Friday, June 28, 2019
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, without offering evidence, that Special Counsel Robert Mueller "terminated" FBI communications in what he called an illegal move.
"Mueller terminated them illegally. He terminated all of the emails ... Robert Mueller terminated their text messages together. He terminated them. They're gone. And that's illegal. That's a crime," Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network, referring to two former FBI employees who exchanged disparaging messages about the president.
Trump made the remarks ahead of Mueller's scheduled testimony in front of lawmakers about his investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
Mueller will testify about his report in front of the House of Representatives' Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees in July.
Mueller found Russia did meddle in the 2016 U.S. election, that the Trump campaign did not conspire with Russia and did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice.
Trump repeatedly railed against the Mueller probe, blasting it as a "witch hunt."
Unlike previous witch hunts, this one put a lot of witches in Federal prison and ended up exposing a whole lot of crimes. Trump’s evidence-free claims are regularly aired without parental warnings, and I think we need to talk about how to restore decency to our political process right after we talk about how to bring back dignity to the White House.
The first question I would ask any Democrat running for president is, “what are you going to do to bring back honor and integrity to the presidency?”
But, listen, there are a lot of things about the current coverage of Trump that drive me crazy. If you pull back and look at the big picture, why does anyone print his remarks like this without noting that Trump has nothing to complain about because he’s not in jail right now? He’s mediocre, stupid, and confused all the time but he gets to play golf so why does he bellyache all day and all night? Sure, a lot of people who worked for him are looking at stints in the grey bar hotel. A lot of people who worked for him gave up the evidence needed to flesh out the case that’s being built to throw Trump in prison when he is ejected from office. What’s a little prison time among friends? Oh, not friends? Well, the help should have thought of that when they begged for the job.
Trump is presiding over a slow motion train wreck. His “regime” is in tatters. No one wants to work for him. The walls are closing in. These are facts that would have driven a normal human being to resign in shame.
Trump is shameless and feels sorry for himself on a minute-by-minute basis that is simply unimaginable in a normal president. He rants and raves and carries on as if no one is actually under control because there is no functioning White House Chief of Staff.
This self-pitying asshole is, as the British would call him, a Mardy Bum.
A real Chief of Staff would have stopped all of this from happening before it could escape from whatever side room they keep Trump in all day. They can’t let him near the ceremonial trappings of the Oval Office because Trump is incapable of controlling his emotions.
As a taxpayer, I want to know—how many furnishings or decorations in the White House have been broken or smashed because Trump couldn’t help himself? Your tax dollars are paying for this fiasco.
This article is a microcosm of what Trump has meant for America. It is nothing less than the wholesale poisoning of everyone and everything in order to sell the country off to foreign interests:
In the waning months of the Obama administration, a Chilean conglomerate was losing a fight with the United States government over a copper mine that it wanted to build near a pristine wilderness area in Minnesota.
The election of President Trump, with his business-friendly bent, turned out to be a game-changer for the project.
Beginning in the early weeks of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the administration worked at a high level to remove roadblocks to the proposed mine, government emails and calendars show, overruling concerns that it could harm the Boundary Waters, a vast landscape of federally protected lakes and forests along the border with Canada.
In order to secure the deal, the owner of the Chilean company rented a house to Jared and Ivanka Trump. This happened because the only corruption that’s allowed is Republican corruption, and it is the key to understanding what is happening:
The Trump administration’s efforts to smooth the way for Antofagasta’s mining ambitions began less than two weeks after the inauguration, when Interior Department officials began re-examining the leases, the government emails show.
The message from an early meeting, according to an attendee who spoke on condition of anonymity, was that officials should prepare for a change in direction.
Officials also made sure the incoming interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, not yet in the job, was briefed. In an email, one Interior Department official described that effort as a “fire drill.”
The administration’s efforts are documented in part in thousands of pages of government emails and calendars, many obtained through records requests by Louis V. Galdieri, a documentary filmmaker, and the Sierra Club, an environmental organization.
A key meeting occurred in early May, when Antofagasta’s chief executive, along with other executives and lobbyists, discussed the issue with the White House’s top adviser on domestic energy and the environment, Michael Catanzaro. The company said it wanted to reverse the Obama-era decisions, which it said were illegal and inflicted “undue damage.”
The next month, Interior Department officials learned that the White House had “expressed interest in the Twin Metals matter,” according to an email sent by a department lawyer marked “TIME SENSITIVE.” Soon after, top interior appointees traveled to the Minnesota site.
In any other era of American politics, someone like Ryan Zinke wouldn’t have been confirmed for any job in any administration. Why Zinke isn’t in Federal prison right now for corruption is beyond the understanding of reasonable adults.
The proposed underground sulfide mining project by Twin Metals LLC in northeastern Minnesota includes over 30,000 acres containing disseminated mineralization of copper/nickel and associated trace metals bonded to sulfide ores. Located within the Superior National Forest approximately 10 miles east of Babbitt, 15 miles southeast of Ely, MN, and 2-3 miles from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), the project was originally proposed by Franconia Minerals, which has since been absorbed by Twin Metals, a joint venture between Canadian Duluth Metals Ltd and Chilean Antofagasta PLC. The project currently includes the Birch Lake, Maturi, and Spruce Road deposits, with exploration continuing. The close proximity of the deposits to key water bodies such as the South Kawishiwi River, Birch Lake, the White Iron Chain of Lakes, and the BWCA create a potential for environmental destruction on an unprecedented level. In fact, the South Kawishiwi River was named one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2013.
