Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Media is Killing This Country

If you have a pair of individuals involved in lying to the American people in order to hold on to power, the normal course of action for an ethical, responsible media is to expose their lies and hold them accountable.

I saw this time and time again with regards to Hillary Clinton. If the media ever thought they had a whiff of a lie, they went after her. They wrote about her supposed lie, endlessly, and without any hint of humility. There was no hesitating because of a need to preserve access--they tore into Clinton and treated her with a set of rules that does not apply to Trump.

When I read articles like this about Rudy Giuliani, it proves my point--the media is killing this country because they won't apply any standards to how they cover Republicans in the Trump era:

He is ridiculed as ridiculous. He is attacked as around the bend. He is maligned as morally bereft in his unwavering defense of his old friend and client, President Donald Trump.

Yet Rudy Giuliani may just be crazy like a fox.

It turns out that he is doing exactly what the President -- his own best strategist and communications specialist -- brought him on board to do: chip away at public support for special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

It also turns out the President needed someone exactly like Giuliani to take on the role of flamethrower. His skin is thick after decades of dealing with New York tabloids, so bad press doesn't get to him as it would others.

    His relationship with and understanding of the President allow him to speak fluent Trumpian. The fact that they're two Geminis in their early 70s from New York City helps make them kindred spirits.

    Because of that, so far, Giuliani has avoided the fate of others, like Anthony Scaramucci, who spent a little bit too much time in the spotlight for Trump's taste.

    Why is Giuliani on TV? Because they want ratings. They are trading a desire for ratings for the very idea that you have to have credibility in order to appear on TV. That rule no longer applies. In the old days, there was sort of unspoken rule that you had to tell the goddamned truth in order to go on TV or you would be ridiculed and blackballed. If you were only there to spew propaganda or talking points, it didn't matter how entertaining you were. Journalists used to make the reputations exposing liars. Imagine what a Mike Wallace would do to people who now work for Trump (and, no, his son does not even approach his father's ability to suss out flagrant liars). Media outlets used to have standards for bringing out guests. Now, all of that is gone. Credibility is no longer a commodity. In some ways, it's a liability. Coverage of Trump should simply feature people who emphasize that his lies are well documented and his conspiracy theories are shameful and harmful.

    When CNN does their seven or eight person panels, there is, invariably, a staggeringly inept liar representing Trump's interests, and he or she probably has a closely-aligned ideological fellow traveler who is only slightly less full of shit 

    Trump never had an ounce of credibility. Everything he says is a lie. So, why put him on TV? Why cover his rallies? Why send a reporter to tell the American people about anything he supposedly does? The media should simply note that Trump has no credibility and that anyone who hears what he says should know that they are being exposed to disinformation. They should simply say that Trump has no reportable information worth sharing. They should say, here's Trump playing golf. Again. Oh, and here's someone who is using disinformation to attempt to preserve his hold on power. Some tweets happened. None of this rises to the level where it needs to be taken seriously.

    We are experiencing a massive disinformation campaign in this country, which is being perpetrated in order to discredit a credible counterintelligence investigation into the theft of the 2016 election and the subsequent obstruction of justice that occurred when information came to light about this in early 2017. The last thing anyone should do is amplify that message and bring it to a wider audience without, first, putting it into context and second, explaining that it is part of a campaign to manipulate the American people.

    That is why you must resist. Voting is important, but resisting this attack on democracy is vital to preserving the idea of America.

    Saturday, May 26, 2018

    Trump Has Always Been a Liar

    Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States never had an ounce of credibility before Russia helped him steal the job he pretends to hold right now:

    On Thursday the Trump administration held a "background briefing" where a "senior White House official" provided information to reporters from The New York Times, CNN and lots of other news outlets.

    On Saturday, President Trump claimed the aide "doesn't exist." 

    It's a flagrant example of Trump's problem with the truth. 

    The president frequently claims, without evidence, that journalists make up sources. This is widely recognized to be a fib at best and a lie at worst. 

    He said it again in a tweet against The Times on Saturday: "Use real people, not phony sources." 

    But members of the White House press corps quickly pointed out that the unnamed "official" met with a roomful of reporters. Trump's claim was easily proven false.

    "Easily proven false" doesn't mean anything.

    Trump is a fucking liar. End of story. Stop pretending he has a "problem with the truth." He lies when he opens his mouth. He lies constantly. He has no acquaintance with the truth. He never had any credibility and this is who we found out he was long before he ran for president.

    The press wants access to Trump without consequences; when you see an exchange like this, it proves my point--the working media is incapable of calling Trump a liar because they know that they will be banished:

    Chrissy Teigen gets it, too:

    The working press in this country is useless. He's a liar. He's the scummiest liar, ever. He's a bald-faced, truth-averse, lying sack of shit. That's all anyone needs to say about him.

    Thursday, May 24, 2018

    Jeff Flake Has No Spine

    This is self-serving nonsense that is calculated to help Jeff Flake revive his political career after this whole Trump thing crashes and burns:

    In an address to Harvard Law School graduates on Wednesday, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake sharpened his critique of President Trump and Congress, which he said “is failing its constitutional obligations to counteract the power of the president, and in so doing is dishonoring itself, at a critical moment in the life of our nation.”

    Flake, a Republican who is not seeking reelection, has long been a vocal critic of Trump.

    “Our presidency has been debased by a figure who has a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction and division and only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works,” Flake said Wednesday.

    “You might reasonably ask, where is the good news in that? Well, simply put: We may have hit bottom,” he continued. “Oh, and that’s also the bad news. In a rare convergence, the good news and bad news are the same — our leadership is not good, but it probably can’t get much worse.”

