Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Voter Fraud is Still Not a Problem Anywhere




As a Texas resident and voter, the story of how nearly 100,000 “non-citizens” voted illegally smelled like GOP propaganda and that’s all it turned out to be—manipulation, fear, and disenfranchisement designed to keep Texans from voting in future elections:

After flagging tens of thousands of registered voters for citizenship reviews, the Texas secretary of state’s office is now telling counties that some of those voters don’t belong on the lists it sent out.

Officials in five large counties — Harris, Travis, Fort Bend, Collin and Williamson — told The Texas Tribune they had received calls Tuesday from the secretary of state’s office indicating that some of the voters whose citizenship status the state said counties should consider checking should not actually be on those lists.

The secretary of state’s office incorrectly included some voters who had submitted their voting registration applications at Texas Department of Public Safety offices, according to county officials. Now, the secretary of state is instructing counties to remove them from the list of flagged voters.

“We’re going to proceed very carefully,” said Douglas Ray, a special assistant county attorney in Harris County, where 29,822 voters were initially flagged by the state. A “substantial number” of them are now being marked as citizens, Ray said.

In other words, they marked a lot of people who are actually citizens as being “suspect” in order to carry out a purge of the voter rolls. And they haven’t even heard from officials in Bexar County, which is home to a lot of Democrats. Look for the numbers to increase exponentially when south Texas is heard from.

And we haven’t even discussed the horror show of flagging someone who is a veteran. But, kudos to the voting officials who responded to this move. They went after this issue and reviewed what was in their files. They confirmed a vast number of people with a simple check as being legitimate voters, thus denying the GOP in Texas the chance to drive people away from the polls. This is smarmy and smacks of being unconstitutional to me, but I’m sure they’ll get away with it. Every future election will see this activity because nobody in their right fucking mind is ever going to risk a Trump presidency/GOP Congress/Conservative-heavy Supreme Court ever again.

The period 2017 to 2019 where Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and the Roberts Court enabled the worst impulses of one Donald J Trump is going to require unique clarification in our nation’s history. How the hell did we let it happen?

Well, it was done through systemic voter intimidation and suppression, which continues unabated. Someone belongs in jail, but good luck making that happen.

Monday, January 28, 2019

That's a Human Rights Abuse




Here’s Senator Kamala Harris delivering an applause line today. The video should start at roughly the point where she makes the case that putting babies in cages is a horrible thing. It tells you what this election should be about, but I’m afraid that it won’t be about the right things.

Just as the 2008 election was more about the economy than ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this election is probably going to end up being a referendum on the damage done to the nation’s bottom line. The GOP has wrecked our tax system, driven thousands and thousands of people out of government service, and made governance next to impossible. The economic fallout from this will likely be some sort of bubble bursting or driven largely by the fallout from the stupid trade war Trump started last year. Or it could be about wages. Or unemployment, if companies decide to improve their bottom line and start shedding workers. Honestly, I don’t know.

If it’s over 20 months until the election, talking about human rights is the right place to be. What kind of America do we want? This needs to start being a country that is conscientious about what is being done to people. Someone has to be held accountable, and they know it today as sure as we’re here talking about what’s going on.

Kamala Harris knows, and she’s not afraid to talk about it. This is the right thing to bring up to people, and as she and the other candidates start making their case, watch what happens when their rhetoric really sharpens in the months ahead. There are so many great topics to discuss, and so many things that Trump has done wrong. Candidates like Harris are going to have to find memorable, repeatable zingers that they can use so that the voters will start to form an idea of what they want to have happen in 2020.

Do we want to take the high road? Or do we want to run Trump over and take back the White House?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

And So It Begins




This is a real person who is out there, and this is the beginning of the 2020 Presidential Election Cycle. It has kicked off early because more than half of the American people have, on a regular basis, expressed their disgust with Trump and with the people who enable him to be awful. Our duty, as Americans, is to engage in this cycle and make the best choice for president.

I will not engage with these people because they are looking at participation in our democracy as if it is a retail transaction. It is anything but that. It’s a civic duty. You have the right to vote for whoever you choose, and you have the right not to vote. You have the freedom of speech guaranteed all Americans, and that allows you to enter the marketplace of ideas and try to persuade people to buy what you are selling and listen to your voice. You are also free to be irresponsible, crude, ignorant and confused.

At no point in the last several years have I even been tempted to support Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He is a joke and a fraud to me, and he is more interested in self-aggrandizement and being a purity troll than he is in actually getting elected and doing something for the American people. He is not too old, but he is too out of touch with what I want in a candidate. He and I probably agree on a lot of issues, and I wish him well because he is a reliable vote in the Senate for things I believe in. He is not, however, a member of the Democratic Party but is, to be blunt, along for the ride without having to pay for gas. He’s a freeloader on the left side of our political spectrum, too sure of his own absolute righteousness to join the party and contribute towards a common goal. He wants to take the party that is not his, use it for his own good, and yes, do some things I would agree with! But he wants to destroy it from the outside and marginalize it in terms of doing other good things for the American people. I am confident there are better candidates out there and I’m going to support them.

