Just A Little Prick

There’s a meme out there somewhere that says that having (some number, sorry) illegal aliens in the country is better than one (Trump supporter, Republican…again, sorry).

No one has given me more reason to spottily remember it than good ol’ Todd Starnes. He’s one of those conservatives that derive their adult strength from Jesus and belittling unfortunate people after a school career likely marked by swirlies and getting shoved in lockers. Todd is a mealymouthed little twink with nothing to offer to a civil debate.

Before I begin shredding Todd, I had something of an epiphany about the immigration debate whilst trolling my brother’s Facebook page a few days ago, watching so-called Christians get all huffy about immigrants. I developed an axiom: if you have a lot to say against “illegals”, you’re a racist. Don’t give me that crap about breaking “laws”. That’s your cover story. You have issues with people whose skin color is not like yours and who don’t speak like you. You have probably never been hurt by an illegal (or been exposed to risk from them to a greater degree than you are vulnerable to homemade criminals), none of them have taken your job (in point of fact, they are doing the jobs you won’t do), and they do pay taxes without receiving benefits.

You are hung up because you are a prejudiced asshole. End of discussion. There’s a hundred things to bitch about regarding American life but choosing to plant your flag in this discussion above so many other deserving problems says something about you.

As it happens, being cruel to immigrants is as old as the country itself. For all of our talk about being a melting pot, we have always demeaned the latest wave of immigrants once we have become “Americanized”.

What’s in the name “Starnes”, I wonder? Most Starnes’ are from England, and the name’s root means “stern, uncompromising, austere”. I guess that fits him quite well, if only he didn’t look like look like a rodent who is packing his cheeks for winter:

todd-starnesnra

Anyway, Todd’s as white as can be, hailing from the mother country. If there was an immigrant wave, you can bet a Starnes looked down on it.

Here’s the inconvenient truth on immigration. The problem is intractable and the current boob-in-chief, try as he might, will not fix it. Illegal immigration is a linchpin of daily American life. I wouldn’t be able to afford a chicken breast or enjoy a bunch of grapes if mega-food corporations used labor that they would pay in wampum if they could get away with it. This is the ugly reality sitting just below the surface of our American happy-go-lucky lives; that our polite survival is based, yet again, on slave labor. We don’t get paid enough in this country to make rent, how are we going to deal when a pack of chicken breasts costs eighteen dollars? Am I an amnesty supporter? Yes, of course I am. But a whole range of labor reforms would have to be tackled before we handle how to pay immigrants for the suckiest work that’s ever sucked. If indeed the aim of our corporate masters is to find that sweet spot for all of us between penury and subsistence, then the illegal immigrant issue will not get “fixed”.  It’s going to stay the way they like it, and all of you stupid fucks like Todd Starnes will go on believing your bought off politicians when they say they’re going to scratch your racist itch.

Then there’s DACA. Children of undocumented immigrants born here face a possibility of being sent to a country they don’t know and didn’t come from. That is truly frightening shit and should NEVER happen here. Some of these kids are pursuing academics and serving in the armed forces. Donald Trump could have left DACA as it was, but he purposely kicked the legs out from under it, claiming it was not legal and punting the issue to Congress, where it was guaranteed to languish until it could be used as a bargaining chip in the scorched-earth politics Mitch McConnell trafficks in. Not feeling for these kids who were born of undocumented parents makes you a true scumbag.

So anyway, let’s go look at what the terminally punchable Starnes has to say today:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a number of other Democrats plan to fill the House gallery with illegal aliens when President Trump delivers his first State of the Union address on Tuesday.

ABC News reports at least 24 House Democrats plan to bring illegals — the so-called “Dreamers” — to watch the Tuesday night speech from the House gallery. 

Whoa! Stop right there, Todd. As I explained above, there is a yuge difference between an “illegal” and a “dreamer”. “Dreamers” have until at least mid-March (and possibly beyond pending a court order to block the end of protections) before they can be targeted for removal. They are not illegal yet, you dumbshit.

The illegal aliens will be sitting in seats that in previous years were meant for brave military heroes, law-abiding taxpayers and America’s best and brightest.

Again, see above on the issue of taxes. Furthermore, there’s almost a thousand “dreamers” serving honorably in the military, which is way more than you can say for chickenhawks like Todd Starnes and Donald Trump for that matter.

Best and brightest? Check out these bad-ass dreamers.

The sad truth is that Democrats would rather align themselves with foreign invaders who violated our national sovereignty, thumbed their nose at the rule of law, and pillaged and plundered taxpayer-funded resources.

Foreign “invaders”? Really with that hyperbole, Todd? You sound like a frightened little Pomeranian who snarls and snaps at anything unfamiliar that gets close to it. Buck up. You are a Starnes, damn it.

In response, President Trump should fill the remainder of the House gallery with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Imagine the message he could send to the world if he directed ICE agents to arrest every illegal alien in the House chamber – live on national television.

Aside from this being one of the most demented un-American fantasies I have seen in a while, once again, you stupid fuck-these people are legal.

There’s really not much point in more blow-by-blow here, because he gets basic facts wrong repeatedly. The whole piece is predicated on bullshit. But I hope I have made clear here that immigrants have so much to offer this country, way more than angry, hyperventilating white dorks who write a Fox opinion column whose only purpose is to spread misunderstanding and fear do.

 

 

 

 

China China China

I think I have figured out why Donald Trump used to talk so much about China during his campaign. There may have been more to it than just a harsh xenophobic dog whistle. He may have just been doling out the red meat for the rallies a la Mexico and the wall they aren’t paying for. But in reality, the Trump administration’s policy on China is…well…complex.