    Flake could do one of two things:

    1. Switch parties and caucus with the Democrats

    2. Vote against the Trump agenda every time it comes up in the Senate

    Here's why he won't do either of those things--Flake is afraid of alienating the "go along to get along" Republicans who are uneasy about supporting Trump but wouldn't vote for a Democrat to save their lives or their jobs. When Trumpism is crushed this fall, and, once and for all in 2020, the door will be open to any Republican who appears to have anti-Trump credibility. That's all Flake is doing right now--sending up a flag to people who can see that he is somehow "against" Trump while not actually doing anything that would benefit Democrats, the country, or an anti-Trump agenda.

    In short, he's just some asshole.

    Tuesday, May 22, 2018

    John Kerry is Not Going to Prison

    The Trump regime is supported by idiots and fools:

    Lucky for John Kerry that no one has ever been convicted (or even prosecuted since 1852) for violating the 18th-century Logan Act, which bars private diplomacy against US interests.

    Because what the former secretary of state has been doing to pressure President Trump against withdrawing from the Iran deal sure looks like a textbook violation.

    The Boston Globe reports that Kerry in recent weeks has engaged in “unusual shadow diplomacy” to “apply pressure on the Trump administration from the outside,” holding meetings and phone calls “below the radar” with Iranian and European leaders.

    Kerry doesn’t deny the meetings, but claims he’s only been “urging Iran to remain in compliance” to ensure the disastrous deal negotiated on his watch “remains effective.”

    This nugget of wingnut wisdom has led to our friends in Russia being given a green light to circulate rumors that Kerry is facing jail time:

    Q:Is John Kerry “facing prison after interfering with Iran”?

    A: No. Kerry reportedly met with an Iranian official to discuss saving the Iran nuclear agreement, but no charges have been brought and he is not “facing prison.”  

    There is no evidence that John Kerry is in imminent danger of going to prison.

    But a headline circulating on Facebook claims: “John Kerry Facing Prison After Interfering With Iran.” Users of the social media site flagged the story as being potentially false.

    The story was first posted on a group of identical websitesthat go by the name Any Politics. It was later copied and reposted by other sites.

    The story went up after the Boston Globe reported that Kerry had met with the Iranian foreign minister in an effort to preserve parts of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement that Kerry helped negotiate, and that President Donald Trump recently decided to abandon.

    Trump supporters have a fetish for threatening their opponents with prison because that's what many of them face; the law has caught up to the low hanging fruit and now many of them face serious time in the hoosegow. This means that many of them are going to project their fears out into the world and say that so-and-so, who's a liberal, which is a crime, belongs in JAIL!!! or some such nonsense.

    You know who is going to jail? Anyone who asked the Russians, the Chinese, the Saudis, and whoever else to help them steal an American election. That's who.

    John Kerry is guilty of trying to keep the world safe from madmen, and that's about it. We should be grateful that he is working to keep the deal with Iran alive. He's putting his neck on the line in an era when diplomacy has been abandoned by the last super power. Trump signals the end of the American experiment, but Kerry is an indication that there is no shortage of people who are going to resist this insanity.

    Monday, May 21, 2018

    Trump is Out of Control As Usual

    If only there was some sort of Constitutionally-mandated check on the powers of the president, right? You know, like a Congressional leadership team that was willing to risk the wrath of the president and his rabid base of screaming trolls and check his ability to order the Justice Department to attack his enemies, both real and perceived:

    President Trump on Sunday demanded that the Justice Department investigate whether the department or the F.B.I. “infiltrated or surveilled” his campaign at the behest of the Obama administration, following through on his frequent threats to intervene in the special counsel inquiry as he targets those he views as political enemies.

    Mr. Trump made the order on Twitter during a day of public venting about the special counsel investigation, which he charged had turned up no evidence of collusion with Russia and was now casting a worldwide net so that it could harm Republicans’ chances in midterm congressional elections this fall.

    But in ordering up a new inquiry, Mr. Trump went beyond his usual tactics of suggesting wrongdoing and political bias by those investigating him, and crossed over into applying overt presidential pressure on the Justice Department to do his bidding, an extraordinary realm where past presidents have hesitated to tread.

    All of this is, of course, insane, but this is how we live now.

    This is the thing that might force Trump to fire Jeff Sessions. Of course, we've been down this road before. Having Trump come unhinged and emit his primal scream over social media is not new, nor is it normal or reasonable. It's just how things are, and it should focus people on the next election day.

    Sunday, May 20, 2018

    Dark Days Ahead, Seemingly Forever

    How can you react to so much corruption?

    I mean, it's a brilliant tactical move. Create a presidential "administration" that is so venal and corrupt and ignore every scandal. It's the perfect recipe to create "Trumpism" in America--break all the laws, steal all the money, and pretend your enemies are corrupt. Lie, cheat, and misappropriate every penny. Line your pockets. You don't have to leave town or resign when you are Trump--you just have to stay in one place and do nothing except accuse your enemies of being worse than you are. So what if you committed a little treason on the way to the trough? It's not like the Congressmen who tremble with fear that you're going to Tweet about them are going to do anything.

    When our elected officials stop upholding the Constitution, then the document itself means nothing. Our Constitution is now just old ink and paper. It has no force. The law is whatever Trump says it is. Don't like it? Too bad, suckers.

    If the elites had not failed us, there would be no Trump. He would have been removed after six months in office. Here we are, almost three times that into the worst presidency in American history, and there is no sense of urgency from those sworn to protect our now defunct Constitution to remove this stain from our democracy. They are reveling in the chance to get some cash for themselves, a little normalized corruption with your Sunday brunch, I guess. Was there ever really a country to begin with? Nah, Nixon saw to that.

    I have no idea how to write about any of this anymore. Who does? It's as craven and sickening as anything. Good God, these people are the worst ever.

    Friday, May 18, 2018

    Area Man Accuses Loyal American of Being a Spy

    Trump is so fucking stupid, he doesn't understand that you're supposed to call the FBI when you see a group of people engaged in a criminal conspiracy to steal the American presidency:

    President Donald Trump suggested on Friday that the Justice Department spied on his 2016 campaign, quoting a Fox News anchor who said law enforcement is "out to frame him."

