Saturday, February 29, 2020

Mike Pence is Out of His Depth

I love how Trump is setting Pence up to take the fall: 
Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that while most Americans face a low risk from coronavirus, more US deaths could be imminent following the nation's first confirmed fatality. 
"We know there will be more cases," Pence told CNN's Jake Tapper in a clip released Saturday, echoing President Donald Trump's earlier comments that additional cases in America were "likely." The full interview between Pence and Tapper is airing on Sunday's "State of the Union."
When asked whether more Americans could die from the disease, Pence, who Trump has put in charge of coronavirus response and messaging, replied, "It is possible." 
Pence said that the situation explained to him by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and others is that "most people that contract the coronavirus, they will recover. They will deal with a respiratory illness, we'll get them treatment." 
The vice president cautioned that the US could experience "more sad news." 
"But for people that have other conditions that would militate toward a worse outcome that, we could have more. We could have more sad news," Pence said. "But the American people should know the risk for the average American remains low."
A chaotic, disorganized, and incompetent White House is about to run into the reality of a major outbreak of an illness that cannot be managed or controlled because they have spent the last three years destroying the capability to do so. It was deliberate. And, because of all of that, there has to be someone to take the fall for these decisions.

Pence is the guy who is going to have to be sacrificed for what's about to unfold. He is completely and utterly out of his depth and incapable of understanding how science works. He was responsible for a horrific outbreak of AIDS in Scott County, Indiana, and he has no idea what he's doing with regards to coronavirus.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Global Health Security

Check out the website for the office of Global Health Security. This is the group Trump dismantled or destroyed because shut up, that's why. The web site is still up, and it hasn't been updated for over two years.

An older adult woman from California is the second case of unknown origin of the novel coronavirus, health officials in Santa Clara County said Friday.
The patient didn't have any relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient, said Dr. Sara Cody, director of the county's public health department. 
The patient is a resident of the county, officials said.
"This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission, but the extent is still not clear," Cody said. "I understand this may be concerning to hear, but this is what we have been preparing for. Now we need to start taking additional actions to slow down the spread of the disease."

The woman had been hospitalized for a respiratory illness and her infectious disease doctor on Wednesday requested a coronavirus test. The case is not related to two others in the county, officials said.
 Essentially, the U. S. government has been asleep at the switch. We should have been preparing and screening for COVID-19 in January.

This is how Trump governs. Shit goes sideways, and it's all fake news created by Democrats.

What a disgrace.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

This Jerk Won't Go Away

Mark Halperin deserves some side eye for this bullshit:
Disgraced pundit Mark Halperin said he believes murderers are treated more fairly—and receive better opportunities—than those who have been “canceled” from the public sphere for sexual misconduct. Halperin, who in October 2017 was accused by 14 women of unwanted sexual advances and groping during his decade-long tenure at ABC News, described to a meager group at an Upright Positions Communications event in San Francisco last week the hardships he has faced since getting “canceled.” After losing his spot as an MSNBC senior political analyst, his show on Showtime, and a book deal, Halperin said he hasn’t “had a job interview in two years” despite applying to several restaurants and Target.

“It’s akin to being a refugee, or being in some other situation where you’re constantly under pressure and can’t stop to unless you’re a super strong person, you can’t stop to try to rebuild that kind of confidence and self-worth that is required,” he said, before noting his life is akin to having post-traumatic stress disorder. When asked by a Mother Jones reporter if he should be held accountable for his alleged behavior, Halperin said that while victims deserve priority, there is a societal block to allow such prominent offenders to be reintegrated into society. “Murderers in our society who get out of prison are afforded an opportunity to go on with some aspect of their life,” he said. “The challenge to a lot of people who are canceled is there’s no mechanism for that, regardless of what they’ve done, regardless of whether they’ve tried to make amends.”
It's probably a good thing that Halperin has been cancelled because, well, this is what he was accused of:
The first woman told CNN she was invited to visit his office in the early 2000s, when he was political director at ABC News, to have a soda, and said that while she was there with him he forcibly kissed her and pressed his genitals against her body.

"I went up to have a soda and talk and -- he just kissed me and grabbed my boobs," the woman said. "I just froze. I didn't know what to do."

When she did make her way out of his office, the woman told a friend at ABC News what had happened. That friend told CNN she remembered the woman telling her about the incident and seeing her visibly shaken.

The second woman, another former ABC News employee, described a similar experience in his office during the 2004 campaign cycle. This woman said she was around 25 years old then, and wanted to be a "campaign off-air" -- ABC News' term for one of the reporters who travel embedded with presidential campaigns -- so she reached out to Halperin, who was a part of the decision-making process regarding those assignments at the time.

"The first meeting I ever had with him was in his office and he just came up from behind -- I was sitting in a chair from across his desk -- and he came up behind me and [while he was clothed] he pressed his body on mine, his penis, on my shoulder," this woman told CNN. "I was obviously completely shocked. I can't even remember how I got out of there -- [but] I got out of there and was freaked out by that whole experience. Given I was so young and new I wasn't sure if that was the sort of thing that was expected of you if you wanted something from a male figure in news."
Seems like a rapey kind of guy to me. The real accountability moment for Halperin has never happened because he hasn't been led away in handcuffs and charged with a crime. For him to complain about being cancelled is ridiculous. He's lucky that he hasn't been tried, convicted, and forced to register as a sex offender.

