Thursday, March 30, 2017

Jason Chaffetz is Still Investigating Benghazi

This is how ridiculous Representative Jason Chaffetz has become. This is how ridiculous Congress has become. This is how utterly insane everything is right now. 

Chaffetz is mad. He's mad at the Trump people. He's mad at the Obama Administration, which no longer exists. And you won't believe what he's mad about because it makes no sense.  

He's mad that the Trump Regime isn't doing more to help him investigate Benghazi:

House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Thursday that the Trump administration is “not off to a great start” when it comes to working with his committee. 

“A quick word about the Trump administration: We are not off to a great start,” Chaffetz said during a broadcasted discussion with Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. 

Chaffetz said then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fought to withhold information that related to the Benghazi investigation, adding that the investigation is “still not done” because of the State Department’s reluctance to provide his committee with the necessary information.  

But Chaffetz also expressed frustration at the Trump administration for not providing his committee with documents related to the Benghazi investigation. He said President Trump’s grace period for filling top positions and working with his committee will expire next month. 

“The documentation, subpoenas and letters still have not been fulfilled. And I buy the idea that there should be some time to get new people in place, but as we turn the corner into April, there’s a huge attitude adjustment that is happening in the Oversight Committee,” Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz slammed the Obama administration for claiming they will transparent and open, saying officials gave his committee the stiff arm during his investigation into the Benghazi attack.

“It continues to amaze me how you have administrations that have people that wake up everyday and think, ‘Oh, my job is to make sure Congress and the American people don’t see this information.’”

Yes, while his colleague Devin Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee does exactly that--make sure Congress and the American people don't see the information they need in order to ascertain whether or not the President of the United States and his staff are controlled by the Russian government--he's mad that nobody will give him the Benghazi documents he wants to see so he can...put Hillary in jail? Hold another fruitless round of hearings? Spend more taxpayer dollars investigating something that happened in 2012?

I can't even find the words to go on with this. Really, we are well and truly fucked as a country and as a people.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chris Christie Let This Mother of Four Kids go to Prison


Two top ex-allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were sentenced Wednesday to prison sentences for their roles in orchestrating retaliatory lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Bridget Anne Kelly—the former Christie deputy chief of staff who infamously authored the email saying “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”—was sentenced to 18 months plus one year of probation. Bill Baroni, her conspirator as the former deputy executive director at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was sentenced to two years behind bars plus 500 hours of community service. “I regret more than anything that I allowed myself to get caught up in this,” Baroni said to a federal judge before his sentencing. “I failed.”

A man would have walked into the courtroom and said, "your honor, as a former U.S. Attorney, I cannot allow this to happen. Miss Kelly is not responsible for what happened. I am, let's go in the back and cut a deal." That man would have been a flaming jackass, of course, because that's not how the legal system works, but you get the idea. Instead, he takes his gargantuan jowls and his overfed ass to Washington D.C. where he can sit next to America's most popular president named Trump (and hopefully the last one, too).

What do you have to do to prove to Trump that you're cabinet material? You gotta let two little people go to prison so you can escape accountability.

Bridget Anne Kelly made a mistake. She should never have gotten involved in the whole Fort Lee traffic issue. She should not have worked for Chris Christie, period. And she is not innocent, not a saint, and certainly not someone who should have been working for the State of New Jersey.

At the end of the day, should she go to prison? No. Chris Christie should be a man and he should go in her stead. I say that as someone who respects feminism and all that it entails, and we're all adults here, so I will add this. He should have done it for Bill Baroni as well. Christie should have owned up to being the ringleader of this plot and he should have done whatever he could to keep these two people out of jail.  

Let it always hang over his fat fucking face--Chris Christie is just the kind of tough guy who lets a woman with four children go to prison in order to save the tattered, shit-stained remnants of whatever he calls a political future. How low can you be? You can be as low as Chris Christie and still get paid to be the governor of a state that is eager to be rid of him.


Essential reading:

Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff to New Jersey governor Chris Christie, took the stand in the Bridgegate trial Friday and dropped a few bombshells. Kelly, who sent the infamous “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email, testified that she told Christie about the “traffic study” plan in August 2013, a month before the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Kelly, who’s charged in the Bridgegate case, testified that she had discussed a traffic study with David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official who confessed to being the mastermind of the plot in August 2013. Kelly said Wildstein had emailed her, asking to discuss an issue that was “extraordinarily weird even by my standards.” The two spoke on the phone, and Wildstein told her Fort Lee’s access lanes to the GWB were tying up traffic on the bridge, and Wildstein wanted to do a traffic study on what would happen if Fort Lee no longer had that privileged route. Kelly said Wildstein told her it would cause major traffic problems, but the plan would boost the governor ahead of his reelection campaign — Christie would be able to take credit for easing traffic on the George Washington Bridge, reports the New York Times. Kelly alleges that Wildstein asked her to run the plan by Christie.

Kelly went to Christie with Wildstein’s plan, and the governor allegedly told her it was fine.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Paul Manafort is Just a Regular American Like You and Me

When the corruption is so appalling, and all you can do is laugh:

A bank in Cyprus investigated accounts associated with President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, for possible money-laundering, two banking sources with direct knowledge of his businesses here told NBC News. 

Manafort — whose ties to a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin are under scrutiny — was associated with at least 15 bank accounts and 10 companies on Cyprus, dating back to 2007, the sources said. At least one of those companies was used to receive millions of dollars from a billionaire Putin ally, according to court documents.

Banking sources said some transactions on Manafort-associated accounts raised sufficient concern to trigger an internal investigation at a Cypriot bank into potential money laundering activities. After questions were raised, Manafort closed the accounts, the banking sources said. 

Offshore banking in Cyprus is not illegal, and the island has long been known as a hub for moving money in and out of Russia. Several U.S. lawmakers have raised questions about Manafort's business dealings in Cyprus.

A spokesman for Manafort told NBC News in a statement that all the accounts were set up at the direction of clients in Cyprus, a common banking center for Russians and Ukrainians, "for a legitimate business purpose." 

"All were legitimate entities and established for lawful ends," the statement said.

Regular Americans often have multiple bank accounts in Cyprus, like you and me, right?

Regular Americans often deal with banks associated with the Putin government, yes?

Regular Americans move millions and millions of dollars in and out of shell corporations in over to avoid taxes and scrutiny, don't they?

As they begin to unravel the life and times of Paul Manafort, it's important to note that the President of the United States is so compromised and so completely and utterly unsuitable for the task at hand that it begs a simple question:

How could anyone be this incompetent? Can't anyone show a little pride in their corruption and at least make it look like they were trying to avoid being caught? Did the entirety of the Trump organization assume that the only people interested in finding out that they were openly and brazenly engaged in what looks like bribery, money laundering, and fraud was a guy in Des Moines living under a bridge with no laptop? Because even that guy could easily figure out these people have been acting like crooks in the open for years.