    Trump tweeted: "Really bad stuff!"

    The suggestion seems intended to undercut the work by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Last week, the National Review raised the question of a possible FBI spy on Trump's campaign.

    In his tweet, Trump quoted Fox Business anchor David Asman: "Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn't commit."

    I'm sorry, Mr. Assman, but that's not what a spy does. A spy betrays their country. An informant is someone who attempts to uphold the law and save their country from illegal activity. 

    You'll note that a sitting president just accused someone who goes to the FBI to report illegal activity of being "out to frame him." The president thinks that it's perfectly okay to meet with a bunch of Russians and steal an election and that anyone who opposes him is in the wrong. It's too much to ask for a moment of reflection, isn't it? It's just too much to expect the president to come down on the side of being loyal to the country. That's how far through the looking glass we are. The GOP has normalized complete and utter lawlessness and corruption on a scale that is unimaginable. 

    Jesus, these are the worst people ever.

    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    Qatar is Bailing Out Jared Kushner and No One Cares

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="560.0"]  President Donald Trump with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. From right, national security adviser H.R. McMaster; White House senior adviser Jared Kushner; and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Evan Vucci / AP  President Donald Trump with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. From right, national security adviser H.R. McMaster; White House senior adviser Jared Kushner; and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Evan Vucci / AP [/caption]

    If this was the only scandal rocking the Trump regime right now, it would be huge. Devastating! Presidency ending! But it's just another Thursday because this is our life now:

    The real estate company owned by White House advisor Jared Kushner’s family is close to “receiving a bailout” for their troubled 666 Fifth Avenue tower in New York City from a company with ties to the Qatari government, according to The New York Times. Jared’s father, Charles Kushner, is reportedly in “advanced talks” with Brookfield Properties—a Canadian company whose second-largest shareholder is the Qatar Investment Authority—over “a partnership to take control” of the property. The Kushners bought the building 11 years ago for $1.8 billion, a record in New York City, but it now only generates “about half its annual mortgage payment.” Although Jared Kushner has divested from the family business, his work in the White House focuses on the Middle East, and he reportedly lost his high-level security clearance because of concerns that another nation could “gain influence with the White House by doing business with the Kushner Companies.”

    It is breathtaking how venal and corrupt these people are, in broad daylight, and no one is doing anything about it! There's no way Jared Kushner should be going anywhere without Federal marshals on each elbow. We have porn stars, collusion with Russia, illegal emoluments flowing into the President's bank accounts, obstruction of justice, a (different!) son-in-law turning on Paul Manafort, criminal conspiracies everywhere you look, Ryan Zinke and Scott Pruitt, Ben Carson and a quid pro quo with the Chinese government all brewing--and now we see how Qatar is going to shake loose some case and save the Kushners from financial oblivion. 

    Clearly, Special Counsel Robert Mueller does not scare the Qatari emir enough to make him sit down for a chat about the questionable ethics of the president's son-in-law.

    It's the most corrupt fucking "administration" in the history of this country. Forget Teapot Dome and Ulysses Grant's friends raking in the bucks. In the Trump era, if you're not shoving cash into your pants as fast as you can take it off the bribe table, you're going to go home alone, sucker.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018

    Trump Does Away With the National Cybersecurity Coordinator

    Thanks in large part to the machinations of John Bolton, who is able to manipulate Trump to do whatever he wants, this entire country is without a National Cybersecurity Coordinator:

    President Donald Trump eliminated the job of the nation's cybersecurity czar on Tuesday, and Democratic lawmakers immediately introduced legislation to restore it.

    Trump signed an executive order rearranging the federal information technology infrastructure that includes no mention of the White House cybersecurity coordinator or of a replacement for Rob Joyce, who said last month that he is leaving the position to return to the National Security Agency, where he previously directed cyber-defense programs.

    "Today's actions continue an effort to empower National Security Council senior directors," the National Security Council said in a statement, according to Reuters. "Streamlining management will improve efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and increase accountability."

    Politico first reported the elimination of the job on Tuesday. The White House and the National Security Council didn't reply to requests for comment about the decision, which came on the same day a major computer security report again found government systems to be the least secure among all industries.

    John Bolton, Trump's new national security adviser, has widely been reported to have sought to eliminate the job as part of a top-to-bottom reorganization of the National Security Council. Joyce and his predecessors reported to the president; the senior NSC directors report to Bolton.

    Yeah, no big whoop. The man who couldn't get a job in a normal Republican administration is running wild through Trump's ramshackle criminal regime, eliminating positions he doesn't control and leaving the country's infrastructure open for attack. How much Russian money did it take for this to happen? Just curious.


    Monday, May 14, 2018

    Trump Voters Are Suckers

    Do you remember the Trump rally where he promised he would take unilateral action to save Chinese jobs and reverse the fortunes of a massive, failing government-owned Chinese tech company?

    I could have sworn that rally was held again and again on CNN, MSNBC, and all of the other networks where Trump got free air time:

    [...] on Sunday Trump tweeted that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping "are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost." Trump said the Commerce Department was told to "get it done!" 

    Hours later he tweeted that the U.S. and China were working well together on trade, but it would be hard to work out a deal beneficial to both sides because "past negotiations have been so one sided in favor of China, for so many years." He added, "But be cool, it will all work out!"

    It turns out, Trump never promised American workers he would bend over and take it up the ass from the Chinese so he could save their jobs. Do you know what? American voters in the dirt-poor Red states don't have $500 million dollars to pour into Trump's Indonesian real estate scheme, but the Chinese do. Guess what, suckers? You should have brought cash to this party.

    It turns out that this was all just another case where a known and proven serial liar told the American people one thing and has now gone and done something that works completely against the economic self-interests of the people who voted for him.

    And they love him for it! Well, I'm sure they'll love him for it eventually, right?

