Day Four — Weak Tea for the Defense

Day Four

Weak Tea for the Defense

February 12th, 2021

After the devastating presentations the House Management Team gave, there wasn’t much Team Trump had to bring to the table. They questioned the constitutionality of the trial—something the Senate already settled four days earlier on a 56-44 vote. They claimed that attacking Trump for his speech on January 6th 2021 would have a chilling effect on free speech because all Trump did was urge his followers to fight for a noble cause peacefully. They then ran a 10 minute supercut of Democrats and random celebrities using the word “fight.” Hundreds of half-second examples, none of which, oddly enough, resulting in an angry armed mob sacking the Capitol. Even some Republicans were laughing at how ridiculous, and how strained, the efforts to equate Trump’s rhetoric to that of Democratic speakers was.

Just to show how desperate Team Trump were to fill the three hours out of the 16 allotted to them, they showed variants on the same video three more times. They repeated themselves a lot. In fact, they used three hours to present about 15 minutes of material. Perhaps the aim was to have the Senate nod off and forget what they were doing. Watching presiding officer Patrick Leahy, who is 80, struggle to stay vertical in his chair, it probably was about the only real plan they had.

They started out with the claim that a “leader of Antifa” had been arrested prior to the rally, but was released. Quite aside from the fact that Antifa doesn’t have a leader, the effort to imply that Antifa was involved in the march in any way falls apart when you realize that the purpose of the march was to overturn the results of the election and give Trump a second term. Oh, and hang Mike Pence and put a bullet in “Nancy’s friggin’ brain.” You know—peaceful like.

Team Trump went on to describe how Democrats did nothing while BLM and Antifa “burned vast swatches of American cities.” This would have been a good time to show the insurance claims surrounding such destruction, but at least they didn’t use the campaign videos the Trump campaign released about how THIS would be what America would look like under Sleepy Joe. I guess we weren’t supposed to notice the images were all taken under Trump’s America, except for the ones they [ahem] borrowed from scenes in the 80s, or from other countries.

A new addition to Team Trump was Michael T. van der Veen, “…who less than one year ago was suing then-President Trump, alleging in federal court that his role in undermining the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and baseless claims of mail-in voter fraud would disenfranchise Pennsylvania citizens,” according to the Law&Crime website. Well, in fairness it’s probably getting pretty hard to find a lawyer who hasn’t sued Trump at one point or another. Just part of that lawn order matrix that underlies Trump’s philosophy.

The team hilariously used Trump uttering “Law and Order” many times during the trial to demonstrate Trump’s love of, well, law and order. The term really has a different meaning when Republicans use it, and has since the days of Spiro Agnew. With Trump, it’s even more different: he says it to mean letting cops, national guard and troops go in and beat the shit out of actual peaceful demonstrators, like the ones that were standing around when Trump wanted to stroll over to Saint Patricks and hold a bible upside down to show how religious or patriotic or something he was.

Beyond that, the defense was empty flailing. The trial was “rushed”. Democrats always hated on Donald Trump and wanted to impeach him from day one. True, some did, but bills to impeach don’t go anywhere without strong supporting evidence. [At least one Republican House member filed a bill to impeach Joe Biden before he was even inaugurated, which may be a new record in partisanship.] Democrats had a bug up their asses about Russia. It was unconstitutional. It was denying the will of 73 million Americans. It attacked free speech. Everyone should have the right to use ambiguous phrasing to send a murderous mob to burn the Capitol. It’s kind of the Law and Order version of Free Speech. The Democrats “doctored evidence.” Oh, and they violated the discovery process by withholding video evidence and springing it on Team Trump on Day One. Unfortunately for them, they signed the receipt for those videos two days before the trial began.

They had a question and answer period, which is still ongoing, but Bernie Sanders, characteristically, had the mike-drop moment.

He asked the lawyers on the Trump Team if in their judgment, Trump (who Team Trump were forced to refer to conspicuously as the 45th President) won the 2020 election. Van der Veer snapped, “My judgment. Who asked that? My judgment is irrelevant in this proceeding,” It was as close as any of them could come to an answer.

That, of course, is what underlay Trump’s whipping up an angry mob, culminating in the attack on the Capitol. Even now, his allies and mouthpieces can’t admit that he lost the election.

