18 October 2020
There’s a new anti-Trump song by Demi Lovato (no, me neither). Even if it’s not your sort of music, it’s worth a listen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9Y-lS1trhw (just over 3 minutes).
It’s called ‘Commander in Chief’ and is lip-synced by ‘ordinary’ Americans until Lovato herself appears about a minute before the end. If you really can’t face listening to it, just read the cleverly rhymed lyrics at https://genius.com/Demi-lovato-commander-in-chief-lyrics although, even if you’re listening to it, it’s easier to understand the rhythms with the lyrics onscreen beside the picture. It ends with the lines:
Commander in Chief, how does it feel
to still be able to breathe, breathe? *
Buy the song, buy it lots of times, tell your American friends, get it to number 1 in the Billboard charts in the week before the election so it’s played everywhere.
But aren’t we lucky that Trump’s Covid-19 is cured. He tweeted last Sunday “A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it” and he’s since said he’s tested negative. Total rubbish of course but remember that “What I tell you three times is true”. Mind you, they didn’t find the Snark and nor did the White House doctors release details of his lung scans to prove his claims.
Next week, the White House refuses to deny Trump’s claims he can fly just by flapping his tiny little hands?
Talking of flying, in 2017 the New York Times revealed the existence of a partly-classified government programme, originally the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program and now the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, which is buried deep in the Office of Naval Intelligence in the Pentagon and investigates reports of UFOs. This didn’t make any front pages at the time but James Fox, a dedicated UFOlogist, has made a documentary called ‘The Phenomenon’ which is now available for digital download.
UFO documentaries are a very mixed bag and include a lot of poorly shot clips that are no more convincing for being repeated. This one claims to be a comprehensive history of “some of the best-known and puzzling UFO incidents worldwide” (though Fox predominantly focuses on the United States). Enjoy.
The thought of unexplained phenomena leads me inevitably to think of Amy Coney Barrett who, according to a Notre Dame transcript of her diploma ceremony address for the Notre Dame Law School class of 2006, suggested all students should become “a different kind of lawyer [which means] you will always keep in mind that your legal career is but a means to an end, and … that end is building the kingdom of God.”
This could help to give a context to her rather guarded commitment to abiding by the law when she said she felt bound by the Constitution but implied everything else since decided by the courts since then (except presumably the Amendments to the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions that have become ‘super-precedents’ which have become so well accepted that they’re unlikely to be over-ruled) deal with things not imagined when James Madison produced the substantive draft that was ratified in 1788 and are therefore ‘lite’ precedents that can be overturned at any time.
Barrett has specifically said she doesn’t consider Roe v Wade (the act legalising abortion) to be a super-precedent and she’s worked for the Alliance Defending Freedom, America’s largest anti-LGBTQ legal organisation. She hasn’t been specific about her position on the second amendment which refers to the right to keep and bear arms in the interests of “a well-regulated militia … necessary to the security of a free State” and not “to carry guns to shoot rattlesnakes or people you don’t like, or to compensate for having a very small penis”. A bit like cars – you very rarely see a far-right redneck driving a Citroen 2CV.
Over here, Priti Patel’s department is considering defending Britain from all those horrid migrants by using beautiful great
walls nets between us and France to drown them by fouling the propellors of their overloaded boats or to drown them with water-cannon or, failing all else, to capture them and confine them in beautiful great Guantanamo detention centres on disused oilrigs or Ascension Island or anywhere else (St Kilda anyone?).
And they’re expelling people already established here. Having treated many coronavirus patients during the pandemic, Dr Basem Enany, 44, a consultant cardiologist who came here from Egypt, contracted the virus himself and is on a ventilator in an intensive care unit in Yorkshire while his family are facing deportation. Priti, I love you not.
The government has divided England into three ‘tiers’ (a word presumably chosen for its ability to allow homophone jokes) in the face of expert medical advice to close the entire country down again to allow an ‘air gap’ to limit cross-infections. Boris Johnson was basically faced with a choice between more businesses going bust during a lockdown and more people dying while we stay open, whether to choose money or people’s lives, and obviously, as leader of the party that grew from business-owning roots, he chose money. The only heartening thing is how many of his own party think he’s wrong to do this.
Johnson is also super-confident about getting a ‘Canada style’ Brexit although I have yet to hear how the fishing problem fits into this, probably because I know nothing about what agreement the EU has with Canada over who can fish where.
To distract our attention from all this, the Queen has undertaken her first public engagement since March but failed to wear a mask. I can actually understand that HMQ knows people like to see her but the uncovered faces of her husband and their protection officers need an explanation, particularly since they were visiting Porton Down. Somebody somewhere has a very sick sense of humour because all most of us know about Porton Down is it’s where they develop nerve agents and other poisons that eat a cocktail of coronavirus and novichok for breakfast every day to give them an appetite.
This week’s accolade is shared. One recipient is obviously Jacinda Ardern who was re-elected with an absolute majority but is still considering forming a coalition government. Her popularity is attributed to her decisive handling of the pandemic and her outstanding humanity: New Zealand shut its borders in mid-March and Ardern asked New Zealanders to “be kind” to one another. “Check on your neighbours,” she said. “Call your grandma.”
The Guardian reported that she’d been congratulated by “Leaders around the world – from Boris Johnson to the Dalai Lama”, thereby providing a superb new example of ‘from the ridiculous to the sublime”.
Jacinda, I love you.
The other recipient is Savannah Guthrie, a co-host of NBC’s Today morning show, who repeatedly got the better of Donald Trump while she was interviewing him during the not-debate between Trump and Joe Biden. My favourite bit was when she asked him why he’d shared a wholly inaccurate QAnon tweet earlier this week which claimed Biden had had a navy Seal team killed.
“That was a retweet! People can decide for themselves!” Trump said.
Guthrie responded: “I don’t get that. You’re the president, not someone’s crazy uncle.”
Following the show, Mary Trump, the president’s niece, tweeted (and I quote the entire thing):
What a wonderful response.
Mary, I love you too.
* Doesn’t this sound like a paraphrase of Bob Dylan’s “You’re an idiot, babe, it’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe”?