Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Trump Refers to Jeff Sessions as Mr. Magoo

This Trump fellow in the White House is really current with his insults:

President Donald Trump's rebukes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions have included referring to him behind the scenes as "Mr. Magoo," The Washington Post reportedWednesday evening.

Trump on Wednesday lashed out again at Sessions on Twitter for his oversight of the Justice Department.

The tweet prompted a rare response from Sessions, who in a statement defended his leadership of the department and its work.

Trump has made his disagreement with Sessions known clearly in the past, pointedly referring to the attorney general as "beleaguered" last year and saying he would not have chosen Sessions to lead the Justice Department had he known the former senator would recuse himself from oversight of the Russia investigation.

I don't know about you, but that Trump guy sounds like a complete and utter jackass. Who would work for him?

Imagine if a Democrat Were President Right Now

There's a little game that I like to play called "if a Democrat was president right now, everything would be shut down and the media would be having a meltdown." It centers around the fact that if this story was happening while a Democrat was in the White House, our nation would be paralyzed and at a complete standstill:

A volley of stunning revelations over Jared Kushner and the Russia probe are rocking Donald Trump's inner circle and suggest a pivotal moment is at hand in the West Wing personnel wars that have raged throughout his presidency.

First, it emerged Tuesday that chief of staff John Kelly downgraded the top secret security clearance for the President's son-in-law in a bid to clear up a scandal over whether top administration players are qualified to access the most sensitive intelligence.

Then, The Washington Post published a bombshell report that at least four countries had discussed how to use Kushner's sparse experience, financial troubles and intricate business arrangements to manipulate him.

In Trump World, it's just another day at the office, albeit, an office replete with boobs and idiots. Everything the Republicans said and did while President Barack Obama was in office was wrapped around the noble idea that one branch of government should check the power of another branch. They spent millions investigating phony scandals. Nowadays, they hide from microphones and their constituents, trying to find a way to retire in place.

If a Democrat was in the White House and if just one tenth of what has happened to Trump had happened to them, the media and the Republicans would be howling for blood and retribution. Trump is the biggest failure as president in American history, and you would think it was just business as usual around this country.

I will never be able to understand our current situation. The hypocrisy is enough to make you want to scream. The juxtaposition of a scandal-free eight years of competent governance under Obama compared to just 13 months of Trump is enough to make you wonder what we did to deserve this. But, relax. You will never have to listen to another Republican lecture you about family values, national security, or the rule of law ever again, not without being justified in laughing in their face.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ben Carson is Living the High Life on Your Dime

Yet another crooked bastard gets caught being ethically-challenged while working for Trump:

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (Hud) has agreed to spend $165,000 on “lounge furniture” for its Washington headquarters, in addition to a $31,000 dining set purchased for housing secretary Ben Carson’s office. 

The revelations on Tuesday of Carson’s expensive decor spending come as Donald Trump’s administration has proposed a cut of $6.8bn to Hud’s annual budget, or roughly 14% of its total spending, which would lead to reductions in programs aimed at poor and homeless Americans.

Department officials signed a contract last September with an Indiana-based seller for the furniture, according to a federal procurement record.

Raffi Williams, a spokesman for Hud, said in an email Tuesday evening that further records on the lounge furniture contract were not immediately available.

Earlier on Tuesday it emerged that the department had agreed to spend $31,000 on a dining table and accompanying items for Carson’s offices. Last week, Williams falsely denied to the Guardian that such a table had been bought.

Details of the furniture purchases were revealed after a senior career official at Hud alleged in a complaint to a federal watchdog that she was demoted after refusing to break a $5,000 spending limit for improvements to Carson’s office.

Helen Foster said she was told “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair” after informing her bosses that this was the legal price limit for improvements to Carson’s suite of offices. Her complaint was filed to the office of special counsel (OSC).

Earlier this month, a story broke that should have ended Carson's tenure at HUD. It didn't because that's how stupid things are right now. As if the FBI doesn't already have a million things to do.

As for the furniture, well, what can you say? Carson is wealthy enough to buy his own furniture and his own decent chair. Carson has millions, but, because he's a cheap bastard who thinks that the American taxpayer should pay for his dining table, this is where we're at. In another era, this would be a major scandal. In Trump world, a shit sandwich of a scandal like this is what happens on a Tuesday.

Graft and Corruption Are a Way of Life For These People

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="900.0"] L-R: David Wolkoff, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump, Donald Trump L-R: David Wolkoff, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump, Donald Trump [/caption]

These people are so corrupt it's unbelievable:

First lady Melania Trump has dropped one of her advisers, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, after it was revealed that Wolkoff’s firm received a $26 million contract to help plan President Donald Trump’s inauguration last year. The New York Times reports that the Trumps were not happy when the paper first broke the story about the payment. Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the first lady, said Melania Trump “had no knowledge of how funds were spent” with regard to the inauguration of her husband.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. This is just one more example of the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. These people laugh at the idea of stealing from orphans and widows because, hell, that's where the money is. They took all the cash and they shoved it in their pants and everyone knows they did it and no one is going to do anything about it because these are Republicans, man. They get to get away with it because, hell, we'll have good government and accountability when there are Democrats in charge anyway, so get it while the getting's good. If you're not stealing, you're just leaving money on the table right now.

If a Democrat did just one thing remotely like this, the GOP would shut down the American government and demand hearings and the media would fan the flames and make them look like the last righteous defenders of our way of life.

I will never, ever believe anything a Republican says about corruption and dishonesty ever again. These people are tolerating the most obscenely venal and corrupt regime in our nation's history. Even during the worst years of the gilded age, no one had the balls to steal this much money in plain sight of so many members of Congress who hold gavels and the power to issue subpoenas.

Hell, they're all in on it. Everyone knows that we will have a massive course correction when the GOP is swept from power and loses the ability to even stage filibusters. In 2020, the Democrats might have a two-thirds majority in the House and 65 seats in the Senate. If things keep up this way, there will be a Republican Party in name only, and something else will have to replace it.

What a disgrace.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Unpopular As Hell

When we lurch from scandal to scandal, we miss the broader implication of a president sitting on a 35% approval rating:

President Donald Trump's approval rating in a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS stands at 35%, down five points over the last month to match his lowest level yet. 

The slide follows a January bump in approval for the President, a finding that appeared connected to a bullish stock market and strong reviews for the economy. His new rating matches a December poll, which marked his lowest approval rating in CNN polling since taking office in January 2017. 

The President also earns his lowest rating yet among Republicans, though he is still viewed positively among his own partisans. Overall, 80% of self-identified Republicans say they approve of the President, one point below his previous low mark of 81%, hit in late September of last year. Just 13% of Republicans say they disapprove of the President's performance. Approval for the President stands at just 5% among Democrats and 35% among independents.

