Monday, April 30, 2018

Another Horrifying Ronny Jackson Story

The Trump Regime has known about Admiral Ronny Jackson's unprofessional conduct for a long, long time:

Vice President Mike Pence's physician privately raised alarms within the White House last fall that President Donald Trump's doctor may have violated federal privacy protections for a key patient -- Pence's wife, Karen -- and intimidated the vice president's doctor during angry confrontations over the episode.

The previously unreported incident is the first sign that serious concerns about Ronny Jackson's conduct had reached the highest levels of the White House as far back as September -- months before White House aides furiously defended Jackson's professionalism, insisted he had been thoroughly vetted and argued allegations of misconduct amounted to unsubstantiated rumors. 

The episode -- detailed in three memos by Pence's physician -- is also the first documentation that has surfaced involving a specific allegation of medical misconduct by Jackson. It adds to a series of significant allegations leveled by unidentified current and former colleagues, including that he casually dispensed prescription drugs.

They didn't do anything about it! They kept him in his job and then they tried to fail him further upwards and make him a member of the cabinet! They tried to put this out-of-control maniac in charge of the Veteran's Administration!

They knew who he was and they did nothing about it. What a disgrace.

Trump is Too Evil to Plant a Tree

How evil do you have to be to make a tree disappear?

A tree gifted to President Donald Trump by French President Emmanuel Macron has disappeared from the White House lawn.

The pair planted the sapling, taken from the site of a World War One battle in north-east France, last week.

Mr Macron said the tree would be a reminder of "these ties that bind us".

But a Reuters photographer on Saturday took a shot of only a yellow patch of grass where the tree once stood. The French ambassador to the US later tweeted the sapling was in quarantine.

So they had a symbolic planting, tore the tree out of the Earth, replaced it with grass, and claimed that is is now in quarantine? Really? How does anyone do such a thing? Why go through the motions of "simulating" the planting of a tree with historic and cultural connotations and then have it end up being taken out of the ground like this?

You're going to tell me Trump even knows what Belleau Wood was and what it means? You're going to tell me that a president who has put people in positions of responsibility with an agenda of destroying our environment and lying about climate change is qualified to even plant a tree, symbolically or otherwise?

Get out of here with that bullshit.

Are we supposed to believe that Trump didn't cackle like some sinister Bond villain and have the tree burned in order to stick it to the little man from France? At this point, it would be hard to believe that anything decent was done to ensure that this tree could have anything resembling an existence on this planet. There's more than enough wood there to make a stake that can be driven straight through the living heart of something else liberals love.

Fuck these people. Everything that comes into the orbit of Trump is either destroyed or quarantined and then abandoned, broken and lost. And, yes--it's just a tree! But it is a symbol of the whole rotten mess, top to bottom.

Comfort the Afflicted, Afflict the Comfortable

The only decent thing about the White House Correspondents Dinner was the fact that everyone culpable for putting Trump in power was extremely angry at how Michelle Wolf nailed them to the wall:

The White House Correspondents' Association responded Sunday night to criticism of featured comedian Michelle Wolf's controversial routine at the association's annual dinner, saying it wasn't in keeping with the group's mission. 

"Last night's program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people," the association's president, Margaret Talev, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the entertainer's monologue was not in the spirit of that mission."

Much of Wolf's raunchy routine, which included jabs at White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, President Donald Trump and the news media itself, was met with a mixture of laughter and uncomfortable silence from the audience.

Late Sunday, Trump called for the annual event's cancellation, saying Saturday night's festivities were "an embarrassment" and calling Wolf "filthy."

    "The White House Correspondents' Dinner was a failure last year, but this year was an embarrassment to everyone associated with it," he tweeted. "The filthy 'comedian' totally bombed (couldn't even deliver her lines-much like the Seth Meyers weak performance). Put Dinner to rest, or start over!"

    Fuck these animals. Wolf is a national treasure for what she did. More of this, please.

    Trumpism is an obscenity that our kids have been exposed to. Decency has been shitcanned in favor of whatever nasty thing falls from his fingertips. All of them got it wrong and all of them know they got it wrong. 

    And, she was right about everything, up to and including the fact that the people in Flint, Michigan can't drink their water. I'll add the ongoing abandonment of Puerto Rico as proof that Trumpism is a failure no matter what else happens.

    Sunday, April 29, 2018

    Does John Tester Look Like He is Afraid of Trump?

    Here's a crazy thought. Did someone show Trump what's in Senator John Tester's FBI file? Because it sounds like Trump thinks he can actually do that?

    President Donald Trump, having elected to skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for the second year in a row, continued on Saturday evening to train his ire on Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), who he blames for derailing the nomination of White House physician Ronny Jackson to run the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

    “Tester started throwing out things that he’s heard. Well, I know things about Tester that I could say, too,” Trump threatened at a rally in Washington Township, Michigan. “And if I said them, he’d never be elected again.” (Trump did not say what these things were).

    Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate veterans’ affairs committee, contended this past week that there his office had been told of numerous allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior by Jackson, including excessive drinking on the job and over-prescribing medications. Those accusations led Jackson to withdraw his nomination for the position.

    While President Trump has singled out Tester, both in a series of morning tweets on Saturday and at his rally, for upending the nomination process, several Republican senators involved in the vetting process told The Daily Beast that the White House had not done a good enough job preparing Jackson for the nomination. 

    Tester had the support of his colleague, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), in investigating the allegations, but only the Montana Democrat, who is up for re-election this year, was singled out for Trump’s wrath.


    Now, you and I both know Trump doesn't know anything and he's acting like he always does--unhinged, unpresidential, and awful. Is there anything anyone is going to do to stop Trump? No. It's just another day, and this is how we live now.


    Friday, April 27, 2018

    Alexander Torshin and the NRA

    Meet Alexander Torshin. He's a Russian citizen with strong ties to Vladimir Putin. He's also in cahoots with the National Rifle Association. This fact seems to be causing a bit of panic in the Northern Virginia headquarters of the NRA:

    The National Rifle Association is setting aside years of documents related to its interactions with a Kremlin-linked banker, as the gun-rights group appears to be bracing for a possible investigation, according to sources familiar with the situation.

    The NRA has faced fresh scrutiny from congressional investigators about its finances and ties to Alexander Torshin, one of the 17 prominent Russian government officials the US Treasury Department recently slapped with sanctions. The gun-rights group has said it is reexamining its relationship with Torshin, who is a lifetime NRA member, in the wake of the sanctions.

    The renewed attention has highlighted the close-knit if sometimes uneasy alliance between top NRA officials and Torshin -- a relationship that ensnared members of Trump's team during the presidential campaign, inviting further congressional scrutiny.

    Those inquiries could shed light on the tightly held fundraising practices and political activities of the NRA. The political powerhouse shelled out more than $30 million in 2016 to back Donald Trump's candidacy -- more than it spent on 2008 and 2012 political races combined, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Vice President Mike Pence is slated to speak at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Dallas next Friday, an official told CNN.