It’s pretty much over except for the voting at this point. And most elected Republicans are a combination of liars, fools, cowards and traitors. Trump in all likelihood will be acquitted by the Senate.

But in the eyes of the public, both Trump and the Republican Party were found guilty of sedition against America. The vote to acquit is, at best, a Pyrrhic victory.

Evil Arrives — The crisis point is here

Evil Arrives

The crisis point is here

January 19th 2020

Robert Harrington, an Ex-Pat living in London, wrote an absolutely searing column for the Palmer Report last night, “The Face of Evil.” https://www.palmerreport.com/analysis/the-new-face-of-evil/24527/ In it, he tells of how he came to realize that the Holocaust was far from a unique event, that roughly a third of humanity is evil, and that they have coalesced into the monster known as the Republican party under the malign rule of Trump.

The Holocaust, of course, is far from unique. Since the vow was made in the ashes of 1945 to Never Forget, there have been at least a half dozen genocides in which more than twelve million people died. Here in the states, such atrocities were largely brushed off. “Oh, it was the communists. Communists are evil.” It was Africa. It was Asia. They were brown. They were black. They were the wrong religion. Some Americans considered it to be the actions of lesser people with poisonous ideologies, saying so without irony and without realizing by the mere fact of the dismissal, they had placed themselves in groups of lesser people with poisonous ideologies. The belief the Holocaust was unique was just one of the comforting lies with with we cocoon ourselves.

Genocide is well within the range of human social behavior. Voltaire had us pegged two hundred and fifty years ago when he wrote, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Which brings us to the role of religion. Religion informs nearly all holocausts (yes, including communism, which was a godless religion, but a religion nevertheless, in which adherents had to subscribe to a creed, no matter how absurd). In some instances, religion instigates the mass murder in the name of some deity or leader. Religion never worships gods; it worships power. The ability to kill at will is the ultimate power. God is for the peasants. God’s power is for the Church.

There was one thing about the Holocaust that made it stand out. It was strange and horrifying how the Germans went about it in a cruel and methodical manner, using the modern tools of western civilization. The face of the Holocaust wasn’t the screaming mercenary with the blood-dripping machete; it was the meek, mild accountant who carefully tabulated the number of shoes taken off the feet of dead Jewish children. All very modern, quite civilized, leaving the accountant to go home at night and be a good Christian with his wife and children. Perhaps he told the children he processed shoes for the Fatherland, leaving out mention of where the shoes came from. Perhaps he assured himself he didn’t know where the shoes came from, and told himself comforting lies about the long trains of human cattle, and all the missing neighbors. He was, after all, a Good German.

Without an evil leader able to lead an entire culture in to an abyss, he might just have been another accountant in a shoe factory, leading an essentially blameless life. Germany, sophisticated, devout, educated, and religious, needed only a charismatic monster to fall into the ultimate darkness.

Voltaire understood the mechanism for genocide: “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

Robert Harrington believes America is at the cusp of a Hitlerian nightmare. He’s right because America, self-assured, lacking introspection, historically illiterate, and ridden by racial and political fear, is a genocide waiting to happen. Harrington has identified the factor that will make the American abyss like the one Germany experienced nearly a century earlier—the rise of a monster.

Trump is vicious, vindictive, petty and above all, cruel. He is like Hitler, only Hitler at least was able to form relationships with other individuals and pets, something Trump seems incapable of. Trump appeals to the most base of people with a series of “am-i-right” political sketches disguised as a philosophy and the endless flagging of grievances, and there is no bottom to his pettiness and his willingness to destroy or hurt those who have crossed him in any way. Case in point: This past week, facing impeachment, he took time to utterly gut the school lunch program that Michelle Obama had made an effective instrument for improving kid’s lives and their ability to learn. Trump’s action will needlessly condemn millions of kids to hungry afternoons in school, trying to read and listen over the demands of their bodies. Why did he do such a horrible and pointless thing? It was Michelle’s birthday. He wanted to hurt her.

There seems to be no doubt in Harrington’s mind that Trump will trigger an American moral and ethical apocalypse. There’s no doubt in my mind that he stands to be the next Hitler, and that with unlimited power, he is capable of unlimited cruelty, and he has the mindless, hateful, evil following to attack and destroy lives in the tens of millions. He rides the wings of the next Holocaust.