What this should tell you is that:

1. Opposition to Trump is highly motivated and organized after a year of his presidency

2. He has no mandate to accomplish anything

3. Republicans are about to be swept out of office because the president is so unpopular

4. There won't be a second term

5. Trump is unique among failed U.S. Presidents because of how quickly he failed in office

The media is not going to start calling him a failed president until there is more "evidence" but what else do you need to know? He's not going to change, he's not going to evolve, and he is going to subject us to nearly three years of horror and narcissism. His presidency has already crashed and burned. He is not likely to finish out his term. His party is going to face significant defeat unless it abandons Trumpism and finds its way back to sanity, but it cannot admit that it lost its mind. There are no good Republicans left in office. Be prepared to suffer.

This is where we are, and we have a long way to go until January 20, 2021.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The NRA is a Toxic Brand

Joining the NRA is an essential aspect of life as a conservative. Until the recent events in Parkland, Florida, to join the NRA was to demonstrate that a person was part of what was once considered the mature and legitimate establishment in this country, one feared by the media and liberals to varying degrees. Being in the NRA was like being part of a gang--intimidation was its currency, until a few days ago. You could run for office, and they would give you oodles of cash so long as you voted to advance the NRA's agenda. There was no dissent allowed.

If you were a Republican who didn't have the NRA on your side, you weren't going anywhere. Like I said, all of that has changed in a matter of days. The NRA is now an extremely toxic brand:

  • National Rifle Association members, who pay annual dues, are eligible for discounts at a variety of companies, from hotels to insurance firms.
  • Gun-control activists have put out calls to boycott companies that do business with the NRA.
  • Many companies have cut ties with the NRA this week, but not all have just yet.

Every time you check, more companies are cutting their ties to the NRA, with no fear of the backlash that awaits. The NRA is an organization that will use its followers to punish American companies when things settle down.

I'm not as optimistic as Joy Reid. I think the organization will reorganize and keep attacking anyone who hurts guns sales. If Republicans don't realize that the NRA is not loyal to them, they need to wake up. If it helps with gun sales, the NRA will join forces with welfare cheats and meth dealers. This is who they are, and they're never going to change.

CNN is Under Constant Attack by the Right Wing

You have to give CNN credit for knowing they are under assault by a relentless right-wing barrage of nonsense and lies. A less savvy organization would have folded up and gone out of business a long time ago.

The American right wing is rallying around the end of Trumpism and the end of their own reign of terror. They obstructed every minute of Barack Obama's presidency and they know it is only a matter of time before a massive blue tsunami of angry voters blows their Senators and Representatives out of office. They know that once the legitimacy of the NRA as a viable business partner for American corporations is destroyed, and once the NRA becomes so toxic no one will cut a deal with them, it's over. No American party has been this wrong and this tone deaf in twenty generations. The only thing left to do now is sow doubt in the minds of Americans.

Doubt and fear, of course. The NRA is an organization that stokes fear and ignorance and turns it into profits. If there is a credible voice out there that is calling them on their bullshit, none of this works as well as they would like.

So, at the end of the day, you have a person like Glenn Haab, who can't advance his beliefs without lying, and you have his ridiculous attempt to turn the American people against a news organization like CNN. You have his un-American attempt to make it so that people will reject the facts they get from CNN and you have his outreach to Fox News, of all places, to manipulate public opinion.

Way to go, dumbass.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Will Trump Order the Military to Start Torturing Detainees?

Defense Secretary James Mattis gave that written answer to Congress when he was being confirmed. This is the only real clear indication where the Trump White House "officially" stands on the issue as to whether or not we are going to go back to the early Bush years and torture detainees. Mattis clearly does not want to revisit this policy, and is hiding behind the decision that was made in 2006 to follow the US Army's guidance on this matter.

Trump, however, has indicated over and over again, that America is going to abandon this policy and get back into the torture business. Over a year ago, this is exactly what he said:

Donald Trump has used his first TV interview as president to say he believes torture “absolutely” works and that the US should “fight fire with fire.”

Speaking to ABC News, Trump said he would defer to the defence secretary, James Mattis, and CIA director, Mike Pompeo, to determine what can and cannot be done legally to combat the spread of terrorism.

But asked about the efficacy of tactics such as waterboarding, Trump said: “absolutely I feel it works.”

“When Isis is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times. Would I feel strongly about waterboarding. As far as I’m concerned we have to fight fire with fire.”

Trump said he asked intelligence chiefs earlier this week whether torture works. “The answer was yes, absolutely,” he said.

He added that terrorist groups “chop off the citizens’ or anybody’s heads in the Middle East, because they’re Christian or Muslim or anything else ... we have that and we’re not allowed to do anything. We’re not playing on an even field.”

The interviews come after reports that Trump is preparing to sign an executive order that would reinstate the detention of terrorism suspects at facilities known as “black sites”.

For the record, no--torture does not work.

I'm curious why we haven't heard any stories about what we are actually doing and what's really going on. If you're thinking of things that haven't popped up in a while, it would be stories like this, this, and this.

Given all of the other nightmarish policies being carried out on Trump's orders, I think this issue has disappeared as an imminent concern. Clearly, Trump's base would love it if we got back into the torture business. There would be a tremendous effort to gaslight the country and convince people that it "saved" lives if there was ever a scandalous release of details about torture being carried out by US entities. 

Everyone is talking about everything except torture. What's being done right now in our name? What's happening in far-off places? Trump wanted to bring back waterboarding and black sites. To him, this makes us look "tough." 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Marco Rubio is Still a Weasel

If anyone wants to hand out awards for who can do a reasonable job of acting like a weasel in public, why not set aside two or three for Marco Rubio?

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, facing high school students Wednesday night who survived the Parkland, Florida, shooting, defended his stance on gun rights -- while changing the conversation surrounding the issue.

Appearing at a CNN town hall in Florida, Rubio repeatedly made news on the issue of who should have access to firearms by sharing his beliefs on what would have support in the Senate, as well as taking sharp criticism from the audience, which included family members of those killed in the shooting.

Someone had to show up, and Rubio made a calculation. If he put in an appearance, took the heat directed at the massive gun lobby in this country, and rode it out, he would secure himself a place at the table that would allow him to lead on this issue. He desperately wants to be president, and he knows that if he can position himself with gun rights supporters as a clever, moderating force that doesn't harsh their buzz, there's a good chance he will survive the coming implosion of the post-Trump GOP.

Number one, Rubio isn't going to do anything that pisses off the gun industry, the NRA, or any of the NRA-sympathetic organizations in this country. He needs their money and their votes to survive in Florida as a Senator, and he damned sure needs them when 2020 comes around.

Number two, Rubio has a job for the next five years. He's not up for re-election until 2022. That's three lifetimes in our current political environment. He'd love to trade the voters in Florida for the national stage, sooner rather than later, so nothing he does is going to affect where he sits right now. The only voters he cares about are in New Hampshire and Iowa.