Average citizen journalists are tearing apart fabrication after fabrication. The media is actually on the trail of something interesting. All of this is so dangerous, I expect a national catastrophe to happen every time I turn on the news. It's an incredible time to be alive and it's frightening to think of how different this would have been if things had gone another way. Why, we'd be in day 97 of the Hillary Hearings about her damn e-mails, wouldn't we?

Compared to the campaign manager and tenant of the president being caught moving millions and millions of dollars in and out of banks on Cyprus that do business with Putin's henchmen, it's a wonder we still have sporting events and original programming on television. What could compete with reality right now?


I did not set out to move to Texas and learn how to grow grapes. The two things were never connected in my mind. I agreed to move to Texas because it made sense. The grapes were thrown in as a bonus when we bought a house that came with a fifty-foot single grapevine in the back yard.

This spring, we have gone from this:

And this:

To what you see at the top. This will be my first season with this grapevine, so I have no idea what to expect. I have been pruning it and reshaping it over the winter; I removed a lot of the neglected bits and I have some work to do in the weeks ahead to try and tame what's growing. I haven't even gotten around to fertilizing it or building up the soil under the vine, which has been my ultimate goal. We're on a rock shelf and there isn't that much soil, so whatever I can add on my own will help, I hope.

The neighbors don't know anything about this vine. They have no idea what kind of grapes are produced. The vine itself has been neglected for several years, but I am amazed at how quickly it cleaned up in the winter months and I am behind the curve as it relates to trimming some of the explosive growth. I think fifty to sixty feet is enough to deal with for now; I'm not going to expand anything because, well, I don't have the usable land to do so unless I completely reshape the backyard. 

I would like to put in a better trellis. I think if this year is successful, I'll adapt a European style trellis. I spent a good amount of time in the wine country of Baden-W├╝rttemberg (which you can read about here) and I would like to pay homage to that. There's a place near Heilbronn called Tripsdrill, and one of the things you can see there are wine presses from the the 16th Century. No, I'm not going to do wine. Yes, I am going to get all nerdy about it.

Anyway, I can't keep writing about exclusively politics. It ruins you. It leaves you with nothing in your head but fear and angst. That's not a healthy place to be. If you're sick of the politics, don't completely abandon it. Find other outlets and other things to think about. It's much healthier that way.



Monday, March 27, 2017

Devin Nunes is the Patsy

Poor Devin Nunes. The Trump Regime just turned him into their patsy:

Nunes said he was there for additional meetings "to confirm what I already knew" but said he wouldn't comment further so as to not "compromise sources and methods." A spokesman for Nunes said he "met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source."

A government official said Nunes was seen Tuesday night at the National Security Council offices of the Eisenhower building which, other than the White House Situation Room, is the main area on the complex to view classified information in a secure room.

The official said Nunes arrived and left alone.

Nunes told CNN he had been working on nailing down the surveillance information before Trump's unsubstantiated claim earlier this month that he was wiretapped by President Barack Obama. Last week, Nunes told CNN he was unaware of any evidence to back up Trump's claim. 

He told CNN Monday he wanted to "reiterate this has nothing to do with Russia." In a statement, Nunes' spokesman, Jack Langer, said the congressman is "extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of US citizens."

Two congressional sources said Nunes was with a staff member Tuesday night when he got a message, got out of the car and got into an Uber. Staff did not hear again from him that night. 

They next heard from Nunes Wednesday morning, the day he scheduled a news conference before going to the White House. The staff do not know where he went Tuesday night.

This is a brilliant piece of strategy. Compromising the man in charge of the House's inquiry into what happened when Vladimir Putin decided to get behind Trump and ride him into oblivion is what really, really skilled ratfuckers would do if a ratfucker could fuck rats. In this case, the Trump people--the rats--have now elevated a sitting Congressman who was friendly to their cause into the catbird seat.


They have derailed the investigation. Full stop. The Republicans can't go forward with Nunes so, guess what? They're not going anywhere.

But Devin Nunes is in so much legal jeopardy right now, you'd think he had no training in the law.

After receiving his associate of arts degree from the College of the Sequoias, Nunes graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a bachelor's degree in agricultural business and a master's degree in agriculture.

And that's exactly the point--they went after Nunes because he's a dumbfuck from Central California who wouldn't know the law if it bit him in the ass. Congress is full of trained lawyers, and, somehow, someone found a way to draw Devin Nunes into the midst of a nest full of vipers. This is not an accident. Someone groomed Nunes for his moment in the sun. He must be the pride of the College of the Sequoias. Had he gone to the worst law school in California, he would never have gotten into that Uber. If this guy gets off with anything less than obstruction of justice, it'll be a miracle because he's up to his armpits in the same stew as all the rest of Trump's minions. 

If the FBI hasn't already started tearing Nunes into pieces, then how are we still a functioning democracy?

They are all traitors, every one of them.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Trump is a Lazy President

Fox News tried to run an item that assured Americans that their president was "working" this weekend at the White House.

Yeah, not so much. 

Trump was actually spotted at his golf club, and spent some time watching the Golf Channel. They seemed to have forgotten that the security at his properties is ridiculously lax and that the general public knows exactly where Trump is whenever he goes to a place he owns. He can't be bothered to "work" in the White House. It's not fancy enough for him.

Anyone can go two or three years deep into Trump's Twitter feed and read how he railed against President Obama for golfing or going on vacation. What a hypocrite.

Enrollment Plummets

This is not what would have happened if we had elected Hillary Clinton, of course:

Application and acceptance season is underway at America's colleges and universities. But this year, some institutions of higher learning may see a noticeable dip in attendance from one group purposely choosing to stay home: foreign students. 

Applications from international students from countries such as China, India and in particular, the Middle East, are down this year at nearly 40 percent of schools that answered a recent survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Forty percent? Really? 

That's catastrophic. That is going to cause universities to jack up tuition (because they're not touching their generous endowments). Think of all of those state schools out there that rely on funds from the states and from enrolling foreign students. Think of the lost opportunities to bring talented and intelligent people to this country. If there's one good thing to come out of this, there will be plenty of slots in the fall for white kids. The problem is, they won't have the money to pay for school.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Someone Has to Carry Water For the Trump Regime

After Representative Devin Nunes failed to carry water for the Trump Regime, it fell to some Lieutenant Colonel somewhere to show up with a chicken-wire canoe:

Former CIA officer Col. Tony Shaffer said the basics of President Trump's claim to have been "wiretapped" are likely true, and that the incident is "worse than Watergate."

