Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Kellyanne Conway Can't Even Sit on a Couch the Right Way




I don't think I've ever seen an adult sit on a sofa like this, and I don't have much to add, other than, yes, I believe she had her shoes on at the time the photo was taken. Here's another angle:






Do these people have respect for decorum and the office of the president? No, of course not. They're just doing whatever they want, and they don't care about anything. The Trump Regime is a fiasco.













Monday, February 27, 2017

No Significant Intelligence Gathered in Yemen Raid




You couldn't have predicted this, now could you?

Last month's deadly commando raid in Yemen, which cost the lives of a U.S. Navy SEAL and a number of children, has so far yielded no significant intelligence, U.S. officials told NBC News. 

Although Pentagon officials have said the raid produced "actionable intelligence," senior officials who spoke to NBC News said they were unaware of any, even as the father of the dead SEAL questioned the premise of the raid in an interview with the Miami Herald published Sunday. 

"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn't even barely a week into [President Trump's] administration?" Bill Owens, whose youngest son Ryan was killed during the raid, said. "For two years prior ... everything was missiles and drones (in Yemen)....Now all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?"

You have two things going on here. One, a Navy SEAL lost his life because a disinterested third party--in this case, the President of the United States--waved at some guys holding papers and said, in effect, "yeah, go ahead and carry out your raid." Two, there are so many people leaking information to the press that there is, in effect, nothing "secret" anymore. Classified information is no longer in existence because we have numerous officials so terrified of how bad the Trump Regime is governing this country that they cannot help themselves but leak sensitive material. It's the most remarkable thing I've seen in my entire life. 

You have the Republicans, and they faux pro-military bullshit, literally being set on fire before the eyes of the American people. They've been lying about what happened since the minute it hit the press. Do they care about the truth? Do they care about making sure no one else has to die in an ill-conceived mission? Do they care about veterans or the military or safety or security? 

No. 

They care about tax cuts for the rich, screwing everyone else, and covering Donald Trump's bountiful ass with a circus tent.

So, what's left? Well, if we had any kind of competent oversight of the Executive Branch, Congress would already be scheduling hearings into what happened on this mission. Given the entire precedent of the attack in Benghazi, I would say that both the House and the Senate should be ready to spend millions of dollars and several years getting to the bottom of why Donald Trump gave the go-ahead for a poorly planned mission that resulted in no intelligence gathering and the loss of one life.

The problem with that is, the Republicans are all hypocrites and won't touch this with a ten foot pole.













Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Democrats Are United




The Democratic Party picked former Labor Secretary Tom Perez to be the head of the Democratic National Committee today. Perez immediately made Representative Keith Ellison his number two because that's the most badassed move you could make:

The former labor secretary Tom Perez is the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) after a fiercely fought four-month campaign. 

His victory in Atlanta on Saturday saw him make history as the first Latino to lead the party but left progressives who backed his main opponent, US representative Keith Ellison, disappointed. 

Perez won the chairmanship on a second ballot, after missing out by just one vote in the first round of voting. 

The threshold for victory in the second round was 218 votes, out of 435 voters. Perez gained 235 to 200 for Ellison. After announcing the result, acting chair Donna Brazile presented the gavel to Perez. He presented a motion to name Ellison as deputy chair, which passed unopposed.

This unifies the Democratic Party. This makes the Hillary Clinton wing and the Bernie Sanders wing a united force for good in the world. Never mind what you think of either candidate or what happened in 2016--it's time to come together and go fight evil.













There's a Special Place in Hell For Ed Schultz




I thought I was done with Ed Schultz years ago. Apparently, he's now fully in the tank for Vladimir Putin. He's betrayed everyone and everything he used to stand for, up to and including what should be a no-brainer--Donald Trump is no friend of the working class in America.

What a shitbag:

It wasn’t entirely surprising that the former progressive talk radio host and MSNBC personality agreed to speak at annual conservative conference this year. Once a self-styled “prairie populist,” he signed on last January with RT America, where he anchors the nightly news for the state-run Russian network. He’s changed his tone on President Vladimir Putin, whom he used to deride as “Putie.” “Schultz, who once said on MSNBC that Putin is ‘crippling’ his country, now has a Russo-friendly, or perhaps American-skeptical, viewpoint on any number of issues,” The Washington Post reported in December.

Schultz has done an about-face on Trump, too. After calling him a racistand ridiculing his presidential ambitions in 2011, he praised Trump’s political skills during the campaign and downplayed Russia’s role in his election. Still, none of that quite compares to the praise Schultz heaped on the president on Thursday, talking with reporters on CPAC’s radio row. “I think he’s pragmatic, and I think he wants to win—he wants to win for the little guy,” Schultz said.

Schultz predicted Trump “will go with the people” on healthcare, speculating that the president might slow Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and criticized Democrats’ opposition strategy. “They ought to be focused on saving healthcare,” Schultz said. “They ought to be focused on making sure we don’t privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. That’s where the Democrats ought to be. Instead, they’re chasing down scandals or they’re making them up. I’m just—I’m a little disappointed in them right now.”

Rather, Democrats are probably disappointed in Schultz. He used to be a warrior for the working class—cable’s biggest critic of union-busting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who also spoke at CPAC on Thursday. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews even once told Schultz he should run the AFL-CIO. But like a disconcerting number of white-working class Democrats, Schultz found common cause with Trump after supporting Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primaries.

Anyone who puts Schultz on the air after these acts of treason against the American people and working people is riding a wave of foolishness. These are not the actions of a progressive. They're the work of someone looking for a bigger and bigger payday. How are you going to eat when you have no soul? The biggest thing you can say about Schultz is that he knows who is buttering his bread, and it isn't the American worker.

I never had a problem with him taking money from American unions. I did have a problem with him being a raving hypocrite as far as not supporting efforts to unionize workers at MSNBC and NBC. Now he stands poised to join with the Trump Regime in "normalizing" all things Russian, Trumpian, and evil. Fuck him and fuck what's left of his popular support.













