Doll Newsom and an arrogant army of leftist poke-noses, has been closed for almost a year.  Tens of thousands of employees have been unemployed, millions of children’s Disney vacation dreams have been dashed, and the streets of Disneyland have been occupied only by tumbleweeds.

And they are partially charred tumbleweeds, since half the state has been intermittently on fire, thanks to suicidally stupid, far-left mismanagement of forests and the electrical grid.

Florida’s Disney park, by contrast, re-opened in early July, after only 4 months of closure.  For those of you without a calendar nearby, that’s around 7 months ago.   And you’d better believe that if there were mounds of bodies stacked up like cordwood all over Orlando because of the great covid Disney die-off, the MSM would be shouting that story to the rafters.  (By the way, “The Great Covid Disney Die-Off” had the worst box office of any Pixar production ever!)

But alas, there was no horrendous Florida corona-pacalypse.  Only hundreds of thousands of employed people, hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into the hands of Floridians and their well-run state government, and millions of happy children.  Oh, the humanity! 

And the last half-year has only seen the wisdom of electing DeSantis become more obvious.  He oversaw a clean and well-run election, and by 11:00 on election night, the world knew who won in Florida.  He has stood up to big tech censorship, and almost alone among GOP pols is aggressively fighting back against the dishonest, power-hungry censors who did everything they could to tilt the 2020 electoral playing field.    

And how has his narrowly defeated leftist rival been conducting himself since the election?  Well, he’s been hard at work, studying and making political connections, and preparing himself for another run.

If by “hard at work” you mean “getting caught in a seedy hotel room with a male prostitute and a dazzling array of illegal drugs.”  I am not making that up.   When the cops arrived, the hooker was overdosing on meth, and Gillum was nude, intoxicated and vomiting in the bathroom.  (In other words, he was truly the “Florida Man” you’re always reading about in the tabloids.)

Because Gillum is a Democrat, and graduated from the “Bill Clinton School of Honest Confession,” his statement was a classic example of the genre.   Gillum said, “I was in Miami last night for a wedding celebration when first responders were called to assist one of my friends.”

Because who amongst us doesn’t traditionally celebrate weddings by ingesting a festive cocktail of drugs and alcohol, and ending up naked and puking on a hotel bathroom floor, after paying one of our “friends” to have sex with us?

Let he who is without sin among you cast the first vomit-flecked meth rock!  

The actor I admire is Denzel Washington.  He’s the type who is always worth watching, even if he’s in a movie that isn’t great.  And most of his movies are very good, usually with a moral center, and  without a political axe to grind.  In a time when half the movies go out of their way to insult and slander conservatives and religious people, I haven’t seen Washington do that.

He’s been outspoken about his Christian faith, and though he supported Obama, he’s been very circumspect about politics, pointedly not insulting conservatives or bashing Trump.   In the leftist-dominated, censorious atmosphere of Hollywood, I usually assume that anyone who doesn’t wear his leftist principles on his sleeve is likely a closet conservative.

That assumption got some support from an interview he recently gave to the lefties at Yahoo Entertainment. When asked about how he sees cops and the military, he said, “I have the utmost respect for what they do, for what our soldiers do, [people] that sacrifice their lives. I just don’t care for people who put those kind of people down. If it weren’t for them, we would not have the freedom to complain about what they do.”

Not too many years ago, that would have been a typical sentiment, mouthed even by the celebrities who didn’t believe it, just out of social and career pressure.  Today, sadly, it takes courage to say it, and I admire Denzel for doing so!

Finally, Thomas Sowell is 90 years old, and a national treasure.   A skilled writer and a clear, logical thinker, Sowell has written more books than the entire Island of Misfit Toys that is the Biden administration has read.  He’s written about taboo topics like race and politics with a combination of erudition and blunt, honest common sense that is well nigh irrefutable.  So the left virtually never tries to refute him, preferring either to ignore him, or smear him.

The latter is made considerably more difficult because Sowell is black, but that doesn’t stop the charlatans who make a living fanning racial flames. I can only imagine the kind of courage it takes to be a black conservative, especially when your first name is Thomas!  I’m sure the racial arsonist leftists all think they’re brilliant when they roll out the “Uncle Tom” charge against him.

If you haven’t read Sowell, you really owe it to yourself.  The Vision of the Anointed and A Conflict of Visions are personal favorites of mine, but you can’t go wrong with anything Sowell writes.  In addition to the cogent analysis, you’ll find bon mots on every page.  He is a smart, brave adult in an academy full of blinkered, cowardly juveniles.  

Reading Thomas Sowell is the anti-dote to reading trendy hucksters like Ibram X Kendi, Ta-Nehisi “gesundheit” Coates or Robin DiAngelo.  In an interview or debate, when he’s given a tough question, there’s one reply I’ll guarantee you will never hear Thomas Sowell utter:

“I’m going to have to circle back on that.”

Avenatti/Ta-Nehisi 2024!

Looking Back on a Terrible January (posted 2/1/21)

A lot of terrible things have happened throughout history in the month of January.  Hitler seized power in January (1933).  So did Castro (1959).  So did Pol Pot (1976).  The space shuttle Challenger exploded (1986).  Nancy Pelosi was born in Mesopotamia (2213 B.C.).

Saxons called January the “wolf month,” because hungry wolves would come into their towns searching for food this time of year.

