Sunday, March 31, 2019

We're Not Going to Move On




White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney actually said this today, and he was not struck by lightning immediately afterwards:

"I know that a lot of my friends in the other party are still upset that Donald Trump is president, but it is time to move on because enough is enough when it comes to collusion and obstruction," Mulvaney said. "Congress needs to find something else to worry about."

Mulvaney asserted on "This Week" that the reason the special counsel investigation may have started in the first place was because "there was a small group of people within the law enforcement community, specifically the FBI and the DOJ who really did want to overturn the election," claiming they were "stunned" by Trump’s victory.

"They cannot accept the fact that he’s president and from the very beginning, in fact before the election they actually set the table to try and prevent him from becoming president," he said on "This Week" Sunday. "If that happened, that is a challenge to our republic the likes of which we’ve not seen for a long time and we don’t think it’s that outrageous to suggest that it could have."

Oh, it’s time to move on, is it?

Time to let it go?

Time to move past the issues and begin to find solutions for our many, many problems?

It’s time to put partisan politics aside and focus on defending the country from our enemies?

Time to heal, I would imagine?

Time to put things into perspective and get back to work for the American people?

Really?

This is the sum total of my response to that:






Go fuck yourself, Mick Mulvaney.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Jeff Flake is a Broken, Forgotten Man




Admit it. You forgot there even was a Senator Jeff Flake, didn’t you?

Former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake would prefer a Democrat win the 2020 election than have President Donald Trump serve a second term, saying that "four years is difficult enough to unravel some of the damage" done internationally by the administration. 

Flake, a longtime Trump critic who argued Thursday that the Republican Party should not support Trump in 2020, was asked if it is better for a Democrat to win the election if Trump is the Republican nominee. 

"Yes ... and this notion, this narrative that's been built up, that Donald Trump is the only one that can cobble together the Electoral College and win is just a fallacy," Flake replied at an Intelligence Squared debate in New York City. The organization bills itself as a "non-partisan, non-profit" group that hosts debates aimed at promoting various points of view.

"I think that four years is difficult enough to unravel some of the damage that has been done internationally to our role, to our leadership position. We cannot, should not go another four years," the Arizona Republican said.

When the country needed Jeff Flake to stop the Trump agenda, he just kinda went, oh, okay, here we go, I’ll vote for this and maybe not for that, and then I’ll just kind of hold my nose and vote for this and, hey, I gotta get out of here. And then he would vote with his colleagues and pretend to be some weird version of Hamlet.

There’s a reason why people have a much greater opinion of John McCain and not Jeff Flake. When it came time to save everyone’s health care, McCain did the right thing. Instead of helping to stop the worst impulses of the Trump regime, Flake was out there voting to pass whatever was needed.

It would be fair to say that Flake is so irrelevant as to not even include mention in the media at all, but there will be this persistent myth of a “sane, reasonable group of Republicans” who tried to stop Trump and we all know that’s bullshit. They didn’t try to stop anything. So much of the damage Trump has done could have been held in check if a half dozen Republicans had been decent enough to put country over party, but they didn’t.

Flake certainly didn’t. How he wishes you thought more highly of him.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Did You Forget That Republicans Tried to Destroy the Affordable Care Act?




Markwayne Mullin is a GOP congressman from Oklahoma who thinks Obamacare coverage sucks. Follow the link to see for yourself.

Here’s what the ACA has done for your state:






Guess what, Congressman? Your state refused to expand Medicaid coverage. You represent people in Oklahoma who have health care coverage entirely because of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Mullin complains about how the ACA isn’t substantial enough to support a small business owner.

What legislation did Mullin introduce to fix that? Nothing of any substance or merit, nothing that could get passed. Nothing.

What did he do to help small businesses? Well, he voted with Trump and he helped give the rich a tax cut.

What did Mullin do for anyone who didn’t give him thousands of dollars?

Nothing.

He just voted with Trump, early and often, and against anything that Democrats wanted to pass.

Oh, and here’s the real kicker. You have a voting record on Health Care.

You have consistently voted to undermine the ACA and destroy it. Here’s as much of it as I could find:

Rep. Markwayne Mullin: key health care votes

May 4, 2017

HR 1628: American Health Care Act of 2017

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 1628 American Health Care Act [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

January 13, 2017

HR 3: A budget resolution to begin the process of repealing the ACA.

Status: House passed

On Agreeing to the Resolution: S CON RES 3 Setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2017 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2018 through 2026 [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

February 2, 2016

HR 3762: House vote to override President's veto of H.R. 3762

Status: House failed

Passage, Objections of the President To The Contrary Notwithstanding: H R 3762 An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 2002 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2016 [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

January 6, 2016

HR 3762: Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015

Status: House passed

On Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment: H R 3762 An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 2002 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2016 [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

June 23, 2015

HR 1190: Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2015

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 1190 Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015 [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

June 18, 2015

HR 160: Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 160 Protect Medical Innovation Act [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

March 26, 2015

HR 2: Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 2 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as a pro-consumer vote.

