Sunday, September 27, 2020

Seven Hundred and Fifty Dollars

What the fuck?

Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes whatsoever in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000 because he reported losing significantly more than he made, according to an explosive report released Sunday by the New York Times

In both the year he won the presidency and his first year in the White House, Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes, the Times reported. 

Detailing payments gleaned from more than two decades of tax information, the Times report outlines extensive financial losses and years of tax avoidance that deal a blow to the business-tycoon brand Trump has built his political career on.

At a White House briefing Sunday, Trump denied the New York Times story and claimed that he pays "a lot" in federal income taxes.

I mean, what the fuckity fuck?

The Times reported Sunday that Trump's tax information reveals specific examples of the potential conflicts of interests between the President's business with his position. 

The President has collected an additional $5 million a year at Mar-a-Lago since 2015 from new members. A roofing material manufacturer GAF spent at least $1.5 million in 2018 at Trump's Doral golf course near Miami while its industry was lobbying the government to roll back federal regulations, according to the Times. 

It also found that Billy Graham Evangelistic Association paid more than $397,000 to Trump's Washington, DC, hotel in 2017.

The newspaper reported that in Trump's first two years in office, he has collected $73 million in revenue overseas, with much of that coming from his golf courses but some coming from licensing deals in countries, including the Philippines, India and Turkey.

Holy fucking shit.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Many Fine People Wearing T-Shirts


Andrew Kimmel is covering today's white nationalism rally in Portland, Oregon. The Proud Boys have come from all over to carry out acts of provocative violence against American citizens who are exercising their right to protest.

In about a year's time, when there is a Democrat in the White House, these same people will be exercising their own right to protest against anyone who they deem a threat to their belief in white supremacy. Instead of carrying out acts of violence against protesters, they'll probably be shaking hands with the cops and damaging or seizing Federal property.

How did we get to this point in American history? Look no further than the seizure and occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in, where else, Oregon.

When anti-government wingnuts and white supremacists are allowed to get away with criminal activity, they tend to continue with that criminal activity in order to draw attention and donations to their cause. These are people who literally can't hold down a steady, normal job anymore because they are too well known in their communities as racists and fuckheads. And so, white supremacy becomes their full-time occupation.

This is all paid for by the Republicans who tolerate and encourage this activity. Without it, they couldn't steal any elections.

Tess Owen is also tracking what's happening today. Please follow Andrew and Tess and support their efforts!

The Extremist


There are a number of reasons to oppose Amy Coney Barrett but the simplest reason is right in front of everyone's faces.

She's an extremist.

She holds extreme views that are out of the mainstream of legal thought.

She will vote to make abortion illegal.

She'll vote to end the Affordable Care Act.

She will side with large corporations against all others.

This is all based on her actual record as a judge. This is not my opinion. She's so extreme, the right wing is practically having a public orgasm over her being chosen. That, in and of itself, should disqualify her from being on the court but it won't.

Oh, and the media is too stupid to explain why she's so extreme. They'll frame it in simple terms. "How could this attractive young woman have views far to the right of Antonin Scalia? It's unheard of. Besides, she has a wonderful smile and Democrats are just stupid."

She's too extreme for the court that she's already on! And now they want to elevate her to the Supreme Court where she will sit for forty years and vote without reservation for a view of America that is so far to the right, John Birch would blush.

This is where we're at because some squishy people couldn't bring themselves to vote for Hillary.

You get the country you deserve when you don't vote or if you don't vote for reasonable people. The end result is going to hurt an untold number of people and drive more and more Americans into poverty and ruin. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Remember That They Hate You

If you are not in their tribe, they want to see you serving their needs and paying the price for their success in this world:

The Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Police Department is looking into a derogatory email a police major sent to her colleagues in August that said people who are part of antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement are "punks" who are not important, a spokesman said.

 The email was written by Maj. Bridget Hallahan, who commands the police department's Fifth Division.

Hallahan, 47, confirmed to NBC News on Thursday that she sent the email and said fellow officers have been supportive. She also said she retires in six days.

 Phillip Bailey, a journalist in Louisville, tweeted screenshots of the email Tuesday evening. He said it had been provided to him by an unnamed law enforcement source.

In the email, Hallahan writes:

"These ANTIFA and BLM people, especially the ones who just jumped on the bandwagon 'yesterday' because they became 'woke' (insert eye roll here), do not deserve a second glance or thought from us," it continues. "Our little pinky toenails have more character, morals, and ethics, than these punks have in their entire body."

These are the sentiments of someone incapable of serving the community in which they live. You can have different beliefs and you can have values that aren't shared by the people that you are required to serve and protect. But if this is how you feel about your fellow Americans, you have joined a tribe that excludes all others and is not in the business of protecting anyone else or taking care of public safety. If this is how Hallahan feels then she should get out of the public sector and go to work somewhere else (which is apparently her right and her intention very soon).

There is no dedication to civics here. It's just raw, unfiltered rage. This woman took a job as a police officer and rose within the ranks without a moment of introspection. She believes that the people who live in her community are mere animals to be handled and discarded and abused. No public servant should ever say these things about the same people who are paying her goddamned salary.

Thanks again, Trumpists. You have helped break the country. She was probably already like this from the start but something about the last four years made it easier for her to spout these horrible ideas.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

This is How the Sausage Gets Made

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is up to his neck in criminal mischief:

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told a judge the U.S. Postal Service can’t reassemble the hundreds of high speed mail-sorting machines that were taken apart this year, a project that more than a dozen states allege was intended to undermine the upcoming election.

A nationwide injunction issued last week in Yakima, Washington, should be amended to acknowledge that the machines can’t be put back together, DeJoy and the USPS said in a filing in the case on Wednesday. The machines, dismantled under a DeJoy initiative, were stripped for parts to improve or repair other machines, they said.

“It is therefore not possible to return such machines to service,” the USPS and DeJoy, a major Republican donor, said in the filing.

The Sept. 17 injunction granted by U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Bastian, requires the USPS to reverse disruptive operational changes implemented by DeJoy, including restrictions on overtime and changes to the handling of election mail, such as absentee ballots applications. The order was sought by a group of Democratic state attorneys general who have sued the postal service.

