Category Archives: Russia
I think it’s time to really get real on what has happened in Ukraine, what is happening, and what might be happening.
Doing so will require a great deal of searching in some weird places. Because we are all consuming some sort of spin, somewhere. Everyone is doing it-NATO, the US, the EU, the UK, The Russian Federation, and of course, Ukraine. It will also require us to be more dispassionate armchair generals, questioning what we think we know constantly, absorbing new information as it arrives. We all have a fan favorite, and we will say just about anything to make our team look good. I certainly would like to believe that Ukraine is going to be able to get Russia the hell out of its territory. It’s an illegal war, and a threat to national sovereignty everywhere. Moreover, it’s a direct challenge to Western democratic hegemony, bringing incredible wealth and control of global food and energy to a nuclear armed country in the midst of a fascist rebirth.
I’ve already talked about what I think is going on in Putin’s head; I don’t think he’s an expansionist on the level of Hitler or Japan or any of the other great powers of yore who tried to seize great swaths of land by brute force. Instead, Putin chooses small wars, like the ones he’s waged in Chechnya and Georgia. This Ukraine war, though, is his biggest gambit yet. According to him, this is a “special military operation”, designed to liberate the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Now what Putin and his generals did to achieve his strategic goals is a matter of intense debate. Most feel that the plan was to invade Ukraine and swallow it whole, and take Kiev. I do not number among these analysts. It’s beyond Russia’s control to hold the entirety of Ukraine with the forces it has. Everyone seems to think that Russian strategists are mentally deficient, and I think that’s a mistake, one that will cost Ukraine greatly in the future. What was done instead was draw Ukrainian forces far, far from the east to face withering attacks from Russia from all sides. Railways and infrastructure were targeted to ensure the Ukrainian forces would not cross the country to join the fight in the east. You mean to tell me that the Russians sent only twenty thousand soldiers to take a city of 3 million? I don’t think so. They are simply not that dumb. But Ukraine sure sent a bunch, and the Russians retreated, again strategically. And no one should believe casualty numbers from anyone. They vary so wildly it’s impossible to see through the fog of war.
It was around this time that Putin declared the first phase of the operation complete; and suddenly the Russians were on the move to the east, with a much easier time pacifying Donbas. But there seems to be more to Russian ambitions, and I believe they were there the whole time. Once the Mariupol obstacle is removed, the land bridge to Crimea is complete. Kherson is under Russian administration. So if that’s basically wrapped up, they run the Sea Of Azov.
But are they done after the land bridge? I don’t think so. What will make all of this worth it is landlocking Ukraine, cutting off its ability to trade with the world. That means Mykolaiv and Odessa are next. Proving my supposition is that suddenly everyone wants to talk about Transnistria, a breakaway area from neighboring Moldova controlled by Russian forces. The Russians can link up there, and pretty much put an end to the special operation and try to sue for peace. Many think that Putin has designs beyond Ukraine. I don’t see a point to that. This has been a major effort for them that they will need to recover from. If Ukraine isn’t interested in the new map, well, there’s going to be a long, ugly insurgency in store for Russia and while millions will die, Russia will have paid for its adventure. Nobody wins this thing.
Rumor has it that Polish troops are on the move to fight those Transnistrian Russian forces, and cross into Ukraine as a peacekeeping force. So there’s clearly going to be some kind of showdown there. Is Odessa going to be a NATO beachhead in Ukraine? Are we going to pour assets in from the west? It’s very possible. It could be an extremely provocative move, one that could be interpreted as NATO directly confronting Russia. And just about everyone agrees that when that happens, the world needs to pay attention and worry a bit more about the third world war popping off for real.
It may be time to take a fresh perspective on why Russia has recklessly invaded its neighbor Ukraine. In our hearts, we see what the war has wrought and we know it is wrong. Because war disgusts all good people. What gives Vladimir Putin the right to continually attack his neighbors without consequence? Why doesn’t somebody do something to contain them?
In his mind, history accords him that right. But I don’t think Putin is operating from a pre-WW2 mindset, as he is often accused of doing. I don’t even think he’s operating in a 2014 mindset either, Because he’s been taking little chunks from other countries for years before the Ukranian revolution. Where is Putin coming up with the justification for annexation and invasion?
In today’s carefully managed defense of territorial integrity, annexation by force is a highly unpopular move. In modernity, anyone who tries to pull it is severely disciplined by the world community. Saddam Hussein learned that when he tried to begin his ideas of a Greater Arabia by annexing Kuwait; he ended his quest dangling from a hangman’s noose. Slobodan Milosevic also had dreams of a Greater Serbia and committed genocide to achieve it; he too was executed for his crimes. The only country in the world who has not been punished for annexation per se is Israel. That’s a complicated one because the Palestinians never declared statehood, so the view seems to be that they are taking no sovereign territory. However, their occupation of the Golan Heights is definitely straining the definition of occupation and pushes closer to annexation as they continue to hold it, year after year. (UPDATE 4/6: Papa Chomsky reminded me that Trump allowed the official annexation of the Golan Heights. Oops!)