Friday, February 24, 2017

Stupid Republicans Wave Russian Flags at CPAC




Someone is out there doing the Lord's work:

Two men made trouble—and stirred up a social-media frenzy—on the third day of the Conservative Political Action Conference by conducting a literal false-flag operation.

Jason Charter, 22, and Ryan Clayton, 36, passed out roughly 1,000 red, white, and blue flags, each bearing a gold-emblazoned “TRUMP” in the center, to an auditorium full of attendees waiting for President Trump to address the conference. Audience members waved the pennants—and took pictures with them—until CPAC staffers realized the trick: They were Russian flags.

Republicans are the stupidest fucking people on the planet, and know nothing about Russia, other than they like it if it drives Democrats crazy.













Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lock Him Up




I don't want to hear anyone say anything about Hillary Clinton being corrupt ever again:

The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

White House officials had sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts, the officials said. The reports of the contacts were first published by The New York Times and CNN on February 14.

The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations.

So if there were no communications, why ask the FBI to back off? If there was not contact between Trump's staff and Russia, why ask the FBI to get involved in helping to cover up a criminal act and an act of treason against the United States? Comey is clearing covering his ass because more shoes are about to drop. It's like someone is levitating a Famous Footwear over the White House.

Imagine, if you will, that Hillary is now sitting in the White House. Her staff calls James Comey and says, "let's knock it off with the investigations, okay?"

Republicans would be screaming holy hell on top of bloody murder into every microphone thrust in front of them. There would be a dozen committees holding hearings right this very moment. If this isn't enough proof that Trump and his regime are corrupt, what the hell is enough proof? Why the double standard? Why the hypocrisy?

Lock. Him. Up.








Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Intolerant Monsters Running America




Well, they got what they wanted. A senseless act that does nothing but encourage discrimination is exactly what they wanted. Anything to get people to stop talking about Russian mob ties.

The Trump Regime wanted to find someone to hate so they have now moved on to transgender students trying to get through school.

Anyone who has ever gone through K-12 education in America knows it is a breeze if you are straight, white, and wealthy. If you are anything else, forget about getting through it without days and days of pain and suffering for kids trying to find a place in this world. If you're a transgender student, you might as well expect that your life is going to be difficult and challenging. And while we can attack the problems of bullying and stereotyping and discriminating, it's enormously difficult to change what is in the hearts of people who want to express hate and intolerance towards people who are the same as all of us but different.

The Trump Regime decided to strip away rights today. They went after dignity. They went right to intolerance and hate:

The Trump administration issued a new letter on Wednesday: The federal government will no longer stand behind Obama-era guidelines requiring schools to accommodate transgender students based on their gender identity. The new administration is withdrawing two letters, written in 2015 and 2016, in order to “further and more completely consider the legal issues involved.” The Departments of Justice and Education believe “there must be due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy,” it said.

The letter signals how the Trump administration will handle cases of perceived discrimination against transgender students. Toward the end of the letter, the administration notes that “all schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.” The primary disagreement is about where those protections come from: While the Obama administration believed existing civil-rights laws specifically cover transgender students, the Trump administration argues that this interpretation was not based on “extensive legal analysis” and did not undergo any formal public-review process.

This decision to reverse course on transgender rights could have consequences for a number of pending court cases. But most importantly, the letter suggests that the federal government will step back from this fight altogether, leaving it to the states to decide.

Taking away the full weight and force of the Federal government behind providing for transgender people is a cheap stunt to appease the hateful base of the Republican Party. It is a cowardly move designed to check another box that this so-called "president" can recite for adoring crowds. It does not help a single American. It does not put anyone back to work. It does not fix a single thing in this country that needs fixing. It does not make us a better people. It does not give us the ability to be proud of working through our differences and our concerns. It does not provide anything useful for Americans anywhere. It does not give freedom to those who have been oppressed. It rewards small people for their small hearts and their small ideas.

Certain states will do the right thing. Many more will do the wrong thing and force Americans to confront what it is that they don't understand. A moment of human dignity--the ability to use the fucking bathroom--is all that was granted when the Obama Administration granted those rights decades and decades too late for an enlightened people. It forced some schools to rearrange the fucking signs on some fucking bathrooms and accommodate people. So what?

This is not what America is about. You don't take away rights. You look for ways to give people as many rights as you can and you look for a way to correct injustices wherever they are. The American people should have one unassailable principle--we will always try to do better. This does worse. This does evil. This is the work of monsters who are doing the bidding of small, small people.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bill Maher Normalized Hate This Week




If you thought they were never going to get around to handing Milo Yianoppoulos the same anvil they handed to all of the other prominent "alt right" fanatics, you would not be alone. As we watch this demented little sleaze sink beneath the waves, screaming for one last moment of shrill, ill-conceived glory, let's turn our attention to the man who normalized him this past week.

I am not a Bill Maher fan, and that goes back decades. His presence on the media landscape is baffling--he has nutty, anti-science ideas and more contempt for the left than he has for the right. He criticizes the right people at the right time--say, when they're down or going down or about to go down, and follows conventional wisdom like a dog follows a bone. But he's not an original thinker. 

Is he a George Carlin? Is he a Chris Rock? Is he even a Gallagher? No, he's not even that guy with the puppets that your grandma loves to go see when she makes it to Branson.

But who is, anyway? Well, you'd think a guy who's had his own show this long would be capable of being entertaining enough to justify watching, but he just isn't worth the effort. He has some great writers, but that's about all you can say. He curses at the right times and steps on other peoples' jokes and can't stand being out of the picture so he makes sure they put guests on either side of him. Hey, if you're into that, I have no complaint with your choices.

This past week, Bill Maher normalized a known purveyor of the worst kind of racist hate imaginable. He normalized this twisted, mentally sick young man for the sole purpose of being able to punch a few hippies. Somewhere, someone said, "you know Bill, you've really been sticking it to the Republicans and Trump lately (they're not the same) and it's probably time to punch a few hippies."

