Time is Running Out – That is a good thing

Time is Running Out

That is a good thing

November 27th 2019

Time is running out for the GOP. It’s only 11½ months until the 2020 election, and even if they aren’t admitting it yet, Trump has been a catastrophe both for the party and the GOP. Polls show that a slim majority of voters now want Trump impeached and convicted and removed from office.

Trump is clearly hoping the Senate and the Supreme Court can save him from the avalanche of misdeeds and flat-out crimes he has committed, but both those organizations, even if they were favorably disposed toward Trump at one time, know that they can’t simply let him off the hook without their credibility and public support crashing. Some have figured out already that it isn’t just a case of allowing corruption to continue; it’s a case of sparking a possible revolt.

With no reasonable doubts remaining about Trump’s guilt of a wide galaxy of crimes, and overwhelming evidence of an entirely corrupt and criminal administration, and an even more corrupt and criminal shadow government populated by Mafia cast-offs and self-entitled silver-spoon kids, the public is angry, and if Trump is not convicted, they will erupt in fury.

There is no more room for an otherwise noble sentiment that all men are entitled to their day in court, and until the judge bangs his gavel, there must be presumption of possible evidence. Trump himself, through his braying and mindless taunts, removed any doubts about his own guilt, and the evidence—nay, PROOF—offered in the hearings and in recently released FOIA requests and legal rulings, is there for anyone to see.

Anyone at this point who claims Trump is a good man and a loyal American is at best a fool, and at worst a liar and a traitor. The GOP won’t be able to bluster and bluff their way out of this. As for the clowns who say, in all sincerity, that he is a ‘good Christian’, they are part of the same toxic branch of the faith that made Hitler possible.

Much has been made of the ‘hardness’ of the support Trump sees in the polls, He has the support of a seemingly unvarying 38-42% of voters, and even as the proof of his malfeasance and viciousness and dishonesty mount, the numbers hardly vary. Pundits like to compare it to Nixon’s support, which remained high—much higher than Trump’s, in fact—right up until the release of the smoking gun tape which showed beyond doubt that Nixon lied about and covered up the Watergate scandal.

We’re well past the point where in the Nixon narrative, Nixon’s support in Congress and among the general public collapsed. That was a different breed of Republicans; less corrupt, less cynical, less determined to destroy freedom in America. Republicanism in America hardened when right-wing conservatism morphed into fascism, aided and abetted by the propaganda machines of authoritarian plutocrats and supported by massive corporations who didn’t mind a little authoritarianism in the name of protecting profits.

We’re reached the point where in the Nixon saga, we’ve all learned about his deliberate efforts to sabotage the Paris peace talks and cause an unnecessary 15,000 more American deaths and over a million Vietnamese deaths, only to achieve “Peace with Honor” with the same terms that North Vietnam offered Lyndon Johnson six years earlier. If he were still alive, Nixon may have faced trial for treason, along with a host of war crimes. Trump is already at that point, which is why he is fighting so hard to maintain the dubious protection of his office. He knows what once impeached and convicted, he will die in prison.

The media go on about how intransigent the supporters of Trump are, and how they will ignore all proof, forgive all crimes, betray everyone in their blind support.

What the media forget is that these toy nazis are a minority—38-42% according to the polls, and if we reach the point where even the fools start to see the gravity of Trump’s criminal administration, it may drop to 23-25%. They aren’t America; they are a tumor growing within America.

The rest of America is also hardening, but in a different direction. This is the other side of America. This is the side that went from only 30% wanting to help Britain in 1940 to “the greatest generation” over the next five years. They embraced once-unpopular if not unheard-of causes such as civil rights, desegregation, space exploration, and a determination to fight for freedom. They have been fairly silent over the past four decades, stilled by assurances that corporate masters know best, all the important battles have been won and no longer need be fought, and increasing self-doubt.