February 3, 2015

HR 596: To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, and for other purposes

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 596 To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, and for other purposes [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

January 8, 2015

HR 30: Save American Workers Act of 2015

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 30 Save American Workers Act of 2015 [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

September 11, 2014

HR 3522: Employee Health Care Protection Act of 2013

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 3522 To authorize health insurance issuers to continue to offer for sale current group health insurance coverage in satisfaction of the minimum essential health insurance coverage requirement, and for other purposes [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

April 3, 2014

HR 2575: Save American Workers Act of 2014

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 2575 Save American Workers Act of 2014 [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

March 5, 2014

HR 4118: SIMPLE Fairness Act

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 4118 To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to delay the implementation of the penalty for failure to comply with the individual health insurance mandate [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

November 15, 2013

HR 3350: Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 3350 Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013 [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

July 17, 2013

HR 2668: Fairness for American Families Act

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 2668 Fairness for American Families Act [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.

May 16, 2013

HR 45: To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010

Status: House passed

On Passage: H R 45 To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 [more]

Rep. Mullin voted Yes, which we score as unfavorable.


Hey, maybe you might want to think about shutting up.

Tienes cuatro años?




Here are the rest of Jose Pagliery’s tweets:






This is why we resist.

This is why we are fighting this monstrous regime that has taken over the United States government.

This is why everything fucking sucks and I hate blogging now. Hate it.

This is why we can’t hold our heads up around the world anymore.

This is what the Russians want.

This is what makes it so the Chinese can put people in camps by the millions.

This is why the world is scared.

This is why you can’t help but wonder what made monsters out of Americans.

This is why there is fear when there should be hope.

This is why four year olds are growing up way faster than they should.

This is why our anger is building to the point where I don’t think anyone in the GOP really sees it. You can’t keep pushing evil into the public spaces that surround us without there being something equally toxic that emanates from our politics. I’m done with hoping these people come to their senses. That hope died after Charlottesville when so many kept working for Trump. There should have been mass resignations and there weren’t because these people prefer the evil to everything else. There should have been more of an outcry last year when the family separation plan was put into action and our government abducted children from their parents and injected them into a ridiculous system of court appearances like the one outlined above.

You see, in a number of years, that little girl is going to come to the realization of what happened to her. It will dawn on her what was done, what she lost, what was taken from her, what the Federal Government of the United States of America put her and her mother through, and she may not even know where her mother is at that point. That realization makes people into something we may not have the understanding for. It may make her sullen, bitter, angry or indifferent. It may make her a candidate for higher office or someone on their third stint in the county jail. It may make her a productive member of society or someone who doesn’t give a shit about anything so why try anymore.

Did we really need to do this to that little girl? No, but it was done to her.

Did anyone think about the consequences?

No, because the evil and the cruelty of it was the point all along.

If that doesn’t make you resist, then what would?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Republicans Act Like the Mueller Report Has Been Out For Weeks




Andrew McCarthy of Fox News has written a piece that sounds as if he’s read the Mueller Report, had a chance to mull it over for several weeks, and then thoroughly cleanse himself of it in public:







Every one of the links that appear in the excerpt above (I disabled them and created a screenshot of McCarthy’s intro) goes back to Fox News. McCarthy actually writes “But there was no evidence that candidate Trump and his surrogates had anything to do with the Kremlin’s hacking and propaganda schemes.”

Really?

That’s not what the Mueller Report says. That may be a distillation of what Attorney General William Barr wrote in his four page lawyerly letter, but the Mueller Report doesn’t appear to say anything about “candidate” Trump or his surrogates because we haven’t seen the actual report. We do not have the work product, the Grand Jury testimony (which can be released) and we don’t know what Mueller had to say about any of this in any detail.

We have a summary written by a GOP political appointee, but we don’t know what is actually in the report.

The Republicans want the people who watch and read Fox News to think they have authoritative knowledge of something no one outside of a handful of individuals have actually seen. They want to deal with the Mueller Report in the past tense, as something finished, when it is not actually present and ready for evaluation by qualified individuals.

This is how dishonest hacks like McCarthy are able to set the narrative and define the scope of a story. They know that they would never accept this situation if it involved a Democrat. Hell, they were screaming about Obama’s birth certificate, Benghazi, Hillary’s E-mails, and Seth Rich for years—years—after the fact that everything that we could have possibly known about those incidents was released to the public.

McCarthy’s piece, if reversed for partisan effect, wouldn’t pass the smell test anywhere. There’s no chance he or his ilk would be sitting back, wondering how to improve their skills or get better at analysis over what happened. He knows he’s lying about what he thinks he knows about something no one has been able to see as of yet. He’s working the refs, working the clock, and cooking the books as much as possible before some dumb shit leaks the actual Mueller Report.