This individual, Orwell’s Ghost (really, you do need to include the apostrophe-someone’s ghost has earned its inclusion), wants a transactional experience with America’s democratic process. Give something to Bernie Sanders (that is not his) or he will take away his vote and give it to Trump.

Please do so.

The world is not here to kiss your ass. The world is here for you to participate in it. Contribute if you can, try not to be a dick about it, and leave things better than you have found them, if possible. If not, go the fuck away and be rest assured, your message is not selling and your ability to be heard and have influence will not work with people who have heard what you have to say.

The very premise of your threat - give him the nomination, or else - is anti-democratic (small “d”). It’s fascist in a way, and we’ve had one too many fascists in the White House already this century, thank you very much. How about you just root for your candidate, participate in the process and vote, and drop the threats? If a majority of Democrats decide to go in a different direction, I understand your butt-hurt. I’ve felt the exact same way, many times. My candidates have occasionally failen by the wayside, but that has never led me to want to vote against my own self-interests and for a Republican.

I mean, what part of a “two party system” do you not understand? It’s a two party system in this country. End of damned story.

When you threaten to vote for Trump unless the Democratic Party, which isn’t yours, gives the nomination to Bernie Sanders, who is not a Democrat, you have surrendered your right to be taken seriously in American political discourse. You are a useful idiot for Republican purposes. You have made an asshat’s choice, and all that’s left is for you and yours to enjoy the lesson in apostrophes.

I suspect we will hear from a good many of these people in the years ahead (good God, it’s going to be one hell of a long cycle). You can safely ignore them, and I shall do my best to do just that.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Republican Rat Fucker




This is essential reading if you want to have a better understanding of what Roger Stone has done over the years to become the ultimate Republican rat fucker of his generation—it is probably the best piece of political writing Howard Fineman has ever done and it came out in the summer of 2008, if you can believe it:

Over the years, Stone’s relationships with colleagues and clients have been so combustible that his value as a messenger has been compromised. Stone worked for Donald Trump as an occasional lobbyist and as an adviser when Trump considered running for President in 2000. “Roger is a stone-cold loser,” Trump told me. “He always tries taking credit for things he never did.” Like Nixon, Stone is also a great hater—of, among others, the Clintons, Karl Rove, and Spitzer. So what happened at Miami Velvet one night last September, he said, amounted to a gift.

Despite being slagged off by Trump, Stone continued to work on behalf of Republicans, which is shocking because this episode should have brought an end to his association with the GOP:

Stone served as a senior consultant to Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign for President, but that assignment ended in a characteristic conflagration. The National Enquirer, in a story headlined “Top Dole Aide Caught in Group-Sex Ring,” reported that the Stones had apparently run personal ads in a magazine called Local Swing Fever and on a Web site that had been set up with Nydia’s credit card. “Hot, insatiable lady and her handsome body builder husband, experienced swingers, seek similar couples or exceptional muscular . . . single men,” the ad on the Web site stated. The ads sought athletes and military men, while discouraging overweight candidates, and included photographs of the Stones. At the time, Stone claimed that he had been set up by a “very sick individual,” but he was forced to resign from Dole’s campaign. Stone acknowledged to me that the ads were authentic. “When that whole thing hit the fan in 1996, the reason I gave a blanket denial was that my grandparents were still alive,” he said. “I’m not guilty of hypocrisy. I’m a libertarian and a libertine.”

There’s nothing like a Republican sex addict and degenerate in American politics. If you’re a Democrat, you’re finished. If you’re a Republican, you get to keep your job, like David Vitter or, well, just like Roger Stone.

This is also an important detail. Stone’s deep ties to Paul Manafort were well known long before Trump decided to run for president.

Stone did not enter the government after Reagan won the election. Instead, he started a political-consulting and lobbying firm with several co-workers from the campaign. The name of the operation went through several iterations, but it was perhaps best known as Black, Manafort, Stone & Atwater, the latter being Lee Atwater, who had worked briefly in the Reagan White House’s political office. The partners made their money by charging blue-chip corporate clients such as Ronald Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. large fees to lobby their former campaign colleagues, many of whom had moved into senior posts in the new Administration. There were also less savory clients—Zaire’s Mobuto Sese Seko, Angola’s unita rebels, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. Stone and his wife at the time, Ann, became famous for their lavish life style, which included a chauffeur-driven Mercedes and tailor-made clothes. They threw raucous parties for no reason or for almost no reason, like Calvin Coolidge’s birthday.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office indicted Stone on Friday for making threats against a former associate. Why this didn’t happen a decade earlier is beyond me. Here, he does exactly the same thing and doesn’t lose his freedom, just his consulting gig.

On August 6th, someone whose voice sounded a great deal like Stone’s left a message on the office answering machine of Bernard Spitzer, the governor’s eighty-three-year-old father. The caller referred to a possible investigation of loans made by the elder Spitzer to his son’s campaigns. “If you resist this subpoena, you will be arrested and brought to Albany,” said the caller, who went on, “And there is not a goddam thing your phony, psycho, piece-of-shit son can do about it.” Private detectives hired by Bernard Spitzer traced the call to Stone’s wife’s telephone, but Stone, however implausibly, denied leaving the message. At first, he claimed that on the night of the call he had been attending the Broadway show “Frost/Nixon,” but there was no performance that evening. Stone also suggested that his landlord, a Spitzer supporter, had set him up, or that a standup comedian and impressionist had imitated his voice. As a result of the controversy, Stone had to relinquish his position with the State Senate Republicans.