The Business Savvy President

Everything is crashing down around our Wall Street president, who just doesn't seem so business savvy these days:
Stocks fell sharply once again Thursday as investors worried that the coronavirus might be spreading in the U.S. A slew of corporate and analyst warnings also dragged down the major averages.

The Dow plunged more than 800 points, while the S&P 500 tumbled 2.9% and the Nasdaq sank 3.3%. Those losses put the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq in correction territory, down more than 10% from the record highs set earlier this month.

The CDC confirmed Wednesday the first U.S. coronavirus case of unknown origin in Northern California, indicating possible “community spread” of the disease. The CDC doesn’t know exactly how the patient, a California resident, contracted the virus.
“We’re extremely cautious in the short term,” said Tom Hainlin, an investment strategist at Ascent Private Capital Management. “No one really seems to be an expert on the coronavirus. We haven’t seen anything like this really in our investing lifetimes.”
Apple, Disney and Visa were among the worst-performing Dow stocks, dropping at least 3% each. AMD and Nvidia fell 4% and 4.2%, respectively. Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences climbed 1.9% after the company announced the start of two studies for a possible coronavirus treatment.
The slow collapse of the "Trump Economy" is really the result of being handed the gains of the Obama era and then taking a massive orange dump all over everything. It is beginning to accelerate, and the fake money being pumped into the economy is going to run out faster than Larry Kudlow on a coke binge.

Trump has started trade wars, imposed tariffs, fired competent people left and right, and engaged in every pro-oligarch policy imaginable. This is literally the guy who campaigned on the idea of running America like a for-profit business venture. And instead of prosperity, we get the mother of all Trump bankruptcies. 

Hope your 401K is doing well, MAGA voters.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

I'm From the Government and I'm Here to Help

The Trump Regime is long on grifters, short on expertise.

As we watch the global outbreak of Covid-19, or Coronavirus, remember that the government is not in the hands of competent individuals. This is a huge deal, and it reminds me of how they botched their response to natural disasters all over the country. It reminds me of their inability to staff the government and get people confirmed by the Senate. There is a direct line from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's fervent desire to stack the courts with insolent boobs instead of focusing on the lack of qualified appointees to the Executive Branch.

The Republican Party is terrified of expertise. They know they can't organize a one-car parade but they also know that the media is useless. If it ever gets into the news that the GOP is good for one thing and one thing only--fellating donors--then the jig might, in fact, be up. I'm counting on the fact that a barely informed electorate is going to swerve back and forth between democracy and ruin before this is all said and done.

In the here and now, hold on. Shits going to get weird.

If you're afraid of getting sick, I'm sorry but the only thing you can do is take care of yourself. Wash your hands, avoid going out if you have respiratory issues, and hope for the best. All Trump has to offer is Wilbur Ross and a can of chicken noodle soup.

And no, that's not a joke. It's all they fucking have.

Trumpism is a Toxic Stew of Hate

If there are still "normal" Republicans out there, don't worry. This is not an attempt to link you to the fascism and bigotry of Trumpism.

If the members of U.S. Men's Hockey Team from 1980 are of the belief that they can swim in the horrors of Trump's hatred and bigotry and then pretend to be innocent, well, this is an entirely different thing altogether.
If he had to do it again, hockey legend Mike Eruzione said, he would not put on the red “Keep America Great” hat. 
He and his teammates from the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey squad hadn’t meant to make a grand political statement when they appeared onstage as President Trump’s surprise guests at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on Friday. They happened to be in town to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” — their shocking upset of the Soviet Union en route to the gold medal, perhaps the most unifying moment in American sports history — when they got a call from Trump’s campaign inviting them to a private photo line with the president.

The next thing they knew, Eruzione said, Trump was introducing them at the rally and a campaign aide was handing them the caps as they took the stage. Four of the former players chose not to wear them — but 10 others did, prompting a huge backlash on social media from Trump’s critics, who view the distinctive red campaign hats as sharply politicized symbols of hate, racism and xenophobia.

“You going to light into me, too? We’re getting killed!” Eruzione said in an interview. Now serving as the director of special outreach at his alma mater, Boston University, Eruzione said he has received angry calls and messages from the school’s alumni. One said he purchased Eruzione’s new book about the 1980 team but no longer intends to read it. His Twitter mentions are a nightmare.
Eruzione's complaint that "we're getting killed" rings hollow in light of the fact that there are thousands and thousands of children who will never see their parents again because of Trump's racist policies. You can't expect consistency and integrity from anyone tainted by Trumpism. They worship the cult leader and they reap the sorrows of being associated with him because they haven't been paying attention.

It's like current events no longer matter. The electorate has been lulled to sleep. Decent people everywhere woke up years ago and have been steadily organizing themselves for the November election. Will enough people wake up in time?

The media would readily demonize anyone showing sympathy and allegiance for President Barack Obama or for Hillary Clinton. A parade of eager collaborators puts on the red hat and the media just shrugs. They're not the ones giving Eruzione and his team mates hell. That's what good Americans are up to this week.

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Fake Progressives Among Us

Cenk Uygur is a fake progressive.

It's not that I lack empathy, it's just that I can't stand the bullshit emanating from these people who try to start companies based on the idea that they are God's gift to progressive politics and ideas. If you believe in human rights, don't take money from Russia or China. If you believe in fair wages, don't approach an oligarch and beg for funding. And if you start a media company, don't be a shitheel who opposes the unionization of your own workers.