Noting it has been exactly two weeks since Trump tweeted that President Obama wiretapped his namesake tower, Shaffer said the "basic fundamental idea and claim is true."

He said that Trump was not physically wiretapped, with a wire into his phone, and it may not have physically been Trump Tower, but his campaign apparatus instead.

Shaffer said that due to the simplicity required to "mask" an American's name during an incidental wiretap, that the leak of Gen. Michael Flynn's name was "accidental on purpose."

"Clearly they were after gossip because it was political," Shaffer said, maintaining that the alleged wiretap had nothing to do with Russia.

The "political appointees" in the intelligence community knew exactly what they were surveilling for, Shaffer said, adding that the case is "much worse than Watergate by an order of magnitude."

He said that even if the surveillance was done legally, the "unmasking" of Americans' names and the leaking of the information are felonies.

Shaffer added that Trump's references to battling the "intelligence community" likely meant those political appointees involved in the alleged surveillance, and not the CIA or NSA writ large.

This is a fundamental misreading of everything involved in what we do to handle intelligence in this country, and it's wrong on purpose. Unmasking people has to be done in the context of knowing the value of the information. Shaffer is trying to demonstrate to the Fox News crowd that there were "ethics" that were somehow violated here, but they weren't. The intercept of communications between foreigners and U.S. persons is fully covered by the laws that have been in place for years, so Shaffer has to be very careful in his language. If they were unmasked, it's for a larger purpose, and that purpose is for defending this country against its enemies, both foreign AND domestic.

The "political appointees" he references are far removed from the individuals who intercepted these communications and processed them. What he doesn't acknowledge is that this was likely routed immediately to the counter-espionage folks in the FBI. They are not "political appointees." They are the tip of the spear when it comes to stopping Americans from committing treason against the United States government. The communications may have been picked up by an agency that does surveillance, but the actual analysis, handling, and processing of this information has likely been handled by people at the FBI who are the best at what they do. That's what should frighten everyone--our best spy hunters are targeting the president and his panicked minions. Trying to flip this and make it about the "deep state" and some "political appointees" misses the forest for the trees. The FBI is not a perfect agency, but it's the one that caught Robert Hanssen. Please be advised that Hanssen was "an order of magnitude" much smarter than anyone working for Trump, and FBI is living in their heads right now.

They don't care about anything other than rooting out treason. Shaffer's assertion that this is "an order of magnitude worse than Watergate" is correct, but it's correct only when applied to the likes of Mike Flynn, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone. He has utterly failed to convince anyone that this was an Obama scandal and he has failed to turn this around for Trump. Someone sent him on a fool's errand and, hey, I guess being on TV helps you sell books.

Shaffer is, of course, the "Able Danger" guy who tried to write a book full of information that had to be removed. If anyone knows how the leaking of sensitive stuff is supposed to work, it's probably Shaffer.

Who Kicked This Man in the Nuts?

I don't want to hear any "Dems in Disarray" bullshit for a while:

More than 30 minutes into a meeting White House and House leadership officials wanted -- needed -- to be a breakthrough, it was time for everyone to put their cards on the table

For White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and House Speaker Paul Ryan, the members of the House Freedom Caucus sitting beside and around them at the long table at the center of the conference room adjoining Ryan's Capitol Hill office had spent enough time talking. A deal was on the table -- one the White House and House leaders never planned to give in on -- and this was the time to see how many of the conservative, and proudly intransigent, members it would bring aboard. 

Mulvaney pointed to a member and asked where he stood, according to multiple sources inside the room. His request was met with demurral. Confused, Ryan tried again. Then Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho spoke up: The Freedom Caucus is unified and Rep. Mark Meadows, the caucus chair, speaks for the group. Mulvaney and Ryan turned to Meadows. The group was indeed unified, Meadows told them. And they were still a no.

The Republican Party is in full revolt against the President of the United States. We are no where near the end of this debacle. He can blame Jared Kushner, but, really, who is this punk and how did he end up being the linchpin of a regime that should have said no to receiving help from Putin's oligarchs. Trump can urinate all down his own leg and have a full-blown panic attack over this, and slap some pictures off the wall, but this is collapse and failure of everything he has tried to do. He can blame Reince Preibus (funny how no one talks about him anymore). He can blame the united front of the entire Democratic Party, which demonstrated once and for all that it is still the party of Barack Obama and that it is the guardian of his legacy. They are the firewall of freedom in this country. The only thing standing between people starving and dying in the streets and falling out of chairs in emergency rooms across this country is the party that controls no branches of government but is in firm command of the political zeitgeist. Trump is pounding sand, and even the sand is bored with his tiny fists.

The Republicans have no wind in their sails. The first 100 days are a fiasco. They are in woeful disarray, wandering into convenience stores far from home and trying to buy beer with nickels and dimes stolen out of change purses. They are dazed by the jaw-grinding crazy that is life in Donald Trump's immediate vicinity. They are that hapless fool on the motorway, left turn signal blinking, as they drive into an innocent tree. No wonder that it was the Freedom Caucus that walked into the room with a smile, reached out a hand in friendship, and then delivered a massive testicle-squishing kick to the groin and walked out again. Those poor Secret Service agents are overworked, you see, and didn't have time to flinch.

All of the Republican members of the House of Representatives are immune to whatever threats Trump can throw at them. It is no secret that these people worship money. They worship power and influence. This president, because of the swirl of the FBI and the flop-sweat panic of the tainted people who surround him, know they don't have to lift a finger to help him from now on.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Adam Schiff is the Democrat We Need Right Now

I am liking a lot of my fellow Democrats right now, and I am especially proud of Adam Schiff.

This is how you hit back against Donald Trump.

This is how you speak for the people who don't have a platform.

This is how you turn the knife.

This is how you stand up to a bully.

This is what a Democrat sounds like when they have stopped the Republicans from gutting the social safety net and from taking away health care from the American people.

More like this, please.

You Have Made a Cuckold Of Me

Today, the Republican Party screwed Donald Trump in front of his supporters.

It was angry hate-sex. It wasn't pornographic so much as it was the last vestiges of decency being thrown into a dumpster and set on fire.

The Affordable Care Act has survived. A few dozen Republicans who have zero national name recognition defeated him simply by withholding their votes and Trump is baffled as to how this happened because he doesn't know anything about Congress and he never will.