How transparently obvious of a liar do you have to be these days?

Republicans want to dunk on Democrats for a change, and that’s what all of this is about. They want to establish a win without waiting for the clock to run down.

It’s not working, and they know it.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Where's the Report, Jackass?




I’m starting to think that what William Barr told us about what’s in the Mueller Report is inaccurate at best and a complete whitewash.

Even as the specter of Robert Mueller's probe has vanished, Trump plans to turn the investigation, Democrats' constant accusations of wrongdoing and the media's coverage of it all into a new foil, half a dozen advisers and aides said. He has already signaled he'll weaponize the results, targeting those who ordered the investigation and Democrats he says waged political warfare.

The counteroffensive has some advisers concerned the President could overstep, diminishing a clear victory by sinking back into old grudges or calling for extreme steps to punish those he views as foes. 

The conclusion of Mueller's investigation without evidence of collusion could present an opportunity to move past a dark period and toward a sunnier, more disciplined presidency -- an outcome some advisers have wished for in private.

Maybe for a different President.

Instead, Trump appears poised to relive the first two years of his presidency and the "witch hunt" investigation that clouded it, this time through the lens of personal and political vindication. His public comments since his attorney general summarized the report for Congress on Sunday have all carried the threat of payback -- for Democrats who accused him of stealing his office and the media that he says fanned the flames -- and offered a preview of his rhetoric on the 2020 campaign trail.

I’m not ready to move past it, either. In fact, I’m looking forward to the day when a Democrat will be appointed as Special Counsel to investigate Trump and the GOP for their complicity in destroying the rule of law. The way it used to work in this country was, if a Democrat was accused of doing something wrong, a Republican would be appointed to investigate, and vice versa. This is one of those times when they let the GOP run the table and choose their own judges and their own deciders-in-chief.

Fuck that shit.

If Robert Mueller was too chickenshit to make a decision, find someone who will. The country is full of qualified people—pick one and get to the bottom of all of this.

Until that happens, I’m not surrendering. I’m not going to stand for this Republican victory dance. Let’s dance, motherfuckers.

Update:






Right on cue: no you don’t, ya dirty pup!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Establishment Will Always Protect Itself




There are going to be many, many opinions and this is one of them—they got away with it.

Isn’t that the thing that reverberates around in your mind? The Trump campaign got away with it, and now we have to save ourselves.

I guess this is payback for the Hillary Clinton thing. Sure seems like each and every decent American is paying for the mistake of the 2016 election, and now the only thing that can correct it is the 2020 election.

Given how effectively Bernie Sanders is going to be in terms of siphoning off votes and money from real Democrats, I’d say that there’s nothing to hope for, and nothing to believe in, and no reason to conclude anything other than the country is now sold down the river, but I’ve been wrong before.

If there’s one glimmer of hope, it is this. Karma’s a real bitch.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Was Robert Mueller Ordered to End His Investigation?




Allow me to add to the less than helpful speculation that we have been subjected to for the last 24 hours.

Everything I’m seeing indicates that Robert Mueller has closed up shop in an abrupt manner, with cases still pending, matters still undecided, and decisions left unmade. That would mean that someone ordered the investigation to end quietly without concluding all of the matters that were still within Mueller’s purview.

And that’s fine—the law allows this. The Republicans can fire Mueller and pretend they’re innocent, but the material is still there. The things Mueller uncovered are protected. As much as Devin Nunes wants to waltz in and start feeding things into a shredder, that’s not going to happen. You don’t hire William Barr unless there’s a criminal establishment that needs protecting.

I’ve said numerous times that Mueller can’t save us. We have to save ourselves. We need to find a viable candidate for president, find great people to run for the Senate, and find the people who can win at every level below that. We have to vote Democratic and we have to throw each and every Republican out of office in order to get our country back.

Until someone knows something, they don’t know nothing. But if Trump were innocent, he would have told us that by now.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Jerry Nadler is in the Business of Nailing Trump




If the Mueller Report proves to be a let down, have no fear. Jerry Nadler is here to hold Trump’s feet to the fire:

Trump associates have turned over "tens of thousands" of documents to lawmakers probing alleged corruption and abuses of power by the President and his administration, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced Monday evening.

Nadler, whose panel launched a sweeping investigation into Trump world earlier this month, said "a large number" of the 81 people, federal agencies and business entities he demanded documents from on March 4 have complied and forked over records.

"Those documents already number in the tens of thousands," Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

The New York congressman noted that, while he was "encouraged" by the responses he has received, his staff remains in contact with some who have asked for subpoenas "before they are comfortable supplying the information requested."