Twin Metals’ proposed underground mine is referred to as an “underground city” by Twin Metals (St. Paul Pioneer Press). Miles of tunnels would be blasted out below ground where dump trucks and massive earth moving equipment would extract tremendous amounts of material to be transported to the surface. Portions of the Twin Metals’ deposits might be deemed more economically feasible to mine as open pits.
Due to the low grade character of the rock formation, less than 1% of the ore would be produced as copper, nickel and trace metals, with waste rock comprising the remaining 99%. Since the amount of sulfur containing waste rock would be so enormous, the impact to the environment would be significant and long-term.
Although mining companies claim that they can “mitigate” such problems, there is currently no sulfide mine in existence that is not polluting the ground water. Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and toxic heavy metal release can last for centuries; adversely affect fish and other aquatic life, wildlife dependent on those aquatic lives as food sources, and the quality of watersheds and drinking water. Sulfates (from sulfur) also leach into the environment and become part of a bio-chemical process that converts mercury into methyl mercury, which bio-accumulates in the food chain resulting in fish consumption advisories. Sulfates are particularly harmful to the growth of wild rice. Thus, pollutants from sulfide mining operations could adversely affect food sources and ultimately, human health. In addition, the scope of mining such low grade ores changes the landscape forever.
Advanced mineral exploration, including leasing and exploratory drilling, is now occurring on lands bordering the Boundary Waters and deep into the Superior National Forests and nearby state lands such as Bear Head Lake State Park and into the Cloquet Valley State Forest. Twin Metals is currently developing its mine plans and the company is expected to begin the permit application and environmental review process in 2014.
They won’t stop until everything is in ruins and until every single dollar they can steal is wedged up into their own asses. This is the most sickeningly corrupt era I’ve ever seen.
And, yep, I wrote about this three years ago. Sigurd Olson is a figure more Americans should know about.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter used campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with lobbyists and congressional staffers, prosecutors in California alleged in a court filing Monday.
The salacious revelation joins a host of other charges levied against the California Republican, who pleaded not guilty last year on counts of wire fraud, falsifying records and campaign finance violations.
Hunter's wife Margaret, who also faced federal charges, pleaded guilty earlier this month and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Rep. Hunter has denied the previous allegations against him.
The filing, submitted as part of a series of motions by California prosecutors on evidence they hope to use in a trial scheduled to begin in September, provides detailed accounts of five different affairs, including one with a woman who worked in Hunter's congressional office.
The Republican Party doesn’t remember what shame looks like because, well, if they did, they would have forced Hunter to resign last year. They would have run someone in his place to hold his seat. Now they will have to surrender it to whoever files to run for it because what the hell else are they going to do?
They’re not going to do the right thing. No one is asking Hunter to choose the good of his constituents over anything else. This relentless piece of shit in action needs the money and he needs to cash out with whatever campaign money he has because he has failed to manage his life. He belongs in jail but whatever. The law only applies to Democrats. Only one party in America has to be perfect, and the GOP can do whatever they want to whomsoever they choose. Quite a racket if you can get in through the side door to make it happen.
Don’t worry. His type lands on their feet. Someone will cough up scads of wingnut welfare and the media won’t even bother to note the hypocrisy.
Sunday, June 23, 2019
The time to act is now.
This country has waited, patiently, for someone to do something about Trump his vast criminal enterprise, which now includes the Executive Branch of the government of the United States.
The Democratic Party leaders in the House of Representatives have to make significant strides in the next few months to bring the Trump Regime to its knees in terms complying with oversight requests and to return to respecting the rule of law. We are well past the phase where we could give them a chance to comply. The honeymoon is over.
I sense a great deal of frustration. You can’t look at Twitter (which is not real, I know) and not see this anger with the House leadership building and I don’t think it’s entirely because of impeachment. I know that it is a strategic move to keep Trump thinking that he could eventually be impeached, but my overall belief is, so what? So what if he’s impeached?
He won’t be removed from office.
Trump is incapable of shame.
The same low-information people who are screaming for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to impeach will blame her when they finally realize, oh, that didn’t remove Trump.
So, I’m way past that bullshit. We have to stop waiting for Trump to listen to his better angels. Those were drowned in the bathtub long, long ago. We have to stop waiting for someone around Trump to check his terrible instincts and control him—those people were gone before Christmas. We have to stop thinking there is someone in the House or Senate on the GOP side that has some decency left. They sold it for a few donations and thus have no more soul to give away.
I want the Democrats in Congress to step up, stop waiting for the courts, and begin defunding the Federal government. Starve this fucking beast from within. Not one more penny for Justice, Department of Homeland Security, or any other Federal agency until the Trump people begin complying with the lawfully served subpoenas they’ve been ignoring.
It’s time to shut the whole thing down. Not one more penny.