If Stone were to spend the rest of his natural life in prison, I don’t think it would make up for the damage he has done to American politics. And I wouldn’t take anything he says at face value. Here is a man who will never atone for anything. Good riddance to this trash.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Jared Kushner Has No Right to Work in the White House




This is one of those mind-boggling stories that lands every eight or nine days and you go, wow.

Wow.

In another era, it would end a president’s ability to focus on anything else.

It would focus our efforts on reforming how we grant access to sensitive information because national security used to be bigger than one man, one crime family, one party, or one branch of government.

In years gone by, it would sink an administration. The entire thing. It would end careers, cause a national freak out lasting months and months, and it would shake people to their core.

In the Trump Era, welcome to Thursday:

Jared Kushner's application for a top secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him — but their supervisor overruled the recommendation and approved the clearance, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The official, Carl Kline, is a former Pentagon employee who was installed as director of the personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President in May 2017. Kushner's was one of at least 30 cases in which Kline overruled career security experts and approved a top secret clearance for incoming Trump officials despite unfavorable information, the two sources said. They said the number of rejections that were overruled was unprecedented — it had happened only once in the three years preceding Kline's arrival.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information, said the Trump White House attracted many people with untraditional backgrounds who had complicated financial and personal histories, some of which raised red flags.

[*sarcastic reference alluding to how President Obama would have been impeached for doing anything resembling this removed because some people just don’t know how to read anymore…]

I mean, Jesus. This is a huge fucking deal.

The shame and the embarrassment of this would normally be enough to shut down everything until the threat to our nation’s most sensitive secrets could be evaluated and considered before going forward. That’s what would normally happen, and then hearings would begin, a grand jury might hear the details of the case to see if anyone here has broken the law, and so on and so forth.

Tomorrow, Jared Kushner will go back to work (such as it is) in the White House and continue to pretend that he can negotiate an end to the shut down of the government, which has gone on for over a month. While 800,000 Federal workers remain unpaid, Jared is cashing a pay check he is not entitled to because multiple officials deemed him unfit to have classified information entrusted to him in any capacity.

What have we done to ourselves ? What happened to this country?

So-called “national security” experts like Lindsey Graham should be demanding Kushner’s resignation and immediate investigations of what caused him to be denied access to Sensitive Compartmented Information. There are fully 25 U.S. Senators on the Republican side who should be lined up at microphones tomorrow, denouncing this and calling for the entire Trump White House to be emptied until we can determine what secrets have been compromised.

They will hem and haw and say aw, shucks, and walk away from their constitutionally mandated duties of oversight and compliance. They’ll leave it to the Democrats to freak out while they, privately, come to one more realization that Trump could very well be the end of them.

The end. Of them, as a party and as caretakers of our democracy.

The Goddamned end of them.

You can go back to ignoring the GOP when it comes to fiscal responsibility, accountability, ethics, and national security. They have no credibility.

It is gone.

This is one more example as to why we are coming apart at the seams and I am probably more furious that this didn’t come out last year when it could have informed the voters as to who they should send to Washington D.C.

Again, wow.

Wow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Shame on You, CNN




When the MAGA Teen Frenzy video was posted over the weekend, it triggered several cataclysmic events.

One, a bunch of people saw white, privileged kids acting horribly in public. That created a firestorm of outrage, and rightly so.

Two, the conservative media machine cranked itself up into overdrive, realizing that these were wealthy Catholic kids from a private school in Kentucky that were in danger of being roasted in public.

Three, figures throughout the mainstream media establishment caved into relentless pressure designed to change their framing and reaction to the story because they do not know how to react when they are being worked over by the manipulative, dishonest stylings of said conservative media.

If you read this article, you’ll miss three more important points that render the conservative defense of these kids as irrelevant:

The discussion over what happened between competing groups of people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Friday doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. 

It all started that evening when someone posted an Instagram video of a tense encounter between a Native American elder and a group of Catholic high school students from Kentucky.

Twenty-four hours later, the video was everywhere: trending on social networks, splashed across news sites and airing on TV.

Below I can tell you just some of what the media completely missed. They could have sought this information out but they didn’t and it isn’t included in the CNN story in any substantive manner because they have folded up and gone into the fetal position because of the pressure put on them by conservatives. These are the same fringe-dwelling purveyors of hate who can be discredited again and again and again but keep getting their views into the mainstream. These are the people who went crazy trying to keep this from being seen for what it really was—a pro-Trump, racist mob acting out in public under the supervision of sympathetic adults who should have known better.

If any of these items are missing from the context of the story, consider the effectiveness of “working the refs” with regards to how the media has been manipulated here.

One, those same kids catcalled some women earlier in the day and their language was extraordinarily crude and violent.