In other words, fuck this guy. I'm glad I never have to pay attention to him again.

Give Dave Jamieson a follow and support all working journalists out there.

The Coronavirus Outbreak

Just a few days ago, there was a limited outbreak of confirmed Coronavirus in Iran. And then it seemed to appear everywhere. In response, stock markets all over the world have plummeted:
Wall Street plunged Monday morning after another spike in the number of coronavirus cases created fears for global economic growth. NBC News reported that Monday was the worst opening of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since last August, with a drop of 950 points. Stocks related to travel, such as casinos and flights, were among the hardest hit. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “Markets are now slaves to the news flow.” While the spread of the virus appeared to be slowing down in China, fresh outbreaks in South Korea, Iran, and Italy have stoked fears that the global outbreak will still get worse. “The spike in infections in South Korea, mostly concentrated in the congregation of a single church, a surge in cases in Italy, and news of an outbreak in Iran, where the health-care system is of uncertain quality and the government is secretive, has triggered fears that China’s aggressive quarantining efforts won't keep the virus from spreading globally,” said Shepherdson.

Our "president" is all over it:
As the US health care system watches the ongoing coronavirus epidemic in China and braces for a potential local outbreak, President Trump is looking to cut funding for public health preparedness programs.

The administration’s proposed 2021 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) cuts $25 million from the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and $18 million from the Hospital Preparedness Program. The administration also asked for over $85 million in cuts to the Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases program.

“To be clear, these programs are already underfunded,” tweeted Nicolette Louissaint, executive director of Healthcare Ready, a nonprofit that works to make health care supply chains more resilient.
I can assure you that Trump's friends are probably going to profit from this latest phase of disaster capitalism because they're probably getting public health briefings before the American people receive them. This is how the autocrat rewards the people who keep him in power. Right now, someone connected with Trump is building out a portfolio that will include coffins, remembrance wreaths, and an advertising plan that will blame Obama for inventing Coronavirus.

This is the most anti-knowledge, anti-science president in modern history. If there is a dumber response than saying that the warmer weather will kill off Coronavirus, I don't know what it would be.

Trump is extremely bad at governing, and if that, in and of itself, doesn't guarantee his defeat in November, what the hell would?

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Put an Asterisk Next to His Name From Now On

I'm starting to think Trump really does have some untoward associations with those damned Russians:
The intelligence community's top election security official delivered a briefing to lawmakers last week warning them that the intelligence community believes Russia is already taking steps to interfere in the 2020 election with the goal of helping President Donald Trump win, three sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. 
Last week's briefing, led by election security official Shelby Pierson and first reported by The New York Times, addressed the overall picture of Russia's efforts, including hacking, weaponizing social media and attacks on election infrastructure, one of the sources said. 
The briefers said Russia does favor Trump, but that helping Trump wasn't the only thing they were trying to do as it was also designed to raise questions about the integrity of the elections process, the source added.  
Trump became irate in a meeting with outgoing acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire last week for allowing the information about Russia's meddling efforts to be included in the briefing, a White House official said. 
Russia's interference in the 2016 election -- which the US intelligence community believes was aimed at boosting Trump's candidacy and hurting his opponent, Hillary Clinton -- led to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The prospect of interference in 2020 will further test US defenses against foreign meddling, which Trump has repeatedly downplayed as he has dismissed any suggestion that Kremlin influence played a role in his election.
Trump is surrounded by what's left of the incompetent sliver of the GOP that was willing to work for him. It was made up of an assortment of toadies, crazies and pig fuckers who caught on after the inauguration because standards got in the way of finding warm bodies to fill jobs that were left empty. The Republicans who originally filled them left within the first year. The best way to imagine how it is in the White House right now is to picture a conference room table covered with broken glass, tears and human teeth and not much else.

This is the fiasco government you get when everyone sleepwalks through the gradual dumbing down of the culture. Idiocracy is here, and it's a 300 pound jackass who heaves himself around in a blue suit, rage tweeting at everyone and everything because a handful of Republicans in the Senate are incapable of understanding how to do their job.

Are we ever really going to know what happened in 2016 and what's happening right now? I really do believe he's going to crash and burn before the debates in the fall. I doubt very much that he can get re-elected. He has never been popular, he is universally hated by every decent American who values the rule of law, but the Democratic Party is trying like hell to turn a sure-thing into an oh-my-God-we're-going-to-blow-it kind of moment.

It could very well be the case that the next president, whoever she is, will have to decide whether or not the real information about Trump and Russia can be released to the general public. I believe that there is so much that has been suppressed, shredded, or altered that we'll never get the whole story. Perhaps learning that the president actively collaborated with Russia and accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in loan from Russia's oligarchs will blow everyone's minds to a degree that makes telling the truth more dangerous than continuing to live a convenient lie.

To me, it doesn't matter. Trump is the worst human being imaginable. You couldn't make him in a lab. He is a black hole of nothingness, a blasted out shell of a person who has no belief structure beyond self-aggrandizement. He is the antithesis of an American and has never contributed anything to our society that could be considered selfless or valuable. He worships cheap crap made to look expensive, whether it's an apartment, a toilet, a lobby or a wife. He has churned out shitty ideas, shitty buildings, and even shittier businesses for his entire adult life. You'll never meet a bigger jackass as long as you live and you know it.