DeJoy is a wealthy man. Surely he can afford to sell some of his stocks and sell off some of his assets to replace and restore the mail sorting equipment that was destroyed because he wants to ensure Trump gets re-elected? Seems to me that the first thing a new administration is going to have to do is deal with the second tier criminality of all the Trump appointees after it deals with the first tier criminality of Trump and his family members.

The third tier will be when we get to the Stephen Millers of the world who should be handed over to The Hague and charged with crimes against humanity.

I mean, there's so much criminal activity out there. Can we ever really be sure that we know about all of it? What about everything we're going to spend the next twenty years discovering? Watching DeJoy make the sausage like this is wearing me out. First he takes a fully functional Federal agency that the American people love and depend upon. Then he evaluates how to destroy it. And, finally, he just does it and makes everything permanent! Suck it, libs. You can always spend money we no longer have to rebuild it next year! But, remember. You can't raise taxes on shit birds like DeJoy in order to pay for it.

Truly, it boggles the mind to consider the criminal behavior of the one-term Trump Regime. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Collusion is Happening Right Out in the Open

No one in the Trump Regime is defending this country against our enemies:
Nine current and former officials said in interviews that CIA Director Gina Haspel has become extremely cautious about which, if any, Russia-related intelligence products make their way to President Donald Trump’s desk. Haspel also has been keeping a close eye on the agency’s fabled “Russia House,” whose analysts she often disagrees with and sometimes accuses of purposefully misleading her.

Politico talked to a number of people who are practically crapping all over Gina Haspel's tenure as the head of the CIA. Someone is probably figuring out how they can file a lawsuit over how they've been treated as a government employee: 

Haspel’s scrutiny of intelligence coming out of the CIA’s Russia House has led to some recent dust-ups. The head of Russia House, whom officials declined to identify by name because they work undercover, was fired earlier this year, according to four of the current and former officials familiar with the matter, but remains at the agency in another mission center. It’s not clear why he was ousted, but Haspel’s personal dislike of him was clear. “Gina was not a fan,” said one of the people familiar with the matter.

Another Russia House analyst quit earlier this year after Haspel accused him of lying about intelligence — an accusation that happens fairly often, several former officials said. “She calls analysts liars all the time,” said one former CIA official. The head of the mission center itself is still in place.
More recently, Haspel “completely dismissed” Russia House analysts who brought her intelligence showing a correlation between Russia and the curious phenomenon of diplomats experiencing brain trauma, according to one current U.S. official with knowledge of the episode. The brain trauma issue first came to light in 2017 when American and Canadian embassy staff in Cuba complained of mysterious health problems that have never been definitively explained.

“She had a very defensive reaction, reacted very poorly and made some comments about needing to clean out Russia House,” the official said.

Why would anyone accept a diplomatic assignment overseas? Why would anyone put themselves in a position where they would have to answer for finding out that the president is owned lock, stock and barrel by a bunch of Russian oligarchs? Why would anyone work for such an agency given the abuse that comes from the top? And why would anyone conclude that the interests of the American people are being considered against the need for Trump to appease his Russian paymasters?

If there wasn't already ample evidence that our country is essentially a vassal state of the Kremlin, what more proof would you need? A hammer and sickle tattoo on Trump's plump white diapered ass?

Monday, September 21, 2020

Robert Mueller Betrayed His Country

This is what you get when a lifelong Republican is tasked with investigating a Republican president:

Nobody in the GOP believes in the rule of law or the idea of America. Those are convenient catchphrases when they want to throw people in prison or stop the Democratic Party from expanding freedom for the American people. It is a cult of power. When they hold power, they stop social progress and transfer wealth to the rich. When they do not hold power, they desperately try to stop human progress.

The entirety of the conservative argument for governance is now wrapped around making sure that after Trump is thrown out of office that they can go back to a more polite form of advancing the cause of white supremacy and handing trillions of dollars to the rich.

Robert Mueller knew that if he acted like a normal prosecutor he would find crimes. The crimes have been committed out in the open since day fucking one! The crimes are right there for normal people to see! But, as a committed defender of the Republican Party, he had to ensure that his investigation did not end up destroying any chance of the GOP winning the presidency in the post-Trump era.

Institutionalists defend their own, and that's what Mueller did. He carried out a weak, pathetic excuse for an investigation into the greatest criminal enterprise in history. He let the Trump crime syndicate walk.

This was a betrayal of the American ideal. The founders could not have anticipated Trump nor could they have accounted for men like Mueller who would facilitate the wholesale ratfucking and betrayal of democracy itself.

And the very idea that Mueller could not--could not--question the adult children of Donald Trump is the biggest farce of all. These are adults who appear to have committed numerous crimes. These are adults whose criminal activities--all of them proven in the State of New York--have resulted in being banned from operating charities. This is a level of deference that would never, ever be shown to any Democratic politician's family members or children. 

What a fucking travesty of justice. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Eric Trump Will Do Whatever He Wants and You Can't Stop Him

You peasants are lucky that the Trump family even lets you live in their country:

Eric Trump is willing to be interviewed by the New York State Attorney General's Officefor its investigation into the Trump Organization after the presidential election, according to a new court filing.
"(I)n recent correspondence, counsel for Mr. Trump have made clear that he is willing to appear pursuant to the subpoena and have also proposed four available dates after the Presidential election on November 3, 2020," lawyers for the Trump Organization wrote in a court filing Thursday.

"(C)ounsel for Mr. Trump proposed multiple dates beginning shortly after the election -- just two weeks later on November 19 -- because of Mr. Trump's extreme travel schedule and related unavailability between now and the election, and to avoid the use of his deposition attendance for political purposes," the attorneys added.

Last month, New York state Attorney General Letitia James' office asked a judge to enforce subpoenas for Eric Trump's testimony and documents as part of its investigation into whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated the value of certain assets. The office said Trump, who is executive vice president of the Trump Organization, initially agreed to be interviewed for the civil investigation in July but then abruptly canceled, "balking less than two days before he was scheduled by agreement to give testimony."

In the world in which the Republican Party lives, you can not and you will not question THE LEADER or HIS FAMILY and you will BOW DOWN to the power they have seized OR ELSE. Nice work if you can get it. This is not the sort of due process anyone else is granted when accused of defrauding the taxpayers and committing insurance fraud.