Two, a conservative public relations firm was put into action, helping to defend these kids from their indefensible actions and is linked to House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Three, Covington Catholic High School has a longstanding reputation for racist behavior at sporting events and there are people coming out of the woodwork to tell their own stories about being treated horribly whenever they have had to interact with the Covington Catholic student body over the years.

There are other testimonials and facts out there, and they actually support the visceral reaction most people had to the video when they first saw it because what you were seeing was a frenzied mob acting as if they were attending a Trump rally.

I find it implausible that, after running dozens and dozens of live feeds on every news channel showing Trump rallies that the media could not identify the behavior of these teens and put it into the context of what they have seen for themselves. The teens acted just like the adults have acted at Trump rallies. The same gestures, the same outrage, the same bigotry and over-the-top hatred for women and people of color. We’ve seen this played out, again and again, but the media just couldn’t connect the dots. Put Trump at a podium a hundred yards away and then tell me I’m wrong.

Everything you see in that video is something that has played out, again and again, at the rallies that Trump has held before and after accepting Russia’s help to steal the 2016 election.

In the next 22 months, look for the mainstream media to fall for this and twist itself into knots trying to avoid identifying those who support Trump’s white supremacy agenda as racists. They will be worked, repeatedly and expertly, by a conservative media establishment that is desperate to stop any and all who act in a racist manner from being labeled as such.

The media itself is built to frame stories as sympathetic to white people and is unusually hostile towards minorities and women, especially if they are asserting the same rights enjoyed by the teens seen in the original video. There are no African-American teens in this country who could assert that they had “every right to be there” and receive anything resembling a full-throated defense of their rights from conservatives. In the wake of countless incidents where African-Americans have been killed for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time in front of the wrong white people, you cannot convince me that there isn’t a structural problem here. The media is conditioned to tell stories about how white kids have been wronged and how everyone else has to be up to no good and deserved whatever they got.

What’s actually true here? Your first reaction, to seeing the behavior of the teens and what their actions represent in the age of Trump, was the right one. They were being disrespectful, mean-spirited, and acting in a manner that was familiar to anyone who understands that the people who have power in this country can do whatever they want to those who don’t and get away with it. Women, people of color, and anyone who has been harassed, threatened, or abused in public know what they saw and they continue to refuse to be gaslit.

This is going to be a long, long election cycle and the media is not prepared for the manipulation that lies ahead. This incident proves that.

Monday, January 21, 2019

I Shouldn't Have Said Tapes




I just wish Robert Mueller III would get this over with:

Where are we now with Trump and Cohen and the BuzzFeed story, and your response to it?

I guess the BuzzFeed story—I don’t remember what it said about Cohen—but it said there was corroboration that the President talked to Cohen and told him to lie about, I guess it was, the Moscow proposal. There are no tapes, there are no texts, there is no corroboration that the President told him to lie. That’s why the special counsel said that the story was inaccurate. First time the special counsel has ever done that. As a prosecutor, having done that for fifteen years, that is quite a heavy rebuke of BuzzFeed. And the reality is that the President never talked to him and told him to lie. And I don’t know what Cohen is saying, but certainly the idea that two federal agents said that there was corroboration is totally untrue.

Did President Trump’s lawyers or you yourself reach out to the special counsel’s office after the story, as has just been reported?

I can’t discuss that. President Trump would not have done that. If anybody would have done it, obviously it would have been his lawyers, and I really can’t discuss that. That would be confidential.

Do you—

But I can tell you, from the moment I read the story, I knew the story was false.

Because?

Because I have been through all the tapes, I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the e-mails, and I knew none existed. And then, basically, when the special counsel said that, just in case there are any others I might not know about, they probably went through others and found the same thing.

Wait, what tapes have you gone through?

I shouldn’t have said tapes. They alleged there were texts and e-mails that corroborated that Cohen was saying the President told him to lie. There were no texts, there were no e-mails, and the President never told him to lie.

Oh, well, that clears everything up. [eye roll]

When all is said and done, and we have moved past the Trump regime’s reign of error and when we have restored democracy in America, Rudy Giuliani will be retired because no one will want to hire him. He has demonstrated, again and again, that he is the worst lawyer in America and that he has a fool for a client.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Trump Will Never Be Presidential




The whole Trump team is not as smart or as talented as they think they are, and it shows:

President Donald Trump on Saturday launched a new plan to end the government shutdown, offering temporary protection from deportations for some undocumented immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion in wall funding.

But Democrats swiftly rejected the proposal, which also includes millions of dollars for humanitarian aid and drug detection technology, and called on Trump to open the government before negotiations on immigration could start.

The President delivered a short speech from the White House in an attempt to shift the political dynamics of the longest government shutdown in history after polls showed that he was getting most of the blame. He had previously said he would be "proud" to close down the government in the wall fight.

He offered a three-year reprieve from deportation to undocumented migrants brought to the US as children who are covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and to people from certain nations who qualify for Temporary Protected Status.

We are sitting where we are because Trump, his half-assed regime, and the Republicans who support him failed to position themselves as being in a place of strength with regards to shutting down the government. They don’t have the ability to negotiate and they can’t find a way out of this mess so everything they have taken hostage has to suffer. Our entire country is going to feel the effects of this shutdown in one way or another. Our economy is going to take a hit, families are suffering tremendous stress right now, and people who haven’t been paid are being pushed to the breaking point.

