Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Now Would be a Good Time to Question Every Military Operation

From here on in, every time there is a military operation anywhere in the world, we need to question whether or not it is being conducted in order to deflect criticism from Trump and his regime:

United States special forces have captured a militant in Libya accused of playing an instrumental role in the Benghazi attacks that left four Americans dead in 2012.

President Donald Trump identified the militant as Mustafa al-Imam and said his capture in a high-stakes operation signified that the victims "will never be forgotten". 

Justice Department officials were escorting Mr al-Imam by military plane to the US, where he was expected to be tried in federal court.

"Our memory is deep and our reach is long, and we will not rest in our efforts to find and bring the perpetrators of the heinous attacks in Benghazi to justice," Mr Trump said.

Good for them, glad they got the guy, medals all around.

But what's really going on here? Why now and why such a blatantly non-Trumpian statement? Why doesn't he call these guys sons of bitches? Why is his language harsher for the likes of Colin Kaepernick than for an actual terrorist?

When Will it be Michael Flynn's Turn in the Barrel?

Here's an oldie but a goodie:

A current U.S. intelligence official tells NPR's Mary Louise Kelly that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the transcripts of former national security adviser Michael Flynn's conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, although the official noted that doesn't rule out the possibility of illegal actions.

The official also says that there are recordings as well as transcripts of the calls, and that the transcripts don't suggest Flynn was acting under orders in his conversations.

Flynn resigned late Monday, after allegations that he discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with Kislyak and then misled Vice President Pence about the nature of those conversations. Flynn initially denied discussing sanctions at all, but in his resignation Flynn said he "inadvertently" gave Pence "incomplete information" about the conversations.

NPR's Phil Ewing previously reported that it is not in dispute that Flynn spoke with Kislyak in late December. "The issue is what he said," Phil wrote.

Depending on the content of the conversations, Flynn could have violated a law called the Logan Act, which bars a private individual from conducting foreign policy without the permission of the U.S. government. For instance, if Flynn told the ambassador the Trump administration would drop the sanctions, that would have been illegal.

The intelligence official who has personally seen the transcripts told Mary Louise they contained "no evidence" of criminal wrongdoing, although the official said it can't be definitively ruled out.

The official also said there was "absolutely nothing" in the transcripts that suggests Flynn was acting under instructions "or that the trail leads higher."

"I don't think [Flynn] knew he was doing anything wrong," the official said. "Flynn talked about sanctions, but no specific promises were made. Flynn was speaking more in general 'maybe we'll take a look at this going forward' terms."

This story is from February, 2017 and I would really, really like to know who this "intelligence official" is because I believe we are getting closer and closer to the moment where we will learn Flynn's fate in the Robert Mueller investigation.

I bring all of this up because, well, why not?

Former CIA Director James Woolsey has been in contact with FBI agents working under special counsel Robert Mueller regarding his knowledge of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a spokesman for Woolsey said Friday.

"Ambassador Woolsey and his wife have been in communication with the FBI regarding the Sept. 19, 2016 meeting Ambassador Woolsey was invited to attend by one of Gen. Flynn's business partners," Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for Woolsey, said in a statement. "Ambassador Woolsey and his wife have responded to every request, whether from the FBI, or, more recently, the Office of the Special Counsel."

According to NBC News, Franks said that Woolsey had been in touch with the FBI both before and after Mueller took over the law enforcement probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Flynn has become a focal point of Mueller's investigation.

Of reported interest to Mueller is a meeting in September 2016 in which Woolsey said he heard a discussion about sending a U.S.-based Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gülen, back to Turkey.

They're going to go after Flynn and his son, and that's all well and good, but I want to revisit the old NPR story. Who was actively lying on Flynn's behalf and trying to downplay his part in colluding with the Russians?

More importantly, was there a larger coverup inside the Trump White House when Flynn was fired? An obstruction of justice, perhaps? This is a question that Mueller's team started asking months ago, it would appear to me.

The quid was the easing of sanctions on Russia, and that's what Flynn talked to Kislyak about. The quo was the delivery of dirt on Hillary Clinton via her e-mails. It would appear to me that Michael "Lock Her Up" Flynn was in the middle of all of that from the get-go.

Ought to be one hell of a ride in the barrel, general.

Oh, and then there's this thought--

--what if Flynn has already been charged and has already plead guilty?

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Monday, October 30, 2017

What's in Spicey's Notebooks?

If it turns out that former Trump Foreign Policy advisor George Papadopoulos wore a wire last summer, what do you want to bet that the things that he recorded are going to be corroborated by the meticulous notes kept by former Press Secretary Sean Spicer:

News networks reportedly passed on recent free agent Sean Spicer, but the former White House press secretary may yet get a starring turn in Robert Mueller’s Russia melodrama. According to former colleagues, Spicer filled “notebook after notebook” with notes about his meetings during the Trump campaign and while he was in the White House, Mike Allen reported Thursday morning. The note-taking was so conspicuous that “underlings joked about him writing a tell-all” one day. “Sean documented everything,” one source told Allen, saying that it helped Spicer do his job more efficiently.

The note-taking may have helped Spicer’s job performance, but as any lawyer (or Baltimore drug dealer) is aware, notes can easily be subpoenaed by lawyers fishing for evidence. Especially when you may have had a front-row seat to a grand conspiracy to collude with agents of a foreign government to interfere in a presidential election, as Mueller’s team is investigating. “Think about your own profession and what some smart-ass—excuse me, lawyer—can do with your notes,” Stan Brand, who served as former White House aide George Stephanopoulous’s lawyer during the Whitewater scandal, told Vanity Fair back in 1996. (And Brand would know: several aides and staffers in the Clinton administration were done in by their own note-taking habits during the scandal, leading to a general practice of White House staffers intentionally taking as few notes as possible.)

Think about it--you may have extensive recordings and you may have extensively detailed notes kept by someone who, during the 2016 campaign, was outside of the Trump campaign and working inside of the Republican National Committee. If there are gaps in what Papadopoulos was able to collect, these can likely be filled by Spicer's notes.

Spicer has no reason to show Trump any loyalty. He was entirely a creation of the RNC. He worked there for years, long before Trump came along. He was anti-Trump in the beginning, for crying out loud, but sold his soul like all the rest of them. The only reason why Spicer was hired to work in the White House was because Jason Miller was excellent at giving young unwed mothers a start in life.

You have a turncoat, a boob, and one of the most unfuckable men on the planet who accidentally got laid once and fathered an out-of-wedlock child while married to another women. The fact that these are all Republicans who have been sullied by their brief but momentous association with Donald Trump is a feature, not a bug.

Trump Knows Everyone Around Him is Guilty

See if this doesn't strike you as being curiously worded and sourced:

The dramatic intensification of the Russia investigation on Monday reignited President Donald Trump's fury at the controversy clouding his presidency, prompting his aides to urgently advise him against lashing out at special counsel Robert Mueller as they work to revive a halting policy agenda.

Watching the developments unfold on the large television screens installed in his private residence, Trump was "seething," according to a Republican close to the White House.

The indictments on Monday of campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates weren't a surprise to Trump, according to people who have spoken with the President. Trump has long assumed that members of his presidential campaign would be swept up in Mueller's probe. 