So, yeah.  That’s January.  Many horrible leftists seizing power, fiery explosions, and ravenous predators coming to town to torment regular folks and scavenge their resources. 

Sound familiar?

But I’m not going to talk about that depressing stuff.  Because I’m a cautious optimist, and an Ameri-can, not an Ameri-can’t.   And because we need to laugh at the many small stories that can sometimes escape our notice.  Stories like these:

1.Alec Baldwin’s wife’s hilarious self-owning.  

I generally find Alec Baldwin to be a charming and talented comic actor.  Until he opens his mouth about politics.  Then he reveals that he’s a gigantic horse’s Schumer. 

But it turns out that his wife is even more unhinged.  For years she has been pretending to be a Latina, writing about how she first came to the US from Mallorca to attend college, speaking with an unconvincingly intermittent Spanish accent – once feigning a struggle to remember the English word “cucumber” – and calling herself “Hilaria.”

But it turns out she was born in Boston, from a family who traces its American roots to before the Revolution.  And her real name is “Hillary Hayward-Johnson.” 

“Oh,” you are probably thinking, “Of the Sinaloa Hayward-Johnsons?”

Sadly, no.

What is it about white leftists that makes them want to pretend to be ethnic minorities?  If it’s not blue-eyed blonde Rachel Dolezal perming her hair and faking her way into a leadership position in the NAACP, or blue-eyed blonde Elizabeth Warren waxing nostalgic about her youth spent riding bareback across the plains in her buckskin dress (#wemustneverstopmockingher), it’s Hillary Baldwin reminiscing about holidays spent wearing a sombrero and whacking at a – how you say? – pinata.

How much respect would I lose from all of you if I suddenly adopted the phony-as-Comma-la persona of exotic Latin lothario “Martino,” with my smoldering good looks and theek accent?   

A lot of respect, I’m guessing.  But never fear: I would never squander the bond I’ve built with you on such ridiculous contrivances.

And that’s why I’ll always remain your plain ol’ exotic white lothario “Martin,” with my middling looks and perfect Midwestern accent.  You’re welcome.   

2. Tacoma cop earns the “French Connection Good Driver Award” for running over a few violent idiots who were begging to be run over. 

If you haven’t seen the video yet, you should.  It’s the same story that unfolded many times this past year, when peaceful rioters would attack some innocent motorist in a car, pounding on the roof, smashing windows, and jumping on the hood.  And then, sometimes, the driver would (gloriously!) hit the gas and go all “Smokey and the Dimwit” on the rioters, tossing them into the air as he drove to freedom.

Sorry.  That’s “bandit.”  “Smokey and the Bandit.”

There were two novel twists in this story: 1. The vehicle involved was a police SUV, which it turns out has the additional heft required to dish out some serious Darwin-award-winning justice to any brain-dead biped who stupidly made a frontal assault on it. And 2. This time, the violent crowd had gathered to engage in super-dangerous street racing, rather than the usual leftist hobbies of hating America, tearing down statues, and vandalizing property. 

On the bright side, after dozens of bogus anti-police accusations, we finally do have an example of a cop being race-ist.  (Boom!)

One violent thug chose stupidly enough that he ended up falling in front of the car as it justifiably sped away, in the process turning himself into a human speed bump.  So trigger warning if you decide to find the video, because that image is hard to watch.  Also, the audio is irritating, with repeated screams of profanity and unjustified anger from the mob.  

On the other hand, you could watch the video the way I did: Turn the sound off, and create your own soundtrack.  As speed-bump-boy starts whacking on the car, sing softly to yourself, “I’m breakin’ rocks   in the [pause] hot sun; I fought the law, and the law [pause] THUMP-THUMP!”

3.  In an omen of what’s to come in the disastrous next four years, Joey Gaffes fired the White House usher on inauguration day.  A few hours later, after he’d been sworn in, Biden and non-doctor Jill waved to a crowd and dramatically turned to the White House doors… and then stood there like addled mopes.

Because they’d fired the usher, one of whose duties was to open doors for them.

They stood there for a long, confused time, before someone finally opened the doors.  The video I saw was shot from an angle that partially blocked the door, so I can’t be sure that Biden spent that time repeatedly pulling on the door that needed to be pushed.

But c’mon man.  You know that is what happened.

4.  Biden’s new political hack press secretary Jen Psaki – and if I’m the first one to call her “Hacky Psaki,” I trademark that term, right now – gave a frighteningly clueless answer to a question about whether the WH is concerned about the Game Stop stock-shorting panic.

I’m sure you’ve all read CO’s insightful discussion of that, and thus know more about it than Jen Psaki ever will.  This particular reporter asked what the WH plans to do, and ended with “…and have there been any discussions with the SEC about how to proceed?”  

Psaki’s response, which I swear to you I am not making up: “Well, I’m also happy to repeat that we have the first female treasury secretary and a team that’s surrounding her, and often questions about the market we’ll send to them.”   

It’s times like these when I wish I could get within 100 miles of a WH press conference.  Because if I were in that room, I’d do my best to ask the next question: “I just re-read the transcript of my colleague’s previous question, and I was surprised to see that it was not ‘Can you give us a genitalia census of the Biden officials who will be dealing with this stock market instability?’ Since that is the question you answered.” 

“And by the way, I’m sure we all send our congratulations to Janet Yellin on what we assume are her absolutely top-notch lady parts.  Now, getting back to the question of what you numbskulls are planning to do about the stock shorting issue?”