The Senate will have their trial this coming week. The punditry agree that it will be a sham trial and Trump will be acquitted. Trump is openly demanding he be acquitted before he gives his State of the Union speech in early February, and craven and morally vacant senators are queueing up to oblige him.

It’s easy to imagine the crows of angry triumph he will shout to a shivering world. Will he speak of final solutions and a new order that will last a thousand years? Will he list the people who will pay bigly for impeaching him and testifying against him? It’s unlikely the remaining members of his administration will be able to contain the raw fury and hatred pent up in the man.

At that point, his power will be consolidated. A Senate acquittal will like be the moment in German history when the Enabling Act was passed, allowing Hitler to supercede and suspend all laws basically at will.

The Senators could save America if they weren’t moral and ethical vacuums, wedded to power and willing to appease monsters and scum in order to cling to it.

They can stand as human beings, do their job, and save America from a looming nightmare, or they can create a future in which the best hope they have is that history will quickly forget their names, so their children will not have to share their disgrace.

It’s anyone’s guess as to how they will vote. They are cowards and nihilists. Expect little.

Voltaire had the perfect epitaph for these sad remnants of humanity: “Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”

Quid Nunc? – Trump has been impeached. Now what?

Quid Nunc?

Trump has been impeached. Now what?

December 19th 2019

Seeing Trump get impeached was enormously satisfying, wasn’t it? He is the most corrupt, dishonest, and vicious president in American history, and it’s time he got a little recognition for that. He was already upset that they gave the Time Cover of the year to a little girl he could beat up with one bone spur tied behind his back, even though with Kissinger, Stalin and Hitler former personages so awarded, Trump more than qualified.

Trump did celebrate, going to one of his little Nuremberg rallies and proclaiming that John Dingell, the late representative from Michigan, was watching all this from hell. Why? Because Dingell’s widow, Debbie, who filled his seat in the House, voted for impeachment. I imagine that went over well in Michigan, where he just made a really cheap attack on their most popular representatives.

Being a tacky and mean piece of shit isn’t, in itself, an impeachable offense. But it does make it harder to scrape up any sympathy for him. Many pundits have noted that in the many hours of debate the House and its committees staged over the past four weeks, not one Republican stood to defend Trump’s personal honor. They may be cowards, they may be cultists, they may be endlessly servile, but none of them had enough imagination to come up with that particular argument. Even the old line about Hitler (“At least he liked dogs”) doesn’t pertain; Trump doesn’t like dogs.

Trump forecast violence in the streets if he was impeached, and he was right, if you define doing the Macarena as being violent. He’s impeached, and nobody with an IQ above 90 or a bank balance below one million is upset about that.

Now it’s supposed to be going to the Senate, the the jury foreman, Mitch “Moscow” McConnell is also going to be the leading defense attorney. He’s already said, among other things, that witnesses would not be allowed to testify: Democratic witness because they would be damaging to his client, and administration witnesses because they would be damaging to his client. (No, not really: Trump simply doesn’t want anyone from the administration testifying. It’s right there in Article 2 of the impeachment.) McConnell vows to make a farce of the proceedings, because fuck America.

So there’s a very outside chance Pelosi won’t even send the Articles to the Senate. The result would be the same, except Trump wants exculpation and revenge, and this would eliminate any possibility of that. The impeachment would just be there, a deep shadow over his “perfect” presidency. It would drive him nuts.

Of course it would backfire, as the Republicans would just claim that the real reason the Dems didn’t send it to the Senate is because the case is so weak. Under new Republican rules of self incrimination, you cannot be convicted of a crime unless you specifically say that you committed that crime. For instance, if you come running out of a bank firing a gun behind you and carrying a sack full of money from said bank, you can’t be convicted unless you say, “I robbed a bank.” And if you’re the president, the police can’t even arrest you. The Republicans have come a long way from their campaign to eliminate reading Miranda rights.

So it will go to the Senate, and I’m hoping that demonstrators by the hundreds of thousands will go with it. Republicans need to know that if they try to protect their Putin puppet, the American public will revolt—not against the government, but against the Republican Party. A very important distinction, that: most Americans like their country. But they hate what the GOP is doing to that country.

In any case, the Republicans need to know that trying to whitewash or circumvent a Senate trial will carry a fatal political cost. And yes, just nominating Trump in the first place should have done that, but we live in an era where custard heads consider propaganda more important than journalism because it’s more interesting.