Someone is going to deep-six that footage, and quick. The last time anyone got that comfy with a pedophile apologist like that, we ended up with a new Pope. Hi-yo!

So they put Milo on his show. Maher sat down with him and made common cause with Yianoppoulos about how fun it is to piss people off with the worst kind of race baiting and the most offensive kind of anti-transgender dialogue you could imagine on television, cable or otherwise. They were operating under the assumption that only liberals go crazy when someone uses hate speech to attack others, and that's wrong. Everyone knows there's at least one or two Republicans out there who would rather you not call for the heads of their wait staff. There's no reason why the marketplace has to reward anyone for spreading hate.

Liberals don't want to censor Yianoppoulos. They want to protect the rights of the people he urges his rabid followers to attack. How fucking simple is that?













Monday, February 20, 2017

Calm, Cool and Collected




I can vividly recall the President George W. Bush era because I lived through it as a working adult. You'll see some commentary online that does not really provide that context because it either comes from younger people or from people who didn't give a shit about anything.

The Bush era was awful. It was an unhappy time. You could see that the Iraq war was grinding the country down and there was a moment of relief when the Democrats took over Congress. From then on, it was a series of revelations about lying, incompetence, and greed. As bad as it was, there were some fundamental assumptions that America's institutions were able to survive the Bush era and provide stability.

I mean, it was bad. But it wasn't as bad as someone like me would make it out to be. It was a time when you knew the wrong people were in charge and bad things were happening.

The Trump era is all of that, times a thousand, and mix in evil with insanity, coupled with instability and no grasp whatsoever of how to run the country, and that's where we're at.

In other words, look at the calm, blue water above and join me in trying to relax.















 

 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Reince Priebus is Being Set Up




The big story this morning is that the White House Chief of Staff is out of the loop and has no idea that they're setting him up to take the fall. They're sending him out to lie for Trump because, why not? He wasn't in the loop when Russia was colluding with the campaign and he's out of the loop now. 

This man is a liar and everyone knows it:

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus on Sunday flatly denied any involvement between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian officials.

“No,” Priebus said when asked by host Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia officials.




Priebus said he’s spoken with high-level intelligence officials in Washington who have told him that no such involvement occurred. 

“When I say top-level people, I mean top-level people,” the chief of staff said, refusing to provide specific names when pressed by Wallace about the sources.

The way this works is, someone is going to deftly leak contradicting information that will make Priebus look like a fool and no one will notice because these denials are falling on deaf ears. There are three ongoing investigations of how Russia interfered in the 2016 election cycle. Each and every one of them damages the fragile legitimacy of this regime. 

Priebus can go on television and lie like this because he was heading the Republican National Committee. He was out of the loop and knows there is no legal jeopardy for him to deny what practically every insider knows--Trump is owned by Russia, and they own him lock, stock and barrel.







Saturday, February 18, 2017

Man Who Hates Dogs Can't Find a Friend in Washington D.C.




Appearing at a campaign rally for the 2020 presidential election, the President of the United States said this:

"I'm here because I want to be among my friends."

Bear in mind that this is the same man who hates dogs, has no friends, is tied to Russia's oligarchy, and has had the worst first month in American presidential history. He's on television, interrupting Saturday across America, to tell people that he's going to start building a wall no one wants with money he does not have.

He's so desperate for good news he has jumpstarted the next presidential election cycle by three years. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who is more in need of affirmation and acceptance right now. His "regime" is a fiasco. His agenda is in tatters. Millions and millions of Americans stand in stark opposition to everything he wants to do. But, dammit, he's going to spend your money campaigning for love from now until hell freezes over.













While America Sleeps, The Russians Are Attacking NATO




The damage to America has already been done. We are stuck with a compromised regime and we are saddled with incompetents and has-beens and never-weres. We can sit back and complain, or we can watch out for our allies:

Russia planted a recent fake news report about a rape committed by German soldiers in order to discredit NATO’s new eastern force, a top NATO general said Saturday. Czech army general Petr Pavel said in an interview with Reuters that the “fake news” about a rape of a 15-year-old girl in Lithuania was emailed to the speaker of Lithuania’s parliament earlier this week.




The report “was not based on real events,” Pavel said, describing it as “fake news” created by the Kremlin. “Russia is not pleased by the deployment of NATO troops closer to its border so it will likely use legal means, such as propaganda and they will try to influence public opinion against the deployments,” he said, warning that more dubious reports are likely to come out in the near future. On the same day Pavel issued his warning, Russian Minister Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lambasted NATO as a “Cold War institution” and blamed the alliance for tensions throughout Europe.

Why this hasn't been countered, shut down, and why we're not defending the vulnerable nations of Europe is beyond my understanding. We should have a more definitive response to this bullshit. We should have mobilized our own defenses months before Trump ever took office.

This is the kind of war that a country with endless resources, tremendous cultural soft power, and the best minds in information technology should be able to fight and win. And yet, here we are, watching the Russians dismantle democracy everywhere because we're too fucking lazy to do anything about it.









Rex Tillerson is Destroying the State Department




This is one of those stories that we're all going to wish we had paid attention to when everything turns to shit:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reassigned a majority of the staff meant to work most closely with the top US diplomat in what career officials at the State Department fear is the start of a major reorganization.

The news sent shock waves through the agency and has left career officials on edge, in part because of its abrupt nature -- taking place before their assignments end this summer and replacements have been found -- and in part because these officials help the secretary, a government novice, work with policy experts throughout the building.

While Tillerson was on his first overseas trip at the G20 in Bonn, Germany, his aides told the entire staff in the offices of the deputy secretary of state for management and resources and the State Department counselor that their current assignments were prematurely coming to an end, according to senior aides.

