Saturday, March 31, 2018

Oklahoma Teachers Are Ready to Strike

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="454.0"]  Voters in Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly for Trump...  Voters in Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly for Trump... [/caption]


Do you think there's a correlation between the political ideology of a state and how it treats teachers?

Oklahoma is among the bottom three states for teacher salaries, where educators often work about 10 years before reaching the $40,000 salary mark. And they haven't gotten a raise from the state in 10 years. 

While educators nationwide have seen slight paycheck bumps over the past decade, when adjusted for inflation, teachers have actually lost 3% of their income from 2006 to 2016, according to the National Education Association. 

Recently, the Oklahoma teachers' union called for $10,000 teacher raises, $5,000 raises for support staff and more than $200 million for education funding.

Lawmakers agreed on an average teacher raise of $6,100, $1,250 for support staff and a $50 million increase in education funding -- a measure Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law Thursday. 

But many teachers say it's not enough. So on Monday, Troxell and thousands of other teachers will walk out -- prompting some schools to shut down indefinitely.

There are plenty of underpaid teachers in blue states, but the rock bottom is where Republicans have already blown up budgets and focused on passing laws to restrict women's rights because, well, that's much easier than figuring out how to fund education. 

West Virginia (50), Indiana (49) and Alabama (48), which is where you have already seen some agitation for better salaries among teachers (hell, they should be fighting for better pay everywhere). They all have one thing in common--they vote for Republicans again and again and can't figure out why everything is turning to shit. Every one of those states went for Trump in 2016 and, with a Department of Education being run into the ground under Betsy DeVos, should not ever hope to see an ounce of help or assistance making things better. Hey, red states. Vote blue, and maybe your fortunes will change.

Do you want teachers to be paid a living wage? Vote for Democrats. And vote them out of office in Wisconsin and Colorado before teacher salaries in those states end up in the toilet.

They are going to revolt in some of these red states, and that's because the GOP's model of governance is completely unsustainable in a decent society. Starving government of funds every year gives you Kansas, and nobody should ever want that. Kansas is the way it is because Jeebus and abortion means everything and education doesn't count for shit. Thank God the rest of this country doesn't want to live that way.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Boycott Laura Ingraham




I have never understood how this woman could have a career in television:

When Fox News host Laura Ingraham taunted a Parkland shooting survivor in a Wednesday- ­morning tweet about his college applications being rejected, Twitter users hit back where it hurt most: among her advertisers.

David Hogg, the 17-year-old high school senior who has become a gun-control activist, mustered the collective power of social media — and his more than 630,000 Twitter followers — and urged them to “tweet away” at her top sponsors to call on them to boycott her TV show, “The Ingraham Angle.”

Within 24 hours, several companies responded — among them the pet food brand Nutrish and the home goods retailer Wayfair — announcing over Twitter and in media interviews that they would pull their ads from Ingraham’s show.

She is a purveyor of hate and intolerance.

In the two-for-one combination that all too often serves conservative radio well, Ingraham once claimed that the immigration bill was an attempt by the mainstream media to make more people liberals. Anyone who still wonders whether talk radio had an influence on the bill’s defeat should look at Ingraham’s numbers; with more than 5 million weekly listeners, she is tied with Glenn Beck as the fourth most listened to radio talk show host in America. Alterman wrote that Ingraham’s popularity is due to her having “something more important than knowledge or experience. ... She has star quality.” She is also fearless: She once confronted CNN host John Roberts for calling her “outspoken,” saying, “Do you guys introduce liberal commentators that way?”

She’s more aggressive than Limbaugh, more blatant than Hannity, and more rational than Beck or Savage, and although she often supports many of them (erroneously stating, for example, that Limbaugh never claimed the Clintons murdered Vince Foster), she is equally willing to call them out. She walked out of a “Hannity & Colmes” installment after the Don Imus “nappy-headed ho’s” controversy was twisted into a discussion of Democratic vices, and once asked on her radio program after an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Why is Bill O’Reilly afraid of George Soros?” (In the same broadcast, Ingraham accused columnist Helen Thomas of working for Hezbollah, which has been identified by the U.S. government as a terrorist group.)

Ingraham was born and raised among the wealthy in Glastonbury, Conn., one of the state’s richest suburbs, although her mother worked as a maid to support the family. She went to Dartmouth University and became the first female editor of the conservative Dartmouth Review, where conservative author Dinesh D’Souza, a former boyfriend, also worked. While there, she secretly sent a reporter with a tape recorder to a campus gay students association meeting; she then outed the students in print and sent tapes of the meetings to the students’ parents. In the magazine she called association members “cheerleaders for latent campus sodomites.” (In 1997, more than a decade later, she wrote an article in the Washington Post detailing how she had changed her views in light of her brother Curtis’ coming out as gay.)

The fact that an advertising boycott is finally happening tells how how far we've fallen. Ingraham shouldn't even be on television in the first place. What a horrible person. 

As of this morning, her Fox show has lost 9 advertisers. This is looking like her Bill O'Reilly moment.

UPDATE: 3/31/2018 - 

All 17 of these advertisers have bailed on Ingraham's reprehensible bullshit:

@AtlantisBahamas @Expedia @Honda @Hulu @JennyCraig @JNJCares @JosABank @LibertyMutual @MiracleEar @NestleUSA @Nutrish @OfficeDepot @Prinicipal @RubyTuesday @TripAdvisor @StitchFix @Wayfair #FireIngraham

 

UPDATE 4/1/2018:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Bombing Them Accomplishes Virtually Nothing




The policy of U.S. forces in Afghanistan seems to be centered around bombing the enemy relentlessly from the air:

A US Air Force B-52 bomber launched a record-setting series of strikes this week in northern Afghanistan -- dropping 24 precision-guided munitions on Taliban fighting positions during 96 hours of air operations "to destroy insurgent revenue sources, training facilities, and support networks," according to US Forces Afghanistan. 

The 24 precision-guided munitions dropped by the B-52 Stratofortress are the most ever dropped by one of the Air Force's oldest active aircraft, the service said in a press release

Weighing 185,000 pounds, the B-52 first entered service in the 1950s during the height of the Cold War -- originally designed to serve as long-range, high-altitude intercontinental nuclear bombers that could strike deep into the Soviet Union.

Here you have CNN allowing the Air Force to put a press release into circulation without so much as a hint of critical thinking or analysis. What it tells me is that we're going right back to the early days of the Iraq War. Journalists need to question what we're still doing in Afghanistan and point out that we still have a mission there to fight the Taliban but far fewer troops to accomplish our goals. Are we really going to avoid asking difficult questions?

  • Is it strategically wise to unleash this kind of bombing on the enemy, which often mixes with civilians in order to score points with the international media by showing how devastating these attacks can be for non-combatants?
  • Is it really in our best interests to kill a few Taliban with expensive weapons when we all know that we're going to have to leave Afghanistan eventually? 
  • Why are we creating more terrorists, and generating more support for the Taliban, through indiscriminate bombing missions that end up being touted as "record setting" and effective according to just one source, which is the military organization that dropped the damned things in the first place?