His government is empty--he can't find anyone to fill critical cabinet positions. His daily agenda is marred by incompetence. Every conversation with a sentient adult becomes a complete and utter shitshow. He has been unable to ban Muslims from coming to America. His racist strategies are unraveling. He is deeply unpopular with anyone who has a sick relative, a love of country, or an ounce of dignity left. He has no significant piece of legislation of any kind to point to as an accomplishment. Everything is a fiasco, and even his pan-faced kids are unable to soothe his screaming fits of rage.

Oh, and Russia called--they're waiting for their billions in oil deal money. Oligarchs tend to send hit squads when they don't get paid, bitch.

In other news, President Trump is a complete and utter failure. 

I think that's enough for right now.

This is How Bad We Suck Right Now

Canadians are sick of our crap:

According to a report in the AP, The Toronto District School Board, the largest in Canada, has decided to no longer book trips to the United States because they fear students might have issues at the border due to travel restrictions enacted by President Trump's administration. "We just can't have trips going across the border and a student for no legitimate reason being denied entry to the U.S. We're obviously not going to leave that student and continue on," said Ryan Bird, a spokesman for the board. The board has some 246,000 students and 584 schools and is one of the largest in North America. 

How can you get mad at them for this? How can you sit there and say, "well, America is pretty great, so, whatever, ya puss" to anyone? I have no idea.

Every single person who does not come to this country is a lost opportunity. Every single unit of currency that someone doesn't spend here hurts Americans from the retail and tourism industry all the way through to the restaurant industry and the hotel industry. Everyone who doesn't come here to work on a visa is a missed chance at bringing in talented people to work here. Every decision made to stay away like this one cited above is a shameful moment in our history.

We'd better get our act together, and fast. A lot of people are going to suffer in the months ahead, and we need to return to normalcy in this country. We need to stop sucking.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Don't Be Surprised if Trump Starts a War Somewhere

One of the things that came to mind tonight while watching Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O'Donnell was the fact that no one seems to have picked up on what presidents in crisis sometimes do.

If you're Reagan, you invade Grenada.

If you're Clinton, you bomb Iraq.

If you're second President Bush, post-9/11, you invade Iraq and overstay your welcome.

If you're Trump, you invade [blank space].

Well, if you're Trump, you invade Russia, right? Or Iraq a third time. Or you invade Ecuador and take the oil they don't have. More likely, you send an incompetent boob occupying what used to be the Secretary of State's office and you start a war with North Korea.

This is a president in crisis, and one of the things he and his advisors may decide to do is start a war under a phony pretext and use it to temporarily distract people from the fact that the sharpest people in the FBI--the counter-espionage agents--are actively engaged in looking into whether or not the Trump campaign coordinated efforts with Russia in order to steal the 2016 election.

It would take a lot for Dan Rather to say something like this, and this is what he said an hour ago:

[...] with each turn of this story, the level of seriousness deepens. Add to this some unorthodox actions by the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, briefing President Trump on details of investigations, and we are long past having any excuse not to launch an open bipartisan investigation and a special prosecutor. 

I have seen a lot in my lifetime. But I have never seen anything like this. No one has. The cauldron of chaos and confusion which engulfs President Trump in his early days in office is simply unprecedented. 

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? The vote on the health care bill is shaping up to be its own mess. Can President Trump arm twist his own party members to deliver victory in the House? What last minute concessions will have to be made to bring along conservatives? Should we really be rushing a bill on heath care with major changes hammered out for politics instead of policy? What will this mean for the Senate?

The White House is under siege. The President's poll numbers drop to record lows. The fires of scandal are encroaching. Around and around it goes, where it stops nobody knows. Dangerous times.

There is a very good possibility that both Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn are headed to trial and possibly prison. There is a very good possibility that the Congress will shut down the current investigations and act surprised when the FBI reveals what it knows. There is a slim chance all of this turns into nothing.

But what I'm telling you is, don't be shocked when it looks like this country is headed into armed conflict with another nation/state that would otherwise be considered marginal and insignificant. To "wag the dog" is to pick a dog that can't bite anymore, and that means that innocent people are going to die because Trump is surrounded by the very worst people who have ever served in a White House.

Crisis mode is upon us, and that's one of the cards that hasn't been played in a while.

Give Us a Special Prosecutor Already

If you're too "bizarre" for John McCain, you've got to go (except for Congressman Schiff, of course):

In an interview with MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday, Senator John McCain blasted the behavior of the top Democrat and Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, calling their actions "bizarre." "No longer does the Congress have credibility to handle this alone, and I don't say that lightly," he said in the interview. McCain went on to say that there should be a congressional select committee or independent commission to investigate the matter further. Earlier on Wednesday, Devin Nunes, the Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that there was new evidence indicating that U.S. intelligence may have incidentally collected communications of President Donald Trump's transition officials. Later top Democrat Adam Schiff took him to task for briefing Trump on the matter. 

Devin Nunes basically tried to loop the Trump Regime in on what's happening and give them some cover in the weeks ahead. Adam Schiff is correct--you don't brief the guy being investigated and give him a head's up and a helping hand and an early Christmas gift while you're in the process of determining how bad he betrayed his country. Schiff hasn't done anything wrong because he hasn't lost his temper in front of these assholes yet. If there was any sanity in the House of Representatives, Nunes would be sitting with Darrell Issa right now.

Are we ever going to get to the bottom of this? Nope--not for another two years. The Republicans don't want that to happen. So, what we have to do is organize and prepare for 2018. If the Democrats can win back the House and Senate, we can investigate, we can level charges, and we can impeach this president and remove him and his cronies from office. None of that will happen with John McCain's help, but thanks for playing, Senator.

Oh, and if this had been a court of law, Nunes would be guilty of about fifteen or twenty of those lawyerly things that they talk about on television.

He Needs Us to Trust Him, and We Can’t

James Fallows followed Donald Trump throughout the 2016 election and wrote an invaluable series of daily briefs on how Trump was not a normal candidate and how he blew through all of the conventional requirements that virtually all of our previous presidents followed. Today, he eviscerates the idea that, when there's a national security crisis, Trump will settle down and act like a "normal" president:

Something has happened to every new president, and something will happen to Donald Trump. It is inevitable. And when that something occurs, it is also inevitable that his administration will need to say, Trust us on this. That’s in the nature of foreign emergencies. It can take a long time to figure out the truth. And even when the truth is known, some of it remains too sensitive to reveal. (Who exactly were the Bay of Pigs invaders hoping to find as allies inside Castro’s Cuba? What exactly was aboard the U.S. surveillance plane that was forced down onto Chinese territory?) So without having all the facts on the table and in public view, and administration inevitably relies on a cushion of domestic and international trust that it is telling some version of the truth, that it is doing its best to weigh evidence and be straight about the results.