    Staff who worked for the head of the latter division, State Department Counselor Kristie Kenney, was told Tillerson does not intend to keep her position. Kenney was one of the last remaining senior officials at the department, having served as an ambassador under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and is expected to retire next week. An aide to Tillerson told CNN, "no decisions have been made" about scrapping the offices permanently.

    The right wing reaction is, "lazy diplomats are out of a job, durr durr durr."

    The left wing reaction is, "a number of experienced diplomats are gone, leaving America with no functioning State Department."

    Everyone else, "Trump is fucking fat."

    The State Department does a lot of important, cool things. One, it keeps us out of wars. Two, it keeps us from having to stop other countries from starting wars with people we care about. Three, when Americans overseas run into problems, the State Department helps them out of a jam.

    There are tons more things that they do. The State Department is, truly and completely, the best of all of our Federal agencies because it's the one of the ones the Founding Fathers set up right from the start to keep us out of wars. You can't have a nation, a republic, or a free world without someone knowing how to deal with other countries. Think of how it must feel to be in a country that exists right now solely because of America's efforts to negotiate and defend its people from tyrants, dictators and Russians. It's every man, woman and child for themselves, but don't worry. Gas is only going to go up three dollars here in America when the oil men are back in charge of things just like they were when Bush the Lesser was president.

    An oilman with no government experience who is really, really good friends with Vladimir Putin is now gutting the State Department in order to leave America completely and utterly without a functioning diplomatic agency with which to deal with the world. Like any other bottom-line watching businessman, he left the firings to an underling while running around trying to learn the job on the fly. What's normal for a multinational oil company runs absolutely counter to what's necessary for the American State Department. How fucked we are won't reveal itself right away, but, when it does, a lot of foreheads are going to end up being slapped.

    Given that we have American interests everywhere, and that there are Americans all over the globe, what's going to happen when we have a real crisis? These come along pretty regularly. When one does, America's response to that crisis is going to be hamstrung by the fact that all of the experienced people needed to deal with the world are now gone.

    A government is a wonderful thing when you need it. A government gutted by fools is something else entirely, and we're about to find out how bad it can truly get when American interests come under attack. 













    Friday, February 17, 2017

    Trump is Really, Really Fat









    I realize that this is not a new or unique take on the president's physique, but, wow. He's pretty fucking fat, isn't he?

    He's not Tony Soprano fat, but he's not any different from Paul Blart, Mall Cop, is he? And I say all of this because Trump is the ultimate self-hating fat man. He hates overweight people. He hates fat people even though he is, clearly, one of them. He mocks them and humiliates them but that's what he is. A person can be fat and have great character and make a great president. None of these things are possible with a self-hating lardass.

    In another universe, Trump would be a mall cop, a donut salesman, or an Arby's manager in a failing store. That's the level most appropriate for his capabilities. Plenty of good people do that work, so don't misunderstand me. Trump is a white man with a serial grudge against everything. He is terrified of poverty and powerlessness. Angry at squandering his father's fortune, mad about the government, pissed he can't get laid, and wondering how he ended up in whatever predicament he's in. He has the mental abilities of someone who really should have coasted to a much lesser role in our society (which is fine! that doesn't mean there aren't good, hardworking people in mall security). But Trump was elevated far above his ability level, the personification of the Peter Principle.

    I wanted to write about his third vacation this weekend. There's no job in the world where you can work less than a month and take six or seven vacation days except for CEO of a failing company or what used to be the office of the president of the United States before we stopped being a Republic and installed a petty regime full of thugs and criminals tied to Russia's financial kleptocracy. I started to write about the hypocrisy, but this shot took me aback.

    Good God, he's fat. His gut arrives a minute before he does. 

    This was taken last weekend, on the second of many vacations while presidentin' and ragin' at decent things everywhere. He might have a vested protection suit underneath his white polo shirt, but I doubt it. I thought that his extra girth was because they had outfitted him with some very expensive body armor, but I just don't see evidence that he's wearing any in this picture. He might have a security card or something on his person, but I just don't think he's protected in any way, other than the security that is obviously around him and present on the golf course.

    Imagine him in body armor. Fatter! Looking more like Chris "Meatloaf" Christie every day. This is not the look of a healthy man. This is the look of a man who likes junk food and bed time candy bars. Since the press is getting better at asking him questions, perhaps they should find out if he's had a physical lately. How much does he way? Is he as morbidly obese as he looks? What does he eat? Why does he look like a marshmallow in cheap shoes?













    About That Well Oiled Machine




    In the midst of chaos, the laughs keep coming:

    Several White House staffers were dismissed Thursday morning after failing FBI background checks, according to sources familiar with the matter. 

    Some of the aides were "walked out of the building by security" on Wednesday after not passing the SF86, a Questionnaire for National Security Positions for security clearance. 

    Among those who won't be working at the White House was President Donald Trump’s director of scheduling, Caroline Wiles, the daughter of Susan Wiles, Trump’s Florida campaign director and former chief of staff to Governor Rick Scott. Wiles, who resigned Friday before the background check was completed, was appointed deputy assistant secretary before the inauguration in January. Two sources close to Wiles said she will get another job in Treasury.

    She's among others who failed to pass the intensive background check, which includes questions on the applicant's credit score, substance use and other personal subjects.

    You know, there are quite a few other people who won't be working in the White House when this is all said and done, and all we can hope for is a speedy recovery for American democracy.

    If you're going to accept a job working in Washington D.C., you should be reasonably certain that there will be a background check for the position. Accepting the job while wondering if you can pass the background check is the very definition of making a foolish vocational choice. These people probably moved everything they owned to a city where they will soon be persona non grata

    Did Trump give them jobs in his hotel? Cash to travel home? A severance package? A shout-out to those dedicated servants during his press conference? They'll be lucky if they can get jobs picking grapes for his kid.













    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    "A Shit Sandwich"




    WOW!

    Ret. Vice Admiral Bob Harward has turned down President Donald Trump's offer to be national security adviser, sources told CNN Thursday.

