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.

The Big Lie – How the Right Wing Controls Millions

June 1st, 2019

Robert Mueller appeared on TV and told the nation “If we had had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

Watching it live, I didn’t think there was anything unusual in that quote. After all, he says the same thing directly in his report. Anyone who read the report…oh, right. Most of the members of Congress haven’t read the report. And they’re the ones responsible for acting on the information it contains. It’s a sign of the times when the best thing you can say about your Congressional representative is that he is too lazy and illiterate to function. But Mueller really didn’t say anything that wasn’t in the redacted version of his report. I’m amazed how many people didn’t know that.

One Republican did read the report, a Republican from Michigan named Justin Amash. He immediately declared that Trump should be impeached, becoming the first Republican to favor impeachment. He held a town hall in his district to inform his constituents of why he reached the decision he did, and to defend it. Not your typical Republican, most of whom avoid their constituents these days. He wound up getting a standing ovation from an initially hostile crowd when he laid out his case.

According to Brad Reed over at Raw Story;

In an interview with NBC News, Michigan Trump voter Cathy Garnaat said that she went to Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-MI) town hall this week to challenge his view that Trump should be impeached — and she got caught off guard when he directly quoted from the Mueller report to justify his views.

I was surprised to hear there was anything negative in the Mueller report at all about President Trump,” she admitted. “I hadn’t heard that before.”

Garnaat went on to explain that none of the news shows she watches or listens to have ever gone into depth about the contents of the Mueller report.

I’ve mainly listened to conservative news and I hadn’t heard anything negative about that report and President Trump has been exonerated,” she explained.

In an earlier incident of truth meeting conservatives, Bernie Sanders went into the lion’s den, a town hall on Faux News, and laid out his case for universal health care, a high minimum wage, free college, and a system of not-for-profit banks through the Post Office. Serenely confident that Sanders had only made the case that he was an American-hating Commie, the host asked the audience to indicate their displeasure with Sanders. They gave him a standing ovation.

Don’t be surprised.

The vast right wing conspiracy has been working for decades to section off a segment of the American population and essentially turn them into a cult, suspicious and disdainful of any outside information. In fact, the morning Mueller made his announcement, so damning to Trump, I was curious and looked to see how Faux News was playing it. Their header was “ “Special counsel makes rare public statement to resign, says team was unable to charge Trump” No mention of the reason why he didn’t charge Trump. Faux News viewers are ignorant, and Faux News spends a lot of time and money to keep them that way.

While Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has always presented a grave danger to western democracies, and is inimical to freedom and the non-wealthy, Murdoch is hardly functioning in a vacuum. For years, a nest of think tanks, blogs, radio networks, trash political “Christian” televangelists, along with corporations snapping up local newspapers, radio and television, have devoted themselves to being one seamless propaganda machine.

One favored way is social media memes. Prior to that, they were mimeographs and copies in their twentieth generation, passed around at bars and water coolers and in chain letters.

The method of transmission has gotten more sophisticated, but the propaganda tactics remain about the same.

I got one passed along to me the other day, and in a time when the Republicans are working to lie their way to success, it seems a really good example of the messaging used by them.

This one (replicated in full below) is putatively written by a family mother who is distraught because her children are supposedly being driven out of California by draconian policies promoted by Gavin Newsom, the rookie governor of the state.

I’m not worried about copyright infringement. It’s anonymous, which is an odd thing for a public letter to a political figure, and its actual provenance is open to considerable speculation. It may have been written by one of the stable of writers they keep at Heritage Foundation, or Regnery Press, or perhaps somewhere in Russia. It’s so ham-fisted I think it could be a Russian troll outfit.

I doubt very much the actual authors are going to step forward and demand credit.

The opening lines are unalloyed pathos: “The boxes are filled. The bags are packed. The hearts are breaking. My family is about to be divided, separated, perhaps forever. I wish you cared.” Oh, the heartbreak! Did any family ever suffer so? Why, this is as bad as the Trail of Tears, or the railroads to Auschwitz!

But it gets worse: these innocents, driven from California by the cruel whips of Governor Gavin, are just one of millions, perhaps even billions, being driven from California!

But there is hope! They are leaving the foul pestilence of the Golden State and headed for a shining beacon of hope: “The Real America”. She doesn’t describe this real America, but I have the impression it’s something like Pleasantville before the colored folks showed up and ruined it. It is, however, in a “southern state” where people show their patriotism by flying the Confederate flag. Apparently it differs from all of California in that it doesn’t have dog feces and hypodermic needles on the sidewalks. That right there eliminates most southern states.