    Just seven months before the 2018 midterm elections, Trump’s faceoff with China over trade has exposed an unexpected political vulnerability in what was supposed to be the Republican Party’s strongest region: rural America.

    The clash with China poses a direct threat to the economies in both red and blue states, from California’s central valley to eastern Washington through Minnesota’s plains and across Missouri and Indiana and into Ohio.

    They are regions in which the GOP’s quest to retain its House and Senate majorities this fall is tied directly to Republican voters’ views about their pocketbooks and Trump’s job performance. The signs of fear and frustration about both are easy to find.

    In southwestern Minnesota, soybean farmer Bill Gordon says the volatility in the markets makes it harder for farmers like him to market their crop and lock in profitability. The state is the country’s fourth-largest exporting state, and the state’s top farm export market is China.

    A Trump voter, Gordon said right now he’s disappointed, not angry, over what’s happening. But the trade tensions could affect his vote in the open race for the region’s congressional seat, where the farm vote is significant.

    “I vote for the people who represent rural America,” he said. “It’s not a party line.”

    Oh, fuck that shit. That guy is going to vote for Trump in 2020 and he's going to vote Republican until they put up a candidate who promises to help people of color have a better life. The only thing these voters care about is if Trump keeps sticking it to liberals and maintains his policy of white supremacy through nepotism and incompetence. They don't care if their livelihoods fall apart before their very eyes because of Trump's pride and stupidity. They want their white supremacy, and they want it now. As long as Trump keeps giving it to them, they're going to vote for Republicans. Oh, hell yes, son. Hell yes.

    Want to beat these assholes? You gotta vote. And you gotta get your neighbors to vote. Your dopey kid who is barely 18? Get that kid to the polls. Drive some elderly folks there, too. And hold on to your ass because it's going to be a close one.

    A wise ex-president said "don't boo, vote."

    Saturday, May 12, 2018


    The Trump regime is the worst of the worst, hands down:

    Former Vice President Joe Biden ripped into President Donald Trump's administration on Friday and said it "hit rock bottom" after reports that White House aide Kelly Sadler mocked Sen. John McCain, who has an aggressive form of brain cancer. 

    "People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration," Biden said in a statement. "It happened yesterday." 

    Sadler's reported remarks came during a discussion at the White House on Thursday on McCain's opposition to Trump's nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel. Sadler reportedly said of McCain, "He's dying anyway," so his opinion "doesn't matter." McCain spoke out against Haspel after her confirmation hearing earlier this week, saying her responses on her involvement in the George W. Bush-era "enhanced interrogation" program left him concerned. 

    In his statement on Friday, Biden said McCain is a "general hero" and that he deserves "so much better." 

    "Given this White House's trail of disrespect toward John and others, this staffer is not the exception to the rule; she is the epitome of it," Biden said.

    It is going to take a monumental effort to drive Trump from power. He will use every weapon at his disposal--including starting a war--to hold on to the presidency. He will throw more sand in the gears and stop the courts from functioning. But what is really troubling is that there are so many Americans who are okay with all of this. They like it when the president presides over a fiasco. They love the debacle that has been unfolding since day one. They are enthralled by the train wreck. 

    What happens when decent people are back in charge of the government? What happens when we are not horrified on a daily basis like we are now?

    We have a horrible government full of the absolute worst of the worst--people who, in any other era of American politics would see their resumes end up straight in the wastebasket. This is the dumpster fire of presidencies, one that has failed so badly, no one currently serving Trump should ever be allowed to serve in a future administration in any capacity whatsoever.

    Friday, May 11, 2018

    Trump Knew About Eric Schneiderman All Along

    The abrupt resignation of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was shocking in and of itself. What's less shocking is that this was a political hit job on someone who has been investigating the President:

    Back in 2013, Donald Trump was exploring a presidential run. His Trump University was in the crosshairs of New York’s crusading attorney general. Around the same time, Trump and his personal lawyer got an interesting piece of information: Eric Schneiderman, the AG, was accused of sexually abusing two women.

    After five years under wraps, those abuse allegations surfaced Friday in the Manhattan court where federal prosecutors and lawyers have been battling over documents related to Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

    In a letter to the judge, attorney Peter J. Gleason asserted Trump and Cohen knew about the old abuse allegations. He argued that information about the women might be found in files the FBI seized last month from Cohen and should be kept under seal to protect the women’s privacy. Later Friday, the judge said Gleason must submit a formal memo in support of his letter or pull it.

    The revelations come just days after allegations of abuse by four women forced Schneiderman’s abrupt resignation. They raise concerns about how Trump may have used such information, if true, about the top prosecutor in his home state, and whether a jeering tweet from Trump’s account five years ago was a oblique reference to the allegations.

    Is this not the most corrupt era in modern American politics? Schneiderman is gone because Trump needed a break from the bad news he was getting last week.

    Schneiderman was toast the minute Jane Mayer was onto allegations against him. I suspect that Trump was waiting for a chance to use this sordid information to obstruct justice at some future date. The fact that it comes out now and isn't entirely under Trump's purview means that this is one less body Trump can throw under a bus when the indictments begin to fly.

    It will take a monumental effort to drive Trump from power, and people seem to think it will be as easy as dropping some paperwork down at the Federal court house. Nope. It's going to take a massive effort to strip the power of the presidency from Trump.

    Schneiderman was a firewall against the power of the pardon; if Trump had granted pardons for Federal crimes to everyone around him, the theory was that Schneiderman could move against the Trump financial empire with the power of the State of New York behind him. And, to be fair, whoever is Attorney General can still do that. But this was a sickening, sordid affair all the way around. No, Schneiderman does not deserve his job back. But, as we've seen with Al Franken, they are going to fight tooth and nail for everything, and beating the Trump regime is going to require an unprecedented level of effort.