    The revelation that another campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI was far less expected, the sources said. And the assumption that Papadopoulos is cooperating with the FBI's Russia probe stirred even more unease among Trump's allies.

    This story reads like it was dictated by someone who successfully ducked calls from George Papadopoulos last summer. Ghosting an old pal never meant so much, I would hazard to guess. It reads like it was uttered by someone who has known for months that there is a faction within the White House (ahem, the former campaign people) that is guilty as sin and that there is a faction that is relatively untouched by the shitstain of having worked for Trump in 2016 (Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, I would imagine). There's a cabal that's going to go broke paying for lawyers and there's a slice of the old junta that has a bunch of get-out-of-jail free cards wedged in their buttcracks by virtue of having been with the Republican National Committee while Trump and his lackeys were begging the Russians for help.

    So, if Trump has "long assumed" that his people would be "swept up in Mueller's probe" then what the hell are we doing here? If Trump assumes his people are guilty, isn't that an admission that there was collusion with a foreign government to steal the 2016 presidential election?

    And if that's the case, why the hell is he still president? He was not legitimately elected; therefore, he does hot legitimately hold the office and must be removed along with his entire "administration."

    What part of this is too complicated for the layman to follow or understand? They are all traitors and they all belong in Federal prison.

    Sunday, October 29, 2017

    Trump Will Burn Everything to the Ground to Save Himself

    You know, we are really in a mess right now.

    If you look at how divided the country is, there's really no option for people who believe in facts or the truth. In order to sustain Trump as president, a significant part of our population has to believe lies and distortions in order to justify their continued support of Trump in office.

    The numbers don't lie. There is a broad consensus in the country that Trump has been a disaster as president. There is broad consensus that the election was stolen or compromised in such a way as to make it illegitimate. Our democracy has a lot of built-in remedies, but we don't really have one that would remove Trump from office in such a way as to preserve faith in our institutions and follow the Constitution.

    Impeachment and the 25th Amendment are not really solutions here, not as long as Republicans hold their Gerrymandered majorities in the House and Senate. There are no courageous souls in the orbit of Trump and there never will be. We are not even a year into this presidency and it is hollowing out the very soul of America. The damage is profound and lasting.

    No matter what happens on Monday, October 30th, there is only one constant. Trump will abandon everyone. Trump will throw whoever he needs to under the bus. Trump will ignore every truth and spew a bottomless array of lies in every direction. There is no path here that does not force millions of Americans to put their shoulder to the wheel in order to force him out. Think of the work done to protest the Vietnam War, and how hundreds of thousands of people had to leave normalcy behind and make protest their full-time vocation. I believe that is where we are headed.

    Trump will destroy this country to save his own ass. He will break all the laws they make and some that haven't even been thought up yet. Robert Mueller's first indictments are one step on what promises to be a long, long journey.

    Are there better days ahead? There are, unless Trump figures out a way to make himself president forever.

    The Resistance is Growing

    Lone cyclist responds to @POTUS motorcade shortly after departing Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va. (Photo: @b_smialowski/@AFP)

    This is a remarkable photograph, and it encapsulates everything you need to know about America right now. The composition of it is entirely accidental. How was this woman allowed to ride her bike in traffic as a presidential motorcade passed? How was it that all of these elements were allowed to come together and deliver the single most amazing demonstration of resistance to the Trump regime?

    You have this lone woman, vulnerable and unprotected except for her bike helmet. Along comes an array of armored SUVs transporting the President of the United States. She defies the situation and delivers a stinging rebuke. The raised middle finger is the American response to those who most deserve a hearty 'fuck you' for what they have done. This is how you resist evil. Show it you don't care, show it that you know what it is, and flip it the bird.


    Saturday, October 28, 2017

    Why Does Mike Tirico Still Have a Job?

    If we're going to talk about creepy men who have done horrible things to women in the workplace, why aren't we talking about Mike Tirico?

    Here's what was written about him:

    The first Tirico story involves him hitting on a woman and stalking her after a house party in fall 1992. The woman was a production assistant and "considered an up-and-coming talent," and Tirico went up to her at the party and said "you're the most beautiful woman in here." She walked away, but he kept following her around the party until she finally snapped, "Why don't you fuck off? Get away from me." As she and friends hopped in their car and pulled out of the party, Tirico stepped in front of the car and made the woman stop. "You're the most beautiful person I've ever seen and I think I'm in love with you," Tirico said. She tried to roll up her window and take off, but Tirico stuck his hand in and tried to wedge it between her thighs. She got away, and the next morning, when they saw each other in the ESPN parking lot, he walked up to her, and she expected him to apologize. Instead, he said, "all I did all day was think about you."

    In another story, one female producer — who had been to dinner with Tirico and his fiancee — was startled to receive an email from him saying that he wanted to sleep with her. Later, when the staff went to a bar after a late night covering the NCAA tournament, Tirico approached her and said, "I wish I was single. If I were, I'd throw you on the table right here and fuck your brains out." After she tried to excuse him as drunk, he persisted: "I know you want to screw me. So let's leave." Later, he followed her on the highway and tried to get her to pull over, unsuccessfully.

    Tirico was ultimately suspended for three months and is interviewed in the book, where he, like Reynolds, calls the incidents "misunderstandings." He is now doing "Monday Night Football" and is still married.

    Tirico was on television this afternoon calling a college football game. What the hell?

    Trump is Really, Really Frightening to Children

    This is from the video where Trump "interacted" with the children of members of the media and said to them, "I can't believe the media produced such beautiful children."

    Look at the terror in their eyes. I have seen less harrowing hostage videos.

    Now, I realize this is not a fair comparison, but look at how children flocked to President Obama:

    Charges Have Been Filed

    Right at 8PM Central Time, this dropped like a neutron bomb:

    A federal grand jury on Friday approved the first charges in the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters.

    The indictment was sealed under orders from a federal judge so it was not clear what the charges were or who the target was, the source said, adding that the indictment could be unsealed as early as Monday. 

    The filing of charges by the grand jury in Washington was first reported earlier on Friday by CNN, which said the target could be taken into custody as soon as Monday. 

    U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russia interfered in the election to try to help President Donald Trump defeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton through a campaign of hacking and releasing embarrassing emails, and disseminating propaganda via social media to discredit her campaign. 

    Special counsel Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is investigating whether Trump campaign officials colluded with those Russian efforts.

    This is the Reuters version of what CNN had earlier this evening. So, it's official. The 45th President of the United States of America is presiding over a vast criminal enterprise that has landed in the crosshairs of Robert Mueller. Everything you have seen this week--from the non-revelation that the Democrats linked to Hillary paid for the Steele Dossier to the phony non-scandal about uranium sales--has been in reaction to this absolute bombshell of a story. 

    Trump is a failed president.

    Trump's 'regime' is in chaos tonight. The fiasco unravels a little more with each passing day.

    Someone very close to Trump already knows that the Feds are coming on Monday, and there's nothing they can do about it.


    This is what we've been waiting for, and it took long enough, Goddammit.

    Friday, October 27, 2017

    Mark Halperin

    Good riddance to a sexual deviant and a predator:

    The morning after five women accused veteran journalist Mark Halperin of sexual harassment while he was in a powerful position at ABC News, two more women came forward with their own allegations.