However, in the case of Putin, it’s very hard to discipline him. A bombing campaign will not stop a Russian advance, nor will a counter-invasion of Ukraine. Russia, you see, has nuclear weapons. A lot of them. And they have made it clear that any move that threatens the existence of the state will be met with annihilation. So we have to be very careful how to play this one. And the world has been. We have been pouring every low intensity asset available we can into Ukraine to make this invasion super painful for the #2 military in the world. There’s two ways this invasion can go: one is to turn Ukraine into Afghanistan II for them. This, like Afghanistan, could take years and kill millions. The other is for Ukraine to cede control of hostile areas around Ukraine that are Russian-friendly and end this terrible siege.
The second option disgusts many. Who would countenance the loss of territory like that? Would the United States cede states, as some are fond of saying?
In our case, the answer was no. But we paid a dear price to preserve our Union in the years of 1861-1865. People are still arguing about why it happened. To my mind, it was about consolidating and retaining power. Since 1776, America worked and warred its ass off to become and remain The United States. And I figure Lincoln wasn’t going to let a perfectly good union go to waste after cultivating it for almost a hundred years.
In contrast, how long has Ukraine been Ukraine? How far do you want to go back? Empires wax and wane, so let’s just start with modern Ukraine. They had a revolution in 2014 which would eventually skew Ukraine’s ties closer to Europe. As you might imagine, Russia didn’t like that at all, for reasons I’ll try to address later. They saw the revolution as a good a time as any to return Crimea to Russian control. No blood was shed, and the Ukrainians relented and allowed Crimea to become autonomous, protected and run by Russia-friendly leaders. But peace was not established yet. War broke out in the Donbas region, and two pro-Russian separatist states declared their independence from Ukraine. This time Ukraine was going to fight for its territory and subdue the rebels. And up until February 2022, they were still at war. But as we all know, Ukraine had bigger problems than Donbas. Russia began to surround Ukraine with its military, and here we are today, wondering whether World War 3 is going to start.
Ukraine had only been Ukraine for eight years, if we take the various separatist movements into account. It was a country in revolutionary flux, and Putin picked a good time to weaken it and make it something unpalatable and indefensible to Europe.
Or so he thought. We may not want to start a nuclear war, but most of the world, respectful of territorial sovereignty, has made sure that Russia will be punished by playing an old conventional game of violent imperialism. And we’re doing it without directly causing a single casualty at our hands.
There’s a lingering question though: what does Russia really want from Ukraine? You can find it in today’s papers. It is, as it has always been, “the special operation”, which Russia has invented some bullshit reasons for. Now it may look like Russia wants to eat Ukraine whole and return it to old Russia, but as you can see, they’re not getting very far if that is the plan. It’s purely a strategic move; to connect Crimea to the Donbas breakaways via land. Contiguity is what Putin wants, plus he wrests access to the Sea of Azov from Ukraine. I believe any military action not in Donbas is to distract and disperse the Ukrainian military so that it can no longer defend its eastern flank. What is the crown jewel in the special operation? Where does the connective tissue between these little secessionist republics begin?
Mariupol. As I write this, Russians have kidnapped tens of thousands of its civilians and is demanding that the city surrender. What Volodomyr Zelenskyy decides to do next will probably determine just how long Ukraine remains under siege. This is a flashpoint. Let’s say Russia wants to make a deal-ending the invasion for the surrender of Mariupol. Can they be trusted? To me, the answer is yes. They can see damn well that this war is not going to plan and they are probably eager to get back to some semblance of normalcy and deal with all of the economic, political and military fallout from the incursion. Putin will have paid heavily for his land bridge if this is the direction Ukraine wants to go. No one is going to “win” the battle for Mariupol. But as of now, Zelenskyy is holding firm, refusing to give up the city. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but it will not be pretty. And if anyone really thinks the West is going to do anything about it, they’re kidding themselves. Because the reality is, Ukraine was like a DMZ to the EU and NATO. This war is still on “cold” setting, and will likely stay that way so long as Russia blunders around in the DMZ. That is a tragedy for Ukraine, and I hate it. They’ve been caught between two power blocs and a newly adventurous Russia.