You would get the idea that China is a nemesis that stands against all we stand for if you listen to Trump on a superficial level. But that’s not the crux of the biscuit.

Here’s the secret: Trump thinks China is awesome.

Fact is, China is a competitor and Trump’s always up for a contest. It’s not insignificant that one of the big things he wanted America to do is “win” again. And winning for Trump is measured in dollars. He laments that our economic growth rate is anemic (it’s fine). He thinks our growth should be double what it is right now. Trump is jealous as shit towards countries who are metastasizing like that. China is what Trump thinks of when he thinks about growth and success, because it may be the only country on a map which Trump recognizes that has absurd growth rates. They’re actually slowing down now to a much less frenetic pace, but China nearly had to have another revolution to force those high numbers.

They became rapacious. They were going to produce until it hurt.

There was no price too high that they would pay to industrialize. They built an infrastructure of heavily polluting coal plants and factories across China. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people died every year working in horrid conditions for a pittance. The air became unbreathable in places and the workers couldn’t afford anything that they produced for the rest of the world. This is how you get 7%-10% growth-you work your citizens to death(not unlike slaves), pay them nothing, sell the fruits of the labor for next to nothing and  destroy the environment. And if you complain, you are arrested. There is no such thing as a free press-it’s all state media propaganda and the internet is heavily censored.

But today, China is learning to live with 6.9% growth. They have found that runaway growth is utterly unsustainable. Its technocrats are now more concerned with quality of life issues and they’ve gone looking to solar, wind and nuclear to reduce pollution levels. They have cool technology that scrubs air like a tree would. They’re coming out of the other side of their brutal experiment in growth, and getting ready to participate in the world market without things like currency manipulation, dumping, and old-fashioned protectionism. It still sounds like a shitty, unfun place to live, but they are progressing to the degree that they can.

So that’s what we know about China.

Wait for it.

I’m gonna make the jump and suggest that Donald Trump would love to turn us into China if he could.

He’s certainly contemptuous towards a free press. His views on so-called libel are dangerous. He could knock the legs out from under fledgling news gatherers by making court impossible to afford (Melania liked to break the will of tiny internet publications by threatening court over whether or not she was a ho). Ironically, Trump himself is an inveterate liar, making up all kinds of crazy stories ranging from the size of his inauguration crowd to claiming that millions of illegals voted in the 2016 election, which he won and still won’t let you forget a year later. Trump cannot really stop the media from reporting on him because of the Constitution-but he has learned to de-legitimize some of it and do an end run around it by using social media to calumniate against whoever opposes him or reports about him negatively. This snow job works on enough folks for it to pose a serious problem.

He wants to put the American environment to the torch. He’s willfully ignorant about global warming. He wants to hollow out the EPA, purging it of experts and making sure no one can discuss climate change within the agency.  He’s extricating the United States from global pacts to reduce emissions. He wants us to go back to the dirtiest sources of energy possible (believing that there’s something called “clean” coal that comes out of the ground as such), drill offshore from sea to shining sea and give companies license to barf their toxins into our land, water and air by rolling back protections. All in the name of growth and business.

The Chinese are famous for being xenophobes. Trump may not be able to spell it, but that is what he is as well. His 2016 campaign was based in no small part upon getting peoples’ Irish up about immigrants and furriners in general. And that wall…amazing, great, beautiful, the best…

Finally, China has a history of currency manipulation. They don’t do it anymore, but in the past, they have allowed the value of the yuan to sink so that Chinese goods cost less in the rest of the world. Steve Mnuchin is totally down with keeping the value of a dollar weak, which may be good for our trade deficit but deleterious in other ways. We are also now dabbling in protectionist tariffs. These economic sleights don’t go unnoticed by the rest of the world, who will begin protecting their markets against our monkey business. And like I mentioned above, we won’t be able to afford Made In The USA because of poor worker protections and wage stagnation. It’s all very strange, because Republican orthodoxy states that markets should be free and now we are closing ourselves off with these aggressive moves, and ducking out of trade pacts. Oh, well. We’ve always been a country whose shadow motto is “do as I say, not as I do”.

Trump and his swamp monsters want to reduce Americans to a populace of serfs. After all, capitalism is just a mutated form of feudalism. It’s servitude with your choice of masters that feels like the exercise of free will. Our lives revolve around the caprice of the corporations and the financiers. However, I think the lords of the feudal past actually gave a shit about their subjects in a way that that Pfizer, Dupont, Cargill, the Kochs and the Mercers do not.

 

 

 

Stunning-Kruger

It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2017. We now know what a full year of a Trump presidency feels like. It’s been like a psychic dog-year to some of us, his antipathetic, weary subjects. Every moronic tweet, every sensible regulation tossed on the pyre, every golf outing is a painful reminder that we have the stupidest, least qualified leader in American history, voted into office by the stupidest, least informed electorate in history. I’d like to say we as a nation have reached something of a nadir, and much like a drunk who has woken up in the gutter missing his shoes we have realized we have hit the bottom.

But I can’t make that call. Yes, it will take some digging to out-stupid Il Douche, but I rest assured you small-minded fuckers on the right will find someone else who can dog whistle the tunes you always come running for who is again just as mercurial, incurious, vacuous and terminally vain as you are.

