Monday, December 30, 2019

Joe Biden is a Centrist


You can ignore anyone freaking out about this. Joe Biden is running as a centrist, and he's trying to appeal to as many people as possible without alienating anyone. This is called "trying to win the presidency" in a time of polarized political discourse.
Joe Biden told voters in New Hampshire on Monday that he would consider choosing a Republican as a running mate, but added, "I can't think of one right now." 
Biden discussed the possibility after a woman told the former vice president that if he is the nominee, he will "have to pull out all the stops." 
"Our 21-year-old son said the other night, 'I wonder if Joe Biden would consider choosing a Republican as a running mate," the woman added. 
"The answer is I would, but I can't think of one now," Biden replied. "Let me explain that. You know there's some really decent Republicans that are out there still, but here's the problem right now ... they've got to step up."
If that sounds out of touch, it is. If that sounds naive, it is. And if it sounds like Biden is pandering to as many people as possible in order to get them to vote for him, he is.

People on the left will hate him for saying it, but Biden really believes that there will be a core group of Republicans who will give him their votes if he wins in November. They won't, but he can believe it all he wants. He remembers the Senate from a decade ago, and he has forgotten how awful things are under Mitch McConnell. 

Biden should have said, "if you can find one that isn't crazy and doesn't support Trump and is willing to switch parties, I might consider it." This is a great way to respond to anyone in the press who asks, "what are you going to do to unite the country?" Biden can hold up his offering to the other side as reason enough to believe him when he says that he will work hard to bring Americans back together. 

In reality, he'll have to deal with whatever GOP opposition is out there, and he'll be hamstrung by Democrats in the Senate who will try to return the institution to normalcy if they take it back this fall. Democrats will bend over backwards to undo McConnell's vandalization of the Senate's rules. And that's the other mistake that might get made here. Biden shouldn't expect Republican support and Senate Democrats should just continue with McConnell's rules and practices in place.

Statements like this can be used to deflect criticism. Biden can say, "look, I'm trying to unite the country and reach out to the other side. Trump's not doing that. I'm reaching across the aisle."

In point of fact, Biden would only pick a Democrat who could deliver electoral votes. He would pick Beto O'Rourke if there was a shot at putting Texas in play (and there is, believe me). He would pick any Democrat from a southern or purple state who could help him (hello, Stacey Abrams). And he wouldn't seriously consider any Republican. This is just a way to float the idea that he's a centrist in comparison to Trump.

And, no, he won't pick a Republican. End of story.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Don Imus Was a Howling Bag of Shit


Don Imus is dead, and I have nothing good to say about him. They will cite his charity work as evidence that he was a good person, but, remember. Charities are hella good tax dodges when you work in the media and make millions.

Imus was a howling, hateful bag of irascible shit, poured through a cheap trucker hat and cut with trucker speed found in a bottle of urine. His outsized political influence gave corrupt Republicans a platform that they used to advance their soul-sucking agenda. He employed racists and nincompoops interchangeably. He used every ounce of influence he had to advance his own interests to the detriment of everyone else so, as far as 20th Century shock jocks go, he was just south of Glenn Beck and well north of whatever dickhead terrorized your mid-sized city until someone figured out how to make money off of a satellite program. He was unemployable for much of his career, and lived in the shadow of better broadcasters. He made people appreciate Howard Stern, for God's sake.

The legacy of Don Imus is this: he made one of a slew of racist jokes that punched down at the Rutgers University women's basketball team and ended up giving us Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough. For that, the devil himself has taken Imus into his bosom and given him a pitchfork and a flaming butt plug.

This is a better world now. Fuck him, fuck his anti-vaccine advocating wife, fuck his legacy. He traded on the need to punch down and kiss ass and tried to make it look like he was doing the opposite.