    Those initial five accusers recounted sexual misconduct ranging in nature “from propositioning employees for sex to kissing and grabbing one's breasts against her will,” CNN reported. “Three of the women who spoke to CNN described Halperin as, without consent, pressing an erection against their bodies while he was clothed.”

    Halperin denied some of the allegations listed in Wednesday evening’s story, but added, "I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain.”

    Halperin has essentially lost his ability to make a living, but don't worry. He'll find something to do at Fox News that will sustain him for a while. That's not much of a repercussion for this because, if you read the details about what Halperin did, you end up wondering why he isn't in prison or forced to register as a sex offender.

    His procedure for sexually harassing women was to become erect and force women to sit on his lap. What normal man does this?

    Halperin allegedly did this at work. He exposed his employer to lawsuits, just like Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes.

    Halperin did this to the women who accused him. Women who were junior to him in status because he was allowed to by a corporate culture that was out of control. Yeah, we criticize the hell out of Fox News. Guess what, ABC News? You're not getting a pass here. And NBC never should have hired him in the first place.

    We're not talking about a slap and tickle guy. We're talking about a man who became aroused in preparation for an assault on a woman. This was not "hey, why won't you go out with me?" This was, "I am going to violate you whether you like it or not." He used his power and influence to initiate contact with women and to silence them. I don't think it's possible to overstate how awful this is. 

    And that's a point that I don't think is being made. These are criminal offenses.

    Halperin did these things, according to his accusers. This is the deviant behavior of a sick individual who needs to be stopped because he is a serial offender. I think the tendency of this society is to look at him as a white man and say, "well, he lost money, he lost his job, that's enough of a punishment." Hell no.

    How many women are going to eventually admit they were assaulted? How many won't speak up?

    Halperin used his power in the national media to stop women from complaining about his attacks and to silence them when they tried to speak out. The deviancy of his acts should, at the very least, lead to criminal charges and more.

    When will the criminal justice system catch up to men like this?

    And, you'll note that I don't give a shit about his politics. Liberal, Conservative--that doesn't matter. If he was to the left of me on the political spectrum, he would deserve prison for his actions. There's no pass for people who have agreeable politics or fantastic art. I'm sure there were those who tried to defend Harvey Weinstein because they agreed with him politically or because they feared that Hollywood would stop making the movies that he made, but that's not how any of this works. That's not how this should work.

    Criminal acts negate everything. 

    Thursday, October 26, 2017

    Another Republican Nutjob

    This is Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, and he's a bag of nuts:

    Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday doubled down on his conspiracy theory that Democratic mega-donor George Soros could have been involved in organizing an August white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., saying "proof will be coming."

    "My proof will be coming; check my website out," the Republican lawmaker told CNN reporter Randi Kaye.

    "It has not been debunked, absolutely not debunked whatsoever. So stay tuned," he added, when asked why he is pushing a baseless conspiracy theory with no evidence to support it.

    Gosar goes on to tell the reporter that CNN is "fake news."

    There's no proof on his Goddamned website. What a crank.

    On conservative websites, citing "George Soros" is coded language used to indicate a particular strain of anti-Semitism that does not get talked about. There is no legitimate reason to focus on Soros and his support for left-wing causes because there are a hundred billionaires supporting right-wing initiatives at the same time.

    The left has Soros?

    The right has an endless line of Kochs and Mercers and Waltons and Adelsons and so on and so forth. If you include multi-millionaire donors who are seething with white-hot anger (did you see what I did there?), the GOP is overflowing with intensely angry and disappointed people who are going to think twice about turning over bags of money in 2018.

    This crowd is well on their way to a class revolt. Hell, they have a billionaire president now and nobody says boo about that.

    Gosar is a Trump wannabe, and he should be hit hard and mocked for his ridiculous attempt to make himself relevant in American politics. 

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017

    John Kelly is a Man With No Soul

    Somewhere along the way, John Kelly lost his soul:

    White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly suggested during a debate over how many refugees should be allowed into the U.S. that the country should admit zero. The New York Times reports that the incident is an example of how Kelly, despite being billed as a moderating force inside the White House, has “made clear that he is more aligned with President Trump than anticipated.” Kelly reportedly shares many of the same hardline views as the president on immigration and national security issues.

    Whatever military education he has received clearly didn't register with him because I can't think of anything more un-American than refusing to take in refugees from war-torn countries. It's a xenophobic practice that you would never expect to be expressed by a former general and a man who calls himself an American. This is simply not our way as a country, and it is one of the greatest atrocities of our current predicament with Trump in the White House to see this country sink so far into the sickening abyss of racism, rot and decay because of how men like Kelly are enabling these policies to take hold. 

    It's one thing for a walking turd bowl like Stephen Miller to inflict his pathetic, insecure racism on the American people. It is entirely something else for a Marine general to act the same way. What's the salient difference between these two?

    Kelly once had thousands of men and women under his command, Marines from every walk of American life. A good many of them came to this country looking for a better life. Maybe their parents or grandparents were refugees looking for a sanctuary. For someone to come to this country and volunteer to serve it and defend it is the best aspect of the American spirit I can think of. To put your life on the line for your country is something we take for granted.

    John Kelly has decided to serve this country by pissing all over the idea of taking in refugees. Where did his soul go?



    Opposition Research is Illegal if a Democrat Does It?

    Apparently, opposition research is only illegal and unethical if it is paid for by a Democrat:

    Investigators looking into the so-called "Trump dossier" were not surprised when news broke Tuesday night that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC, working through the Democrats' law firm, Perkins Coie, financed the "salacious and unverified" compilation of allegations of Trump collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign. (The "salacious and unverified" description comes from former FBI Director James Comey.)

    There had been plenty of talk about the Democrats and Perkins Coie, so much that investigators almost assumed that was the case. But it wasn't until the Washington Post broke the story that it was confirmed.

    "I'm shocked," one lawmaker joked Tuesday night. "Who could have ever guessed?"

    And why did the story break when it did? Credit the much-maligned Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The California Republican has been pursuing the dossier more aggressively than anyone else, and it was his Oct. 4 subpoena for the bank records of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that handled the dossier, that finally shook loose the information.

    The fact that the Steele Dossier was paid for by elements of the Clinton campaign arrives like a dull thud. So what? Trump has been up to his armpits in dirty Russian money for over a decade. Did Clinton invent that as well?

    The next time a Republican complains about opposition research, introduce them to Mr. Roger Stone.

    Tuesday, October 24, 2017

    This is a Racist Attack on Decent Americans

    I have lost all of my patience with the media this week. Instead of numerous posts that I wanted to write, I held off because of my disgust.

    Look, it's simple.

    A solder died in Niger along with three comrades. They all deserve equal appreciation for their sacrifice. The wounded deserve that as well. Days and days went by after they were killed in action. The President of the United States called up the family and didn't bother trying to offer them anything resembling condolences. When confronted and attacked by a grieving widow and the mother of the soldier and a sitting member of Congress, he lashed out and sent Chief of Staff John Kelly out in front of reporters to minimize the damage. Days and days go by. The Chief of Staff is proven to have lied about a public statement by a member of Congress. That should have been an immediate firing offense. The president lied about what he said to the widow and her family. The White House circled the wagons and told the press that they were wrong for questioning a general. What has been unleashed here is the single worst shit-show in a parade of endless shit-shows that have been going on since Trump rode down the escalator. This is not America, This is an atrocity happening in the midst of hundreds of other atrocities. And at the heart of this is a mother with no son, a wife without a husband, kids without a dad, and a real live sitting Congresswoman who is getting death threats.