"It is my hope that we will receive cooperation from the remainder of the list, and will be working to find an appropriate accommodation with any individual who may be reluctant to cooperate," Nadler said.

Is there anything incriminating in that document dump? Probably not. But what makes Nadler’s investigation legitimate is that he has asked for people to comply and he has now given them a chance to do the right thing. In Trump world, nobody does the right thing. They lie, they cheat, and they steal. Nadler will nail them, and then he’ll have enough momentum built up to release Trump’s tax returns, just in time for the fall campaign for the presidency.

The subpoenas might catch a few interesting things, but nobody should expect much from the voluntarily released information. All of the good parts were shredded long ago. Trump is a paper-eating son of a bitch, and he knows that, when you’re in court, everything can go wrong for you if someone has you dead to rights. I think it is okay to be skeptical of this phase of the investigation. The House Judiciary effort should rightly be considered the Nadler Probe, and it will follow a parallel track to the Mueller Probe. Establishing the criminality of the Trump Regime is central to understanding how we must go about saving this democracy.

While everyone is busy getting ready for 2020, Nadler will be releasing his findings, week after week, month after month. This slow drip will become a horror movie for associates of one Donald J. Trump, who is little more than a cheap mob boss in decline.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Minister of Fear




I thought Kirstjen Nielsen would have resigned by now. The oversight provided by the House of Representatives is not going to get any easier, and putting babies in cages would normally get you run out of public life. In the Trump era, you can be monstrous and wrong and still count on a deferential press, an uninformed public, and continued support from Republican politicians who are hoping no one notices all the other horrible shit that is happening:

The US homeland security secretary has steadfastly defended a border policy that has provoked condemnation because of its impact on children and families. But why has Kirstjen Nielsen's style also irked her critics? 

During a House homeland security hearing on 6 March, Ms Nielsen said that border agents do not put children in cages in detention facilities. She explained: "If you mean a cage like this." She raised her hands above her head and drew an outline of a small, rectangular-shaped dog kennel. 

Democrats disagreed. Regardless of the size of the wire-enclosed areas where children were held, the contraptions were still cages, said Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey. 

Ms Nielsen acted as an unwavering advocate for the president's "zero tolerance" border policy and for other measures during the hearing. She expressed staunch support for his national emergency and his wall and said she was working to ensure that the nation's borders were fully secure.

The Department of Homeland Security remains an indefensible idea. Our greatest threat is from angry white men with guns and that’s exactly what DHS is set up to ignore. To this day, no one can explain why it was a good idea to take all of those Federal agencies and add another layer of confusing bureaucracy on top of them so that the defending America’s “homeland” could be a perverted exercise in Going After the Wrong Thing, Always.

Nielsen’s ridiculous advocacy of things that aren’t actually emergencies is what makes her our modern Minister of Fear. Without the fear that she and Fox News and the rest of the conservative movement generates, America’s old people would probably shit themselves over Lady Gaga or Korean dance pop. How can you take an entire demographic and subject them to such a thing and sleep at night? There’s no crisis at the border. Hence, there’s no need to ramp up the fear. Ah, but we have a minister who does such a good job, and she’s blonde, so grandpa and grandma trust her even more. They’ve bought gold, extra thick adult diapers, and a whole kit that will keep them alive when Obama takes back the presidency and orders the seizure of every gun in America so he can let Nicaragua invade and occupy the Great Plains. They may not be able to find their way to the mall, but they’re ready for the end times.

If you think poor people fleeing oppression are the problem, well, this is your golden age, my friend. If you’re horrified by the prospect of an entire bloated and over-funded Federal agency trying to figure out which contaminated quarter of Goodfellow Air Force Base to use for a tent city dedicated to housing kids, join the club. I go days at a time, unable to write or comment on things because I just don’t get how any of these people, especially and including Nielsen, aren’t in Federal prison right now.

This is the most baffling era in American history for me. What should be a no-brainer—you can’t put babies in cages after you’ve forcibly kidnapped and separated them from their parents—is just another day of horror in this country. I don’t think any of us have lost our humanity. On the contrary, our basic humanity is under relentless assault, and we’re coping with it any way we can. I just don’t understand how nearly half this country isn’t even remotely bothered by any of what Trump and his cabinet officials have done.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Female Veterans Deserve Respect




If there were real consequences for sexist, abusive behavior at VA hospitals, this wouldn’t be an issue right now:

An entrenched, sexist culture at many veterans hospitals is driving away female veterans and lags far behind the gains women have made in the military in recent years, veterans and lawmakers of both parties say. Although the Department of Veterans Affairs has scrambled to adjust to the rising population of female veterans and has made progress — including hiring more women’s health care providers, fixing basic privacy problems in the exam rooms and expanding service to women in rural areas — sexual harassment at department facilities remains a major problem.