In the meantime, the House must continue its investigations into the various and multitudinous crimes the Trump cartel has committed. There are going to be more convictions and more sentencing of various Trump henchmen, including Guiliani, and cases for impeachment can be brought to bear against Barr, DeVoss, and Pompeo. Mike Pence is likely to face impeachment over his role in the Ukraine thing. And of course, there are quite literally hundreds of other charges that can be made against Trump, including several dozen just from the Mueller report.

As satisfying as yesterday’s votes were, the fight has just started. Trump must be legally harried and pursued until he he either quits or is driven from office. And the GOP must pay a horrible price for their efforts to circumvent justice and for their role in degrading America.

It’s only just begun. Democrats, don’t think you can stop here.

And Then There Were Two – On impeachment, Dems keep it simple, stupid

And Then There Were Two

On impeachment, Dems keep it simple, stupid

December 11th 2019

Abuse of Power. Obstruction of Justice. Two counts, both on their faces impeachable offenses. The formal text is available in hundreds of places (At random, here:  ) and is a short read, perhaps 2,000 words. It’s simple, clear, straightforward, and based on an absolute mountain of damning evidence.

The Democrats could have filed dozens of discrete charges against this most corrupt of all presidents, and in a court of law, have most of them stick. But this isn’t going to a court of law. It’s going to the House, where a vote along party lines is pretty much inevitable. Most of the Republicans will vote against it simply out of blind party loyalty. Some have an active hatred of a free and open United States, and want a fascistic dystopia in which they can maintain power and a life of ease forever. So yeah, party-line vote.

And it’s going to happen fast. Before the Christmas break, apparently. (If you had asked me last week, I would have said such votes would take place in the House in February or even March).

House debate begins tonight, and despite the best efforts of Jordan and Nunes and that lot, it will address those two simple and salient charges. Did Trump abuse the powers of his office for his own personal gain? There are hundreds of instances the Democrats can point to, and they need only make a convincing case for ONE of them. Most likely it will be the efforts to smear the Bidens through Ukraine. Just to clear things up, offering a bribe is just as criminal as accepting one, and offering a bribe through withholding monies mandated to be paid by law in order to secure a favor for a personal benefit is a clear case of bribery—and abuse of power. Just the clip of Mulvaney saying “deal with it” would make it an open-and-shut case in a court of law.

Obstruction of Justice is even easier. Trump publicly declared he would order his entire White House staff and dozens of people not even on his staff to ignore all Congressional subpoenas. Open and shut.

But it’s not a court of law; it’s Congress, one of the most lawless places there is. The intent here isn’t to appeal to the noble brows of solons preoccupied only with the sanctity of the Law. Most of ‘em ain’t got none of that.

Basically, it’s to point out the cowards, the corrupt, the criminals, and yes, the traitors. If America survives this and gets rid of Trump, then in the next election if your congressional voted in the face of all evidence to not support the charges, make sure your district is plastered with posters and leaflets pointing out that vote to people. Don’t be afraid to use colorful language; the Republican didn’t have a lapse in judgment, and it wasn’t just a difference of opinion on policy; he or she voted to trash America and all it stands for for the sake of a vicious and possibly deranged sociopath intent on dictatorship.

The vote might occur next week. It will pass. Then it’s on to the Republican-held Senate and Moscow Mitch. Moscow Mitch doesn’t like being called that, but he came by it dishonestly enough in his dealings with some of Putin’s henchmen, and his blind support of Trump.

There, it will take on something resembling a court trial, with the presiding figure being the Chief Justice, John Roberts. Whatever his personal opinions might be, Roberts is going to glance at the hundreds of cameras covering the proceedings, and the tens of millions of people who will be watching closely, and he will know that credibility—not only for himself, but for both the Senate and the Supreme Court—ride on the fairness and impartiality he brings to the proceedings.

That leaves the rest of the Republicans. Just about every pundit in the county is assuring us these guys will never vote to impeach a Republican president, and the track record of those senators, who cheerfully put party ahead of country, seems to support it.

But I’m going to go out on a branch here, and say that if the Democrats sell the notions that Trump abused his power and obstructed justice (and even by Democratic standards, it would take monumental amounts of ineptness to fail to manage that) then a lot of Republicans are going to be facing a deeply hostile electorate who will view them as scofflaws, betrayers, even criminals in their own right, obstructing justice to protect a criminal president.