Everywhere you go, Democrats are operating under the assumption that they have to treat the Trumps fairly and with a level of respect they have not earned by paying any taxes. These are criminals and cheats, people so fucking crooked that they cannot even run a charity anymore. These are people who have stolen donations for kids with cancer and have looted the country. They should be treated like criminals who are innocent until proven guilty and afforded the due process that they deny to others. Watching the Trumps game the legal system with delays and filings and appeals and objections is like watching an adult take candy from a baby.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Jeff Zucker is a Direct Threat to American Democracy

The fix has always been in:
As the pandemic deaths mount, huge sections of the West Coast burn, Trump threatens military action against possible post-election protesters, and the U.S. economy remains stuck in a dire state of decline, it's important to understand how the country came to this crisis under Trump. And it's imperative that the media's role in creating Trump's doomed presidency doesn’t get overlooked or downplayed. The news media's failings in 2016 were legendary and the country today is paying a stunning price. That's why disturbing new revelations about CNN's relationship with Trump during the 2016 campaign are so infuriating.

According to a recently leaked phone call from the height of the Republican primary season, CNN chief Jeff Zucker called Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen to butter up team Trump: "You guys have had great instincts, great guts and great understanding of everything." Zucker stressed how "fond" he was of Trump, wished he could talk to him "every day," and then floated the idea of giving Trump a "weekly show" on CNN during the campaign. Zucker ended the call by announcing he was going to call Trump directly and "wish him luck in the debate tonight…He's going to do great."

A weekly show? CNN wanted to hand over airtime exclusively to one of the candidates running for president? Ethically, that's unthinkable. Why would the head of a news organization be trying to broker that kind of deal during a campaign year? It's inconceivable, unless you view American presidential campaigns as nothing more that entertainment, and your job as the head of CNN is to secure pleasing content.
Now you know why CNN always has some hangdog-looking schmoe who is always eager to tell people that Trumpism ain't that bad. There are no arguments to make for a second Trump term in office. There are stacks and stacks of bodies and an entire nation approaching economic collapse. There is no reason to think Trump won't retaliate against everyone opposed him and ensure that he is an American dictator for life if he steals the November election.

Jeff Zucker will be right there, courting Trump and looking for a way to cash in.

A Biden presidency will be the most boring, reasonable thing you can imagine. We might get to go a whole week without a shit-headed rant from the president. We might get to go two full days without a major scandal that would sink a normal presidency. We might get to go four fucking hours without someone burping out a racist, bigoted statement from an official government social media account. That would hurt CNN's bottom line. They would have to cover the news and they would be required to talk about why Biden is actively fixing everything Trump and his cronies broke on the way out the door.

No one stands more ready to dance on the bones of democracy than Jeff Zucker. When all of this is over, maybe he and Trump can go start a news channel together.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Mike Pompeo Wants the White People to Know He Loves Them

I find it hard to believe that Trump would tolerate what Mike Pompeo is doing right out in the open like this:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is quietly relaunching his extravagant, taxpayer-funded "Madison Dinners" during the coronavirus pandemic, even as Congress scrutinizes his use of government resources to entertain CEOs, big-dollar Republican donors and television anchors.
 Pompeo's Madison Dinners, which an NBC News investigationrevealed in May, had been on pause since March, when the country shut down because of the coronavirus. But now they're back, with a dinner scheduled for Monday and at least three others on the calendar in September and October, two U.S. officials said.

I mean, if Trump loses in November, the mad scramble to round up all the goobers and create a new coalition of freaks, racists, QAnon believers, and bellowing crazies is going to have to start sooner rather than later. You have to organize the nut jobs in such a way as to separate them from their money when they're good and angry about being told they have health care and clean drinking water, you see.

Pompeo knows that he will barely have a shot at getting out ahead of Ivanka Trump and the withering, manly stare of War Hero Mike Pence before Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton swoop in ahead of Nikki Haley to seize the RNC donor lists that Ronna Romney is hiding in her bra. What better way to do this than to reassure a bunch of white people that he's white like them and that he believes in the white supremacy that these white assholes believe in with all of their whiteness? 

I mean, honestly. Does anyone really think that the people gathered above are there for the witty conversation? This is about the soul of white America and they're looking for a hero. Instead, they get Pompeo and whatever cheap catered food he can shove in their face. It's not looking too good for him, but who gives a shit, right?

Horrible Old England is Delivering Scottish Independence

The Scottish people are going to find a way to become independent of what's destroying England right now:
Ewan McGregor has shared his support for the Scottish independence campaign, in a U-turn from his previous ‘no’ stance.

Speaking in a new interview, the Star Wars actor cited the 2016 Brexit deal as the main reason for his change of heart.

Talking on the Real Time with Bill Maher show (40 mins in), McGregor said: “I was always for keeping the Union because I think it worked – but after the Brexit vote I’ve changed my tune about it I think.

The entire Brexit deal is a death blow to the idea that the British Isles can remain united under any circumstances. There is a terrible divide between what animates the bankers in London, who are in love with disaster capitalism, and the people who live in places like Glasgow who want to have toilet paper and food and drinkable water when they get up in the morning. 

We are going to see our own version of this in January of 2021. A vast swath of America will decide that "states rights!" will become the law of their land and they will not consent to being governed by a Democrat. They'll rise up in phony outrage at this prospect.

Vladimir Putin has had quite an effect on Western Democracy, hasn't he? Well, the end result is going to remake the world. America will have to deal with those who do not wish to be ruled by majority vote. And Scotland will have to find a way out of the darkness created by a political sect in England that imagined itself capable of separating from the European Union so that they could cash in. Good luck to everyone who believes in the idea of democracy. There are going to be long days ahead as we maintain these ideas.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Here They Come

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) recently alerted one of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firms that it had been targeted by suspected Russian state-backed hackers, according to three people briefed on the matter.

The hacking attempts targeted staff at Washington-based SKDKnickerbocker, a campaign strategy and communications firm working with Biden and other prominent Democrats, over the past two months, the sources said.

A person familiar with SKDK’s response to the attempts said the hackers failed to gain access to the firm’s networks. “They are well-defended, so there has been no breach,” the person said.
SKDK Vice Chair Hilary Rosen declined to comment. A Biden spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The hacking attempts on SKDK come as U.S. intelligence agencies have raised alarms about possible efforts by foreign governments to interfere in the November presidential election.
Investigations by former special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate intelligence committee both concluded that affiliates of the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and Mueller has warned that Russia was meddling in the current campaign.

One of the sources said it was not clear whether Biden’s campaign was the target or whether the Russians were attempting to gain access to information about other SKDK clients.

This is not surprising nor is a shock. We knew this was going to happen and we know that the GOP's efforts to block any effort to bolster America's cyber defenses are going to result in a seriously compromised election. The Republican leadership in the Senate have effectively blocked virtually every attempt to fight back against Russian interference in our election.

In and of itself, this is another example of collusion with an adversary that is trying to subvert and destroy our democracy. I wish the media would wake up, and I don't think we're going to find out what's going on until well after the election.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Republicans Love to Help the Russians


Ken Cuccinelli couldn't get elected dog catcher so he ended up working for Trump in the Department of Homeland Security. Instead of functioning more or less like a normal American official in the Federal government, our man Cuccinelli decided to act like a clown and help our adversaries:

A whistleblower is alleging that top political appointees in the Department of Homeland Security repeatedly instructed career officials to modify intelligence assessments to suit President Donald Trump's agenda by downplaying Russia's efforts to interfere in the US and the threat posed by White supremacists, according to documents reviewed by CNN and a source familiar with the situation.

The whistleblower claims that acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf instructed DHS officials earlier this year to "cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference" and, instead, focus their efforts on gathering information related to activities being carried out by China and Iran.

Trump and several of his top national security advisers have repeatedly sought to emphasize the threat posed by China in recent months while downplaying the intelligence community's warnings related to Russian interference in the 2020 election.

DHS did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment regarding allegations that Wolf and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli ordered officials to change intelligence assessments for political reasons but have broadly denied either man took actions that constitute as an abuse of power, as stated in the complaint.

So, if you "modify" the intelligence assessments in a way that redirects America's understanding of what our adversaries are trying to do to us in order to make it so that the current president can avoid taking action against Russia, you're not loyal to this country. You are helping our adversaries and hurting our efforts to defend ourselves.

Is there just one person working for Trump who believes in the idea of America? Is there just one person who can do the right thing once in a goddamned while?

Apparently not. What a bunch of idiots.


Medford, Oregon is on Fire

Tonight, an American city of over 80,000 people is burning. 
As fire ravages the cities of Phoenix and Talent, a new blaze started in north Medford.
The fire was first reported at about 8:00 p.m. Tuesday. Radio traffic indicated it was at or close to the Bear Creek Greenway near Interstate 5 exit 30.
As of 9:00 p.m., I-5 remained closed in the area as limited resources attacked the fire. Evacuations were being considered as far north as Central Point due to the spread of the fire.
This comes as a fire that started in north Ashland Tuesday burned north through Talent and Phoenix, triggering evacuation notices for the City of Medford.
Not the woods, not the brush in the hills--the city is beginning to burn. The fire has swept down into the city and is burning structures. Evacuations are being carried out.

This map says it all:

While we carry on with all of our problems and live with our cares and concerns, there's a fire headed straight up Interstate 5 and it's headed for the city itself.

Say a prayer tonight (or pray to whatever deity you follow or believe in) and think good thoughts for the people in the way of what's happening. Whether you've been following the folks facing devastation in Louisiana and Texas or the people in eastern Iowa who are still dealing with the after effects of a devastating derecho, it is hard to see how it is possible to escape being on edge about what is happening to the world around us.  Add to that COVID-19, economic calamity, 50,000,000 Americans facing hunger and everything else I haven't mentioned, and it is just staggering how much suffering there is out there right now.

I am hoping we get to a better version of America soon and go back to taking care of one another because this year is the annus horriblus of nightmares.

Friday, September 4, 2020

The Threat is Real

Look what the crazy QAnon lady from Georgia did now.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, the House candidate and professed QAnon acolyte whom President Trump called “a future Republican star,” posted a photo of herself holding a gun she plans to raffle off, saying she wanted to go on the “offense” against the three Congresswomen known as “The Squad”— and her campaign said anyone who takes offense is “paranoid and ridiculous.”
Aviator sunglasses? Why, doesn't Joe Biden wear those? Clearly, Miss Greene is signalling to the faithful that she's a bag of nuts.

And, remember. The GOP caucus knew everything about her in June. They knew she was racist and that she was human garbage. She's still on the ticket and they're not going to do a damned thing about her. The people that voted for her in the primary knew who she was. They did not mind a bit.

This Country is Probably Over

There have been so many warning signs, all of them ignored by people who call themselves Americans.

We knew in the early days of Trump's campaign and Trump's presidency that he was a bum. He hated the very ideals that made America a unique experiment. He was always a rudderless, transactional human being who was shamelessly cruel to anyone who raised a voice against him. It didn't matter if you were a Senator who had been a prisoner of war. It didn't matter if you were the father and son of a man killed wearing the uniform of this country. It didn't matter if you were a kid shot in a classroom or a woman run over by a car for the sin of protesting neo-Nazi shitheads. If you opposed Trump, you received whatever cruelty he could dish out.

Trump has always hated the military. He is fearful and intimidated by any display of courage or selflessness. When it came out recently that he disparaged those killed in World War I and that he had no idea why we fought on the side of the English and French, the reaction broke across the fault lines that mark our political boundaries right now.

He is a chickenshit, and his adult sons Uday and Qusay are chickenshits as well. Kushner is a slapdick chickenshit of the highest order. There is nothing but eviction notices, overdue payments, and bankruptcy filings coming out of those men from now on. There isn't a one of them who would ever be considered anything other than stark raving failsons in a normal society.

Absolutely no one who has supported Trump through four years of vicious cruelty will be moved to oppose him. There are no decent people left who can be persuaded to vote against him. They have welded themselves to the deck of that sinking ship. There isn't going to be a shift or movement in the polls because the support he enjoys is what reveals that America is basically over as a country unless there is some shift away from the death cult of Trumpism.

Trumpism, like Nazism, is a fanatics wet dream. All you need is the arm band and an unshakeable belief that the person representing the government is infallible and cannot be questioned. The true believer will burn in the fire when the good guys finally get around to encircling the city and rooting them out. It will probably not come to that in this country since you also need to have a healthy dose of physical cowardice to get behind Trump but whatever.

When Trump loses the 2020 election, he will not surrender power in a peaceful, legitimate transition of power. It will take lawyers and courts and orders and threats to drive him from office. It's frustrating that people don't accept this possibility and plan for it accordingly. It may take months to separate him from the reins of power this Spring. We may end up with a situation where the DOD and the DOJ represent the disloyal branch of the Executive and most of the other Federal agencies line up behind a government in exile, run out of Wilmington, Delaware. Who knows? Am I wrong? Probably.

The Constitution clearly says that Trump's term will end at noon on January 20, 2021. When has that ever mattered to a conservative? The Constitution is only relevant when it comes to maintaining power and white supremacy to them.

The country is probably over because Trump's solid 42% will never consent to being governed unless they can terrorize the majority of people who want nothing to do with what we have now. They won't accept any outcome that takes away their dear leader. We had better figure out what that means as far as putting America back together as something that functions like a real nation/state with rules, norms, customs and actual laws.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Stop Firing Teachers for Doing Their Jobs

The political fortunes of the Republican Party in Texas are beginning to collapse. People are dying, the economy is coming apart, and voters are starting to realize that the GOP doesn't care if they live or die. What better way to distract everyone than by creating an opportunity to milk some phony outrage?

Educators are struggling to explain what's happening in American society. It is inevitable that, if they present material that is critical of police tactics, they run the risk of being criticized harshly.

The infallibility of the police and putting them above reproach is a recurrent theme in politics and media. We elevate certain institutions to a level where they cannot be criticized when they do things that are abhorrent, and they know how to manipulate public opinion.

In Texas, the governor is actively calling for a teacher to be fired for doing their job and showing this political cartoon to students.

This is part of an ongoing effort to prevent anyone from criticizing law enforcement:
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the National Fraternal Order of Police are denouncing a social studies assignment that included political cartoons depicting the treatment of Black people in American history.
One cartoon, which was used at Cooper Junior High School in Wylie, Texas, in mid-August, sparked outrage on social media, with critics saying it compared police to the Ku Klux Klan.
Some parents in the Wylie Independent School District just north of Dallas also complained about the assignment, which was posted online by an unidentified eighth-grade teacher.
One of the cartoons depicts five scenes of African American men lying on the ground with their hands shackled or tied behind their back, first with a White slave trader's knee on their neck, then a slave owner in the same position, a hooded Ku Klux Klan member, a sheriff from the Jim Crow era and then what appears to be a rendering of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd's neck.
But, the teacher/assignment didn't actually equate the police to the KKK; rather, the cartoon did after a fashion. It appears that the folks in Texas, including the governor, jumped to conclusions and reacted without context. The watering down, if not blatant erasing of history -especially about Black history and slaves by the Texas school board, is only hurting the children by providing them with a warped sense of history.

So, all German school children must visit a concentration camp at least once during their school years so they don't forget what happened as well as not let it happen again. It is the great stain on their history. Slavery and the treatment of Black people is America's stain; unfortunately, too many times, that stain is actually the blood stain left by those killed by white suppressors - whether the suppressor was the slave owner, the KKK, the police or even society in general. We exacerbate the stain when we do nothing.

Additional material - Mrs. A Lion

Friday, August 28, 2020

That Was Some Weird Shit

If you were lucky enough to see even a small part of Trump's acceptance speech/white grievance address at the Republican National Convention last night, you already know that that was some weird shit.

The entire four day convention boiled down to showing things that are happening right now in America and then saying, "look what will happen if you elect Joe Biden."


Four more years of this and everything will lay in ruins, you dumbasses.

It's the most insane fucking argument that an incumbent president could make. Instead of showing all the bad things that are happening, they should have spent the entire four days counter-programming the news by showing normal, every day activities in America and then completely ignore what's really going on. That would have been more effective.

This was a four-day, prime-time infomercial that benefitted the idea that we have to vote every single Republican into oblivion, repeatedly and without equivocation, for the next fifty years. Not a one of these people should ever be allowed to control any budget larger than that of fifty dollars and even then I wouldn't expect to find a nickel of that has been spent wisely. This was a political convention that was inadvertently designed to make you want to remove these people from power and vote for the other guy. In other words, this was a dumpster full of tires, exploding buckets of shit, and open paint cans that burned itself out. Removing it will require a roll-off truck and plenty of muscle.

The problem with that is that the entire conservative media establishment is conditioned to show chaos, anger, and outrage in order to frighten the base of the Republican Party into voting out of fear. That has been the Fox News business model since its inception. Show graphic violence and tell stories that terrify older, white Americans and then watch the cash roll in.

There was nothing in the RNC that would sway a swing voter or someone who hasn't made up their mind as to who to vote for. This was all designed to keep the base from abandoning Trump. It was a greatest hits package of all the things that scare the living shit out of white people in their 80s who are staring into the abyss.

Anyway, it's over. And it was the weirdest shit you could have ever imagined, and that's saying a lot.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Russian Troops Are Attacking Americans in Syria

Russian troops in Syria are apparently trying to kill Americans and collect bounties:
U.S. service members were injured after an altercation with Russian forces in northeast Syria this week, according to a draft military statement and a person familiar with the matter.
Four troops have been diagnosed with mild concussion-like symptoms after the incident, according to draft Pentagon statement reviewed by POLITICO. A second U.S. source briefed on the matter confirmed that multiple U.S. troops were injured.
Videos of the encounter that emerged on Twitter on Wednesday appeared to show a Russian vehicle ramming an American vehicle, and a Russian helicopter flying low over U.S. forces.

Pentagon spokespeople declined to comment or confirm the videos.
The draft statement POLITICO reviewed, written by U.S. Central Command, said a Russian vehicle intentionally rammed a coalition vehicle, and that four U.S. troops were injured. The Russian vehicles unsafely pursued U.S. forces, according to the statement.
The U.S. has roughly 500 troops in Syria, primarily in the northeastern part of the country. The American troops are fighting alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces to destroy the remnants of the Islamic State militant group.
I would not believe ANYTHING in this statement. I wouldn't believe that the number of Americans injured is only four and I would tend to believe that this is a heavily sanitized version of events until it is confirmed and proven and then confirmed again. The political pressure that is being directed at maintaining "friendly" and "compliant" relations is enormous given the very evident fact that Trump is a Russian asset.

This is being timed to further destabilize American politics and throw more chaos and confusion into our foreign policy. The Russians know that, if Trump is removed from office, the Department of Defense under a Biden Administration will be much more difficult to push around.

There is no mistaking the fact that an American Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle was deliberately rammed by Russian troops in the field.

After reviewing the video, you can clearly see that the Russians are not interested in working with us nor are they capable of being any kind of coalition partner when it comes to operating in Syria or anywhere else. Putin's troops are so poorly led and trained that it is a wonder no one was killed. This is similar to how their aircraft "buzz" ours and engage in aggressive activity in order to intimidate our pilots and air crews.

Here is another video:
Nothing is preventing the Russians from killing our troops. A normal, functioning Pentagon led by actual professionals and capable political appointees would have already separated our operations from those of the Russians or would have taken the necessary steps to withdraw our troops from that part of Syria. There is no reason for us to be there, carrying out operations with the Russians in proximity to our troops, if they are going to be aggressive and reckless.

We should take steps to protect ourselves from any Russian forces that come into contact with U.S. or NATO forces. They are not our friends or partners. They are rivals and adversaries.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

He Wanted to Get Medieval on Their Asses

Miles Taylor used to go into meetings with Trump and hear things that would make a normal person leave the room screaming.
The national security official couldn’t get through a meeting “without him doing 20 tangents, becoming irascible, turning red in the face, demanding a diet Coke, spewing spit,” Taylor explained. “Literally out of goddamn nowhere, he'd be like, ‘You know, who’s just my favorite guy? The MyPillow guy. Do any of you have those pillows?’”

When it came to the border wall, Trump would dream up “sickening” medieval plots “to pierce the flesh” of migrants, rip all the families apart, “maim,” and gas them, Taylor claims. “This was a man with no humanity whatsoever,” Taylor says. “He says, we got to do this, this, this, and this, all of which are probably impossible, illegal unethical,” Taylor recalls, but he was writing them down as the president spoke. “And he looks over me and he goes, ‘you fucking taking notes?’”
Aside from the fact that this is just more proof that Trump is crazy, why aren't we talking more about the fact that he's cruel and insane? And seems to be a ripe candidate for ADHD drugs? And averse to reason? And incapable of focusing on what's happening? And unable to concentrate or read? And unfamiliar with how to function as a normal adult? And how he totally gets a pass from the media who have been conditioned to let Republican Daddy hit them and call them names? And how he doesn't understand the law? And how he is terrified that someone is writing down the actual things that he says?

Why aren't we talking about Trump's illegal use of pardons? Taylor goe

s on to say that Trump offered pardons to Homeland Security officials if they would just forget their understanding of America's laws and put in place his criminally insane and negligent immigration policies.

I mean, what the fuck? Why didn't Taylor pull the whistleblower lever and tell this to everyone AS TRUMP WAS BEING IMPEACHED. What a sniveling little shit. I'm sorry, but if you knew this was going on and did nothing, hell is too good for you and Heaven is beyond your reach.

And on and on and on. I'm afraid that Woodward's new book, and the one that he writes about Trump after this, are going to be too kind to this dumpster fire of a presidency.

Jesus, these people. They exhaust the hell out of you with their bullshit, don't they?

Monday, August 24, 2020

Are You Better Off Today Than You Were Four Years Ago?

This is a poll result that I really don't understand.

By any objective measure, the United States is not better off than it was four years ago. In terms of unemployment alone, no one can say we are "better off." In terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, nope. Not better off. And in terms of our national political discourse, no way. We are not better off.

Republicans believe they are better off because they have put their faith in Trumpism. This is an all-encompassing state of delusional thinking. We should not be shocked to see the rise of the Qanon conspiracy theory cult because there are far too many people being swept up into a belief structure that requires ignorance above all else. You have to be completely disconnected from reality to think that Trump is doing a "reasonably good" job of leading the country.

I think that will fade when Trump is driven from office. There will come a day when you will not be able to meet anyone who will admit to having been fooled by Trump. They will quietly cover up their complicity. But, then again, there will always be about 33% of the population that will reflexively hate the other side and go down believing "their" president over empirical evidence. These people could literally be sitting in the burned out remains of their business and think that the man who poured gas on the floor and set it on fire was the only person not to blame for what was done to them.

Anyway, a poll of "national registered voters" is not even an objective measure of the population. This excludes people who haven't registered to vote, of course, and it skews heavily against people who have a plan to vote Trump out of office. I would say that the numbers of people who think we are better off are populated with voters who have been conditioned to ignore the news and vote with their "gut" instinct.

Americans will continue to vote against their economic self-interest until they finally wake up. That's the real lesson here. No matter how bad it gets for them, they will still pull the lever for the political party that is trying to crush them.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Yard Signs Don't Matter

This election season is supercharged with passion, negativity, and white hot anger. Plus, everyone's been cooped up for months and families have been screaming at each other over mundane things, like fish sticks and margarine vs butter.

Basketball game playing person coach Stan Van Gundy has asked people if they have some advice.

Here's my advice: don't even bother putting up a sign. Vote on November 3. That's far more important than what sits in your yard.

In the event that you find yourself wondering if yard signs matter, please understand one thing. Political yard signs are meaningless. What matters is if you actually vote. Yard signs don't sway voters or change their minds. What they accomplish is essentially meaningless. They may give you a sense of how things are going to go in your community. However, yard signs really don't translate into votes or anything other than opportunities for people to commit misdemeanor crimes.

Police officers have better things to do, even in 2020 when it seems like those things always end up on the news for the wrong reasons. When someone reports the theft of their political signs, understand that all this means is that they're stating a preference for a candidate by putting something in their yard. It does not mean they're actually going to vote, nor does it mean that the sign itself is going to compel someone else to vote for their candidate. It's visual static, something that gives the person who displays the sign a false sense of belonging to a specific tribe.

Don't steal election signs. Let them be! Speaking words of wisdom, let them be! Listen to Paul McCartney, he had it right, mostly.

You're entitled to disagree, but it won't do any good because I'm right. Yard signs don't matter. Take my favorite person in the world, which is me, of course. I already know who I'm going to vote for! I'm voting for Joe and Kamala. I don't give two fucks what you're going to do! This is America! Do whatever your freak flag advertises.

Your oversized yard signs, t-shirts, bumperstickers, and MAGA hats don't mean shit to me. They cannot change my mind, not even subliminally, which is what yard sign advocates usually cite to refute people like me who tell you the truth. Subliminal advertising cheese works cheese but only on the cheese really weak-minded people who cheese can't seem to sort out what is cheese and what is cheese and I'm committing a crime against cheese here so I'll stop.

There are people who say, "how can I tell people what I think about things?" Well, one way to do that is to, yes, put a political sign in your front yard. News flash! No one -- and I'm including your mom and your dumb cousin who wants power and prestige -- cares what you think about anything so long as it doesn't directly affect them or contradict their closely-held beliefs. Don't believe me? Put a sign in your yard that says GOD DOES NOT EXIST.

See what happens!

Well, for one thing, few people will actually care except for well meaning, overly concerned people who want to "change your mind" and "save your soul." Beyond that, the sign will probably fade away before anyone steals it. In most cases, a stolen political sign is the handiwork of bored kids. Honestly, no one cares what is in your yard unless it's your Home Owners Association and it is something, like a Trump sign, that lowers the value of the properties around it.

A weak-minded, low-information voter who votes based on the last sign they see before they go into the voting booth is rare and is actually more likely to not show up at all or write in Mickey Damned Mouse. That's America! YOU CAN BE STOOPID OF COURSE. But, if your mind can be changed so easily, it's relatively clear that you shouldn't even be driving to the polls much less voting.

All the Trump signs, Trump boat parades, Trump memorabilia, and Trump steaks in the world are not going to persuade an informed citizen to do something stupid on Election Day. That's just background noise that gets tuned out.

Be smart. Vote! And ignore the trappings that go with elections. Sure, it's fun to put a sign that tells people to vote for Judge Bo Bippity to be the next 3rd Circuit Judge of the Fallen Timbers Region but who the hell is going to see that sign and then remember to turn the ballot over and vote for each of the no-name clowns on it? So, why bother? Is your idiot cousin running for the school board? Put a sign in your yard and try not to laugh when they get 345 votes after 80,000 people vote to put someone smart on the board. Play along, but remember:

Yard signs don't matter.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Area Hobo Awaits Presidential Pardon

When you're out there doing crimes, make sure you already have a presidential pardon in your hip pocket: 
New York federal prosecutors on Thursday charged President Donald Trump's former campaign adviser Steve Bannon and three others with defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a fundraising campaign purportedly aimed at supporting Trump's border wall.

Bannon was arrested Thursday morning, according to a spokesman for the US attorney's office. Bannon's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Bannon will make his initial court appearance in New York later Thursday, according to the US attorney's office.
The four men are indicted for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to a group called We Build the Wall and using the funds for personal expenses, among other things.

According to prosecutors, Bannon, through a non-profit identified as Non-Profit-1, used more than $1 million from We Build the Wall to "secretly" pay another defendant, Brian Kolfage, and cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bannon's personal expenses.

In a banana republic, friends of the dictator always skate on charges like this. It's a simple matter of fleecing the MAGA rubes who throw eleven dollars at something they hate because they're flush on beer and meth. Bannon saw his chance to wring a few bucks out of them. This is the tip of the conservative movement iceberg. To see, what the indictment alleges, "hundreds of thousands" of these people get ripped off is a magical moment in American political discourse.

Not one of them will be mature or self-aware enough to process the fact that they were robbed blind by Steve Bannon, a man who just rolled out of a dumpster so he could congratulate himself for not shitting his best pair of pants.

Bannon probably thought he was going to get away with it otherwise he would have been in Europe or the Middle East right now. This isn't the last you're ever going to hear of Bannon. He's heavily involved in what amounts to a dozen other schemes to rip people off and escape accountability through his personal connection to Trump. The green light was given to these animals a long time ago. Gather your acorns and wait for the papers to drop.

Will Trump pardon him? It depends. Bannon has leverage on him by virtue of knowing how the Cambridge Analytica scheme worked. But then there's that tried and true adage that if Trump doesn't need you or fear you, he's already dropped you. So, I have no idea. What I do know is that if we had a real Justice Department, Bannon would have excellent company in Federal Prison.


A short list of individuals associated with this Build the Wall scam: -Bannon -Kris Kobach -Erik Prince -Curt Schilling -"Sheriff" David Clarke -Tom Tancredo

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Trump and Melania Are No Longer an Item

It is clear to everyone who notices these things that Trump cannot put his hands on Melania without causing her to turn, pull away and reject his attempts to hold on to her. This is due to several factors. One, Trump is terrified of falling and needs her to be there to help him. Two, she does not want him to touch her. Three, she doesn't care if there are cameras rolling or not.
It has become a form of Kremlinology, watching her all but scream "no! do not touch me!" every time they are accidentally next to one another. How can you conclude that these people are even still married given how she reacts when he is in proximity to her? It's a farce. They're not a couple anymore. They're linked by something sinister and wrong.

If this was a Democratic couple, the tea leaves would have already been read. We have been subjected to endless commentaries on the personal relationships of Democratic politicians and their spouses. We will see more of this in the months ahead. The media ignores the fact that Melania is openly refusing to have physical contact with her husband because they are afraid of right wing pushback on the idea that theirs is anything other than a marriage of expedience and temporary insanity.

This is clear evidence of the hypocrisy in how the different sides are covered. What is happening in plain sight is ignored in favor of maintaining access to Trump's sycophant-riddled fiasco of a regime.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Birther Movement Returns

If you were waiting around to see what the right-wing media complex would coalesce around in terms of opposing Senator Kamala Harris, look no further:
Interestingly, this recitation of the original meaning of the 14th Amendment Citizenship Clause might also call into question Harris' eligibility for her current position as a United States senator. Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution specifies that to be eligible for the office of senator, one must have been "nine Years a Citizen of the United States." If Harris was not a citizen at birth, we would need to know when (if ever) she became a citizen. Her father's biographical page at Stanford University identifies his citizenship status as follows: "Jamaica (by birth); U.S. (by naturalization)." But there is some dispute over whether he was in fact ever naturalized, and it is also unclear whether Harris' mother ever became a naturalized citizen. If neither was ever naturalized, or at least not naturalized before Harris' 16th birthday (which would have allowed her to obtain citizenship derived from their naturalization under the immigration law, at the time), then she would have had to become naturalized herself in order to be a citizen. That does not appear to have ever happened, yet without it, she could not have been "nine Years a Citizen of the United States" before her election to the U.S. Senate.
This is all racist, bigoted nonsense. John Eastman is using the faded legitimacy of Newsweek to air out nonsensical legal arguments against Harris as a way of launching a million Republican birther fantasies.