Here’s how you solve this problem:

  1. Get caught doing it, you get removed from the facility

  2. If you work there and do this, you get to lose your job

  3. If you make a sexist comment in public, you get thrown out the door by security

  4. If you can’t respect women, stay home

  5. Oh, and if you can’t behave like a decent human being, no benefits for you, jackass

Really, this isn’t that difficult. There should be real and exact consequences for sexist or abusive behavior. The fact that there are not is the result of a failure to hold people to a basic standard of conduct and a failure of leadership to instill a culture that does not tolerate disrespect for women.

I mean, how can you read this and not want to punch someone?

At a recent hearing with veterans agency officials on Capitol Hill, Representative John Carter, Republican of Texas, described the treatment of female constituents trying to obtain V.A. health care. “It’s like a construction site,” he said.

Mr. Carter cited the same medical center in Texas that Ms. Foster had used — and noted that the Women’s Trauma Recovery Center within it was moved last year to a female-only facility in Waco so that women, who said they feared for their safety, could receive treatment without facing harassment.

And:

“It’s hard to walk into a place and feel like everyone is looking at you wondering why you are there,” said Kristen Rouse, 45, founding director of the NYC Veterans Alliance, who described a sense of loss every time she glanced at the department’s motto affixed to her center in New York City: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” Her organization supports changing the motto.

“Over the 24 years I have served my country, I have never been any of those,” said Ms. Rouse, who remains a reservist in the Army. “And I never will be.” (That portion of the motto, coined by President Lincoln, is now the subject of legislation.)

They should change the motto. If Lincoln were alive today, he would enthusiastically change the wording to be kind and compassionate, which was the intention of his words in the first place.

Anyway, this is the best idea yet:

A model for what women’s health care can be is on display at the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center in Chicago, where the vast majority of doctors and staff members are women. The five exam rooms and waiting area are only for women, and beyond offering basic health care, the center offers women a number of programs like a golf team, a weight loss group and art therapy.






I’m all for this. Women should be treated with respect, regardless of their status as veterans.

Monday, March 11, 2019

This is Being Done in Our Name




People are getting sick in the cages that Donald Trump put them in:

More than 2,000 people in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody are being quarantined amid an outbreak of mumps and other diseases.

The numbers of immigrants in custody with a contagious diseases has spiked in the past year. For the previous two years, the agency has not encountered a single case of mumps among its detainees. 

"As of March 7, 2019, there was a total of 2,287 detainees cohorted for exposure to a detainee with a contagious condition," said ICE spokesperson Brendan Raedy in a statement. 

In the past 12 months, there have been health investigations at 51 ICE detention facilities for mumps, chickenpox and influenza, according to Raedy. 

There have been 236 reported cases of mumps, with another 16 suspected cases during this time period.

When they write the story of this era of madness and corruption, one of the things that is going to stand out is, how did we let them run concentration camps on American soil like this? These camps are intended to gather a vulnerable population of people together so they can become ill, and die off.

It’s that simple, and it’s that evil. These people are being sent to their deaths because of the choices being made. When do we put the real criminals in jail? Should we show them as much mercy as they are showing the babies and children and mothers in cages?

I used to be able to write all the time. Shit, nowadays, I can’t even remember why I keep posting this stuff. It’s outrageous. It’s searing and it reminds me of the craziest days of the George W. Bush era. How do you keep going? What can you do to actually help people?

I don’t know anymore. I just can’t believe any of this is happening. I wish I had the answers.

The Do-Nothing Administration




John Oliver tore into the Federal Communications Commission last night, and it was a brilliant takedown of just one aspect of the Trump Regime’s inability to do anything to protect American consumers from anything, including the endless robocalls that are being dialed every minute of every day:

After a typically riotous and informative 15 minutes spent examining the problem of scammers, corporations, and corporate scammers using every semi-legal trick in the digitized phone book to steal your mom’s social security number and tell you all about that credit card problem you don’t have, Oliver unveiled his plan. Noting in his piece that the FCC, under current head, enemy of net neutrality, corporate shill, and “goober,” Ajit Pai, opposed rules intended to curtail robocalls, has done literally nothing about them since taking over that agency, and, in fact, is proposing making robocalling easier, Oliver swung into action. He did take time along the way to, once again, taunt HBO’s new overlords at AT&T for their lackluster service. (“You like that, business daddy? Johnny’s getting spicy again!”) And to mock Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins for one particularly contrived phone stunt of her own. Showing testimony where Collins pretended to get an IRS call during a hearing, only to show that it was her staff spoofing the IRS number, Oliver noted, with signature acid deadpan, “Cool.” And said that “temporarily pretending to be one thing and then disappointing everyone when you reveal who you actually are” is a perfect encapsulation of faux moderate Trump-enabler and Kavanaugh-booster Collins’ voting record.