5. In one more glaring example of breathtaking media bias, Kamala Harris’ step-daughter Ella Emhoff has signed what is being called “a ludicrous modeling contract.”

Sorry.  That’s “lucrative modeling contract.”

Now Emhoff is a civilian, and I’m no head-turner myself, so I’m not going to attack her for accepting that contract.  But a quick search will reveal a dozen pictures of her. 

If any of those pics were put into a photo line-up with the driver’s license photos of a dozen randomly chosen women, and if a group of people were offered $1,000,000 to pick the professional model from that line-up…? 

Let’s just say that I would not be reluctant to put up the million.

Remember: Melania Trump is a world-class smoke-show – and, literally, a SUPER MODEL! — and as First Lady was not given a single magazine cover, let alone a modeling gig.  

But Ella Emhoff is now a professional model.

Well done, main stream media!

6. Finally, Dr. Fauci has taken his campaign to be the least credible doctor since Jill Biden to another level. 

In a January 25th interview,  Fauci explained that since one mask catches some droplets, it is “only common sense,” that two masks would catch even more droplets. 

To re-cap, last March Fauci said that we should not wear masks.  By May, he said that we should all wear a mask.  Eight months later, he is saying that we should all wear two masks. 

I’m no mathematician, but a few quick calculations tell me that by a year from this Christmas, Fauci will be telling each of us to wear 14 masks.  

In addition to not being a mathematician, I am also not a physician.  But I put my magical wizard hat on and did a little cogitating, and I’ve come up with the invention that is going to win me the Nobel Prize for medicine: the Simpson Droplet Impermeability Membrane, or SDIM.

Here’s my thought: Obviously, a cloth mask only catches some droplets.  But you know what would catch ALL droplets? 

That’s right: a plastic bag.  

And before you can object, I know what you’re thinking, and I’m one step ahead of you. 

“Martino,” you were thinking, “your plastic bag idea is pure genius!  But once you pulled the bag over your head, couldn’t some droplets still escape from underneath the bag?”

Of course they could.  And that’s why deploying the SDIM consists of more than just putting a bag on someone’s head.  (If you just thought of a joke involving Ella Emhoff, I am very disappointed with you.)

No, the SDIM is a MSCTS (that’s right: a multi-stage, contagion-thwarting system).  Which is why the bag comes with a sturdy plastic zip-tie. 

The rest is obvious.  Unfold the plastic bag and pull it down over your head, tugging the bottom of it down around your neck.  Then cinch the zip tie firmly, just above your Adam’s apple, and lie back and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from the complete absence of deadly covid droplets.

A sensation of light-headedness and the graying of your vision tells you that it’s working!

I am so confident in the efficacy of the SDIM that I give you this guarantee: no one who uses the SDIM will ever die of covid, even though mendacious government bureaucrats will probably say they did.

Avenatti/Hacky Psaki, 2024!

Trying to Ignore the Inauguration, & not quite Succeeding (posted 1/25/21)

I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t watch a minute of live tv on inauguration day, because I knew what I would have seen if I’d watched.  A sickeningly obsequious media, a doddering old man slurring his way through a string of banalities projected in very large print on a teleprompter, and some of the worst people in North America elated by the triumph of a noxious ideology over the imperfectly realized but heartfelt ideals of our great nation. 

Though it felt more like a Lamentations kind of day, my thoughts actually went to the famous passage from Ecclesiastes (or, as Joey Gaffes calls it, “eckle-stopholeese. Sorry, expialidocious.  You know, you know the thing.  The one right before the Palms.”):

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

And for me, Wednesday was a time to mourn, and a time to cast away stones, and a time to vow to lick ‘em tomorrow.  Also a time to watch 8 hours of HGTV shows on the DVR, and to drink Scotch, and to mourn some more.

So when I woke up Thursday – mostly sober, with a yard full of stones, and knowing how to renovate a cramped and tired single-story into an open floorplan with a chef’s kitchen and a farmhouse sink – I cautiously dipped into a few podcasts and websites I trust, and got a glimpse of the tragicomic farce that was the inauguration of Joe Biden.  

I was sad to see that once again, so many violent conservatives raged out of control, showing grave disrespect for a new president’s inauguration.  Here are some excerpts from the Reuters story I read on Thursday:

“Black-clad activists among hundreds of demonstrators protesting Biden’s swearing-in clashed with police a few blocks from the White House, in an outburst of violence rare for an inauguration.  At least 217 people were arrested in the melees, police said.

The burst of civil disorder followed a fierce presidential campaign that left the country divided.  In the violence, knots of activists in black clothes and masks threw rocks and bottles at officers wearing riot gear, who responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades as a helicopter hovered low overhead.

At one flash point, a protester hurled an object through the passenger window of a police van, which sped away in reverse as demonstrators cheered.  Multiple vehicles were set on fire, including a black limousine. A knot of people dragged garbage cans into a street a few blocks from the White House and set them ablaze…”

Oh, I’m sorry.  Those were not actual quotes from a real Reuter’s story about Biden’s inauguration last week – they were actual quotes from a real Reuter’s story about Trump’s inauguration 4 years ago.  (The only edit I made was changing Trump’s name to “Biden” in the first sentence.)

Thanks to the MSM’s egregious bias, I’d forgotten that that even happened.  This January 6th is a day that will go down in infamy because of the Democrat-lite violent actions of a few hundred bonehead Trump supporters, but there will be no comment on millions of leftists looting and rioting for 6 months all across the country. 