It's patriotic to question the mission. It's perfectly okay to question the strategy of our forces. And, I know this is journalism 101, but it's okay to doubt the effectiveness of a high-altitude bombing campaign because we've seen, time and again, that "precision-guided" weapons often miss their mark.

We've been bombing the living hell out of the Taliban since 2001. They're still there! We've even dropped Fuel-Air explosives on them. Guess what? They're still fighting for control of the country. We've spent untold hundreds of billions of dollars to create an Afghanistan that can be safe and secure. Guess what? It ain't!

In the Trump era, I can't believe anyone is falling for this again. It's as if someone is laying the groundwork for another senseless war and for the American people to be fed a bunch of lies justifying that conflict.

Trump Stole the Election and Everyone Knows It




Special Counsel Robert Mueller seems to be telling us that there was, in fact, collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians:

The FBI has found that a business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, including during the 2016 campaign when Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were in touch with the associate, according to new court filings.

The documents, filed late Tuesday by prosecutors for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, also allege that Gates had said he knew the associate was a former officer with the Russian military intelligence service.

These are the guys that helped Trump bulldoze through our cultural and political norms and steal the Republican nomination for president. It was supposed to be Clinton vs Bush and it ended up being a road trip through hell. Once the nomination was secure, the fix was already in. Manafort was fired shortly thereafter, but Gates stayed on well into the transition and was a big part of the inauguration of this president. The presence of Gates ensures that there are severe legal problems ahead for Trump and his merry band of election thieves.

Imagine any fucking Democrat anywhere doing any of this shit, and tell me we're not living under a double standard in terms of what it allowed to go on. The GOP is a complicit shit show, and people need to wake the hell up.

How can any reasonable person conclude that Trump is the legitimate president? He's the least legitimate president in our country's history, and that includes presidents that won with backroom deals and with the help of the Supreme Court. Trump is president because a handful of Republican members of Congress have sold out the country. They simply do not believe there will ever be an accountability moment for their actions. And, let's face it, there are too many stupid people who are tolerating something awful right now. You can't convince me they don't know Trump is a fraud and that his connections to the Russians aren't ultimately going to bring about the worst constitutional crisis we have ever faced.

The 2016 election was stolen. We, as a democracy, should steal it back and invalidate the results.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fire Jeffrey Goldberg




Occasionally, people make a huge mistake and hire the wrong person. Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic hired a guy so toxic, and did such a horrible job of explaining why he did it, that you can't help but wonder what the hell he thought he was doing:

Jeffrey Goldberg knows that he hired a troll. But he thinks readers should give him a second chance.

The Atlantic editor in chief issued a memo to the magazine’s staff this week, explaining his decision to hire conservative writer Kevin Williamson as a columnist for the magazine’s new ideas section. In addition to making the thought leader’s now-familiar case for ideological diversity, Goldberg wrote that he likes to “give people second chances and the opportunity to change.” This is an odd justification for a terrible and high-profile hire at one of the country’s most venerable political magazines.

A longtime correspondent for the National Review, Williamson is, at his best, a right-wing provocateur who writes enjoyable, if slightly retro, prose. At his worst, he’s a verbose and hateful troll. Describing a 2014 visit to the impoverished city of East St. Louis, Illinois, Williamson compared a black child to a “primate” and a “three-fifths-scale Snoop Dogg” before likening his own trip through Illinois to Marlow’s journey up the Congo River in Heart of Darkness, all within the space of a single paragraph. (He later denied, unconvincingly, that the three-fifths reference was a slavery joke.) In a column that same year about Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox, Williamson compared trans people to voodoo doll worshippers. “Regardless of the question of whether he has had his genitals amputated, Cox is not a woman, but an effigy of a woman,” he wrote. He accused Bernie Sanders, a secular Jew, of leading a “nationalist-socialist movement” in a too-cute-by-half bid for rage clicks. And perhaps most notoriously, he once opined on Twitter that women who had abortions should be hanged. “I believe abortion should be treated like any other premeditated homicide,” he later clarified, in case anybody doubted his sincerity. “I’m torn on capital punishment generally; but treating abortion as homicide means what it means.”

You know exactly who we need to hear less of these days? Right wing trolls who think we should hang women who have abortions.

Monstrous people do not need to be heard from. This is like when a small-town newspaper prints letters to the editor from the same racist crank week in and week out. The community is not served by such a thing. Lazy people think the First Amendment is here so that people whose ideas have been rejected by the marketplace can have their bullhorn. The function of a gatekeeper in a decent society is to figure out who shouldn't be heard from.

Hey, Kevin Williamson does not need to be heard from. He said what he said, and decent people are allowed to reject his message. 

We've given these people their time in the sun, and they elected the worst president in our nation's history. We have heard what they have to say, and they're just unrepentant racists who need to fuck off. We are not going to learn anything from someone like Kevin Williamson, other than the fact that whoever thought it was a good idea to hire him is pretty much useless in terms of enlightening the country.

Of course the Atlantic should fire Williamson. What a goon. And then they should fire Goldberg. Who needs this shit?

Monday, March 26, 2018

The White House is Investigating Itself Now




How much do you want to bet that the White House will investigate Jared Kushner and find that he hasn't done anything wrong?

White House attorneys are looking into two multimillion-dollar loans to top adviser Jared Kushner’s family business for possible ethical or criminal violations, according to the Office of Government Ethics. The two loans, from Apollo Global management and Citigroup, were reportedly made to the Kushner Companies after Kushner met with top executives from both firms at the White House. The Apollo loan was worth $184 million, while the Citigroup loan was for $325 million. “I have discussed this matter with the White House Counsel’s Office in order to ensure that they have begun the process of ascertaining the facts necessary to determine whether any law or regulation has been violated,” David Apol, the acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, wrote in a letter to Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).

These clowns couldn't ascertain the color of the sky. This is what Congress should be doing, but won't because blatant corruption and conflicts of interest are perfectly fine so long as you are a Republican.

Look at Kushner. Look at all the things he's done. Now, imagine any Democrat anywhere ever doing anything remotely like what he's done, without a security clearance and with the full support of the president. Yeah, I can't even conceive of it, either.

I'm starting to think that we need a Special Counsel just to investigate Jared. I think Preet Bharara would do a great job figuring out what Jared has been doing. He can work with Robert Mueller's team and they can coordinate their efforts. Mueller can go after Trump and Bharara can focus on everything Jared has been doing. Together, they can destroy Trump and Kushner Inc. Oh, what fun that would be.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Rumblings Within the Cult of Trumpism




Republicans are freaking out. Their "fiscal conservative" mask has slipped. Trump has revealed that balancing the budget doesn't mean anything. I want to ask them why they just noticed this. I want to point out what we knew all along--Trumpism is a cult that will bankrupt America. The budget bill Trump signed into law was proof that the Republicans in Congress are addicted to spending money they don't have:

I don't feel sorry for disillusioned Trumpists. They were given the same information the rest of us were, and I feel pretty good about knowing it was always a scam:

We hear all the time these days that President Trump is “undermining democratic norms.” Well, how about this for a democratic norm? The policies people vote for in an election should be the ones that get implemented after the election.