The fact that the FCC has done nothing to stop robocalling should surprise no one. Someone out there is getting rich fleecing the Americans who are unfortunate enough to be caught at the wrong moment and give something valuable away. The social engineering of the vulnerable helped steal a presidential election, of course, so why would Republicans want to protect people?

No, they want them to be susceptible to fraud so they can keep Trump in office.

There are people being tormented by these things all day and all night. The robocalls spoof localized phone numbers and trick people into responding. All of the Democrats running for president should take note—running on a platform to protect the American consumer should be standard practice because no one is looking out for them right now.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Fix is In




It turns out, you can betray your country, steal millions of dollars, and get away with it:

Paul Manafort got a sharply reduced sentence of 47 months for fraud on Thursday—from a federal judge who said the political operative known as the “torturers’ lobbyist” had lived an “otherwise blameless life.”

The guidelines called for a sentence of 19 to 24 years, but Judge T.S. Ellis said that was “excessive” and gave President Trump’s former campaign chair less than four years for hiding and evading taxes on millions he made lobbying for Ukrainian political figures.

You’ll do more time for having too much weed in your car in certain states, so all of that sounds like American jurisprudence and justice to me. I don’t have much to add to the outrage you’re already seeing regarding Manafort’s sentence. If you’re a white man who steals millions and millions of dollars, you’ll always come out smelling like a rose. If not, well, you’re fucked. Don’t believe me? Go ask Marc Rich, Scooter Libby and all the banksters from the late 2000s who never went to jail for destroying the economy.

I’m more and more skeptical of any outcome that holds Trump and his crime syndicate accountable. I think it will be just like Bush and Cheney—the country won’t have the stomach to throw everyone in prison. Our media is too stupid to actually function in the public interest. At the end of the day, Robert Mueller is a Republican who probably fears the upheaval of the American government and the chaos that would follow more than he does walking away with Trump and his family untouched.

It seems like the fix is in, and we’re not getting good government any time soon. No one is coming to save us, so we have to save ourselves and vote all of the Republicans out.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Trump Always Wanted to Run For President




It took a long time for the Republican Party to sink to where it is now—basically, a protection racket for a dementia-suffering racist who had plans to run for president all along:

In 2011, days after Donald Trump challenged President Barack Obama to “show his records” to prove that he hadn’t been a “terrible student,” the headmaster at New York Military Academy got an order from his boss: Find Trump’s academic records and help bury them.

The superintendent of the private school “came to me in a panic because he had been accosted by prominent, wealthy alumni of the school who were Mr. Trump’s friends” and who wanted to keep his records secret, recalled Evan Jones, the headmaster at the time. “He said, ‘You need to go grab that record and deliver it to me because I need to deliver it to them.’ ”

The superintendent, Jeffrey Coverdale, confirmed Monday that members of the school’s board of trustees initially wanted him to hand over President Trump’s records to them, but Coverdale said he refused.

“I was given directives, part of which I could follow but part of which I could not, and that was handing them over to the trustees,” he said. “I moved them elsewhere on campus where they could not be released. It’s the only time I ever moved an alumnus’s records.” 

The former NYMA officials’ recollections add new details to one of the allegations that Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, made before Congress last week. Cohen, who told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that part of his job was to attack Trump’s critics and defend his reputation, said that Trump ordered him “to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores.”

Trump didn’t just all of a sudden decide that he wanted to run for president in the summer of 2015. He was all-in on running years before that, and had been making plans to cover up as much as he could before the media could scrutinize him (which is ironic because the media has given his corruption and mob ties a huge pass).

I mean, the hypocrisy would be astounding if we weren’t already used to it:

During former President Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign, Trump begged Obama to share his college records and prove he wasn't a "terrible student." Just days later, then-NYMA superintendent Jeffrey Coverdale was "accosted by prominent, wealthy alumni of the school who were Mr. Trump's friends," then-headmaster Evan Jones tells The Washington Post. Ironically, those alumni wanted Trump's high school grades kept under wraps.

The nerve of these people. Everything Trump accuses other people of doing is something he’s already guilty of doing, and no one calls him on it.

National Security




I just don’t think people get what this is really about.

CNN has framed this around nepotism. Anderson Cooper had Maggie Haberman on to talk about how Trump put pressure on officials to get security clearances for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. They went on and on about how unusual it is for a president to have his children working for him in the White House.

Forget all of that. This is more of the sideshow. On the real substantive issue of national security, there are more important things to consider. The big picture view here is that he has surrounded himself with incompetent people and the truth never reaches his desk. He has to be flattered, constantly, and no one can tell him something that contradicts his preconceived notions.

Trump, as president, can grant anyone a security clearance. There’s no violation of the law here.

But Trump, as president, is charged with protecting national security. On that issue, he is a colossal failure. He should be impeached for that, but he won’t be.