    Thursday, May 10, 2018

    Even the Pretty Blonde Ladies Are Monsters

    This Kelly Sadler person seems nice, and she has a great smile, and...and...

    Special assistant Kelly Sadler mocked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) during a closed-door White House meeting on Thursday, saying, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” according to The Hill. Sadler made the comment about McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, before a group of about two-dozen communications staffers, the outlet reported. It came a day after McCain publicly opposed President Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director, Gina Haspel. The White House didn’t deny that the remarks, which reportedly caused “discomfort” in the room, were made.

    These people are bags of animated shit, rolling through our lives in a dumpster that has been burning for months. And they're just eating each other. Nothing that happened today involved a Democrat saying or doing anything. There is so much hate in the Republican Party that there is a very good chance they will destroy each other and feast on whatever remains like the mangiest of coyotes:

    Good God. Just fuck off with these people. #BeBest, my ass.

    Ollie North

    Oliver North is like a bad sitcom that won't go away.

    With his blue-steel gaze and steel-gray hair, Lt. Col. Oliver North looked like a movie star against the stale browns and beiges of C-SPAN. His cowlick and gaptoothed grin, though, reminded you of an old neighbor or college roommate. And his voice was mesmerizing when first deployed on the American public during the epic Iran-contra hearings of 1987 — lowering to a reverential hush, or hiccuping with emotion, as if he were drunk on patriotism.

    He was a riveting presence and an immediately polarizing one — hailed by some as an American hero, reviled by others as a subversive Deep State troublemaker for his role overseeing the illegal sale of arms to Iran and funneling the proceeds to rebels fighting the Nicaraguan government. Ollie North seemed destined to play a major role in our culture and politics.

    Instead, he was ensnared in years of legal trouble, then lost a pricey U.S. Senate race — and all that potential seemed to evaporate. But here he is now, at 74, with a shot at a third act, another charge at the front lines of the culture wars as the new president of the National Rifle Association. And once again, everyone has opinions about him.

    Nobody this corrupt has ever survived as many failures in American public life as Oliver North. He was relegated to crank status on Fox News, barely holding down a job, and then the NRA decided to revive another old traitor to American values. They went trolling back to the Eighties and installed him in an office in their Northern Virginia headquarters. I'm waiting for them to bring back Alf and the fucking New Kids on the Block.

    The NRA doesn't believe in American values--it believes in using money from suckers to further the interests of gun manufacturers over every aspect of common sense and public safety. They do this by using fear, and that's what helped elect Trump. Irrational, misguided fear and good old fashioned racism and bigotry. It's a perfect fit for North. He gets to sit with the treasonous bastards who can't stop taking Russian money and go on TV so he can pretend to understand American values. Can't wait to see the new fence they put around Ollie's house.

    Tuesday, May 8, 2018

    Trump Has to Testify in Person

    This is brilliant because everyone knows Trump would never be able to sit down and write out his own answers:

    Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is now on President Trump's legal team, told CBS News correspondent Paula Reid Monday afternoon that special counsel Robert Mueller's office has rejected proposals to allow Mr. Trump to answer questions from investigators in writing.

    The president's legal team has previously signaled that this would be their preferred format for a possible interview as it helps protect Mr. Trump from the possibility of lying or misleading investigators, which is a criminal offense.

    Giuliani told CBS News that it will take up to three weeks for him to get fully up to speed on the facts of the investigation and be prepared to engage in formal negotiations with the special counsel about the terms of a possible interview with Mr. Trump.  

    Somewhere in the White House, a young person with excellent handwriting (Trump does not comprehend the art of calligraphy) is breathing a sigh of relief because they are not going to be roped into writing out Trump's answers while his erstwhile legal team looks on in horror.

    Since when does anyone within a hundred feet of Trump care about the law? This is all going to end in pardons. We're just going through the motions. I give the Special Counsel credit--rather than leaking the worst details of Russian collusion in order to damage Trump politically, he's following the law and going after a vast criminal conspiracy led by the biggest buffoon who ever stole an election.

    Forcing Trump to testify in person ensures that he will perjure himself. It's almost a foregone conclusion--the man cannot help but think he is smarter than everyone else in the room because he's president. If he blusters and bluffs long enough, they'll give up and allow his lies to be transformed into something that looks like the truth.

    I don't think the Special Counsel and the people around him are going to be worn down by the endless non-sequiturs and the pleading of a man who still thinks he had the largest inauguration crowd ever . They'll parse Trump's testimony and use it to hang him. And then they'll sit back and watch while the GOP does nothing after Trump pardons himself and everyone he likes. The guys who don't get pardons are going to be pissed, of course, but that's how Trump rolls.

    And is it me or should Rudy Giuliani should have stayed off TV until he had had a month to get up to speed on what has been going on? Was Rudy always this half-assed as a lawyer? He's the gift that keeps on giving.

    Monday, May 7, 2018

    Eric Schneiderman Resigns in Disgrace

    In the Democratic Party, a guy like Eric Schneiderman is gone the minute he appears to be a violent, drunken douchebag. In the Republican Party, he gets to remain in office as governor of Missouri. In the GOP, he can run for the Senate no matter how crazy he is and no matter how young his victims. Why, he even gets to be president:

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a prominent figure in the #MeToo movement who has taken on disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein, abruptly resigned Monday night after The New Yorker published the accusations of women who said he was violent toward them.

    In a statement to NBC News, Schneiderman strongly denied the accounts in the 6,100-word article published Monday on The New Yorker's website.

    "In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity," Schneiderman said in his statement, which he tweeted publicly afterward. "I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross."

    This hands a tremendous victory to Donald Trump but, really, it should heighten the fact that Trump never should have been president. Trump is accused of far worse than Schneiderman but, in our crazy, mixed-up world where you're only guilty if you're a liberal, it doesn't matter. The media can't seem to figure that out, but oh well.