      The NRA recently found itself facing allegations that the FBI was investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money through the group to bolster Trump, according to a McClatchy report. The NRA has publicly denied any contact from the FBI and insisted it hasn't accepted illegal donations.

      Nothing will get done about this unless and until Democrats hold some sort of power in Washington D.C. and can use the power of the subpoena to compel the stuff that the NRA refuses or "forgets" to release to investigators. I wouldn't expect anything to come of this any time soon.

      Anybody with a brain can see that Trump and everyone who enables him to remain in power is aligned with Putin's regime. One of Trump's most powerful enablers is the NRA. If they withdrew their support from him, and from any member of Congress that keeps him in power, the entire GOP would collapse.

      What should trouble every American is that any organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the rights of the citizens in this country that takes money from the Russians is essentially making a bet against freedom. If you believe in the idea of America, you're going to reject help from any Russian who walks in with a bag of filthy, stolen money. There is no honest cash in Putin's Russia, and there is no desire to "help" anyone. And there's simply no way selling unnecessary guns to scared Americans who want to shoot people of color because they've been fed lies is preserving freedom.

      Russia is not our friend. There is no one in Russia left with an honest ruble in their pants. There is, however, a stated objective to destroy Western democracy and assert Russia's place in the family of nations. There is a goal of undermining every decent, functioning institution in order to make democracies fall into chaos and disorder. And there's a direct line between how this happened with the help of people like Donald Trump, the Mercers, and the NRA. Far too many Americans have deluded themselves into thinking that the NRA cares about their rights. No, suckers. The NRA wants you to be afraid, and they want you to arm yourself with fifty guns you don't need. And why stop at fifty when a hundred will make you just that much safer?

      How do you like your treason served up to you? With a little borscht? 

      Enjoy, motherfuckers. Can't wait for the reckoning.

      Thursday, April 26, 2018

      Trump is Too Busy To Get His Wife a Present

      This is not how a kind, rational, thoughtful or considerate human being would behave towards their spouse:

      President Donald Trump admitted on Fox News that he's been too busy to get a birthday gift for his wife, first lady Melania Trump, who turned 48 years old Thursday.

      When asked during a telephone interview on Fox & Friends what Trump bought the first lady for her birthday he responded with a laugh," Well, I better not get into that 'cause I may get in trouble. Maybe I didn't get her so much."

      Trump added that he did get the first lady "a beautiful card and some beautiful flowers."

      "You know, I'm very busy to be running out looking for presents, OK?" Trump said.

      As if we didn't know how busy Trump was, right?

      Yeah. Busy.

      Wednesday, April 25, 2018

      Mount Trumpmore

      Trump wants to have his likeness carved onto Mount Rushmore. That is still not a joke:

      A year before Donald Trump became president, an editorial cartoonist for the Tulsa World pictured Trump standing at the foot of Mount Rushmore, critiquing his fresh-carved likeness on the mountain alongside Abe Lincoln.

      "Make me thinner and lose the other guys," the caricature of Trump says to a man in a hard hat. The cartoon served as a critique of Trump's perceived ego and sky-high ambitions.

      But after President Trump was sworn in, he relayed his dream of actually being carved on the mountain, according to South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem.

      Noem said the two struck up a conversation in their first meeting at the Oval Office. (Watch in the video above.)

      "He said, 'Kristi, come on over here. Shake my hand,'" Noem said. "I shook his hand, and I said, 'Mr. President, you should come to South Dakota sometime. We have Mount Rushmore.' And he goes, 'Do you know it's my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?'"

      If there are any public monuments for Trump built after he leaves office, the security needed for these places is going to be prohibitively expensive. They can't even protect the star he bought for himself on Hollywood Boulevard. And if there ever really is a "Trump Presidential Library" I would be shocked if it didn't become a necessary stop for everyone who has opposed and resisted his terrible reign of error. It will be a pilgrimage site for everyone wronged or slighted by this horrible man. Imagine being that security guard.

      This is the only public monument to Trump that needs to exist:


      Honestly, though--a Trump Presidential Library would have to be located in Manhattan because who else would want it? I suppose there are White Nationalists in Idaho who would consider giving up some land, but would any of this be near the freeway? Yeah, you have to think about these things. Once Trump is removed from office, I suppose they could put it in Moscow but that would cut down on the foot traffic. That's why I think they'd have to use the existing Trump Tower for it, and the only people allowed in would be crime scene investigators and forensic accountants.

      The next likeness that could be added to Mount Rushmore would be Reagan's, and the horror that is Trump might make that more likely in the years ahead if only to ensure that it ends any discussion of adding an Orange Shitgibbon to a somewhat sacred national park. I'm reasonably certain that trying to honor or memorialize Trump will become a fool's errand. Trump has single-handedly made it possible to view George W. Bush is a slightly less hostile light, and that's about all you can say about that.

      Tuesday, April 24, 2018

      The President is Too Stupid to Make Rational Decisions

      Here is more proof that Trump does not have the intellectual capacity to be president (not that we didn't already have enough proof and know this to be true, right?). And, here is even more proof that the people who have been working for him since the early days of his regime know about it and do nothing:

      The National Security Council has a comparatively lean budget—approximately twelve million dollars—and so its staff consists largely of career professionals on loan from the State Department, the Pentagon, and other agencies. When Trump assumed office, N.S.C. staffers initially generated memos for him that resembled those produced for his predecessors: multi-page explications of policy and strategy. But “an edict came down,” a former staffer told me: “ ‘Thin it out.’ ” The staff dutifully trimmed the memos to a single page. “But then word comes back: ‘This is still too much.’ ” A senior Trump aide explained to the staffers that the President is “a visual person,” and asked them to express points “pictorially.”

      “By the time I left, we had these cards,” the former staffer said. They are long and narrow, made of heavy stock, and emblazoned with the words “the white house” at the top. Trump receives a thick briefing book every night, but nobody harbors the illusion that he reads it. Current and former officials told me that filling out a card is the best way to raise an issue with him in writing. Everything that needs to be conveyed to the President must be boiled down, the former staffer said, to “two or three points, with the syntactical complexity of ‘See Jane run.’ ”

      If you are from the generation that saw the Korean War and the development of our nation into a world power, this has to concern you greatly. If you remember Jerry Ford's debate gaffe -- that Poland was not living under Soviet domination--there's no understating how important it is for a president to be able to speak clearly to what he knows about American foreign policy. From the perspective of someone politically active in the Reagan era this has to be shocking and grating at the same time. In the context of the post-911 world. this is horrendous and extremely serious.

      The president is too stupid to process basic information. His decision making process consists of having no capacity to use information in a necessary manner to arrive at a reasonable or thoughtful conclusion. In short, this man is a Goddamned idiot and he should be removed from office as soon as possible.

      Holy shit.