It’s not just having his kids running around with classified information. It’s not just the fact that Trump uses an unsecured, out of date Android phone. It’s not just the fact that he brought Russians into the Oval Office and handed them Israeli spy secrets. It’s not just the fact that Saudi Arabia owns his son-in-law. It’s not just the fact that, if you’re a foreign government, you already know that you can get access to Trump if you spend a certain amount of money at his hotels. It’s not just the fact that he has meetings with foreign leaders and there are no other officials around.

I mean, it should be all of those things and more! But, in our new normal, things that would cause a Democrat to be run out of public life forever are just a Tuesday revelation in the Trump era. Tomorrow, there will be something else.

So, it’s not just the fact that Trump ignored the rules and did what he wanted to do.

No, it’s a fundamental lack of protecting national security. Trump has failed. He refuses to put the interests of the country ahead of his own. There are now so many examples of how he has refused to look out for our safety and security as a nation that it is just makes people like me incandescent with rage. The double standard here is appalling. For years, we heard how Clinton and Obama were neophytes who couldn’t keep America from being attacked.

Hello?

George W. Bush blew off his intelligence briefings. Trump can’t get through them unless someone shows him a picture of himself and says his name over and over again. See the pattern here?

We are not being protected.

Your state, your city, your town, your neighborhood are more vulnerable than they were when Obama was president. Your family, your friends, the people you know are not as safe as they were just a few short years ago. The economic prosperity of this country is in mortal danger. Our environment, our common discourse, our communities, the places we gather, and the things we share are all being destroyed, slowly, before our very eyes. These things get in the way of the glory of Trumpism and the creation of an unhinged theocratic Republican state, organized around corruption and white nationalism.

The threat is there, and we’re the unsuspecting frog in the pot of water that is going to boil.

We are in severe danger.

We are in harm’s way and no one is there to protect us.

They don’t care about you. They care about the money they’re stealing.

But, hey. The Republicans and the media are cool with this, so let’s talk about a first term Congresswoman who thinks we should be smarter in our relations with Israel.

Stupidest country ever.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Welcome to the World of Jerome Corsi




Human garbage barge Jerome Corsi is really sorry he made up all of that bullshit he’s in danger of being sued for:

Hours after retracting an InfoWars article and apologizing to Seth Rich’s family for claiming the slain Democratic National Committee staffer and his brother leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 election, far-right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi said that he still believes the theft of the emails was an “inside job.”

After complaining that the House Judiciary Committee’s recent request for additional documents from more than 80 people related to the Russia probe was “harassment” on CNN late Monday, Corsi was asked by anchor Anderson Cooper about his tendency to peddle right-wing conspiracies, namely birtherism and 9/11 trutherism.

Larry Klayman, Corsi’s lawyer and fellow right-wing conspiracist, jumped in to defend his client’s repeated claims about former President Obama’s birth certificate.

“The birth certificate, there's been forensic analysis on that,” Klayman asserted. “He never said that Obama was born in another country. But the birth certificate appears to be fraudulent.”

Cooper noted that Klayman was obviously referring to former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s debunked ideas regarding the “forensic analysis,”prompting Klayman to state that he agreed with Arpaio before claiming the use of the word “African-American” in 1961 also served as evidence. The CNN anchor bluntly asked the attorney if he believed Obama was born in another country, resulting in Klayman getting extremely defensive.

“That's not what I said,” he exclaimed. “I said the birth certificate, there's forensic analysis and it's fraudulent. Don't beat up on my client because of that. That's inappropriate. Do some research.”

Corsi, meanwhile, said he doesn’t “readily” believe “government explanations” before adding that he wants to see the “official 1961 birth records from Kenya.” He also stated that those records would “settle it” and he’ll be happy to admit if he were wrong if he could just see them.

Oh, he sounds like he’s sorry.

Birtherism is racist. Let’s just get that out of the way.

If you believe that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, you’re a fucking racist. If you can’t believe we’re still debating this over two years after leaving office, you’re not alone. Trump basically got elected president because enough people believed he was right about Obama’s birth certificate (and, true to the era in which we now live in, of course he was wrong).

Everything Anderson Cooper had on his show tonight elevated Corsi in the eyes of his followers. CNN basically allowed one of the staples of white supremacy to run wild on prime time again. Hey, thanks again, working media. You continue to destroy all faith in humanity. You spread filth and garbage and act all innocent and wide-eyed when you get called on it.

Fucking hell. What kind of world is this?

Trey Gowdy is Utterly Useless




You already knew that former Congressman Trey Gowdy was about as useless as possible when he served as the Grand Inquisitor of Benghazi. He spent millions, gave endless interviews, and dragged witnesses up to the Hill for hearing after hearing that went nowhere.