Number three, Rubio has a tin ear for politics and lousy timing. If he has substantively done something within the last year about guns, maybe he'd have some standing. All he's ever done is support the NRA's agenda and clear away any opposition to gun control. He consistently votes like someone who's been bought and paid for. His appearance was a love letter to the home office. He's not a leader, and he's never going to lead on any issue unless you have dollar signs already in his pocket.

There will be token legislation soon, but it will fall far short of what is needed. It will be watered down and gun lobby approved or it will face the filibuster and die. Do not expect any common sense and don't imagine the Democrats will get any tough amendments tacked on to any package that Rubio and his cohorts can put together. No one wants to send anything to Trump's desk without crayons and a love note to Putin already on it.

I also noted that the whole thing was a macabre dance through the subconscious of the Infowars crowd last night. The NRA used to be able to send out a rolling bag of trash like Dana Loesch and use her housewife bonafides to scream down criticism. Her entire schtick consists of insulting the manhood of anyone cuck who thinks the criminally insane shouldn't already be armed for the fight against the vast powers of the New York Times' metro desk. Hasn't anyone paid attention to what this horrid woman has been saying all of her public life? Good God, whatever used to count for standards in this country are gone. Trump has normalized the idea that you can bring out batshit crazy and call it a moderating voice for sensible discourse. Fuck that shit.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

This is the Moment, This is the Time

So, a bunch of kids have just decided to walk out of school and march to the U.S. Capitol today:

Hundreds of students walked out of class Wednesday and are marching toward the U.S. Capitol to demand action on gun control.

Students at Montgomery Blair high school in Maryland planned a walkout through social media, according to a reporter from ABC 7.

According to Fox 5, students at Richard Montgomery and Bethesda-Chevy Chase high schools are also taking part in a walkout.

What I love about this is that there are two certainties: one, the NRA is still counting on being able to denigrate anyone who dissents and buy off all the Congressmen they need and, two, the Republicans still have no plan or strategy to deal with a suddenly-invigorated anti-gun movement in this country.

Here is my unsolicited advice to everyone in Congress--you can't win against a popular revolt led by people who will be of voting age in 2020 and you better empty your coffers of every dime given to you by the NRA. If you're a Democrat who has NRA money on you, get rid of it fast. Give it to a good cause. Promise that you will never take another dime of it again. If you're a Republican, I can't help you. The stink of Trumpism and the flopsweat and the failure are too much for a polite society. You might as well retire now and avoid holding any town hall meetings. Start looking for work. Get used to being screamed at by random strangers every single place you go for the next ten years.

This is the moment when the wave seems to be rolling back to the sea, and rolling away from everything we know. It's rolling back to common sense and decency. Trumpism seems to be a high water mark best remembered as the moment when America lost its mind and abandoned civic responsibility.

Be prepared, though. Republicans want to survive, so they will pass token gun control legislation and hope the kids get bored, disaffected, or distracted. I am willing to bet you that a new national movement will take shape in the months and years ahead, and it will be led by people who don't want to get shot at school or in the workplace or the movie theater or at a concert or wherever they live and work.

Monday, February 19, 2018

It Was a Reprieve

There is no limit to how ugly and depraved these people working for Trump truly are, is there?

The Kids in America

Do you want to stand in the way of these kids?

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, refuse to be props for Trump’s agenda.

On Monday, survivors of last week’s deadly shooting Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg told CNN’s “New Day” they will not be attending Trump’s “listening session” this week.

“I believe we’ve been invited, but neither of us are going,” Gonzalez said.

I don't want to hear anything negative about today's generation of young people. They are motivated, radicalized, and organized. They are educated and woke. They are on the right side of history.

Get the hell out of their way.

The Democratic Party Has to Stand Up For Victims Everywhere

It's going to take a massive coalition to destroy Trumpism. It's going to mean a lot of sacrifice and strange bedfellows (bear in mind, having agreed repeatedly lately with Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, and Bill Kristol has messed with my head). There will be Democrats who will be called out for their horrible bullshit, but this reckoning has to happen. 

I really think this is a good strategy for Democrats:

Eying big gains in November's midterms, House Democrats say they'd like to give a national platform to President Trump's sexual harassment accusers if they win back the lower chamber.

More than a dozen women have charged the president with sexual harassment abuses dating back decades -- claims Trump has fervently denied. But as the #MeToo movement continues to sweep the country -- toppling titans of business, Hollywood, the media and a handful of lawmakers on Capitol Hill -- a growing number of Democrats think Congress should lend a voice to Trump's accusers if their party controls the House next year.

"I think it would be most appropriate," said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), among the handful of Democrats who's pushing to impeach Trump.

"I mean, this is the most unusual circumstance that you have a president with over a dozen accusers of sexual harassment occupying the most prestigious position in the country."

Long-dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct, Trump this month fueled the controversy surrounding his past when he suggested that two former senior aides, Rob Porter and David Sorensen, were unfairly treated after allegations surfaced that both men had abused their former-wives. Trump suggested the aides were convicted in the court of public opinion without the right to self-defense. Both were forced to resign.

There's a lot that the Democratic Party can promise in November. I think the corruption that Trump has encouraged will continue to snowball and become the symbol of his ineptitude as far as actually leading the Federal Government is concerned. How is it that Pruitt, Zinke, and Carson still have jobs, to name a few? Given the turmoil of the last year, how could you not make a huge issue out of the fact that numerous cabinet officials have been blown out the door for corruption and graft?

You have to make people appreciate good government again. You have to convince the American people that you can clean up a lot of the existing messes through oversight and compliance. That's a tall order--the Trump regime still has a lot of power. But if the Democrats take over the House and Senate, and can demonstrate they have a clear mandate to check Trump's power, 2019 will be a year of accountability.

It's not enough to oppose Trump. It should be the central organizing principle of Democrats everywhere to check his power, stop the corruption, and ultimately remove him from office. Giving his victims a platform will help accomplish that, especially if these women can actually be heard.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Trump is on a Rampage Today

So, this happened today.

Trump went on a tweet storm rampage and re-tweeted one of his more, shall we say, deplorable followers and acolytes.

Here's what Ivan Trumpovic will get ya:

Yeah, no big deal. Just a guy accusing the FBI of treason. Nothing to see here.

Meanwhile, hey! Trump is still crazy:


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Has Trump Ever Hit Melania?

Everywhere you look, there are scandals. The Trump White House is falling apart, the Special Counsel is getting closer, and now the media is openly speculating about what's going on in Melania Trump's marriage to the president:

In an article published this week in The New Yorker, reporter Ronan Farrow describes an extramarital affair President Donald Trump allegedly began in 2006 -- a few years into his marriage to Melania Trump and not long after the birth of their son, Barron. 

The alleged affair involved Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate. An eight-page letter obtained by Farrow and outlined in the article details the alleged liaison; the piece describes a string of others alleged, and refers to Trump's use of "clandestine hotel-room meetings, payoffs, and complex legal agreements to keep affairs -- sometimes multiple affairs he carried out simultaneously -- out of the press."

The White House, of course, says it's all a bunch of "fake news." But what we really want to know is: What does Melania say? 