    You'd think that, after Al Franken, any prominent Democrat who can be fingered as an abuser of women in any way, shape or form would have had the common sense to quit but that's not how we live now. We are locked in a fight for our country's very existence, and this is a huge defeat. Much of the unraveling of Trump's crooked financial empire resided in how Schneiderman could bring state charges if Trump pardoned himself and everyone around him (don't laugh, because it's only Monday).

    My gut tells me Roger Stone is behind this. But, my gut also tells me that a prominent New York Democrat (Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, Sheldon Silver, et al) should never be the nominee for president unless her name is Kirsten Gillibrand. Is that fair? Hell no, but, dammit, when I saw this story, I just about blew a gasket.

    We Democrats do not eat our own. We police our own. And Schneiderman is too toxic to stay where he's at, so he's gone. Someone else has to step up now. This is what makes us better and more consistent than the Republicans. We're not handing Schneiderman the party's nomination for president. We're flushing him like the turd he appears to be.

    But talk about snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory, man.

    George Zimmerman is in Trouble Again

    You know, George Zimmerman always struck me as a violent, out of control asshole. I guess I was sorta right about him all along:

    George Zimmerman, the man who was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, has received a criminal summons for stalking, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said in a press release on Monday.

    Zimmerman is accused of repeatedly threatening and harassing Dennis Warren between December 16 and December 25 of last year, the sheriff's office said. 

    Warren is a private investigator who was hired by a production company that was working on a documentary about Martin's life, according to CNN affiliate WKMG. Deputies said Zimmerman called Warren 55 times, left 36 voicemails, texted him 67 times and sent 27 emails over a nine-day span, WKMG reports.

    The findings of that investigation were delivered to the sheriff's office on March 14, and a summons and a notice of information was issued for Zimmerman. He was personally served on May 3, and his arraignment is scheduled for May 30, according to the press release.

    I remember back when conservatives in the pre-Trump era were so keen to defend this reprehensible sack of animated shit.

    It's hard out there for a wannabe cop.

    Trump Commits Obstruction of Justice on a Daily Basis

    Does any of this even matter anymore? Trump commits obstruction of justice so often, it's impossible to figure out how many times he has broken the law this year, let alone since getting elected:

    President Donald Trump on Monday railed against the federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, accusing special counsel Robert Mueller's team of having "unrevealed conflicts of interest" and insisting that obstruction of justice is a "made up phony crime."

    "The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination or anything else with Russia. So now the Probe says OK, what else is there? How about Obstruction for a made up, phony crime.There is no O, it's called Fighting Back," Trump wrote in the first of two Monday morning tweets on the topic. Mueller's team is reportedly probing whether Trump committed obstruction of justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey last year.

    Trump, referring to Mueller's team, added, "The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in place that actually protects people from injustice."

    "And just wait 'till the Courts get to see your unrevealed Conflicts of Interest!" Trump said.

    Damn, son. That's several counts of obstruction of justice that have to be added to the massive pile they already have on you. I imagine it's a pile of binders with dates, facts, evidence, and screenshots of Trump's tweets, and this thing is slumped over onto another stack of binders, and someone keeps having to make a new binder every time Trump aims the puke funnel at his followers.

    What a fiasco. Someone must have said, out loud, "whatever you do, Mr. President, don't threaten the civil servants working for Special Counsel Mueller in any way, shape or form" and Trump must have said, "fuck you, you son of a bitch, I do what I want!"

    This is one way to live your life in the public square. If there's another way, I don't remember what it was like.

    Saturday, May 5, 2018

    This is How Awful America is Now

    It's not enough to say that Trump is awful for the terrible things that come out of his mouth. It has to be said - America is on a dark path because far too many so-called citizens support his policies, no matter how ridiculous or racist:

    President Donald Trump seemed to float a new idea about border control during at a tax reform roundtable in Ohio.

    The President was in the midst of criticizing Democrats during a riff about border security when he slipped in the idea that people might "have to think about closing up the country." 

    "They don't want the wall, but we're going to get the wall, even if we have to think about closing up the country for a while," Trump said. "We're going to get the wall. We have no choice. We have absolutely no choice. And we're going to get tremendous security in our country."

    Trump then mentioned the notion a second time, saying, "And we may have to close up our country to get this straight, because we either have a country or we don't. And you can't allow people to pour into our country the way they're doing."

    This is not about security. It is about racism.

    This is about turning people who come here into "the other" so they can be dehumanized.

    We have a country, in spite of what Trump has done to it.

    No one is 'pouring' into this country.

    We already have 'tremendous security,' but Trump knows that fear animates his supporters, so he has to whip them into a frenzy. That frenzy sustains and feeds the power he holds over Republicans in Congress, who are worthless and feckless in the face of blatant anti-Democratic policies.

    You can't 'close up our country' because this is the United States of America. We don't lock ourselves down like a dictatorship or a third world banana republic. A door with iron bars cannot be slammed shut because a shivering, panicked old man is afraid and frightened. We trade goods and ideas with the world. People come here for innumerable reasons because this is a free country. Again, this fear mongering is meant to convince Trump's base to support him without thinking.

    Here's a good example of that lack of thought:

    This is how irresponsible and un-American Trump's everyday commentary on policy ends up being. It gives these clowns (who hide behind pseudonyms because they know how the game is played) cover. Anyone who thinks it should be the policy of the United States of America to 

    1. shoot human beings at the border which is a crime against humanity

    2. PUT LAND MINES ALL OVER THE BORDER and leave blown up human bodies strewn across the landscape

    has given up on being a decent American. They are never going to vote for a Democrat, and they are never going to join us in having a reasonable debate about where this country is headed. Their heads are buried up their own asses, and they should be ignored.

    Is it their economic anxiety that makes them monsters? Or is the racism and bigotry unleashed by a president who isn't even fit for office?

    America is awful, and these people are to blame. Their fear means we all have to suffer.