This is the result of believing in the idea that Trump would figure out how to be presidential. You can draw a straight line back to the same person who was inaugurated two years ago. He has not evolved or changed, he hasn’t learned or adapted to the challenges of the job, and he has managed to be awful in every way the whole way through.

Welcome to another two years of Trumpism. The only thing standing between us and oblivion are a handful of Democrats, and we better find a way to support them as much as humanly possible.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Monsters in Flyover Country




Congressman Steve King of Iowa has long been regarded a representative at-large for white supremacy in the U.S. Congress. The people of his home state have not been the only ones giving him money and propping him up so he can say racist bullshit in public. This article dares to ask the people who sent him back to work last fall what they think of him, and surprise, some of them are just awful people:

Jeannie Small, a Republican voter from Humboldt, thinks King should resign, telling NBC News, "I don’t think people have the confidence in him now. He says he didn’t mean what he said. But he’s done himself damage."

But Mary Grim did not find King’s racist comments offensive.

"People who think it’s offensive need to get a damn backbone and shut the hell up," Grim said. She contended that an “invasion” is taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Scott Wolff also believes the congressman should hold his ground.

"Everybody slips up a little bit," Wolff said. "I don’t think he really meant what he said. And he’s trying to tell the people that. I hope that’s the way it is."

I don’t care about their economic anxiety and I don’t need to know what it will take for them to vote for a Democrat. They can go to hell along with King.

Democracy Makes a Comeback in Wisconsin




This is good news if you believe in the democratic process:

A federal judge on Thursday struck down early-voting restrictions Wisconsin Republicans adopted in a December lame-duck legislative session, saying the limits are clearly similar to restrictions he blocked two years ago.

Republicans voted in December to limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election. The move came after a difficult midterm election in November in which the overwhelmingly Democratic cities of Madison and Milwaukee held early voting for six weeks — far longer than in smaller and more conservative communities.

The GOP lost every statewide race, but retained majorities in the Legislature and quickly convened the lame-duck session to pass bills that Gov. Scott Walker — also defeated in the election — could sign before leaving office.

Walker and Republicans argued the time frame for voting early should be uniform across the state, not left up to each community to determine. Walker argued it was an issue of fairness, and that local communities could decide when within the two-week period to offer early voting.

I’m sure that the Roberts court will find a way to support more voter suppression, if only because Republicans now realize that the American people are about to turn on them in a big way. There is no other way to hold on to power when you are losing by large margins every time people vote here in the land of the free. The next president of the United States should run on making it so that people can actually vote in elections. What a radical concept.

This Country Cannot be Governed by Trump




As long as the Republican Party decides to cover for Trump and his temper tantrums, this nation cannot be governed:

President Donald Trump said Thursday he was denying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a military plane for a trip to Afghanistan that was set to begin in the afternoon, a tit-for-tat retaliation that deepened the divide between the leaders and brought the government no closer to reopening.

The move, apparently in response to Pelosi's letter a day earlier suggesting the President reschedule his State of the Union address, made for high drama but little substance in the ongoing standoff over border security. 

As the partial government shutdown stretches nearly a month, the back-and-forth reflects a West Wing angling for the upper hand in a stalemate with newly powerful Democrats. 

Pelosi had been scheduled to leave within the hour that Trump's letter was made public, making for the awkward site of a large blue Air Force bus idling outside the Capitol as the implications of the President's missive came into focus.

Can you imagine what would happen if we were, in fact, in the middle of a real crisis? Humanitarian, military, or otherwise?

Nothing would be able to function. And this is entirely because this president couldn’t get the GOP to give him a “wall” during the two years that they were in control of the Congress and the Executive Branch. Now that we have Nancy Pelosi in place, providing stability, reason, and fiscal responsibility, we have nothing but shutdown bullshit and people losing everything because they’re not being paid.

If the media tries to tell you that this is because “both sides” are wrong, ignore that nonsense. The far right wing has pushed Trump into a corner, and Pelosi is not here to bail him out. He has to let go of the demand for the wall and stop hurting people.

The Republican Party owns what is happening. The defections you see are entirely because they saw what happened during the mid-term election. There is no solution to this until the GOP realizes that they have to govern this country along with the Democrats. They have to abandon Trumpism and come back to the land of the sane and the responsible.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Racist Trash




The White Nationalist Party lost a few committee memberships today in the House, but don’t worry. They’re still in charge of the country:

The Republican Party is doing a little soul searching. Last week, Representative Steve King of Iowa drew harsh rebukes from some members of his party for his defenses of white nationalism and white supremacy.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?” King told the New York Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

This was the most explicit expression of something that has been obvious for some time: King believes white people are not only superior to others, but supports the use of state power to preserve what he sees as white political and cultural power in the West.

As Christopher Mathias has ably documented, King’s remarks are the latest entry in a long list of similar statements, such as his declaration that “we can’t restore our civilization with other people’s babies,” that “cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end,” and that “we need to get our birth rates up or Europe will be entirely transformed.” He has called illegal immigration a “slow-motion holocaust,” language that echoes the neo-Nazi doctrine that non-white immigration is a form of “white genocide.” Last year he endorsed a candidate for mayor of Toronto who has a history of touting white-nationalist and anti-Semitic ideas.