The inevitability of this moment, when a new president says Trust me, is why so many veteran officials have warned against Donald Trump’s habit of incessantly telling instantly disprovable lies. Some of the lies don’t really matter: “biggest inaugural crowd ever,” when photos showed it was comparatively small. Some of them obviously would, if true: millions of illegal voters, wiretapped by Obama. But of course they’re not true, and everyone except Trump and his coterie can look at the evidence and know that. Thus the problem: If an administration will lie about facts where the contradictory evidence is in plain sight, how can we possibly believe them on anything else?

The simple fact is, we can't trust Trump because he hasn't been honest. Ever. Any Republican who still thinks that Trump will throw a switch when things get serious and turn into Ronald Reagan is delusional at best. This is the best Trump they're ever going to get, and this is as reasonable and as presidential as he's ever going to be. We are seriously fucked because of this stark reality.

Fallows is essential reading for me, and I hope he is for you as well. A president without a shred of credibility is a disaster waiting to happen--a disaster that is going to cost lives. If something does happen, Trump won't hesitate to obfuscate, deny, and blame someone else. We already know that he has virtually ignored the presidential daily briefs and that he is not intellectually honest enough to admit that he does not know what he's doing. He's surrounded by scoundrels and worse. So, Fallows is exactly right when he says "he needs us to trust him, and we can't."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Trump Organization Fears a $500 Fine

Not only are New Yorkers picking up the tab to protect Trump Tower, but word came down today that Trump's underlings scrambled to avoid having to pay a $500 fine:

After NBC News contacted The Trump Organization on Tuesday to let the firm know it was in violation of New York City law for not registering Trump Tower, the company has completed the necessary paperwork and registered the property. 

The Trump Organization, the umbrella corporation for Donald Trump's holdings, owns the skyscraper at 725 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and is headquartered there. Donald and Melania Trump have a penthouse in the tower and Trump's sons also maintain offices in the building. 

Property owners of certain residential buildings are required by city law to register with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development every year, but Trump Tower’s registration expired in 2016 and The Trump Organization never renewed it. Failing to register can result in a fine of up to $500, and revokes some of the rights usually enjoyed by property owners.

Trump only surrounds himself with the best, the most wonderful, and the most special of people, some of which can actually tie their own shoes. And it would be nice if people would simply refer to Trump Tower as the home of Paul Manafort, alleged money launderer and Russian agent.

The Optics on This Are Perfect

America's tired, low-energy Secretary of Oil and Gas Development Deals is really not into being a diplomat or being what we used to call the Secretary of State:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip a meeting of NATO state heads on April 6 and 7, Reuters reports. Instead, Tillerson plans to attend a Mar-a-Lago meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Days later, on April 12, Tillerson plans to visit Russia, Reuters reports. Tillerson’s reported travel plans have sparked concerns the Trump administration is prioritizing Russia over NATO allies, former U.S. officials told Reuters. On the campaign trail, Trump was skeptical of NATO, calling the alliance “obsolete” and accusing member nations of not paying their fair share. After meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, Trump falsely claimed that “Germany owes... vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

The day that you get handed your ass in public is the day you double down on Russia? That'll show them! Brilliant optics. It totally does not look like this country is run by people owned by agents working out of the Kremlin who desperately need oil and gas deals.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rachel Maddow is Kicking Serious Ass Right Now

Instead of negative bullshit amplified by rage and disgust, I want to take a moment and say that Rachel Maddow has been doing yeoperson's work for the last month. Maddow has been good at what she does for years, but she has been next-level great when it comes to analyzing what has gone wrong with the Trump regime. Sometimes, people find their groove and get hot and that's what's happening right now.

This has really been a combination of subject matter and the expert who can talk about these things within the format of a one-hour opinion show. There are a lot of people doing what she does, but Maddow is the top of the heap right now. Every show is cracking, every segment has been working, and every time she brings on a guest, you worry for a moment and then, boom, she nails it. She has been bringing out people with precise expertise that has been informative and insightful.

Do you know how scared they are of her right now? They're celebrating the fact that her ratings went down:

Rachel's Ratings: Maddow's Viewership Plummets After Trump Tax ...

3 days ago - MSNBC host Rachel Maddow saw a steep drop in ratings the day after she released one of President Trump's tax forms. Maddow and her ...

Maddow's Ratings Tank After Showing Trump's Tax Returns

2 days ago - MSNBC host Rachel Maddow's ratings have plummeted since her special episode Tuesday night when she said she was going to release President Donald Trump's tax returns.  Maddowtweeted on Tuesday before her show that she had Trump's tax returns, hyping the report for her audience.

Rachel Maddow's Ratings Tank After Trump Tax Faceplant - PJ Media

1 day ago - MSNBC darling Rachel Maddow saw her ratings plummet after her much hyped reveal of President Trump's tax forms turned out to be a ...

Never mind the fact that no one has proven her wrong and never mind the fact that her ratings have been growing steadily--the conservative media world is terrified that an actual liberal is saying things that are true to a growing audience on television.

If there's nothing else to feel good about right now, join me in being a fanboy and praise Maddow for upping her game and speaking truth to power. Don't they give out awards for this stuff? Someone should make certain that Maddow gets an award for her recent run of shows because she's been on fire.  


This is the work of a traitor:

It is unclear if Trump sent out the tweet or ordered it. The account says it is managed by Trump's social media manager, Dan Scavino.

The tweet suggests Obama -- and by extension Comey -- could have been the source of leaked information about meetings between Flynn and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak that eventually led to Flynn's resignation. There's no evidence to back up that suggestion, either.

Treason has a name, and you spell it with a Trump at the end. Never, ever in my life did I ever expect to write a blog post calling the president a traitor. Never, ever in my life have I ever seen such desperation and depravity in public discourse. The real crime is that Michael Flynn was working with the Russians, forgot to register as a foreign agent, and more than likely lied in order to get a security clearance so that he could be the National Security Advisor. And Trump thinks people are going to be mad because President Obama might have been the source of leaked information on that subject.

Bitch, please. 

Norms? There are no norms anymore. The 45th President just insinuated, after being caught lying the first time around, that the 44th President may have leaked classified information. 


*Here's what I mean by unbelievable. 

1. I could not imagine George W. Bush doing something like this. He was a horrible president, and he had horrible human beings around him, but he was not as bad as Trump.

2. I could not imagine Mitt Romney or John McCain doing something like this, either.

3. If Hillary and her people had colluded with Russia to steal the election, the entire country would have been brought to a standstill and impeachment proceedings would already be in full swing. Nothing would function. No one would be able to do anything.