Of course he's working with the Russians. This is a man who hates America.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Jailed Internet Hobo Turns on Trump

For a low-rent pimp like Trump, it has to hurt to see all of his whores turn on him like this:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to claim during an extradition hearing that the Trump administration offered him a pardon if he agreed to say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, a lawyer for Assange said Wednesday. 
Assange is being held at a British prison while fighting extradition to the United States on spying charges. His full court hearing is due to begin next week.

At a preliminary hearing held Wednesday in London, lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said that now-former Republican congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, visited Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2017.
Fitzgerald said a statement from another Assange lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, recounted "Mr. Rohrabacher going to see Mr. Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr. Assange ... said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks.”
Regular followers of the seizure of the American government were alerted to Rohrabacher's efforts around the time they happened. No one got into or out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London without multiple intelligence agencies knowing about it, and the whole place was bugged. Whatever Rohrabacher said to Assange was probably transcribed in real time and in the hands of fifty different people before he was able to make it back to his hotel room.

I mean, what a bunch of awful people.

Revelations like this move the needle a little, but, really, Trump is pardoning his way out of legal jeopardy. Outrage only goes so far. What I hope for is an eventual day of reckoning where it is possible to reverse Trump's pardons because they are part of a larger effort to obstruct justice. While this is unlikely in a divided Congress, it really should be the focus of a future administration that seeks to restore the rule of law.

What should happen to Assange? Well, he won't find justice in America. He's a problem for numerous governments, and a hero to the dirtbag left while being a cutout for Putin and the like. He has tried to present himself as a pitiable figure, but the bluster of his early efforts to tell the truth on everyone in power is now largely forgotten. I would not want him to be denied due process, but, really. What do you do with someone who decided to advance fascism and nihilism at the same time?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

David Safavian

One of the lesser-known individuals given a full pardon today is David Safavian, a corrupt Bush Administration official who worked with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff:
Former General Services Administration (GSA) Chief of Staff David H. Safavian was sentenced today to one year in prison on charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements in connection with the investigation into the activities of former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. 
In addition to the prison term, Safavian was sentenced today to two years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman of the District of Columbia.
Safavian was found guilty by a federal jury in June 2006 of obstruction of justice and making false statements, but the verdicts were later vacated by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and remanded for a new trial. A federal jury once again convicted Safavian of one count of obstruction of justice and three counts of making false statements on Dec. 19, 2008. 
The jury in the second trial heard evidence that while Safavian assisted Abramoff in connection with the lobbyist’s attempts to acquire GSA-controlled properties, Abramoff took him on a luxury golf trip to Scotland and to London. The jury found that over the span of three years, Safavian made false statements in an attempt to conceal the fact that around the time of the golf trip he aided Abramoff with business before the GSA. The false statements included statements made to a GSA ethics officer and a GSA Office of Inspector General (GSA-OIG) Special Agent as well as falsely certifying a financial disclosure form. 
The jury heard evidence at trial that Safavian’s efforts to cover up the assistance he provided Abramoff continued after he left the GSA in November 2004 to become the Administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget. The jury found that in May 2005, Safavian made false statements to an FBI Special Agent investigating Abramoff’s lobbying activities. According to evidence introduced at trial, Safavian told the FBI agent that he was unable to assist Abramoff with GSA-related activities around the time of the golf trip because he was a new employee at GSA. 
Abramoff pleaded guilty in January 2006 to charges of conspiracy, honest services mail fraud and tax evasion and was sentenced in September 2008 to four years in prison in addition to the 22 months he served prior to the sentencing date.

To date, 20 individuals, including lobbyists and public officials, have pleaded guilty, been convicted at trial, or are awaiting trial in connection with the ongoing investigation into the activities of Abramoff and his associates.
You can read more about Abramoff's infamous jaunt to St. Andrews in Scotland here. And, no, it didn't involve Trump and his failed Scottish property. But take a good look at the individuals being pardoned and then realize that it is pointless to indict and try any of the current members of the Trump regime. It is imperative that the Department of Justice is restored to honor once Trump is thrown out of office.

Pardoning Savafian is a strike at the heart of the efforts of the Department of Justice's public integrity efforts. These are the people who threaten Trump's stranglehold on corruption. A signal is being sent here. You can loot the whole goddamned government and get away with it on Trump's watch.

The rule of law is dead right now, and will have to be resuscitated in January, 2021.

Knife Crime in London

What has happened to the idea that people could be safe from crime in London, England? It sure seems like being robbed at knife point has become a constant thing:
Harry Styles was threatened by a person wielding a knife and had money stolen over the weekend, according to reports.
The former One Direction singer was reportedly on a night out in Hampstead in London on Valentine’s Day when he was confronted by a man wielding a knife shortly before midnight.
According to the Daily Mirror, a source said that Styles “played it pretty cool, quickly giving the assailant cash, keeping himself and the guy calm and getting the situation over with. Understandably though it left him very shaken up afterwards.”
They say it has gotten out of hand, and the numbers would tend to support that assumption:
Knife crime in London has risen to a new high amid a nationwide surge in blade-offending, official figures revealed today.
The Office for National Statistics said that 15,080 knife offences were recorded in the capital during the 12 months to the end of last September [2019].