Adam Serwer goes on to reason that, while it is good to see King staring at the end of his useful political life, it’s entirely another thing for the GOP to continue to prop up Trumpism and protect the president from being thrown out of office as well.

All of the pain the American people are feeling right now could end tomorrow if we had a functioning two party political system. All of the things Trump is doing to the country could be stopped if there was an ounce of courage in just a handful of the members of the United States Senate who are desperate to find a solution that does not turn the flying monkey base of the Republican Party against them.

We should stop waiting for them to wake up and realize what’s happening. They’re never going to do the right thing. There are no courageous leaders out there. Mitt Romneyshambles is not going to strap a couple of dozen brave young men to the roof of his car and lead anyone out of the wilderness. There is no popular appeal to decency happening, especially if it means risking the wrath of Ann Coulter. With so many Republicans in the Senate who are resigned to their fate, the business end of impeachment is never going to happen. If there was even a chance of that, it would have happened in the Spring of 2017 when it was readily apparent that Trump wasn’t going to “grow” into the job of president.

They’re all fucked, and they know it.

They know 2020 will end their hold on the Senate. They know another twenty or more seats in the House are going to disappear into the ether. If things continue the way they are going, it will be 1932 all over again. A generation will curse the Republican Party, en masse, and deny them any meaningful role in our nation’s political life.

Couldn’t happen to a worse bunch of racists.

Coarse and Tasteless




This garbage presidency has a new symbol for itself, and it is a stack of old Big Macs, ready to slouch over onto the tables which once served up state dinners and decent conversation in the people’s house. Under the candle lights and the chandeliers, the decline of American democracy continues, complete with silver platters filled with fish sammiches and burgers. Yum.

Honestly, this coarse, tasteless man who brought his Manhattan chintz and his diapered ass to Washington D.C. probably thinks he hit a home run today. Delivering fast food to athletes in their prime is one way to show them how tough you are, I guess.

They should have brought in the nutritionist who works for the team, and in conjunction with the White House chef and his team, they could have made a great meal of it. You’re in the mid-Atlantic, for crying out loud. Besides steak and lobster, you could have brought out the crab cakes, some Virginia ham, and a whole host of healthier foods. See this article to discover something few people understand—the dietary needs of football players has nothing to do with the shit on a shingle Trump served up today. They could have had salmon, roasted chicken, or sweet potatoes. They could have introduced the president to a vegetable. In a world where people live in vast “grocery deserts,” they could have combined the food that is normally served to the players with local fare and had a great time.

Who the fuck would eat this shit, most of which was prepared and staged at least an hour before it hit the table?

Well, you did it again, Trump. You made America hate the very idea of you serving free food to people. Good job, lard ass.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

More Ass Than Asset




Does it seem like it’s too difficult for someone to process something that people like me have known for the last two years?

On Friday night, The New York Times reported that FBI agents opened a counterintelligence investigation in May of 2017 into whether President Trump had been operating “on behalf of Russia against American interests.” 

If the Times is correct, then the FBI overcame its reluctance to investigate Trump after he fired one of its own: former director James Comey, whom the president dismissed that same month. One implication of that timeline is that Robert Mueller, who was appointed as special counsel a week later, would have had access to their investigation for at least substantial portions of his own.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat on the committee that oversees the FBI, said the Times’ reporting was intriguing, and “another powerful piece of the mosaic” on Trump’s relationship with Russia.  

The Times’ revelations also may reignite Republican criticism of FBI officials who privately expressed concern about Trump while working on investigations concerning him. After text messages between former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok became public—revealing their criticism of Trump—congressional Republicans brought them in for grilling sessions. Page in particular faced protracted and ugly attacks from Fox News opinion hosts. And the president himself also tweeted numerous times about her, sarcastically calling her “the lovely Lisa Page.” But the Times’ reporting indicates they were far from alone in their concerns about Trump’s posture towards Russia.

Trump was a flawed, suspicious and unqualified candidate for the presidency who should never have been given the Republican nomination for president. You can forget the FBI, forget the Justice Department, and you can forget about anyone else who should have stopped him—the GOP should have denied him the right to be called their nominee for president. That was the most critical failure of our elites in all of this.

There are other failures, of course. James Comey was the wrong man to have at the FBI. There are far too many partisans scattered throughout the government for my taste. And I can’t understand why Richard Blumenthal is the go-to quote here—he represents Stolen Valor and an inability to find Democrats who can actually speak the language needed here.

It certainly appears to decent people that Trump betrayed his country, used Russian help to steal the presidency, and now leads a criminal regime of his own, equal to Putin in greed, bad skin, shortsightedness, buffoonery, and incompetence. Hillary Clinton is actually president, and the sooner we all arrive at that conclusion and that those who stopped her from taking the oath of office are part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the American people, the better.