4. Fiction novelists have never come up with anything as insane as Trump, all of his Nazis, Michael Flynn, some weirdos, his son-in-law, and his nutty handmaiden Kellyanne Conway winning the presidency of the United States of America. No human being could ever suspend that much disbelief, and yet, that's exactly what we're living through right now.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

No One is Immune to This Insanity

If Hassan Aden--who is the retired police chief of Greenville, North Carolina--can be treated like he doesn't belong in his own country, we can all be treated like this:

Writing on Facebook on Saturday, retired cop Hassan Aden said he was returning from Paris where he helped his mother celebrate her 80th birthday when he was singled out and pulled from line by a customs official at John F. Kennedy International Airport who asked, “Are you traveling alone? Let’s take a walk.”

“I was taken to a back office which looked to be a re-purposed storage facility with three desks and signs stating, ‘Remain seated at all times’ and ‘Use of telephones strictly prohibited’—my first sign that this was not a voluntary situation and, in fact, a detention,” Aden wrote. ” By this point I had informed CBP Officer Chow, the one that initially detained me, that I was a retired police chief and a career police officer AND a US citizen—he stated that he had no control over the circumstance and that it didn’t matter what my occupation was.”

According to Aden after handing his passport over he was told that someone was using his name and that he had had to be cleared “so that I could gain passage into the United States… my own country!!!”

Nobody is insulated from this craziness because who knows what the policy will be when going overseas. You can leave and everything will be fine. You come back, and someone at Customs will have conflicting guidance and, the next thing you know, you're in the same boat that the late Senator Edward Kennedy found himself in years ago along with current Congressman John Lewis:

A second prominent lawmaker said Friday that he's been subjected to extra security at airports because his name appears on a list designed to prevent terrorists from boarding planes.

Rep. John Lewis, D - Georgia, a nine-term congressman famous for his civil rights work with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has been stopped 35 to 40 times over the past year, his office said.

Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on border security Thursday that he's been stopped several times because his name appeared on an airline watch list.

If you think it's bad now, wait until Trump is done getting revenge on the airline industry for denying him that crappy airline he used to own. And when you factor in the confusion over "extreme vetting" and sheer incompetence, well, it's no wonder American tourism is about to nosedive.

The Russians Now Own Rand Paul

I think it's fair to say that Senator John McCain was right and Senator Rand Paul really is with the Russians, too:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul suggested on Sunday that the federal government should employ lie detector tests in order to determine who leaked transcripts of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

“It is very, very important that whoever released that go to jail because you cannot have members of the intelligence community listening to the most private and highly classified information and then releasing that to The New York Times,” Paul said on ABC’s This Week. “There can only be a certain handful of people who did that. I would bring them all in. They would have to take lie detector tests.”

Paul went on to warn of a “deep state” in which the intelligence community has “enormous power” and top officials are blackmailed.

Rand and his father Ron have always chased the money, and the money coming from Russia must look pretty good to them.

There's a problem here, though, and the problem is, Rand Paul is stupid.

Lie detectors don't actually catch lies. And people in the intelligence community already know that. A polygraph is just a fancy work for interrogation. And if you think people regularly subjected to polygraphs are going to, all of a sudden, fail one because they did their patriotic duty and revealed that Mike Flynn--a Russian-paid operative who was lobbying for Turkey while working as the National Security Advisor--was talking to the Russians, well, okay then.

When classified information that is actually in the public's interest is leaked, that's more of a whistleblower thing. Still illegal, but nonetheless. The conscience of whoever leaked that information about Flynn is, hopefully, clear. And if Paul is too stupid to know this, then he deserves to face the voters the next time around and defend his record of defending Russia.

Trump is Never in the White House

A vast number of good and decent Americans work around the clock to keep Washington D.C. safe. The White House, the Capitol, and all of the monuments are protected by people who, in the middle of the night, will be faced with terrible threats and with whatever crazy people can throw at them.

I am glad this appears to have been a hoax and I hope the person who did this gets the help they need. There might actually have been something in the vehicle, however, so who knows?But there are two things to remember.

One, the Republicans have repeatedly stood in the way of rules that would identify the mentally ill as individuals who should not own guns. Crazy people should not be allowed to buy guns in this country because they will use them to do insane shit. It's that simple.

Two, Trump is never in the White House. Of all of the "norms" that have been shattered in the last year, this is one that stands out to me. Trump has gone golfing ten times in eight weeks and continues to use the Mar-a-Lago resort as a second White House. He refuses to use Camp David and instead uses Air Force One like a personal shuttle bus. Instead of Marine One, we're paying for Air Force One. Where's the outrage from Congress on this level of spending? The optics are awful--you're cutting Meals on Wheels while your wife sits in a glass tower in the middle of Manhattan and it's burning through budgets left and right. Where's the outrage on maintaining this lifestyle when previous presidents were much more frugal and worked harder? You'd think that a Benghazi-style Congressional hearing would have been held by now.

They might as well sell Camp David back to the people of rural Maryland and let the Catoctin Mountain Park function as an actual recreation area without restrictions. It's a wonderful place, but having Camp David in it has always been a pain in the ass. If Trump won't use it, then get rid of it.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Trump Expects Everyone to Pay Their Bills (Except Him, of Course)

Whenever Trump starts talking about NATO, you can be rest assured that his information comes only from right-wing opinion outlets that would like to see the alliance come to an end so that Russia can dominate Europe.

How much more Trumpian could all of this be? A deadbeat businessman who stiffs contractors, files bankruptcy, and doesn't pay his bills is complaining because cash-strapped European countries aren't throwing millions of dollars into the development of weapons that won't keep them safe. That's the hypocrisy of letting Trump make a moral argument about anything--he can't hold himself up as a positive example and he can't help but lie, early and often, about the basic facts.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what percentage we're paying versus what they're paying in the NATO countries because a war in Europe would cost us trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of dead Americans:

President Trump on Saturday took to Twitter to proclaim that Germany better pay up to NATO for the “vast sums” it owes. Despite describing his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as “great,” he said, “Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO,” adding that “the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany.” Trump’s latest comments on the matter follow repeated warnings from Trump to NATO allies that the U.S. might withdraw support for the alliance if other countries don’t pay up for defense spending. In January, Trump angered European leaders by blasting NATO as “obsolete” and complaining that member countries weren’t “paying what they're supposed to be paying.”

Peace in Europe means a more stable world. What's the price tag on that? Well, if you're talking about loyal Americans and the economy, our ability to build aircraft carriers, fleets of planes, and deploy heavy armored divisions is a small price to pay for not having to fend off a Russian invasion of Western Europe. 