On Wednesday, a Marist poll revealed that more than a third of Americans think Melania should leave her husband, though they were responding to the other infidelity alleged of Donald Trump -- an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels, whom Trump attorney Michael D. Cohen paid $130,000 (though he wouldn't say why -- just that Trump had no knowledge). 

    One imagines that a wife would take note and react, and indeed Melania Trump was perhaps doing that in some way when she drove separately, ahead of President Donald Trump, en route to Marine One to leave with him for a trip to Florida this weekend.

    Democrats should feel very comfortable with the idea that Melania is planning to either divorce Trump or move back to New York City and live separate from him until someone can finally throw him out of office. If you lived through the 1990s, you know that it would be irresponsible not to speculate about the private lives of the President and First Lady. Hell, look at how many books it all sold. Trump will never change, so why would his actions be any different now as opposed to twenty or thirty years ago? The man does not evolve.

    The real question is, who will step in and protect Melania if Trump is hitting her? Who will allow her to escape from him? Is there a Secret Service protocol for spousal abuse for individuals under their protection?

    Given that Trump believes a man should be forgiven for hitting his wife if he denies it, why is it wrong to ask him in a press gaggle if he has ever hit his own wife? Get him on tape denying it. The media could do a lot worse than suggesting that Melania is a battered wife in a loveless marriage with a man who is desperate to cheat any way he can, especially if Trump's answers contradict the facts. 

    Is it wrong to suggest that Trump is cheating on Melania as we speak? And is it wrong to point out that Trump family values don't seem to be very Christian?

    Friday, February 16, 2018

    Fourteen Minutes

    Trump spent exactly fourteen minutes consoling the families tonight:

    From 6:55 PM to 7:09 PM, what exactly did he do? He went to Broward Health North Hospital to console the victims of Thursday's shooting in Parkland, Florida. It's entirely possible that not all of the victims are being treated at this hospital, but it is absolutely stunning to me that he spent fourteen minutes with the victims, a minute with the media, and was on his way out of there in exactly twenty minutes:

    I'm just floored by this. There was no attempt to drag this out and make it actually look kind or caring. There was no attempt to make it seem like the President of the United States was willing to invest his time and energy in trying to comfort the victims. He was in and out of there in less time that it takes to get a stack of pancakes at IHOP.

    Apparently, no one is buying what he has to sell in Florida.

    Russian Meddling Was Not a Hoax After All

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="768.0"]  Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, left, serving dinner to Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow in 2011, when Mr. Putin was prime minister.  Mr. Prigozhin has emerged as Mr. Putin’s go-to oligarch for sensitive and often-unsavory missions like the troll factory — called the Internet Research Agency — or recruiting contract soldiers to fight in Ukraine and Syria. Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, left, serving dinner to Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow in 2011, when Mr. Putin was prime minister. Mr. Prigozhin has emerged as Mr. Putin’s go-to oligarch for sensitive and often-unsavory missions like the troll factory — called the Internet Research Agency — or recruiting contract soldiers to fight in Ukraine and Syria. [/caption]

    Today's news laid something completely and utterly to rest. The idea that Russian meddling was a hoax is now dead and buried. Everyone who has ever argued otherwise was proven wrong today, but I am assuming they are still wriggling their way out of being held accountable:

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his prosecutors haven’t concluded their investigation into whether President Donald Trump or any of his associates helped Russia interfere in the 2016 election, according to a person with knowledge of the probe.

    Friday’s indictment of a St. Petersburg-based “troll farm” and 13 Russian nationals should be seen as a limited slice of a comprehensive investigation, the person said. Mueller’s work is expected to continue for months and also includes examining potential obstruction of justice by Trump, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss an investigation that is largely confidential.

    A federal grand jury indicted the Russians for what it alleged was a vast scheme to interfere in the 2016 election and help Trump win. But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said at a news conference Friday that there is “no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant” in the alleged scheme.

    No allegation "in this indictment" is some very nice lawyerly talk, isn't it? And, of course, all of this is for show. It is meant to demonstrate that there is a very real threat out there to our current elections and that Russia's efforts exist in our day-to-day life.

    Trump is president in no small part due to the fact that these newly-indicted Russians helped put him in office. I have argued that Russia has seized the office of the presidency, and that this constitutes an act of war. If Trump is proven to have been even remotely willing to participate in this activity, he is guilty of helping an enemy overthrow the government of the United States of America.

    Trump's treason can no longer be dismissed as a liberal hoax.

    Another Trump Nominee Has Been Caught Ripping Off Puerto Rico

    This is the guy Trump picked to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and this is the guy who had to withdraw his nomination when it was learned that he had some ethical issues. This is the type of person who just can't get a security clearance in the Trump White House, and this is the kind of man who ends up being accused of ripping off the suffering people of Puerto Rico:

    Puerto Rico has suspended a $133 million contract for hurricane relief given to the firm of President Donald Trump’s former pick for a top FEMA position after an independent review board determined it was improperly awarded. 

    A review board overseeing the U.S. territory's housing contracts said Tuesday that the winning firm, Adjusters International, should have been disqualified for failing to comply with the requirements for the FEMA-funded contractoverseeing repairs for up to 75,000 homes damaged by Hurricane Maria. 

    Daniel Craig, Adjusters' senior vice president, helped his firm with its bid for the contract, which was awarded by Puerto Rico's housing department in December. In September, Craig withdrew his nomination to become second-in-command at FEMA after NBC News reported he had been under federal investigation for ethics issues involving lucrative FEMA contracts awarded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    Do you know why Daniel Craig will never be as famous as all of the other Trump nominees who have been caught stealing? One, his name is the same as the guy who may or may not have the wherewithal to keep playing James Bond and, two, you need a scorecard a mile wide to tell all the players in this cesspool of graft and outright fraud. Who is it this week? How many got caught last week? There are so many people stealing money right now, there's almost no chance a thousand prosecutors working round the clock for the next decade is ever going to catch up to them.

    In the Trump era, of course you can get rich ripping off poor people. That's what three million fewer people voted for, right?

    Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Area Hobo Cooperates With Federal Authorities

    Steve Bannon apparently knows more than enough to keep investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller:

    President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has been interviewed as part of an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    He met with special counsel Robert Mueller, who leads the inquiry, over two days this week.

    Mr Bannon was chairman of Mr Trump's presidential campaign before becoming a top White House official.

    But he left his post in August amid reports of tension with other aides.

    Mr Mueller is leading an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the US election. Both Moscow and Mr Trump deny this.

    There are reports that Bannon actually spoke to the Feds for more than 20 hours. Who does that? Does an innocent person who doesn't know anything about any lawbreaking and any possible collusion have enough material to keep people so busy they cover several days and multiple meal breaks? No, of course not.

    Bannon wants leniency and he wants to make a deal before everyone gets theirs. How can you blame a hobo for trying?

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

    How Does This Happen?