    A friend of Harward's said he was reluctant to take the job because the White House seems so chaotic. Harward called the offer a "s*** sandwich," the friend said.

    Something tells me that Trump isn't going to have any trouble finding incompetent and completely unqualified people to keep filling jobs. For a career military officer, retired or otherwise, to essentially spurn his own president in a time of war means something.

    I think it means we are headed for uncharted waters, and the falls are around the corner.













    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    The Trump Regime is Out of Ideas




    Well, now you know they're desperate.

    There's no reason to hold a "rally" unless you're hoping for several different outcomes. One, someone does something stupid and violent and that allows the Trump Regime to implement martial law. Two, the "followers" of the regime are emboldened enough to stop hiding indoors and start pushing back against the millions of people now horrified on a daily basis by what their government has become. Or, three, nothing happens, a few old blue hairs show up, and there's no news made but our worthless media end up broadcasting empty podium for an extra hour. 

    The fascism on these people is stale and predictable. Let's distract everyone from the fact that the Russians have operatives in place all throughout the United States government by holding a rally to celebrate the fact that no one has brought articles of impeachment before the right House committee yet. You measure Trumpism in days, not months now. 

    The guy who used to run Breitbart is now mad because Breitbart stung him and killed them both as it was riding on his back across the flooded stream--something like that. I have no idea. 

    It's impossible to keep up! It really is. You have to have twenty-five crack bloggers moving on this stuff around the clock. If Gawker were still in business, they'd be burned out by now, what with the horrors unleashed upon us daily. I noticed five things throughout the day that could have been made into blog posts, but I didn't have the time or the inclination to push that rock up the hill. You couldn't have written the dystopian novel we're living right now. People are watching the Walking Dead again just for the laughs and the comfort.

    Everything sucks, and everything is about to go to shit, but it's cool, because all of our phones still work. When the phones stop working, then there will be a revolution, baby. You watch.













    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Every Damned One of Them is a Traitor




    Josh Marshall is absolutely correct--nothing happens in Trump's world without Trump, himself directing it from the top:

    I had wanted to end my work evening on the post I published just after 8 PM. Let me conclude on this note. Tonight's revelations (by which I mean those which preceded Michael Flynn's resignation) make it even more clear that there is much more going on out of view than we realize. 

    As the Russia story submerged out of view in the first days of February, the Acting Attorney General had already warned the White House about Michael Flynn's deceptions and susceptibility to blackmail. She was fired for refusing to enforce the immigration executive order days later. Though the White House now denies it, it seems that the President and his top advisors took no action in response to these warnings.

    We can now also see the outlines of another part of the story. It appears that repeated efforts were made to apprise President Trump or those around him of the situation with Michael Flynn. When those warnings were ignored, people in the national security and law enforcement apparatus went instead to the press to get the word out that way. Only now can we see some of the hidden actions which reveal the pattern and provide context to the leaks.

    This is not some ill-considered discussion by Michael Flynn. The role of Russia in the 2016 election and the President's relationship to Russia has been the un-ignorable question hanging over President Trump for months. Flynn's resignation does not come close to resolving it. It is highly likely that the Flynn/Russia channel was authorized by the President himself. There's much more to come.

    Now it's about the money. Specifically, was money transferred from the Russian government, or Russian-affiliated entities, to the Trump campaign? If so, then every damned one of them is a traitor. You cannot just have Flynn resign and end all of this because the rot is everywhere, from the top on down, and they all have to be removed by the courts. There can be no Trump regime if America is to respect the rule of law.

    The American people cannot allow even Trump himself to resign and give the reins of power over to Mike Pence. Pence has to go--all of them have to go--in order to remove this stain on the honor and integrity of the office of the president. 

    And I keep seeing this mistake in the media, over and over again. General Michael Flynn is not a mere "civilian." He is a officer being carried on the retired rolls and is bound by his loyalty to the United States Army. When he consorted with the Russian government, he was still an officer with flag rank. His treason is not longer a theory.













    Monday, February 13, 2017

    This is Not How You Conduct American Foreign Policy









    I know that there are a few million outraged, angry, and self-righteous articles out there that inform us as to how many felonies Hillary Clinton was supposed to have committed because she wanted to have a Blackberry, but there's only one story about how much of a clusterfuck this was over the weekend.

    Nobody in Congress is going to investigate how American foreign policy was conducted in a fancy dining room, surrounded by uncleared people, up to and including the delegation surrounding Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In most situations, you would not even have a Five Eyes presence at such a fiasco, let alone the Japanese government officials depicted in these photos.

    This is your impeachable offense. If Secretary Mattis is really the only adult in charge, then the officer who allowed himself to be photographed and identified should be relieved and the nuclear codes should be placed in the care of the Vice President. A failure to safeguard classified information is the worst crime against America that can be committed, and I know this because I was an upright human being for all of 2016.

    This was how Trump spent his second vacation while in office. Nice work if you can get it.













    Sunday, February 12, 2017

    Sears and Kmart Dump Trump




    If you can't appeal to the people who still buy stuff from Sears or Kmart, who can you appeal to?

    Major U.S. retailers Sears and Kmart this week removed 31 Trump Home items from their online product offerings to focus on more profitable items, a spokesman said on Saturday.

    The decision follows retailer Nordstrom Inc's announcement this week it had decided to stop carrying Ivanka Trump's apparel because of declining sales, prompting President Donald Trump to take to Twitter to defend his daughter. White House spokesman Sean Spicer characterized the Nordstrom move as a "direct attack" on the president's policies.

    Neither Sears nor Kmart carried the Trump Home products in their retail stores, a Sears Holdings Corp spokesman said. Kmart is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings.

    In other words, "dying retailers try to avoid the stigma of Trump." Or, "even we can't sell this crap anymore."













    Saturday, February 11, 2017

    Kathleen Parker is Suddenly Right About Something




    Years ago, Kathleen Parker would write stupid things about President Barack Obama and I would sit back and laugh at her because, well, that's what I do. Same for Jennifer Rubin. Man, she would drive me crazy with the stuff she would write about Obama.