It amounts to a two per cent rise on the previous year and indicates the Met’s efforts to bear down on the problem are having only limited effect.

The bleak statistics came as national figures released by the ONS showed a seven per cent rise in knife offending across England and Wales to 44,771 blade crimes, an average of more than 120 incidents a day.
Here are the hotspots (Styles was in a northern part of London):

 So, what's being done about it? Apparently, very little.
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said tackling knife crime in London remained her "number one priority".
So far this year more than 110 murder investigations have been launched across the capital by the Met and British Transport Police.
About two-thirds of the deaths in those cases resulted from stabbings.
Ms Dick said: "Most people go about their business completely untroubled by crime or indeed violence.

"But we do have some parts of London which have been really troubled by violence and it is our job to work with people to reduce violence."
In other words, no. They are not attacking the root causes of the violence, which are poverty and the high cost of living in London in any measurable way.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Elizabeth Warren Will Not Be Erased

It has been two weeks since this very important piece by Joan Walsh:
“From the beginning, all of the women in the race—Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Klobuchar, Warren—have known they were facing erasure,” says former Iowa Democratic Party chair Sue Dvorsky, who switched her support from Harris to Warren after Harris left the race in December. “Elizabeth has known she has to just stay in there and keep fighting and just not quit.” 
But since getting one of the “three tickets out” hasn’t earned her much of a bump, Warren will have a harder road ahead in New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and the Super Tuesday states. 
Finishing a distant fifth, Klobuchar did herself a big favor by jumping out on Monday night and claiming some sort of victory, in a speech networks took live and in full, in an absence of other clear news at that point. Biden, Warren and Sanders got less time; Buttigieg, who appeared last and claimed a victory he hadn’t been granted, actually got more.

“I really wish Elizabeth had gone out there first, like Amy did,” Dvorsky says ruefully.
I'm biased as hell. Elizabeth Warren is my choice.

The media is not ready for a woman president, but they should be. They should be ready for this eventuality because the country is ready for it. The world is ready for the president to be a woman. There is a deplorable minority that can't handle the truth, but who cares about them anyway?

For too long, the media has been an easily worked referee. There is too much focus on maintaining access to the drip-drip of leaks out of Trump's regime. There is an effort underway to deny Warren the nomination and erase her from coverage because she's going to raise taxes on the wealthy. Guess what? No matter who the next president is, they're going to find themselves where George H. W. Bush found himself after the Reagan years--in a position where we will have to tax the rich because they've been given too large of a tax cut.

America's future should not be in the hands of people who can't get past their bigotry and sexism. They are costing this country a king's ransom. Think of the solutions we can't get to, the problems we're not dealing with, and the trouble we're going to have putting the country back together. We need someone to deal with all of that and come up with solutions, and I've felt that Warren was the best candidate for the job. Kamala Harris would make an incredible partner and be a fantastic Vice President or Attorney General in the next administration. 

How great would it be to replace Trump and Pence with Warren and Harris? And they have Klobuchar as our next Attorney General?

Yes, vote blue no matter who. But, damned if it isn't an act of treachery to continue erasing Elizabeth Warren.

Friday, February 14, 2020

This Man Has a Grievance

I have no doubt that there are young people who are looking at what has been done to Andrew McCabe and they are ruling out a life of public service.
The Department of Justice has told lawyers for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that he will not face criminal charges for allegedly lying to investigators about a leak to the media, the ex-official's attorneys said Friday. 
The decision was released on the same day it was revealed that a federal judge had expressed concerns months ago that McCabe's case was looking like a "banana republic" prosecution. 
"We write to inform you that, after careful consideration, the government has decided not to pursue criminal charges against your client,” J.P. Cooney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., told McCabe’s attorneys in a letter Friday. “Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time, we consider the matter closed.” 
McCabe's lawyers Michael R. Bromwich and David Schertler responded in a statement, saying, "At long last, justice has been done in this matter."
This is the direct result of failing to stop the Trump presidency from happening. The elites who run the Republican Party should have thrown Trump out on his ear in 2015 but they didn't. They should have nominated someone else to run for president in 2016, but they failed to retain control of their party.

Oh well.

McCabe has had this hanging over his head for far too long--somewhere in the neighborhood of two years. He has a legitimate grievance against what Trump and his minions have done to him. This will resonate for decades, I believe. And I also think that no one will learn a lesson from this.

McCabe talked to day about the stress on his family. Who, in their right mind, is going to sign up for that and go into public life?

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Criminalization of Anti-Trump Views