      The knock against Clinton always way, how could he be Commander in Chief if he had never served in the military? Well, what was it about all of that peace and prosperity that pissed you off? They "wished away" the debacle of George W. Bush and ended up with two wars and a pile of smoking rubble. They tried the same trick they used against Clinton with President Obama, and all they got in return was Osama bin Laden being shot through the head.

      In the Trump era? Eh, what are you gonna do? It's Tuesday, and here's yet another damning piece of evidence no one will pay attention to. Our so-called elites are a complete and utter failure.

      What Did Ronny Jackson Lie About?

      Incompetence has paralyzed the Trump regime. Either Admiral Ronny Jackson lied to the people who were charged with vetting him, or he was never properly evaluated for the role of VA Secretary. He is either a straight shooter caught up in the most poorly run presidential administration in the history of this country or he is an imperfect candidate for a job well above his pay grade:

      Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee are raising concerns about allegations involving Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the department of Veterans Affairs and are reviewing them to determine if they are substantial enough to upend his nomination.

      Committee members have been told about allegations related to improper conduct in various stages of his career, two sources said. 

      The sources say the committee is in talks to delay Wednesday's confirmation hearing as they try to figure out the allegations.

      None of the senators would publicly detail the specifics of the allegations. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

        Two Republican sources with direct knowledge of the situation say the White House is aware that both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are looking into potential problems. Republican lawmakers and aides on the committee say they are also grappling with the allegations, trying to assess what they mean for Jackson's nomination to the post.

        Now, the last time Jackson was given promoted, there had to have been a review of his career and an airing of any allegations against him. Flag officers undergo this scrutiny every time they are promoted. In the past, an allegation like this would have possibly been about the medals he wears. In Jackson's case, he does not have any medals that would seem to be controversial--he does not have a Bronze or Silver Star.

        What did he do and who did he do it to? I have no idea. But, if it's serious enough for a Republican Senator to put a hold on him, it has to be bad. This is a group of people for whom standards do not seem to really exist.

        Monday, April 23, 2018

        Stop the Militarization of the Police

        Does the Racine County Sheriff's Department really need a fully-armored Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle?

        No, it does not. The Trump Regime would love to turn everybody's local police force into something far more militarized than it needs to be, but the cops are saying no to this because common sense is starting to kick in:

        The amount of surplus military equipment sent to local police departments across the nation has sharply declined in recent months despite an executive order President Trump signed that was intended to increase those transfers, a USA TODAY analysis has found.

        Shipments of military gear in the first three months of 2018 fell by half compared with the same period last year, Department of Defense data show. The amount of armored vehicles, high-caliber rifles and other equipment measured by dollar value also slid.

        President Trump’s executive order, signed last August, rescinded limits imposed on the program by the Obama administration after the battlefield-style response to the Ferguson, Mo., riots in 2014 caused an uproar. Some police officials said they are approaching the program cautiously despite robust support from Trump.

        “If you have a long rifle or you have a military vehicle, it looks bad,” said Sgt. Stephen Wells, a spokesman for the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in California, which ordered about 90 military items from the Pentagon in 2015 but only one last year. “We’re not an occupying force.”

        Transferring military equipment to police officers is, in and of itself, a terrible idea unless we're talking about body armor and footwear. Making the police look like an "occupying force" that is dressed up like a brigade deployed to the outskirts of Baghdad does not serve or protect anyone. If anything, making the police look like the military only intimidates the population and leads people to resent the presence of local law enforcement.

        The good thing here is that there are police departments out there who are seeing the impact of how they present themselves to the public. I never thought this was a good idea, and I'm glad others are catching on to how little this does to keep people safe.

        Now, I will grant you that an MRAP is probably the only way you can safely expect to break up a rowdy cribbage tournament:

        Police respond to loud cribbage tournament

        CALEDONIA — Caledonia Police responded to a complaint about a loud party using a PA system in the 4000 block of Bluffside Drive on Saturday, Aug. 18. When police arrived at about 9:30 p.m., the homeowner said they were having a cribbage tournament. Police gave him a warning and told him an amplification device permit was needed.

        If the police had rolled up quietly and asked people to disperse, I'm sure they would have, given the proper chance.

        Sunday, April 22, 2018

        Democrats Will Save Your Pension, If You Let Them

        Trump and his minions are not going to lift a finger to save anyone's pension:

        More than 1 million workers and retirees could lose their pension benefits within 20 years.

        Many of them were construction workers or truck drivers who belonged to a union and paid into pension funds set up to cover workers from multiple employers. 

        But about 100 of these pension plans are expected to run out of money in the next two decades, according to a report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

        Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that something must be done. A bipartisan committee headed by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown was created earlier this year with a mandate to come up with a legislative fix by November. 

        "A number of the country's biggest multiemployer pension plans are approaching insolvency, which poses a threat of small businesses going bankrupt, retirees seeing their benefits cut, and taxpayers getting stuck footing the bill," Hatch said in a statement.

        This is a demographic problem. The article goes on to explain how there are more people taking money out of the plans than there are people paying into them. Well, guess what? Someone has to do something to fix that imbalance, and that means tough choices and dealing with reality. And is it asking too much for that one million people to stop voting against their economic self-interests and to vote for the party that wants to solve the problem? 

        Does that sound like anything that the GOP is interested in doing? No, Democrats are going to have to fix this problem, and tons of other problems, and they'll have to raise taxes to do it. The Republicans will swoop in and say, "look at all of these tax and spend liberals," and they'll win votes and seats on a promise of doing away with high taxes for the wealthy.

        I'm getting sick of this crap. Trumpism is a temporary thing. Once this whole crew of thieving bastards is hurled into the streets, permanently unemployed and disgraced, the adults are going to have to fix everything. I wish the American people would grow up and realize that you can't get magical fantasy benefits to rain down on you in exchange for nothing.

        Saturday, April 21, 2018

        Rising Oil Prices Rattle a Confused, Incompetent President

        Given everything that has happened in the last week, can you really believe that OPEC's decision to raise oil prices is even on Trump's top 100 list of things he's shitting himself over?

        The oil market has caught President Trump in an awkward spot between his pro-business instincts and his populist tendencies.

        Trump, a major friend to the fossil fuels industry, took OPEC to task on Friday for the recent surge in oil prices. The price has climbed toward $70 in recent weeks, the highest in more than three years. 

        "Looks like OPEC is at it again," Trump tweeted. "Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!" 

        Trump is right that OPEC, the Saudi-led cartel, has orchestrated higher prices, as it's known to do. And millions of American voters will probably share the president's outrage if gasoline prices soar as a result. 

        Yet millions of Trump voters also live in states such as Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota that depend on the oil industry for prosperity. The 2014-2016 oil price crash cost countless jobs and led to dozens of corporate bankruptcies. 

        Trump has pushed an agenda of American "energy dominance" by slashing environmental regulations and green-lighting pipeline projects.