Good riddance.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Republicans Are Gullible Idiots


The conservative website Townhall is full of stupid people who are able to write things like this and not be taken out of polite society and given a 72 hour mental hold:
I consider Donald Trump one of the greatest presidents this country has ever known. He exudes love of America, boldly pursues excellence, and governs based on incisive common sense rather than nauseating political correctness. 
That said: 
1) Why are Roger Stone and Paul Manafort still languishing in legal purgatory? These men were pursued by the Justice Department – Trump's Justice Department – for one reason only: They helped Trump become president. Yet, so far Trump has let them hang out to dry. 
Democrat lobbyist Tony Podesta committed essentially the same crime for which Manafort was targeted. Yet, the Justice Department decided to grant Podesta immunity and go after Manafort. Why didn't it grant Manafort immunity and go after Podesta? You know the answer. Washington is a swamp. 
Roger Stone, meanwhile, had his home raided in the middle of the night by the FBI for lying during a sham investigation. He can’t even publicly speak about his case now because a totalitarian judge has so ordered. Amazingly, though, when asked on Tuesday whether he would pardon Stone, Trump replied, “I hadn't thought of it.” 
He hadn’t thought of it? Pray tell, why not? Stone is suffering because of his 40-year friendship with the president. If Trump is loyal to his friends – as I and so many other Trump supporters like to believe – he must pardon Stone and Manafort immediately.
This is an interesting "gripe" and it comes with a complete lack of self-awareness that only a Trump supporter could muster. How gullible do you have to be to think that Trump "cares" about the people who perform tasks for him? Buddy, you could save Trump's ass and the minute you're no longer providing something of value, he would sell you out, can your ass, and tickle your wife before the sun goes down.

I could have written this post in the early part of 2017, and, with the exception of Manafort and Stone being in jail, it would have had zero effect. No one actually understands what is happening, save the handful of people who might read this post. The media doesn't get it. The country certainly does not get it. I mean, come on. The fact that Trump uses people and discards them was known in the 1980s when he abandoned Roy Cohn.

We are three years into a "regime" that does not respect the rule of law. Not one, not two, but hundreds of otherwise unemployable people have been fired or disappeared from Trump's orbit because of insufficient loyalty and a lack of usefulness. Many languish in their own private hell, having to take Wingnut Welfare from people like Peter Thiel or the Sackler family in order to maintain a standard of living that resides between destitution and not being able to pay the bill at Red Robin. Some are giving hand jobs down at the bus station, or so we would be told if there was a reporter who was tracking that sort of thing.

Manafort has not been pardoned yet because he's tainted with criminality; Stone hasn't been pardoned because why would he? Paul and Roger know the drill. They don't get pardoned until Trump is reasonably convinced that there's something in it for him and for him alone.

I would have thought that Trump would have released a dozen or more pardons on Christmas Eve, just to give the media some catnip to chase around. But, no. The grifter knows that once people are no longer of any material use in his transactional world, leaving them high and dry is the best option. It keeps the remaining staff in line. It keeps the people who are about to go into the barrel from realizing that they can say things to the Feds and get away with their crimes. The reason why he hasn't already pardoned Stone is because Stone is no longer providing anything of value to Trump. He has moved on to other ratfuckers and toadies. Once Roger stopped being relevant, that was the end of him.

It's my opinion that Trump believes that Manafort and Stone talked to the Feds, even though there's virtually an avalanche of evidence that they protected Trump. That's the beauty of being paranoid--you can never go wrong withholding a pardon for someone who did the right thing by you and ended up in jail. It gives them hope, and it is something of value that you can wave around whenever it is useful.

Trump might still pardon him, though. But, really. Why bother? You put Roger out there and he'll just screech on the low-rent outlets and give shitty advice that has been overtaken by events. He'll get with that hyperventilating bag of human shit Alex Jones and they'll have a three hour pity party. Letting him rot in prison keeps him from cooperating further because it is the promise of a pardon that is withheld that keeps Stone quiet. If he thinks there's even the slightest chance of a reprieve in it for him, he'll stay in prison and not squeal.