There’s about 10 Republicans who will support Trump no matter what. There’s a few that might vote to convict. The remaining 35 or 40 may be up for grabs, and if the Democrats make no mistakes and keep it a simple thing, may feel that they must vote to convict, if only to save their own asses.

Things are moving fast now. Stay tuned.

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.

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.

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.

Impeachment Barriers

Some Dragons are Imaginary

October 13th, 2019

There’s a lot of concern among the talking heads who aren’t just poseurs from the far right about why impeachment simply cannot get rid of the pestilence in the White House because it’s never succeeded before. Similarly, there is endless speculation about what might happen if Trump is impeached, convicted by the Senate, and refuses to leave.

Some of the concerns are well-founded, and some are grave enough that they need to be considered seriously. The coming impeachment is going to be a very tense and dangerous time for the country and anyone who says they know what’s going to happen is lying to you.

However, there is no acceptable solution that allows Trump to remain in office. He himself is the gravest and most immediate danger the country faces, and his behavior and words show that he has absolutely no compunction about sacrificing the country and the people therein to his own desires.

Yes, kicking him out is dangerous. So dangerous that the only thing more dangerous is allowing him to stay.

We’ve already passed a few of the ‘insurmountables’ that people said made impeachment a pipe dream. As recently as a month ago, only a dozen or so Democrats were willing to say publicly that they favored an impeachment inquiry, and it was ‘conventional wisdom’ that with the Republicans united and the Democrats divided, the impeachment process in the House could not begin. Obviously, that has changed, with only a few Democrats silent on the impeachment process, and disarray growing rapidly in the Republican ranks.

Another argument was that the public would never go for it. It wasn’t baseless: as recently as two weeks before he resigned, Nixon enjoyed 50+ favorable ratings, higher than any Trump has seen since he took office. The day he was impeached, Bill Clinton’s approval rating rose to 73%. It’s safe to assume Andrew Johnson’s impeachment was deeply unpopular, even though Johnson himself was unpopular. Johnson and Clinton were both impeached for political purposes, and the public knew that, and detested Congress’ abuse of its power to impeach. In the case of Nixon, when the “smoking gun” tape was released, his support, both in Congress and the public, collapsed, and only his resignation prevented a full-on impeachment and trial which he would have surely lost.

The scandal with the Ukraine, as manifestly, obviously criminal as it was, is just one of many smoking guns. Trump, after all, admitted he did it, and offered the defense that it’s not illegal when the president does it. That defense didn’t work for Nixon, and it won’t work here.

However, there are at least two dozen other criminal acts where any competent district attorney would have little or no reason to avoid taking to trial, based just on the available evidence. At least some of the crimes involve bribery, one of two specific crimes deemed impeachable in the Constitution. The other is ‘treason,’ and while he technically can’t be guilty of that as the United States is not formally at war with anyone, he is still committing actions to the detriment of the country, and in some instances, it can be shown that he did so for personal gain, or to cozy up to other authoritarians at the expense of Americans. This week’s nightmare decision by Trump to allow the Turks to invade Syria and massacre the Kurds has a lot more people questioning Trump’s patriotism than there were last week.

Another objection is that McConnell would prevent a Senate vote on the impeachment evidence. That’s not likely since the Senate MUST hold a trial for findings of impeachable crimes by the House. No wriggle room there, and McConnell may be bent, but he isn’t stupid. The public is watching, the evidence is overwhelming, and the blowback would destroy him and his party. Nor does he have the option of holding a farce process; Chief Justice John Roberts will be presiding, and unlike most of the Republican appointees of late, he seems determined to be a justice first and a member of the Heritage Society second. He’s certainly no liberal, and will vote for corporate interests every time, but he’s not a hack. He isn’t going to let McConnell make him look like an ineffectual clown. And with cracks already showing amongst once-solid Republican ranks, the flood of testimony and evidence should make it impossible for the Senators to stand and vote on a kangaroo trial. Many of them have already figured out that the only thing worse than having Trump as an enemy is having Trump as an ally.

People think the courts will protect Trump. But thus far, he has lost every single court battle relating to investigations into his possible criminality. Every single one. And at the final level, the Supreme Court, while Alito, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Thomas are GOP hacks, the rest aren’t—including, critically, John Roberts. And even Alito and Gorsuch might concede that Trump does not have a valid defense in his appeal. At the very worst, they understand that a blatantly political decision would permanently damage the Court. It’s still trying to recover from Bush vs. Gore.