So, let’s circle back to the question of just where Putin’s head is at and what year he thinks it is. To do that, we must look at the recent history of the EU and NATO, and ask ourselves if we too have been “annexing” countries by pledging to defend them. Are we playing the imperial game as well? Did World War 3 start without a shot several decades ago? In Putin’s mind, this is undeniable. For the EU and NATO, their goal is simply to defend democracy. It’s probably a bit more complicated than that. It seems obvious that the goal is to hem Russia in, ending its influence upon the states that surround it. We did that during a time when Russia was at its weakest. Just like we finally came together to bring Germany to heel, ensuring it would never be a threat to Europe again. Nothing remains of its Nazi past for continental domination. This is what we wanted from the dissolution of the Soviet Union. To ensure it would be crippled so it could not threaten the world with its weapons of mass destruction.
But Germany had to be utterly destroyed for us to stop the Nazis; it was not the way we defeated the Soviets. The USSR fell to internal pressures; we just sat back and watched it happen. A deal was made between Russia and NATO in 1991 to dissolve the Warsaw Pact, and in return we would not accept former pact members into NATO. But that’s exactly what we did. The US and the Eurozone, to Putin, were “annexing” its old stomping grounds.
1991 is where Putin’s head is at. That was the year he quit the KGB and began running for office. Like it or not, he turned the country around in a lot of ways. I imagine he had grand plans to “Make Russia Great Again” and that’s what he thinks he’s doing right now. His own personal Monroe Doctrine. He’s been fucking with its neighbors ever since, trying to amass more territory and more power where he can. Whenever he sees chaos, he exploits the conflict. He saw the conflict in Ukraine. Trying to pull Ukraine into Europe’s orbit was a last straw, and he’s going to make the fledgling government pay for its eagerness to do so with land loss. And it’s doing it through old conventional imperial techniques like force. Whether he pulls off this special operation is unknown. Ukrainians have shown themselves to be tough as nails, but now we have to worry about hostages.
In no way am I excusing Putin’s actions any more than I am blaming NATO for its actions. But it’s important to dispassionately look at the possible “why?” for the invasion of Ukraine and armed with that knowledge, figure out how the hell to make it stop without blowing the world to kingdom come.
Fresh off the heels of a damaging paper-wide crisis that gave voice to Tommy Cotton’s most virulent monkeyshines, the New York Times nevertheless has redeemed itself and gone to bat in the service of the truth by blowing open the story that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill US soldiers. Furthermore, the “President” was told in March and he probably couldn’t bother to get off his phone long enough to figure out a way to deal with the situation. Instead, he lobbied for Russia to be able to join the G-7.
I’m loath to call things treasonous because that word gets tossed about too lightly for my tastes, but I think we’ve reached an event horizon we can no longer ignore: there’s a Russian mole in the White House, and he sits in the Oval Office. You don’t have to dig too far to know, because the creep now knows there are no consequences to his behavior and does all of his dirt above board. This scandal will probably raise a few eyebrows from GOP leadership, but that’s about all. It couldn’t mean a thing. They will voice a little concern and then pretend it never happened. Think about that. I guarantee that the party that trades in hyperpatriotism and military genuflection is going to sweep this ugliness under the rug because they really don’t care about the troops. They’re nothing but pawns in a political game to them.
There’s just too much tying this “President” to Russia for me to think that all the skulduggery that’s been reported on is simply a matter of coincidence anymore. This new insane story makes everything pale in comparison. It’s now much easier, for example, to believe that Trump utilized foreign intelligence in the run-up to 2016 to smear his much more competent opponent. And it should shock no one that he did it again this time around, asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens. You can reasonably assume that there is probably another swiftboating op in the works, one that Trump had better avail himself of soon because he’s losing serious ground in the polls. The fact is, there’s no perfect storm that brings us Trump 2.0-no e-mailgate, no Republican boobs to easily defeat, no Comey, no Stein, no presidential blowjob, no Benghaaazi. Of course, Joe Biden is certainly not immune to attack from a number of vectors, having been in the public eye since the seventies. He did not always make the right choices from a progressive standpoint, or even a moderately liberal one.
But I’m not here to list his sins. The Trump campaign will do quite enough of that, won’t it?
Bottom line, I am not interested one bit in making the perfect the enemy of the good. I want the good to be the enemy of evil- and it’s not hyperbole anymore to call Trump exactly what he is. He’s the most bloodless, amoral ghoul ever to occupy a prominent federal position of power who never met a quid he couldn’t quo, no matter who else gets hurt. We’ve got to get behind the person who will stop this reign of error.
We are all far from perfect. Bear that in mind when you want to balk at the choices we have. Joe Biden wouldn’t sell out our soldiers to stay in the good graces of a ruthless competitor. Bet on it.