    Nowadays, I have to give Parker credit. She's a right of center voice who has this whole Trump thing figured out. It's not going to last. I think she's off by at least a year and a half.

    Good news: In two years, we’ll have a new president. Bad news: If we make it that long.
    My “good” prediction is based on the Law of the Pendulum. Enough Americans, including most independent voters, will be so ready to shed Donald Trump and his little shop of horrors that the 2018 midterm elections are all but certain to be a landslide — no, make that a mudslide — sweep of the House and Senate. If Republicans took both houses in a groundswell of the people’s rejection of Obamacare, Democrats will take them back in a tsunami of protest.
    Once ensconced, it would take a Democratic majority approximately 30 seconds to begin impeachment proceedings selecting from an accumulating pile of lies, overreach and just plain sloppiness. That is, assuming Trump hasn’t already been shown the exit.

    It's not "lies, overreach or plain sloppiness" that will lead to the impeachment or resignation of Trump. It's the actual treason and corruption that will do nicely.

    There's a simple metric that comes into play. Trump does not threaten the power of Republicans in Congress at the moment. As soon as he presents a clear and present danger to their hold on power, they'll get rid of him. The Democrats would be wise to not roll over and help so much. They need to hang Trump around their necks, not bail them out.













    Is It True What They Say About Me?




    That's the front page of CNN.com this evening. Story after story, headline after headline, of negative, horrible news about the Trump Regime, which is barely three weeks old.

    Has an American president in the modern era lost so much prestige and status this quickly? Has anyone ever gone off the rails this fast? 

    Honeymoon? What honeymoon? It's a fiasco.

    There are too many stories to write about, too much going wrong, and there's too little time. As a whole, the collapse of Trump's presidency is a tribute to America's institutions, which looked to be in serious decline until now. The courts have stopped him (for now). The Congress is under siege. The National Security Advisor can't get his own staff a security clearance, and doesn't appear to know that we collect every voice call in or out of the Russian embassy.

    Could we see a wave of stories about Russian pee hookers next week?

    Dare to dream.













    Thursday, February 9, 2017

    Lock Her Up




    In light of the recent decision to bend the Trump Regime over a chair and make it squeal, here's an utterly irrelevant point made by someone who knows what this law stuff really means:

    There is absolutely no precedent for courts looking to a politician’s statements from before he or she took office, let alone campaign promises, to establish any kind of impermissible motive. The 9th Circuit fairly disingenuously cites several Supreme Court cases that show “that evidence of purpose beyond the face of the challenged law may be considered in evaluating Establishment and Equal Protection Clause claims.” But the cases it mentions do nothing more than look at legislative history — the formal process of adopting the relevant measure. That itself goes too far for textualists, but it provides absolutely no support for looking before the start of the formal deliberations on the measure to the political process of electing its proponents.

    Indeed, a brief examination of cases suggests the idea has been too wild to suggest. For example, the 10th Circuit has rejected the use of a district attorney’s campaign statements against certain viewpoints to show that a prosecution he commenced a few days after office was “bad faith or harassment.” As the court explained, even looking at such statements would “chill debate during campaign[s].” If campaign statements can be policed, the court concluded, it would in short undermine democracy: “the political process for selecting prosecutors should reflect the public’s judgment as to the proper enforcement of the criminal laws.” Phelps v. Hamilton, 59 F.3d 1058, 1068 (10th Cir. 1995).

    There are sound policy reasons for ignoring campaign statements or promises to shed light on subsequent official action. For one, campaign promises are often insincere, designed to appeal to voters. Indeed, they are explicitly instrumental, and their goal is not policy outputs, but election. Moreover, implemented laws or policies are often substantially different from promises, as is the case here.

    Well, there is now! A precedent has just been set! Enjoy the ride, suckers.

    The fatal flaw in all of this is that there are actual statements--real, admissible, and quotable statements--made by the president that speak to the bias of banning Muslims from entering the United States of America. He actually said it! It's on tape, dummy! The court cited the fact that he actually said something stupid, racist, bigoted and ridiculous! People who advised him said that they wanted to ban Muslims from coming into the country. These statements speak to the Executive Order that was issued. It's a no-brainer in a world where we shouldn't even be having this discussion if the Trump Regime wasn't incompetent and on the wrong side of the law. 

    Now, remember. Executive orders have the full force of law when they are based on the authority derived from statute or from the Constitution. If the thing violates the Constitution, and if the president who issued the Executive order said things that were plainly unconstitutional, then the whole thing comes crashing down. 

    The Trump Regime's Executive order is plainly unconstitutional. Therefore, it is not a law. It's a piece of paper waved around by a despot. Expect more of these in the days and weeks ahead. They're trying to find lawyers who can help them ruin the country. Don't believe what you've read--people who are gay, transgendered, and so on and so forth have no reason to believe that their own government is ever going to act in a reasonable manner because, holy shit, have you heard the things they said in order to get elected? It's mind-boggling.

    Which leads me to my other point. When are they're going to lock her up? And do they have the legal means to do so? Trump told us, multiple times, that he was going to lock her up. Do you really think that if they, indeed, go to lock her up, nobody is going to point out the fact that he said, over and over again, "lock her up?"

    Come on.