Oh wait, that would mean we had an actual, functioning republic, wouldn’t it? But we don’t. We have a Swamp, and this week’s public policy shambles in Washington – resulting in a fiscally incontinent and democratically illegitimate $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill – showed that the Swamp is not being drained but steadily refilled.

Let’s take the democratic illegitimacy first.

You may not agree with – in fact you may violently disagree with – President Trump’s pledge to “Build the Wall.” But can there be any voter in America who was unaware of that promise by the time of the 2016 election? Of course not. So it is simply staggering to see the sheer scale of our elected representatives’ arrogance in refusing to do what the American people voted for.

It’s not just that the spending bill fails to fund the construction of a border wall along the lines the president has proposed. Almost unbelievably, it literally prohibits building a concrete wall or other prototypes. Not so much “Build the Wall” as “Ban the Wall.”

The American people didn't "vote" to build a wall, asshole. About 70,000 of them were targeted and mislead into voting for a candidate who was colluding with Russia after their hackers stole E-mails from the Democratic Party. If the roles were reversed, the focus of your attack would be squarely upon the candidate who used Russia's help to win. Why the selective outrage? Your guy cheated. Now you're mad he's cheating you, too? Fuck your feelings. 

Conservatives are lamenting the fact that they elected a not-too-bright con-man and are watching the GOP Congress ram fists full of money into their pants before they leave town in January. Thank God they'll never be able to lecture anyone about fiscal responsibility ever again. Hypocrites.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Tomi Lahren




If this was a real, functioning society with actual standards, no one would know who this is.

These Kids Are Kicking Ass Today




Everyone in the government better be paying attention today because these kids are kicking some serious ass right now:

"My message for the people in office is, you're either with us or against us," Stoneman Douglas survivor and student activist Kasky said last month. "We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around. And we have received endless support from your generation and we thank everybody for that immensely because we really appreciate it."

We saw the Women's March last year; we saw the peace marches against the Iraq War in 2003 receive little or no coverage. Adopting the "you're either with us or against us" completely mirrors George W. Bush's admonition to Americans in the beginning days of the War on Terror, but in a way that should tell everyone to pay attention to the goals. We need comprehensive, substantive gun control legislation right the fuck now. You can be on the side of good, or you can stay on the side of evil.

I'm sorry, but anyone who can change the arc of the discussion about gun control in this country as effectively as this deserves to be praised.

Two people need to be paying attention today. One is Trump, and he's mentally unfit for the challenges ahead. This will not change him or motivate him to do anything other than make it about himself. The other is Bernie Sanders, who is not going to get away with coopting this movement, given his extremely poor record on gun control. I sincerely hope Sanders does not preach to us today because I may blow a gasket.

This reminds me of the Civil Rights movement and the protests against the Vietnam War. It really is a movement, and a sea change in public opinion, and it is the beginning of a blue wave that is going to sweep countless Republican hacks out of office.

These kids aren't done kicking ass, that's for sure.

Senator Tammy Duckworth Knows How to Lead




Senator Tammy Duckworth has more class and dignity than any Republican anywhere in this entire country. Her comments tonight are personal and powerful. They explain why the issue of banning transgender service members is yet another example of why Trump is just a cruel, despicable fool who needs to be booted out of office.

She should run for President. 

Run, Tammy, run. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

The State of Jefferson




This kind of thing typically dies down when there's a Republican in the White House:

The breakaway state of Jefferson is a decades-old idea, but it has been revived in earnest in recent years by residents who say they are fed up with their voices being drowned out in Sacramento, where outspoken urban Democrats hold a vise grip on the state Legislature.

Supporters say overregulation has hobbled rural industries such as timber, mining and fishing and that the state's high taxes and cost of living are driving young people away, quickening the decline of small towns. They chafe under California's strict gun-control policies and are infuriated by its liberal immigration laws.

They cite California's new gas tax increase of 12 cents per gallon, saying it has an outsize impact on rural people who drive farther for work and basic needs such as hospitals, schools and grocery stores.

How likely is it that a new state will be broken off, like a piece of a Kit Kat bar, from California? Not likely at all, experts say.

Eric McGhee, a political scientist at the Public Policy Institute of California, said that while you can "never say never," there are too many legal obstacles to overcome.

"It's easy to think that because there's this large piece of territory, that it's a large share of California in terms of the population," he said. "That's just not the case. ... It's an absolutely minuscule portion of the state's population."

I do think it's reasonable to question whether or not the revival of this movement in California is somehow tied to Russia. We know that Russia wants to destabilize our political and social life in this country. This is why they support the NRA, after all. Why wouldn't they find a way to help witless people in California break up their own state?

These are not serious or reasonable people, by the way:

"You're the ones being exterminated by a lack of liberty," said Mark Baird, a Siskiyou County rancher.

Oh, do go on.

When there's a Democrat in the White House, talk of secession or creating new states (in order to add 2 Republican Senators and a Congressman or two) crops up because some people can't handle being governed in a responsible manner. The very idea that someone might get welfare benefits throws these people into a frenzy.

With Trump in the White House, there seems to be an unleashing of white supremacy and anti-government fervor that no one thought they would see. Actual Nazis are winning primaries, and the GOP, as a whole, has descended into the depths of madness.

Overall, I would say that there is a blue wave coming this year, and it will throw a lot of Republicans out of office, particularly in California and the Northeast. A plan to create a new state out of Northern California will get a lot of support once people realize that it would essentially be a carbon copy of Wyoming or Idaho. If you're facing oblivion, nothing like this looks too crazy.

You can't take this lightly, though. It's anti-American, anti-democratic rhetoric. We used to call it sedition until that term fell out of favor. Russia has supported several secessionist movements in this country in recent years, and it's all part of their effort to destablize Western democracy

A Russia-linked Facebook group asked a Texas secessionist movement if it would participate in a series of anti-immigrant, anti-Hillary Clinton rallies it was planning to hold across the state last November, the group's president told Business Insider on Thursday.

"When they decided to start doing all these 'Texit' rallies, they reached out and wanted us to participate," said Daniel Miller, the president of the Texas Nationalist Movement. "And we said 'thanks, but no thanks.'"

The Facebook group, called Heart of Texas, had over 225,000 followers as of last summer. It was shut down last week as part of Facebook's takedown of accounts and pages "affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia," a Facebook spokesman told Business Insider on Wednesday.

Russia has a long history of working to cultivate Western separatist groups. The group Yes California, for instance, set up a makeshift embassy in Moscow in December in partnership with far-right Russian nationalists who enjoy Kremlin support while promoting secessionist movements in Europe and the United States.

If there was ever any doubt that we need a government that will protect us from outside influences, there you go.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

America Was Attacked and They Did Nothing




There is a pretty damning report out on the failure of the House Intelligence Committee to do something about Russia's attack on our election and our way of life:

Even though the final report from the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee will find no evidence of collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia, a new study by a Democratic-aligned advocacy group suggests the committee didn't look very hard.

According to the Center for American Progress's Moscow Project, the House committee charged with investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 election obtained either no or incomplete information about 81 percent of the known contacts between Trump officials and Russians, or groups and individuals with strong Russia ties like Wikileaks.