    Apparently, nobody working for Trump can get a damned security clearance:

    More than 130 political appointees working in the Executive Office of the President did not have permanent security clearances as of November 2017, including the president’s daughter, son-in-law and his top legal counsel, according to internal White House documents obtained by NBC News. 

    Of those appointees working with interim clearances, 47 of them are in positions that report directly to President Donald Trump. About a quarter of all political appointees in the executive office are working with some form of interim security clearance. 

    White House officials said Wednesday they would not comment, as is their policy, on the nature of security clearances. CNN also reported on the clearances earlier Wednesday evening. It is unclear whether some employees have had their clearance levels changed since mid-November.

    That's a huge number, especially when you consider that many of those people survived the horrible purge of Trump appointees that would otherwise be known as the year 2017. It is a long process, and much of it is broken and archaic, but you would think that all of these people--many of whom get to read the Goddamned Presidential Daily Briefing--would be able to get a permanent security clearance.

    The Republican Party now has zero credibility when it comes to national security, guarding our country's secrets, and putting the right people in charge. I don't ever want to be lectured again about anything regarding the defense of this nation by these people. With this very deliberate act of gross negligence and incompetence, American lives are being put in danger. 

    The GOP controlled Congress should start holding hearings tomorrow and anyone who can't get a permanent security clearance needs to be frog-marched out of the White House before noon tomorrow.

    You couldn't make this up if you tried, and no one would believe it if you did.

    Vote For Democrats if You Want This Bloodshed to End

    There isn't enough outrage anymore, but there is a chance to state the obvious. If you want the bloodshed in our cities to end, and if you think common sense gun laws will help accomplish this, you should plan on voting for Democrats from now on:

    At least 17 people were killed Wednesday in a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

    The suspect, 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz, is in custody, the sheriff said. The sheriff said he was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons.

    I really think this is where the 2018 mid-terms should go. It's a good thing to resist Trump and promise voters that the Democrats are going to stop him and his reign of error. But what they also need to do is tell voters their plan to stop the terror in our schools and in our public places and show that there is a way to restrict gun ownership without violating anyone's rights.

    Don't tell me we can't do this. We can, but we don't, because the NRA is throwing millions of dollars into our political system. We need to match that money, and add a little more, and put it behind Democrats who are willing to stand up and stop the carnage.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    The Trump White House is a Complete and Utter Fiasco

    One of the best words you can use when describing the Trump White House is 'fiasco.'

    It captures the dysfunction, the self-inflicted wounds, the confusion, the utter shit-show that it truly is without overstating the obvious. None of these people should be leading this country. No one currently working in the White House would be there were it not for the train wreck that is Donald Trump. No one behind that fence and inside of those walls would be there in a "normal" administration because there used to be standards.

    Rob Porter would not have been allowed anywhere near the Bush White House, for example, especially if the FBI had told someone working there, repeatedly, that the guy was a wife-beating son of a bitch without an ounce of shame. Bush's White House was a case study of incompetence, what with the young kids being sent to set up a stock exchange in Iraq and Mr. Brown with his lovely daughter named FEMA. But even they vetted nominees. Even they tried to keep the worst of the worst on the far flung fringes. The Trump White House threw open the door and let the heathens and the vandals stomp across the good rugs and through the Lincoln bedroom.

    There is no question--this is our life right now:

    To work in the Donald Trump White House is to careen from one scandal or self-inflicted catastrophe to the next. But few weeks of this year-old administration have been as fraught as the past seven days, aides say. 

    Few recall similar levels of chaos engulfing the ranks. What’s worse: multiple senior West Wing officials have conveyed privately to The Daily Beast their fear that the ongoing Rob Porter scandal, and the intense fallout implicating top staffers, will only get worse in the days to come. 

    “As bad as the Comey firing,” one White House official bluntly assessed, expressing a sentiment shared this week by several senior Trump aides—that the tumult and mismanagement of the past few days is only matched by mayhem kicked off by the sacking of FBI director James Comey in May.

    Such angst echoes an even more troublesome reality playing out of public view. Aides and confidants say that trust between the internal White House departments has been damaged by the failure to adequately explain why Porter—who stands accused by two ex-wives of physical and emotional abuse—was able to stay on the job for as long as he did. There are persistent rumors that the news of Porter’s past alleged abuses was initially leaked to the press by someone inside the administration. And though the White House publicly insists that Chief of Staff John Kelly enjoys the trust and faith of the president, there are notable rumblings of discontent over his handling of the matter, in and outside of the administration.

    I don't care about their careers and neither should you. There ought to be a rule used in the future--if you worked for Trump from whenever to whenever, you don't get to be part of polite society anymore. I'd love to see that rule enforced after we put an end to this fiasco.

    Monday, February 12, 2018

    Trump Blocks Jennie Willoughby

    Miss Willoughby is the ex-wife of disgraced White House Secretary Rob Porter.

    On Friday, a friend and I watched as the President of the United States sat in the Oval Office and praised the work of my ex-husband, Rob Porter, and wished him future success. I can’t say I was surprised. But when Donald Trump repeated twice that Rob declared his innocence, I was floored. What was his intent in emphasizing that point? My friend turned to me and said, “The President of the United States just called you a liar.”

    Yes. And so he did.

    There is no end to the cruelty of Donald J. Trump.

    There is No High Road With Trump

    Pussyfooting around is not going to defeat Donald Trump and his army of followers, many of whom are violent white supremacists who are counting on liberals to be weak and squishy. This is not a call for mindless violence. When Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said that he had no problem flattening Trump if he got into his personal space, he meant that in the sincerest form of the word and the idea. Trump will use physical means to terrorize Americans--look at his rallies and debate demeanor. He only understands the proper response to all bullies everywhere. Do not tolerate this in any form, no matter what. Do not show weakness. Stand up to him, and he folds like the old, broken down bitch that he is.

    This is a call that is meant to remind people that Trump has destroyed most of the norms in American politics that would have disqualified him from office in the past. This is meant to argue that, when someone refuses to behave in a civil manner, you have to make exceptions and do things that are non-traditional in order to counter them and their followers.

    In other words, there is no better Trump out there, there isn't anyone who can manage him, and there ain't no fucking high road:

    For Democrats, there's something deeply satisfying — perhaps even cathartic — about personalizing their attacks on President Donald Trump. 

    And they've been doing it with relish, particularly after he said last week that they had acted "un-American" and even "treasonous" by declining to clap during his State of the Union address. 

    Borrowing a page from Trump's celebrity feud playbook, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a war veteran who lost her legs in Iraq, has given the commander in chief a nickname: "Cadet Bone Spurs" — a reference to the service deferments Trump obtained during the Vietnam War. 

    "He's a joke," former Vice President Joe Biden said when told the White House had written off the treason remark as a stab at humor.

    Within the last few weeks, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of trying to "make America white again" with his immigration plan, and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he'd flatten Trump if the president got in his physical space. 