    Wednesday, February 8, 2017

    The Spectacular Idiocy of Ross Douthat




    The smarm pouring off this underachieving sack of special sauce is enough to make you want to cancel the subscription to the Times you've already cancelled:

    In these distinctly abnormal times for the republic, with Donald Trump in the White House and a group of unprepared revolutionaries around him, one must be grateful for small doses of normalcy and politics as usual. Thank heavens, then, for Senate Democrats, who just gave us the most predictable of spectacles: a liberal holy war against Betsy DeVos, just confirmed as the new secretary of education by Mike Pence’s tiebreaking vote.
    A visitor from Saturn might be puzzled by this particular crusade, since none of the things that liberals profess to fear the most about a Trump era revolve around education policy. If Trump is planning to surrender Eastern Europe to the Russians or start a world war with the Chinese, perhaps his secretary of state nominee deserved an all-night talkathon of opposition. If he’s bent on domestic authoritarianism with a racist tinge, then it’s Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, who presents the natural target for Democratic protest. If the biggest problem is that Trump will nominate allies who are unqualified for their responsibilities, then the choice of Ben Carson to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development seems like an obvious place to draw a line.

    Douthat goes on to write:

    DeVos did look unprepared and even foolish at times during her confirmation hearings, and she lacks the usual government experience. But officially the opposition claimed to be all about hardheaded policy empiricism. A limited and heavily regulated charter school program is one thing, the argument went, but DeVos’s zeal for free markets would gut public education and turn kids over to the not-so-tender mercies of unqualified bottom-liners. Just look at what happened in her native Michigan, her critics charged, where the influence of her philanthropic dollars helped flood Detroit’s school system with unsupervised charters run by incompetents and hacks.

    It's difficult for people like young Ross to fully appreciate just how spectacularly unqualified Betsy DeVos truly is and you have to have pity for someone who cannot grasp just how wrong he's going to be when she crashes and burns a federal agency because of her incompetence. The leaks will begin almost immediately, and DeVos will accomplish whatever it is we are calling "success" in the context of the Republican dismantlement of decent governance. 

    Mediocre people do very well in Republican administrations. Mediocre people are rarely given a chance to do much of anything in Democratic administrations. One party values money and loyalty. The other governs with competence. It's that simple. Douthat thinks he can skate over the issue of competence, but he can't. His perch at the Times is safe because he can always say, "well, it wasn't about her competence. It was about Trump's vision for America."

    No, fuckhead. The Democrats tried to tell you she's incompetent. You were too stupid to get on the right side of the issue. That's what it was about.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren is a middle-aged woman with exceptional intelligence and more common sense than any grouping of 100 middle-aged white men you can round up and put in a room. Our failure to heed her warnings spells doom for the American consumer. They don't hate her because she's shrill, rude, or nerdy. They hate her because she's correct. Gaveling her into silence only amplifies her message. 

    Anyone who thinks their money insulates themselves from the effects of a government destroyed by fools is betting on something un-fucking-believably stupid. Once these people have wrecked America, all your goddamned money is going to be colored paper worth nothing. Shove it under your armpits and insulate that heavy coat they leave you with, rich boy. I don't care if you have 10 or 500 million dollars. An America where there is no rule of law, no economy, no trade with other nations, no infrastructure, no government and no one in charge who isn't a boiling embarrassment of turds and cheese doodles means we're all equal, every one of us, and that's a fact. Dystopia, welcome to it.

    This goes beyond saying that if DeVos were a nominee in a Democratic administration, her obvious incompetence and the supporters who prop her up would look foolish to anyone with a brain. The subversion of basic logic and standards is the rule of the day. Someone who would never be considered acceptable in a Democratic administration is a shining star blessed with charm and a bright future in the slovenly Trump Regime. Douthat and the conservative movement know they look foolish now, they know it's all going to end in tears, and they know that millions of people are going to suffer.

    They. Don't. Care.

    Governance by sociopath is what we have for as long as we decide to suffer through it. There are constitutional remedies, and they begin with the 2018 mid-terms. Douthat, et al, believe that there is an institutional firewall that will protect them until 2020. That's what's been burning for weeks, kids.

    But. They. Just. Don't. Care.













    Why Do I Have to Pay For Your Addiction to Drugs?




    In 2013, a doctor at Johns Hopkins Medical Center stopped my heart for two hours and put a plastic aortic valve in my chest. They sewed me up and I was as good as new. The only trouble I had during my recovery was when I stopped using a very mild form of oxycodone. I had a panic attack and had to call paramedics. I've never had a panic attack in my life except for that one. What the hell was happening to me? I thought I was dying. They calmed me down and assured me that what was happening was normal. I was fortunate--I was not addicted and I didn't have the urge to keep taking pain killers. I was able to stop.

    Here's how weird I am--that was 2013 and I've never really written about it. I figured, everyone has things like that in their lives. Why draw attention to it ?

    I've done everything I can to make sure that I never ended up taking that medication again. During my stay in the hospital for an appendicitis two years later, I told them not to give me opioids and we used other medications to help me as best as possible. I think I had to have them briefly after surgery, but mine was an atypical case. It took them two days to get the blood thinners (a requirement of living with an artificial aortic valve is that I have to use warfarin) out of me in order to make it safe to operate. Yeah, that was fun.

    What's happening in Kentucky, West Virginia, and a slew of other states is unbelievable. There, people are being encouraged to fake their pain in order to acquire prescriptions to opioids. The pharmacies, the drug companies, and the doctors are all in on it, and they're making billions off of patients who rely on government subsidies. Unless and until someone steps in and puts a stop to it--and punishes the drug companies and the doctors and NOT the people addicted to opioids--we will continue to read stories like this:

    This economically depressed city in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is an image of frozen-in-time decline: empty storefronts with faded facades, sagging power lines, and aged streets with few stoplights.

    But there is one type of business that seems to thrive: pharmacies.

    Eleven drug stores, mostly independents, are scattered about a tiny city of 1,500 people. Many have opened in the past decade—four in the past three years. And prescription pain drugs are one of the best-selling items—the very best seller at some.

    Most pharmacies here and in surrounding Clay County (population 21,000) lack the convenience-store trappings of national chains like CVS or Walgreen’s. They sell few items over the counter, focusing on prescriptions and little else.

    Clay’s residents filled prescriptions for 2.2 million doses of hydrocodone and about 617,000 doses of oxycodone in the 12-month period ending last September—that’s about 150 doses for every man, woman, and child. About half as many doses of each drug were reported in Allen County (population 20,640), on the Tennessee border 160 miles southwest. Even smaller quantities were used in Breckenridge (population 20,018), another central Kentucky county.