Manafort will die in prison, and soon, and Trump does not care. He couldn't be bothered to care. I would be willing to bet you that when Manafort croaks, Trump will laugh and remember only the good times, when he got cheap labor and the nomination of the GOP out of having him around.

Any and all who show even the slightest loyalty to Trump know that this is their fate. They are going to be asked to ruin their own reputations and their own political viability in exchange for nothing beyond the immediate gratification that is found in licking Trump's shoes in public. It takes a person with no self-esteem and no belief in American virtues to spend more than a few weeks working in the Trump regime. This is what a tyrannical kleptocracy that is bereft of decency in the American style looks like, after all. The fact that there are so many people willing to debase themselves is sad but not a surprise if you've been paying attention.

It's old hat right now, laughing at people who are deluded enough to think that this hasn't been true from the start. Doesn't anyone pay attention?

Elliott Resnick would love to sell out and work for Trump. What a transaction that would be! But how useful would his service be to a man who already has hundreds of sycophants working long hours and are prepared to suffer endless amounts of abuse? Not very. You have to bring a lot more to the table than a self-serving plea for a Roger Stone pardon, Mr. Resnick. You should be writing post after post after post about something the president can use to fight his enemies. 

You know, Trump's real enemies. The truth, the American people, and the common good. Figure out how to give him something that he can use like a cudgel against these things and you might just have a shot at working long hours for nothing. It is always expected that you will flay away your very soul and everything you have in service to the king. You are the straw that is put on the road as his carriage passes over. You are insignificant and already forgotten.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Spoiler Alert


Tulsi Gabbard is going to work very, very hard to re-elect Trump:
Tulsi Gabbard has been slowly edging toward leaving the Democratic Party and, it now seems more likely than not, launching a spoiler candidacy to peel disaffected left-wing votes away from the Democrats. Her “present” vote on impeachment, followed by a disavowal of what she called the “zero-sum mind-set the two political parties have trapped America in,” sets the stage for Gabbard to play the role of 2020’s Jill Stein.
Left-wing anti-anti-Trumpism played an important role in the bizarre 2016 outcome. Die-hard Bernie activists, fired up with anger at the release of DNC emails stolen by Russians that purportedly showed the party had rigged the primary, demonstrated against the party outside its convention hall and tried to drown out the speakers inside with boos. Stein attacked Hillary Clinton from the left, then audaciously staged a grift-y fundraising scheme supposedly to hold recounts in the states she had labored to flip to Trump. Trump’s election appeared to deliver the same shock of reality that had vaporized Ralph Nader’s 2000 support.
But Gabbard’s emergence is another indication that the disaffection that drove these events has not disappeared. Anti-anti-Trumpism has maintained a small but durable intellectual infrastructure. The sentiments that first registered as dissent from the Russia investigation transferred to impeachment, and a chorus of left-wing voices is attacking the effort to remove Trump from office as at best a misguided diversion and at worst a deep-state coup.
Gabbard knows she can spend the next calendar year raising money from unsophisticated voters who were never going to give their money to a Democrat anyway. She knows that there is a segment of what the press calls "the left" that does not support Democratic Party candidates and actually leans more "socially liberal, fiscally conservative." These are people that will tell you that they want someone to do something about the housing crisis, but they better not do it in their neighborhood because they know someone on the County Board.

The Democratic Party has tried to appeal to these voters, and it always ends up going south on them. Contrary to what Twitter tells you, the Democrats get creamed when they move too far to the left, especially in a way that allows the Republicans to call them out on it. When Democrats find that sweet spot just to the left of center, they end up with Clinton and Obama. Yes, people do want the policies and governance that Democrats bring to the table. They just don't want you to tell them that they're voting for left wing policies.

Gabbard is one of those useful idiots who ended up getting elected because she could convince voters in Hawaii that she was one of them. In some part, yes, but in terms of being an actual Democrat, no.