The lawbreaking is right there, out in the open. When Trump visits his own properties, he’s self-dealing. When foreign governments spend millions at his properties, it violates the Emoluments Clause. When his officials run wild, we all suffer.
I think it is imperative to understand that there is a consistent looting of the treasury happening right now. I don’t think we’ve even begun to scratch the surface of the insider trading that is going on—whereby, someone in the Trump Regime (ahem, Wilbur Ross?) directs their personal business handlers to take actions based on some aspect of U.S. trade policy that is about to happen which, ultimately, enriches the person with inside information. We have a de-fanged and toothless investigatory apparatus right now, so a lot of what’s happening won’t be discovered for years, if not decades.
We have an out of control policy on the southern border which screams out for Congressional investigations of what’s being done in our name. It needs to happen right now.
Time won’t wait for us to save democracy. We have to act right now.
Friday, June 21, 2019
President Donald Trump froze at the controls.
After ordering up airstrikes on Iran in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned American drone, the commander in chief balked at the last minute Thursday.
"Nothing was green-lighted until the very end because things change," the president told NBC's Chuck Todd in an interview that will air on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, pointing to the expected casualty count as his reason.
"I thought about it for a second and I said, you know what, they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it, and here we are sitting with a 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead. ... I didn't think it was proportionate."
His indecision in the face of direct hostility from an avowed enemy brought a cascade of criticism from allies and political rivals, from Iran hawks and doves, and from a host of national security experts who asserted that it demonstrated weakness at a critical moment. And it left the world wondering whether Trump, who has so often questioned the leadership abilities of past presidents and candidates for his job, can handle a real crisis.
Really, you can parse this so many ways. Well, he’s being prudent. Well, he’s being tough on an adversary. Well, he’s being merciful.
He’s a chickenhawk because he has, in the past supported wars he wouldn’t go fight in (I’m not speaking of Vietnam, I’m speaking of Iraq War 2.0). He uses the military as props and he trades on the credibility of generals (of course, they’ve all been fired or quit).
Trump is chickenshit because, when it came to the act of retaliation, he had a plan in place and refused to pull the trigger. When you put American forces in harm’s way, you risk their lives. He risked their lives to make a phony issue out of what had to have been a provocation that could have been avoided.
Where is the State Department? It has no staff, no leadership, and is in the hands of a buffoon named Mike Pompeo, who would be nobody’s choice for dog catcher if an actual Republican were in the White House. Pompeo has the job he has because he is a complicit supplicant to a criminal regime led by incompetent fools.
Where is the Department of Defense? Whoops, we almost went to war without a Secretary of Defense. Talk about not being able to govern the nation. Why that doesn’t have twenty-five U.S. Senators screaming bloody murder into microphones is beyond me. What happened to these people? Oh, that’s right. They’re afraid of Trump.
They’re afraid of a chickenshit president who can’t even give the order.
Was Trump incapacitated? Was he stumbling around, bellowing into the screen of his phone, unable to function? An undefended nation wants to know.
Congratulations, Republicans. Your guy is a chickenshit.
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
The wonderful Greg Sargent basically blows up the idea that the Democratic Party should listen to anything that area hobo Steve Bannon has to say, and does it by pointing out that Andrew Sullivan is insane and wrong about everything:
…they often ascribe too much potency to the other half of Bannonism — his nationalism on immigration — by arguing that Democrats need to either move substantially toward his restrictionism or perish.
It’s time to stop baselessly regurgitating this line. Most evidence suggests that on immigration, Trump’s agenda is deeply unpopular and vulnerable to challenge, but not in a way that would require Democrats to concede major ground in his direction. Rather, the opposite appears true.
Andrew Sullivan makes the pro-Bannonism case in a piece in New York magazine under the headline, “What Democrats can learn from Steve Bannon.” Sullivan says Democrats have failed to offer any kind of answer to Trump on the asylum crisis, and that they must “junk the wokeness” and move in a more restrictionist direction with “tighter immigration policies":
They seem strangely untethered to the current moment. Or they are merely revealing by their silence that open borders, in a sharp break from Obama, is now effectively their policy.
Worse, they seem unable to attack Trump for his colossal failure in his core campaign pledge. . . .
This doesn’t mean competing with Trump on xenophobia, cruelty, or bigotry. It means laying out a comprehensive immigration plan that tightens asylum laws so they exclude economic migrants, invests massively in the immigration court system to speed up the process, moves the processing of asylum cases to a foreign country, mandates national e-verify, beefs up the border to wall-like impermeability, and then grants current undocumented immigrants a reprieve.
Now there’s an idea: An agenda for the border that “invests massively in the immigration court system to speed up the process” and “moves the processing of asylum cases to a foreign country.”
As it happens, Senate Democrats have already introduced a comprehensive blueprint that would do these very things. It would invest in expanding the number of judges, for that same purpose, and would create a new system for migrants to apply for asylum from home countries, with the aim of dissuading them from making the dangerous trek to the southern border. It also includes major investments in aid to Northern Triangle countries — which Trump nixed — to address the root causes that are driving these migrations.