Most dictators are astute enough to keep their corruption as hidden as possible. Trump couldn’t be bothered with such sublime considerations, and it puts his supporters more and more in the position of appearing corrupt themselves just by blindly supporting him. Republicans know they can’t get away with much trying to protect Trump now, and with each passing day, Trump gives them fewer and fewer reasons why they should protect him.

Trump has already suggested that the Democrats might spark a civil war by persecuting him. Most people took that as a dog-whistle to both the military and his loonier cult followers. While there are a lot of Dominionists and other ultra-righties in the military, it’s not a given that they would take Trump’s side to spark a civil war. While he may be their Commander in Chief, an order to round up his political foes and falsely detain them would be an unlawful order (the technical term is ‘lynching’). In a more practical stance, those members of the military (hopefully a small minority) who dream of staging a military coup to rid the nation of goddless librul commies might reconsider the wisdom of such if it meant Trump would be dictator-for-life.

Among patriotic members of the military, this week’s misadventures with Syria and the Turks and the subsequent slaughter of Kurds destroyed any illusions of Trump’s concern for the national welfare. The deliberate targeting of American troops by the Turks, led to an ignominious retreat by the US military and the abandonment of their allies, the Kurds. It didn’t help that Trump snorted disparagingly that the Kurds weren’t our allies in World War 2. They were, in fact, and played a key role in keeping Hitler from invading the oil fields in the middle east. The Turks, however, were not.

It was a disgraceful moment for America and America’s military, and the most likely motive was that Trump wanted to do Turkish despot Erdogan a solid in order to protect business interests he had in Turkey.

So no, the military isn’t likely to go to war against America on Trump’s behalf.

That leaves Trump’s more lunatic followers. Yes, they are a danger. But to be an effective danger, they would need to form a Resistance to back their terror cells, and a Resistance requires widespread popular support, and that just isn’t there. A lot of his support remains loyal Americans who want to support the GOP, and he’s making it harder and harder for that to remain a tenable position. Few of them are willing to kill or be killed by their countrymen in the name of Trump.

As I said at the start, these are very dangerous times. There’s always a bugger factor. America is weak and divided right now, and that could pose an invite to unfriendly interests abroad. Trump, knowingly or not, could stumble us into a major war. A natural catastrophe could persuade the nation to put politics aside, wisely or not. There’s a million things. I just gave opinions on a half dozen of the most likely scenarios.

Meanwhile, keep a close eye on the news, and be ready to jump.

Paging Jaime Lannister – GOP realizes Trump is a liability

October 10th, 2019

CNN’s Don Lemon was trying to figure out why Republicans were so gleeful in their ignorance of just how deep and profound the huge scandal surrounding Trump really was, and their willingness to dismiss it as just a propaganda conspiracy. “Well, I wanted to ask, as I see the apologists for the president, especially on conservative media, they seem gleeful in their ignorance,” Lemon said. “What is so gleeful about being ignorant or about misleading the public?”

Mainstream media keep trying to pretend Republicans are a normal political party. They aren’t, haven’t been for years. They’re a cult, a cult that has finally found its god-figure. Since they are cultists, they consider anything said against their leader to be lies from non-believers, and they take pride in the faith and strength they show in ignoring the siren call of the atheistic nonbelievers. The ignorance is real, if wilful, and the “glee” is the calm belief that they are doing what it takes to get to the promised land. In Trump We Trust, assholes.

Trump obviously believes he can lie his way out of anything, anything at all. To give you a (relatively) minor example of his utter cynical depravity, he quietly instigated a policy of not renewing temporary visas for kids here for life-saving medicine. Most of the kids would not get the care they needed at home, and many of them would die in short order. The story went public on the Rachel Maddow show, and after a stunned silence of several days as an incredulous media had to convince itself this was really happening, the story exploded in the face of the administration.

After a few days of increasing public outrage, some Trump flack announced the policy was rescinded, and Trump wouldn’t be sending a bunch of sick kids to their deaths. Ah, but that was then.