The author cites a rise in communicable diseases, which while unfortunately true, isn’t climbing as steeply in California as it is in the south (CDC). Children are at grave risk, it seems, but again, the South, which the Polly Klaas Institute identifies as having 38% of non-family/kidnapping child abductions) has a far higher rate than the West (28%). It would seem our refugees are leaping from the frying pan and into the fire.

The author concludes the first litany of grievances by telling the governor, who had nothing to do with the imaginary complains, that “[Y]ou’re concerned that I might ask for a plastic straw.” Overuse and misuse of plastics is a growing crisis, one that will eventually kill more people than kidnapping, drug users, and Fresno combined. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t hurt anything except plastic straw manufacturers, but for the noble Republican princess writing this, it’s the cliché that broke the camel’s back.

The woman (or study group, or St. Petersburg sweatshop) bitterly blames Newsom for not caring about the middle class. Which is being destroyed in America, it’s true, but one can thank thirty years of Reaganomics and supply-side nonsense for that. Granted, California did inflict Reagan on the land, and we’re trying to live that down. But Newsom is continuing Brown’s policy of shifting the tax burden upward to the wealthy, and increasing wages. That’s how you build a strong middle class. You don’t get one by giving your pension and half your income to your employer and hope they’ll build a museum in your town or something.

California, the whine continues, has car thefts and car chases. And that it does, most assuredly. But her answer, which seems to involve locking up millions more people, has been proven not to work. At one point, California’s “tenth largest city” was the prison population, and all that did was breed gangs, hardened criminals, and organized crime. The author complains about the high rate of recidivism (61% in California, compared to 60% nationwide), but offers no solution beyond, “lock them up.”

Next on the laundry list of whines is taxes. Yes, California has high taxes on gasoline, sales tax, etc. Part of the problem is that millions of wealthy Californians are protected from property taxes and wealth taxes. That has changed in recent years, and California is catching up from decades of Republican “feed the rich” misrule.

And yes, California has a problem with homeless people. But again, Newsom didn’t create that problem, and has been working to address it for years. One wonders what the fictional author of the letter has done to address the issue. Besides putting an apartment up for rent by moving out, that is.

It goes on in this vein, an unending and self-pitying whine about how horrible California is, and how wonderful the South is. Gas is only $2.00 a gallon! According to the writer. Except that the cheapest gas in the country is Mississippi, nobody’s idea of paradise. California’s gas is $1.50 a gallon more than Mississippi’s, but California state taxes on gasoline amount to 35 cents a gallon. Mississippi’s is 18 cents a gallon. Obviously something else is at play here, such as price manipulation by the oil industry.

Why isn’t she just joining her family and moving? After all, there’s no reason for her to stay in California, and every reason to move. Doesn’t having to pick hypodermic needles out of her flip-flops and paying $1.50 because state taxes are 17 cents higher get old?

But the nature of this letter isn’t to portray a real situation. The woman does not exist. Her situation does not exist. Many of the items she lays at the feet of Gavin Newsom either don’t exist, or are things he has nothing to do with. They are blatant manipulation, with a glorious disregard for accuracy or truth.

The intent of the letter is to inflame, and arouse feelings of resentment against California, a state that has, since 2008, consistently performed better economically and socially than the rest of the country. It is a success story of liberal governance, and the right wingers must pump out endless lies to vilify it and make it look like one of their own disasters, such as Kansas or Wisconsin.

The article is written with scant regard for any truth whatsoever, and uses almost ridiculous levels of emotional manipulation to try to inflame the reader and shut down critical thought.

The right wing has been spewing this nonsense by the thousands over the past 40 years or more. One thing they did learn from the Nazis and the Communists was that propaganda is a powerful tool, if applied unremittingly and relentlessly.

The Cathy Garnaats of America—and there are millions of them—aren’t vile deplorables who take glee in Trump’s viciousness and contempt for American values. They don’t hear about that. Instead, they hear about how Trump is a victim of anti-American forces who hate and despise everything they hold dear. Today’s minute of hate is Meghan Markle, princess and wife of Prince Harry. She doesn’t want to meet with Trump in London this week, and so Faux News is gleefully leading a chorus on their site of racist and sexist abuse. The deplorables, little better than Nazis, love it. The cultists, usually possessed of a more human core, turn from the viciousness, but wonder how Markle could be so disrespectful to such a wonderful president. They really do.