Yesterday, we learned that you fucking dumbasses made Fox the most watched cable news network of the year, and that irritating cunthair Sean Hannity was the most popular opinion shaper. These are existential danger conditions for the country. Fox is The Mouth, and Sean is your Lewis Prothero blathering about how America Prevails every night. We used to know what to do with fascists. Now we’ve brought it to the homeland, happily indulging in love of party,  profit, The One True God, and that goddamned flag over regular, struggling people. And Merry Christmas, or else. Don’t take a knee if you know what’s good for you.

Have we gone too far to be redeemed? Have our worst impulses turned life in this country into a dull, hostile, nerve-racking gauntlet from which there is no surcease? If the depression epidemic is any indication, perhaps. We have become strangers to each other, on our own when we need us the most. We have enough automation to end the most stultifying of jobs, enough that we could work less and enjoy more of this 18 trillion dollar economy. But instead we’re working more than ever and earning less. Work is our religion, often the only polite thing that people can talk to each other about when they’re not doing it. We’ve taken the yoke so easy, that we barely feel the pain of the prod or the whip anymore.

This is NOT where I planned to go with this post. I wish I had Milo Yiannopoulos’ editor sometimes. I just want to put on the record that Donald Trump must have recently lost one of the two marbles he’s had rolling around in his noggin all this time. I want to mark it because I am re-joining the ranks of people who are not going to normalize the shit he says. I’m gonna get loud instead of get numb.

For some inexplicable reason, now and then the New York Times will allow Donald to get on the record about whatever diddlyshit pops into his empty helmet holder with little or no drilling down. It’s perhaps akin to a wild animal show, where you just get kinda close and observe how they behave. Lemme tell ya, If you are into liars extraordinaire, you will not want to miss this last stream of consciousness “interview”. CNN could not help itself from compiling nearly 50-bullet points detailing the craziest shit he let fly. Charlie Pierce brandishes the interview as prima facie evidence that we are no doubt witnessing a deteriorating mind. “In denial”, remarks Vanity Fair.

One of Donald Trump’s favorite things to do is brag. Dude never misses a moment to aggrandize his achievements, or outright lie about them. The jury is still out on whether or not he knows he’s making things up. There’s a little part of me that thinks he’s doing it to drive liberals insane. And even if he disagrees with us, is this the kind of “poke in the buzzing nest” a real president should engage in? Or is he talking to the millions of people who think he’s sent by God, knowing that none of them will ever question the bullshit he spews?

Yesterday, Trump tweeted about the weather in New York. I ain’t no meteorologist, but I was curious enough at some point to learn that weather =/= climate. Donald didn’t even bother. Like the simpleton that he is, he thinks that short term cold weather snaps mean the globe isn’t heating. And that’s as smart as he or any of his voters will get on the subject because further study runs counter to their heavily vested beliefs that it’s all a hoax perpetuated by scientists so they can keep their jobs and so that the Chinese can outgrow us and that the good Lord would never again let the earth go barren having gotten a guarantee regarding the issue in a 2000 year old book. I don’t have to exaggerate this-legislators and pundits alike keep these legends alive.

There is a third, more troubling explanation for his outrageous bullshitting. He’s doing it to drive liberals insane AND talking to his base who thinks he’s sent by God. That’s a long shot, though. It would mean that Donald Trump has enough agency to divide and conquer. I’m not ready to accept this third hypothesis yet as to why this motherfucker is full of it constantly. But I’ll put it out there anyway-in this unsure world we live in, he might, just might be pulling some sort of rope-a-dope. Again, it’s unlikely that Trump’s a strategic genius, and I’m getting my strings pulled by a master con artist who thrives on disorder. He’s more like a disagreeable Chance the gardener. I have to remind myself that he gets his news of the world through an imbecilic morning show that your racist grandmother watches instead of the president’s daily brief. Let’s not dwell on this third possibility too long.

Best guess really is he is just an ignorant boor who loves the sound of his own nonsensical voice. So if you are feeling a bit masochistic today, do stop by at the links above to remind you what we are all up against. You will find many choice nuggets of horsehockey, like the part where Trump claims that Hillary only wanted the popular vote while Trump The Wise deployed a “50-state” strategy instead. No collusion. And how the way they handled things during the race was much like how one approaches golf or track in that…well, the differences are pure philosophy to hear Trump tell it. No collusion. And how the Mueller investigation is bad for the country (so is colluding to ratfuck an election with a hostile world power). Or that he knows more about big bills than anyone EVER! Yeah, while the country flailed about trying to understand the jury-rigged screw job that Republicans cobbled together in secret, this piece of shit could have led and quelled fears, but didn’t see fit to let us in on his incredible understanding. Some fucking salesman. No collusion. You can also read that he blithely predicts an easy 2020 win, because he’s been so good for all the failing media outlets.

And even if there was collusion, which there wasn’t, it’s not illegal.

The Washington Post tallied that Trump lied 24 times in 30 minutes. That’s 0.8 lies a minute, if I got the division right. That is an amazing pace for making things up.

Tens of millions of people think this is OK. We have our work fucking cut out for us. Y’all have a Happy New Year if I don’t say it on Monday.

Dusk At Racist Castle

There are some who insist that last night’s election is only about Roy Moore’s nasty sexual proclivities and that what Alabamians did last night was merely what was right.

Oh, that’s part of it. But there’s more to consider.

As with the Virginia and New Jersey sweeps last month, the election was also a referendum on The Trump Effect. The Trump Effect states that wherever Donald Trump goes, he wins. Sane Americans have had a soul-wrenching 13 months and we are shocked but excited when Trump is the albatross he ought to be. After all, he did support Luther Strange too. I think, albeit guardedly that his mojo is nothing but dumb fucking luck. The mojo is becoming a curse. We will learn more about what the Effect’s effect really is soon enough.