    Now imagine everyone in this scenario is white. 

    The American media is allowing Trump to smear these people because of race.

    The American media is not calling him on it because they're afraid of the backlash. Up to this point, Trump has beaten them down by expressing openly racist opinions that are then backed up by a howling mob full of braying jackals that these companies are not able to comprehend or defend themselves against. They're fighting with dial-up AOL tactics in a world of broadband fiber access. They'd better get in this game, and inform the American people, or the only thing left for all of us will be flickering lights on the back wall of a rapidly collapsing cave full of irradiated roaches.

    The American media is accepting of this because the soldier, his widow, his mother, and his member of Congress are all African-American women. This is one of the groups Trump is allowed to attack, and to smear, and to denigrate. This does not hurt him with his reprehensible, racist fucking base. This does not cause anyone concern because in America, circa 2017, you can lie about what African-American women say and do. You can insult their appearance and the way they talk. You can be racist as hell because we have allowed that to be our new normal. 

    To be sure, Trump can smear and attack anyone. They don't have to be African-American. They can be Hispanic, they can be Asian, they can be from anywhere. They can even be white people if they are liberal or if they are known to be "sell-outs" to the white cause. Trump can attack everyone except for Nazis and Vladimir Goddamned Putin. 

    We are so far into this story, it isn't even remotely possible to see a silver lining of any kind. It is a dark and horrible chapter of American history. Soldiers have died on foreign soil in combat. They are now being used as political weapons, just like their brothers from Benghazi were used. The bodies stack up, the justification is there to make political hay out of what happened to them, and the indecency continues. 

    Let's do two things. One, impeach that motherfucker now. Let's impeach Mike Pence after he names Hillary Clinton his Vice President. And then, let's declare a moratorium on using dead Americans as political cudgels.

    Two, remove this racist bullshit from American political life forever. If you're a racist, you're not fit to serve in any capacity anywhere. You can be racist all you want, but you're not allowed to be a Senator or a Governor or a President or anything like that. You're allowed to have your opinion and what's left of your unemployment check until you decide to stop acting like an asshole in public.

    I'd call all of that a good start.



    Monday, October 23, 2017

    Your Daily Reminder That the Russians Are Not Our Friends

    Stories like this remind me that we have three problems right now:

    Russian spies repeatedly tried to get close to Hillary Clinton in 2009 and 2010 when she was secretary of state, according to newly unsealed FBI documents. The Hill reported Sunday that in one instance a female Russian spy used a false identity to gain employment under a major Democratic donor in hopes of gathering intelligence on Clinton and the State Department. She was later arrested and deported. There is no evidence that the FBI thought the Clintons or their peers did anything illegal. “There is not one shred of doubt from the evidence that we had that the Russians had set their sights on Hillary Clinton’s circle, because she was the quarterback of the Obama-Russian reset strategy and the assumed successor to Obama as president,” said a source familiar with the FBI’s evidence at the time.

    Problem one: Trump is compromised, and everyone who works for him has ties to the Russians.

    Problem two: The Russians have been targeting US persons for far too long to ignore this stuff anymore.

    Problem three: Russia is not going to stop trying to destroy Western democracy, and we are not doing anything to secure our elections.

    Other than that, we're good!

    Friday, October 20, 2017

    Trump Does Not Care About Dead Troops

    If you want to know why John Kelly was so eager to trade his soul for whatever he could get for it, all you have to do is read this story about how the White House simply does not care about members of the military who have been killed:

    In the hours after President Donald Trump said on an Oct. 17 radio broadcast that he had contacted nearly every family that had lost a military servicemember this year, the White House was hustling to learn from the Pentagon the identities and contact information for those families, according to an internal Defense Department email.

    The email exchange, which has not been previously reported, shows that senior White House aides were aware on the day the president made the statement that it was not accurate — but that they should try to make it accurate as soon as possible, given the gathering controversy.

    That's the real scandal. After nine months in office, the White House has no idea whatsoever how to get into touch with the families of those who have died. Having Kelly walk out there and lie about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was a deliberate attempt to disguise the fact that this White House has not contacted all of the families. Kelly has a bleak, twisted soul and he is proof that our best and our brightest usually don't have stars on their shoulders.

    Yes, they have contacted some of them. But it has been disorganized and incomplete. Trump smeared his predecessors because he, himself knew that he was derelict in his duty to talk to those who were suffering and offer them condolences. 

    The incompetence of the Trump Regime remains a staggering, self-evident truth that the American people simply do not comprehend well enough at this point. Everything Trump touches turns to shit, people are dying in Puerto Rico from neglect, our military is conducting operations without clear orders or a comprehensive strategy, and the government itself is run by a braying pack of jackasses and fools.

    This should have been the lede of the story:

    Not only had the president not contacted virtually all the families of military personnel killed this year, the White House did not even have an up-to-date list of those who had been killed.

    Think about that for a moment, and then think about what the outcry would look like if this was true about Hillary Clinton's White House. The article goes on to give us some interesting details about how they are trying to use Kelly to cover their ass, deflect the media's attention, and hustle behind the scenes to make it look like they give a shit:

    The exchange between the White House and the Defense secretary’s office occurred about 5 p.m. on Oct. 17. The White House asked the Pentagon for information about surviving family members of all servicemembers killed after Trump’s inauguration so that the president could be sure to contact all of them.

    Capt. Hallock Mohler, the executive secretary to Defense Secretary James Mattis, provided the White House with information in the 5 p.m. email about how each servicemember had died and the identity of his or her survivors, including phone numbers.

    The email’s subject line was, “Condolence Letters Since 20 January 2017.”

    Mohler indicated in the email that he was responding to a request from the president’s staff for information through Ylber Bajraktari, an aide on the National Security Council. The objective was to figure out who among so-called Gold Star families of the fallen Trump had yet to call. Mohler’s email said that the president’s aides “reached out to Ylber looking for the following ASAP from DOD.”

    Trump had said in a Fox News Radio interview earlier that day that he had contacted the families of “virtually everybody” in the military who had been killed since he was inaugurated.

    “I have called, I believe, everybody — but certainly I’ll use the word virtually everybody,” Trump said.

    Trump is a liar. Kelly is a liar. They are all liars, every one of them, and they don't care about black people, they don't care about Hispanic people, they don't care about the Middle Class, they don't care about the poor, they don't care about anyone except a handful of white billionaires who are walking around with sore asses because they think their taxes are too high.

    Fuck these degenerates.