Those officials include former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has pled guilty to lying to the FBI and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has been indicted on an array of tax, financial, and bank fraud crimes and has worked on behalf on foreign entities aligned with Russia.

Another key finding, according to CAP's examination: At least 22 high-ranking Trump campaign officials knew about the contacts during the 2016 campaign and the transition.

The study was conducted by CAP's Moscow Project, a research initiative aimed at documenting Trump's Russia ties.

The fact that the committee didn't look very hard means that there was no oversight, no investigation, and no effort made to get to the truth. This is pretty egregious, even for Congress, and even for a pack of complicit Republicans who are trying to protect a president from their own party. It's the kind of thing that demonstrates that Russia won this battle. They exploited the American political system and they knew they could get away with it because the ideological divide in this country all but ensures that Republicans won't investigate other Republicans, no matter what they do.

How bad was it? This bad:

Based on news reports, public statements, witness lists and indictments related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, the CAP report documents at least 70 contacts between the Trump team and Russia-linked operatives, from January of 2016 through 2017 as Trump took the oath of office. They include 22 meetings, including Skype calls.

While many news organizations, including NBC, have documented the timeline and large volume of contacts between Trump officials and the Russians, the CAP report is particularly comprehensive, making some connections that have not been widely reported and taking an exhaustive view of how many Trump officials were aware of the regular interactions.

And, the 12-page study claims, the committee failed to interview key witnesses involved in 60 percent of the cases.

That's negligence, plain and simple. When all of this is said and done, history is going to be extremely cruel to the Republicans in this Congress. There is no way any of them can claim to be protecting the interests of the American people at this point because they are not dragging Trump officials before the various oversight committees. Our power grid is hopelessly exposed and compromised, and no one gives a shit. Our election infrastructure is outdated and ridiculous. The Republicans have flushed the idea of respecting the rule of law down the drain. Their responsibilities are being abandoned in favor of a political cover-up.

Trump and his regime are so compromised by ties to Russia that it is impossible to ignore just how blatant the corruption has become. It's all theater of the absurd, and the American people are suffering for it. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I Hate Illinois Nazis




This man got 20,000 votes:

Republican candidate Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier who has been disavowed by his own party, will be the GOP's nominee in a suburban Chicago congressional district after he ran in Tuesday's primary unopposed.

Jones's campaign website contains a section called "The Holocaust Racket" in which he argues that there is "no proof such a so-called 'Holocaust' ever took place anywhere in Europe against the Jews" and that Jews are "directly responsible for the murder of at least 300 million people."






Jones in February told the Chicago Sun-Times that he's a former leader of the American Nazi Party.

He's long been a stain on the Illinois Republican Party, which has successfully blocked his previous congressional bids. The state Republican Party has disavowed his candidacy, with the state party chairman calling him a Nazi. Democrats have similarly blasted Jones and his views.

Yet because the GOP decided against running any candidate in the heavily Democratic district, and Jones successfully met the criteria to make the ballot, he will be the party's nominee.

"Long been a stain in the Illinois Republican Party" is the sort of thing we should all get used to hearing because, well, this is our life now. Arthur Jones is human garbage, as are the people who voted for him. I think the New York Times should go interview the people who voted for him and find out how their economic anxiety is coming along these days. 

Honestly, I don't want to know them, understand them, or hear about their problems. Fuck them. I don't think anyone should cater to them or try to win their vote. Just let them stew in their own boiled ignorance.

Is the whole Republican Party fucking crazy? Of course it is. Child molesters, Holocaust deniers, and whatever they call people who make your grandma live off cat food--that's what they are now. 

Not just a fucking disgrace--a complete and utter disgrace of Biblical proportions. That's what it is now.

Cambridge Analytica and Brad Parscale




Brad Parscale is Donald Trump's 2020 Presidential Campaign manager. This is not an accident, nor is it a mistake. It looks like a continuation of a plan to wreck our democracy and steal elections. It was Donald Trump Jr. who brought Parscale into the Trump orbit. What that will eventually mean is up for debate.

It certainly appears that Parscale and Cambridge Analytica worked hand in hand to steal the 2016 election. If you look at the bombshell revelations that have come out in the past few days, this is nothing short of proof that the results of the election were tainted. It was a fraudulent election. The results should be thrown out. How can anyone say Trump is president when it's pretty clear that there was an effort to steal the presidency?

What we're waiting to find out is, how did they do it and what help could they have received from the Russians? I think the reason why none of these people have been indicted yet is because there is an arc that might possibly lead from the Trump campaign through Parscale and Cambridge directly to the Russians who stole the DNC's e-mails and targeted US persons for information warfare purposes. This is the biggest scandal of our time, and it all seems to be coming together nicely. Right now, these are allegations. Eventually, we're going to find out the truth.

Back in the fall of 2017, Wired took a look at what Cambridge Analytica was telling everyone. Nothing that they were saying then holds up to any scrutiny whatsoever.

Cambridge worked both for the Trump campaign and a Trump-aligned Super PAC. In June 2016, Cambridge sent three staffers, led by chief product officer Matt Oczkowski, to the campaign’s San Antonio office. Oczkowski’s team eventually grew to 13 people, working under Trump digital director Brad Parscale and alongside his staff and outside consultants. According to Parscale, the Cambridge staff provided useful analysis of data about the American electorate. They did not, however, provide the raw data—things like demographic information, contact information, and data about how voters feel about different issues—on which that analysis was done.

Bullshit! All of that is bullshit. Cambridge Analytica actually did provide demographic information.

[Aleksandr] Kogan, 32, said he gathered information on 30 million Americans through his Facebook personality test app in 2014 — data he then passed to Cambridge Analytica. When Facebook learned in 2015 that Kogan had shared the data with the company it demanded the data be deleted, saying that transferring or selling data was against its company guidelines. 

Here's more from the Wired article. Virtually everything in it has now been proven to be false:

Ever since it burst onto the scene of American politics in 2015, Cambridge has trumpeted its massive data trove, boasting 5,000 data points on every American. Cambridge claims to have built extensive personality profiles on every American, which it uses for so-called “psychographic targeting,” based on people’s personality types. It is feared by some, including Hillary Clinton, for conducting a kind of psychological warfare against the American people and dismissed by others as snake oil. Both Parscale and Oczkowski have said repeatedly that the Trump campaign did not use psychographic targeting. Questions also have swirled about how Cambridge accumulated the data. Liberal voters in particular worried that their data had been harvested without their knowledge and used to elect Trump. But according to both Parscale and Oczkowski, the campaign didn’t use Cambridge’s trove of data, opting instead for the RNC’s data file.

“The RNC was the voter file of record for the campaign, but we were the intelligence on top of the voter file,” Oczkowski says. “Sometimes the sales pitch can be a bit inflated, and I think people can misconstrue that.”

Parscale describes the firm's work this way: "As I’ve said multiple times over prior statements, Matt Oczkowski and his team created a daily tracker of polling, so that I could see how Trump was doing in key swing states. They provided that to me daily." Parscale says Cambridge also helped the campaign with what he calls "persuasion online media buying. They also helped us identify potential donors. And they created a visualization tool that showed in each state which areas were most persuadable and what those voters care about.”