Ask yourself: how did “liberal” become a dirty word? The fact is the Constitution enshrines liberal values, and many of the most glorious moments reflected a rise of liberalism. Even the Republican Party’s greatest moments came from liberal causes and leadership—winning the Civil War and abolishing slavery, and breaking up the trusts.

Most of America is liberal—and yes, that includes most self-described moderates and even some self-described conservatives (!) Need proof? Go see what the polls say about the individual policies of that “wild-eyed socialist” Bernie Sanders. They ALL poll at least 55% support, and some are over 70%–universal health care, tuition-free higher education, creating a national bank in the post office system, all of it.

Liberals don’t really like to fight. They don’t like describing their neighbors and countrymen as the enemy. The realize that bloodshed should always be the last option, and that force is always illiberal.

But fight they can. Fight they will. Ask Dixie. Ask Hitler.

They are realizing that Trump and his corrupt, criminal gang pose the same existential threat to America that the Confederacy and Hitler did. They are realizing that it’s either Trump and the GOP OR America, but not both. Anger and determination are stirring.

Resolved, they are unbeatable. And resolve is hardening on that side.

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A Genius for Stupid – Don and the giant impeach

November 16th 2019

OK, I’ll grant you that when you are being impeached by the House, good days are kind of few and far between. After all, the hearings are the most public performance review of all time, and it wouldn’t be happening if enough people weren’t seriously questioning your fitness for the job.

Andrew Johnson was pretty much screwed from the get-go. A Southern Democrat who opposed succession, he was Lincoln’s idea of an olive branch to the South, and Lincoln’s assassination made sure the new President, at odds with both parties at a time when partisan fury was at its highest, didn’t have a chance in hell. It’s kind of amazing—and a credit to Johnson’s political skills—that it took nearly three years for the Republicans in Congress to fabricate a case against him He was accused of firing a member of his cabinet, an action recently outlawed by the blatantly unconstitutional Tenure of Office act. Oh, the act itself wasn’t a bad idea, but Congress tried to say it meant a president could not fire members of his own cabinet. Hello, separation of powers?

Nixon was pretty much self-screwing, but until the release of the smoking gun tapes, enjoyed fairly broad popular support. Nonetheless, the laborious and painstaking process inflicted a death by a thousand paper cuts against Nixon, who slowly unraveled as the almost two-year process finally reached a point where Congress was going to vote to impeach, at which point he resigned.

Clinton probably had the worst of it, since the Republicans were intent on humiliating him and his wife for an act that many of the Republicans—including the leaders of the impeachment movement in the House—had committed themselves. One was banging his secretary and future wife #4 at the time. Another was a kiddy diddler. Another quit one day after…something…came out of his closet. Republicans were vicious and cruel, and hypocrites.

But Trump seems intent on having the worst impeachment process of all. His worst enemies aren’t the Democrats in the House, who learned from watching Republicans disgrace themselves in their damp lust to smear Clinton, but his own allies and his own mouth—or at least, his fumbling fingers when combined with a smartphone.

Take yesterday, for example. Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to the Ukraine and victim of a vicious smear campaign to drive her out by the Trumplings, testified in open session. The smear campaign hadn’t worked, and in fact made her a more sympathetic witness. Even the Republicans in Congress realized that they would need to treat her with deference and at least the sort of respect a junkyard dog shows when someone has just kicked its ass.

Part of the testimony focused on the smear campaign (even Republicans couldn’t try to pretend it was anything other than that), and the topics of witness intimidation and witness tampering came up.

Her testimony was damaging to Trump, and half-way through, Trump, who swore he wasn’t watching the proceedings, blew up and launched a twitter attack against her. Even tried to imply that she was somehow responsible for Somalia being the mess that it is. Tactically, it was pretty much the worst move he could have possibly made. Aside from the sheer stupid boorishness of the move, there is the awkward fact that publically denigrating a witness AS SHE IS TESTIFYING, particularly when done by the defendant, is a prima facie case of witness tampering. He may as well have typed, “OK, you’re being a stoolie. A rat. You gotta dog? Your dog dies tonight.”