    Friday, May 4, 2018

    An Administration of Monsters and Thugs

    If there's a decent, humanitarian thing that needs to be done, you can count on Trump and his band of thugs to do exactly the opposite and send people to their deaths:

    The Trump Administration is ending temporary protected status for 86,000 Hondurans who have been living in the U.S. since Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998, according to CNN. The move brings the number of people who have had their temporary status taken away by the Trump administration to more than 425,000 in the last year. Most of those affected by the decision have been living in the U.S. for about two decades, and will “either leave the country or make other arrangements to stay, if they can qualify for a visa some other way,” CNN reported.

    There's no reason to do this. Stephen Miller has the president's ear, and when he whispers about being tough and strong and making the base happy, this is what emerges from the puke funnel. 

    A number of these people will die at the hands of criminals in Honduras. Trump and his minions don't care. Many of these people are wonderful members of American society. Trump and his shitbag army couldn't be bothered to lift a finger to help them. None of this needs to happen at all and it is a mindless, senseless abuse of power. Trump and those fucks backing him in Congress need to be swept from office, once and for all.

    It's like a laundry list of horrors.

    • DACA kids - abandoned and in limbo because Trump wouldn't strike a deal
    • Hundreds of thousands in Puerto Rico living in harsh conditions because Trump won't help
    • LGBQT people face discrimination everywhere and Trump doesn't care
    • Students are stuck with debt and Trump can't find anyone competent to help
    • Veterans stranded in a broken system and Trump uses them as props
    • People in Flint, MI don't have clean drinking water and Trump is useless
    • Hondurans are about to be ordered out because Trump wants them to die

    And on and on. The list is endless, and Democrats can run on these things and beat them. They had better.

    Thursday, May 3, 2018

    What Else Has Keith Schiller Done?

    About a year ago, I wrote specifically about Trump's personal bodyguard and all-around thug, Keith Schiller. It's no wonder he turned up in the news again:

    In February 2017, a top White House aide who was Trump's longtime personal bodyguard, along with the top lawyer at the Trump Organization and a third man, showed up at the office of Trump's New York doctor without notice and took all the president's medical records.

    The incident, which Dr. Harold Bornstein described as a "raid," took place two days after Bornstein told a newspaper that he had prescribed a hair growth medicine for the president for years.

    In an exclusive interview in his Park Avenue office, Bornstein told NBC News that he felt "raped, frightened and sad" when Keith Schiller and another "large man" came to his office to collect the president's records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller, who had long worked as Trump's bodyguard, was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House.

    What's the difference between that and strong-arm robbery? I can't tell. If I know one thing, Schiller did this while armed with a handgun. 

    In one incident in September 2015, Schiller grabbed a sign from a protester outside Trump Tower. As Schiller marched back toward the building holding the sign, the man rushed at his back. Schiller whirled — and punched the man in the face.

    Protester Efrain Galicia and other demonstrators from that day are suing Schiller and Trump over the incident. Schiller testified in a sworn deposition in December that he believed Galicia’s sign was creating a safety hazard by impeding access to the sidewalk and that he punched him in self-defense, believing the protester was reaching for a gun hidden under his suit jacket.

    Schiller acknowledged in his testimony that at the time of the incident, he did not hold a valid New York state security guard license. He said he had allowed his license to lapse, believing that a different federal license that allowed him to carry a gun on private airplanes was sufficient.

    Not only is it time to reassess Trump's personal health, it's time to sort out what everyone in his orbit has been up to for the last decade. Someone has to get to the bottom what Schiller has been doing on Trump's behalf now that we know that Trump's personal fixer, Michael Cohen, has been implicated in a number of criminal conspiracies.

    The question is - did Cohen ever funnel money to Schiller?

    My original post from May, 2017:

    If you're going to fire the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who do you send?

    You don't send anyone. You summon the director to the Oval Office and you fire him face to face. You don't send an errand boy. You don't send the Vice President or the White House Chief of Staff. You tell him to come to the White House and you stand there and fire him.

    Oh, well, that's if you're normal.

    In Trump's regime, you send your thug:

    Few people inside Donald Trump's orbit are more important than Keith Schiller, the President's longtime bodyguard who has risen from part-time hired muscle to director of Oval Office operations.

    That status was cemented on Tuesday when the former New York Police Department officer hand-delivered a letter from the President firing FBI director James Comey, entering the FBI headquarters with a manila folder and leaving without it.

    Schiller, a White House official told CNN, went to the headquarters expressly to fire Comey, even though the FBI is currently in the middle of an investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and ties the hackers may have had to Trump associates.

    Schiller is widely regarded inside and outside the White House as the "most underestimated person on Trump's team," as one former aide put it -- someone with constant access to Trump who has not only developed a deep level of trust with the President, but also has turned into a sort-of Trump translator.

    During the campaign, "it mattered more to me what Keith Schiller thought of me than what the campaign manager thought," a former top campaign aide told CNN about Schiller. "Now I think it means more what Keith thinks of you than Reince (Trump's chief of staff) thinks of you."

    This is Keith Schiller in action, striking a protester outside of Trump Tower:

    The dictator has to have his hired muscle, and that's Keith Schiller. He's there to do the dirty work, and he is accountable to no one.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2018

    Perfectly Legal!

    It was all perfectly legal, of course. Perfectly legal!

    Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that President Donald Trump paid back his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, the $130,000 in hush money that was used to pay off Stormy Daniels. 

    The payment is going to turn out to be "perfectly legal," Giuliani said in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity. 

    "That money was not campaign money, sorry," Giuliani said. "I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know. It's not campaign money. No campaign finance violation."

    Hannity replied: "Because they funneled it through the law firm?" 

      To which Giuliani said: "Funneled it through the law firm, and the President repaid him."