Meanwhile, most mainstream Democrats support some mixture of legalizing the undocumented while beefing up border security. The security argument is over whether to build Trump’s wall.
That’s very good stuff, and reason to believe in the power of pointing out how ridiculous people are when it comes to Trump’s re-election chances. Yes, it could happen. But, structurally, how could Trump even contemplate running again? He’s extremely unpopular, he can’t think straight, his advisers are useless, and no one wants to be associated with failure.
We haven’t even seen the beginning of the retirements that are coming. In 2018, a Blue Wave crushed the Republican Party in states where they probably felt they had safe seats. Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia are all looking at a resurgence of the Democratic Party. You’re telling me that hundreds of Republicans are going to do nothing in the face of an onslaught of voters?
As we focus on the spectacle of Trumpism, remember that normal, regular politics are happening all around us. The evidence suggests that everyone who is not a straight, white male is working together to create a second Blue Wave, one that will amount to a 2020 Blue Tsunami. I am telling you, they’re not messing around. The enthusiasm gap is massive.
Would you die on that hill to save Trump? Would you give up all that you hold dear for a tubby guy who laughs at you in your fat pants? Do you go down fighting for an incompetent boob who is happy to say shitty things about your wife on Twitter or do you cash out and take care of number one? That’s the mindset of every Republican with campaign cash on hand right now. Once Trump is gone, they’re counting on eight years of opposing Democrats and being able to lobby for whoever wants to take advantage of a “new normalcy” that might be around the corner. There are going to be seats at the table, and how hard do you want to work? You can line up and be a lobbyist or you can keep slugging it out on committees where women yell at you all day. Take your pick.
Of course, there will always be a cadre of unemployable Republicans who can’t afford to go back to their hometowns. They need that Federal cash in their pockets, and they are praying that a hip, young Democrat won’t catch fire with the voters in their district. I’m sorry, but a lot of what’s going on right now is going to radically transform the 2020 race. It won’t be old Joe slugging it out with Trump. It’s going to be a vastly more dynamic race for control of the whole country. And Democrats better be ready for it.
Monday, June 17, 2019
NBC News has a laughable and ridiculous story about how Trump’s 2020 campaign is “bigger, better and badder” and smarter and more digital and all that other bullshit.
It’s not. It’s actually down to the idea that someone is going to finally let Trump be Trump (which translates to, there’s no point in trying to manage him anymore so why bother?) and what has to be a fervent belief that someone out there is ready to be fooled again.
According to the article, this is the entirety of Trump's 2019 inner circle
Brad Parscale: The current campaign manager for Trump’s 2020 team was the data guru behind the president’s winning digital strategy in 2016, named officially the summer before the election. Parscale was brought on board to lead the re-election effort in early 2018, far earlier than incumbents typically bring on those types of roles.
Brad Parscale tosses a hat to the crowd ahead of a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 27, 2019.Lauren Justice / Bloomberg via Getty Images file
Ronna McDaniel: As the head of the RNC, McDaniel has delivered a high-functioning, well-oiled machine to fuel Trump’s 2020 blitz in a much more conventional approach. With the group’s help, the campaign has hit record fundraising numbers and is expected to largely resemble George Bush’s 2004 re-elect effort
The family: In Trump world, loyalty is king and family is paramount. Kushner, who is close with Parscale, is a key conduit between the White House and the Trump 2020 campaign. They speak most days, sometimes multiple times, according to aides. Eric Trump’s wife, Lara, is a senior adviser to the campaign. First Lady Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump and Trump Jr. are also expected to continue to play pivotal roles in the months ahead.
In 2016, Trump had the crooks, the establishment, the wing nuts, the crazies, the John Birchers, the Freedom Caucus and the Evangelicals. He had Paul Manafort, who was so radioactive, most Republicans wouldn’t even acknowledge him in a public place. He traded Russian help, racist memes, the commentary section of Breitbart, and an undercurrent of broadly expressed bigotry for enough electoral votes to lose the popular vote. What an accomplishment (golf clap here).
This time around, he has Parscale, Mitt Romney’s relative, his pair of fail sons, and half of his daughters.
No matter what Romney McDaniel says, there won’t be anyone looking to throw good money after bad in 2020. The Republican Party has an approval rating somewhere around Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, and flesh eating diseases from the tropics no one can identify.
Oh, there’ll be a cash flow. Trump is a transactional politician, and he’ll take money in exchange for services. The money he takes in won’t actually go to the campaign—it will be laundered back through his businesses. So, if they take in ten million dollars, you can bet that it won’t go to staffers or research or polling. It will go to the inevitable rent that Trump’s campaign will charge Trump’s campaign for the privilege of being Trump’s campaign. The rest of the money is headed for the door:
…a large part of the problem is that Trump has lost the financial support of one of his biggest backers in 2016: the Mercers. With their ties to Steve Bannon, Breitbart, and Cambridge Analytica, Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah were superstars last cycle. According to half a dozen sources familiar with the reclusive family’s political activities, the Mercers have drastically curtailed their political donations in recent months and will likely not play a significant role in 2020. “They think that the administration could do so much more. They’ve been very vocal about that to the president,” a person familiar with the Mercers’ thinking told me. “It’s like they’ve disappeared,” the former West Wing official added. “Crickets. They’re gone,” a prominent Republican strategist said.