It has been evident for many, many years that Trump is an asset of Putin’s regime, but he is certainly not the only one. Russian money has flooded into the conservative movement, from the NRA to the Republicans in the Congressional leadership who spent two years letting Trump have his way with our democracy. They’re compromised and they are assets of Russia as well—anyone who has had oligarch money in their bank account is as thoroughly owned as Trump.

I have to ask—does anyone not realize that Steve Mnuchin went to Fort Knox to steal the gold and that, once Democrats take over in 2021, they’re going to find empty vaults, burned out storage rooms, and that the banks will be out of cash? What the fuck is it going to take for people to wake up?

What is maddening is that media simply hasn’t caught on to the con game.

It should have been readily apparent that all of this was true BEFORE the mid-term election. It should be standard practice to ask Republicans how much Russian money they have accepted whenever they appear in public. It should be a regular order of business to ask Trump why he is sympathetic to white nationalism. I mean, how do you live in a country with Steve King representing Americans in Congress and not see the absolute and undeniable connection between the Republican Party, white nationalism, Russian racism, and the rise of totalitarianism?

Friday, January 11, 2019

This Dumbassery Will Not Stand




In a word, yes.

Yes, we are ready for President Kamala Harris (or any Democratic candidate who wins the nomination).

We’re more than ready for a woman to be president.

We’re ready for a woman of color to be president, too.

We’re ready for change.

We’re ready for normalcy, and a return to norms as understood in this country until Trumpism became a contagion that has eaten away at the body politic.

We’re just fucking ready, man.

We’re ready to do something about climate change because, guess what? We were already doing something about it under Obama and the GOP undermined those efforts.

We’re ready for Trump to be driven from office.

We’re ready to throw Republicans out of office.

My good God - we’re more than ready for this to happen.

Sorry, what was your question? Are you ready for President Kamala Harris to declare a national emergency to fight climate change?

YES!

Now, go away, dummy. Your dumbassery is played out.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Incompetence and Failure




Lindsey Graham is a bootlicker and a fool:

South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham issued a statement Thursday calling for President Donald Trump to invoke national emergency powers to fund his border wall. 

"Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi's refusal to negotiate on funding for a border wall/barrier -- even if the government were to be reopened -- virtually ends the congressional path to funding for a border wall/barrier," Graham said in a statement. "It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier."

The statement from the key Trump ally came shortly after Graham said efforts to forge a deal with congressional Democrats had fallen flat. 

GOP senators gathered in Graham's office a day prior to discuss a deal that would bring an end to the ongoing government shutdown while securing money for Trump's proposed border with Mexico.

Trump has repeatedly floated funding his wall by declaring a national emergency. On Thursday, he reaffirmed his position a day after walking out on Democrats at a White House meeting to resolve their impasse over his wall.

How did Graham end up being anything of a “leader” in the Republican Party? He is a rudderless failure whose sole contribution to the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body was to be at John McCain’s side through years and years of failure and regret with regards to foreign policy. There are brown people all over the world who would have been bombed back to the Stone Age if anyone had ever paid attention to Graham.

Why is the media even carrying his statements as news? I think it is safe to say, guys—you can ignore this guy. Nobody is making any decisions based on what Lindsey Effing Graham has to say.

We are so poorly led right now it isn’t even funny. It’s inappropriate to joke about what a unmitigated disaster this presidency has been for American democracy. Graham is leading the way, right into the gutter, and past that into the sewer, and once he reaches bottom, he’ll flick his tongue and do his best impression of a weasel trying to get under the frost line.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bye Bye




Ambulatory trash bag Donald Trump got up and walked out of a room today. The problem is, it was a room he needed to stay in so that he could extricate his worthless carcass from the self-inflicted hell in which he is living right now:

President Donald Trump walked out of discussions to end a partial government shutdown, now in its third week, calling discussions with congressional Democrats "a total waste of time."

"Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!" Trump said.

Top congressional Democrats blasted Trump after the meeting Wednesday afternoon, accusing him of indifference to struggling federal workers and not trying to negotiate as the government shutdown drags on.

"Unfortunately, the President just got up and walked out," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. "He asked Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi, 'Will you agree to my wall?' She said no. And he just got up and said, 'Then we have nothing to discuss,' and he just walked out. Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way, and he just walked out of the meeting." 

A source familiar with what happened inside the room said Trump ended the meeting by standing up and announcing "bye bye" before turning and walking out.

The end result of this is that every single Democrat in America should thank their stars above for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She did not bend, she did not waver, and she did not fold up like a cheap suit and stumble to the door. She stood up for the decency of the American people, and demonstrated that she is one of the few adults in the room who understands government. And, what’s more, she is the only person in Congress who is looking out for your tax dollars.

Give it up, old man. You are not getting your wall.

And what’s more, you’re played out. The real story in Washington D.C. is how Pelosi is reshaping the political landscape to deal with a colluding, incompetent Republican Party that cannot lead, cannot govern, and can’t even sit down at a table and cut a deal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

American Carnage




Tonight’s message from Donald Trump is that the “American carnage” he highlighted in his inaugural address has gotten worse. Except that it hasn’t, and the only thing that has gone wrong with this country is the fact that he leads a corrupt, illegitimate regime that is at war with human rights, human decency, and the foundational idea of America:

Speaking from behind the Resolute Desk, Trump said the US could no longer accommodate immigrants who enter the country illegally and implored those who support him to contact their elected representatives.