Don’t forget it: in the very first hours of the Trump presidency, violent leftist thugs were already committing assaults, arson and property damage, and hundreds had to be arrested. 

But some goofball wearing Viking horns broke into a government building, so we had to have a grim, militarized inauguration in the middle of a mostly empty capitol.

That being said, the mood was just about appropriate to the sadness of what was happening.  Though the MSM lickspittles declared that there were no cheering crowds only because of covid, does anybody really believe that? 

Or is the more logical explanation that NO ONE is enthusiastic about Joe Biden, and he couldn’t draw a crowd to save his life?  (Which explains why all summer, when leftists were turning out by the tens of thousands for daily “We hate America!” riots and “Criminals are our heroes!” rages, Biden was talking to dozens of misfits and misanthropes in a series of strip mall parking lots, and being continually startled when they honked their horns each time he made it through a paragraph without collapsing.)

There were barricades, and empty streets, and some terrible slam poetry. 

And by the way, you can track America’s decline through the quality of poetry associated with presidents.  Walt Whitman wrote four poems about the death of Lincoln (among them “O Captain, My Captain” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”) that are still worth reading today. 

Gifted poet Robert Frost read his poem, “The Gift Outright” at JFK’s inauguration. 

Over 30 years later, mediocre poet (at best) Maya Angelou wrote a mediocre piece for Bill Clinton’s inauguration.  It is justifiably forgotten now, but I remember banal repetitions of “a rock, a river, and a tree.”  Poetry interpretation is subjective, but my take was that Slick Willie liked to take his interns to picnic at a river, where he was hard as a rock and they ended up climbing a tree to get away from him. 

But I’m more of a prose guy, so that might be way off.

Anyway, Biden’s inaugural poem was delivered by an unknown young woman, and of course the media is now swooning over her, and she’ll probably get rich and famous over this “poem.”

But, to paraphrase a line attributed to Dorothy Parker, this isn’t a poem to be set aside lightly.  It should be thrown with great force.

Here are three consecutive lines from the poem, chosen at random:

“We’ve braved the belly of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.

And the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice.

And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it.”

Off the top of my head: “the belly of the beast” is a tired cliché; “beast” and “peace” don’t rhyme; “just is” and “justice” don’t rhyme; the third line changes verb tense in a way that doesn’t make sense.  (By the way, my last sentence rhymed better than anything in this terrible poem.)  Also, there is no referent for the “it” in the last line – what can that line possibly mean? 

On the other hand, “knew it” and “do it” at least rhyme, even if they are stupid.

Good lord!  At the rate we’re going, if Comma-la manages to get re-elected in 2024, her inaugural poem is going to start with, “There once was a man from Nantucket.”

I know that some of you are probably thinking, “Sure, Martin, you may be a hilarious genius, an amazing father and husband, and a role model for us all, not to mention a fine figure of a man.  But you’re no poet, and you probably couldn’t do any better.” 

To which I say, hold my Scotch and stand back, as I compose a poem – live, right now, this very minute — that is more fitting for the inauguration of Joe Biden than the actual putrid poem above: 

Ode to Joe

C’mon man, he’s got a plan.

Look fat–  don’t question that.

You know, the thing,

Ring a ding ding.

He defeated Corn Pop

Zippity boop bop.

Don’t give him a quiz:

he don’t know where he is.

Stay in your lanes

Or he’ll put y’all back in chains.

Even Frank Luntz

Knows he’s a dunce.

Boom!  Admit it: you feel pretty foolish right now for doubting me.  Because that poem has all the hallmarks of deathless verse: the lines all rhyme, it works on multiple levels, and it contains a subtle allusion to Frank Luntz. 

Where was I?  Oh yeah, our long national nightmare, just getting started.

Two more details struck me about inauguration day:

Remember when Tucker Carlson mispronounced Comma-la’s name, and a thousand leftist dimwits assailed him as racist for making such a heinous mistake? 

Imagine my amusement when I heard the audio of our most mediocre Supreme Court justice — Sotomayor — swearing in that fake-laughing goon as VP.  Because you guessed it: she pronounced “Kamala” incorrectly, the same way Tucker did.

Who would have guessed that such a wise Latina woman would turn out to be such a vicious, horrible racist?  I say we move to impeach immediately.

Finally, in a move that I’m afraid sets the table for much more of the same to come, a few hours after Joey Gaffes signed an executive order mandating that everyone wear a mask on federal land, he went to the Lincoln Memorial.  Which is on federal land. 

And what was Joey wearing?  No, not a vacant expression.

Well, yes.  That’s his look.

 But let me rephrase that: What was he NOT wearing?  If you guessed “pants,” you probably had a 50/50 chance of being right.  But in this case, it was a mask.

When a reporter called out, “Where’s your mask?” Biden leapt and spun around, startled, and said, “Who are you?  Where am I?”  When he noticed the statue of Lincoln out of the corner of his eye, he leapt in the opposite direction, and said, “Who is that?!  And why is he so huge?  Oh no!  Am I shrinking?!”

When an aide explained that he was not shrinking, and that the giant statue was of Lincoln — and then that it wasn’t a statue of Lincoln, Nebraska, but of Abraham Lincoln — Biden visibly calmed down.

Until a reporter called out, “You just made it illegal to be on federal land without a mask.  But you’re on federal land, and you don’t have a mask.”