Remember, remember, the 6th of November.

It also repudiated neolithic conservatism. Roy Moore is everything that’s wrong with the South and wingnuts in general-a gun toting, bible thumping white racist yahoo who is so fucking conservative he took a horse to the polls in an age where cars are starting to drive themselves. The Lord abandoned a relic like Roy, as did we-a move that would get Him in my good graces if I became silly and believed in Him.

We also showed that we can win at the polls. Despite numerous attempts to keep people from voting, enough voters showed up to do their duty. Last night, we put everyone on notice that if you suck, you will be removed no matter what kind of bullshit you try to pull. Everyone involved in tearing this country apart under the aegis of Donald Trump is officially reachable by ballot.

I cried last night for Alabama. The good people there have hope instead of the obsidian-colored gloom that coats daily living in America since November of 2016. And we all share in that hope, because Mitch McConnell’s usual job of ratfucking the country just got exponentially more difficult. If the tax bill mess is not done in by the usual GOP defectors, it’s possible that Mitch may be able to get a vote to the floor before Jones is seated between December 26 and January 3. But shenanigans after that will require more discipline and…gasp…compromise. Running the country by reconciliation and lockouts is not a winning strategy, to the degree that it ever was.

Lost in all of the layers of peculiarities of the Alabama senate race is the ineluctable fact that Democrats did this. Oh, a couple thousand smart dumb asses showed up to write someone in as a protest, but not enough to throw the election to Moore. We now know that we can win without the perennially unsatisfied who do not seem to grasp the glacial nature of our politics. It is a slow walk to progress, not a sprint. We get there by doing the work instead of bitching. I barely know Doug Jones, but I know he’s not a a gun toting, bible thumping white racist yahoo and that will do for a start.

Perhaps he will throw his lot in with folks like Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp in checking what they would call the excesses of their party. So be it. I am hoping that Jones will play ball instead, because the sky is the limit for a southern Democrat.

Yes, that is what I am implying. We’ve had two southern Democrats lead the party in my lifetime. I think there certainly are others already elected who deserve to spear the brass ring before a freshman (women in particular), but I’ll leave the strategery to Perez and Ellison. Last night showed that the pair is engaged and ready to beat the fucking tar out of anyone shameless enough to ally themselves with President Crazytweet.

I expect fear and trembling from The Hill to the White House. It will be disguised by false confidence but we know that they all hear a tick-tick-tick now that will haunt them, portending a fiery event that will eventually consume the Trumpists and the Lafferites and the conspiracy theorists and the dynamic scorers and the warmongers and the Freedom Caucus and the theocrats and the plutocrats and all the other god-damned kakistocrats I might have left out on the right that are trying to hollow out our government so it doesn’t work for us anymore.

UPDATE: For those of you playing the home game, I should point out that it was black Democrats that really carried the day, particularly black women. This is what the exit polls looked like (HT Meg The Perky Intern):

black

 

Knockdown In Round Two

Yesterday, it seemed like the end for the struggle to preserve benefits, protections and entitlements for millions of people across the country was imminent. The GOP looked unified enough to pull it off and take it all, desperate for some sort of victory no matter how Pyrrhic it would be once regular people felt the bite. They were ready to commit massive legislative arson just so they could please their wealthy donors in this cussed Citizens United era.

There was a snag last night when deficit hawks had reservations, but we’re all still on the hook at the moment. We might be losing the light yet.

But fuck all that. I know it’s important, but hang on.

Robert Mueller pulled another string.

He’s got Michael Flynn in his talons and he ain’t going to jail even a minute for one Donald J. Trump.

As they say in chess: Check.

And it looks like an ugly check, a nasty, sickening game-fucking fork that will cost King Dipshit his protective pieces, and when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before white chases him around the board where no space is safe.

I knew something was up yesterday. Trump is erratic at best on normal days, so it’s hard to read anything into his behavior. But he went berserk this week. It started with “honoring” Native American veterans in front of a portrait of the asshole who signed the Indian Removal Act, and like the 6 year old imp that he is, he proceeded to take a bizarre shot at Elizabeth Warren (as if to say “While I’m on the subject of Indians…“), a shot that no doubt confused the honorees and eventually pissed off much of the Native American community. He accused Joe Scarborough of murder, mused as to whether the pussy grabbing recording was real, told people in private that he still isn’t sure about Barack Obama’s birthplace, dribbled something about a fake news contest, dragged NFL players, CNN, The New York Times, I mean he whipped out all the greatest hits and made up some new ones. And then yesterday, he’s out there retweeting British anti-Islamic/white supremacist material, material that was without basis in reality. Now since Trump has been in office, he has NEVER taken responsibility or apologized for anything he has said or done and that did not change here. Sarah Sanders dutifully put on her ever increasing volume of warpaint (perhaps to unnerve the press corps) and basically said Trump is right, even when his proof is wrong. Oy vey.

All of it made my spidey senses tingle. I’ve never been fond of the notion that this twat of a president has any clue what he is doing. So many pixels have been wasted positing that Trump is a master of distraction. But the sum total of his miscues and outbursts this week suggested to me that his nerves were frayed about something. There may or may not be a little bird who has seen Mueller’s flop cards whispering in Humperdoo’s ear. This may be causing a bit of mania and rightfully, paranoia. Again, the things he does, says and types unintentionally muddies the water. Put simply, the dude is spazzing out. And the level of spaz might be a hint that trouble is coming…coming for him.