      I'm trying to envision what it would be like right now if we had just learned that Hillary Clinton had directed a lawyer working on her behalf to use $130,000 to silence a porn star that Bill had slept with, and what it would be like right now to discover that the lawyer she used was reimbursed for that money with cash that Hillary paid out herself by "funneling" it through some law firm.

      Let's allow that to sink in. The money was "funneled" through a law firm and that meant it was "perfectly legal." 

      On what planet?

      For the life of me, I just can't imagine something like that happening and people going, "oh, sure. That was perfectly legal. Let's move on and discuss something serious."

      If you're at a point where you're hiring Rudy Giuliani to represent you and save your ass, it's too late, motherfucker. You might as well make reservations at the gray bar hotel.

      Trump Will Burn Down the Government to Save Himself

      Don't look now, kids, but your crazy uncle the President is getting ready to obstruct justice and destroy the rule of law in this country:

      President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to "get involved" with the Justice Department's ongoing task of producing documents to lawmakers after accusations the agency has refused requests on a variety of topics.

      The message thrust the President deeper into an ongoing battle between conservatives and the Justice Department, and specifically with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who also oversees the special counsel's Russia investigation.

      Trump has so far avoided firing Rosenstein, who he's steamed over in private, and has asserted only limited executive power in compelling the Justice Department to release disputed documents.

      His message on Tuesday signaled he may be willing to delve into the fray further.

      "A Rigged System - They don't want to turn over Documents to Congress," Trump wrote on Twitter. "What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why such unequal "justice?" At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!"

      Today's removal of Ty Cobb signals that the president is ready to represent himself in court or, better yet, jump around like a crazy person and lash out at everyone getting ready to remove him from power. He's adding Clinton's impeachment lawyer! Yes, but Clinton was impeached! This is what you do when you want to get kicked out of office.

      This signals the next phase of the Robert Mueller Investigation--the long slog towards a report that will show that Trump and his lackeys are corrupt and cannot understand the concept of obstruction of justice. The phase after that will be an endless struggle to remove Trump from power. This could take years. Or it could all be over in a few months. Who knows?

      There is no threat that any Republican in this country will do anything to stop Trump from firing half the Justice Department. They'll just shrug and go back to begging strangers for money.

      If Trump were found in the hallway of the White House wearing nothing but a diaper and a soiled white T-shirt, rolling around in his own filth, moaning and emitting the odd, disjointed half-word, this Congress would cover up for him. If he were found masturbating in front of a portrait of James Garfield, screaming out random numbers and stabbing himself with a plastic fork, everyone around him would attest to his fitness for office. If Trump were to crap in his right hand and throw it at a Marine guard on the first floor of the Executive Mansion, some pundit would point out that Trump is more fit to be president than Eisenhower or Wilson. The media would be quick to point out that Hillary once fainted, so, you know, this is how we live now.

      What's the one thing you can count on right now? There are no standards! None! There's only the time between now and the next election day, an endless wait to correct the greatest mistake in American history.

      Tuesday, May 1, 2018

      It Was All About Politics, Of Course

      Don't believe anything Speaker Paul Ryan has to say about anything, ever:

      Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Monday made his first public comments on his decision to fire House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy, repeating the rationale he provided in a closed-door House Republican Conference meeting Friday

      “Father Conroy is a good man and I am grateful for his many years of service to the House,” the Wisconsin Republican said at the Weekly Standard’s Midwest Conservative Summit in Milwaukee. “This is not about politics or prayers. It was about pastoral services. And a number of our members felt like the pastoral services were not being adequately served or offered.”

      Ryan said one of his responsibilities as speaker is to be “a guardian of the institution” and that sometimes involves making decisions that may not be politically popular. He said his decision to request Conroy’s resignation was made on behalf of the House and was something he had been contemplating for some time.

      “It’s based on feedback I’ve been getting for quite a while from members,” the speaker said. “And again as a person who stands up for the institution I just wanted to make sure that we have pastoral services that are being adequately offered on a go forward basis for all of our members.”

      Feedback? Really? The man said a prayer for the poor. The irony is striking. Party of family values and decency, my ass.

      Father Conroy is a Jesuit, and his values are diametrically opposed to the cash grab that is modern Republicanism. Without appealing to Catholic values, modern Republicanism wouldn't have a lock on the Congress right now. Oh, but the Jesuits are so liberal, right? 

      No one in the media will tell you this, but today's GOP worships money and has turned its back on fiscal responsibility, rational foreign policy debates, and adhering to Christian values. I mean, what kind of person fires the House Chaplain for saying a prayer on behalf of the less fortunate? Well, see Paul Ryan--a man who sold his soul and has no Godly values anymore.

      Kudos to the first priest who denies him Communion for being a greedy, corrupt man with no soul. Every Jesuit in the country has taken note of what happened, and I don't know that I would want to get crossways with these people and still expect to have a career in anything in the public sector. Paul Ryan will be gone this fall; everyone who expressed their disdain for a man who has a soft spot for the poors should expect the disapproval of the whole Jesuit community.

      I'm sorry - elephant in the room, he shares the same name as the novelist Pat Conroy, and that makes everything that has happened even stranger. There was controversy when he was named to his position in 2011 by then-Speaker John Boehner, who felt that his version of Congress was well suited to having a Jesuit priest in charge of whatever the House Chaplain is required to do. Everyone was so relieved to discover that Conroy wasn't a child molester. All of this is so well-suited to the Trump era that it all seems like a lifetime ago. I can't even remember 2011 because look at what has happened to this country since.

      You couldn't even imagine America would look and feel the way it does seven years ago. Everything is crazy now. What's happened under Ryan looks nothing like the Tea Party takeover that kicked off this decade. The rubes who voted for this hot mess are the same people who have allowed their massive case of cognitive dissonance to look the other way while Trump's cabinet loots the treasury.

      Republicanism is a massive grift, plain and simple. They hide behind Jesus and the flag because they are constantly stealing from the bottom and middle to placate those at the top who already have more than they'll ever need.