Do you know why the Mercers are gone? Because they believe Trump is going to lose.
The people who give Trump money right now need something they think they can get before January 2021. That’s the only reason why they’re giving him money. No reasonable person knowledgeable about politics thinks Trump can win over the moderates and independents again and eke out a narrow victory. They saw the Blue Wave of 2018, and they know what’s going to happen. Trump is going to flame out in real time and destroy himself and everyone around him. And the Democratic Party will just barely figure out a way to make it a close contest when it should be a runaway victory.
Conventional wisdom is everything. There’s no way Trump wins if he is down to a dream team of some jackass, some relative of Romneyshambles, and his own kids.
Simply put, this recent momentum from Warren spells bad news for the Democratic Party. The lawmaker from Massachusetts has centered her run around liberal big government policies that once only appealed to the left most fringes of the party. To be sure, her jump in the polls is indicative of how far left the party has moved and suggests that the party will nominate a radical candidate who is unpalatable to independents and moderates, two groups essential to beating Donald Trump in the general election.
The major components of her presidential campaign platform include expanding the reach of the federal government to tackle core inequities in American society, particularly through greater Wall Street oversight and policies to reduce income inequality by raising taxes on the wealthiest citizens. In a recent town hall, Warren touted her proposed wealth tax that she claims will allow the United States to have universal child care for kids aged five and under, universal college, and a significantly reduced loan debt burden for 95 percent of students, with almost $1 trillion left over.
Virtually everything he says is wrong. The American people are moving to the left on every issue that matters. Do you know what is “unpalatable to independents and moderates?” A president who thinks Nazis are “fine people.” What is unpalatable is a trade war with China that puts people out of work and raises taxes for consumers. What the American people don’t want is another war in the Middle East. And they damned sure have rejected the idea that the president is above the law.
When it comes to the Trump Regime, the American people are tired of this bullshit. Everyone with a brain is breaking towards the Democrats, and support for the policies of the Democratic Party has caught fire everywhere. That’s why you saw the Blue Wave last year. That’s why there are so many more women in Congress. The American people are responding to Democrats who want to fix things. They want taxes to go up on the rich because they have now had a taste of Trump’s tax policy. People are hurting, and they don’t want less government—they want smarter government that works for them. It’s as if Schoen woke up yesterday without realizing what has changed in America. Despite nearly a decade of effort, the GOP has failed to convince Americans that they should not have health care.
Oh, and the GOP? How could it be more unpopular?
How on Earth is that bad for the Democratic Party? To have someone smart, capable, and armed with plans to fix the shit that Republicans have broken?
Please Note: I have not decided who I am going to support in the 2020 presidential primary. But a candidate like Elizabeth Warren can beat Trump and can fix the problems that we face. The Democratic Party has numerous candidates who fit the bill.
Friday, June 14, 2019
Trump does not pay his bills. He’s a deadbeat. He owes money all over the place for rallies and events that have cost local government agencies millions of dollars. There is zero chance any Democrat anywhere could owe people money and not be labeled human scum for this transgression.
So why does Trump get away with it? Why would anyone allow this to continue?
President Trump’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial on the Fourth of July is expected to drive up security costs for an annual event that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the nation’s capital.
But the president has still not fully paid the bill for the last time he addressed a massive crowd on the Mall: His 2017 inauguration.
The Trump administration and Congress owe D.C. more than $7 million in expenses from Trump’s inauguration, according to federal and city financial records. The total cost of the four-day celebration, which culminated with a parade and gathering of roughly 600,000 people on the Mall, was $27.3 million.
Trump’s inaugural committee collected way more money than it spent, but still failed to pay the people who kept it safe. We’re not talking about someone who catered the food or installed the glass panels on one of his bankrupt casinos. We’re talking police, fire and other emergency services. We’re talking first responders, who should be the first people who get paid for the work they do.
How is it that Trump is going to go into the 2020 election cycle with a string of unpaid bills trailing behind him? No one should allow him to hold a “rally” unless he pays for security up front.
Here’s a public service announcement. Trump, and the people who work for him, do not tell the truth about anything. They’ll lie at the drop of a hat. They’ll lie about whatever they want, and they don’t care what the facts are. They’ll lie about things that are easily proven to be lies. The truth means nothing.
Having said that, don’t believe anything about what is going on in the Persian Gulf:
The attack on two tankers in a vital Gulf of Oman waterway Thursday comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran in the oil-rich region and raises concerns of a potential conflict in the Middle East.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was quick to point the finger at Iran, saying his assessment was "based on intelligence." While Iran denied involvement, the US military on Thursday released a video that it said showed an Iranian navy boat removing an unexploded mine attached to the hull of one of the tankers in an apparent attempt to recover evidence of its participation.
On Friday, however, the Japanese shipping company that owns one of the tankers said it did not believe its ship was attacked by a mine.
The incident bears similarities to an attack on May 12 when four oil tankers were targeted off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman.
Like Thursday's attack, that incident took place near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route that has been the focal point of regional tensions for decades. About 30% of the world's sea-borne crude oil passes through the strategic choke point, making it a flashpoint for political and economic friction.
We’re being lied to.
We’re being sold a bill of goods.
We’re being tricked into supporting a broad escalation of the existing conflict in the Middle East as it relates to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and all of the bad actors who are trying to advance their agendas through any means possible. Iran is not going to act in good faith, and that’s been proven out time and again. But all of our erstwhile allies are just as culpable as well. There are no innocents here. And the difference is, there is no State Department. It is not functioning anymore because it has been emptied of the people who could manage, curtail and eliminate this sort of crisis. The Department of Defense is in the hands of a guy who wants to sell more planes, not stop a war between Iran and the countries around it. And Trump is calling the shots? Good God.
This is what happens when a democracy falls apart in real time on the world stage. This is what happens when you don’t have any credibility or standing in the world. Everyone else looks for a chance to get an advantage over their enemies. And we cannot stop this, and we are not going to have the ability to clean up this mess for a long time.
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
This is a photo, tweeted out by the White House, of an F-35 screaming overhead in the middle of the day. This was done to impress the leader of Poland, and look how proud these people are of America’s ability to sell planes to people who probably cannot afford them:
You’ll note that only Republicans are allowed to do these things. Only Trump can make these displays. We are so far away from normal or decent, I am starting to think it will be a permanent sideshow from now on. The country has become addicted to these ridiculous displays of warlike behavior. God help us if we ever find a need to make peace with someone.
This is undignified and unbecoming of a great nation, dedicated to maintaining stability around the world. No offense to the people of Poland, but you do not need these planes, nor can you afford their upkeep and their regular use. Are you prepared to get a mere 2,100 hours out of them? Is that the sort of bang for your buck you were expecting? Or is this just a boondoggle all the way around?
We are in full banana republic mode now. Again, if there is a God, we could use some help down here.
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
One of the happy side-effects of electing reasonable adults to higher office is that there is an improved chance of becoming a better and stronger country:
There are no serious arguments that demonstrate long-term economic damage to countries that accept immigrants, even in large numbers. During the age of mass migration, a quarter of Europe moved to the United States, which went on to replace Europe at the pinnacle of wealth and power.
A world with more open borders would have a brief spasm of mass movement, and then migration might actually decrease, because money and happiness would be more equitably spread around, and more people would stay home.
To avoid paying the “migration tax,” the rich countries would have to stop propping up dictators, stop starting savage and unnecessary wars, restrain their multinational corporations from ripping off mineral wealth of poor countries and make sure that global trade is more equitable. Or else the migration bill from the devastated country would be prohibitive.
What is good immigration policy for the United States is separate from what is just and moral for the peoples whose destiny America, past and present, has affected. It might make economic sense for the United States to let in more skilled Indians and fewer unskilled Latinos, but America owes them more, and it should open its doors more to its southern neighbors.
History is what has happened and can never un-happen; history is happening right now. Attention needs to be paid. So does the bill.
I agree with this article, and I highly encourage you to read it because it stands head and shoulders above anything else that is under discussion with regards to our foreign policy, America’s changing place in the world, and the desperate need to get our democracy back on track.
We’ve seen a great deal of oversight from the House with regards to Trump and his legal issues. What’s missing is a more comprehensive oversight approach to the State Department and the Department of Defense. The House should move immediately to serve as a check on Trump’s ability to start wars, continue wars, and carry out policies that support dictatorships around the world. If there’s one aspect of Trumpism that has dire consequences for smaller nations around the world it would be his embrace of tyranny and his love of strongmen. Nothing contradicts American values more than that.
But, really. What are we going to do to reset American foreign policy? What assistance are we going to provide to the countries of Central America that are struggling? There is a real danger of having other countries follow Venezuela down the rabbit hole of failed nation/state status. We need to stop the creation of refugees by helping countries get on their feet. They need jobs, anti-corruption assistance, help establishing the rule of law, and help fighting endemic poverty, corruption, and violence.
I haven’t seen an emphasis on Latin American policy since the days of George Herbert Walker Bush. I haven’t seen anyone really look at the economic struggles of the people in that region and come up with a plan. I hope Elizabeth Warren has one, and I hope other Democrats are thinking about what can be done to fix an archipelago of broken nations in our own hemisphere.
Monday, June 10, 2019
Although Mr. Mueller’s investigation did not establish the crime of conspiracy against the Trump campaign under federal statutes, proof of an underlying crime is not required to prove obstruction, because it is the interference with the search for the truth that the law prohibits.
And let’s not forget that the investigation did establish sufficient evidence to charge 37 defendants with crimes, including Russian intelligence officials.
That’s despite the fact that some people, including the president, refused to talk to Mr. Mueller, lied to him, used encrypted messaging apps.
We don’t know what he would have been able to find if not for that kind of obstruction.
The report identified possible motives animating the president’s conduct, all of which would legally support obstruction charges.
Trump committed so many crimes, there’s never going to be a full reckoning. He told people to go out and commit crimes on his behalf, and we have it on the record that they ignored the orders given to them by the President.