    These Democrats are fighting fire with fire. But others think it's bad form and worse strategy to copy Trump's brand of highly personalized and harsh speech. 

    It would be hard for Democrats to overshoot the mark with their deeply anti-Trump base. But they are also aware that they need to attract independents and some Republicans if they are to win big in this year's midterms and recapture the White House in 2020.

    Again, there is no way a Trump voter is going to suddenly vote for Democrats if they haven't already abandoned him. Anyone clinging to their guns, their white supremacy, and their love of Trumpery is not worth appealing to. There is always going to be a 33% block of American voters who will never vote for a Democrat, no matter what. 

    In 1974 and 1976, Republicans were driven from office in massive numbers because of the inherent evil that was Richard Nixon. The Republican brand became toxic to voters; the same thing, roughly, happened in 2006 and 2008 when the wool was removed from the eyes of people who thought a GOP daddy was what they needed. This is the same situation we are in right now--Trump can't lead, can't govern, and can't emit anything remotely decent from his mouth. Democrats need to drive home that fact every single day and make the idea of voting for a Republican akin to embracing actual Nazis because, hello, ample evidence suggests that many of them are closeted fascists.

    I have no problem giving up on these people. They are lost in their own misinformed ocean of delusion and hatred. However, there are a whole lot of non-voters who are already sold on the idea that they should participate in the resistance against Trump. Keep appealing to them! Motivate them, and get them to the polls. If you know someone who has never voted, help them overcome the GOP's relentless assault on the franchise and get them registered. They should vote in the primaries and in the mid-term election this November. 

    The media has this misguided notion that Democrats shouldn't be Democrats if they want to win. It's as old as the old, lazy "Dems in Disarray" headline from the past. The Democrats are not in any form of disarray--they're busy trying to save our democracy from the Russians. Anyone who says that Democrats have to "appeal to the middle" is just trying to move the goalposts. This is ludicrous concern-trolling bullshit. Ignore the insanity. The American people prefer tolerance, competence and compassion. Motivate people to support those things at the ballot box, and no one needs to appeal to a single Trump voter ever again.

    Saturday, February 10, 2018

    No One Needs to Appeal to Trump Voters

    This is what Meghan McCain is really trying to do--she's trying to make it so that the Republican brand is not a toxic stew of racism and fuckery. She's trying to salvage the reputation of a party that mostly rejected her father and has embraced the most incompetent, racist fool in modern American history:

    Meghan McCain told CNN's Van Jones that she's no fan of President Donald Trump but she sees "a lot of gray zone" when it comes to his supporters and argues their views should not be dismissed.

    "It's easy to get very cynical right now. And it's easy to get very jaded. I've certainly found myself going to places like that, that I didn't think I was really capable of in the past 2½ years," McCain told "The Van Jones Show" in an interview to air at 7 p.m. ET Saturday. 

    "The View" co-host and daughter of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, admitted she was "not a huge Trump supporter" but decided on Election Night in 2016 to "try and be as unemotional as possible in analyzing him and his presidency."

    "I don't think I suffer from Trump derangement syndrome in a sense that I can separate the man from the White House. I still believe that the White House trumps -- no pun intended -- trumps everything politically that he's doing," she told Jones.

      "I do think that there is a lot of gray zone with Trump supporters, and I would like both of us -- myself included because I'm certainly guilty of this as well -- to stop throwing around the horrible allegations and name-calling."

      Yeah, fuck that shit.

      Who appointed McCain the savior of anything? The vast majority of Republicans view her father as a liberal Democrat bathed in failure and free Cadillacs for welfare queens. I hate to be blunt, but Meghan McCain is lucky to be on television and have anything approaching a media career. It is fitting that a beneficiary of nepotism is actively trying to defend the reputation of a party that has been perverted by a man whose sons are all but useless.

      There is no such thing as "Trump Derangement Syndrome" because everything he has done has been criminally deranged. He has deviated from every behavioral norm established by 44 previous occupants of the White House. And, news flash, he's the face of white supremacy in America. His voters are never going to pull the lever for a Democrat, so why bother appealing to them?

      Sometimes, awful people just aren't worth the trouble. 



      Friday, February 9, 2018

      John Kelly is the Worst One of All

      Who is the worst member of the Trump Regime? We're talking about a race for the bottom that includes actual Nazis and wife beaters. We're talking human beings so awful, there's a good chance the country will need twenty years to recover from their presence in the halls of power. 

      John Kelly is the worst person working for Trump right now:

      Among the many people agitated this week over John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, was President Trump. And among the people the president called to express dissatisfaction, according to those close to him, was none other than Reince Priebus, the previous chief of staff, who also irritated Mr. Trump.

      The idea that the president would confide grievances over Mr. Kelly with the person he pushed out to hire Mr. Kelly is yet another indication of how upside-down Mr. Trump’s world can be. In the West Wing, various characters fall in and out of favor with such rapidity that it is never entirely clear who has the president’s ear.

      For now, it is Mr. Kelly who is in trouble. The president has little tolerance for aides who attract negative media attention that spills onto him, and in recent days Mr. Kelly has drawn a string of unwelcome headlines. He roiled negotiations over immigration legislation by declaring that some immigrants were “too lazy” to apply for legal status. And he initially defended a deputy accused by two ex-wives of physically abusing them.

      All of which has again fired up the will-he-last speculation that has erupted periodically in the six months Mr. Kelly has been in office. Mr. Trump has recently asked advisers what they think of Mick Mulvaney, who currently holds twin posts as director of the White House budget office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as a possible chief of staff, according to two people briefed on the discussions.

      Since there's no chance anyone hired to replace Kelly will get Trump under control, take his phone away from him, or do anything to remove the stench of failure from this White House, it really doesn't matter if Kelly stays or goes. This particular hell has a revolving door that will give you a black eye when you cross the threshold. 

      I don't see much of an upside to Kelly's resignation because they're all shitty people. This is our new normal. The re-org chart for Trump's White House is fated to look like a howling abstract painting that has been burned by vandals. It will all be horrible, and it will all smell like the ass end of the worst slaughterhouse in town. There is such a heavy permutation of failure surrounding these people that, as soon as they come into contact with Trump, there is an immediate cessation of joy. Friends drop away. Cold shoulders appear out of nowhere. Light bends around the place and rain falls constantly. Defense lawyers start calling, looking to score an easy half a million in fees. Small dogs begin barking, and anything with teeth looks for open skin.

      The Rob Porter scandal would have ended any normal presidency in the modern era. I think it is entirely responsible to speculate as to how many people working for Trump are serious deviants. The FBI has these numbers on the people in Trump's inner circle. How many of them have a serious painkiller addiction? How many of them are beating their wives on a daily basis? How many are having deviant sex with animals as part of an overall life plan that includes public displays of white supremacy? Which Trump minion has a summer home in the part of Thailand where the police are too ashamed to go? Is there a pie chart that shows how many members of the Trump Regime are known to the police as being serial pig fuckers? How many have been arrested in the middle of a peep show after refusing to give someone a complimentary rim job? Who's the guy who keeps shitting on the floor because he can't stop all of the flashing lights in his diseased brain? You're telling me there's no one working for Trump who has a scat fetish and terrorizes chipmunks? Come on. We all know they're mind-blowingly awful human beings.