They may have been born ignorant, as all of us have, but the right wing has used emotional manipulation and lies to keep them ignorant. Many, like Garnaat, need only be confronted by reality. Others will refuse to accept it and have a highly negative reaction.

The propaganda won’t end, because when you have to lie to the people to get your own way, they have to be big, simple lies, repeated endlessly.

But if Trump is indicted for his crimes in the House (which is what Impeachment is), the propaganda machine will break down in the face of a mountain of evidence, and won’t be able to prevent the Garnaats from seeing what is true.

In the meantime, read the piece attached. It’s a good lesson in finely honed propaganda, and a chance to hone your own reasoning skills.

Chico Republican Women


Chico Republican Women

May 20 at 10:11 PM ·


The following is an open letter from a friend of mine here in CA whose anger and frustration at the ongoing destruction of the state has boiled over. It reflects the feelings of so many people I know here, myself included. My friend would like this to remain anonymous but hopefully get widespread attention, so please feel free to share:

An Open Letter to Governor Gavin Newsom 5/20/19:

Governor Newsom,

The boxes are filled. The bags are packed. The hearts are breaking.

My family is about to be divided, separated, perhaps forever. I wish you cared.

Our wonderful daughter, along with her husband and their two young children has given up on life in California. The only place they’ve ever called home has become intolerable for them. They’ve found a new home in a southern state, far away from here, in the real America.

I’ve heard the story innumerable times- people leaving, or wanting to leave, what was once the paradise of the West Coast. Not so long ago, kids could walk down to the corner store, or to school, without their parents worrying about their safe return. No more.

You once could visit a neighborhood park, and not fear for your life. No more.

Walking across the street did not require careful examination of the pavement to avoid feces or used hypodermic needles. Now it does.

Illnesses are again being seen in this state that had been rare or non-existent until recently. Typhus, Tuberculosis, Mumps, Measles, Hepatitis A, B, and C are all here again. A worker on the upper floors at L.A. City Hall recently came down with typhus, spread by rats living in the disgusting conditions around the Civic Center.

But you’re concerned that I might ask for a plastic straw.

Your priorities for managing this state are crystal clear, and the middle class is nowhere near the top of the list. I learned in Civics class years ago that the primary job of government is to keep the people safe. What happened? When did our safety and well-being fall off the radar? Not too long ago, my daughter had her new vehicle stolen from her driveway, in the short time it took her to walk the kids to school. Someone was watching, waiting for them to leave. It gives me chills just thinking about it.

You release violent criminals back onto our streets to terrorize our communities, you proudly remove the death-penalty as an option, sending a friendly message to the worst of the worst, and you handcuff our law-enforcement officers, challenging their every move. Officers now must take an extra moment, perhaps just a second, questioning their training and best judgment, before using any amount of force to apprehend a violent criminal. When this results in another dead cop, and it will, the blood will be on your hands, sir.

A few weeks ago, we watched on television as a violent felon led police on a three-hour pursuit, destroying property and narrowly missing pedestrians and other vehicles. We saw him brutally beat his female passenger while driving close to 100 mph. Then last week, a murder suspect shot at police out the window of the car he was being pursued in. It’s a miracle nobody was killed. Turns out, both suspects were free on “early release” through AB-109, that you and other politicians (who all live behind walls, with armed security) forced upon us in the name of compassion. Where’s your compassion for law-abiding citizens, Mr. Governor?

And don’t get me started on taxes and regulations. The amount of money taken from us by this state is criminal. Just living here is expensive enough, but imagine trying to run a business and stay afloat. We have the highest gas prices/taxes in the country, and still our roads are a mess. I recently hit a pothole and the damage to my car was over $1000. We pay you enormous sums to manage the state’s affairs, yet people by the thousands sleep on our streets at night. Homeless encampments are everywhere, in neighborhoods we never imagined they’d be. And still, you want more. There’s a move now to weaken Prop. 13. No doubt it will pass. And I just read that you want to tax online sales now, too. Along with proposals to tax water, telephones, dairy products, fertilizers, health care, and more. But taxing those things will not affect the “super rich 1%”. They’re just more hits on the middle class. You Sacramento politicians have an insatiable addiction to other people’s money. But many citizens have had enough and are walking away.

Which brings me back to my family. They’re closing their business here. You’ll get no more of their hard-earned money. They’ve purchased a home in their new state, big enough for the four of them and a dog or two. Maybe even a horse. The kids will get a great education. They’ll be able to leave a window open at night, knowing that the criminals are the ones who are afraid- afraid of the police, afraid of the courts, and afraid of the citizens who exercise their right to defend themselves. Oh, and gas there is about $2 a gallon.