When Republicans look at the current regime occupying the White House, they go out of their way to excuse the things that Trump has done because they know the media will never call them on their hypocrisy. The media will give them a pass, always and forever. In three years, there will be Republicans on your TV every day and every night, screaming about some arcane violation of the law committed by whoever is in the White House if they are a Democrat. And the media will go right along with it and make the case that whoever gets into the White House after Trump is “just as bad” or “the same as” or “equally guilty of corruption.”
And it’s all bullshit, of course. No one is going to pay attention to McQuade or her statement unless they value the rule of law and want justice to be done. That is not going to happen until a real Special Counsel is appointed in January, 2020.
A real Special Counsel would have actually interviewed Trump, documented all of his lies, and compared them to everything that the witnesses had to say. That’s the real piece that’s missing. There should be a one for one match for everything Trump did to obstruct justice. Side by side, we should have what Don McGahn had to say and then Trump’s lie or denial next to it. We don’t have that because Robert Mueller III didn’t finish the job.
Was that his fault? Was he fired before he could interview Trump? Or did he give into demands that he not interview Trump and expose him as walking, talking perjury trap in fat pants?
Here’s a great question for all of the Democrats running for president. Who are you going to pick to investigate what really happened between Russia and Trump, and will you finish the job if given the time and resources to do so?
Saturday, June 8, 2019
I’m convinced that this is no mere squabble over nothing. The laws being enacted in the Red states are anti-woman, anti-common sense, and just plain uninformed evil. When there is discrimination like this, you have to vote with your feet and you have to realize that this is how you get on the ride side of history:
Life is full of compromise, I understand. It isn’t easy to make sweeping decisions, especially political ones, when you’re running a corporate empire. There are shareholders, board members, politicians, audience members, foreign leaders, investors, haters (and sometimes lovers) telling you: “Don’t rock the boat! Keep your eyes on the prize!” — the prize, of course, always being money.
Talented, intelligent, ethical and often charitable super-executives have adhered to this thinking for years. Business is one thing, they seem to believe, politics another. It’s fine if they personally oppose certain laws, as long as their opposition doesn’t hurt their work.
But this is different. Politics and work are inseparable when you’re dealing with basic women’s rights. There’s no law that affects women more than anti-abortion legislation and if Hollywood truly supports #MeToo, it must fight that legislation with everything it’s got.
“This is fundamentally against Hollywood’s ideology,” says the producer. “How ironic that at the peak of the #MeToo movement, Hollywood is only paying lip service to women.”
It’s not enough to wait until the law reaches the Supreme Court, praying that the nine justices (with a conservative majority) will overthrow it. This extreme legislation is an act of provocation that will ripple through the South well before then. Other states have followed Georgia’s lead and other politicians will do the same, unless they know the price is high. Just as money affects Hollywood’s thinking, so it does theirs.
A massive number of creative people are going to be hurt by this. I get that, and I can think of several shows that are being made by folks who don’t want to live or work anywhere else. It’s not just Tyler Perry who is going to be hurt by this, but others as well. I hope the impact is temporary and that the laws will be changed so that there is no controversy. But there has to be some political and socio-economic pain for the legislators who enacted Georgia’s restrictive laws against women. Consequences are needed here.
This is how you fight back against ignorance and an attempt to control women’s bodies.
Friday, June 7, 2019
Really, what a jackass.
Trump gave an interview to one of the blondes at Fox News and he was framed sitting in front of an American cemetery in France. This is sacred ground, and of course you want a president to visit these sites and make the sort of remarks that will do justice to the sacrifices that were made.
Instead, you get crass behavior, weird choices, rambling speeches, unhinged whining, and proof that the man doesn’t understand how small he is in relation to the office he holds and his own place in history. You get all the fuckery and none of the glory of seeing carefully stage pageantry. This man can’t even wear pants.
Where’s that famous Time magazine cover? Not the one about whether animals can think. The one where the president is always ‘shrinking’ because of where he is in relation to whatever the Washington media companies believe to be conventional wisdom. Trump has never been popular and has never risen to the occasion of being president. It’s one clusterfuck after another. It must be infrastructure week somewhere, right?
It is shocking to see Trump give an interview of this kind in front of these markers, and in this location. It is the sort of thing that strikes at the heart of what nobody is talking about but everybody knows—Trump is damaged, demented, and unpresidential. We are watching the days and weeks and months roll by and nothing is shocking anymore. He’s an unindicted co-conspirator, the original Individual 1, and every day is an opportunity that is used to line his pockets and promote his properties. You can’t even lead the news with the very idea that Trump is stealing thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars anymore because the American people are numb to it.
I know it is popular to make the claim that he will be re-elected. I get that—I understand what click bait is. But there’s no way the American people are going to put up with any more of this. Trump is under water in all of the battleground states and the reality that he is nothing but a two-bit crook is seeping into the American conscience. They all know he’s a vicious, unhinged asshole with a tendency to steal. They know he has no class. They know his kids are never going to inherit anything because Trump is broke. Is Deutsche Bank going to give Eric Trump three or four hundred million dollars to build a hotel somewhere? Come on. Where does the next bail out come from? Because, right now, Mr. Taxpayer—you’re the bailout for Trump. After that, there’s no one who would possibly give him a loan on anything. Hell, the President of the United States is one of the worst businessmen in the history of everything business related. He found a way to bankrupt his own casinos.