        It's a great distraction--the president cares about oil prices! Oh, he's so interested and focused on our domestic economy. He even cares deeply about how this will affect people who are planning their summer vacations.

        This is the stupidest fucking country ever. If we had a legitimate president running an actual administration, I might be convinced that this is a going concern. But it isn't. The Playboy model who has ample evidence that Trump likes rough sex might be a top ten concern right now if it wasn't for the fact that his personal lawyer is about to flip on him so that the lawsuit against him filed by the famous porn star can end up revealing that Trump is ramming so much cash into his pants, after groping innocent women, that he has to lie about how much he weighs in order to get onto a helicopter in order to flee charges of treason that stem from his associations with Russia.

        Trump is so guilty of corruption and has so many blatant ties to criminals, oligarchs, freaks and sexual deviants that it has descended into farce to try and keep track of all of the scandals swirling around him.

        But he cares about oil prices! 

        Really? As a wise man once said, fuck that shit.

        Wednesday, April 18, 2018

        White Supremacy is Alive and Well in Tennessee

        There really isn't a way to be fair to the state legislature of Tennessee. They really, really like white supremacy:

        The Republican-dominated House in Tennessee voted Tuesday to punish the city of Memphis for removing Confederate monuments by taking $250,000 away from the city that would have been used for a bicentennial celebration next year.

        The retaliation came in the form of passage of a last-minute amendment attached to the House appropriations bill that triggered heated debate on the House floor and stinging rebukes from lawmakers from Memphis.

        Rep. Antonio Parkinson began to call the amendment vile and racist before being cut off by boos from fellow lawmakers.

        "You can boo all you want but let's call it for what it is," the Memphis representative said.

        Don't listen to the boos. Get out and vote, Tennessee. Your Republican-dominated House is a bastion of white supremacy. They love their statues and they're willing to use whatever means necessary to attack any community that tries to move into the 21st Century and deal with past injustices.

        There really is an insidious evil out there, and it sustains and feeds the GOP. It ain't about history. It's about maintaining a status quo and rejecting any attempt to reconcile the past. There are millions of good people in Tennessee, and they now have a fight on their hands. They've got to take back their state and send these 'vile and racist' legislators back to where they came from.

        Tuesday, April 17, 2018

        Does Nikki Haley Know That Russia Controls Trump?

        If Nikki Haley wants to have a future in politics, she should resign immediately and tell the world that the President of the United States is compromised by his relationship with Russia:

        President Trump on Monday put the brakes on a preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as “international economic raiding.”

        Preparations to punish Russia anew for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria caused consternation at the White House. Haley had said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions on Russian companies behind the equipment related to Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

        But Trump conferred with his national security advisers later Sunday and told them he was upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them, according to several people familiar with the plan.

        Administration officials said the economic sanctions were under serious consideration, along with other measures that could be taken against Russia, but said Trump had not given final authorization to implement them. Administration officials said Monday it was unlikely Trump would approve any additional sanctions without another triggering event by Russia, describing the strategy as being in a holding pattern.

        Trump feels this about sanctions: he is "not yet comfortable executing them." How about we call this what it really is--a euphemism for a man so totally corrupted and compromised by his Russian handlers that he is terrified of what they will let slip out about him. At this point, who cares? The Trump regime is finished. The law is going to catch up to them. I expect Trump to pardon at least a dozen people in the months ahead, but it's not going to matter.

        Trump needs a "triggering event?" How many more examples of Russian "wet work" do we need? You want to get rid of Putin? Take every dime that he and his oligarchs are hiding in the West. Take every fancy house in West London. Take every apartment in New York City. Take every mansion in Florida. Take it all away from them. Putin's grasp on power exists because we have not figured out how Russia really works. If everyone around Putin was broke tomorrow, his head would be on a pike by Sunday. 

        Haley has to understand by now that taking any stand against Russia's murderous kleptocracy goes against every fiber of Trump's being. He cannot defend this country against an enemy dedicated to the destruction of Western democracy, and this, ultimately, is what will force a handful of Republicans to vote to impeach and remove him. Trump is the physical manifestation of the collapse of our elites in this country. We are never going to trust certain institutions again. In order to defend himself, Trump is going to burn everything down. Far too many Americans are ready to help him do just that. He is owned by the Russians in a way that would have shocked Americans just a generation ago.

        Not only has Trump humiliated her but also the Vice President. Trump refused to let Jon Lerner work for both her and Pence at the same time. Lerner, a noted Never Trump supporter, is completely unqualified for his job, of course, but why should that matter to today's Republicans? Everything must burn, and everything must be destroyed before the mid-term elections arrive. 

        We do have a stark choice. We can take American back from the goddamned Russians, but people have to understand one thing. Trump is not going to let go of power. He's going to hold on to it as long as possible. What would help wrest it away from him is if his enablers, like Nikki Haley, would wake up and realize that they cannot serve Trump because Trump only serves his Russian masters.

        Fox News Doesn't Do Journalism

        You know, I'm going to keep this rant short and simple.

        This idea that there are any standards whatsoever at Fox News is an idea that really has to die:

        I love James Fallows, but his belief that what happened today when Sean Hannity was revealed to be in cahoots with Trump's mouthpiece and fixer, Michael Cohen, should trigger some sort of ethical or journalistic dilemma for Fox News is laughable.

        They don't care about facts. It's just bullshit. An endless, brainless swirl of unmitigated bullshit, spewing out of a puke funnel made of fool's gold, all day, every day. We have known this since the day they founded it. The whole country knew it by the summer of 2006 when they tried to cover up what happened with Hurricane Katrina and save Bush's failing presidency. A part of the country didn't care. They bought the lies, they embraced the nonsense. Fox exists to air their grievances, over and over again, on an endless loop.

        Come on, it's all worthless drivel. Even Jon Stewart knew, and he did his best to tell this to people, but they keep thinking someone at Fox is going to develop standards and start behaving like an actual, responsible news organization.


        Monday, April 16, 2018

        Meet Barbara Moore

        I'm starting to think that Trump has a lot more ex-girlfriends than anyone really knows about:

        First came Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Now, another former Playboymodel has come forward alleging that she had an affair with President Donald Trump.

        On Monday, the Daily Mail published an account from former Playmate Barbara Moore, who told the British tabloid she had an affair with Trump for six months in 1993, when Trump was engaged to marry Marla Maples, who was pregnant with their daughter Tiffany.

        I encourage you to read the entire story if, for some reason, you’re in the mood to feel particularly bummed out. From the Daily Mail (emphasis added):

        Moore decided to tell her story after being bombarded with press requests after she was named in legal documents filed by former Playboy model Karen McDougal who is now seeking to invalidate her agreement with America Media Inc.

        “It was a passionate affair, he was a great lover and a gentleman,” [she said.]

        “But at the time I didn’t know he was with someone else, let alone engaged to Marla Maples, and it was only recently I learned she was pregnant at the time. This has shocked me, but I don’t hold it against Donald, he was a great lover and I think he’s a great president.”

        In March 1993, Playboy had hired Moore and five other Playmates to perform a “fashion show” at one of Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City, N.J.

        He's the family values president, and the Christian conservatives must be shitting themselves with excitement over their own personal sinner-in-chief. And Moore seems to believe Trump's bullshit even after all of those years. Perhaps she is one of a handful of contractors who actually got paid. Who knows?

        Saturday, April 14, 2018

        The Bevin and Greitens Show

        Who are these animals and how did they end up being the governors of Kentucky and Missouri? Here's what Matt Bevin said today:

        Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says children were left vulnerable to harm, sexual assault and drugs as a result of public school closures throughout the state Friday to allow teachers and supporters to protest at the state's Capitol.

        "I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them," the Republican governor told reporters Friday afternoon, according to CNN affiliate WDRB

        "I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn't have any money to take care of them."

        Bevin went on to say that "some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone."

        Number one, fuck you, governor. That's the lowest of blows you could land against teachers, who, on average, do more to keep kids safe and fed than anyone who serves as a Republican in your goddamned state. Number two, who has a mind like that? Who thinks up these things and then says them out loud?

        Bevin's statement is the work of a sickened, addled mind. Does he live in a world where he's the only one who knows what ends up causing children to be sexually assaulted? Could someone please get this man some help? His fantasy life is a bit out of hand.

        Speaking of men who live out their violent fantasies and don't have to face any consequences, we have the rapey governor of Missouri:

        If America today is more tolerant than ever about sex, it is less so than ever about sexual violence. And that was the new element in what Greitens’ ex-lover told a Missouri House committee in comments released last week: that he allegedly brought to their sexual encounters physical restraint, threats and, in three instances she described, slaps or shoves.

        The woman also alleged instances of calculated manipulation and verbal misogyny that could cause many women to write Greitens off, regardless of what happens with the criminal case or impeachment talk.

        “Every woman I’ve talked to who’s read it has been horrified,” says Jane Dueker, an attorney with longtime Democratic Party connections and a vocal critic of the Republican governor, who nonetheless declared herself surprised at the details of the latest allegations. “I’ve not found any woman who doesn’t feel that way.”

        Indeed, some of the most blistering reaction has come from female Republican officeholders.

        “The transcripts paint the picture of a vulnerable woman and a man who preyed on that vulnerability,” U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, said in a statement last week. “I am disgusted, disheartened, and I believe Governor Greitens is unfit to lead our state.”

        Several female Republican state legislators also have called on Greitens to step down.

        Note that it is only "several" female Republican state legislators and not "the entire legislative caucus of the Missouri GOP" calling for him to step down. Many are just fine having a governor stay in office even though he restrained a woman and violently sexually assaulted her after threatening her with the publication of a nude photo. The article I just quoted talked at length about Greiten's political future? Guess what? In a normal country, he wouldn't have one. He'd be in jail, awaiting trial.

        What the hell is going on? What kind of a world is this? It's 2018 and you say and do these things and keep your fucking job? Really? This is your party of family values and Christian conservatism. Two of their sitting governors are such sick and violent men, I can guarantee you one thing. Hardly any of their fellow Republicans give two shits whether they apologize or quit. They don't care about accountability--they care about power and access. 

        This is the new normal. This is how we're living now.


        Trump's Half-Assed War Against Syria

        Last night, Trump stepped up to a podium and announced we were attacking Syria. He sniffed through that coke-blasted nose of his, and pretended like this was a big deal.

        It wasn't:

        Syria, Russia and Iran shrugged off strikes on Saturday by the United States and its allies against three Syrian chemical weapons facilities, which drew angry condemnations but no indication that there would be a wider escalation.

        Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the U.S.-led strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities as an “act of aggression,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatalloh Ali Khamenei tweeted that the attack represented “a war crime,” and the Syrian Foreign Ministry described it as “barbarous aggression.”

        But the pre-dawn volleys of cruise missiles launched by the United States, Britain and France were limited to three sites linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program and triggered no retaliation. Russia said they did little damage and that most of the cruise missiles targeting Syrian sites had been intercepted by Syrian air defenses, including all of those that were bound for the site from which last week’s alleged chemical attack originated.

        Everything the Russians and Syrians say is a lie, of course. But if we were going to do any real damage to the Assad regime, we would have lit up Damascus days ago without sending a "warning tweet." We would have attacked numerous sites where the military has been staging itself and we would have hit actual military targets as well as the regime's offices and bunkers. This half-assed attempt to save face after tweeting out a warning earlier this week amounts to one of the most ineffective attempts at asserting international disgust ever. It was ridiculous to assume that Trump actually cared about anything other than not pissing off the Russians.

        Last night would have been a good night to take out Syria's ability to control its airspace. It would have been a good night to hit the facilities Assad uses to direct his military--instead, they hit one "command post." If you warn your enemy first, how can you expect to deliver an effective strike?

        I'll let you in on a secret. When Trump tweeted out that "missiles" were going to be fired at Syria, he gave aid and comfort to the enemy and allowed them to move equipment around. That's how pathetic he really is. And when he said "Mission Accomplished" when all was said and done, he turned this into a huge farce.

        Friday, April 13, 2018

        Michael Cohen Went to Prague, and That's Treason

        In the Steele Dossier, it was asserted the Michael Cohen went to Prague to meet with the Russians.

        This claim was ridiculed again and again by defenders of the Trump regime. Cohen lied repeatedly. He denied the hell out of it. But Special Counsel Robert Mueller now has proof that Cohen did, in fact, go to Prague.

        So, one more allegation in the Steele Dossier has been proven correct. One more domino falls. One more instance that shows us the American presidency was seized through acts of treason. The Trump campaign colluded with Russia to defraud the American people.

        The shit has hit the fan.

        McClatchy has the full story:

        The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

        Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to a retired British spy’s report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

        It would also be one of the most significant developments thus far in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether the Trump campaign and the Kremlin worked together to help Trump win the White House. Undercutting Trump’s repeated pronouncements that “there is no evidence of collusion,” it also could ratchet up the stakes if the president tries, as he has intimated he might for months, to order Mueller’s firing.

        James Comey Failed His Country

        I agree with the assessments made by James Comey about Trump and his utter lack of any respect for the law. Trump is no mob boss. He is the clown who gets rolled by the mob every time. It's good to hear the truth come out. But Comey failed this country, and that's what this story should be about. He failed to do what was necessary to protect us from Russian-backed Trumpism and, by extension, so did President Obama and so did our intelligence community. Our institutions failed us, and now we have to wait for two elections to come and go before Trump is gone from our lives forever. We have been denied the decency and dignity of a Hillary Clinton presidency, and history should hold everyone who failed to make it happen accountable for this crime.

        Anyone who thinks Comey is the hero of his own story is right. Anyone who thinks this man is free from criticism in how he handled things is plain wrong:

        Then-President Barack Obama reassured then-FBI Director James Comey of his support after the 2016 election during a private meeting in the Oval Office, Comey writes in his upcoming book.