    Thursday, October 19, 2017

    Stolen Valor

    This asshole's name is John Garofalo and he fits right in with Trump and his circle of phony patriots:

    A military veteran glowingly featured by Fox News earlier this month for his pro-Trump artwork and his record as a “war hero” admitted Thursday to lying about his military service. John Garofalo, 72, was featured in a Bryan Llenas report as having served seven years as a Navy SEAL, receiving 22 commendations, including two Purple Hearts, and having been listed twice as missing in action during Vietnam. Garofalo, who personally carved a presidential seal to gift President Trump, is a “tough, tough man,” Llenas said, after calling him a “hero” during an interview. Fox News anchor Eric Shawn later remarked: “God bless John Garofalo. We certainly hope maybe the president is listening.” However, when the Navy Times reached out to Garofalo on Thursday, he confessed to having lied about his military service. “What I did I’m ashamed of, and I didn’t mean to cause so much disgrace to the SEALs,” he told the Times. Fox News has since removed the video, which went viral on Facebook, and issued a statement apologizing for the error.

    The shitty non-standards of Fox News are always easy to spot. Is there an old white guy at the door who wants to hate Obama and love whatever Republicans are loving right now? Get him on the air! There are no journalistic practices or standards. You can say whatever you want, and if it matches what Fox wants on the air, it goes on the air. It's as simple as that.

    Here's another fascinating detail:

    Unfortunately, all of Garofalo's claims turned out to be untrue. The fact is that he did not serve in Vietnam. He was never a U.S. Navy SEAL. Even though he showed us medals, Garofalo was not awarded two Purple Hearts or any of the other nearly two dozen commendations he claimed to have received, except for the National Defense Service Medal.

    They give you the NDSM for showing up, basically.

    The NDSM ranks eleventh out of twenty-nine in the order of precedence of service medals. There is no time requirement for the medal's issuance, meaning that someone who joins the military for simply a few days, and then receives an entry level discharge, would technically be entitled to the NDSM; in practice, however, military clerks will not add the NDSM on a DD Form 214 if the service member performed duty for less than 90 days from the completion of their initial entry training. This accounts for the medal's omission from a large number of "uncharacterized" and "entry level" separation documents. Veterans who have this medal so omitted may apply to the military service departments to have the NDSM added to records via a DD Form 215.

    Fuck this guy for stealing valor. Nobody like him is ever a "cook" or a "mechanic" or a "clerk." They're always SEAL-Special Forces-Ranger-Pararescue qualified with fifty medals and a Top Secret Squirrel Congressional Medal of Double Honor.

    Women Don't Want to Hear From Bernie

    I guess the wounds are too recent and too raw:

    Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Thursday he will visit Puerto Rico in wake of Hurricane Maria, bowing out of his previously scheduled speaking gig at the Women's Convention next week.

    "I want to apologize to the organizers of the Women's Convention for not being able to attend your conference next Friday in Detroit," the Vermont lawmaker said in a statement. "Given the emergency situation in Puerto Rico, I will be traveling there to visit with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and other officials to determine the best way forward to deal with the devastation the island is experiencing."

    In Puerto Rico, about 1 million Americans remain without running water and 3 million without power, CNN reported Wednesday.

      Sanders' announcement comes a week after the Women's Convention received backlash for picking him as a speaker for opening night of the convention.

      This newfound situational awareness for Sanders would have been helpful if he had displayed it in late April 2016 when he all but lost the 2016 primary to Hillary Clinton. Perhaps he now realizes that damaging powerful women, sucking all the air out of the room, and mansplaining are not going to work anymore.

      It Was the Collusion, Stupid

      You'd have to work really, really hard to ignore the collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. You'd to bury your head in the sand or stay in bed for a year to not see it. Everything that the Trump campaign and the Russian government did was designed to steal the 2016 Election:

      Some of the Trump campaign’s most prominent names and supporters, including Trump’s campaign manager, digital director and son, pushed tweets from professional trolls paid by the Russian government in the heat of the 2016 election campaign.

      The Twitter account @Ten_GOP, which called itself the “Unofficial Twitter account of Tennessee Republicans,” was operated from the Kremlin-backed “Russian troll farm,” or Internet Research Agency, a source familiar with the account confirmed with The Daily Beast.

      The account’s origins in the Internet Research Agency were originally reported by the independent Russian news outlet RBC. @Ten_GOP was created on November 19, 2015, and accumulated over 100 thousand followers before Twitter shut it down. The Daily Beast independently confirmed the reasons for @Ten_GOP's account termination.

      The discovery of the now-unavailable tweets presents the first evidence that several members of the Trump campaign pushed covert Russian propaganda on social media in the run-up to the 2016 election.

      A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment, “for privacy and security reasons."

      Two days before election day, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tweeted a post by @Ten_GOP regarding Hillary Clinton’s email.

      “Mother of jailed sailor: 'Hold Hillary to same standards as my son on Classified info' #hillarysemail #WeinerGate” the tweet reads.

      Three weeks before the election, Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign’s digital director, retweeted a separate post from @Ten_GOP.

      “Thousands of deplorables chanting to the media: "Tell The Truth!" RT if you are also done w/ biased Media!” the tweet read.

      President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. followed the account until its closure on August 23rd of this year. Trump Jr. retweeted the account three times, including an allegation of voter fraud in Florida one week before the election.

      At the risk of being laughed at by Glenn Greenwald, who can royally fuck himself from now till whenever, the link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government is as clear as a bell. They used cutouts, intermediaries, databases full of voter information, shared files, bags of money, and clueless social media platforms to steal the election. It's fairly easy to conclude that the entire election was stolen--stolen from the Democratic Party. 

      To this day, there are Republicans screeching about how the Honorable Mayor Richard J. Daley stole the 1960 election for John F. Kennedy. Why aren't more Democrats up in arms? I don't get it.

      When I read articles like this, the scummy nature of the Republican and Russian effort takes on a new twist for me even today. Who thought it was a good idea in the first place? Who thought they were going to get away with it? Who was stupid enough to agree to it?

      Trump, of course.

      I mean, they got into bed with Russian intelligence. We know they stirred up trouble on the left, using Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein to enrage dimwits and flakes. We know they met with Russians, talked to Russians, broke bread with Russians, traveled to meet with Russians and let Russians into the bowels of Trump Tower. We know so much right now it boggles the mind how none of these motherfuckers is face down in a jail cell being searched for contraband on a regular basis.

      Hey, rule of law. Could you kick in, please? Hey, Mr. Mueller, hurry up, please. And Chris Cillizza--how do you even have a job, asshole?

      Wednesday, October 18, 2017

      He Knew What He Signed Up For

      This is what the President of the United States did today:

      President Donald Trump told the widow of a US serviceman killed in the ambush in Niger that "he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt," according to Rep. Frederica Wilson.

      The body of Sgt. La David Johnson was returned home to the Miami area late Tuesday afternoon, with the plane receiving a water cannon salute as it arrived near the gate.

      The call from the President to Johnson's widow came shortly before Johnson's casket arrival, Wilson, a Florida Democrat, said on "CNN Tonight with Don Lemon" Tuesday.

      "Basically he said, 'Well, I guess he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt,' " Wilson said, adding that she listened to part of the call on speaker phone while in a vehicle with the family.

        "That's what he said," she added.

        That's Sgt. Johnson's widow standing over his coffin. 

        "He Knew What He Signed Up For."

        Maybe it would be better if the president just didn't call anyone or write any letters because, holy Mother of God, that's just not helpful.

        "He Knew What He Signed Up For."