There’s no chance Trump gets re-elected because the people in the middle can’t be fooled a second time. This is a phenomenon that happens once, and when you steal an election, you don’t get a second shot at it. Trump won’t get the pass that George W. Bush got in 2004. That’s the election that should keep people up at night. There’s no one who could possibly believe that Trump will take care of the little people in this country because he hasn’t done that, ever. There isn’t anyone who is going to believe that Trump will be better for the country than any Democrat. That ship has sailed. When John Kerry made the case for himself, he thought he could drape the flag over his shoulders and play to patriotism.
The same is true of Trump. His base will never vote for a war hero or a veteran over their guy. They won’t be moved by logic, reason, or facts. Whoever wins next year better make the case that this fatassed piece of shit has no business being president. They should mock every crazy thing he says and they should run ads featuring Trump whining about Robert Mueller and doing it in front of American graves on foreign soil.
He is not presidential, and he needs to be thrown out on his ass before he steals everything. Even the way he wears his pants will piss you off, and I have no idea why that is.
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Despite enlisting the aid of his wife to help him avoid saying stupid shit about how bitches be crazy or untalented or whatever, he went ahead and let slip the fact that he believes otherwise. You see, as an editor, female writers are useless to him. I can count endless numbers of women who are widely read and incredibly talented on the Internet because I’ve been actively engaged and reading their work for years and years. They are never given the same chances or opportunities. Their voices need to be heard and their work deserves to be circulated, and not subject to hate or vitriol. We are literally starving ourselves of quality because we’re not taking assholes like Goldberg to task for their inability to promote a diversity of opinion that we really need right now.
Oh, and if fucking Chris Cillizza has a job, it means there is a highly capable woman out there who doesn’t have the same audience or reach who could do what he does a million times better. But, editors, man. They can’t find chicks who can write so what are ya gonna do? Cillizza is proof there is no meritocracy in the media.
Fucking idiots. We need different voices, or 2020 will be another shit sandwich of an election.
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
America is now a one-man debacle on the world stage. You couldn’t find a more ridiculous image if you tried, and there are so many now of Trump trying to look and act presidential that it simply cannot be done. One picture tops another picture. He is so far beyond being a mere buffoon that it just doesn’t register anymore.
Whoever let him appear like this in public is good at lying about how good he looks.
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Roger Stone is not in jail right now, but he is under a gag order. That doesn’t mean anything, of course. Here he is, trying to get the media to chase its tail:
Roger Stone—a longtime political ally of President Trump who faces charges of obstruction, witness-tampering and false statements—reportedly posted an Instagram story on Sunday claiming former CIA director John Brennan needed to die for committing treason. “This psycho must be charged, tried, and convicted and hung for treason,” the now-deleted Instagram update read, which also featured a picture of Brennan. After Stone was indicted, Trump came to Stone's defense asking why Brennan—along with others—weren’t also charged with lying to Congress. Brennan served under Obama until January 2017, but later had his security clearance revoked after the White House claimed he lied to Congress about the intelligence community using the infamous Steele Dossier. Stone previously posted a photo on Instagram with a judge's face next to a rifle scope’s cross-hairs, which resulted in the judge threatening to jail him if he violated the gag order placed against him.
I guess Stone is so broke, risking jail makes sense. He gets three hots and a cot, and he gets to raise legal defense funds by pointing to his “unfair” incarceration. Good luck with that, jackass.
It doesn’t do any good, pointing out the absurdity of the Trumpian defense tactics at work here. They are straight out of the fascist play book. Accuse your enemy of doing what you’ve done. Use hyperbole every chance you get. Be outrageous and make grandiose claims every chance you get. Oh, and preen for the cameras and gum up the legal system with phony arguments and delaying tactics.
Our elites have failed to understand—and put an end to—the fact that today’s world favors the shitheel. The cracks in our discourse exist so that people like Stone can exploit them, knowing exactly how to make the media treat him like an equal of those he accused. In terms of professional accomplishment and credibility, are you going to tell me Stone is just as credible as an Obama era political appointee who has actually done the work of defending this country? Stone has done the work of a ratfucker and a sexual deviant, numerous times, and was often laughed out of the respectable halls of power, even when Republicans were in charge.
In 2019, a handful of horrible people have an outsized impact and influence over our national political discourse. Twenty years ago, every single one of them was a running joke. And yet, the situation has reversed itself. They have manipulated the way we are talking to one another to make themselves important. They should be hollering at empty rooms and sending single-spaced typewritten letters to the editor of the local Picayune. Instead, Twitter and Facebook and Instagram have given them a voice that is so out of proportion to the amount of real influence and power they should possess.
The shitheels run everything now. You can be a racist or a Nazi and there are media outlets that will kiss your ass for an unhinged opinion on anything. They command attention, they bring bothsiderisms to the forefront, and they think they are forever. Something has to happen to restructure how we lend credibility to different voices. Social media has failed, and no one has any answers.