        Comey recalls that during the meeting, in late November 2016, Obama told him, "I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability. I want you to know that nothing -- nothing -- has happened in the last year to change my view."

        CNN obtained a copy of the book and corroborated news reports about Comey's highly anticipated recounting of his time in the Trump administration.

        Comey had been widely criticized for his handling of Hillary Clinton's email server investigation when he announced just before the presidential election that the FBI was reopening the probe. In the days leading up the election, he announced there were no new developments, but Clinton has said Comey's actions contributed to her loss.

        Hillary was right. Comey handed the presidency to Donald Trump by failing to understand the magnitude of his corruption and his extensive relationship with Russia's oligarchy. And, in so doing, he undermined the Department of Justice and made a mockery out of the rule of law. He failed to use his position as the head of the FBI to ensure that foreign influence in our democracy would not result in the seizure of the American presidency by Vladimir Putin. This was a major dereliction of duty, and it cannot be erased with a feel good memoir that kicks Trump in the 'nads.

        I may not know what Obama, Comey, Brennan, Clapper and whoever else knew in late 2016, but it's pretty clear that they knew enough to go public with an assertion that Trump was being backed by Russian intelligence. They should have blown past Mitch McConnell's objections and gone public with that in order to inform the American people as to what was happening. They should have put a foot in Paul Ryan's chest on their way to tell the country what was going on.

        Look, we are living in the midst of a horrorshow. Comey helped direct this thing and he is an imperfect vessel in the fight to save our country. He should get his victory lap and then have the decency to go away. I'm not going to listen to anyone who says Hillary should quietly retire and say nothing about our country. Our industrial media complex can't stop shitting itself with glee whenever something anti-Hillary ends up in the discussion. That's foolishness of the highest order. She won the election, but Russia helped Trump steal it from her. Comey was the unwitting accomplice who held the door open and let the bankrobbers get away.

        Way to go, G-man.

        Thursday, April 12, 2018

        ICE is Terrorizing America

        [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="728.0"] © Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel/USA TODAY Network/Sipa USA April 9, 2018; Morristown, TN, USA; Esmeralda Baustista holds a photograph of her brother Luis Bautista-Martinez, who was one of the workers detained when ICE raided… © Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel/USA TODAY Network/Sipa USA April 9, 2018; Morristown, TN, USA; Esmeralda Baustista holds a photograph of her brother Luis Bautista-Martinez, who was one of the workers detained when ICE raided… [/caption]

        This is a story that keeps getting lost in the shuffle because of how Trump has institutionalized a racist, xenophobic reaction to something that really comes down to basic human dignity:

        Jessica Bailiff looked out at her class and saw empty desks where her students were supposed to be.

        The physics teacher's heart sank. She knew why they weren't there.

        The day before,federal authorities had swept through a nearby meatpacking plant, rounding up nearly 100 people they accused of being in the United States illegally.

        Immigrant rights groups say last week's operation in eastern Tennessee was the largest workplace immigration raid in a decade.

        More than 500 students stayed home from school the next day.

        Now, a week later, most are back in class. But the community is still reeling, Bailiff says.

        Kids who are supposed to be learning about light waves, radio waves and the electromagnetic spectrum, she says, are instead wondering if they'll ever see their loved ones again.

        "There's just fear and sadness written all over their faces," Bailiff says.

        In a just society, no kid goes to bed afraid that their parents are going to be hauled away by the government.

        This hits home to me. I was raised by a single mother who worked in a meatpacking plant. If she hadn't worked there, we would not have had a home or anything else. This is a very real struggle for survival, and I don't give two shits for any argument that says that these people have to follow "the law."

        You know who isn't following the law? The goddamned meatpacking industry operates, for all intents and purposes, without serious regulation. Safety is a joke. Wages are a crime. Standards are whatever a GOP-controlled state legislature can pass into law, courtesy of some sleazy lobbyist. 

        The overall working experience is so bad that working class white people won't take the jobs that are available. The work has to get done, so the owners exploit people who are trying to get a foot in the door in this country. This is happening everywhere and has been going on for decades. The law means nothing if you're a plant owner who wants to pay people $9 an hour to render hogs into bacon, unless it is used to keep workers terrified of unionizing and striking to improve their conditions.

        So, fuck all this. ICE is straight up terrorizing people who are on the margins. Instead of sending 100 ICE agents to round up the poor, send four FBI agents into the office of the big boss and have a conversation about running roughshod over every existing labor regulation and every business rule on the books. Better yet, let's put the blame where it belongs--on anyone who has normalized the terrorization of people who are trying to come here and make a better life for their families.

        Wednesday, April 11, 2018

        The Republican Party is On Fire

        The policy ambitions and the presidential hopes of Speaker Paul Ryan have burned up before his eyes, and those are the ashes being swept away in the wind:

        House Speaker Paul Ryan is not seeking re-election and will retire from Congress after this year, his office announced Wednesday.

        "This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House," Ryan aide Brendan Buck said in a statement. "He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father."

        According to two sources with direct knowledge, in calls this morning with his leadership team, Ryan made clear much of this decision was about spending time with his family, but also noted that he planned to leave after this Congress and didn't think it was fair to his district or the GOP conference to run for re-election only to leave right after.

        A source familiar told CNN that Ryan called House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy about his retirement before the news broke.

        What a tremendous failure. With a GOP president, control of both houses of Congress, and a firm grasp on the Supreme Court, this should be the beginning of the Ryan era. Everything was aligned for him to accomplish the complete and utter destruction of all government entitlements. He got tax reform, and even that won't last past his retirement for more than a year. Everything he accomplished is soon to be corrected by politicians and leaders who are waiting for the chance to stop Trump and save America. 

        A real leader would have stayed. A phony like Ryan couldn't help but press the eject button and run for the safety of lobbying and consulting. This is not the end of him being Speaker. This is just the end of him, period. This is a betrayal worthy of cinematic comparison and I thought of the pivotal scene in Braveheart when all is lost. Remember when the Scottish lords turned their horses around and abandoned William Wallace on the battlefield? Paul Ryan is the guy who turned on his own people for "much less."

        It's an easy thing to say that Trumpism killed Ryan's chances, but, really, it was the fact that Ryan himself couldn't say no to Trump and offer something more compelling. The whole GOP is on fire, and no one has the self-awareness to admit that allowing a crazy person to run the whole government into the ground was the thing that started the blaze. Ryan should have asserted his authority and the prestige of his position but he seems to have no knowledge of how the Speaker is supposed to act. His abandonment of his colleagues at this pivotal moment is the thing that will cement his legacy as a cut-and-run fairweather friend to his party.

        The idea that he will someday run for president is a joke in and of itself. Really? You're going to go to war with the guy who quit on ya? Well, alrighty then.

        A classic link from Windhorse makes for good reading, by the way...