Somehow, they’ll have to survive without a Fantasy Train to nowhere, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to get by. Meanwhile, your tax base shrinks and Atlas shrugs. Soon the only people left here will be the very rich and the very poor. It’s almost as if you planned it that way.

And now, my family is broken. As are countless others. No more school plays, no more little league games. No more weekend breakfasts at IHOP or Thanksgiving dinners. I’ll happily burn a ton of fossil fuel to go visit them at their new home as often as I can. But, I won’t be there as an instant babysitter when needed on short notice, and I’ll actually notice their growth from visit to visit. I’ll pray every night for their safety and happiness in the years to come. And I’ll cry that I can’t hold them tight. I’m angry as hell, and I miss them desperately already.

But they’ll get no going away card from you and no apologies. You simply don’t care.

Name withheld.

Barrbarian Rhatsophy – Barr belongs in jail—next to Trump

May 2nd 2019

William Barr, career criminal and putative top cop of the country, refused to show up before the House for testimony on the Mueller report today. Some wag on the Democratic side replaced the doughy and misshapen Trump stooge with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was an improvement, insofar as the bucket of chicken at least promised to provide some content.

The Republicans, who have descended below the level of kindergarteners in trouble with the teacher, tried blaming the Democrats for Barr’s refusal to testify. One major moron in waiting, Doug Collins, a Republican of Georgia, opined that “The reason Bill Barr is not here today is because the Democrats decided they did not want him here today.”

See? It was all the Democrats fault! Why, they wanted to ask Barr questions about his contradictions and lies, and to explain why Mueller was so pissed at him. That’s all. I’m sure there were reasonable explanations.

Other Republicans blamed Hillary Clinton because they couldn’t think of anything else to say. After all, it’s not like they would ever force Clinton to testify for 11 hours in response to loaded, ideological and dishonest questions. Given the perfect fairness and civility Republicans showed, is it too much to ask that Barr be given a pass?

Perhaps the best rationale came from the perjurer-in-chief, who is of the opinion that the suspect in a criminal trial should be free to refuse to be questioned by authorities if he felt the questions might be biased against him or cause embarrassment.

OK, fair point. When the LAPD asked Charlie Manson if he stuck a fork in Sharon Tate’s belly, that showed great insensitivity and even some microaggression on the part of the police. Better a mass murderer should be allowed to run free rather than to have to deal with impolite and even overbearing police!

Only an overprivileged moron like Trump could, with his bare face hanging out, demand the right for a suspect in a criminal investigation to determine what questions he might have to answer.

And poor Donald has so many other distractions to deal with. Both his nominees to the Fed imploded over the past couple of days, one because he couldn’t handle his household finances, let alone a world economy, and the other because he was the most stupid fucking bastard this side this side of a pile of dog shit. Indeed, Trump nominees implode with such regularity and to such comic effect that it reminds you of that episode of “Russian Doll” where the protagonist dies a couple of dozen times in the space of five minutes. Or Sideshow Bob with the garden rakes.

Now that the clown rodeo has closed for the day and there’s no longer any doubt that Barr is a criminal Trump stooge, the question arises: what is congress going to do about it? Even Pelosi flat-out called Barr’s actions criminal. Dozens of Democrats want him punished: arrest or impeachment, or both.

Make it march, guys. Arrest the guy. If he quits and thus can’t be impeached, he’s still going to face criminal charges. And Trump is starting to realize that the power of the pardon is a dangerous tool, as witness the fact that even as he was schmoozing with the psychotic murderers of the NRA, and despite Vladimir Putin’s howls of outrage, he was letting Maria Butina rot in jail.

If Congress orders Barr’s arrest for contempt of Congress and perjury before Congress, Trump may not dare intervene.

In fact, Trump being Trump, he’ll probably start calling Barr weak, stupid, fat, and a host of other adjectives, and create an enemy where he had an ally. We’ve seen him do that dozens of times before, with Sessions, Cohen, Manafort, and Ryan. It’s a gift, I tell you.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is threatening to sue to prevent Mueller from testifying before Congress. Think about that: the DoJ appointed Mueller to do exactly what he did, with the intent of giving his report to Congress, and now they are suing themselves to prevent Mueller from giving his report to Congress. It’s the sort of clownery you expect from inept authoritarian regimes, whether Rufus T. Firefly or Donald J. Trump.

Mueller to Pissmop – