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The Song Is (Almost) Over

I’m probably going to get this one wrong, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that it’s almost time to write the coda to the Trump fiasco.

Of course, Maggie Haberman, Trump’s bete noire at The Gray Lady is placing the notes, measure by measure.

She’s a proponent of the notion that Trump is applying chaos principles he used in business to the governance of the nation. All of you no-neck dumbfucks out there who thought it’d be a great idea if a businessman took over the operation should be forced to wear sandwich boards saying “HELP, I NEED CIVICS LESSONS”. But anyway, I demur from Haberman’s thesis. If you ask me, it’s more like this:

It’s going to take a lot for me to admit that our clown prince has any methods or any theories at all-not even chaos. For me, you can boil everything he does down to one thing, which is, will I be liked for what I am dong? All decisions stem from this peculiar, immediate, pathological need. So it looks a lot like a chaos strategy because none of it makes any sense if you aren’t thinking about Trump’s deep seated developmental disorder.

In any case, Maggie’s compiled a nice list of Jenga pieces that have been pulled. There’s been a LOT this week. Trump’s imposing tariffs on imported metals. It seems that one of Donald’s endgames is to build more than one wall. Whether we realize it or not we are going to spiral into a sort of soft fascism by believing that we can sustain our way of living without any outside help. Sound familiar? Yep. North Korea. Their existence is totally predicated upon a similar stubborn self reliance, and it’s plainly obvious how Orange Caligula’s ideas are analogous. America First. Make America Great. Combine this hypernationalism with the cult of personality that 35% of the country believes in, you have a recipe for a country on permanent alert and lockdown, full of people who are armed, fearful and angry. We’ve been working at this since 2001 but now the process is speeding like a bullet train. But anyway, prices are going to go up as a result of punitive tariffs, and the stock market is going to get the jitters too-especially if the Fed raises rates.

Then there’s the disappearing of Hope Hicks, Trump’s whisperer. Hicks allegedly told a few “white lies” to investigators and might have put herself in legal jeopardy. Without Hicks, Trump is reduced to watching “Fox And Friends” to get the positive feedback he desperately needs. And John Kelly is wringing out the nepotism, patronage, and corruption in the White House by pulling all the ridiculous interim security clearances that Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and many of the staffers have enjoyed in order to view sensitive information. Kelly may be a tool, but he’s a professional tool. And the misadministration seems allergic to professionalism, perhaps because Trump needs to feel like he’s the smartest man in the room. But it’s going to be awfully quiet at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because his national security advisor is also jumping ship.

Because Trump cannot be ever said to be firmly “on the reservation”, it’s not news that he isn’t. He’s got the ammosexuals in straitjacket fits by seeming to want to take people’s guns without due process, and for once, correctly calling out the cowardice of legislators when it comes to bucking the NRA. But, as my perspicacious friend always says, he’s all hat and no cattle. Haberman notes this typical backtracking. For all his talk, Trump’s kind of a little bitch when it comes to an actual fight. He steadfastly refuses to plant a flag anywhere, because that might require commitment and sustained attention, two things which he is short on.

Every day is another bombshell, and the salvos are starting to hit behind the lines.

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

 

 

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.

 

Dotard. Retard.

 

My wife had MSNBC on this morning when I woke up. That’s the default station for background noise in the house.

It has not been fun to listen to (to the degree that any news is) because every day they broadcast stuff about Donald Trump. Sometimes they play him speaking.

I know several people who cannot stand to listen to the president’s voice. And these are no snowflakes, either. I think Trump’s chief of staff is one of them.

kelly

That voice makes them uneasy, sad, and angry because it belongs to a fucking grandstanding pathetic lying irritating moronic id-driven maniacal imbecile who loves the smell of his own farts that is utterly unfit to serve a free and democratic people. I am also one of these folks. I would have never guessed that the weird day would come when the mere sound of someone could do what Trump’s voice does to me. I avoid listening whenever possible.

Yesterday, this goddamned changeling of a “leader” was out throwing chum to some of his dumbshit followers (who should all be tagged and chipped for our safety) in Alabama at one of his “rallies” (which are nothing but an extended version of the Two Minutes Hate), after a long week of embarrassing America in front of the whole world by blathering on about how great we have gotten over the last 9 months, fearmongering about the perils of the world, threatening to drop a big one on North Korea’s ‘Rocket Man’ (I can hardly type this without freaking myself out about how mindfuckingly infantile the clownshoe with the football is), criticizing the Iran nuclear deal out of the blue, making jokes about socialism that are only funny in the fever swamp of conservative American patter, and a bunch of other boilerplate that he didn’t look over until it was time to talk.

During this gathering of the Duh-ggalos, he called for the benching or outright firing of sports figures who take a knee during the national anthem in protest of the way America treats its minorities, particularly its black ones. They were, in the president’s words, “sons of bitches” who disrespect the flag.

This is highly alarming rhetoric. I have always had a problem with some people’s need to defend a piece of cloth. Implicit in our national compact is the freedom to call the American government out when it is wrong. Hating America’s policies is not the same as hating America, but some folks cannot tell the difference. But anyway, symbol worship, and to a larger degree, nation worship are slippery rungs on a slide to real, actual fascism.

The question we are still trying to answer is this: is Donald Trump reading from the fascist playbook, or can he read at all?

It has not always been easy to decide what the true character of recent Republican presidents are. Was Ronald Reagan a senile fool, or a brilliant tactician who threatened to weaponize space if the Russians refused to negotiate? Surely most of you remember when we couldn’t decide whether George W. Bush was the dipstick hayseed scion of a powerful political family or an evil piece of shit who set America on its present course of endless war.

