The theme of wishes denied seems apt for Trump these days. The former President keeps railing against the 2020 election results, falsely claiming Joe Biden’s victory was fraudulent. On Wednesday, he broke new ground by saying Republicans won’t vote in 2022 and 2024 if “we don’t solve the presidential election fraud of 2020…It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”
Another thing Trump wants is executive privilege — to quash fact-finding by the House select committee on the January 6 insurrection. He can’t have that either, according to Norman Eisen and Dennis Aftergut. “Trump is no longer ‘the President.’ In the United States we still only have one of those at a time — and President Joe Biden has not asserted privilege here. On the contrary, the Biden administration has cooperated with Congress, waiving privilege so far when it comes to witnesses and documents alike.” Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon also wants to be shielded by executive privilege.
Take a sad song and make it better
Trump’s team has been known to play “Hey Jude” at some rallies too. But the more disturbing thing at last weekend’s rally in Iowa wasn’t the music, according to Dean Obeidallah.
It was the fealty that elected Republican officials, including some who denounced the election fraud narrative at first, showed to Trump. The rally “was attended by longtime Iowa US Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson, and other mainstream Republican officials. Some of these very same people, who just nine months ago were slamming Trump for his role in the Capitol riots, were now only too happy to be seen supporting him. This is politics at its worst — and at its most dangerous for our democracy.”
School board chaos
Now that in-person schooling is back in a big way, wrote Jennifer Wolfe, New York State’s teacher of the year, “students put on their masks and come to school — so happy to be together again…it is the adults who are having trouble dealing with the changes in our world. Their fear gets in the way of learning the facts, of discussing openly and listening closely…”
“This translates into public bullying of parents who want to protect their children from Covid-19. In Los Angeles, anti-vaccine mandate protesters harassed parents at school drop-off. They claimed that masking is child abuse and subjecting children to vaccines a form of ‘rape.'”
Jon Gruden, former head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, stepped down after emails surfaced showing his use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic language. “I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone,” he said in a statement.
“But Gruden’s resignation doesn’t settle the NFL’s larger issues with race,” wrote Peniel E. Joseph.
Shatner in space
Sending into space Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, in the form of 90-year-old William Shatner, was a bit of a publicity stunt by Jeff Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin, wrote Don Lincoln, a physicist and fan of the show.
It’s been 60 years since the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the German official responsible for carrying out “the systematic rounding up and deportation of millions of Jews and others to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps,” Elie Honig noted. “Eichmann’s dry, technical title — translated roughly as the chief Nazi ‘logistics coordinator’ — conveyed his mechanical approach to his work but belied the horror of it all.”
The world watched as he sat in a glass booth in a Jerusalem courtroom, after an Israeli manhunt had spirited him out of Argentina to face justice. Eichmann was convicted and executed.
‘Pass the damn bills’
President Joe Biden’s skill as a deal-maker is being put to its biggest test. Can he bring progressives and moderates in the Democrat-controlled Congress together to pass bills on infrastructure and social programs that will cost trillions of dollars? Like his predecessors, Biden is facing the likelihood of big losses in the midterm elections next year — in addition to the continuing challenge posed by Trump’s election lies.
Paul Begala wrote that Democrats have no reasonable choice except to unite. “The Biden agenda would help lift millions out of poverty. It would help make human life on earth more sustainable by combating carbon pollution.”
“Texas has long fancied itself the land of the free, a Wild West of wide-open spaces, good BBQ and libertarianism,” wrote Jill Filipovic. “It’s also the land of shameful hypocrisy.”
The good news is that in most of the US, vaccine mandates are working, and two-thirds of American adults are already fully vaccinated.
In an email to employees, Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos came to the defense of Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, but that didn’t quell the controversy over “The Closer.”
Clay Cane notes that show, “which ostensibly takes on cancel culture,” has drawn criticism from the LGBTQ community. “Chappelle implies ‘that community’ is too sensitive and quickly shouts ‘cancel culture’ at his critics,” Cane observed.
“Let’s be clear, he’s not canceled: Chappelle’s shows sell out, he lands major deals with streaming services and was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2019. Just because Chappelle is criticized on social media and the subject of think pieces doesn’t mean he’s been canceled.”
When Daniel Craig became the new James Bond in 2006, Holly Thomas noted there were hopes for a big change in the long-running movie franchise. Indeed, Craig has “proven himself a far more multidimensional James Bond than we’d ever seen — acknowledging in his performance the obvious misery and screwed-up detachment of a man who kills for a living, drinks vodka like water and treats women as disposable bait. But in many ways, even with Craig on board, the franchise as it existed up to 2015’s ‘Spectre’ hadn’t moved that far beyond its tired misogynist roots.”
“Female characters largely came, took their clothes off and went, and Craig’s Bond continued to execute death-defying stunts (as well as countless faceless henchmen) with little concern for life or limb — including his own.”
You can’t always get what you want.