We may yet lose this country, what’s left of it for us normal folks anyway. But Justice, a severe and merciless bitch of a goddess, will not be denied her sacrifice. Maybe we will come out the other side of this caring more about each other after having been lied to and treated so badly by our putative leaders. My hopes are chastened, though. It only took five short years after Nixon left town in disgrace to bring us to Ronald Reagan’s senile reign of error.

We don’t learn from our mistakes here in America. We repeat them, with pride. But for now, let’s celebrate that our modern Caligula, this mad hatter of a misbegotten president is going down soon, hopefully taking his conspirators with him.

 

 

 

America Bleeds Blue

So, what, if anything, do last night’s election results mean?

It seems that the American people are out for incumbent heads once again. Non-presidential elections always seem to be bloodbaths for the majority party. And while I am glad the pendulum is swinging leftwards-politics being what it is here, nothing will get done that helps anyone because of the incredibly steep hill we as a Democratic Party must climb to triumph, and when we don’t make it to the summit, then the pendulum will swing right again (sorry about the mixed metaphors). If there’s anything you can count on in this world, it’s the shitty memory of the average US citizen. It doesn’t help that they are being lied to by half the radio dial, hundreds of crap dailies, and a major “news” channel either about what’s good for them. We’re a perpetually unsatisfied bunch, on the whole, and that is probably by design.

That’s my cynical take.  I could be wrong, last night’s blue wave might be a harbinger of things to come. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, because we’ve gotten to the summit  before(2008 until we lost Ted Kennedy and got Scott Brown). Really, the big important takeaway is that Donald Trump is really only good at one thing, and that’s alienating people. If there is any meaning at all to yesterday, it’s that Trump is not magic like he’d have you believe. In his mind and his stunted supporters’ minds, it was his charisma and vision that propelled him to victory in 2016. His statistically improbable win gave rise to a variant of The Trump Effect, which posited that his upset victory made him and Republican candidates who hewed to him invincible, all the way to 2020 when he would be elected again.

Now I was dead wrong about 2016. I fully expected an establishment election, with Bush losing to Clinton. But because of the weaknesses in the Republican field there was room in the national conversation for a blustering, self-promoting demagogue to turn the right wing in this country into a cult of personality seething with hatred and resentment towards its neighbors and anything else that wasn’t ‘Murican, which is to say white, male, straight and Christian. But I don’t think I’m going to be monumentally wrong again in that manner, and if I am, I should just turn in my pundit pin and go think in a dark room for a few months. Donald Trump is a fraud, a phony, a Pied Piper for idiots, and most of us have already figured that out. There will always be that perpetually blind 25% or so of people who really are Nazis, alt-righters, supremacists and racists, to whom Donald Trump seems like a godsend. But no one who wants to keep their job in Washington really wants to get any closer than arms length to Trump, and Republicans may forgo the huckleberry vote in a bid to hold the center, which is the sweet spot every perennially successful movement wants to be in.

That sweet spot is currently held by Democrats, if we can impose a little discipline on ourselves( looking at you, Donna Brazile, Bernie-hangers on, etc.). My best self is socialist, but I will wait patiently while we discover ways to make its principles palatable to a country obsessed with outmoded caricatures of “individuality”, which may have made for good novels while we were still stealing land expanding as a nation but is wholly incompatible with the modern interdependent society where we don’t have to leave our neediest behind, work our lives away and grossly enrich ourselves as others struggle simply because they weren’t born fortunate. Now, I’m white, male and straight, and taken care of by the Veteran’s Administration and so I realize that my ability to “wait” is privileged to the point of being odiously gauche. But there it is; calls for revolution will not sit well at the center. We must nudge and not shove. It’s either that or a second civil war, one that crushes all the oppressive forces of patriarchy and racism and sexism and superstition and lack of understanding. I mean, I know what side I’ll be on if it goes down, but do we have to get to that point before we tolerate each other? Who of us will be counted when we do? Most of us have work in the morning.

Let’s hope politics is the answer. Indeed, it may be our last.

 

Race To The Scoop

This country been on a steady diet of terrible news in the last year. It was like castor oil and thin gruel and we hated every miserable minute of it, like in most diets.

But yesterday, the sane wing of this country broke their fast and supped mightily and greedily.

It was Motherfucking Mueller Time.

The venerated counselor made his first moves as special counsel after a five-month investigation. Paul Manafort and an associate are facing life in prison, on charges stemming from false statements to conspiring to defraud the United States. A parallel and equally damaging (some would argue more damaging) story ran today that another Trump advisor, George Papadopolous had pled guilty to lying about trying to get at the “dirt” the Russians were offering on the DNC and Hillary Clinton. A separate and lesser known case is being assembled against him for having entirely too many vowels in his last name.

Truly delicious. But as people starved of hope for so long, we want Mueller to feed us yet more. We want a shock and awe campaign that will make dumb Donald’s head spin every damn day, revelations that he can’t possibly tweet his way out of.

We don’t know what cards Mueller has, and that’s sort of a good thing. I think letting the ramifications of these two cases sink in is sensible. There’s plenty of places for Mueller to go with Manafort and Papadop…whatever. Flipping Manafort is a strong possibility, because his life is effectively over if he is convicted unless Chump pardons him, which is probably a bad move that would indicate his own guilt while the investigations intensify. There’s really no good move here for President Fumblefingers-he’s acting like the proverbial frog in the simmering pot of water at the moment, tweeting denials and lies like usual and my hope is that things stay that way until he is cooked through.