Speaking of which, Roger Stone was found guilty of six counts of lying to Congress and one count of witness tampering. He told the guy that if he testified, he, Roger Stone, would kill his dog.

If you want to know where Republicans get their class and dignity from, Roger Stone is a good place to start looking. He won’t be hard to find after his sentencing: federal prison, for up to twenty years.

Unless Donald Trump pardons him. That would be a catastrophically bad move politically for Trump, so I’m offering 4-1 odds that he’ll do exactly that.

Finally, Nancy Pelosi weighed in. Trump desperately needed someone in Congress who could slow the process down, and Pelosi, who was less than anxious to impeach, would have fitted the bill. All Trump had to do was treat her with a modicum of respect, and convince McConnell to take up at least some of the smaller 250 bills the House passed that the Senate will never hear, and she might have been willing to stop the impeachment process from really getting off the ground. For a while, it seems that no matter how stupid and egregious Trump got, the House wasn’t going to slap him down on it. He could have even turned Pelosi’s civility and willingness to try to find less draconian solutions against the Democrats, especially as impatience amongst non-Republicans mounted.

Pelosi used the b-word. “Bribery.” It’s what ‘quid pro quo” is the polite Latin for, and more to the point, it’s a crime explicitly mentioned in the Constitution as grounds for impeachment. Expect it to be in the articles of impeachment, and more than once. Trump lived by bribery and extortion, and he will die by bribery and extortion.

Pelosi, who has basically owned Trump for the past eighteen months or so, added this: “He [Trump] should not frivolously throw out insults, but that’s what he does. I think part of it is his own insecurity as an imposter. I think he knows full well that he’s in that office way over his head. And so he has to diminish everyone else.”

He diminishes himself pretty good. Today’s testimony came from someone named Mark Sandy who happened to be sitting at the same table as Gordon Sondland got his marching orders on how to use the Ukraine to fuck over Joe Biden. Despite knowing that Sondland was at a table surrounded by people, Trump elected to scream his demands, so loudly Sondland pulled the phone back from his ear, making Trump that much more audible to everyone else at the table. He was the first of something Republicans had been demanding: a first-hand witness, someone who could say he saw or heard this first-hand.

It’s a tribute to the impenetrable stupidity of Trump supporters that none of them asked why Trump had blocked first-hand witnesses from testifying. If they were capable of thinking…well, if they were. Trump would never have been president in the first place.

In the meantime, hope the days just keep getting worse for Trump, and not for the rest of us.

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Pre-Denouement — Death by a thousand cuts for the GOP

Pre-Denouement

Death by a thousand cuts for the GOP

November 10th 2019

This coming week will see live continuous broadcast of the impeachment hearings from Congress. The testimony is expected to be devastating for Trump, particularly in light of the fact that at this point, there is no doubt that he engaged in extortion and bribery in order to try to force the Ukraine government to fabricate a case against the son of Joe Biden, at the time his most likely rival in the 2020 election.

The GOP have already got the bad news that, by the very rules they set up themselves, they can’t bring in witnesses that don’t have any particular bearing on the issues at hand, so we won’t be seeing Hunter Biden, or Monica Lewinsky, or Alex Jones, or Yosemite Sam. We’ll be seeing the people who testified in closed sessions, and they will be spending the first half of their time being examined and crossed by professional lawyers, and the Congressmen will just have to wait to do their usual five minutes declaiming about how the Deep State caused Global Warming Which Doesn’t Actually Exist, or whatever. In other words, they aren’t going to be able to try by tantrum.

Oh, and they already ruled out making the whistleblower testify publicly. I guess they figure he already got enough death threats from the Trumpentrash, who had to settle for assassinating the Trump balloon.