    My heart, what's left of it that isn't plastic, goes out to the people who are suffering. The rest of me thinks that a lot of doctors, drug company execs, and pharmacy techs should be in jail by sundown tomorrow.

    So much for the rule of law in America, right? Because we're all too willing to put people of color in jail for harmless drug offenses while millions of pills go up in smoke. The institutionalized racism of the war on drugs remains a part of our national DNA. No drugs for anyone except poor white people who worked their last factory job a decade ago and ended up milking workman's comp. 

    So, why do I have to pay for this?

    I pay taxes. The blue states subsidize the vices of the red states, including a stunning pill addiction that would make Hunter S. Thompson write something crazy in order to explain it. Why is this the way things have to be? Someone ought to do something.

    It sure would have been nice if we had tackled this problem when we had a real president, but he had other fish to fry and no support in the very same red states that are boiling over with pills and poverty. That's what voting Republican gets you. But, in President Obama's defense, the Affordable Care Act is helping people get off the drug, so there's that.

    Here's one guarantee that I will make to you--President Trump already has a hot take on this, and it doesn't involve treatment, sympathy, or spending money to help people put their lives back together.













    Tuesday, February 7, 2017

    Who Woke Kanye?




    If someone like Kanye West can figure out your presidency is a disaster after two weeks, it's a pretty sure bet we'll see Scott Baio doing the same thing in fourteen years.

    I predict that, in the long, long days and weeks ahead, you're suddenly going to meet a lot of people who will volunteer, without being prompted, that they did not vote for Trump.













    Mr. Puzder, There's Someone Named Zoë Baird on Line 1 For You




    Andrew Puzder is probably going to survive this, if only because there is no way the current Republican majority in the Senate is going to start recognizing this thing we call hypocrisy any time soon:

    Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Labor Department, employed an undocumented immigrant for years, the business magnate said in a statement Monday. It's an admission that in the past has sunk other Cabinet secretary nominees.
    Puzder's nomination has been stalled in Congress after a series of delayed hearings from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Puzder, the head of the parent company that owns fast food companies Hardee's and Carl's Jr., said he and his wife have already paid back taxes on the employee.

    He should remove himself from consideration given this latest revelation, but it's not like these people care about ethics in the first place. That swamp? Not drained, my friends. Not drained at all.













    Friday, February 3, 2017

    We Have Never Been This Fucked Before




    People all over the world are paying attention to what's happening in the United States right now. There seems to be a belief that the "distractions" of Trumpism are keeping people from seeing what's really going on. Let's not forget that people in other countries are sometimes far more savvy about politics than we are. They see the bluster, they see the controversies, but then they see the fact that some 100,000 visas have been cancelled and they know what the score is. 

    Professionals in world finance look at the rollback of a few regulations and laugh--our financial sector is not well regulated at all. A Republican Congress has seen to that, and the rules that are in place have never been adequate. There was a moment after the Great Depression when someone had the nifty idea to put these people under stern regulations, but that was tyranny and communism and whatever else. If we see another financial bubble created with runaway capitalism, we'll fail to learn from that, too.

    It's not enough to say that things are bad. It's appropriate to say that this country is poorly led by incompetents who are getting away with being contemptuous of tradition, customs, norms, and decency. But hey--that's what the Russians voted for, so what do I know?

    Real people are being hurt every day. It doesn't matter what is said by the media anymore--they'll just lie and then that lie will get repeated. This won't end well. In all of American History, we have never been as fucked as we are right now. Variations on the image above are going to symbolize this presidency:






     

    The history being made today will make great reading in a few years if enough of us survive to see it appear in a bookstore.













    Thursday, February 2, 2017

    Of Course We Miss President Obama




    This is the easiest story in America to write:

    Less than 2 weeks into Donald Trump's tenure as President, 40% of voters already want to impeach him. That's up from 35% of voters who wanted to impeach him a week ago. Only 48% of voters say that they would be opposed to Trump's impeachment.
    Beyond a significant percentage of voters already thinking that Trump should be removed from office, it hasn't taken long for voters to miss the good old days of Barack Obama...52% say they'd rather Obama was President, to only 43% who are glad Trump is.
    Why so much unhappiness with Trump? Voters think basically everything he's doing is wrong:
    -Overall voters are pretty evenly split on Trump's executive order on immigration from last week, with 47% supporting it to 49% who are opposed. But when you get beyond the overall package, the pieces of the executive order become more clearly unpopular. 52% of voters think that the order was intended to be a Muslim ban, to only 41% who don't think that was the intent. And the idea of a Muslim ban is extremely unpopular with the American people- only 26% are in favor of it, to 65% who are against it. When it comes to barring people from certain countries from entering the United States, even when those people have already secured a Visa, just 39% of voters are supportive to 53% who are against it. And just 43% of voters support the United States indefinitely suspending accepting Syrian refugees, with 48% opposed to that. Finally voters see a basic competence issue with Trump's handling of the executive order- only 39% of voters think it was well executed, to 55% who believe it was poorly executed.
    The attitudes of Trump voters on the issue of the order being a Muslim ban are telling. 71% claim they don't think the intent of the executive order was to ban Muslims from entering the country, to 23% who say that was the intent. But then when you ask Trump voters what their feelings on banning Muslims from the country are, they support it. 48% of Trump voters support banning Muslims from entering the country, to 40% who are opposed. So they say it's not a Muslim ban, but they want a Muslim ban, and 94% of them support the order.

    Do you know what never happened?

    People did not get tired of President Obama. He provided calm, steady leadership and he never overstayed his welcome. He was the scandal-free president. 

    If you don't miss President Obama, then there's no help for you. This is the America you wanted all along? Day after day of crazy mixed with the implementation of twisted evil? Okay, then.