A few posts ago, I decided that making peace with the fact that Robert Mueller could not establish a incriminating link between Russia and Donald Trump is the best thing I can do for my sanity. We lefties hitched a ride on a star, and that thing imploded on us when AG William Barr said there wasn’t anything to see. Now the question most of us asked was, how did he boil down a 400 page report in the space of two days? The answer is not complicated. The original author of the summary had to be none other than Robert Mueller. Bill Barr looked over it, perhaps boiled it down some more, and that was that. Thud.
We’ve trusted a lot of unusual entities, people and agencies over the last two years or so to give us what we wanted, which is Trump’s head on a proverbial pike. We allowed the FBI, the CIA, former prosecutors and commentators, many of which were Republicans to lead the charge against him and speculate what Orange Julius Caesar was likely guilty of. We believed somehow that these institutions would be the failsafe for a president who was in insane crook. And of course, there’s Mueller himself, who is also a Republican. And you simply cannot trust them to do the right thing, because if he wanted to do the right thing, he’d be a Democrat. I’ve never put too much stock in the “reasonable Republican” myth. At bottom, there’s probably myriad disgusting reasons you don’t want to hear as to why most Republicans remain Republicans. But anyway, we got in bed with a slew of disagreeable conservatives and didn’t give a shit who they were as long as they were ostensibly anti-Trump.
Sometimes it all feels like a giant troll, or perhaps we trolled ourselves. I don’t know. What do I know is I’m done trusting historically dirty organizations and people not ideologically like us to do the work of dislodging Trump from office. At least one of them helped him get there in the first place.
Anyway, The Clown Prince From Gotham seemed nonplussed by what the report could contain following its release. Let it fly, he said coolly on Friday. However, this week he started calumniating about the report. This tends to follow Trump’s usual pattern of saying something and then walking it back or saying the opposite thing of what he said only days ago. In fact, many of Trump’s “friends” do this too, some of who are going to enjoy prison soon for playing fast with the truth. But I’m not going to read much into it, having done so far too many times in my writing about this mess of a presidency when a desperate tweetstorm dropped. I’m not going to engage in that type of wishful thinking anymore, if I can help it. Again, I get the feeling that we are being fed a story, either by a rather crafty liar, a raving lunatic, or both.
All of this notwithstanding, I’d like the report to be pored over by oversight, and that’s what Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is going to aim for. This administration has been far too secretive, from Trump’s taxes and his meetings with the Russians. Besides, we paid a couple dozen million dollars for it, so why shouldn’t we get our money’s worth? For those of us who still need to hold on hope that this racketeer president will get what he richly deserves it should be mentioned that the grand jury that Mueller created is still at work, and there are several other suits and charges against god knows who in the Trump orbit, to include His Highness of The Fat Ass.
My advice: temper your hopes. Consider your sources. Don’t get too excited, because the system is coming to pieces while Trump and his gremlins are gleefully taking a hammer to everything that might have been good or at least OK in this country. I’ll go out on a limb and say we’ll be rid of him in 2020 even if a bowl of spoiled chicken salad runs as a Democrat. So hang in there, comrades.
This will not be a post about how much trouble the president is in.
Let’s instead remember that a bling pig finds a truffle now and then, even when that pig is named Donald Trump. And that motherfucker is never right, so I’m gonna post about it when he is, in spite of himself.
It feels weird, not wanting to pounce on something dumb Orange Caligula does. His track record is so bad that I think we’ve all gotten a little used to reflexively criticizing the harebrained decisions he makes. If you were a bettor, and Trump was a racehorse and being wrong was the finish line, you would be leaving the track with your pockets overflowing every day that ends in Y if you plunked down something on him.
I am not working my way up to complimenting him. But he has stumbled into the right choice on Syria, Putin stooge or no Putin stooge.
I’m not perfect, and my views evolve as anyone’s should when he or she is off the mark (or dead fucking wrong as is sometimes the case). I have found that I have come off as something of a neocon in the not distant past, trying to think from a realpolitik perspective when it comes to our warmaking, particularly regarding Syria. I complimented Trump when he bombed Syrian assets in 2017, largely because the fledgling administration wasn’t doing anything except setting fire to anything Barack Obama signed. For four straight months I watched Trump do nothing constructive or remotely interesting; he was as much a paper tiger as he is now, just a fucking useless gum-flapper. For example, I will be genuinely surprised if he finds his balls and takes personal responsibility for turning the lights off on part of the government until he gets his stupid wall funding. Then there was the time I took Ralph Peters’ side on tangling with Russia because I needed an opportunity to call Tucker Carlson an asshole when he said we should be nice to Putin because he kills “the terrorists” in Syria-using that dumb logic of we need to fight them over there so they don’t come here. My calculation was if we don’t fill the vacuum, Russia would.