Biden once again leapt in fright, and said, “Where am I?  What?  Who are you?”

The reporter said, “I’m a reporter, and you’re breaking the law by not wearing a mask.”

And Biden raised his hands and felt his wrinkly, unmasked face, and shouted, “Ahhh!  Arrest me!”

Then Dr. Jill took him by the hand, and pulled him toward the stairs.  “Let’s go home.  You need to get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be ready to get up tomorrow and start wrecking the country.”

And, scene.

Look on the bright side, people: we’ve survived 5 days.   Only 3 years and 360 days more.

Avenatti/Hunter Biden 2024!

Some basic psychology, and some words from U.S. Grant (posted 1/18/21)

You may remember that a while ago, I wrote a column about trying to maintain an internal locus of control, rather than an external one. 

For those of you who are new to this site – and if so, Welcome to a civil port in what looks to be a brutal, oncoming political storm! – those are old psychology terms that refer to whether you see most of what will ultimately shape your life as more within your control (hence an “internal locus”) or beyond your control (i.e. “external locus”). 

Obviously, all of us face some factors that are beyond our control, from genes and levels of family function or dysfunction to national and international events.  But all of us have a huge amount of control over our lives, through the choices that we make. 

Choose a life partner poorly and you will likely end up thrice-divorced, bitter and broke.  Or even worse, locked in a loveless marriage with some joyless harpie like a certain former first lady I could mention (CAW CAW!), or with a faithless, intern-chasing horndog who deserves her. 

Manage your money wisely – live beneath your means, delay gratification, save money for retirement consistently, etc. – and you are much less likely to need to rely on the promises of feckless politicians to support you.

As I argued in my earlier column, we’d all be better off if we focused on what we can control in our lives, rather than on what we can’t.   In addition to this attitude being more psychologically healthy, I’d argue that it’s also inextricably intertwined with a conservative world view.

Dozens of conservative sayings and attitudes tout the value of self-reliance (even as we all know that complete self-reliance is an unreachable ideal) and controlling the control-ables: “You’re never too poor to clean up your yard.” “Tend your own garden.” “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”  “Pray like everything relies on God, but work like everything relies on you.” 

Leftists, on the other hand, are grand wizards (and if the hood fits, wear it!) at conjuring up external loci of control.  The system is corrupt.  The patriarchy won’t let women rise.  America is inherently racist, sexist and homophobic.  I’m poor because some rich guy stole the money that I never had from me… somehow.  The little man can’t get ahead.  

Though I hate to slander the Three Stooges with this comparison, the motto of the Democrat leadership of the country for my entire lifetime comes straight from Curly (without the comedic value): “I’m a victim of soy-cumstance!”

I think I can probably speak for most of CO nation when I say that we’ve been mostly happy warriors, opposing leftist encroachments and policies, cheering conservative policies no matter where they come from, and tending our own gardens.  We don’t lose sleep thinking of schemes to impose our wills on leftist Americans who disagree with us.  We’d rather not know what they’re up to in the bedroom, or anywhere else.  We don’t want to listen to their “music,” and after the last several years, we don’t want to watch their movies or tv shows either.  And if they want to lecture us during sporting events or award shows, we’ve learned to do without those, too.

We just want to be left alone.   

That resolve will surely be tested in the coming months, as an arrogant, hateful, power-hungry left takes control in DC, and does everything it can to extend that control over as much of the lives of the American people as it possibly can. 

The most disheartening thing about this perfect storm of an election season is that losing by such heartbreakingly close margins in a few states (especially the senate races in Georgia) has drastically increased the difficulty of escaping from the toxic leftism that these boneheads are going to be excreting in all directions.

Before November, it was devastating to be an Illinoisan or Californian or New Yorker, and to watch as bad leftist governance slowly destroyed your home state.  But when you had finally had enough, you could re-assert your internal locus of control, and vote with your feet and escape from the Pritzgers and Newsoms and Cuomos, as many millions of Americans have done.

But now, the threat is that if the Dems have their way, they will do to the rest of us what they’ve done to their hollowed-out home states.  They’ll bail out the greedy kleptocrats in Chicago, NYC and LA with the taxes of red states who’ve balanced their budgets.  They’ll forgive the loans of entitled unemployables who majored in grievance studies, while penalizing those who worked their way through school, or who skipped the beer pong tournaments and went straight to work.  They’ll reward those who came to the country illegally, and buy their votes with the confiscated earnings of those who have played by the rules.

Before you lose hope, though, remember what a bunch of incompetent dopes these people are.  They are not good at their jobs, their belief system is delusional, and the world is NOT going to conform itself to their plans.  Half of the country opposes them now, and after a year (or less) of their ham-fisted and ugly bullying, more people will.

They are sowing stupidity and dysfunction, and when the crop starts to come in, they will not enjoy the harvest.

For now, we’ve got to hunker down and ride this out, because it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  They have achieved some temporary success at censorship, and at slandering everyone who disagrees with them, but that cannot last.  We need to take care of ourselves and each other, and hang tough, and resist their plans without lowering ourselves to their level.

A lot of conservatives are pointing to the bitter political divisions that have revealed themselves in the last several years as evidence that we may be heading for another civil war.   While I can’t go that far, I have to admit that it’s not easy to see how an increasingly totalitarian and hostile left can ultimately co-exist with a “free speech, free minds, free markets” conservatism. 