Tonight, we have learned that the Trump administration hasn’t taken back the deportation orders and yes, some kids will be sent home to die in the next week. Rather than revoke a senselessly cruel policy that in no way benefited America, the administration decided to simply lie to America about it. It’s Hitlerian in its viciousness and bigotry.

Try telling this to a Trump supporter, and you’ll be doing well if you can convince him that Trump would ever do anything that might hurt children, and this was certainly some policy dreamed up by Obama or Clinton that they tried to blame on Trump when it blew up in their faces. And they’ll believe every word they are saying. Trump is next to Jesus, you know.

Some clown on Faux News today referred to the impeachment process as a “regicide”, a description ridiculous on the face of it. Still, it doubtlessly gave Jaime Lannister a bump in the polls. Along with Tyrion, Cercei, Anya, and Jaime (who killed a second king in the penultimate episode, albeit a rather small one). They should start a new TV show: S*M*A*S*H, with a theme song that begins, “Regicide is painless…” Well, I told you it was ridiculous, didn’t I?

The Republican Party, the most pathetic pack of cowards in the history of America, have done all they can to sustain Trump, no matter how stupid, hurtful, or dangerous to the country he becomes. They’ve abandoned what scant principles they had to become Trump’s enablers as they continue to frantically pack the courts and eliminate most changes made since 1932 in grim hopes of sustaining a white nationalist society. Trump never existed in a vacuum. He was supported by the leaders of the GOP, creatures as broken and twisted as he is.

But Trump’s genocidal betrayal of the Kurds may be the breaking point amongst those Republicans who, while consumed by greed and corruption, are still technically sane. The Kurds were our allies, and did a lot to contain ISIS. And Turkey, which has form on committing genocide, has one of the vilest and most contemptible dictators this side of Trumpistan, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Dozens of Republicans Congressionals have openly blasted Trump for inviting the Turks to go in and murder lots of people.

Trump patiently explained that he would do more than sanctions against Turkey if they didn’t conduct their genocide in a humane manner, which is usually enough to make the strutting bought-out whores of the GOP settle back down amidst their bags of money and mutter, “Well, that’s OK, then.” Doesn’t seem to be working this time.

No, the Republicans haven’t suddenly grown a set of principles and ethics. Such things are about as useful to Republicans as a set of tits on a bulldozer. But they have their favorite political weapon which they have brought to bear on Pissmop: Moral outrage. Endless, sanctimonious, hypocritical and totally phony moral outrage. The same that they used without letting up ever against Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and pretty much everyone who wasn’t a Republican.

It’s strange seeing them condemn a Republican president. After all, these are the same pearl-clutchers who whine endlessly about Monica Lewinsky while ignoring serial adulturers such as Eisenhower, Reagan and Gingrich. Democrats are the party of “tax and spend” even as 8 out of every 9 dollars in the national debt comes from Republican policies and misadventures, and for most of us, taxes have risen because they shifted the tax burden from the richest one percent to the middle class—and whine on and on about the lucky duckies who are broke and homeless and get to pay no taxes.

But they aren’t politically blind. They realize that Trump finally managed to crack the Kevlar Kurtain that protected him from fallout from his endless scandals and braggadocio with the Ukraine scandal, and that he has now become a serious political liability. The Blue Wave of 2016 was the writing on the wall; now the mob is approaching those broken barricades and the GOP has suddenly realized Trump could destroy them as a political force for generations. Clearly, he must go.

Expect to see shocked revelations from the GOP that they just uncovered evidence that Trump is incompetent, perhaps mad, and why haven’t the Democrats done more to stop him? Do the Democrats have no resolve, no moral backbone? They should have SAID something!

And the GOP will try to get rid of Trump while protecting their own asses, and chances are the Democrats will let them get away with it. And America can then continue its peaceful slide into becoming a vassal state to the rich and the religiously insane.

Pity about all those Kurds dying, though. At least it’s in a good cause.

No, actually, it isn’t. They will die to help provide cover to the most cowardly, heartless political shits in the history of America.

Potemkin Ethics – Republicans and their make-believe morals

October 1st 2019

Republican sanctimony and hypocrisy, normally just an irritating mosquito whine, has changed as they circle the wagons to deal with the Trump catastrophe, to a roar of White Water. And Benghazi. And Her Emails. And, and, and.