So. Now that Black Monday is over, where do we go from here? It’s 7AM here in the East and Robert Mueller is still brushing his teeth, so anything could happen that negates what I’m about to proffer.

Yesterday afternoon, something interesting was noted by a McPaper reporter in the DC court docket. I tried like hell to reproduce this graphic by searching the court’s website but got nowhere so I couldn’t really tell you where this is from. His name was Steve Reilly, and he tweeted this image.

indict

Papadoodledoo was the case prior to the ones above. And I can confirm that 17-201 was Manafort. I got at least that far on the site. So this raises some questions as to the nature of the sealed indictments between Felix Pappalardi and Manafort’s. Are they more bullets in Mueller’s bandoleer?

Well, truthfully, we can only speculate for now. But that hasn’t stopped a couple of news outlets from letting it fly and claiming these mysterious “in between” cases are aimed at Trump.

I became aware of this graphic because a friend, who is smarter and more perspicacious than I am, posted that to Facebook.

No sources were given by the person who she got the graphic from. So I decided that it would be best if I did due diligence and seek out more information on these sealed indictments.

I googled.

I googled some more.

I continued to refresh my searches for hours after her post.

Nothing…until later in the evening. Boom. The Palmer Report and Patribotics were claiming that more indictments were forthcoming.

Now, this is not the first time these websites have been seen together in a search. In fact, it often looks like Louise and Bill are trying to outdo each other. If Palmer claims five, Louise claims infinity kazillion.

The two sites were alone in reporting more Trump indictments. No one in the above ground media wanted a bite, which is important because if you have proof of those indictments you don’t wait for another paper to scoop you. It’s also worth mentioning that McPaper, who Steve Reilly works for, did not publish a story based on the graphic.

So: either these two sites are dodgy as fuck, or they are somehow Chosen by a Deep Throat-type insider to get the news out.

A little history of Mensch and Palmer is in order.

Louise was a right-wing ex-MP before she became an internet sleuth. She moved to America with her husband, and began work in online journalism which was aimed at conservative women. She has always been something of a rogue wherever she goes, getting embroiled in controversy.

She hates Vladimir Putin. So much so that the subtitle of Patribotics is “Exposing Vladimir Putin’s War On America”. By extension, she hates Donald Trump for going balls deep on Vlad. So, even though she’s a conservative, she’s yet another strange bedfellow in the quest to remove Trump from office.

Can she be trusted, though?

A media bias website calls her work “questionable”. To wit:

A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information and/or is fake news.

While Patribotics does produce factual content, they also promote numerous unproven conspiracies…Overall, this source does produce some quality investigative journalism, but there are also many unproven and un-sourced claims that render this blog questionable.

Oh, and she’s rather hostile when challenged.

I don’t know about you, but when my media isn’t consistent, it’s useless to me. I don’t have the time to separate fact from fiction just so I can get a jump on certain stories, because there is too much fiction out there to wade through as it is.

Let’s begin to discuss Bill Palmer by talking about one of his writers, Claude Taylor. Claude, an old Clinton hand, has a Twitter feed called TrueFactsStated. He has a habit of tweeting outrageous unsourced bullshit that cynically uses peoples’ confirmation bias as bait to his feed. I got taken in by Claude a while back, posting on Facebook a tweet of his in August that said that high level Trump indictments were forthcoming soon (Louise Mensch, incidentally, also promulgated this story as well). My perspicacious friend waved me off of the story. In my defense, I gave people fair warning that it might not pan out to be truth. But anyway, Claude Taylor is dead to me. I don’t give a shit what he says even if it is right-he’s not to be trusted. We need to fight left-wing fake news just as hard as we fight right-wing fake news. In fact, we should fight lefty horseshit harder, because we need to be as correct as possible. It only takes one fuckup and the wingnuts will present it as evidence that the entire left movement is untrustworthy. They do it all the time inside their alternate media universe. We good liberals have to work harder because the opposition has traded truth for propaganda, and propaganda is much simpler than the facts and therefore easier to spread to the uncurious that need their news spoon-fed.

This is my way of saying that Bill Palmer has one strike on him for associating with a liar. Yet, my perspicacious friend loves the guy. I’m torn, because a) my friend is whip-smart, b) I have been burned by his staff and c) there’s enough skepticism of his work that suggests I probably ought to pass on his bombshells.

Not much is really known about Bill. He’s been behind the creation of several online publications, most notably the DailyNewsBin, an anti-Trump site which kind of morphed into Palmer Report. To me, he came out of nowhere. Snopes is a bit wary of Palmer, who notes that several blasts of his have no foundation in provable veracity (Palmer is derisive of the site’s usefulness).  And the same media bias/fact check website I used to observe Louise Mensch’s record finds Palmer’s record mixed and questionable as well. Palmer is embroiled in a fight with that site too, and has angrily lashed out at other critics much like Louise Mensch has. To me, this type of combativeness indicates an inability to let the facts speak for themselves, if indeed they are facts.

Anyway, Palmer published a story on the USA Today graphic. He’s hedging, as you can see by the title, filing the story in his “Opinion” section. It’s a fairly thin piece, with strange leaps of logic like “That doesn’t prove that the four cases are all Trump-Russia cases, but it means that they most likely are.”

Huh? How does that follow?

Am I too dense to understand that? That is entirely possible. Is the Palmer Report like a soap, where I need to have been with the story from the start to know what is going on?