Should Germany pay more? Absolutely. We're not talking about "vast sums." We're talking marginal budget increases over time, and we're talking about an alliance of nations, not Germany owning America billions of dollars. These things need to be negotiated through the framework of the overall alliance as it exists right now. I guess I'm a little forgiving of nations that sent their troops to Afghanistan to help us in the fight in the war on the tactic of terror.

Europeans have fought and died alongside Americans in Afghanistan for years. Isn't that worth something?

Over a thousand British and "other" coalition soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. Virtually every NATO member that sent troops saw them come home in body bags or on medical evacuation flights. And we're begrudging these countries over a few million dollars in military spending? How does that make us the leaders of the free world when we engage in this penny ante bullshit?

If you want to change the behavior of your allies, you work with them within the treaty that governs the entirety of the NATO alliance. You persuade and cajole behind the scenes. Make trades and honor your promises--something an inveterate liar like Trump probably does not comprehend. You deliver concessions and win concessions based on your skills in diplomacy. Picking the guy who ran Exxon-Mobil to blunder through pretend-diplomacy isn't going to cut it. And tweeting never helps.

Oh, and before anyone says, "well, the Russians would never do that," I have some Ukrainian, Chechnian, and Georgian peeps who would like to beg differently. And I know some homies in Finland and the Baltic states who would like to question your reasoning.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tom Price Had a U.S. Attorney After Him

Stock trades made by the current Secretary of Health and Human Services were being investigated by recently fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara:

The former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who was fired last week by the Trump administration, was allegedly overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by Trump’s health secretary, ProPublica reportedly on Friday. According to “a person familiar with the office,” at the time of his dismissal, Preet Bharara—who was at

first told he would stay in his post under Trump—was investigating allegations that newly confirmed Health and Human Services Sec. Tom Price traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health companies while a lawmaker voting on legislation that affected the industry—a potential conflict of interest that could violate U.S. securities laws.

Corruption, graft, and outright greed--this is the legacy of the Trump Regime and we're barely into the second month. There will be so many indictments and resignations and scandals by next summer that there likely won't even be a Department of Health and Human Services. It would be so much easier to slash and burn through the Executive Branch before a Democratic Party in charge of Congress could put things back together and perform basic oversight.

American Jackass

So the leader of the free world (that's her on the left) sat with an American jackass named Donald Trump and must have thought to herself, "we're going to have to stand up to Russia on our own."

For Trump to make the statements he did today--that other nations in NATO must pay their "fair share" and that he has "being wiretapped" in common with Merkel--shows you just how far this country has fallen in terms of national prestige. They say you shouldn't criticize the president over foreign policy issues or in front of foreign leaders and citizens from another country. I remember when The Dixie Chicks told and overseas audience that they were ashamed of George W. Bush or something to that effect.

Well, dammit, look where we are today. Angela Merkel is the freely elected leader of the only country that seriously opposes Russia right now. She has a few allies here and there, but the Russians are really trying to topple France right now.

America has fallen. For a jackass, no less. 

Michael Flynn is Trump's Biggest Problem

At some point, everything around Michael Flynn is going to collapse and he's going to need lawyers to help him out of this jam:

New documents released Thursday by the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee appear to show that ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn took money from three Russian companies, including the state-run RT news organization, prior to becoming an adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign.

Flynn, who spoke at RT’s 10th anniversary gala in December 2015, told Yahoo News on July 18, 2016 that he had been paid for his appearance at the event by his speaker’s bureau, Leading Authorities, Inc., and not by the Russian government. 

In fact, according to documents provided to the House Oversight Committee and published by the ranking Democrat on that committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), RT paid the entirety of the $33,750 speaking fee to Flynn Intel Group, including additional travel expenses, in addition to a $11,250 commission for LAI, in November 2015. Additional documents show the speaker’s bureau communicating directly, and coordinating payments with, a manager at RT.

A spokesperson for Flynn told the Wall Street Journal that he had notified the Defense Intelligence Agency of his RT appearance.

Cummings' documents also showed one $11,250 payment each to Flynn from Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Kaspersky Government Security Solutions, Inc. in July 2015.

Following the release of the documents, top Democrats on the House Oversight, Armed Services, Judiciary, Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs Committees called for an investigation of Flynn’s compliance with the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.

Flynn was engaged in collecting money from various Russians in laughably small amounts. Let's say you're a former three-star general who used to run the Defense Intelligence Agency. When a Russian company offers you ten or eleven thousand dollars, the first thing you should do is laugh politely and refuse to take the money. Not Flynn. He rammed that cash in his pants and went looking for more.

That right there is reason enough for Congress to hold seven or eight hearings into what he knew and what he did and what the Trump people knew about it. I suppose the only defense there is comes down to this--Michael Flynn is the stupidest military intelligence officer in the history of the military intelligence corps.

What happens when Flynn (and I will not refer to him by his rank because I believe his status as a retired general officer is what is really in danger here) decides that he doesn't want to go to jail? What happens if they reduce him in rank to Lieutenant Colonel and have him forfeit retirement benefits? What happens if this becomes a criminal matter because, well, there's that little thing about lying on his Standard Form 86 that comes into play here?

I'll tell you what happens. In all likelihood, Flynn rolls over on the Trump campaign, but not Trump himself. Flynn could be used to ensnare a few of Trump's closest associates. Is it possible for Flynn to end up on the other side of this with only a bruised ego and a reduction in retired rank to two star general? Absolutely. And Trump would probably find a way to pardon him, if there's a legal pathway to that scenario. But what should really be focused on here is the link between Trump and Flynn. They campaigned together, they were part of the transition, and Flynn was national security advisor for about a minute and a half. If he's not Trump's worst mistake, he's in the top twenty-five.

Oh, and I still can't believe that I traded Representative Elijah Cummings for Representative Will Hurd. That's my biggest mistake.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Trump Must Be Opposed in Every Single Way

There are so many "Trump Can't Govern" and "Trump Can't Lead" stories out there, but here's a piece of unnecessary evil that his budget will commit:

-- Trump would eliminate the Legal Services Corporation, which helps almost 2 million people a year. The agency helps poor people find lawyers to resolve housing cases and navigate bankruptcy, and helps victims of domestic violence get protective court orders.

Here you have a president who has repeatedly taken advantage of bankruptcy laws so that he could stay afloat and, ahem, allegedly take a lot of money from the Russians with which to stay in business. A president who won't release his taxes and prove otherwise, I should say. And after using bankruptcy to protect himself, he's going to deny millions of Americans the same opportunity. If that's not bald-faced hypocrisy, then what the hell is?

Meanwhile, Lawyers, Guns and Money have noticed, repeatedly, that Glenn Greenwald is basically making shit up on a regular basis:

There has, in short, been plenty of opposition against Trump from a variety of non-Russia angles, some of which has already been successful. This idea that Democrats are too obsessed with Russia to oppose Trump — and this isn’t the first time Glenn has claimed this — is a fiction. The Russia obsession is Glenn’s; most Democrats have had no problem being focused on the many awful things Trump is doing even if they also care about Russian influence on the election.

Interest in ties between Trump and Russia has been secondary to interest in making sure Trump doesn't destroy the whole goddamned country. I tend to skew more towards the Russia thing because, well, how much more un-American could you be and how much more of a hypocrite could you be, but the answer is, none. Trump could not be more of a hypocrite no matter what. On policy matters, he's a disaster, and that tiny, probably overlooked item about the Legal Services Corporation is a prime example of it. I am a supporter of things that keep Russia in check because a Europe dominated by Russian kleptocratic principles would not be in the best interests of anyone.

Sure, I laugh about the whole Russian pee hooker thing, but that's because I care about this country. I really would like to see us roll back all of the evil and not watch as millions of Americans are cast in poverty and left with nothing. THAT'S why we oppose him. The potential for harm to far too many people is too great to ignore.

And, yeah, letting people die because they can't afford health care is a real and unnecessary example of this evil, so that's that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

They Forgot to Put Black People Behind Trump Again

I was all set to write a post you won't read about how Trump and his regime have, once again, taken a shredder to the Constitution and failed to properly ban Muslims from entering the country when I noticed something.

His advance people forgot to put African-Americans and other people of color behind him in Nashville. Normally, when you see Trump, someone has had the foresight to place people behind him that suggest that he is tolerant and accepting of all races and all colors and all religions (he's not, but YOLO). I'm sorry, but all I see are the white people who voted for him and they all can't believe their good luck to be standing near him while the country goes to hell.

Who will be fired for this oversight? What luckless three hundred pound halfwit sack of crap in a $200 suit from Sears is out of a gig because of this fuckup? I own one of those suits, and I look great in it.

The Right Wing Will Attack Substance Every Time

This kind of thing demonstrates one of the methods that right wingers will deploy against journalism because, well, journalism is what is kicking their asses right now:

"It takes less time to fill out your taxes than for Rachael Maddow to get to what's in Trump's taxes."

Rachel Maddow teased a big reveal on her Tuesday night show, tweeting earlier in the afternoon that she had gained access to President Donald Trump's tax returns. 

The MSNBC host promised to release the returns on her show at 9 p.m. ET.

"BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns," Maddow wrote, with the network even displaying a "Trump Taxes Countdown Clock" prior to the airing of her show.

The news got Twitter users abuzz about what she was planning to reveal.

However, as Maddow started off her show talking about Trump's reasons for not releasing his taxes, and questioning "cageyness" around Michael Flynn and his ties to Turkey, along with Trump's questionable real estate deals, among many others topics, viewers began to get restless.

Anybody with their underwear in a bundle over this can go pound sand. If you can't spell her name, you're not a regular viewer and you're probably looking to make hay out of nothing. The Rachel Maddow Show operates in a specific format designed to keep people watching because she is competing for ratings in a tough television landscape. She has to tease segments and use each one of them to the best possible advantage in order to stay on the air and keep MSNBC from cancelling her show. You may not like the tease, but she's hardly the only one who has to fill an hour every night who does that. If you watch her on a regular basis, hey, that's how she works and there's nothing wrong with it.

Thank God her ratings are up because no one wants to end up like Ed Schultz, right? No one wants to end up on the wrong side of a discussion about what's best for her hour of programming. She's up against relentless lies and incompetence from her competitors and she's doing amazing work, night in and night out. She's also fending off Brian Williams and anyone else who covets her time slot. 

But note the attack on the substance of her reporting. Trump made $150 million dollars and used a bunch of write-offs to pay as little tax as possible. Good for him. He's never been interested in doing anything to support the U.S. government or the State of New York. He's in business to take as much money from suckers and keep it, and we've known about this for as long as anyone has heard of Donald Trump. The easy marks never see him coming, do they?

One thing you can't call Trump is a patriot. He plays everything like a casino game (and, boy, when the house always wins, you can count on Trump to lose bigly when the odds are in his favor when it comes to legalized gambling). He's a bumbling fool who only made $150 million in calendar year 2005. That, in and of itself, should reveal the real con here. He's not a billionaire and he grossly overinflated his wealth and business acumen to trick people into voting for him.

When Rachel Maddow uses substantive journalism to reveal this, of course the wingers are going to attack the form not the substance. That's what they do because that's all they have left. They have no answers, no ability to govern, and no desire to work through problems. They are in smash mode and everything looks like fine glassware.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Steven Bannon is Destroying America From Within

Steve Bannon's Leninist tendencies are not well understood in the red and blue states:

Trump's first budget will make more of a statement than most debut spending blueprints by other new presidents. The White House has made clear it intends to use the document to usher in the radical political changes that powered Trump's upstart, anti-establishment campaign last year.

It comes on the heels of other big changes such as the abrupt dismissal of 46 US attorneys last week and the effort to dismantle Obama's signature health care law.

The "destruction of the administrative state" is what Trump's political guru Stephen Bannon calls the President's agenda.

The senior White House adviser laid out his philosophy during a rare public appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month.

"If you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction. The way the progressive left runs, is if they can't get it passed, they're just going to put in some sort of regulation in an agency," Bannon said.

I keep seeing stories about people in red states and in blue states who voted for Trump without having the first clue as to what he was really going to do and without knowing any of the shady, marginal fringe characters around him. They thought he was going to be like Reagan, in a way. They thought he was going to shake things up, drain the swamp, and make the business of the American people start humming again.

They should have educated themselves. This is what they're doing--they're tearing everything apart. They're telling you who they are and they don't care what anyone thinks of them. It's mind boggling, every day, living in this nightmare.

The buyer's remorse is pretty thick right now. Trump is outsourcing every major decision. He's letting those "deplorables" run things and they're hell-bent on wrecking it all. Once it is all ruined, the American people are going to suffer. The wealthy will have what they want, but what good is money when there's no country left in which to be rich? What good is all of your money when you can't leave your walled compound because the slums are leaning against your front door? The middle class is disappearing. The working class are going to be left with ashes and what remains. The Republicans would rather have people fighting over resources and struggling with day-to-day life because that keeps them pliable and susceptible to existential fears.

When does the war start? You know, the war that Trump is going to start so people stop paying attention to what his minions are doing? Rally around the flag, boys. Salute your president. If you're not with us, you're against us. Can't wait for the next phony war to start.