Cambridge Analytica was paid $5.9 million by the Trump campaign, according to Federal Election Commission filings, $5 million of which went toward buying television ads, with the remainder going to pay Oczkowski and his team. But that wasn't the only work Cambridge did for the campaign. Parscale says Cambridge’s head of digital, Molly Schweikert, managed an advertising budget of roughly $12 million on behalf of Parscale's firm, Giles-Parscale. It’s a sizable, but still small slice of the $94 million Giles-Parscale was paid in total to purchase the campaign’s ads.

The Cambridge staff helped the campaign identify which voters in the RNC’s data file were most likely to be persuadable, meaning they were undecided but looked likely to swing toward Trump. They also created lists of voters who were most likely to become donors. In August 2016, a Trump aide told me Cambridge was critical to helping the campaign raise $80 million in the prior month, after a primary race that had been largely self-funded by Trump. This was the only period during which Oczkowski’s staff relied on Cambridge’s data, because the RNC was just beginning to share its data with the Trump team.

Cambridge went on to conduct hundreds of thousands of voter surveys for the Trump campaign to better understand the likely Trump voter and sent a full-time staffer to the New York headquarters, who could relay these findings to senior staff, including Parscale. Based on these surveys, RNC data, data the Trump team collected itself, and commercially available information from data brokers, Oczkowski’s team developed a heat map of the country to pinpoint where Trump should visit to maximize his impact on potentially persuadable voters.

Someone's going to jail. I don't know when, I don't know how, but everything about this sounds illegal as hell, doesn't it?

Oh, and if you're like me, and I know I am, you're probably thinking--doesn't this mean that the 2016 presidential election was stolen outright and the results should be thrown out because it sure looks like the Trump campaign broke numerous laws and cheated their way to victory?

Yes. Yes, it does.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Republican Party Has Declared War on the FBI




Oh, well, nothing to see here. This is all normal:

House GOP leaders are starting to come out in strong support of a second special counsel to investigate conservative allegations of bias and abuse at the FBI.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Monday he backs the appointment of another special counsel to look at how law enforcement has handled the Russia probe. Scalise’s statement echoed similar calls from Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) over the weekend.


The moves align the No. 2 and No. 3 House GOP leaders with President Trump, who could be a factor in a future leadership race between the two friendly rivals.

Neither Scalise nor McCarthy wants any daylight between themselves and Trump in the event Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) calls it quits after the November midterm elections. “I agree with the many others who have called for the appointment of an additional special counsel,” Scalise said in a statement Monday.

“We need a second special counsel,” McCarthy told Fox News on Saturday.

Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have not endorsed the idea of a second probe nor criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, despite growing calls from rank-and-file members.

Scalise and McCarthy have decided to make their case for Minority Leader once the House flips over to Democratic control. Speaker Ryan is not going to survive the November mid-terms, so why not start planning for the transition of power?

What's not normal about all of this is the fact that these two men are making their move before the body is even cold. And they're basing their quest for leadership on what has to be one of the most extreme positions ever taken by the Republican Party--they're going to start a war with the FBI because it opened a counter-intelligence investigation into the business affairs of the most corrupt and incompetent president in American history. What would be shocking and worth investigating is if the FBI wasn't already looking into what Trump, Manafort, and Page, et al, were doing with all of those damned Russians.

Scalise and McCarthy are making a decision that will taint them as traitors. What do they think they'll get out of a massive fight with the FBI? Do they think it will all end well? It won't. They'll never have any credibility again. They seem to believe that all of the links between Trump and the Russians are innocently explained away.

If you want to find two people stupid enough to believe Trump's denials, here you go. Scalise and McCarthy. If it sounds like something out of a bad movie, welcome to our new way of life.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Does This Remind You of Anything?




The people who do business with Donald Trump are often the worst people on the whole planet:

In a meeting with the head of Cambridge Analytica — the political data firm used by the Trump campaign in 2016 — reporters from NBC News’ U.K. partner ITN Channel 4 News posed as potential clients interested in changing the outcome of the Sri Lankan elections. 

The reporters, who were trying to find out how the company operated, quickly learned about the novel and deceptive methods employed by the company, including bribes, blackmail, and misinformation campaigns. The findings were broadcast by the network on Monday. 

On hidden camera, the reporters recorded Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, discussing the idea of hypothetically entrapping an opposition leader. He described how the company could record a person accepting a bribe, "an offer he can't refuse" or "send some girls around to the candidate’s house."

When I saw this video, I thought, hey...wait a minute. Where have I seen this before?






Yeah, I remember Acorn. The difference here is that James O'Keefe was a hack, and he destroyed an organization that essentially did nothing wrong because he selectively edited a video. The Cambridge Analytica people are in such deep shit right now that they couldn't resist claiming that they were the victims of an unethical sting operation:

A spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica denied to ITN Channel 4 News that it used any of the tactics discussed in the videos. 

“We entirely refute any allegation that Cambridge Analytica or any of its affiliates use entrapment, bribes, or so-called 'honey-traps' for any purpose whatsoever," the spokesperson sent in a statement.

CA received millions from a Trump supporter, a billionaire named Robert Mercer. His daughter came out today and defended them. Do you think that if a billionaire who gave money to the Clinton Foundation got caught supporting a company like CA that it would get a pass from the media?

Of course not.

Fuck these people. They need to be shamed and driven into the wilderness for what they've done to our democracy.

Cowards




Republicans in the House and Senate are never going to pass a bill preventing the president from firing a Special Counsel because they already know what Trump is going to do:

Republicans are bluntly warning President Donald Trump to lay off his attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller, but there is scant support among the GOP to pass legislation that would prevent Trump from firing the special counsel.

Republican Senate leaders threw cold water Monday on passing a bill to protect Mueller, calling it unnecessary despite Trump's increasingly scathing attacks against the special counsel and his team.

But the Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker of Tennessee, told CNN that lawmakers should include legislation to protect Mueller on a must-pass bill to keep the government open past Friday. He warned there would be "total upheaval" in the Senate if Trump were to fire Mueller.

"I can't possibly imagine why Senate leadership wouldn't place a protection in this (spending bill) that's coming through," Corker told CNN. "That would be the perfect place for them to deal with it."

You can ignore everything Corker says--he is a lame duck. You can ignore all of their protestations and warnings--they're never going to hold Trump accountable. The real investigation of the Trump Regime will not happen until Democrats are in control of the House and Senate. Robert Mueller and his staff probably have a great case but they have no backing from the Justice Department to really prosecute the people they need to go after. If the only thing standing between Mueller and oblivion is Rod Rosenstein, then I don't think you can really expect our democracy to hold up for much longer. There are far too many cowards trying to please Trump, and Rosenstein isn't powerful enough to fend them off for much longer. If it is now normal to fire people like Sally Yates, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe, then it is now normal to throw Rosenstein's ass out the door, too. 

I hope I'm wrong, but it sure doesn't look like I am. At least, not yet, anyway.

And it sure looks to me like Trump has made up his mind to fire Mueller. He knows he can get away with it because the GOP already knows it is dead in the water. Why not fire Mueller now and ride it out until November? Perhaps, by some magic or with some help from Russia, they can stave off obliteration and hold onto the Senate. If they can hold onto power, they can save themselves and they can save Trump. That would mean years of graft, years of corruption, years of absolute infamy.

The brand is dead. In any fair fight, a Republican now has to run with an albatross around their neck. So what they're going to do is, they're going to avoid fair fights, drive people away from the polls, threaten our democracy with more thuggery, and let Trump be Trump. By the time we get a Democrat in the White House, the debt will be sky-high and they won't be able to spend a dime on anything. That's the Republican plan for governance. Take power, ruin everything, and let the Dems fix things.

It's time to end this game and take back power in 2018. It is absolutely imperative that we not only throw Republicans out into the cold but that we take the dissenters and the people who are undercutting the Democratic Party (Hey, is that Bernie over there?) and throw them out of office as well.

What is Happening in Austin?




It's just another day in Austin, Texas:

Two men on bicycles were wounded in an explosion of a bomb that may have been detonated by a trip wire, police said on Monday in the Texas capital, where earlier this month three parcel bombs killed two people.

The two men, thought to be in their 20s, suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to the hospital on Sunday after they came upon a suspicious device on the side of a road in a residential neighborhood on the west side of the city, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said during a press conference.

The possibility that the road-side bomb was triggered when someone handled, kicked or came in contact with a trip wire, differs from the previous explosions that were set off when individuals handled packages that were left on doorsteps, Manley said.

"We now need the community to have an extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device," he said. "Given that there may have been a different triggering mechanism in this device, we wanted to get that out as early as possible."

Residents were told to stay in their homes in the west side neighborhood several miles from where the earlier blasts occurred, Manley said.

"We're working on the belief that they are connected," he said, noting that authorities will wait until daylight to process the scene.

FBI and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents were at the scene, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Twitter.

Having lived through the Unabomber era, I can tell you that the response to this latest string of attacks has been underwhelming. There is definitely an element to this that feels like it might be a hate crime on top of domestic terrorism, but it's not possible to really sort all of that out yet. Authorities have to capture whoever it doing this, and then they have to sort out the motive.

Given what little we know of the Las Vegas shooter, I'm not confident that we're going to know why this is happening any time soon.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Republicans Won't Do Anything to Save This Country




Lindsey Graham is exhibit A when it comes to this parade of ass clowns before us:

Sen. Lindsey Graham gave a stern warning Sunday to President Donald Trump against firing special counsel Robert Mueller.

"As I said before, if he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency," the South Carolina Republican said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"The only reason that Mr. Mueller could be dismissed is for cause. I see no cause when it comes to Mr. Mueller," Graham said, later adding he believed the Mueller was "doing a good job."

Graham called for Mueller to be able to carry out his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election "independent of any political influence."

    "I pledge to the American people, as a Republican, to make sure that Mr. Mueller can continue to do his job without any interference," he said.

    Graham's pledge isn't worth a bucket of warm piss.






    I mean, yuk it up some more, why don't you?

    We are headed for a Constitutional crisis, all right, and no one with an "R" next to their name is going to lift a finger until their escape plan is in place. As in, until they've escaped accountability and figured out how to get past the November election, no one is going to risk making Trump angry.

    Graham made his professional reputation whining and crying about Bill Clinton and his impeachment for something that, in comparison to a president so corrupt and so venal, looks quaint to us now.

    Imagine any Democrat anywhere doing one tenth of what Trump has done and you can picture the likes of Graham being hysterical about the rule of law, the need to let a Special Counsel do their job, and about protecting our democracy. Graham can say whatever he wants. He knows it's all over for him and for his colleagues. The only thing they can do now is enjoy their time in office and hope that Trump doesn't Tweet anything in their direction.

    They are all cowards. They are all traitors. They are all complicit. It's just a matter of waiting for the day when we can vote them all out of office.

    Saturday, March 17, 2018

    Under the Sway of Mr. Putin




    I saw this on my Twitter feed, and it sort of blew my mind. Years ago, I met General McCaffrey and this was during the Iraq war. He is very approachable and gives off the sense that he knows he is a real leader. Back then, he worked in an office building south of the Pentagon, and knew that this world required him to be a public figure and a political one at that. He was a regular guest on television, and as a retired general, he brought his standing in the world to the table. Yes, he led a division in the first Iraq war that went through the soft army of Saddam Hussein like a razor blade through butter. His men killed untold thousands, and that made him a target of criticism from people on the left. That did not make him wrong about anything. 

    If I am remembering all of this correctly, his analysis and commentary was sometimes critical of the Bush Administration and sometimes it was resolutely moderate and infuriatingly middle-of-the-road on whether we should be in Iraq in the first place. There was a hard realism in what he offered as his opinion. He paid a personal and professional price for the criticisms and was not on television as much as he probably would have been had he defended Bush's incompetent and poorly planned prosecution of the war.

    McCaffrey is the establishment in this country. He is part of the national security and defense community and he is well respected. For him to say that the President of the United States of America is "for some unknown reason under the sway of Mr. Putin" has to be a profoundly difficult thing for him to say in a public forum like Twitter. McCaffrey knows that his every statement is heard and recorded and watched, even at this stage of his life. He is one of the old guard, and he has the credibility to back it up.

    It is absolutely shocking to hear this from a person like him. To hear this from someone who knows it would be better to say nothing at all in public is to realize that there are people willing to speak out and suffer the wrath of the pro-Trump mob. Good for the general. More need to speak out. Trump readily hides behind anyone in uniform who will lend their reputation and credibility to his insane, chaotic rule. Contrast this with the absent soul of an H.R. McMaster and you can see the clarity in all of this. If you know what the truth of Trumpism means to our democracy, you cannot serve him and you cannot perpetrate any more of this bullshit.

    What's clear to me is that McCaffrey has seen or heard something that has convinced him to speak up. I think he is laying down a blueprint for how to talk about Trump. I think he is correct, and that his analysis is right. The president is under the sway of an ex-communist thug, which is all Putin really is. All of those years of public service, and this is where McCaffrey is at. When they pinned yellow bars on this man, we were in the middle of the Cold War. To discover that he's ready to throw in the towel and walk away from any chance of being welcome in this Pentagon right now is to see some badly needed public courage.

    How does anyone serving Trump not recognize what McCaffrey is saying to be the truth? How do all of those in senior positions in our military feel when they see someone like this speaking out in such stark terms?

    There's no understating what this means. This is the lowest point in our nation's history.

    Friday, March 16, 2018

    Firing Andrew McCabe is a Huge Mistake




    The Justice Department just created a martyr for the cause. It's a massive miscalculation and a mistake that will come back to haunt every one of these sons of bitches:

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe late Friday, less than two days shy of his retirement, ending the career of an official who had risen to serve as second-in-command at the bureau. 

    McCabe had more recently been regularly taunted by President Donald Trump and besieged by accusations that he had misled internal investigators at the Justice Department.

    McCabe had been expected to retire this Sunday, on his 50th birthday, when he would have become eligible to receive early retirement benefits. 

    But Friday's termination could place a portion of his anticipated pension, earned after more than two decades of service, in significant jeopardy.