Flash forward to the fetish that right wing nut jobs have for Gabbard and the rather useful segment of the electorate that pretends to be smart and doesn't know anything. These are people who are disaffected and don't trust the two party system. They may look and feel like liberals, but they draw the line at doing anything that would actually produce liberal policies for people in need. Think of anyone who acts in a contrarian manner, and can't stand the idea of actually being a part of something, and doesn't know a goddamned useful thing. They're not stupid enough to be libertarians, but stick around a week and they might.

That's your Gabbard/Sarandon/Stein voter, writ large.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Trump is an Abject Failure as President


It stands to reason that the media should report the facts of what has happened over the last three years. By every possible measure of what it means to be an effective, legitimate president, Trump has failed. He has failed to govern responsibly and he has been consumed by the corruption of his "administration."

Elect Republicans, expect criminal behavior.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Matt Bevin is a Terrible Human Being


It should be clear to every American that Republicans are putting the very worst human beings up for office in every corner of this country. In Kentucky, they gave us a monster named Matt Bevin.
In his final days in office, former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin issued hundreds of pardons and commutations to people he said he would not hesitate to welcome as neighbors, co-workers or members of his church.  
The pardons largely drew shock and outrage, not only because of the sheer number or apparent political motivations, but also because some involved violent criminals, including convicted murderers and rapists.  
Still, Bevin, a Republican, further enraged critics when he said during a radio interview Thursday with WHAS in Louisville that he pardoned a child rapist partly because the hymen of the 9-year-old victim was still intact.  
When WHAS host Terry Meiners asked Bevin about the pardon, the former governor focused on the lack of evidence from physical examinations of the victim and her sister.

"Both their hymens were intact," Bevin said. "This is perhaps more specific than people would want, but trust me, if you had been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically."
We now live in a country where white men get to demonstrate their expertise on the hymens of little girls. Let that sink in for a while.

If this doesn't compel every decent person to vote against the GOP, then what the hell would? The rights of women and children are under vicious assault. Your health care is in mortal danger. The country is largely undefended and in the hands of compromised individuals. Money is flowing into the pockets of corrupt politicians. The environment is, literally, on fire. And people like Matt Bevin are in the mainstream of Republican politics. 

This is not by accident. This is the shit show they want every person to live in.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Impeach the Bum


Well, the hour approaches. A reluctant Democratic Party in the House is getting ready to impeach the worst president in American history. If there were even a shred of decency in the Republican Party, they would vote with the Democrats and make it unanimous.

Think of the impact it would have. Of course, there are a handful of batshit crazy cranks who wouldn't vote to impeach Trump. Those bastards need to be thrown out of office, too. Think of a GOP in the House that says, "yes, we will defend American democracy" and vote en masse to impeach Trump. Think of the psychological impact of 120 GOP votes from the House as the articles of impeachment land on Mitch McConnell's desk.

It wouldn't change the firewall in the Senate. There aren't even a dozen decent Republicans within a million miles of the place. They'll hold the line, and they'll maintain the status quo, which is sickening the entire country and introducing a poison into our collective bloodstream that will take generations to cure.

Impeach this goddamned bum. Impeach the living hell out of him. He has not one decent attribute, and it already planning his next series of crimes.

Impeach the bum.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Support Swing State Democrats


Representative Elissa Slotkin is going to put her political future in jeopardy and support the impeachment of noted criminal and stumblebum, Donald Trump:
Democratic U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Holly said Monday she would support articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, reducing the number of apparent undecided Michigan Democrats to two.

The first-term congresswoman and former Central Intelligence Agency analyst supported an impeachment inquiry this year but had yet to voice her position on two articles of impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. She decided to support the articles of impeachment over the weekend at her farm in Holly, she said.
During a raucous constituent meeting inside the Oakland Center at Oakland University, Slotkin said she would stick to her decision regardless of what happens politically "because this is bigger than politics."