After a bit of time had elapsed last night, someone/something recognizable went with the story.

Fucking Hot Air. Michelle Malkin’s old folk’s home for conservative bloggers. Many of you old bloggers will know some of the names. There’s Ed Morrissey, who ran the fever swamp “Captain’s Quarters”, and Jazz Shaw, who was honest enough back in the day so I was surprised he was consorting with a crazy bitch like Malkin. There’s also Allahpundit, who I never read but I know the name.

Allahpundit wrote up the piece on the potential Trump indictments. Much as it pains me to say this, it’s a good read, better than Palmer’s for sure-even with the conservative bias. He raises the point that sealed indictments are common and typical, and with a little math and a tip from a lawyer, finds that four sealed indictments over 22 days is in line with their frequency as a whole.

That’s the kind of skepticism I can use, especially when we are just guessing at the contents of those sealed indictments. I have enough trouble with my own confirmation bias as it is without somebody dangling a juicy “exclusive” scoop at me.

I need to go to a doctor’s appointment. It’s 10AM, and I will close this piece by doing one last google search for something that corroborates the speculation that there are sealed indictments related to Trump all ready to drop.

12:30PM

Nothing. Same returns as last night. So here is what I’m gonna do: I’m going to watch this story and only this story from Palmer as a test because I believe my friend would not steer me wrong. But if he can’t produce the goods, I wash my hands of him. If he is correct about the nature of the indictments, I’ll become a fan and issue a mea culpa here and say sorry to my perspicacious friend for doing a hit job on their favorite newsbreaker. I’m no stranger to being wrong, so do your own research about sources and come to your own, hopefully better conclusions.

 

 

 

Driven To Distraction

I’ve spent a good deal of time maintaining that the things that Donald Trump and Co. do on a daily basis are NOT the products of any particular rational, intellectual or logical machinations. It was fact to me that they simply didn’t know what the fuck they were doing because the president is a miserable, pathetic, deranged mental midget. People cried “distraction” from this or that ad infinitum. Like Martin Sheen said to Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now”, I didn’t see any method at all.

But around about Thursday, my spidey senses tingled as I watched Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy inexplicably open investigations into Hillary Clinton, on spurious charges that a Google search could have debunked. Duh Fuhrer eagerly seized on the news, making the outrageous claim that she was the target of the Russia investigation and that it was already “common knowledge” that he was innocent.

I said to myself, “Now THAT’S some damn distracting”.

Ham handed as it was like anything involving Trump, it all smacked of desperation that had a different vibe to it. There were so many people muddying the waters in the last few days to conceal headlines that put the lie to the new allegations against Clinton-like the one that found that a conservative newspaper asked for what became the Steele dossier. Fox News began a concerted misinformation campaign (even more hysterical and obsessive than the usual bullshit they peddle)to hastily report all the truffles that the Trump cabal dug up.

Something was up. All hands were on deck to try to get people to focus on hackneyed headlines about Hillary Clinton, hoping that enough people were blissfully unaware of the fact that she wasn’t the president.

Now we know what the sound and fury was all about.

Mark yesterday on your calendar so you can tell people where you were and what you were doing when the worst scandal in the history of this country broke wide open.

The next two days are going to be full of follies trying to pretend that some Trumpist is not  gonna be wearing cuffs soon. When the charges were publicized, Hannity barely blinked and asked when Hillary would be indicted. Ben Stein tried to downplay the scandal by downplaying Watergate. So pop your popcorn, because this weekend and beyond is gonna be hilarious if your gallows humor is still intact.

 

Paging Judith Miller

When my wife would ask me if it was in the realm of possibility that we would drop a fat man or ten on North Korea, I’d always confidently say that even Donald Trump has enough brain cells not to irradiate the peninsula. She still doesn’t believe shit that I say, because I blew the election call like everybody did(with the notable exception of Michael Moore). Anyway, she’s now an adherent to Murphy’s Law when it comes to politics. I can’t really blame her, given the fuckery we have witnessed over these last ten dreadful months.

I’m still saying that the odds are against us nuking the hermit kingdom, but there have been some subtle indications that potentially point to an attack in the future.

Twitler and Kim-Jong-Un have been very busy trading threats and japes since the inception of fucking moron’s tenure. It’s like listening to two lobotomy patients doing The Dozens. I blew it off because it didn’t take me long to figure out that Donald Trump was all hat and no cattle, a man unable to get the simplest things done because of his big fat made-for-KFC facehole.

In August, everyone had a laugh over President Humperdoo’s claim that he ordered the nuclear arsenal to be modernized. That modernization was begun under Barack Obama, but like a typical white supremacist Trump stole the black guy’s accomplishment. He tweeted that it was “far stronger and more powerful than ever”, an idiotic brag aimed at Un that was met with eyerolls from our arsenal’s keepers. So I shrugged, once again. Trump found a shiny, and like a child he would drop it when he found another thing that he could put in his mouth to explore the world with.

Lately, however, dribs and drabs  in the press are giving me pause. Trump ordered bombers to 24-hour ready status, a move denied by the Air Force but officials left the barn door open on the possibility of it happening in the future. Then, as quick as you please, Chump signed an EO allowing the recall of retired pilots. Once again, the air force ambiguously claimed that it was not going to do that…right now.

But the strangest indication of all to me came out yesterday. I am a regular reader of The Raw Story. It’s a reliable liberal news catcher. And yesterday, they splashed a report that North Korea has biological weapons and has the knowhow to weaponize them.