"How much American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?" he asked. "This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve."

There are so many things that are fundamentally un-American about Trump and the people who work for him that it would take several hundred thousand words to spell all of them out. But, consider this—if there really was a crisis that has been created here, it is one of his own making. He has broken the agencies that are charged with border security by giving them contradictory and misguided mandates. He has surrounded himself with borderline psychopaths and racist fools. He has failed to appoint people to positions that would help mitigate this suffering—specifically in the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He is the one who separated children from their families and put them into concentration camps in remote areas. He is the one who has allowed incompetent officials to operate organizations they do not understand. He is the one who has used the rhetoric of fear, of blood, of terror to galvanize the hateful minority of Americans to stick with him at all costs.

In short, the American carnage he mentioned in his inaugural address is what his policies have delivered.

Things are so bad right now, a coalition of free nations somewhere on this planet ought to be making plans to invade this country and depose this president so that we can restore democracy. And, if they aren’t, who could blame them if they did? Good God.

What have we become?

Trump Can't Be Presidential




None of the major television networks should have agreed to this:

The major television networks said that they will provide wall-to-wall coverage of President Donald Trump's prime time address on border security on Tuesday.

NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and Fox broadcast network all said on Monday that they had agreed to the White House's request for air time. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC will all carry the address live, as well.

Following news that the networks would air Trump's immigration address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement that they should be given an equal amount of time to respond.*

"Now that the television networks have decided to air the President's address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime," Pelosi and Schumer said.

Presidents have been using Oval Office addresses to make big announcements for decades. But this is Trump's first time using the setting for an address to the nation. On Monday the White House requested air time for the speech, as is customary in the relationship between a president and the press.

Our country’s political life is all but destroyed right now. There is absolutely no chance that any sane person with reasonable ideas and the ability to think clearly could be persuaded by Trump to support his proposal to build a steel wall made out of slats that are thirty feet high. No normal person should subject themselves to what he has to say because he is a proven, demonstrable liar of epic proportions. The networks know that he has no credibility, but they refuse to use that as their way out of this mess. It should be clear to all right now—this man is not a president in any sense of the word and refuses to lead the country. He commands a vocal, violent, easily enraged minority that is holding decency hostage.

Here’s how this is going to go - Trump will give a carefully worded speech written by Stephen Miller, he’ll lie eight ways to Sunday, and then the Democrats will have to go on television right afterwards and list all the reasons why he is lying.

The media will then say, “both sides cannot come to an agreement on keeping America safe.”

Both sides? No, one side is batshit crazy and the other can’t believe the media keeps giving Trump free airtime. And safe from what, you idiots? Safe from the bullshit Trump believes? Which is the last thing whispered in his ear by someone who couldn’t work at a Dunkin’ Donuts without getting fired for incompetence? Safe from the outright un-American racism spewed by the clowns around him?

Why are we even doing this?

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Tide is Turning




You could feel a tremendous weight being lifted off of the country today - a relief that, finally, there’s a sane adult in charge of something who is not hopelessly corrupted or owned by a Russian gangster.

I believe we are going to look back on the Trump era as a sad aberration and a time of tremendous nativist evil. The last gasp of a horrible piece of the American character that needs to be cut out like a tumor or cyst. We started eliminating this part of what was wrong with our country a long time ago, and this is the last flareup of something vile.

No need to say anything else. I’m damned glad Speaker Pelosi is running the show.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

My Offer is Nothing




Incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has gone full Michael Corleone on Trump:

House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi is willing to give "nothing for the wall," she said in an interview clip that was tweeted on Wednesday -- the 12th day of the government shutdown and the eve of the Democratic-majority 116th Congress' swearing in. 

Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other congressional Democrats have rejected President Donald Trump's calls for $5 billion of funding for a wall on the southern border.

"Are you willing to come up and give him some of this money for the wall?" NBC's Savannah Guthrie asked Pelosi in an interview slated to air in full Thursday.

"No, no. Nothing for the wall," Pelosi replied. "We're talking about border security."

"We can go through this all back and forth -- no," Pelosi added. "How many more times can we say no? Nothing for the wall."

Trump probably figures that he’s the one who knows how to deal with people who are tough, who are smart, and who know how to negotiate. Of course, we know how foolish he is and we all know how this is going to end. I expect to see him running around the White House grounds with no pants on before the month is over.



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Iowa




There are a lot of great strategic reasons for a Democrat to start running for president right now, and one of them is to make Trump crazy.

If Elizabeth Warren is met with adoring crowds in Iowa, it will make him go apeshit.

If Elizabeth Warren is able to raise some money this year, same outcome. He will see it as a provocation.

I think we are going to see a new phenomenon this year—Trump will react with “how dare anyone challenge my grip on power?” And we will see him use the full force of the presidency to crush his detractors, much like a cheap banana republic strongman would.

The real prize is California, of course. But winning in Iowa helps make Trump lose his mind.

I love her chances, and I’m glad she’s in the race.