        That sounds like something you tell a guy who joined a fantasy football league that just went 0-16. That's not what you say to the widow of a Green Beret.

        I have so many things to say, but they involve a litany of curse words best left unsaid right now.

        I am so deeply sorry for this woman and her children. As a veteran, and as a former member of the United States Army, I just do not have the words anymore.

        This president is of no use, no comfort, no consideration, to anyone or anything. He is just a non-descript and incapable individual. He has nothing to offer. He has no standing, no composure, no decency and no remorse for anything that he does. He is just a walking bag of meat, filled with hate and spite, and incapable of doing anything that benefits anyone but himself.

        "He Knew What He Signed Up For" is what should be emblazoned all over Trump properties all over the world. These words should be used to shame this shameless old rancid sack of rotted flesh.

        Everyone's prayers should focus on this family, and the families of the other fallen soldiers, and for everyone suffering tonight because of the events of the year so far. This includes those who are neglected, those abandoned, those ravaged by storms and those stranded on our borders. There are untold numbers of people in pain, in torment, and they are trapped in the arms of loss and sorrow.

        If the president cannot be of any use to them, then it is up to the rest of the country--the remaining decent parts that did not bring this down upon the American people as a whole--to lift them up and to hold out for better days.

        I am now too mad to cuss.

        UPDATE 1: It would appear that Trump didn't even know the man's name. Outrageous.

        UPDATE 2: No surprise that there are people actively trying to cover for the POTUS. If this was an atypical, out-of-character statement for Trump, it would be easy to defend him and easier still to discredit the Congresswoman and the family members who heard what Trump said. Since this was very, very consistent with all of the other cruel, insensitive, ignorant, and indignant things that Trump has been saying publicly for years, it is improbable that Trump's version of anything will be proven correct.

        Monday, October 16, 2017

        Trump is a Lying Son of a Bitch, Isn't He?

        There is no use for polite decorum when the President of the United States claims that his predecessors did not show any consideration for soldiers who died on their watch:

        Breaking his public silence about four American soldiers killed during an ambush in Niger, President Donald Trump said Monday he'd penned personal letters to their families and planned to phone them later this week.

        He also claimed his predecessors hadn't written or called the families of slain American troops during their tenures, though the tradition of presidents reaching out after US servicemen are killed in action is long-established.

        Trump said he'd written the letters over the weekend, and suggested they'd be mailed early this week. He was speaking 12 days after the ambush -- the deadliest combat incident since he took office.

        Fuck this man. Fuck him, fuck the people who work for him, fuck their brutal, insensitive abomination of an "administration."

        Fuck them all.

        Saturday, October 14, 2017

        Deaf Havana

        Deaf Havana is a rather unfortunate name for a band:

        A new audio recording said to capture what was heard by some US embassy workers amid a series of attacks on American diplomats in Cuba is adding another layer of intrigue around the mysterious incidents that sickened at least 22 US diplomats and family members. 

        The recording -- obtained by The Associated Press and released on Thursday -- is the first publicly reported audio sample said to be related to attacks that, according to a US official, may have involved the use of an acoustic device.

        The device was so sophisticated, it was outside the range of audible sound, the official said. And it was so damaging, the source said, that one US diplomat now needs to use a hearing aid.

          But what remains unknown is what kind of device may have been used, where exactly it was placed, and who put it there.

          Investigators continue to examine the circumstances surrounding as many as 50 attacks believed to have been carried out against the diplomats, a senior US official has told CNN.

          I do not know for sure but I will simply speculate and say that this was Russian technology being tested in the field and used to drive a wedge between the United States and Cuba. There is a multi-front Cold War II happening right now, and it is being waged in every corner of the globe. If you want to have a country, you have to resist Trump and fight the new Russian threat. 

          Oh, and you'll probably want to change your band's name, too.

          Friday, October 13, 2017

          Americans Are Dying of Neglect

          While everyone seems to be enamored with the fact that Harvey Weinstein is a dick-jiggling pervert and with a president who has adult-onset dementia, there are American citizens drinking out of filthy creeks and dying:

          SAN JUAN, P.R.—The Luis Muñoz Marín Airport here is bustling even in the earliest hours of the morning. People wheel around elderly relatives in need of dialysis, hoping to get a spot on flights that have been overbooked, even though many airlines have resumed full menus of flights to the mainland. Several other people are visitors with no intent at all of flying out—it’s just that the airport is one of the few stable sources of power and cell signal in the city, where street lights and turn signals are all completely dark through the day and night, and where hundreds of people queue in front of government buildings for a spot of WiFi or a phone charge to call relatives.

          These conditions represent the best-case scenario right now on the island of Puerto Rico, which is still in need of immediate relief three weeks after the landfall of Hurricane Maria. While some of the worst-hit areas in San Juan have suffered catastrophic damage—the La Perla neighborhood where the music video for Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” was shot has been almost completely destroyed—the situation elsewhere is much more dire.

          Interior towns like Utuado and Barranquitas face total isolation, landslides, and dwindling supplies. FEMA estimates that over a third of the islanders are in need of water, a fact underscored by alarming reports that some people have tried to obtain drinking water from contaminated EPA Superfund sites. In all, millions of people are struggling to find basic necessities, and the presence of federal aid has been tenuous or lacking in rural areas. People are dying, and people will likely continue to die from worsening illnesses.

          We are witnessing the wholesale abandonment of American citizens. They're starving. They're being poisoned. They are not being helped or reached. It's a shameful act of willful neglect. The diaspora of people from Puerto Rico will have huge implications for the areas where those folks resettle and begin their lives over again. I hope they go to Florida and Virginia and Texas because it sure would be nice to turn those states blue in about a year.

          Instead of help, the people of Puerto Rico have been abused and left to their own devices. This is an appalling act of incompetence. You want your impeachable offense? Letting three million people wither on the vine in a resource-scarce hellscape is good enough for me.

          If a Democrat was this bad at their job, they would have been forcibly removed from office eight and a half months ago. Sheesh.

          Wednesday, October 11, 2017

          Mr. Mueller, Please Hurry Up

          If this doesn't force members of the Republican Party to act on impeaching Trump, what will?

          President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room. 

          Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve. 

          According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the build-up. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.

          This is horrific, and I cannot overstate how dangerous this man is to the progress of society and the safety and security of everyone everywhere. I don't know if I buy the idea that Mattis and Kelly are going to be man enough to stop Trump from launching a nuclear weapon. It would seem that they surrendered their manhood and their good sense when they signed up for this ride through hell.

          Tuesday, October 10, 2017

          How the Media Lets Republicans Avoid Accountability

          This is a classic example of the double standard at work when it comes to the media, both political parties, and controversy.

          “Senate Republicans avoided weighing in on the fiery fracas between President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), and aides and allies of those lawmakers privately worried that a prolonged fight would hurt the GOP’s already threatened legislative priorities,” the Washington Post reports.

          “Those who did speak did so obliquely — by praising Corker generally but steering clear of inserting themselves directly into the brutal clash.”

          “The reaction highlighted the broader strategy Capitol Hill Republicans have adopted when it comes to the president’s tendency to wage rhetorical war against their own or incite other controversies: Don’t engage in public no matter how anxious they may be in private.”