Republicans are planning to swap out the comically inept Devin Nunes for a live cow…no wait, I misread that. They are planning to swap him out for the quicker witted and more vicious Jim Jordan, who is simultaneously trying to persuade prosecutors that he knew nothing—nuffink—about college athletes being raped on his watch. Nunes is the one suing the cow, I forgot. Creme of the crop, those two. So we won’t see the hoped-for distraction circus of demands for birth certificates, who killed Ben Ghazi, or Newt declaiming that people who bang their secretaries while holding public office are disgraces to the nation and ought to be shot.

But that’s all this coming week. Rachel Maddow isn’t going to get a wink of sleep, but she’ll be wearing a grin you would never want pointed right at you.

For right now, the GOP is doing a magnificent impersonation of the Hindenburg disaster, minus any vestiges of sympathy for the people on board. “Oh, the serpentity!”.

The party is disintegrating before our very eyes. Usually off-off year elections, involving three or four states, grab little attention outside of the states in question. But this year the elections revealed a shift in the electorate of 20-30 points toward the Democrats in all locales and at it’s biggest in the conservative suburbs. In Kentucky, Republicans were so dispirited they didn’t even try to steal the election after the fact.

Another Republican congressman announced his retirement, and I’m guessing that between now and February, another dozen will decide not to run for reelection. That may include a couple of Senators.

Meanwhile, Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, is suing Trump – yes you read that right. A president’s chief of staff is suing him. Even the late unlamented Allan Drury would have trouble coming up with a political situation more bizarre than that one. He wants courts to affirm that he can be subpoenaed, and if he is, he must testify, and non-disclosure agreements be damned. Imagine Leo McGarry suing Jed Bartlet. No, I can’t either. But that was a sane White House. In fact, until now, they’ve all been at least more-or-less sane. Goofy and inept, but not flat-out mad. Welcome to Trumptown. Mulvaney, who gleefully copped to several of the most serious charges Trump is facing and told the world to “just deal with it” is sane enough to know he needs a court to protect him from that madhouse.

The State Department professionals are in open revolt against Trump and Pompeo for their treatment of personnel who were guilty of nothing more than obeying the law and serving the public interest. In particular they are furious over the treatment of Ambassador Yovanovitch, who was seen as a impediment to Trump’s efforts at extorting the Ukraine in hopes of dirt on a political rival. Combined with similar reports from Justice, where Barr is seen as a pig and a disgrace, to the EPA and Department of Agriculture, who are being punished for being against pollution and admitting climate change is real, it looks like in-house coups are forming all over the place.

I wonder what the Joint Chiefs of Staff are thinking. Have they decided what they are going to do if Trump unilaterally launches military action against Iran, or California?

Then there’s John Bolton. He’s mad as the mist and snow himself, but it’s a integral kind of mad; he actually has some sort of moral pedestal he uses to support his views. So he’s genuinely unhappy that Trump is kowtowing to North Korea and letting the Russians use him.

The day before leaving office, and without telling Trump—or anyone—he unilaterally released $141 million of the $400 million in military aid to the Ukraine that Trump was holding up in hopes to getting dirt on the Bidens. Even Oliver North wasn’t that audacious when he defied Congressional dictates. It was a stunning development in some genuinely interesting times.

And this morning, he announced that he signed a book deal. I think even Trump is gonna figure that this isn’t going to be a book on Bolton family recipes for lutefisk. Although what Bolton will discuss will smell even more evil. As Garrison Keillor said, “that piece of cod which surpasseth human understanding.” Or John Randolph might describe at “like a rotting mackerel in the moonlight, it alternately shines and stinks.” Bolton may not be friends with Trump, but he’s definitely going to be chummy.

Bigger fish to fry this week. Enjoy.

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The Beginning of the End – Fire and Fury as Trump Regime Collapses

The Beginning of the End

Fire and Fury as Trump Regime Collapses

Nov. 3rd 2019

In a spectacle never seen before in American politics, 30 Republican congressmen stormed the secure rooms where testimony into the impeachment inquiry was being conducted. Their claim was that the meetings were secret, which was wrong, and that Republicans had no say in the matter.