However, I’m holding onto my optimism. (I admit that this is made easier for me because of my Christian faith, a belief that not all people of good will share, obviously.  But for me, knowing that there is an ultimate External Logos of Control [boom!] helps.)  Because when I find myself getting melodramatic about the threat caused by Joey Gaffes and his army of arschaffen, I like to remember the words of one of my favorite Republican presidents, U. S. Grant, at a darker moment than we now face.

The first day of the battle of Shiloh (in April of 1862) had been a miserable bloodbath, and among other horrors, Grant had witnessed a cannonball take off the head of an aide standing beside him, and both legs off of another soldier nearby.  That night, he and his troops sat in a drenching rain, listening to the screams of their fellow soldiers having limbs amputated in a nearby cabin.     

Sherman stopped to talk with the future president, saying, “Well Grant, we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?”

And like a bad-arse American cautious optimist, Grant replied, “Yes.  Lick ‘em tomorrow, though.”

Remember that, CO Nation!  While there’s a hard rain falling, and it feels like a cannonball has taken our legs out from under us – if not clean off! – we’ve been through worse. 

We defeated the Democrats and freed their slaves 160 years ago.  We’ve beaten national socialists in Germany and international socialists all over the world, and we’re going to outlast this motley collection of octogenarian socialists and racial arsonists and make-believe Indians (#wemustneverstopmockingher) and incompetent ex-bartenders.    

There’s no denying it: we’ve had the devil’s own election. 

Lick ‘em tomorrow, though.

I Stumble out of the Wreckage, Blinking in the Sunlight, and Check Myself for Broken Bones (posted 1/12/21)

Well, this was certainly some week, wasn’t it? 

I’ve honestly been thinking about you all, and wondering what I was going to write the next time I ventured back into the comforting embrace of CO nation.  As befitting the name of this beloved site, and my own basic nature, I’ve been in “let’s look on the bright side” mode for several months now – something that’s usually not hard for me at all, especially during the Christmas season.

But holy crap, what a devastating sequence of events!  I’ve been casting about for how to even start. 

Maybe with a hat tip to Dickens?  “It was the worst of times, and then even slightly worse times.  And then things somehow went steeply downhill from there.”

I can usually seek solace in Shakespeare.  “Now is the winter of our discontent … made immeasurably worse by this scrofulous pack of congenital liars, racial arsonists, and insufferable, America-hating d-bags…”     

Of course I would usually seek out the Palmist right now… but somehow I just know that as soon as I pick up my Bible, it’s going to open to either Job or Lamentations. 

Or maybe to one of the super-creepy passages in Revelation that foretell the coming of Imhotep Pelosi.  (“And then from within a cloud of stinging insects appeared a hideous harpie, not dead and yet not alive, with tiny red eyes staring from a lifeless, frozen face.  And she rode upon the back of an equally terrible creature, with legs like cedars and ankles like mighty oaks, the hooves of which shook the earth, and the sounds of a thousand crows emanating from her terrifying maw cried out, ‘At this point, what difference does it make? CAW CAW!”)

So, yeah.  2021 is off to a great start, and now I’m like the school kid who lost his thesaurus:  I can’t even begin to find the words to describe how devastated I am.

I know: lame joke.  But cut me some slack, people – I’m just trying to hold it together here.     

Actually, I did see a story that summed up the way I feel, twelve days into the new year.  It happened several weeks after the election, in Kansas.   I think the headline will give you the gist of it:  “A man in possession of methamphetamine was critically injured after falling while racing on his motorcycle, during which he accidentally shot himself.”

But it got even better.  Because the moment after he finished NOT sticking his landing, he was run over by a car.

I quote from the police report:  “While racing, the suspect lost control of his bike and wrecked. During the accident, a weapon in his waistband discharged, striking him in the hip, and he was also struck by another vehicle that fled the scene. He was transported to an area hospital in critical but non-life-threatening condition. A records check revealed him to be a felon, and a large bag of suspected methamphetamine was located in the motorcycle.”

The only way that man could know how I feel right now is if his firearm had discharged into his groin instead of his hip. 

So what can we learn from this, and what can we do now?  

I’ve got a few scattered thoughts, but nothing that feels super useful. 

The worst parts:

1.It’s going to be hard to escape from these leftist idiots.  Because they are totalitarians, they politicize every aspect of life, from sports to media to family life, and like some character out of Grimm’s fairy tales, they poison everything they touch.

When they just controlled blue states, fed-up normal people could a least flee them – and they’ve been doing so.  When the current census is done, NY and CA are likely to each lose at least one house seat and electoral college vote each, due to people voting with their feet.

That could be a healthy process: when a parasite kills its host, the parasite dies, the host fertilizes the land, and the cycle of life can begin again.  But in this case – to extend an unsavory metaphor – too many of the boneheads that infected their original blue states metastasized out into the surrounding states, and now once-healthy states are looking gangrenous. 

2. In the demolition derby of leftist moral offenses, a close second to their omnipresent, bone-deep dishonesty is their unconscionable fanning of the flames of racial hatred.  Nothing infuriates me more than seeing the unending slander against the least racist multi-ethnic nation in the history of the world that continually spews from their whiny pie-holes.

Of course they were at it again in the wake of the capitol riot.  It was bad enough that after 6 months of implicitly cheering on rioting, looting, vandalism, arson and violence from one end of our country to the other, those slimy hypocrites suddenly feigned outrage on 1/6.  (And though it doesn’t need to be said, of course we condemn the people who acted like JV Democrats on that day.  Would that the creeps on the other side could have found a way to express 1/1000th of that outrage when their thuggish co-religionists were destroying cities all over the place for months!)