I don’t need to tell you how this story goes if you were conscious for 9/11/2001. Or 3/20/2003.

But I said to myself that Raw Story wouldn’t peddle naked agitprop for war. But that’s exactly what they did.

They lifted the story directly from the International Business Times, a popular and powerful online news outlet that swallowed up Newsweek. Their story touted a Harvard study that concluded in a 46-page report that Un had bio-WMD.

Here’s where it gets weird. The IBT is affiliated with a kooky South Korean Christian group known as “The Community”. There are familial and scholarly ties to a David Jang, who like many Christians, would like to immanentize the eschaton. Nuking North Korea is considered by many to be an act that would bring about a third world war, which checks all the boxes as an end of the world scenario.

So what I guess I’m getting at is that this seems to be a plant to get people softened up to the idea that the problem of North Korea must be solved with a hammer, and quickly. It is quite surprising that Raw Story would publish the piece verbatim without critical discussion. But I guess it’s still the age-old problem concerning the mix of press and money; if it gets clicks and eyeballs, let it fly-even if it means doing the bidding of the gods of war.

Looking at you, Gray Lady.

 

 

I Can See Russia From My White House

Notably absent from this notably absent blog is talk of Russia. That’s largely because I ain’t Mother Jones and I can’t keep up with this 80-armed Octopus that is their interference in our politics. So many people are going to get SO busted for their complicity in the plot to tear a Gazprom-sized hole in our democracy, so long as Robert Mueller doesn’t expire in the midst of his thoroughness. I think we’ll all be fascinated by the number of people who go to the pokey for conspiracy and obstruction. Or maybe it’ll fizzle like Iran-Contra and all the culpable bastards will be pardoned or secure commutation. Depends on how big this thing gets.

I’m not exactly slow to learn, but I am sometimes late for the game. For example, this whole “bot” story is blowing me away. Y’all hear about this?

As I understand it, these little automated pieces of software can be very useful in handling simple tasks that could potentially speed up the response time of a customer service center, for example. I’m sure all of us by now have chatted in real time with a bot at some point while trying to contact someone over the internet about a problem you are having with a product or service.

But they can be used for evil. They can crash a site by swarming it, steal your information, wreck your online gaming experience, and defraud your company. But their most nefarious use was (and still is) shitposting accolades and defenses of Donald Trump all over the internet, all in the service of one Vladimir Putin. How do we know this? Because we can trace these bots’ origins straight to Russkieland.

Does everybody remember this?

 

Yeah. That was Hillary literally warning us that Donald Trump was going to tongue-polish Putin’s little purple-hatted fireman if elected. And did we heed her? In fairness, more of us did than didn’t. But the bots, the geographical peculiarities of our electoral system, vote suppression, the Comey Bomb, and good ol’ fashioned sexism caused the sane candidate, however imperfect, to lose the tally.

Anyway, the internet is full of garbage information coming from Russia, and if you are a Trumper, you probably have retweeted a bot, shared a bot-generated story, or upvoted a bot comment unkowingly. Or maybe you know and don’t care because it says what you want to hear. Fuck you.

So anyway, let’s fast forward in the Russian intrusion/collusion story to round about now. Emperor Zerohito is in a fight with another Gold Star family, and he’s been trying to get sports figures who take the Kaepernick knee fired. It’s pretty fucking pathetic and the press and people in general are letting him have it. And guess who came to Trump’s defense:

“Mr. Trump was elected by the American people. And at least for this reason it is necessary to show respect for him, even if you do not agree with some of his positions,” Putin said at the Valdai International Discussion Club when asked what advice he could give his U.S. counterpart, according to state-run Tass Russian News Agency.

Putin said that “disrespect is shown for [Trump]” in the U.S., which he called “regrettable.”

“One can argue but one can’t show disrespect, even not for him personally but for those people who voted for him,” he said. “I believe that the president of the United States does not need any advice because one has to possess certain talent and go through this trial to be elected, even without having the experience of such big administrative work. He [Trump] has done this.”

Putin said that Mr. Trump “won honestly” in the 2016 presidential election.

Hey, Vlad?

Suck my dick. Don’t you dare come from your giant permafrost fiefdom to lie and tell me how I should behave towards my American president. I will call the president a fuckball wherever I want. Were the president a respectable man, we might agree. But not this guy. No goddamned way. You don’t get to tell me how to respond to one of the stupidest, most worthless heads of state this country has ever produced. And you obviously don’t comprehend what makes Americans free. As a matter of fact, neither does your assboy Trump. You are each tinpot despots, demanding respect when none is given and you can both take a flying fuck at a rolling donut for that.

Ahhh. That felt good.

As sinister as the Trump/Putin axis is already, the intrigue has deepened rather quickly. As has been well documented, Putin likes to kill dissent by, well, killing. Today, a journalist critical of Putin was stabbed in the neck in Moscow. Also, a man named Bill Browder, who uncovered evidence of colossal Russian fraud is now on the run from INTERPOL for the killing of his countepart, lawyer Sergei Magnitsky-and it looks like a frame job because Putin is probably the one who tortured and executed him in prison. And at the same frigging time, the State Department revoked Browder’s visa so nowhere is safe.

Some people may think that Putin isn’t getting his money’s worth for helping fix our election. But perhaps he is, in ways that aren’t screamingly obvious, ways lost in all the other noise generated by this administration.

UPDATE: Browder’s visa has been reinstated. Evidently this move went over like a lead zeppelin and Tillerson backed off.

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