        Tuesday, April 10, 2018

        Never Interrupt Your Enemy When He is Making a Mistake

        Trump is the center of a universe that does not care about this thing we call the rule of law:

        President Donald Trump is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, multiple people familiar with the discussions tell CNN, a move that has gained urgency following the raid of the office of the President's personal lawyer

        Such an action could potentially further Trump's goal of trying to put greater limits on special counsel Robert Mueller

        This is one of several options -- including going so far as to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- Trump is weighing in the aftermath of the FBI's decision Monday to raid the office of Michael Cohen, the President's personal lawyer and longtime confidant. Officials say if Trump acts, Rosenstein is his most likely target, but it's unclear whether even such a dramatic firing like this would be enough to satisfy the President. 

        Trump has long been angry at top Justice Department officials, who he feels have not done enough to protect him from Mueller's ongoing probe. But two sources said the raid could mark a tipping point that would prompt the President to take more aggressive action against the special counsel.

        When Trump finds a horse he likes and makes him a senator, let me know. When Trump shoots someone in the street and laughs because he can't be indicted, come find me and tell me about it. When Trump is dragged out of the White House, pulling the drapes behind him, tell me when it's on TV. 

        We are living in the midst of a massive farce, and all we can do is watch while this man's ego delivers a highly-rated television spectacle. The man's personal attorney had his entire life tossed before his eyes, and, a day later, the man is so terrorized he cannot help but praise the men who did it. Like any good mouthpiece, Cohen knows what they have on him, and he knows what will happen when the hammer drops.

        This worthless Republican Congress (there's an oxymoron in there somewhere) could remove Trump in a matter of days. They will not. Trump is the law, Trump is the state, Trump is the party and they do not care. Their silence is assent, and their place in history is secure.

        A massive mistake is being made before our eyes. Oh well. It was a nice country until someone decided to deliver a fuck you message with their vote.

        Monday, April 9, 2018

        Michael Cohen is Going For a Ride in the Barrel

        This is the most important story of the year so far:

        The FBI raided the office of Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer and confidant of President Donald Trump, The New York Times reported Monday.

        Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Cohen, said the US Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York had executed "a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications" between Cohen and his clients, according to the Times.

        Cohen's job is to guard Trump's right flank. He has spent years keeping Trump out of legal jeopardy. And now the Federal Bureau of Investigation has "privileged communications" between Cohen and his clients. Oh, that should make for lovely reading. It should go something like this:

        "Michael, make this so-and-so bitch go away or I'm going to cut you loose!"

        "Yes, boss. Can I get reimbursed this time?"

        "Whatever, you greasy fuck. Just make it go away."

        Well, Cohen might have a thousand clients, but only one of those is the president. And now the FBI knows everything Trump has been telling Cohen since the day they started working with one another. Trump is now caught up in whatever civil litigation Cohen has been engaged in on his behalf, probably as the ultimate un-indicted co-conspirator.

        Say whatever you want about the FBI, but Trump's handpicked Director and Trump's Justice Department just executed a brazen attack on the very foundation of Trump Incorporated. And this is what? Barely a day or whatever after Trump's company begged for the government of Panama to intercede on its behalf?

        Holy shit.

        Tonight, I would imagine, cruise missiles will rain down on Damascus and Trump will frantically start wagging the dog in order to get us into a war. Wray and Sessions should be fired immediately. Someone better put a 24 hour watch on Jay Sekulow. Trump is now surrounded by a howling mob of G-men who are out for blood. But he has John Bolton to help him pick a sufficiently weak adversary that he can lead the country into war against in order to soften the blow.

        It's all turning to shit at once, and Trump has yet another existential crisis on his hands. Only the panicked response of a man so completely and utterly guilty of numerous crimes will do. Can a man of Trump's age run for the limo and get on a plane out of town before he's arrested? Or will they have to hustle him out of the basement and into the sewers of the District of Columbia? The rats will prove to be fearsome adversaries, but don't worry. Their screeching will remind Trump of home. He'll ask one of his Secret Service agents if they're in Manhattan already. Trump's last stand will be in the flaming, burned out hell of Trump Tower. I suspect he'll be virtually alone by the time Mueller sends the men to arrest him.

        I mean, holy Goddamned shit. They just blew through everything Cohen had today, didn't they? I'll bet they left everything turned upside down.


        Friday, April 6, 2018

        Horrible People Everywhere

        Everyone around Trump is so horrible, all you can do is laugh:

        White House chief of staff John Kelly was once empowered to bring order to a turbulent West Wing. Now, it seems, he's receding from view.

        Kelly's clout has been diminished. His word is less trusted by staff. His guidance is less tolerated by an increasingly go-it-alone-president.

        President Donald Trump has rebelled against Kelly's restrictions. He's even mused about doing away with a chief of staff. That's led White House staffers and Trump allies to believe Kelly's working on borrowed time.

        Kelly's allies say his retreat is strategic and an acknowledgment that Trump wanted to exert more control.

        But those close to the president say Trump's increasingly expressed fatigue at Kelly's attempts to shackle him and that while Trump's not ready to fire Kelly, he's gradually begun freezing him out.

        Who really cares about the fate of any of these people? H. R. McMaster has been thrown to the wolves. Trump is surrounded by a group of cabinet officials so corrupt and awful that any one of them would have brought down any previous administration in American history. Every one of his staffers seems to be a violent sexual deviant who cannot resist acting out in public. Even his family consists of human scum. 

        We are in the second year of a crime against the American idea. Trump and his regime go against everything this country was founded upon. The fact that there are people in place who are actively tolerating this shitshow and won't do anything about it proves that the rot begins in Congress and the establishment of the Republican Party. These are such profoundly bad people, and Kelly is certainly one of them. We are long past the moment where he, McMaster, and Mattis should have gone to Capitol Hill and told the leadership in the House and Senate to put the country out of its misery and begin impeachment proceedings.

        There is no obligation to show sympathy for these moral cowards. They're the ones that are keeping us in this mess.

        Thursday, April 5, 2018

        Trump is Lying About What He Knew, Of Course

        A funny thing happens when a president doesn't have any credibility anymore:

        President Donald Trump on Thursday gave his first public comments on reports that his personal lawyer paid off porn actress Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence on an alleged sexual affair with the now-president. Asked on Air Force One whether he knew about the $130,000 payment made to Daniels days before the 2016 election, the president tersely replied, “No,” according to the pool report. Asked why Cohen made the payment in the first place, Trump responded: “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.” Asked if he knows where the money came from, the president said, “No, I don’t know.” And when a reporter asked if Trump had ever set up a fund for Cohen to draw the hush money from, the president simply ignored the query.

        So, how long before it is proven that:

        1. He knew

        2. He tried to pay her less than $130,000

        3. He told Cohen to to hire someone to threaten her

        4. He had his campaign reimburse Cohen

        5. He broke several laws in the process of paying off other women

        By the time this post hits the Internet, one or all of these things will be proven and, once again, Trump will be revealed as a serial liar who can't keep his story straight.