But the racist leftists had to haul out their tired, inflammatory accusations, claiming that if the protestors had been black, they’d have been treated much worse.   As if we haven’t just watched millions of ethnically diverse rioters rampaging through a months’-long crimewave, with very few arrests.  In fact, politicians told police to stand down and let them riot, abandon their stations to be burned to the ground, let the rioters set up their own anarchist CHOP/CHAZ, and on and on.   

3. As much as I agree that Trump was his own worst enemy over the last month or so – as are we all, I guess – it’s particularly galling to see the MSM and Dems pull out the idea that because he “raised the temperature” through his reckless rhetoric, he is responsible for 1/6, as are the half of the country who supported Trump.  Because “everyone knew that this would happen.”

I agree that he did raise the temperature, and he shouldn’t have.  But remember when Obama slandered America and especially cops as terrible racists for months and years, and so was naturally blamed by the MSM when a black Obama supporter shot 5 cops in Dallas?  Because he raised the temperature too, and he had to expect that some of his supporters would take action against the cops whom he’d been demonizing, right?

The same way Bernie Sanders was morally responsible for the Bernie bro who went to the congressional softball game and shot Steve Scalise, almost killing him.  After all, Bernie had been demonizing conservatives for years, painting them as greedy exploiters waging class warfare on all the little people just like that loser shooter. 

That’s why Bernie is rotting in jail right now, and Obama was impeached and jailed too.

Oh no, wait.  That never happened.  Because leftists are never responsible for the passions they inflamed.  Only conservatives.  

Urhkkkggluckkk…

There, are you happy now?  You’ve got me choking on my own bile, you leftist hypocrites!

The “best” parts (and never have sarcastic/scare quotes been more justified):

1.The Dems are such horrific politicians that they are going to over-reach and alienate all but their hard-core base, and to the extent that we can have even fair-ish congressional elections in the future, they should be sailing into a serious repudiation in the mid-terms, a la Obama’s 56-seat House bloodbath in 2010.

Biden has one orthopedic shoe in the grave, and Comma La is a human toothache, and all of the faces of the national Democrat party look like the Elephant Man’s family reunion, morally speaking.   They are not going to wear well.

If they were even room-temperature smart, they could do much more damage by posing as unifiers and throwing a few, pitiful bones to the spineless GOP members who always seem happy for even the most meager of scraps.  Instead, they are so driven by their own malice that they can’t help themselves: they’re going to double-down on their frothing hatreds, and pursue their “enemies” (i.e. half of the country).  Anyone who is not a completely lost cause is going to be repelled by that.

2.  This too must pass.  (Unfortunately, it’s probably going to pass the way a kidney stone does.)  A wise man once said – and no, this time it wasn’t me – that if anything cannot continue, it won’t.  And this kind of leftist insanity cannot continue.  We’ll have a lot of suffering to do in the meantime, and it’s all so heartbreakingly unnecessary, but these dimwits are sowing the seeds of their own destruction.  I just wish they weren’t going to create suffering for so many innocent people along with them.

3. In the long run, if we discipline ourselves, we can let all of this pain motivate us.  We can use Trump’s virtues as a template, and his flaws as a warning.  At his worst, his undisciplined and self-defeating firing in all directions gave ammunition to his enemies, and alienated enough of the otherwise persuadable (if mushy and politically semi-informed) voters whom (in this fallen world) we need to keep elections from being close enough to steal. 

But when he was at his best, he was a cheerful warrior, taking the fight to the left, and he had the thickest of skin, and his many successes should be a lesson for the next generation of conservative pols.  There’s a reason why Trump got so much done, compared to a generation of mostly pale, timid RINOs since Reagan.  And there’s no reason why we can’t match or exceed those successes.

I hope that you all are slogging your way through what feels like the dark night of our political soul, and that we’ll be able to support each other, and keep fighting the good fight, even as we know that the next several rounds are going to be brutal.   

My next column, I promise, will be more upbeat. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to try to wrestle this wrecked motorcycle back up while not aggravating my gunshot wound.  Maybe I’ll take just a dusting of my meth stash, for pain management…

As a new year begins, I’m musing about history (posted 12/31/20)

I usually like to do a bunch of reading in the downtime around the holidays, and whenever current events seem especially troubling, I like to read history.  Partly because most tempestuous times in the past were a lot worse than our present, and partly because covering several centuries can give you a healthier perspective on the current crop of knaves and imbeciles threatening our peace of mind.      

So last week, as soon as I finished Frank Muller’s great reading of “A Christmas Carol,” I took up a book on the history of Rome in the last 150 years or so before the Republic fell, and the Empire started.  The book is Mike Duncan’s “The Storm Before the Storm,” and if you like history, I’d recommend it.

Roman history has always intrigued me, but I’ve mostly gotten into only the period starting shortly before Christ, when the Empire supplanted the republic, precipitating the long decline and apocalyptic fall.  From the aqueducts to the roads to the countless innovations in architecture and governance and war, the Romans are endlessly fascinating. 

They combined great cultural achievements with a depraved and cynical brutality that is hard to comprehend.  I always think of a moment from the Sopranos, when Tony and a couple of his henchmen are intimidating a Jewish business owner.  When the guy proves tougher than they’d expected, he gives them a little speech about how Jews have always had to be tough, and citing the example of when a bunch of them resisted to the death against a huge Roman force at Masada. 