      The Trump White House is the place where only a person who has flushed decency down the toilet can fit in and pretend to be part of society. If there is absolutely no chance a reputable person will meet with you to discuss employment opportunities, relax. Trump and his goons will find a way to feed you into the gaping maw of their terrible machine. They will use you as fodder for their war against everything good, and if you come out of it alive with only a dozen years in the slammer, you might be able to get work spinning signs for adult toy emporiums out by the freeway. Never forget. When you work for Trump, you gotta bring your own lube.

      Honestly, why don't the Russians just move in and get it over with already?


      Thursday, February 8, 2018

      It's Time For Bush to Speak Out

      I'm never going to look to George W. Bush for inspiration or leadership. He is fundamentally incapable of doing the right thing at the right time. He needs to be a more forceful voice for democracy, decency, and use whatever legitimacy and influence he has left to give cover for Republicans who refuse to support Trump (God knows that David From, Bill Kristol, and Max Boot did their level best to support Bush in his time of need). In this, as in every other endeavor, I expect him to be a colossal failure and a disappointment.

      Here's what should be evident to every decent American. Trump is an illegitimate president. He should be removed from office as soon as possible. I do think it would be extremely helpful if all of our living former presidents were to speak out with more conviction on the state of our democracy and the threat posed by the Russian regime:

      Former President George W. Bush appeared to take aim at President Trump on Thursday when he said at an economic summit in the Middle East that there was "pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled" in the 2016 U.S. president election.

      Bush made the comments in a talk in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. He was appearing there as part of a conference put on by the Milken Institute, a think tank based in Santa Monica, California.

      While Bush did not directly name Trump, his comments did appear to target him. Trump has consistently disputed allegations of Russian interference in the election or that members of his campaign team in any way "colluded" with Moscow. 

      "Whether (Russia) affected the outcome is another question," Bush added.

      "It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results," he said. 

      Intelligence agencies have concluded Russia did meddle in the election and numerous investigations are under way to determine whether Trump’s campaign aided the Kremlin.

      Bush also said the U.S. needs to reform its immigration law and described Russian President Vladimir Putin as "zero-sum." Bush said of the Russian leader: "He can’t think, ‘How can we both win?’ He only thinks, ‘How do I win, you lose?’”

      Bush needs to find the courage to call out Trump by name. Every establishment Republican who remains silent is complicit in the normalization of Trump and the degradation that comes with it. I ain't worried about Obama, Clinton or Carter--they know the score.

      We missed a chance to change our assessment of Russia when Obama was president. We should have caught the warning signs that Bush alluded to. Russia is not a military threat to the United States or to the NATO alliance. It is using cyberwar to undermine Western democracy and institutions. This needs to be countered and rolled back through a concerted effort that involves everyone. The Dutch were all over this issue, and if NATO is to remain a true alliance, everyone has to build the infrastructure that puts Russian efforts in check.

      I also think Bush should put to rest the idea that it was a good idea to look into "Putin's soul" and make foreign policy decisions based on what he saw. Now is a great time for him to try and rehabilitate himself and atone for past mistakes. No one should hold their breath waiting for Bush to acknowledge that Dick Cheney was really in charge and incompetence was widespread throughout his administration. Every penny his "institute" collects should be given to the veterans of the wars he started.

      I do think history is going to give Bush more of a pass than he deserves specifically because of how bad Trump is in comparison, and I don't think we should accept that verdict. I think we should remember how much damage Republican governance has done to this country, even before Trump came down the escalator.

      Wednesday, February 7, 2018

      Democrats Can Win Everywhere

      Mike Revis won his election because the American people want to vote for Democrats more than they want to vote for anyone else. They want competence and they want it now. There's an enthusiasm gap, and Democrats are exploiting it everywhere. The American people are angry at the Republican Party and they hate Trumpism with a passion:

      Democrats flipped a Missouri House seat in Tuesday’s special election in a district that President Trump won by 28 points in 2016, signaling problems for the GOP ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

      Democrat Mike Revis won the election with nearly 52 percent of the vote while Republican David Linton received 48 percent. Tuesday’s election marks a 31-point swing to Democrats in the district compared to the 2016 presidential election.

      “Representative-elect Mike Revis’s victory tonight will undoubtedly send another shockwave through the GOP as we continue to run the best candidates focused on addressing local issues and improving their neighbors’ quality of life,” Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Jessica Post said in a statement.

      This is why I think Beto O'Rourke can beat Ted Cruz this fall. This is why I think a lot of state legislatures are going to flip Democratic as well. This is why I pound the desk when I see people saying, "well, the Democrats don't have a message."

      Hello? The message is clear. Trump is not the answer to what ails this country. Cutting taxes for the rich isn't going to help anyone get a job. And if you want health care, why the hell would you vote for a Republican? 

      I don't think Democrats make a big enough issue out of voting rights and protecting people from discrimination. I think we have to make economic reform, education reform, and police reform into issues that are appealing to people. We have to deliver good jobs, affordable education, and communities that aren't under siege. We have an enormous opportunity that is slipping away from us--crime has never been lower, but the police act like they have to shoot everyone. Something has to be fixed here.

      Of course, if you want to live in a world with clean drinking water, renewable energy, and real, actual functioning parks, you have to vote for Democrats. Every day that we are not reducing our carbon footprint is a day closer to seeing coastal areas under water and resources becoming scarce. 

      Why the hell would anyone vote for a Republican? I just can't see it, and strong candidates like Mike Revis are coming out of the woodwork. 

      Tuesday, February 6, 2018

      Trump Orders the Military to Throw Him a Parade

      There are three generals working for Trump. Generals McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were supposed to put a lid on this sort of thing. They were supposed to be a calming force that would keep Trump's worst character defects in check.

      Well, so much for that:

      President Donald Trump has asked for a military parade and the Pentagon is reviewing potential dates, Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said Tuesday.

      The spokesman described the planning process as being in its "infancy."

      The Washington Post first reported Trump told top Pentagon brass last month he wants a military parade.

      "The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France," a military official told the paper. "This is being worked at the highest levels of the military."

        Trump's meeting with senior military leaders last month included Vice President Mike Pence, White House chief of staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford.

        What McMaster should have said was, "Mr. President, the American military does not do parades of this nature. We are strong, we are powerful, and we have the self-confidence and self-respect to keep our military hardware where it belongs--ready to be used and ready to defend ourselves and our allies. Small, weak nations stage parades. Dictators hold parades and watch non-functioning equipment roll by. Great nations do not need to advertise their strength. Why don't we put a company on horseback and have the band play instead, sir? We can have the Old Guard roll down past the White House on a Sunday morning with their horses and caissons and you can clap and cheer and we'll give you a balloon afterwards. We can even authorize you a complimentary Military Horseman badge. How does that sound, champ?"