A new normal is settling in. If you have any anti-Trump views, you're not allowed to express them or serve on a jury or have a life in our society:
Newly revealed anti-Trump views of the foreperson of the jury that convicted former Trump adviser Roger Stone - and new revelations about the political ties of other jurors - have raised questions about how the case was handled and whether Stone's lawyers could seek a new trial.
Former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart revealed Wednesday that she was the foreperson of the jury that convicted Stone on obstruction charges last year -- and soon afterward, her history of Democratic activism and a string of her anti-Trump, left-wing social media posts came to light. Hart confirmed to CNN and other media organizations that she had written a Facebook post supporting the Justice Department prosecutors in the Stone case who abruptly stepped down from their posts Tuesday, saying she "can't keep quiet any longer." The prosecutors apparently objected after senior DOJ officials overrode their recommendation to Jackson that Stone face up to nine years in prison.
In addition, it was revealed that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had denied a defense request to strike a potential juror who was Obama-era press official with admitted anti-Trump views -- and whose husband worked at the same Justice Department division that handled the probe leading to Stone's arrest. All these revelations raised the prospect that Stone's team could again seek a new trial, especially if Hart provided inaccurate responses under oath on her pretrial questionnaires concerning social media activity.
Of course, if you have a right-wing ideology, you can be on a jury. You can be a senior advisor to the president if you like slapping women around. You can be president if you grab them by the pussy. You can be a Federal judge for life, serve in the United States government, and do whatever the hell you want so long as you pull the lever for Trump. Known pedophiles, philanderers and, in the case of Stone, swingers are just fine because they are "pro-Trump" and this is the only ideological position allowed by the right-wing media. If you think differently, you're part of the "other" and couldn't possibly be a "good American."

This is the gradual criminalization of any individual who has left-wing views. It doesn't matter who you are because you are instantly suspect and have no credibility as a person if you are anti-Trump. I think this is incredibly dangerous and we need to call this what it is--a naked attempt to institutionalize the idea that you can't be a part of our society if you are anti-Trump.

Tens of millions of Americans are anti-Trump because of the bigotry, hatred, and corruption we have seen with our own eyes. Fox News would have you believe that you don't matter and can't serve as the foreperson on a jury because you are anti-Trump. This normalizes the idea that the only credible people who can investigate or criticize anything Trump does are Republicans who, nonetheless, support the bigotry, hatred and corruption of a white supremacist president.

These are shocking attacks on a person who rendered her judgement of lifelong ratfucker Roger Stone. This is just a naked attempt to eat away at the edges of what is considered normal discourse in this country. It will help make it possible to dismiss all of the criminality we are seeing because no one who is anti-Trump could possibly be "credible, sane, respectable or knowledgable" about anything, right?

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

No Crime if There Ain't No Law

There is no longer any reason whatsoever to believe that those who work for Trump are looking out for the interests of the American people. William Barr is the second most dangerous man in America, and he is rapidly forcing the justice system to bend to his will:
Top Justice Department officials are taking the extraordinary step of disavowing and undercutting their own federal prosecutors, announcing plans to reduce the government's sentence recommended for longtime Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone, a senior department official said Tuesday. 
The stunning and politically charged decision, which is expected to be filed in Washington, DC, federal court later Tuesday, comes hours after Trump publicly criticized the recommendation. It immediately raised questions about the Justice Department's independence from political pressure, and soon after the announcement, a prosecutor who worked on the case against Stone asked to withdraw from the case and resigned from the DC US attorney's office, where he had been temporarily assigned from another office. 
Prosecutors from the US Attorney's office in Washington, who are employees of the Justice Department, had said Monday that Stone should be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison after he was convicted on seven charges last year that derived from former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, including lying to Congress and witness tampering.
The likes of Barr are there for one purpose--to cover up the lawlessness of Trump and his lackeys.

Oh, give him a chance, they said.

UPDATE: As of 04:50 PM Eastern time, THREE all FOUR of the assigned prosecutors have resigned from the Roger Stone case.


Monday, February 10, 2020

A Budget That is Dead on Arrival

The budget that Trump submitted for consideration would normally end his re-election hopes outright and leave the entire Congress scratching their heads. This isn't a proposal. It's the very manifestation of someone's anti-government, anti-common sense ideas, written out in crayon and flung through the window tied to a brick. If you live in a red state, your "president" just took a giant crap on your head. Knowing Trump supporters like we all do, they'll probably dance and clap and ask for more of the same.

You want to enter the 2020 election cycle with a budge that slashes Medicaid? I can't wait for the AARP to react to this. Cutting $181 billion in SNAP benefits is your garden variety heartless GOP move, something they normally hide in an off year budget proposal.

This is pure evil. It's not a budget, it's a massive poison pill.

I guess nobody in the Republican Party wants to be re-elected ever again. Hell, this is the epitome of the idea that Trump is popular because he hurts the right people the right way. I mean, these are career-ending votes if this goes anywhere. Trump is clearly betting that this doesn't get out of the House, and I guess he wants to be sitting here with a government in shut down mode.

I guess we should just count on unvarnished horrors from here on into the fall election. Get ready for legislation to ban Christmas.

Good God.

Friday, February 7, 2020

The Purge

When you fail to show obedience to the dictator, expect to be purged:
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry, has told colleagues he expects to leave the White House's National Security Council in the coming weeks to return to the Defense Department, a source tells CNN.
Vindman said his departure from the council could come as soon as this month, the source said. That would be well ahead of the scheduled end of his time at the White House, which was originally slated to last until July. Vindman was appointed to his post in July 2018 and was asked to stay for two years. 
The source did not say whether Vindman's departure was voluntary or at the behest of the White House, though aides inside the West Wing had speculated it could come soon as the impeachment trial was over. 
Trump has continued to fume about Vindman's presence at the National Security Council since he testified, according to people familiar with the matter. Vindman's duties were significantly curtailed after he testified -- as were his those of his brother, an attorney for the council, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Democratic presidents have had to contend with openly hostile members of the military and disloyal high-ranking bureaucrats for decades. They relentlessly leaked damaging information about Obama and Clinton, and they were covered by Republicans in Congress who actively used them to advance their own agendas. This was particularly true during the Obama years when Benghazi was all the rage.