When it comes to international relations in the modern era, I have had a tendency to view it as a zero-sum game. Why?
Because it’s easy. Reality, however, is not so two-dimensional. I know I thought I was being clever, even if I had to be wrong to do so. Hey, fuck it, there’s plenty of people being paid and feted for being fucking wrong all the time.
But I ought to know better. I have seen firsthand what a just war looks like. As it happens, it is very much what an unjust war looks like. I went into Iraq in 2003 a firm believer in our mission and left a year later quite disillusioned the more I reflected and interacted with the people we were “liberating”. We drove a whole generation of American soldiers insane in the service of realpolitik and papered-over binary thinking about what we were doing there. War made us monsters, not saviors.
The bottom line is there are no real winners in war, and I ought to know that by now. Let this be the ground I shall plant myself in henceforth. And I shall start by being happy that Trump accidentally did something right by calling back the 2,000 or so Americans home from Syria, which is in an intractable civil war right now and looks to stay that way for the foreseeable future whether we are there are not-because we’re only dipping our toes in the conflict, just enough to annoy and stymie the Russians and Bashar Al-Assad. Now there is doubt that Trump will back up his mouth with some actual action, since he tweeted his decision without consultation with anyone familiar with a rifle and possessed with functioning grey matter. The pretext for Trump’s sudden exit from Syria, if you ask him, is that we have defeated ISIS. That’s hilarious, of course, if you ask the resistance. The “mission” ain’t accomplished by a long shot.
Now, I think that Trumpian nationalism is typically odious in the extreme, but honestly, leaving a warzone because we don’t need to “police” the world is by far not the worst thing ever uttered by an American politician. And it’s driving hawks apoplectic, which can only bear good fruit. Most of Trump’s detractors use the same logic I have in the past, that when the Russians win, we lose. The reality we are living in is at bottom a race for resources. We don’t give a fuck about Syria or Syrians, because absent from Donald’s declarations was a desire to settle refugees from the war. I certainly don’t think Trump is deep enough to be a tactician in the new cold war, and maybe that’s not to our detriment in regards to international conflict. A bit of naivete in the ways of violence is…OK.
I just can’t be moved to pile on Trump for this, even though there’s a lot wrong with the thinking that led him to leave Syria be. But let’s not kid ourselves. Our bombs don’t have freedom dust in them. Our reasons for staying there are not sound; the Kurds are already accustomed to everyone’s Janus tendencies towards them. Russia will still strafe and bomb and kill indiscriminately like they are doing now (just as we have done). And what for? A chit with Iran? We have Iraq. How about we take a rest from imperialism? Besides, it’s not like we are going to stop selling arms to our erstwhile allies. Point is, aligning the world in a binary fashion the way we do is exactly what causes world wars. We think we are wetting the fuse with our aggression by fighting the Russian axis wherever we go. Sorry. We’re shortening it.
Our fucktarded president is in quite a legal pickle. Several, in fact. It’s turning out he owes a lot to Vladimir Putin, and stepping out of Syria may yet be one more favor to someone who can crush him with kompromat. But I’m going to take the peace dividends where I can get them. I’m not going to call the president out for not wanting to be in a war anymore. Perhaps if you knew what it was like, you too would reluctantly agree with the basket-case-in-chief. If you don’t, use your fucking imagination.
Very near, very far
Very soft, very clear
Come today, come today
You all remember that one, right? I think that’s a perfect descriptor of where we’re at psychically in the Disunited States, just waiting for that scream of NOW! that will release us from the 690+ day hostage situation that has been the modern American experiment ever since Captain Twitterfuck The Ignorant started taking a hatchet to every form of progress this already un-progressive country had fought for, pitting citzens against each other in ways that we haven’t seen since Abraham Lincoln got elected, making a complete mockery of our image as a nation- all while selling us out to an arch-enemy on every front so he could profit on the other side of the election.
Mr. Mueller, we need to talk. Because I am exhausted by the speculation (to include my own) as to when Donald Trump will have finally tripped over his mushroom-headed dick into charges ranging from perjury to racketeering, and some would aver treason.
Am I the only one nervous that the pop when this investigation ends will be that of one of those stupid tiny string-activated confetti spitters, instead of the hearty pop from shaken, excited Cristal? Or will it be so awesome, such a total repudiation of Trump as a president and every shitty thing he stands for that celebratory automatic gunfire wouldn’t be inappropriate? I would hate to think that our revulsion from Donald Trump has gotten us excited for some consequences that simply will not come. There’s so much criminal smoke out there that we are choking and the venerable counsel need but find the legal grease fires causing it and use the right extinguisher for the job.