          First and foremost, if you have ANY reservations at all, you bring impeachment charges. Full stop on that. If it's true that a majority of Republicans in Congress think the president is unstable or unsuited to the job, then why the hell haven't they done their job? They were sworn in with their hand on a Bible, and their job is to take care of the Constitution. Impeach Trump or get the hell out of Dodge.

          Beyond this, I have a real pet peeve here. All I've heard for the last few days is how "the Democrats have a Harvey Weinstein problem."

          No, they fucking don't.

          Every Democrat is being asked if they took money from Weinstein. Oh, did you hear? The Clintons and Obamas haven't said a word. Then there's all that money. Well, I never. The media is full of phony outrage over everything the Clintons do. From now on, the Obamas will be caught up in this as well. It's just lazy reporting.

          Okay, now keep that in mind for the next few years. Never mind that Harvey Fucking Weinstein has been a known asshole, and a toxic individual, for as long as he's been in the film business. Anyone who says they didn't know that--ahem, Miss Meryl Streep--is a fucking liar. Emma Thompson threatened to quit the film she was on when Weinstein called Hayley Atwell a fat pig. Do you really think all of the actors and actresses who have worked with Thompson and Atwell didn't already know he was a pig? Do you think all of these people who thrive on insider information and gossip aren't completely and utterly aware at all times of who's a writhing ball of skank juice and who's decent to work for? 

          And, if the beautiful, famous people knew that he was an awful human being, don't you think all of the Democrats knew that as well? Let's be grown up here. Even if you knew Weinstein was a shambling bag of rancid meat, you're going to take his money because there are a thousand people on the GOP side with more money than Weinstein who are bankrolling your opponent in every race. If you applied the same standards to both parties, you'd come away with the sense that, hey, maybe there's too much money in politics right now, Goddamn.

          Plenty of media personalities, going all the way back to the late David Carr, knew exactly what Weinstein was. Weinstein had the power to keep them all at bay. When that dam broke, they went for his jugular. Sucks to be you, Harvey. Next time don't rape so many women and pay them off, you fucking fuck.

          The Democrats have to take money from unsavory people just like the Republicans have to take it. They have to or they won't be able to win races. Life is not a test of who's pure, it's a test of who can skirt these treacherous waters and stay out of legal trouble and political annihilation. So, of course they took his money. That's how you win elections. Before anyone starts screaming about Bernie Sanders, show me his tax returns and his financial disclosure paperwork. Oh, you can't? Then shut the fuck up. The only thing standing between us and oblivion is the Democratic Party. Assess your penalties for being impure later. We have a country to save. 

          If the only money anyone was ever allowed to take came from only the saints of the world. no one would be able to take a dime. This is, of course, applied as a standard only to Democrats. No one in their right mind would criticize a Republican for taking Sheldon Adelson's fucking money.

          And that's where the media's double standard comes into play. They'll let Republicans avoid talking about Trump. They'll "ask" their questions, but they won't hound them like they are every living Democrat about Weinstein. They'll dutifully report that the Daddy party is entitled to avoiding the subject of Trump being a invalid adult in need of Bob Corker's special happy fun time jamboree of a day care center. They won't even bother bringing it up to, oh, say, Senator John McCain, who is the de facto leader of the media-friendly wing of the sorta-anti-Trump GOP. Stupid fucks like Chris Cillizza have to make a living, ya know.

          They're "sorta" opposed to Trump despite the fact that they vote for his agenda almost every time they have a chance. Come talk to me when twenty-five Republican Senators and fifty Representatives are voting against his tax plan or anything else. A handful here and there, meh.

          The media won't bite them in the ass for this. They'll let them off the hook. Only Democrats are supposed to be nagged for every little thing, you see. It would be shrill and uncouth to expect a Republican skipping town a day early to share his opinion on the Toddler-in-Chief.

          UPDATE: Yeah, I'm not buying George Clooney's non-denial here, either. It boils down to: "Yes, Harvey was a terrible human being who fucked young girls and did horrible things, but I never thought he'd actually do the really sick shit that he was certainly capable of doing, by golly." I can't fault Clooney for trying to land a job. I can't fault any of them for wanting to work. This is the reality of living in the modern world--you have to put up with the worst people imaginable to win elections, compete for things, or score a starring role in something.  No, the issue here is, don't pretend you didn't know. You knew. You danced the dance. Own it and move on.

          I do think we need to dispense with this nonsense. Weinstein is who everyone thought he was. Enough said.

          Monday, October 9, 2017

          Who Is Going to Support Senator Bob Corker?

          Over the weekend, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee made the most remarkable accusations and statements about the Trump White House. Likening it to an "adult day care center," he has made it clear that there is a dividing line between himself and the rest of the Republican Party. Who will support him, who will join him, and who else feels this way?

          Reporters need to find out:

          For reporters, there is a logical extension from the opening Corker has given. Get Mitch McConnell, get Paul Ryan, get John Thune and John Barrasso and John Cornyn, get Kevin McCarthy, get every Republican in a position of responsibility to answer: Do you agree with your colleague that Donald Trump is a danger to the country and the world? Who’s right here: Your comrade who is the veteran chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee? Or a president who can’t stop tweet-threatening “Little Rocket Man”? And what about Corker’s claim that the White House is a daily battleground to keep the incumbent under control? Are you going to call one of your own a liar? Or is he right about Trump?

          They won’t answer. Knowing how not to answer comes as second nature. More smoothly than Rex Tillerson, they will decline to get into the “silly stuff.” But they should be put on the spot and made to take a stand. Especially the ones who will either face the voters soon—or who are deciding, as Corker did recently, whether that’s even worth it.

          (To be clear: every reporter already knows this, and overall the resilience of the press is one of the heartening aspects of this disheartening era.  I’m just spelling out what to look for as day breaks and senators get within reporters’ range.)

          Every reporter needs to get to work today.

          Sunday, October 8, 2017

          The Pee-Pee Tape is Real

          Seth Abramson seems to think that a major part of the Steele Dossier is about to be confirmed:

          Virtually everything else in the Steele Dossier has been confirmed and verified. Are we days or weeks away from finally seeing the infamous "pee-pee tape?"

          Steele described it thusly:

          I'll believe it when I see it. What people need to understand is that there is no confirmation until it is verified and delivered. Even if it comes out, the Trump people will call it a fake and something that has been edited to discredit him. I think there is enough credence to Abramson's allegation because I actually lived during the Clinton years and know how this works. If this had been alleged against Clinton, the standards for publishing this material would be much lower than they are for the very litigious Trump. Given his low character, his inability to act like a decent human being, and his long history of being horrible to others, it is certainly easy to believe that this compromising material exists. It would explain his inability to criticize Putin, his anger when the Republican-controlled Congress enacted sanctions on Russia, and his use of Russian links wherever necessary to advance his business interests.

          On this, there is an easy path, but we should be careful about going down it. There is no easy way out. Someone somewhere has to produce it and show it and let the people decide.

          The Phony Patriotism of Mike Pence

          The Trump Regime can't even stage their phony outrage without being called on it:

          North Korea and its nukes can wait. The White House has declared war on the NFL. And on the First Amendment.

          Two weeks after President Trump decreed that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday after about 20 members of the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the anthem. The 49ers were in town to play the Indianapolis Colts.