The comments by the Holly Democrat were often drowned out by protesters, making it difficult for reporters and roughly 400 attendees to hear what she was saying. She opened her remarks — which were greeted with boos and applause — by saying she was glad to see such enthusiasm for civic engagement.
You're going to see more and more of this because the GOP is, frankly, out of ideas and has no way to defend the lawlessness of the Trump era.  There are only a relative handful of vulnerable Democrats in the House, and most of the Republicans holding seats that could lean Democratic have already announced their retirement. This is just their way of trying to staunch the bleeding.

Remember that Trump is extremely unpopular and has the worst approval numbers of any president in the modern era. Herpes and a day long excursion to the Department of Motor Vehicles are all polling higher than the idea of Trump remaining in his current position as the foolish master of a gangster administration that is well into using its own stash of brain-debilitating drugs. Democrats have to protect seats currently occupied by Elissa Slotkin, Abigail Spanberger, and Angie Craig of Minnesota

These Democrats are going to be the subject of ad buys and negative coverage. The GOP is going to use money against them that would otherwise defend Republicans in seats that could be flipped next year (again, they're abandoning the party and running for the exits).  We need to support them and protect them wherever possible. Every Republican who supports Trump needs to be thrown out of office in order to protect our democracy. Every damned one of them.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Democrats Are Trying to Save America


Never forget that Trump is a bum. A cheating, lying, stealing bum. He's the kind of bum that gives actual bums (who are usually down on their luck and doing the best they can) a bad name. He's a bum on purpose, you see, and that's the kind of bum that the American people want to see thrown out of office. He's never going to be presidential because he's just a goddamned bum, you see.

But, sometimes, I think the media is worse:
As Washington braces for this week’s expected vote to impeach President Donald Trump, partisan battle lines hardened on Sunday, with Democrats defending impeachment even if Trump isn’t removed from office and Republicans denouncing the integrity of the constitutional process. 
The Democratic-controlled House planned to vote Wednesday on two articles of impeachment against the Republican president, and the decision whether to make Trump the third U.S. president in history to be impeached was expected to play out along party lines. There is some debate between the White House and GOP-run Senate about the contours of the Senate trial anticipated in January, but there seems little doubt the Senate would acquit Trump. 
But a seemingly predetermined result has not convinced Democrats that their impeachment effort, which was prompted by Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate a Trump political foe, was in vain. Framing the matter as a national security issue, the chairman of the House committee that led the investigation insisted it was “not a failure in the sense of our constitutional duty in the House.” 
“This misconduct goes on, the threat to our election integrity coming up goes on,” said Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who heads the House Intelligence Committee. ``It’s a clear and present danger, I think, to our democracy, and not something that we can turn away from simply because the Republicans in the House refuse to do their duty, and continuing to put the person of the president above their personal obligation.”
For the media to suggest that this was partisan is ridiculous. If it was partisan, there wouldn't have been all that evidence of Trump abusing his power. If it was partisan, the actual evidence Trump released wouldn't have been so damning. If it was partisan, the multiple officials who testified on behalf of the country and not for or against Trump wouldn't have been so compelling.

There is only right and wrong, and Trump was so completely and utterly on the side of wrong it shocked people into risking their careers to stand up FOR THE COUNTRY. They stood up for the rule of law, the Constitution, and for the common good. They did it for you, and for me, and for future generations.

Framing this as a partisan thing is exactly the wrong way to approach what happened here. Trump is a bum who abused his power, see, and now he's going to be impeached for it. The day after they impeach Trump, he'll be back to committing crimes and abusing his power because Moscow Mitch is just fine with all of that. 

The media should frame this as what happens when a crime syndicate seizes power and holds it. The media should correctly identify the Republican caucus in the House and Senate as the enablers and the accomplices to an ongoing crime spree. And this is, by all means, just the tip of what we know and a sliver of what has leaked out. 