And so it is with Trump. Even after 9 whole months of pure uncut ineptitude people are still undecided as to whether or not he has any idea what the fuck he is doing. Yet every fucking day I run into the latest thinkpiece about Trump’s brilliant use of legerdemain. There is little more tiresome to read than this type of analytical twaddle.

I implore you: be done with this. I am not saying don’t be afraid of Trump; his reign is indeed fearsome because the country is in the hands of a dolt. But the last thing I am gonna do is give him credit for anything resembling clever.

Truthfully, Donald Trump knows only one thing rather well; how to get people to pay attention to him. I still think that even though he is behaving like a deranged, militaristic, fascist power-grabbing authoritarian, it’s not something he actually thinks about consciously. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it’s highly plausible that this is just who he is, and not the product of any intelligent calculation based on study of creating a political movement. He’s a moron, simply in tune with morons like himself. Morons need to be led, and they will believe anything you tell them if you pack enough of them together or get enough of them to watch the same TV channel.

Folks, the emperor has no clothes, save for a red power tie and a stupid baseball hat. He will never be a tenth of the president that he succeeded, and that is truly what drives him-envy, not brains. We should consider ourselves fortunate that Donald Trump isn’t anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is. Moreover, we should also breathe a little easier knowing he isn’t as smart as we think he is either.

 

 

Dirty Rotten Scions

The world’s most childish, heedless and mentally unstable leaders who happen to have very dangerous toys are locking nuclear horns.

Listen carefully. No one wins a nuclear exchange, really. I have intimated in the past that America is still trying to game out an unanswered atomic first strike. And I fear we may now have a “leader” who is interested in trying it live.

This is in the best interests of about zero people. Everyone knows that North Korea has been invariably singing the same hoary song for decades now. The names change (not by much), but the message is the same. It is: “We’re going to attack and threaten U.S. interests until I get (reactors, food, whatever The Jong clan has been consistently unable to provide for its citizens despite all of its highfalutin talk of juche)”. Sensible secretaries of state have tried to unclench the North Korean fist, with success not lasting very long. It is a stubborn Gordian knot.

It is important to remember that we do not oppose North Korea as a peer militarily. Only Russia has that distinction. True, their conventional military is rather large-they keep at least a million under arms. South Korea has about 600,000 with 15-20,000 Americans providing support. Our razor sharp technological edge, our communications and our expertise at logistics are force multipliers that the North Korean army severely lacks. If North Korea suddenly invaded the south, it’d probably smart pretty bad at first…tens of thousands of American and South Korean soldiers and many more civilians would perish in the initial thrust. But we have a bench, shitloads of artillery and planes and bases here and afar and we’d break the clenched fist’s knuckles rather quickly. Personally, I am not even sure that the North Korean army is good at anything but marching menacingly in step.

A brief aside, if I may. I’ll let you in on a secret-we in the U.S. give officers medals with the minutest of justifications. When my unit got home from Iraq, the enlisted folks (who do all the work) all received standard commendation medals. But the officers all gave themselves Bronze Stars, as if the “leading” was of more importance than our working. My officers were fairly fucking useless, barking out orders without thinking most of the time. They had no idea how things worked, they just wanted them to work. Some professionals.

If I think about it, most bosses are like this. They just give themselves raises instead of medals.

North Korea hasn’t been up to anything near the DMZ since 1976, when we almost had an incident at the DMZ that could have but did not tick off a larger war. They’ve also lent support to various conflicts, and were on the losing side every time. But anyway, there is no fucking way of justifying the comical festooning of doddering leadership except that they’re just making shit up:

Embed from Getty Images

There are other images of absurd medal wearing by North Korean officers running around the web but alas, they were fake.

Point is, the army is largely a paper tiger.

You have green troops armed with what is likely Cold War Soviet surplus against our newest and meanest shit. There is no way North Korea is prepared for our conventional response.

And I haven’t even gotten to the nukes yet. We’ve got shit that could literally erase the country from the world map in a matter of hours.

If you’re not Donald Trump, you’ve been laughing at the North Korean nuclear program for a while now. They have never exploded a bomb above ground. Their rocketry program produces one embarrassing dud after another. They claim they could nuke the United States. But it hasn’t been shown they have any idea how to weaponize rockets with atomic warheads, much less guide them to their target (however, recent reports in papers of record say that they have miniaturized a nuclear weapon-but I’m rather suspicious of the timing and sources of that report…I still haven’t totally made up with the New York Times for helping the Bush administration push the WMD lie that took us to Iraq again). They really haven’t put cart and horse together yet. In fact, they’re still trying to get the wheel down, to stretch a metaphor.

This is not to say “ignore North Korea”. But getting into a pissing contest with a tiny, insane little nation is really above us ( that is, if we put our best foot forward, which we aren’t always good at), especially because we outnumber them in number of fissile warheads by many orders of magnitude. But that’s exactly what President Loser McDipshit is doing. Trump is a bully, and he’s taken the bait hook, line, and sinker. He let himself be provoked by a boy emperor who puffs up and says outrageous things to rouse his brainwashed people.

It’s already been said several times, but to me, that sounds a lot like Chump and his followers. These two megalomaniacs are peas in a pod. We’d better be playing good cop/bad cop so oilman/not diplomat Rex Tillerson can ratchet this shit down, because it’s scaring the hell out of people. No one in Southeast Asia needs a giant irradiated crater next door to it, and no one should want to break the 60 year old cease fire because we are talking about death on a unspeakable, unacceptable level- military and civilian-if it is breached.

Empty threats are what the hermit kingdom exports. Let’s see them for what they are. The Jongs derive some of their power from telling their people that the United States wants to destroy it, so we’re playing into Un’s hand by escalating the rhetoric. So I worry a bit. We need expertise immediately to finesse this donnybrook and this administration is full of people who just don’t have it.

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