          Pence was in town to upstage Peyton Manning.

          What, you think he didn’t know the 49ers would kneel on Sunday? Pence knew. The 49ers are the one franchise, the only franchise, that have had at least one player kneel before every game since Colin Kaepernick was the first to do it in the 2016 preseason. Kaepernick played for the 49ers, of course. Last week, following Trump’s unpatriotic assertion that he would fire someone for exercising their First Amendment rights, more than half the San Francisco roster knelt.

          Pence knew.

          That's a heckuva media manipulation operation that you have there, Mr. Vice President. If the local commentators in Indiana can see through you and your cheap stunts, then it stands to reason that the rest of the country sees through you as well.

          Declaring war on the NFL is another unforced error for a regime that can't help but shoot itself in the foot every time it turns around. You don't go to war with a multi-billion dollar professional sport that generates massive wealth and wields the kind of economic power that the NFL does. Granted, many of the NFL team owners are going to continue to support Republicans at all levels--there's no way they're suddenly going to bundle several hundred million dollars and throw it at the Democrats in order to win back the House and Senate. But each and every player is, for all intents and purposes, a millionaire who knows where he came from. I have to believe that the players are going to start supporting Democrats for the 2018 race.

          If they don't, then they deserve the likes of Pence making a mockery of free speech and dissent.

          Saturday, October 7, 2017

          David Carr Warned Us About Harvey Weinstein

          The conservative troll media complex is trying to make hay out of the Harvey Weinstein debacle. They're claiming that no one is covering the story, no one has ever called out Weinstein for his behavior, and that there is a conspiracy of silence out there. This is all bullshit, and it's projection on their part. Weinstein is a divisive, ugly figure but he's not in charge of the country, he's not a viable candidate for anything, and he's basically invisible to over 99% of America. He is not a household name. He's known to the elites of both coast, if that.

          But let's get one thing out of the way--Harvey and Bob Weinstein aren't billionaires. They're barely worth $200 million, each, and their business interests have always been mired in debt, bad decisions, and flops. Contrast that with the multi-billionaires dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the GOP and get back to me when you can reasonably conclude that "both sides" are just as bad as one another.

          The simple fact is, if you want to work in Hollywood, you have to deal with Weinstein:

          More than a day after The New York Times published a blistering report detailing numerous accusations of sexual harassment against prolific film producer Harvey Weinstein, none of the movie mogul's frequent A-list collaborators have spoken publicly about the news story that has rattled Hollywood. 

          CNN reached out to representatives for a dozen actors and directors who have worked on Weinstein-produced films. All failed to respond or declined to comment. 

          On social media, Jessica Chastain, Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham, Brie Larson, and Amber Tamblyn are a few of the artists and filmmakers who posted messages of support to Weinstein's accusers or commented on the Times report.

          "As always, I stand with the brave survivors of sexual assault and harassment. It's not your fault. I believe you," Larson wrote. 

            Chastain, considered an awards season contender for her work in Aaron Sorkin's "Molly's Game," said: "Women are fighting against the 'Grab Them By The Pussy' normalization & speaking up. It's never easy to be the first to go on record #Respect"

            The idea that Weinstein has been central to Democratic politics is ludicrous:

            It's tough to get to the end of Weinstein's self-assigned centrality, as Democratic candidate Mark Green recently found out. The Friday before Election Day, he hosted a Democratic Unity dinner, with everyone from Bill Clinton to Jon Stewart on the bill. But some Democrats weren't buying. So three nights later, Weinstein was at the Four Seasons trying to engineer a cease-fire. Roberto Ramirez and Al Sharpton wanted people ousted from the Green campaign for what they believed were racist attacks. Weinstein suggested he'd hire a fired aide to work in the movie business with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow. When Green declined, Weinstein tried to cast Bill Clinton as peacemaker, but when Clinton was driven by the Four Seasons and saw the phalanx of cameras, he felt set up. Clinton's car fled down 58th Street, cameras chasing its taillights.

            "All I want to fucking do is fucking unite this fucking city, and you won't let me!" Weinstein screamed, according to a Green source. With that, Weinstein called the Republican candidate and offered his support. "Bloomberg was willing to reach out to working-class communities Harvey relates to," says a Miramax spokesperson.

            A Green lieutenant saw it another way: "It's what can happen when he doesn't get his way," the source says.

            Michael Bloomberg got elected mayor of New York City due in no small part to Harvey Weinstein. Oh, and, of course:

            Some Democrat.

            Weinstein is human filth, pure and simple. For every Weinstein supporting Democrats, there are fifty on the Republican side with more money, more influence, and more control over the GOP's messaging machine. This is not a "both sides do it" story. This is a story about finally finding someone who supports Democrats who also happens to have some money that he gives to the Democratic Party (all of which has now been donated to causes that support women).

            People have been following this for years:

            And the late David Carr warned us about Weinstein:

            Shortly after beginning work on this profile, I stumble across a trip wire that fires conspiracy and fomentation. Something in his unalloyed nature brings out the storyteller in people, as long as no name is attached. It's all sex, lies, but no videotape.

            "Are you on a land line?" says one.

            "Has he threatened you? Offered you a book?" says another.

            "I love talking with Harvey," says one reporter. "He knows movies. But at the same time, there's always this concern that he really does throw babies in the pond."

            Another reporter insists that Miramax put a tail on the whole time they worked on a story about Miramax.

            "He is a diabolical personality combined with a relentless drive and an understanding of mass appeal," says a director of small movies. "With that combination, the danger becomes enormous and limitless."

            Not all of it is table talk on steroids. Throughout the story process, Weinstein seems to have near-perfect visibility into my notebook, ticking off a list of people I've talked to and what we talked about and then taking pleasure as my eyes widen. Sources, some of whom whisper heinous things about Weinstein, turn around and drop a dime to Miramax, seeking a measure of inoculation. When a leak has occurred, the company has been known to go through e-mail, and the offender is warned.

            As the keeper of star-making machinery, Weinstein has re-engineered the media process so that he lives beyond its downsides. His other assets—a book-publishing company and a working knowledge of the frailties of most reporters—mean that when Weinstein acts like a numbskull at Cannes, he gets a pass.

            A. J. Benza, who held Weinstein harmless when he was a gossip at the Daily News, has a book on Talk-Miramax that will become a movie. Liz Smith calls him the Irving Thalberg of our age, and Weinstein reciprocates by giving her a steady taste of star quotage. Rush and Molloy can't blurb one of his actors without mentioning how "critically acclaimed" his last project was.

            "He owns you guys, all of you," bitches one West Coast film executive. "All media is controlled out of New York, and he is the king. He has the kind of Teflon none of us can understand."

            Having had my own torturous negotiations with Weinstein, I've gained an understanding of his ability to maintain custody of his image.

            "There is one story that needs to be told about this guy, and you are not going to tell it," hisses a New York film executive. "You're going to write another story about this amazing indie genius, and if you think I am going to participate in the lionization of that fat fuck for even a second, you are out of your mind."

            The idea that no one knew Weinstein was an abomination of a person is ludicrous. This is just media manipulation in action. Arise, ye bots. Make a thousand links appear. What a bunch of Mularkey.