        Wednesday, April 4, 2018

        Trump is Straight Up Delusional

        Trump is so divorced from reality, he probably thinks this meme is not about him.

        The lengths people are willing to go to satirize and demean this president match how the ultra-hard right felt about President Obama. It was perfectly acceptable to come up with racist shit and throw it at Obama. They hated him because he was so much more capable than any other Republican. He was hated because he literally saved the economies of Western Civilization from disaster. He was never the beneficiary of good coverage from the media, which, if it had been honest, would have highlighted how craven Republicans in Congress were about tanking the economy on purpose to hurt Obama.

        Trump's supporters wilt like flowers because of this stuff. It is effective and it mirrors how angry people really are in this country. Trump is not a legitimate president, and the GOP is getting a taste of what that feels like.

        If today's Democrats had the same power as the GOP did in 2011, and if they were actively causing our economy to fail, that would be front page, lead story news everywhere.

        So fuck these people. Mr. Mueller, please hurry.

        Traveling on Your Dime

        There's nothing wrong with a cabinet official using government aircraft as part of their job. I think that when we look at what Trump officials have been doing, we have to stress that traveling on secure government aircraft is legitimate if it is work related and responsible.

        The problem is, the people working for Trump have taken advantage of the perks of their office and, despite being personally wealthy, they have abused their privileges and created an ongoing scandal that no Democrat would survive:

        Top House Democrats are calling for hearings on whether the Trump administration has “adequate controls” to protect taxpayer money in light of recent “extravagant air travel” by cabinet members.

        In a letter Tuesday to Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, who is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Democratic congressmen Elijah Cummings and Raja Krishnamoorthi pointed out two Trump cabinet members as the latest examples of “questionable and expensive travel at the taxpayer expense.”

        Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spent nearly $1 million on eight trips on military aircraft between spring and fall 2017, while Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s flight to a summit in Italy cost more than $120,000, the letter cited.

        “The extensive use of noncommercial aircraft by multiple members of the Trump Administration is disrespectful to the American taxpayers who foot the bill for these expenses,” the letter states. “It is unacceptable that the White House and several agencies have refused to provide our Committee with the documents we need to conduct our oversight responsibilities.”

        The Democrats are trying to perform their duties with respect to oversight and compliance; the Republicans have no problem with rampant corruption and the profligate spending of taxpayer's dollars. 

        What's infuriating is that there is such a double standard at work here. Half of Trump's cabinet should be in jail for spending this kind of money, and the other half should be looking for work elsewhere just because of their blatant incompetence. They don't care. They think the little people should shut up:

        How does Mnuchin still have a job a year later?

        I predict that, as soon as there's a Democrat in the White House, if a cabinet secretary so much as spends five bucks they shouldn't be spending, the Republicans will howl about it for the next decade.

        Tuesday, April 3, 2018

        An Unnecessary Trade War With China

        This is not going to end well:

        The United States plans to apply the tariffs to about $50 billion worth of goods to punish China for its theft of trade secrets, including software, patents and other technology. A 25% tariff would be applied to all the products, according to the US Trade Representative, a wing of the White House. 

        Many of the tariffs would target the Chinese aerospace, tech and machinery industries. Others would target medical equipment, medicine and educational material, such as bookbinding equipment. 

        The tariffs won't go into effect immediately. The administration will hold a public hearing for US businesses on May 15. Even after that, it's not clear when the tariffs would be applied.

        Let me tell you exactly how this will be applied. If you donate to the GOP on a regular basis, you're not going to have to worry about a tariff on the goods you buy from China. If you have gotten crossways with these animals, they're going to slap tariffs on the stuff you need to stay in business.

        This is an extension of stupidity and corruption, mixed with incompetence, and this is how we live now.

        Sunday, April 1, 2018

        Even On His Way to Church, Trump Spews Hate

        I just want to reiterate this again in a separate post--the President of the United States of America, who is married to an immigrant, is attacking people with hateful rhetoric about immigration on his way into a church on Easter Sunday.

        Trump is so possessed by hatred and so desperate to lash out at his enemies that he cannot resist doing so on Easter Sunday morning just outside of a church where he will attend services. Imagine the cognitive dissonance necessary to say what Trump said today. It's mind-boggling.

        This is not how decent people act, ever. This is not normal. This is really just another despicable act by a man so shallow and so absolutely gripped by his own torturous hate for others that he cannot resist any opportunity to strike out at people who are living in a legal limbo that he created in order to make his supporters happy.

        Trump did this on Easter Sunday right before church? Yes, he did. Trump is who he is, and he will never change.

        The Master of Hate

        Trump is mastering his ability to use hate to punish Americans who oppose his reign of terror:

        President Donald Trump again called for an end to the filibuster and said there will be no deal with Democrats on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA. 

        In two more tweets Sunday morning, Trump threatened to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he called Mexico's "cash cow," if the country doesn't reduce the flow of immigrants coming across the southern US border. Trump also tweeted that "big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!"

        Well, you probably aren't surprised or shocked to see the President of the United States of America rip into innocent people on an Easter Sunday. Trump's advisors are using a hatred of Latino people to motivate him; they are also attacking the economic life of this country. The southern border is used to move goods back and forth, and, along with that, the people who do the jobs no one else wants to do. Every time this Republican president attacks the so-called "illegal immigration" issue, he uses hatred and fear to advance his agenda. The media needs to do a better job explaining this. It's not about crime. It's about energizing the absolute worst impulses in people to rant and rave about things they don't understand.

        The only way Trump and his minions in the Ministry of Hate can justify tearing up NAFTA and fighting the movement of people across the border is by motivating enough Americans to start hating Democrats. They have to criminalize sympathy. They have to make it a toxic environment where there is no nuance. When you talk openly of a child brought here as an infant, and raised in this country, and then given a path to citizenship, you have to respect the nuances of our laws. When you refuse to do so, the language of dehumanization takes over. Trump and his regime have stripped hundreds of thousands of people of every shred of their humanity. Once their hate is whipped into a frenzy, they'll vote for any Republican, and especially for a Nazi or a racist or a corrupt fool like Trump.

        None of this makes any economic sense. None of this will solve a single major issue in our country. None of this will make a goddamned bit of difference when it comes to improving our infrastructure, bringing jobs to areas where industries have shut down, or fixing our health care system. This is the distraction that whips up more rage and fear, and that's what will save a number of GOP members of Congress this fall. 

        There was never going to be a deal on DACA. Trump has used the issue to create more chaos and more pain. He reached out and pushed the hate button on, again, an Easter Sunday which is widely celebrated in much of the community directly affected by DACA. I look forward to the day when this is not the sort of thing anyone has to write or think about anymore. We have a long road ahead of us, and Trump is ramming his tiny fist into the middle of that hate button every chance he gets. 

        Mr. Mueller, would you please hurry?