      A representative for McCabe said he learned from a press release that he had been fired by Sessions. A Justice Department spokesperson pushed back, saying, "Mr. McCabe and his attorney were informed in advance of any news media."

      The origin of his dramatic fall stems from an internal review conducted by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. That report -- the details of which have not been publicly released -- is said to conclude that McCabe misled investigators about his role in directing other officials at the FBI to speak to The Wall Street Journal about his involvement in a public corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation, according to a source briefed on it.

      They fired him because he didn't find a way to produce phony charges about the Clinton Foundation? I don't understand where they think they're going with this, but okay.

      If this sounds like nitpicking, join the club:

      CNN reported on Wednesday that the findings in Horowitz's report on McCabe were referred to the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility, staffed with career officials, who recommended McCabe's termination. McCabe, accompanied by his lawyer, tried making a last-ditch effort Thursday to avoid the firing, meeting with officials at the deputy attorney general's office at the Justice Department for several hours while Sessions was traveling, but to no avail.

      "After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)," Sessions said in a statement late Friday. "The FBI's OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe. Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions."

      Number one, Mr. McCabe will get his pension. Decent people will see to that. It might take a few years to flush the garbage out of the Justice Department, but he'll get what he has earned. Number two, this is a wake up call for every Federal employee. Unleash whatever negative stuff you have on these Trump people because they have declared war on you for respecting the rule of law. 

      McCabe knows how the game is played:

      A key portion of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee has served as the backbone for a controversial memo propped up by Republican lawmakers, but McCabe now tells CNN that House Republicans twisted his answers.

      The highly controversial memo from Committee Chairman Devin Nunes claimed McCabe testified that "no surveillance warrant would have been sought" for a Trump campaign aide without a disputed opposition-research dossier on Trump and Russia. Not so says McCabe -- the former No. 2 official at the FBI who signed one of the applications to surveil former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

      "We started the investigations without the dossier. We were proceeding with the investigations before we ever received that information," McCabe told CNN as part of a wide-ranging interview. "Was the dossier material important to the package? Of course, it was. As was every fact included in that package. Was it the majority of what was in the package? Absolutely not."

      Would you stake your professional reputation and your career on whether or not we should have been keeping an eye on Carter Page? Plenty of Republicans just chose to do that. McCabe has called them out on it. We'll see who wins this fight.

      This is an attempt to intimidate, coerce, and eliminate whistleblowing. In other words, welcome to what has to be the third or fourth or fifth attempt at obstruction of justice from the Trump White House. If you think Jeff Sessions did this himself, I think you better reconsider. 

      Have you ever, in your entire life, seen so many traitors and so much obstruction of justice in your life? The knee-jerk response is to wonder whether Mr. McCabe had this coming. In Trump world, we all have it coming. What happens next will decide the fate of our democracy, and that's not hyperbole. That's what is at stake right now. Whether we are a nation of laws and not strongmen and tyrants is what is laid before us tonight.

      Tell me this isn't obstruction of justice in a damned nutshell:



      Yes, You Can Body Shame Trump




      Oh, do go on about how one should not "body shame" another human being.

      “If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’” 

      It's perfectly okay to body shame someone who holds the most powerful job in America and can't stop saying horrible things about people. In fact, it is almost uniquely patriotic and American to body shame a big tub of goo like Trump. He has never shown anybody the slightest courtesy. He is completely and utterly deserving of whatever body shaming the public can throw at him.

       

      NRA Lawyer Warned of Russia Ties




      The National Rifle Association has some very troubling ties to Russia, and now we are learning that one of the lawyers who works there voiced her concerns about this fact:

      Congressional investigators have learned that a longtime attorney for the National Rifle Association expressed concerns about the group’s ties to Russia and possible involvement in channeling Russian money into the 2016 elections to help Donald Trump, two sources familiar with the matter say.

      Cleta Mitchell, a former NRA board member who has done legal work for the organization, is on a newly disclosed list of people whom Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are seeking to interview. Democratic investigators for that committee’s Senate counterpart also are interested in what she may know about relationships between the NRA or its allies and wealthy Russians, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

      The sources declined to detail the specific nature of the information prompting investigators’ interest in Mitchell, a prominent gun rights champion, election law specialist and veteran conservative operative.

       

      This is a new angle on what's been happening behind the scenes, and McClatchy is going to be attacked for this article in the days and weeks ahead. Anyone who points out that millions in Russian funds have been earmarked for the NRA's efforts to flood the country with assault rifles might as well expect to be ridiculed or subjected to abuse. But, as the story points out, there are still some Republicans in this country who are troubled by the reach of the Russians into our lives. Russia is polluting American democracy, and it has gotten so bad, no one thinks twice if their actual efforts result in more Americans shooting each other.

      Of course, don't expect too many Republicans to do the right thing and own up to it. They simply do not have the courage to admit who is responsible for buying their loyalty.

      Thursday, March 15, 2018

      Here Comes the Existential Threat




      Special Counsel Robert Mueller is not "wrapping this up" any time soon:

      Last July, President Donald Trump warned the special counsel Robert Mueller that it would be a "violation" for him and his group of Justice Department investigators to examine the Trump family's finances. The president agreed with a New York Times reporter's question about whether doing so would amount to crossing a "red line."

      Mueller apparently has decided to cross that line anyway. The Times reported on Thursday that Mueller's team has subpoenaed Trump's company, the Trump Organization, for records pertaining to a number of business deals -- including some related to Russia.

      QuickTakeQ&A: Guide to the Trump-Russia Probe

      Trump and his lawyers have thrown down all sorts of gauntlets around Mueller's probe. They have argued for a tight deadline leading to its conclusion; negotiated for where, when and how the president might agree to an interview with investigators; and pointed to areas that they think are off-limits.

      It would appear that Mueller, with the full force of the law and subpoena power behind him, intends to proceed as he sees fit.

      There is so much corruption and so much malfeasance, graft, greed and incompetence that we should probably have a dozen special counsels right now. It will take the government the better part of the next twenty years to fully untangle every illegal, grossly unethical, and stupid business deal Trump has entered into. Hell, we're going to need a hundred investigators just to sort out what his damned kids have been up to. 

      The Trump White House is the biggest shit show on Earth. Everyone is laughing at us, and a few dozen Republican members of Congress are subjecting the free world to a horror no one could have imagined. We have to stop thinking they're going to wake up and get rid of Trump. The only thing that will rid us of this wretched man and his brood is a ballot box.

      I have always viewed Mueller as the existential threat that no one working for Trump was smart enough to beat. I don't care who gets behind Trump and defends him--there's no one working in this White House (which hemorrhages people like no one has ever seen) who is a tenth as smart as the most junior person on Mueller's staff right now.

      Keep that in mind for the days ahead. We're going to have to restore stability and sanity to the American government. There are tons of great people who can do that work, and they're waiting in the wings if they're not already working to destroy Trumpism where it sits. The bureaucrats and career people in the Federal government who are on the right side of history are the only thing keeping folks like me going right now. Bless them, for their work is going to be difficult.