Expect a large number of diplomats and members of the military to be purged from the ranks. It's been happening right under our noses, and it will accelerate now because Trump has been given a free hand to remake as much of the government as he wants in his own crooked, stumblebum image. The experts are going to be gotten rid of. You'll probably see someone's idiot kid in Vindman's job because that's how we do national security these days.

Vindman never showed an ounce of disloyalty to the American people. He raised legitimate concerns about an unlawful act by the president in his area of expertise. And now he's going to be hung out to dry for it. His career is, essentially, over if Trump is re-elected and probably even if he goes down in defeat because of the vast number of officers above him who will maintain their fealty to the GOP.  And it's a shame because the man did nothing wrong.

Never forget that the Republican Party is now a cult, and you ain't in it.

UPDATE: Vindman and his brother have been frog marched out of the White House, and Gordon Sondland knows what it is like to give Trump a million dollars and end up being fired. Here's hoping that Sondland's hotels never see another paying guest ever again.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Elizabeth Warren's Clean Energy Plan

I have to confess that I like darned near all of people running for president, but I'm endorsing Elizabeth Warren because I like her approach to problem solving. I think she has the best chance of explaining what needs to be done, how to get it done, and how it will benefit the country. The next president is going to have to be the explainer in chief and win the arguments that it isn't even possible to have with Trump and his supporters.

Warren has so many plans, no one could adequately blog about all of them. What I like about this plan is that she isn't selling our future short. She's willing to make a huge investment.
Climate change is an existential threat. It’s real, it’s man-made, and we’re running out of time to address it. Our government needs to take bold action and use all the tools available to combat climate change before it’s too late. 
That’s why I’m proud to be an original supporter of the Green New Deal. That’s why I’ve proposed a historic $2 trillion investment in researching, developing, and manufacturing clean energy technology here in America so that we can lead the global effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and beyond. That’s why I support returning to the Paris Agreement and restoring Obama-era environmental protections like the Clean Power Plan. And that’s why I’ve proposed a set of executive actions I’ll take on day one of the Warren Administration to stop drilling and promote renewables on public lands. 
Today I’m proposing a plan to attack climate change from another angle too — using the power of public markets to accelerate the adoption of clean energy. I’m proud that my plan has the support of former Vice President Al Gore, a long-time leader on combating climate change, and support from many colleagues in Congress, including Senator Ed Markey and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the original authors of the Green New Deal.
Yep, this is what I can get behind. We need to do it and that's why we need to make sure people are ready for the November election.

Trump is Still Impeached, So There's That

I would imagine that Trump is haggard and filthy, and has been screaming throughout most of the day. He has been lurching around, involuntarily suffering from muscle spasms that only the strongest of relaxing agents can slow down. He has been hurling invective at otherwise ridiculous people because no one normal would every accept a position working in his White House.

For the next few years, they will have to disinfect the entire complex around the White House. The offices of those people sad and desperate enough to work for Trump are probably caked with vomit and human emissions. There is nothing worse than trying to eliminate the eliminations of a fat, sweaty guy who decides to masturbate all day in the Old Executive Office Building because he was pals with Don Jr. growing up.

Trump is impeached. The United States Senate did not do truth, justice or the American way any favors today. In fact, your red state senator from who the fuck cares is just another patsy. They will be left holding a bag of shit when this is all over, and Trump will go off and marry another whore, and we'll be treated to another decade of his lunacy.

His presidency is an unmitigated, publicly traded disaster. He has inflated the American economy on the lone credit card floating through his diseased mind. He has brought shame to the entire Executive Branch, peopling it with toadies and shitbirds and thieves. Each and every attempt he has made to be presidential has been washed away by an unhinged tirade. There are no words for how awful he has been, so we'll just give it a catchall term. It has been a fiasco. That's the only word I can come up with.

A fiasco.

Oh, and Putin still has his bitch, so there's that.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Elizabeth Warren

I was really hoping to be able to talk about endorsing Elizabeth Warren for president. Instead, we have the Iowa Debacle and what it means for the primary season.

It's pretty clear to me that letting third-rate people run things is not going to bode well for the Democratic Party. Making the necessary changes in leadership, strategy and organization is something that better happen sooner rather than later. It's not possible to overstate how important this election is in terms of saving American democracy.

Endorsing Warren was a no-brainer. I think she will choose the right running mate and will win the 2020 election. She will bring every one of Hillary's voters to the table and energize the voters who turned out in 2018. She will then roll all of that up a pretty big hill and get some help from everyone who thinks the country needs to move on without Trump.

Everyone else running for the Democrats could do that as well, but I'm going with Warren. No matter who gets the nomination, I'm going to crawl over broken glass to vote Blue.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

It's the Corruption, Stupid

The problem at the root of everything that Trump has done is corruption. It was what allowed him to steal the presidency and rob the country blind. The media has been slow to understand the impact of the corruption. They dutifully reported the comings and goings of dozens of government officials. What they failed to do in early 2017 is properly link Trump to the corruption that has been allowed to poison our politics.