Think of all the crimes we don't know about yet that will shock future generations and will forever have people wondering why we weren't turning out by the tens of millions to lock down Washington D.C. and put a stop to all of this.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

You Can't Run as a Lame Duck


If you understand what happened the first and the second time that Joe Biden ran for president, you can't help but look at this story and shake your head in disgust:

Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden has denied ever discussing with his campaign whether he would only serve one term if elected in 2020.
"I don't have plans on one term. I'm not even there yet," Mr Biden said.
Politico earlier quoted four people "who regularly talk to Biden" saying it was "virtually inconceivable that he will run for re-election" in 2024.
In 2024, Mr Biden, now 77, will be 82. America has never had a sitting octogenarian president.
Kate Bedingfield, Mr Biden's deputy campaign manager, denied the claims in the Politico story.
"Lots of chatter out there on this so just want to be crystal clear: this is not a conversation our campaign is having and not something VP Biden is thinking about," she wrote in a tweet.
The right response is to fire the person who leaked that, if they can be identified, and to dismiss this as something out of left field. Barring that, you never set yourself up as a lame duck, one term president, no matter what. This is why Biden is not running away with the primary and it is why the Democratic Party is flailing right now. We need capable candidates, and I think we have a handful of those. We also need people to engage on the issues and think about why they would support someone like Biden.

If Joe wins the nomination, he'll have my vote. But I think he will be a weak candidate, and it is largely because of his age and his inability to win the nomination in previous attempts. He was given the Vice Presidency largely because of a perceived ability to deliver smart political analysis and votes in the Senate for the Obama presidency. I don't know that he ever really delivered on that in a way that supports the idea that he should be president.

Yes, he would be a million times better than Trump. But that's not the standard that should be applied. We need to find a candidate who destroys Trump's chances of winning as narrowly as he did when Russia helped him steal the 2016 election. We need a president who will repair and restore the country over the course of two solid terms. We don't need this bullshit.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

America's Worst Lawyer, Continued


File this under the category, "you're not helping."

The Republican Party has long been a cult made up of people who believe in nothing but grievances. The fact that they are awful people who hate democracy and demonstrate willful incompetence has nothing to do with it.

If you look at Rudy Giuliani, he is resplendent in his obesity, refusing to take care of himself and moderate his intake of food and bullshit. His ridiculous phone is begging to fall out of his ill-fitting white business shirt, and is liable to butt-dial virtually anyone when it hits the floor.

Trump's party is doubling down on the idea that they are going to be beaten in 2020 unless they cheat. And, if they cheat, and get caught, there will be no consequences. The pardons have likely already been written. The media has already let them off the hook.

Imagine if every news outlet were to reinforce the idea that Trump should be impeached AND denied a place on the 2020 ballot specifically because of what Giuliani is doing as we speak. Some people disqualify themselves from public life through their actions. If there was any shame left in these grifters, they would have left town years ago.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Endlessly Repeating Ourselves



If things were even remotely normal, none of this would be necessary to have to state in public:
"The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So while the President can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron."
The thing that runs through the impeachment hearings is that we are endlessly repeating ourselves and restating basic facts as if there's anything to argue about here. There really isn't anything to discuss--the admitted actions of Trump impeach him without the necessity of any kind of hearing or review. So, it's all a farce on the part of Republicans to pretend that they can argue their way out of the hole that has been dug here.

Trump's failed presidency is more than enough evidence that we should have impeached and removed him in the spring of 2017 when he fired James Comey. And I say that as someone who believes that Comey should have been fired long before Trump even took office.

So, if there's anything to be upset about, it's the fact that we have wasted the last several years pretending this was a normal presidency in the first place. It has been a fiasco that we sentenced ourselves to through our own inability to recognize what Trump was when he was busy telling us who he was. I'm glad that we have heard people speak out about Trumpism and the place where we find ourselves. This has been a reaffirmation of what it means to have a democracy, and we should be grateful for the fact that people like Professor Pamela Karlan have decided to put the country ahead of their own self-interest and testify before the least qualified bunch of Republicans that have ever served in Congress.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

This Thing is On

Everything is fine. The migration to blogger is almost complete. Everything is still insane in American politics.

Meanwhile, there is this.


I used to walk by the Milam building every weekday. I miss it.