      Wednesday, March 14, 2018

      Trump Family Values




      Donald Trump Jr. is headed for divorce, according to friends:

      Page Six has reported that Donald Trump Jr. and his wife, Vanessa, are on the path to divorce. They spoke to various “friends” and people “close to the couple,” and have armchair-diagnosed them with a couple issues. One is that since Junior’s dad became president, suddenly everything was not “low-key,” the way Vanessa likes it, but instead, extremely high-key all the time. A second issue is that Junior has always traveled a lot, and he’s traveling even more these days: hunting big game, running the Trump Organization, at jury duty, hawking luxury condos in India. And the third is that Don Jr.’s tweets have grown more unhinged. These friends are concerned, pointing especially to the fact that he liked tweets linking antidepressants to school shootings. The couple declined to comment to the Post’s multiple requests for comments, and Don Jr. has not yet tweeted about it as of writing.

      Any jackass who hunts big game animals is worthy of being divorced on the spot. Vanessa Trump ended up going to the hospital after opening a letter full of white powder (it wasn't cocaine). 

      Apparently, Conor Lamb's big win was just enough of an impetus for Mrs. Trump Jr to abandon her husband and go marry someone else. 

      UPDATE: It's official. She filed for divorce. What a horrible family. 

      I Hope Jeff Sessions Does This to Andrew McCabe




      You can count me as someone who wants the Attorney General to fire Andrew McCabe just days before his retirement. I want the Trump regime to commit petty, senseless acts against the people who have dedicated their lives to public service because it will reveal who they are to even their most staunch supporters. I am completely in favor of this because it would send a clear message to the entire Federal work force that they are mere cannon fodder in this war between the rule of law and the gimme gimme kids in power. This will be another fiasco, and it is one that will backfire on them in terrible ways. 

      Let's put it this way. Firing McCabe would be akin to stepping on a thousand rakes. It would release a whole lot of folks sitting on the fence in every Federal agency. They would count things on their hands, log into their encrypted personal throwaway devices, and they would hit send before the end of the goddamned day.

      Don't weep for poor Mr. McCabe. He will land in the private sector. He is a senior member of the FBI and there are so many people willing to hire him and overpay him that it isn't even funny. 

      In several years, when there are sensible people running the government, he can go back to work at the FBI, and they'll have him hold down a chair for a few days. After that, someone will sign off on his retirement and he'll get his full benefits package, as it should be. Regardless of your partisan leanings, anyone who dedicates their life to public service is entitled to a full retirement if they meet the criteria. McCabe clearly does.

      If Sessions fires McCabe, it will activate a response inside of the FBI. They will come at every son of a bitch who leans towards Trump, and they will come at them hard. Within the FBI field office in New York City, for example, are a whole lot of Special Agents and whatnot who are still pro-Trump. If you slash McCabe out of the workforce days away from his legitimately earned payday over a bullshit recommendation, they will see it as a fait accompli that the next Democrat who sits in Session's seat will come after them and slice them out of the workforce whether or not they have a pension in hand. It will tell the rest of the "Deep State," which does not exist, that they now have a reason to leak whatever they want.

      This should be fun. Restraint is not a quality one finds in a Trump flunky.

      Tuesday, March 13, 2018

      Nancy Pelosi is Not the Problem




      Thank you for the concern trolling, Walter Shapiro, but I think we'll keep Nancy Pelosi where she is:

      When you are running as a Democrat in Donald Trump country, the name Nancy Pelosi is even more toxic than the letters CNN.

      In one of the more powerful TV ads in the run-up to Tuesday’s special House election in western Pennsylvania, the Democrat Conor Lamb earnestly declares: “My opponent wants you to believe that the biggest issue in this campaign is Nancy Pelosi. It’s all a big lie. I’ve already said … that I don’t support Nancy Pelosi.”

      The Pennsylvania contest is largely symbolic since the district (which Trump carried by nearly 20% points in 2016) will disappear into the mists like Brigadoon when a new statewide redistricting plan takes effect. But from a splenetic Trump rally on Saturday night to a recent appearance by Joe Biden on behalf of Lamb, both parties are treating this race as if it were a dry run for November.

      Which brings us back to the Democrats’ Nancy Pelosi problem.

      Comparing Pelosi with CNN is like repeating the canard that there's something wrong with being a liberal. You'll note that there are few, if any, Republicans who are thrilled about appearing onstage with Donald Trump. Shouldn't he step down, too?

      There's nothing wrong with having Pelosi in charge of the Democrats in the House and there never will be. She is smarter than all of the Republicans in the House leadership combined. She has spent the last year in the trenches, keeping horrible legislation from being passed and she has been incredible effective. 

      The reason why people want to convince Democrats that there's something wrong with Pelosi stems from the fact that she's good at what she does and she can outmaneuver all of the impotent white men who oppose her. The media loves to demonize her as the stereotypical San Francisco liberal. Well, who cares what these idiots think? Can Nancy rally the caucus and stop bad legislation? Yes. Can she whip votes and make things happen? Yes. Can she hold her own against a batshit crazy GOP? Of course she can.

      In other words, fuck off with this bullshit. Nancy Smash!

      People Want Stability and They Are Not Getting It




      The Washington Post does a great job of letting anonymous sources run wild today. I'm sick of this. Just name them! Who cares if they stop leaking information about the Trump Regime? No one is going to be around there for very long anyway. Behind every one of these stories is someone regularly saying things to the media that is disrupting the way our government used to work. They are savaging it within because of how sick and incompetent Trump really is. They need to resign and make a stand against Trumpism. The fact that they won't is telling. The fact that our government is out of control and no one has the courage to do what is necessary tells you everything you need to know.

      We. Are. Fucked.

      Unless, of course, someone realizes that we don't have to be, and that there is nothing more valuable than a stable, functioning American government that works within the boundaries of accepted normalcy. 

      One of the bigger picture issues that deserves more focus right now is the fact that the American government is not stable at this present moment, and hasn't been since Trump's inauguration. There are numerous agencies in complete disarray and are being mismanaged. You have grifters like Zinke, Carson, Pruitt and DeVos running the agencies they run entirely to ruin. And that's just four random ones. Has anyone noticed what Perry is doing to the Department of Energy? What Shulkin is putting the Veteran's Administration through? It's a nightmare.

      A stable American government is needed to maintain the way of life we are all accustomed to. When this massive machine starts to fly apart, people get hurt in ways that are impossible to measure. The very fact that our State Department is falling apart should be reason enough for Trump to have to resign in shame. There are seven hundred other things that are just as bad and just as shameful as this, so take your pick.

      We have had stable governance for a long, long time. We got used to it. We lost it several times during the 1960s, through the Kennedy assassination and the hell of the 1968 election. What we are seeing now is unprecedented because what guided America through dark times was a functioning, capable bureaucracy that was hardened and trained to keep functioning when the two political parties wrestled for control. Right now, the Republican Party is letting the government fall apart because it is afraid of the wrath of the base that has formed around Trump. What would never have been allowed twenty, thirty, forty years ago is now a new way of doing things. It wasn't allowed because we have proof of that in the fact that there used to be members of Congress who would fight a president from their own party out of principle. That's gone now. Anything goes.

      People are going to have to stand up to Trump's racist mob and start voting for stability. We have to restore sanity and dignity in this country. If you need any other reason than that, I don't know what to tell you.