In fact, the meetings were secret because House rules, set up by Republicans during the Obama administration, said it was ok to do so. And not only did the 38 or so Republicans that were on the four committees involved in the hearings have full access to those meetings, but 13 of the Republicans who staged the Brooks Brothers Riot II had access. Even by Republican standards, this reached new levels of hypocrisy, dishonesty, and sheer stupidity. The thirty Republicans involved are liars and clowns, and the Dems need to make the footage of them making their phony and ridiculous grandstanding a huge part of the election campaigns in each of their districts this coming year.

This past week, the Democrats, as planned, staged a vote to make subsequent hearings open and public. Every Republican voted against that, including the thirty mendacious clowns who protested for open and public hearings. They aren’t Congressmen. They aren’t even loyal Americans. They’re cornered rats.

Steve King re-tweeted a clever graphic of the shapes of red and blue states rearranged to resemble two rock’em-sock-em figures. Somewhat less clever was the caption, which was that the red states had something like nine trillion bullets, and so who was going to win?

Red states may have bullets, but blue states have brains. My money is on the blue states, if it comes to that. Louie Gohmert spoke openly of civil war. Louie doesn’t know his ilk lost the Civil War. And World War II.

In the meantime, a rapidly-unraveling Trump has been tweeting demands to know the identity of the original whistleblower (and some of the trash right have come up with names, putting lives at risk—in one instance, fingered by the neonazis at RedState based on the fact that he knew John McCain) and threatening retribution against whistleblowers, leakers, those called to testify and those testifying under subpoena. Each and every one of those threatening tweets is, in and of itself, a felony, and impeachable. But Trump is far too out there to understand it. In fact, he’s probably never had a non-psychotic view of how these things work.

The person who first reported to the DoJ about the Ukraine phone call has an attorney, and the attorney, with good reason, is afraid that these feckless, criminal assholes in the administration, Congress, and amongst the trash right media are going to get his client—and probably others—killed with their feverish attempts to protect their mad lump of a leader. So he contacted Devon Nunes, putative congressman and presumptive leader of the cowardly and criminal conspiracy to unmask the whistleblower, with a unique offer: the client would submit answers in writing but under oath to questions sent to him by the Republicans. Republicans only, for some unknowable reason. He would not answers pertaining to his identity. Nunes, being the kind of man he is, will probably turn down the offer, because he needs conspiracy theories and large fogbanks of disinformation in which to carry out his tawdry existence.

It’s a sign of how desperate and rat-cornered the right has become when Faux News Harpy Jeanine Pirro snapped that it was none of our business what the President does, legal or not. Someone told me she used to be an American once. Must not have been a very good one.

But this is nightmare week for Trump and the Republicans. White House attorney Eisenberg is defying a subpoena to testify under oath to the House committees. In time, he’ll probably be stripped of his license to practice law and perhaps get 30 days for contempt of Congress, but he’s of no real importance; just another corrupt and bent lawyer in a sea of pseudo-legal slime.

The main thing that has to be done is Congress must present a case so compelling that it will totally unravel any Republican political will to resist. Not only must they have sound legal evidence (which they have) but they must have such a compelling case that public and party support for Trump and his criminal administration collapses entirely.

The House moves to the open sessions, with attorneys doing examination and cross, instead of vainglorious and partisan congressional hacks shouting ‘Lookitme!” for five minutes at a time. Combined with what is already known, Trump’s guilt is beyond any possible reasonable dispute.

The release of new information from the Mueller investigation, deeply implicating Pence and Sessions and McConnell, should also provide many sweaty sticks of political dynamite.

Trump and the Republicans for now will defy any law, and most standards of civilized behavior, in order to prevent this onrushing train of judgment.

It’s up to us to make sure they don’t derail it.

If they do manage to derail it, America is lost. They don’t want to govern. They want to rule.

For a thousand years.

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