He closes with defiance, saying, “The Romans?  Where are they now?”

Gandolfini delivers the line perfectly: “You’re looking at ‘em, a-hole.”  As much as “the Romans” bring to mind Cicero and Aurelius and the Colosseum, they also had more than a little of the mafia in them, and that scene always rings true to me.   

And when it comes to languages, Latin has to be on the medal stand.  English is God’s favorite language, obviously (I cite Shakespeare, the King James Bible, and the largest vocabulary of any known language by a factor of 5 or more), and German is my recent favorite.  But Latin made the Romans even cooler than they would have otherwise been. 

You can’t beat the personal names: Trajan.  Hadrian.  Tiberias.  (If I’d had five sons, right after Walter Payton Simpson and Antonin Scalia Simpson would have come Trajan, Hadrian and Tiberius Simpson.)  I also love the Roman practice of giving people honorific names based on battles they won or peoples they conquered.  So when your average Scipio kicks some arse in Africa, he comes back as Scipio Africanus.    

Even thousands of years later, the title “Caesar” is so cool that the Germans Germanized it into Kaiser, and the Russians Russified it into Czar.  Plus July and August are named after two Caesars, which had to heady stuff for them. 

If I had a month named after me, I’d be working that into conversations every chance I got.  I’d be saying things like, “I can’t wait for the month of Mart this year.”  And people would be like, “Do you mean ‘March’?”

And I’d say, “No. It used to be March.  But since I whipped Hannibal, or the Gauls, or whoever, it got changed to ‘Mart.”  I would be even more insufferable than I already am.   “I hope you guys enjoy Black History Month, because after that, it’s the month of Mart.  If the Trump vaccine is as powerful as we hope, we’ll be playing Mart Madness again before you know it.  And I guess I don’t have to tell you to beware the Ides of Mart.”

Anyway, in the two centuries since Gibbon wrote his influential The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, it’s been an intellectual parlor game for people to look for parallels between the course of that great empire, and every empire after it.   As I read “The Storm Before the Storm,” I couldn’t help doing the same.  After this painful year of sleazy, dishonest leftists and an unexpectedly inspiring yet tragically flawed leader (call him Trumpicus), one sequence of events jumped out at me. 

Around 90 BC, after decades of wars against various foreign enemies, Rome faced what was later called the Social War, named after a word in Latin meaning “allies.”   We usually think of the Romans as synonymous with Italians, but that was not the case.  As a powerful and prestigious capital, Rome was all-powerful, and Roman citizens looked down on the rubes and deplorables living in the rest of Italy as hicks and nobodies; if they’d had airplanes, they’d have called most of the peninsula “fly-over country.” 

Over many decades, pampered, entitled Roman elitists – think of the Swamp – had been dangling the prospect of Roman citizenship over the Italians. They used them as conscripts to fight wars, taxed them to support the capital’s appetites, and flattered and manipulated them when it was time for elections, before pulling the rug out from under them and tossing them aside after every election or crisis.

They even had Philly-style election fraud.  One faction would temporarily banish the other factions’ voting base from the city during an election, they would cancel elections at the last minute, and more than once, when an election was going against one group, they’d rush in and smash the giant urns that held the ballots.

After one betrayal too many, the deplorable Italian tribes finally rose up against the arrogant elites from inside the Roman “beltway,” and the result was the “social war.”  (Is it a coincidence that “social war” and “culture war” are essentially synonyms?  Nope.)  In the short run, the powerful elites won a ruinous, Pyrrhic victory, which resulted in a lot of dead on both sides, a season of famine, and social and financial instability that led to continual power struggles, until the Republic finally succumbed, and slid into a tyrannical quasi-dictatorship.  The Italians did gain long-promised Roman citizenship within a decade or so, but the loss of the republic spelled eventual doom.

You can read too much into historical parallels.  The Romans lasted nearly a millennium, and we’re still in our awkward adolescence.   They were also a lot more brutal than us; every round of palace intrigue and every political power play ended with the losers being murdered and their bodies dumped in the Tiber.  

If we can thwart AOC and Grandma Squanto, they’re not going to end up floating down the Potomac without their empty heads.  They won’t even have to go back to bartending or sleeping in a tepee in the backyard (#wemustneverstopmockingher) – they’ll just go on the View and give paid speeches to gullible leftists.  

Supposedly it was Mark Twain who said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.  Reading that book over the last week or so, I heard a lot of echoes of the late Republic in our current dilemma.   It feels like our elites — in DC and on both coasts – have been waging an escalating social war on us for years, and now they’ve monkeyed with the ballot urns.

But I don’t think that we’re doomed to Rome’s fate, and I’m not giving up.   It seems like the country has edged up toward the Rubicon this year, but we haven’t crossed it.   Our opponents in the social war are powerful because they have few scruples, but they are not smart, and they are not competent.  They’re a lot closer to Nero and Caligula than Marius or Sulla or the Caesars.      

That’s not a completely happy thought.   But they’re led by avaricious and arrogant dopes, and they have no idea how much they don’t know.  If we can hang on and thwart their worst policies, I think they’ll be fighting viciously amongst themselves within a few months. 

We’ve survived worse than Biden Cornpopicus, and we’ll do so again.

Here’s to 2021 being a better year, and to keeping our Republic!