But bad hombres get away with murder all the time. Even really dumb ones. There is simply no reason to leave this to a karmic imbalance. Indeed, there’s a possible future where Trump triumphs over the special counsel, running like a jesus lizard across the river of charges against him without getting pinched and then it’s really gonna be a super rough ride until 2020 trying to abide THAT boasting and crowing. We need to collapse that eventuality tout suite. And I feel I will need more than hyper-redacted papers, sequential court filings and other seemingly damning evidence to keep keeping on.
Most of the people I respect intellectually think there’s simply no way that someone could investigate a thing like Donald Trump and not find something that runs afoul of the law. Call it Trump Derangement Syndrome if you like, the dude flouts said law constantly, lies every time he opens his idiotic trap, does nothing of actual value, his entire cabinet is full of well-heeled reptile people who do the opposite of their job, and again, is a flat-out national embarrassment as our chief representative in the world day in and day out. And if you can’t see any of that or if none of that is important to you because you’ve got Benghazi-itis or Her Emails on the brain, it’s likely because you are even more deranged than I am ( i.e. you get your dose of confirmation bias from Fox News and The Daily Caller). There’s no amount of whataboutism that can nullify the transgressions that Donald Trump has committed against us and others, legally, morally, and ethically. The list is simply too long to collate. Well, too long for me.
Last week, Trump felt exonerated by the Cohen plea documents, primarily because he’s not much of a reader. In those filings, “Individual 1” is named as someone who was in contact with Cohen regarding “Trump Tower Moscow”. We’re kind of just becoming dimly aware that the overtures to Russia were so much more than just acquiring damaging information on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run and the DNC from people who work in for the Russian government. Nope, in this relatively new allegation, it seems that Trump sensed $$$ could be made. And this level of greediness, guilelessly allying with a dangerous enemy to line his pockets could be his undoing well before Robert Mueller gets tough with Jerome Corsi about relaying information from Julian Assange, who at the time for whatever reason felt it necessary to pass along the Podesta emails to the Trump campaign. Of all the strings, it looks like the Russian hotel is the easiest to pull at the moment, being the most easily provable. But Robert Mueller is a methodical motherfucker from all appearances. He’s a boa constrictor of an investigator clearly enjoying his work and probably could take down Trump’s whole family (and Republican enablers in Congress) with what he has right now. What needs doing is to make sure the charges stick, and that is part of why Mueller chose Manafort to lean on for unpardonable state felonies, and is letting DC and New York work on Trump for violations of the Emoluments Clause and misuse of campaign funds. And how could I have left out the paying off of Trump’s mistresses using campaign cash? That is somehow the least offensive thing Trump has done. And at every step of the way on any of these allegations, Trump has tampered and obstructed throughout it all, often just by tweeting-which may be crimes in themselves.
Trying to get a handle on all the crooked things Donald Trump is involved in right now is a bit like undoing your Christmas ornament hook collection. It’s enough to make the average person’s head spin, so much so that they may want to tune out because it’s proven to be so hard to understand, much less believe. But believe me, this guy decided to forgo his paycheck merely to keep up appearances because he knew he was going to divvy up the country’s wealth between him and his donors.
One would think after last week that the Trump saga was over and the fat lady sang. But the wheels of justice turn slowly. The law runs like molasses, especially when we may be in legal virgin snow as to how to handle what Donald does and has done. I am hoping beyond hope that it’s a matter of legal intricacies that are keeping Trump out of an orange jumpsuit. But damn, I am tired. That crook does not represent me or the promise of America no matter how fake that sounds and I want him erased like the error that he is.
I’m an Augustan. Today Reality Winner was sentenced to prison for 63 months in our courts after already spending over a year in the clink.
That doesn’t really make me any closer to Winner’s story. In fact, I’ve been totally silent about her. That’s not due to lack of interest at all-my small readership can readily see that I have been silent about just about everything lately. I have a lot of time on my hands, much more than most folks-and yet I am doing less than I ever have on this mortal coil.
This could be partly due to my absorption into Facebook. It’s become a web browser-within-a-browser for me, and I suspect you are no different. It’s a problem because Facebook sorts and dictates what I look at, but on the other hand I guess it’s no less useful than any digital newspaper subscription so long as I like the right information outlets and keep woke friends. I’m contributing to the death of independent journalism by not doing this old school-by going to the source and patronizing the fresh voices, but we’ve killed or co-opted nearly everyone who was good at it already. This blog, and the form itself is mostly moribund. I’m pretty much writing out of the conceit that I can, so bless you for looking and I am sorry that Tucker Carlson is such an asshole that I can’t show you clips anymore because his whole show is him being a wall to wall asshole. I am also sorry for myself that Nancy Reagan cannot resurrect and blow half of Hollywood so I can bring that useless tidbit to you again. These are the things you are into according to my stat counter.