His reading of the law is a fever dream:
Harris is a citizen of the United States and has been since birth.
She was born in Oakland, California, on Oct. 20, 1964, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Her parents were both immigrants — her father from Jamaica and her mother from India.
By virtue of her birth in California, Harris is a natural-born U.S. citizen.
The Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment provides that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
And that's not dependent on their parents' citizenship. "Anyone born on U.S. soil and subject to its jurisdiction is a natural born citizen, regardless of parental citizenship," according to the Cornell Legal Information Institute.
Parental citizenship is relevant to an individual's citizenship status only if the individual is born outside of the United States.
In other words, Eastman knows he's wrong but he doesn't care. What a fumbledick.

And, due to the fact that people like Chris Cillizza, et al, remain in positions of influence at large media organizations (and thus, know nothing), we are about to be subjected to months of this garbage. We will see variations on this theme from here on in because, no matter how many times you discredit these people, they keep finding a way to ooze out from under the rug and look for useful idiots in the media to amplify their message of hate and intolerance.

You're telling me that Kamala isn't an American and probably isn't even legally a United States Senator? And this is the guy picked to deliver that message? Expert takedown by the great James Fallows here:

What a bunch of horseshit. Thanks to Trump, this is what people like Eastman are going to get away with from now on any time a person of color appears on a national ticket.

The 14th Amendment is a relic of an outdated time. You can be born somewhere else, come to America, end of loving this country and what it represents when it is run the right way, and you should be eligible to run for president. There is nothing more American than that.

This latest trial balloon is going to be recycled through numerous outlets and it will be swatted down, you can bet on it. That's because racist attacks on a person's legitimacy and right to hold office is a thing you can pull from the standard Republican playbook. Anyone who isn't white is not a citizen, and they will beat that fucking drum until they can't beat it anymore.

What a disgrace these people are to the idea of democracy and decency.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

This is the Country I Want to Live In

When I look at this picture of Kamala Harris, it tells me that this is the country I want to live in.

It tells me that this is a person who was brought into this world and given the slimmest of chances to succeed and prevail and she did. She built a life for herself and is now the nominee for Vice President of the United States of America.

No one handed her a goddamned thing. No one gave Joe Biden a free ride, a half a billion dollars, a golden ticket, a brass ring, or a Cadillac dealership. These are the people who came up in an America that wasn't free, wasn't equal, wasn't fair, and wasn't built for a working class man or an African-American woman.

They walked on different paths to this moment in American history. The sheer terror of it all must have been something for each of them. For Biden to lose his wife and his children and all that and still be a decent man who helps others without hesitation and uses every ounce of his accumulated power and prestige to be a benefit to anyone within earshot is amazing, in and of itself.

Here is a person who attained virtually everything every white man in America feels he is owed and has never once held back in his desire to lift others up the ladder ahead of him. That's a man special enough to be the fucking president. He has none of Trump's pathetic need to be recognized as a powerful, wealthy, successful man. He has none of Trump's broken soul in him.

And for him to pick Harris and lift her up and put her on a path that will continue, I hope, to something ahead of what he has achieved is really something for our country to be proud of. When you lift others up, you do so knowing they will get ahead of you. To do that, day after day, in public life, is the thing that makes the country believe in itself again. Picking Harris is a nod to the greater good.

Now is the time to spit on both hands, grab something heavy, and start hacking away at making President Biden and Vice President Harris happen. It's time to get the fuck on with this and get to November third. Wastrels, weasels, and purity trolls need to be driven into the wilderness and Republicans need to be chased out of office.

Don't boo, vote.

This is the country I want to live in.

Monday, August 10, 2020

This is How Trump Destroys America

Making sure that old people starve to death and live in abject poverty is just one of those added features of having Trump as your president:
his executive action suspending collection of payroll taxes hands the Democrats the kind of issue that can sink a candidacy. It is nothing less than a declaration of war on Social Security and Medicare. The payroll tax funds those two vital and beloved programs. When you suspend collection of the revenue that funds those two programs, you endanger their viability. Say it with me, Democrats: Donald Trump wants to gut Medicare and Social Security.

The Center for American Progress jumped on this like a duck on a June bug. Even before Trump announced his executive order and three memorandums on Saturday, CAP was out with a memo slamming the President. CAP says that if his scheme works it "would divert hundreds of billions from Social Security and Medicare." Every Democrat should repeat that.

Trump is an impulsive, impetuous man; that we know. But on the issue of cutting Social Security and Medicare, this is not his first attempt. His 2021 and 2020 budgets each proposed deep and painful cuts in Social Security and Medicare. How deep? How painful? $2 trillion over ten years, according to the Wall Street Journal. What a coincidence: that's about how much Trump's 2017 tax cut for corporate America cost. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Trump's corporate tax cut has a price tag of $1.9 trillion.
Normally, I would not link to a Paul Begala op-ed piece, but this is the essential point that has to be made--Trump is handing the Democrats an election year issue that would destroy any other candidate in mere minutes. In the Trump era, it means we get to hear "both sides" of the issue and someone will likely blame President Obama for not already destroying Social Security when he had the chance (whatever that means).

In any other era of American politics, calling for the end of Social Security and Medicare would put you on the ash heap of history along with all the other nutjobs who ran dead last in the cranks-only primary. With Trump, you get to see what colossal stupidity looks like when the elite media takes it seriously.

Democrats should start running ads immediately. Trump plainly says he wants to end the payroll tax that funds these critical programs, and that's tantamount to making this a third world country where people die of fear and neglect. I am hoping they pick up the football and run with it. I suspect they'll just pretend to be concerned and write a sternly-worded letter that will go right into the circular filing cabinet.