        And if Trump had persisted, they should have all resigned. George Marshall would have muttered and quit. Creighton Abrams would have told him to go fuck himself and walked out. Norman Schwarzkopf would have laughed and told him to go find someone to make him a uniform with shiny buttons. Hell, even Colin Powell would have resigned after some hemming and hawing.

        What a debacle. 

        And, of course - you know the drill.

        Republicans are allowed to use the military as props. This is being tolerated because Trump self-identifies as a Republican. 

        If a Democrat were to suggest using the military to stage a parade in order to improve his poll numbers, well, the outrage and the refusal to do so would cross the line into mutiny. 

        This sort of thing is entirely OK because Trump is a Republican. Democrats are never, ever allowed to use the military without first being subjected to howls of outrage.

        Cadet Bone Spurs

        Senator Tammy Duckworth is an American hero:

        An Illinois Democrat who was seriously wounded in Iraq derisively referred to President Donald Trump's draft deferments after Trump called Democrats "treasonous" for not clapping during his State of the Union speech.

        "We don't live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. I swore an oath—in the military and in the Senate—to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap," Sen. Tammy Duckworth tweeted Monday evening.

        Duckworth, an Army veteran who lost her legs while serving in Iraq, appeared to be referencing Trump's draft deferments. Trump received five draft deferments throughout the Vietnam War, and on one occasion, Trump received a deferment because of bone spurs.

        You know, I'm starting to think that this Trump guy is worried someone is going to figure out that the Russians helped him get elected president. Every day, he seems crazier and crazier and no one is doing anything to help him out.

        The photo that you see above is one of my absolute favorite photos of all time. This is what an American looks like. This is what it means to serve. This is what we should be holding up as an example to people. Instead, we have a president whose entire reason for being is the coarse pursuit of making a profit from committing contractor fraud.

        Do you need a hero? Tammy Duckworth is the hero you need. 

        Monday, February 5, 2018

        So Tired of All the Winning

        People who are smart about our economy know that the stock market is not, in fact, the entirety of our economic situation. There are numerous other indicators that are worth following. But for a fool like Trump, all that matters are big numbers and rising profits:

        For a connoisseur of cable news like Donald Trump, it was not a pretty picture.

        As the President touted his economic agenda in Ohio on Monday, his face stared out of millions of television screens next to blaring red graphics and yellow numbers whirling like the reels on a slot machine, telling the story of a full-bore stock market plunge.

        For any president, the split screen moment showing an apparent disconnect between his message of a roaring economy and hemorrhaging equities would be a little embarrassing.

        But for Trump, who has constantly boasted about almost daily record highs on Wall Street since his election and told Americans that he alone is responsible for their healthy 401(k) balances, the mismatch was even more pronounced.

          Even the President's favorite news source, Fox News, was the bearer of bad tidings for Trump, with a banner reading "DOW, S&P turn negative for the year."

          Yeah, what this really means is, "you'd better vote for a Democrat this fall if you want to have an economy at all." The current Trump Regime is hell-bent on destroying everything President Obama accomplished, which was a stable, functioning economy that received no assistance at all from obstructionist Republicans in the Senate.

          Democrats govern. Republicans wreck shit and run away. What more do you need to know?

          Can't Anyone Play This Game?

          Someone really needs to find a new line of work:

          The Department of Homeland Security documents critiquing the response to a simulated anthrax attack on Super Bowl Sunday were marked "For Official Use Only" and "important for national security."

          Recipients of the draft "after-action" reports were told to keep them locked up after business hours and to shred them prior to discarding. They were admonished not to share their contents with anyone who lacked "an operational need-to-know."

          But security surrounding the December 2017 reports suffered an embarrassing breach:

          A CNN employee discovered copies of them, along with other sensitive DHS material, in the seat-back pocket of a commercial plane. The reports were accompanied by the travel itinerary and boarding pass of the government scientist in charge of BioWatch, the DHS program that conducted the anthrax drills in preparation for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.

          This "government scientist" has not leaked what would normally be referred to as classified information in the broader sense. Documents marked For Official Use Only are sensitive, but not overly so. This is more a matter of mishandling sensitive information. It's not a complete and utter disaster, but it's terrible from a public relations point of view.

          Reviewing these documents should have been done is a more controlled environment. I would think that someone will punish this person and restrict their access to sensitive materials until they can be retrained in the proper handling of this stuff.

          If you're going to get into this line of work, expect to be held accountable.


          Sunday, February 4, 2018

          Flip All the Cars

          Tonight, all over the City of Philadelphia, people are celebrating their first Super Bowl victory. If a few fans were to get out of hand and flip cars, who's to say it wasn't the work of a handful of really rowdy Bills fans? Or maybe some Steelers fans who got lost on their way home and decided to get a little crazy?

          When the Eagles won the Super Bowl, it felt to me like something in America shifted once again. In order to excise the demons, maybe a few cars need to be flipped. Maybe some poles doused with hydraulic fluid need to be climbed. Maybe some folks in faded green jerseys who haven't had anything to hope for need to get out there and celebrate.

          America is still full of demons, and they need to be chased away.

          I wouldn't burn everything down, though.

          You're Not Helping

          One of the indicators that tells us that Trump's legal defense team is incompetent is the fact that Donald Trump Jr. is making public statements right now:

          President Donald Trump's oldest son suggested on Saturday that claims by Democrats of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia are ironic, since such accusations resemble McCarthyism.

          "You see the Democratic senators [saying] 'This is McCarthyism.' I’m like what? You have a guy screaming, 'Russia, Russia, Russia' with no evidence," Donald Trump Jr. said during an interview with Fox News Channel's Jesse Watters Saturday night. "All this shade for 18 months, screaming about McCarthyism. I mean the irony is ridiculous at this point."


          "The problem is rather than being reasonable and coming to the table, they forced themselves further, and further and further left," Trump Jr. said during his "Watters' World" interview. "I mean, they are left of commie right now, and that's a real problem for them and I don't think that's where America was [during the 2016 election.]"

          As for the controversial GOP memo released Friday alleging surveillance at the Department of Justice, Trump Jr. said the memo's release serves as "sweet justice" for his family.

          "There is a little bit of sweet revenge in it for me and certainly probably the family in a sense that if they wouldn't have done this, this stuff would be going on," he said. "This would be going on at the highest levels of government. They'd be continuing doing it to my father, trying to undermine his actions."

          How is this helping? How does this change the narrative about the memo, about the Russia investigation, about anything? It doesn't.

          Trump's lawyers have to somehow figure out how to defend their client against obstruction of justice charges that stem from Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian operatives. The person at the heart of all of this should probably not be on TV making crazy statements. Trump's lawyers are bad at their jobs, and their clientele is incapable of following basic advice, so it's all a wash anyway.