Well, now that we’ve got the by-now obligatory whining about my personal difficulties out of the way, let’s reflect on people with bigger problems like going to a pen for five years for calling out a customer on their shady shit. That customer happened to be Uncle Sam, who in this dark age will fuck your ass up with the long arm of his arcane laws if you air his dirty laundry.
And really, it wasn’t even Uncle Sam’s laundry. It was a report with an unnerving conclusion: that Russia was fucking with our election process. Now it is of course well known at this point that Russia was and is quite busy playing games with our increasingly vulnerable democracy, and Winner’s leak was but one stream of information that said that 2016 was under siege months before a contentious, paradigm- rattling election. The extent of the cooperation between His Excellence The Spraytanned Trash Spewing Machine and Russia is slowly but surely being revealed, painful bit by painful bit by regular journalists, gossipers, angry lovers’ lawyers and the thresher of perps that has become the Mueller probe. It’s obvious to any unbiased eye, if such a thing exists anymore, that Donnie Dummkopf is complicit, obstructive and a willing conspirator and it’s only a matter of time before we get rarer, tastier meat on the hook that will hopefully send this cabal of plutocratic hucksters away, hopefully to the prison they so richly deserve after getting away with murder their whole privileged fucking lives so long as Jeff Sessions can hold the line. He’s showing amazing spine as Republicans go so far.
Think about that. Jeff “You There Boy, Good People Don’t Smoke Marijuana” Sessions is actually scrupulous enough to keep Edward Twitterhands from running roughshod over the Justice Department, aware enough from jump that these were fleas he didn’t want to wake up with. I’ll take it as a sign that there might be something benign watching over us with a warped sense of humor. You motherfuckers better get out and vote THE RIGHT WAY PLEASE because there might be hell to pay if you don’t.
But anyway, back to Reality.
It’s past too late for me to recap this story for you in detail, but let me just say that she may have picked a turncoat to leak to. As many of you lefties know, Glenn Greenwald today is not the same perspicacious and prolific lawyer we all got to know from Unclaimed Territory in the days of yore. Glenn now makes his bones running The Intercept, and from there he seems to have gone so far down the rabbit hole that the Russians are the good guys. Look, I am no fan of US imperialism but Russia ain’t your buds either, folks. If given the wherewithal to run the globe the way America does, they’d be a slightly shittier version of us. They are the other side of one coin. This is the way the world is; dualist but also quite similar. At least we keep the appearance of having democratic values here and occasionally dust off the constitution to preserve our rights. It’s the system I know, and with that system I go.
So Winner, obviously a lefty, thought she knew where her damning document on Russia would be appreciated. She picked Greenwald’s outfit. What happened at the Intercept then was journalistic malpractice of the worst kind; in the course of verfiying the document with the NSA, Intercept staff practically laid a breadcrumb trail to Winner’s printer. She was arrested after The Intercept released the document. Glenn and Co. failed to protect their source in every way imaginable, which makes no sense as they had handled docu-dumps from Ed Snowden and know damn well how to keep a lid on their information sources. Reality chose The Intercept for its integrity; sadly, she was burned for trusting someone who she thought would do the right thing with the material.
Questions abound: Greenwald has been making goo-goo eyes at anyone who opposes the US at the pole position, to include Russia. He’s one of those self-destructive progressives who will happily cut off his nose to spite his face, kind of like the Berners who couldn’t handle an ounce of impurity in the Democratic nominee and so threw their vote away or withheld it because Hillary Clinton was not Perfect. And she wasn’t; she had work to do. But unlike Republicans, Democrats are often capable of learning and responding. You’ve already seen what the alternative is all about. It’s been raining shit for 20 months straight and all this could have been avoided, and the work that Barack Obama had begun could have been continued or improved. And if we stayed engaged, we could have been the change we wanted to see. I know that sounds so corny and contrived right now but 2016 was a really shit point to decide that the whole system was hopelessly fucked no matter who sat in the White House, mostly because of the peculiarities of the Democratic Party’s nomination process.
Thanks for that. Keep holding that breath, it’s working. No, really.
Now I really don’t want to go too far into conspiracy theory and straight up accuse The Intercept of burning a source because it implicated Russia. I’ll leave it for you to do your own sleuthing and put the pieces together. While you do that, Reality Winner is going to jail for almost a half dozen years because she brought to the fore what should not have been a secret, one which has since become absurdly obvious. And she should have been cloaked. That’s all I’m saying.