For example, even as Democrats consider the vast array of criminal charges they can prove against Trump and his corrupt administration, the Republicans have suddenly developed a deep concern over the business dealings of one Hunter Biden. Now, Hunter is just a dodgy American businessman who had dodgy business concerns in a dodgy country. Nothing unusual there; there have to be thousands of American businessmen overseas who like the Los Angeles Dodgers because they think they are related. Just more profiteering Americans gouging corrupt regimes for fun and…well, you get it. Nothing to attract the attention of the President of the United States, or Faux News, or Congress, any of whom, truth be told, spend most of their time working on their own corruption. Not battling it; profiting from it.

But Hunter’s daddy is one of the leading Democratic contenders for next year’s election, and thereby hangs the petard. It’s had some small mention in the news, so stop me if you’re heard about this.

Oh, you have heard. Well, good.

“But Biden…” is a buzzphrase sounding from all parts of the vast right wing echo chamber, all the way across and slightly down from the Heritage Foundation to the true snake pits of the American fascist right, Breitbart and Trump. They’ve developed elaborate and utterly fictitious conspiracy theories, each grander and less lucid then the last. In their narrative, Viktor Shokin is a brave and intrepid reformer who was trying to save Ukraine from corruption. In reality, Shokin was the resentful and corrupt leading holdover from the Soviet Union days, when prosecutors, rather than judges, were the deciding force in court cases. Deeply pro-Russian, it’s likely that his efforts to persecute Hunter Biden for holding a seat on a deeply corrupt oil company were brought about at the behest of Vladimir Putin in hopes of orchestrating damage to a possible Joe Biden candidacy. Vlad has form on doing that sort of thing, you know.

Trumpkins who try chanting “But Hunter” at me quickly get a course on the interesting role of Jared Kushner, a skyscraper in New York City, and the events that led to the State Department suddenly declaring a strategic ally, Qatar, an “exporter of terrorism.” The brighter ones shut up and go away, and the rest come up with the other orchestrated talking points.

The Whistleblower isn’t a traitor—quite the opposite. He reported a president who, by his own admission since, was engaging in activities subverting America in order to gain personally and politically, and undermining an ally’s ability to fend off a potential Russian attack. And while his reporting may have been the result of second-hand information, it has been corroborated by the President in question, making the point, utterly irrelevant in the first place, completely moot now.

Do any of the Republicans who underwrote Linda Tripp’s sordid foray into the spotlight of Monicagate believe she had first hand knowledge of what went on there? Did she take a puff on the infamous cigar? Ken Starr didn’t seem to mind using her testimony, did he? Ken Starr, who has made a career of intellectual self-fellatian, now considers it wrong to criminally investigate Presidents.

Presidents do have a right to conduct their business without it all being relayed to the media. However, advisors by any normal standards listen in on such calls in order to guide subsequent policy. You can be sure Putin, who also whined loudly that privacy and confidentiality were being violated, had his own flock of people listening in.

The same crowd whining about presidential privacy now sued successfully to have Secret Service agents on White House detail be forced to report anything they saw or heard.

Republicans also support ignoring subpoenas and other demands for information issued by the investigating committees of Congress. During the Clinton years, the administration turned over 25 MILLION pages of documentation to Congress, and Republicans managed to simultaneously complain that it wasn’t enough, and that it was too much.

Speaking of investigating committees, the President and all his party hatchlings are howling about ‘presidential harassment!”. Note that they have had, over the years, 25 different committees investigating the Clintons, and 8 more for Obama, and with the exception of Monica, found nothing at all. Hillary had to testify for 8.5 hours in front of Congress, all in one marathon day, over the non-story of Benghazi. Trump’s people have raised $25 million over the past few months to try to revive the email story.

Speaking of which, Trump, and various members of his administration, have been caught storing official emails on private servers. Trump himself has shown amazing disregard for national security, but is willing to abuse the top-secret apparatus in order to keep his personal dealings secret.

Republicans believe that Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor basement. Without a shred of evidence, nothing supporting that belief except malice. Trump has thousands of kids locked in cages or dumped into the American foster home system, and you can bet at least several dozen of those kids have ended up as sex slaves by now.

But for too many Republicans, ethics and morals are a pretend, a vicious game to passive-aggressively dominate others. The only thing that can generate their endless howls of moral outrage is if a Democrat or liberal is the target. But when it comes to the sewage in their own house, they are utterly, and hypocritically, silent.

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