Elizabeth Warren is my choice for president. She's going to deal with this problem, head on:

Warren had too many stops to make over the last three days of the Iowa caucus campaign to hang around for her trademark selfie line afterwards. However, Bailey the dog was available to step in and was certainly popular, especially with the service dogs in attendance, who looked on Bailey curiously, like basketball players when Michael Jordan stepped in for a pickup game. Warren—and Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar—are all burning up the highways and byways here this weekend because, as senators, they were obligated to spend two weeks in Washington listening to the grinding of Pat Cipollone’s interests as they conflicted with each other, grinding up the canons of legal ethics along the way. So if the homestretch here is more frantic than usual, blame the effort it takes on the part of this White House to turn the constitutional processes of government into a burlesque.
If nothing else, this obviously should be a good moment for Warren, whose campaign is based on her conviction that our government and our politics are so corrupt that Big Structural Change is needed to clean out the Augean Stables in the District of Columbia. On Saturday, she deftly connected decades of increasing corruption with the undeniable end product, which is this administration* and this president*. 
“The good news is that I have the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate,” she said. “The bad news is that we need the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate. These problems, this corruption, started long before Donald Trump became president.
If I'm being honest, I would love to see Kamala Harris run alongside Warren. That would be a ticket designed to heal the country and bring women to the polls in a way that would put them over the top. But that may not be the most complete ticket possible, and it might now hew to the center the way it would need to for this election. I wouldn't mind a Biden-Harris ticket or a Warren ticket with Stacey Abrams. I'm fine with any of that. Anything but Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard.

I do believe the country leans to the left on policies that the Democratic Party brings to the table. I don't think we need a purely centrist ticket. I do think we need a ticket that excites the American people and brings voters to the polls in one massive blue tsunami. An all female ticket might just counteract the poison of Trump and force him to dump Mike Pence out of desperation (which is what I think is going to happen in the next few months).

So, for me, it's Elizabeth Warren. I can't wait to vote for her.

Why Do So Many Democrats Want Trump to Win?

This sort of nonsense is a distraction from the real threat to American democracy. News flash, it isn't Hillary or Joe or neoliberal shills or "corporate Democrats." It's not the people in the middle of the road or on the hard left or on the soft right of the party.

America's experiment as a Republic is directly threatened by a Republican Party that doesn't give a damn that Trump is weaponizing disinformation provided to him by Vladimir Putin. And I'm sorry, but far too many otherwise intelligent Democrats are too fucking stupid to see that Bernie Sanders is a part of that campaign, as evidenced by the fact that Trump and Sanders use the same horrible tactics carried out by their followers to shit on people on the Internet and drive voters away from the polls.

Sanders is not here to win. He's here to raise money from gullible lefties who would otherwise give to libertarians or Green Party candidates and split the left away from the Democratic Party. He's here to peel these people off so that we get four more years of GOP economic policies. He has no plan to enact his policies because that would be a waste of time.

The overall goal is to ensure that the country suffers under four more years of Trump so that  everyone turns away from the two party system and elects a European socialist-styled government. The naive belief at work here is that if the American people suffer enough, they'll trash what we have and put their faith in whatever bullshit Sanders and his followers think will work. Only Bernie won't be around to actually govern. That's not part of the plan.

In short, they want Trump to continue in office because it will mean that the American people will be ripe for a far left socialist correction in 2024.

None of this will work. The pain inflicted by Trump is too great. There are far too many people of color being hurt and far too many Americans suffering overall. We have babies in cages and people struggling with a lack of opportunity and a whole host of structural disadvantages in this economy.

Forget the howling mob on Twitter--the country is split down the middle but prefers Democratic Party policies and ideas so long as they aren't dressed in the wardrobe of a socialist system. Your various Democratic politicians live in that lane, from Biden to Klobuchar to Warren to Buttigieg. Sanders is their natural enemy, not their erstwhile ally because he has convinced his followers that it is an all or nothing proposition. It's not even a primary anymore. It's a hostage negotiation.

If the Democratic Party does not give them a Sanders ticket (with his only natural ally, the horrible Tulsi Gabbard), they're going to burn everything to the fucking ground.

So, we're not faced with choices. We're trying to figure out a way out of this hostage situation. And I'm tired of having to explain this shit to people. Sanders is the same person he was forty years ago--a Soviet styled socialist who wants to destroy the American system of government and nationalize everything. He hasn't changed. He just figured out how to manipulate otherwise smart people into forgetting that voting for the common good is the only way to continue the American experiment and move forward.

If you think voting is a retail transaction, then I can't help you. It's an expression of placing your trust in one of the two sides that currently oppose one another, and hoping that your side can deliver on their promises.

I mean, Zerlina Maxwell gets it. Why doesn't anyone else? And I should add, I could be wrong about all of this. But I feel like we're screwing ourselves. Among the people campaigning for the other major candidates I see a fundamental honesty about what we're up against. Among voters for Sanders and Gabbard, I see intellectual dishonesty, racism, misogyny and a hatred for Hillary Clinton that goes well beyond common sense.

How did we end up so utterly screwed? Because the Democratic Party failed to deal with the Sanders issue in 2016. There are far too many people who want free money, free everything and don't realize that this is a fundamentally moderate country that isn't going to give them what they want when they want it. They've had just enough of a taste of success to convince them that if they scream loud enough and punish the people who would otherwise give them most of what they want, they'll win.

What we're about to see is a fractured process that will all but guarantee four more years of Trump unless some common sense about what we can and can't do prevails.