I’ll conclude with pictures of her entering the courthouse today. I hope the playful spirit shown below before she learned of her fate continues to shine within her. Hang in there, kiddo. I’m sorry.
So it looks like Donald Trump is going to try on at least one more hat before he faces the music on Pornstar/Russia/fill in the blank.
He’s a fucking comedian now.
That has got to be the only explanation for Space Fooooorce. Not only can he shoot someone on 5th Ave. and get away with it, but he can say just about anything he wants and it will get applause at the Two Hours Hate that is a Trump rally. He could say “Babyshit telephone cockhole mango-flavored highbeam hobby humpers on a cruise ship to Fuck, right? You’re all a bunch of rubes. I love the rubes. They don’t even know what a rube is, do you folks? No. No you don’t. That’s beautiful. The beautiful rube elite. I’d teabag all of you if I could after sweating through nine holes with Rodrigo Duterte. I really really would. Wall to wall teabagging. And you’d say ‘Mr. Trump, I’m tired of all this teabagging’. Then I’m going to say ‘I’m sorry, but we’re going to keep teabagging, teabagging, teabagging until we make my America enlar…uh, great again.”
This is really big league embarrassing, people.
Perhaps what is more worrisome than the President Of The United States thinking that Star Wars isn’t fiction is the complete lack of a reaction from his slackjaw supporters that he thinks a space army is viable. Not a blink.
War is hell. Typically you have to dangle a lot of treats in front of kids to get them to the recruiting office as it is. So I’m having a little trouble imagining that legions of people will line up for the possibility of brittle bones for life and dying for your country in the breathless vacuum of space during a routine training exercise. You also have to be smart to go to space, but if you are smart you know to stay out of the goddamn space army. Catch-22.
The last arms race almost ended our existence as a species. Now, granted, the idea of space-based defense ended it because even Gorbachev knew weaponizing space was lunacy. But we have no great enemy right now to worry about. Trump solved Russia, after all. So that means that we are actually up for another peace dividend, not a ratcheting up of aggression. It goes without saying there are so many other things that an actual executive of America could focus on. Real people got real problems down here, motherfucker. But that’s no matter to our entertainer president.
Donald Trump is a perfect portrait of arrested development. Everything he does, he does because he thinks he can get away with it, like the proverbial child testing his boundaries. He’s the physical and mental manifestation of the peeing Calvin on a million American pickup trucks. Getting away with everything he is doing is the ultimate juice for him. If he manages to bullshit his way through a Mueller deposition it will give him the kind of wood that his wife doesn’t give him anymore because she’s starting to look a little like Derek Zoolander in the face.
Trump is becoming quite a juvenile jester, a pernicious social media troll who loves to be hated by the people who so desperately need him to get popped for his myriad crimes and complete debasement of the office of the presidency. He can’t believe how many people are abetting his monkeyshines any more than you or I can. It makes me furious when useless, privileged assholes like him are having the time of their lives conning the shit out of people. But that’s a symptom of these times; this parade of horribles we are being governed by are gaining strength everywhere, not just in America. It is the age of the Auto-Plutocrat. And Trump is happily sidling up to other rich dictators and moguls who want to do some Business- in other words, rape the land, exploit workers and put as much money from the public coffers into private hands before their time in office ends. It is, I am afraid, the way things have been.
For a while. Longer than we care to consider. You are a sucker if you believe otherwise.
I’ll admit, I’m scared a little. Because this particularly noxious group of fascistic corporatists we have in charge now are trying to stay in power through multiple avenues of fuckery. They gaslight their gullible followers with paint-by-the-numbers buzzy agitprop, eat away at voting rights protection, keep the majority of us near penury so we are too busy or scared to stand up, demonize experts and journalists, steal Supreme Court seats, gerrymander the poor out of representation, and, as we are seeing, will stop at just about nothing to tilt elections to themselves. And that’s just a general overview. The details are much messier, worse than I feel like recounting here. The weather for tomorrow is dystopia with a fifty percent chance of portly, heavily armed, hastily deputized “nationalists” with no chins patrolling your neighborhood.
This had better be their last con, people. If you let Trump rawdog democracy by not filling the streets after the next Saturday Night Massacre or let the perfect be the enemy of the good by not voting or fucking around with boutique candidates in 2018, you might as well be as dumb as a Trump supporter for all the good your smarts do.
As for the rest of you: Space Force is a joke and the punchline is you. After you bought the pointless wall, after you salivated over a goddamn military parade like we lived in the Eastern Bloc, you should be ashamed-but how can you when you know so little of yourself?
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.
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.
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.