He’s back on television, decrying the very thing that made him what he is today—a sad, broken man with nothing to show for his time in office:

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy, the man who led an 11-hour public congressional hearing on the Benghazi consulate attack, said Monday that he believes such hearings are “utterly useless”—now that they’re used to investigate President Trump’s inner circle.

Gowdy, now a Fox News contributor, joined Fox & Friends to weigh in on last week’s House Oversight Committee hearing involving former Trump “fixer” and personal attorney Michael Cohen.

“What we learned this past week is how utterly useless public congressional hearings are,” the South Carolina Republican said. “I think two closed-door sessions this past week on the Senate and House side with the intelligence committees were very helpful. That is why they’re bringing Cohen back.”

Yeah, Fox is getting what it paid for with Gowdy. He’s ridiculous on purpose, and he helps scare the old farts. This is about all that can be expected of such low-grade talent.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

This is How You Run for President




There is no scenario where you can honestly advance the idea that Vice President Mike Pence is a “decent man” or even “a nice guy.” When he was governor of Indiana, he enacted bigoted policies and targeted people based on their sexual orientation.

Pence isn’t even remotely decent, and nobody running for president should hold back:

Asked about Biden’s “decent man” comment on Pence, Warren says “I’m sorry. I followed Pence’s history on LGBTQ Americans, and I don’t think that is a decent position. I disagree.” Reporter: “You don’t think the Vice President is a decent man?” Warren: “No”

More of this, please. That, my fiends, is how you run for president. Full stop.

America Has a Jeffrey Epstein Problem




The Miami Herald often carries some of the best journalism in America, and the story of how prosecutors let Jeffrey Epstein off easy is required reading.

I came away with it the sense that we have to deal with the fact that Republicans and Democrats were friendly with Epstein, and that we can’t excuse anyone who used his services, his plane, and who may have abused the children who were caught up in this nightmare.

[…] a deal was struck — an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved.

Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement — essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes, according to a Miami Herald examination of thousands of emails, court documents and FBI records.

The pact required Epstein to plead guilty to two prostitution charges in state court. Epstein and four of his accomplices named in the agreement received immunity from all federal criminal charges. But even more unusual, the deal included wording that granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators’’ who were also involved in Epstein’s crimes. These accomplices or participants were not identified in the agreement, leaving it open to interpretation whether it possibly referred to other influential people who were having sex with underage girls at Epstein’s various homes or on his plane. 

As part of the arrangement, Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims. As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it.

Epstein was savvy enough to compromise everyone who came into contact with him, regardless of their ideology. We have to contend with the fact that President Bill Clinton’s name is going to be brought up, again and again, in relation to this case. That will be used to drown out the fact that Donald Trump and Alan Dershowitz have been heavily implicated in Epstein’s crimes against minors.

“This was not a ‘he said, she said’ situation. This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’ — and the ‘shes’ all basically told the same story,’’ said retired Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter, who supervised the police probe.

More than a decade later, at a time when Olympic gymnasts and Hollywood actresses have become a catalyst for a cultural reckoning about sexual abuse, Epstein’s victims have all but been forgotten.

The women — now in their late 20s and early 30s — are still fighting for an elusive justice that even the passage of time has not made right.

No matter what, we need to believe these women.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Van Jones is Ridiculous




I hope your new friends treat you right:

CNN analyst Van Jones credited the conservative movement with galvanizing support for criminal-justice reform during a Thursday appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Appearing beside CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp, Jones discussed the sweeping criminal-justice-reform package passed in December, which aims to reduce mass incarceration and high recidivism rates by expanding the pool of inmates eligible to participate in early-release programs, among other policy changes.

“The conservative movement in this country, unfortunately from my point of view, is now the leader on this issue of reform,” Jones said. “You look at Mississippi, a rock-ribbed, total conservative former jailer is now the governor. Governor Bryan cut the prison population and crime at the same time. [Governor Nathan] Deal in Georgia cut the prison population and crime at the same time. . . . What you’re seeing now is Republican governors being tough on the dollars. Tough on crime and shrinking the prison population.”

Matt Schlapp is a Trump apologist and a flaming racist piece of shit. If Van Jones wants to make common cause with the unhinged far-right wing of the Trump Party, be my guest. He has reduced himself to an association with people who would love nothing more than to use him so they can demonstrate how tolerant they are of people of color in this country. The truth is, they want to use people like Jones to divide the left.

The real agenda of the people pushing for criminal justice reform is to privatize prisons and stop the legalization of marijuana. If you were really for criminal justice reform in this country, you would end the privatization of incarceration (the state should not profit from putting people in jail) and you would decriminalize marijuana.

Van Jones is simply a convenient fool for the conservative movement, their very own useful idiot. He’s certainly not thinking of how he could be manipulated by people who want to ruin this country.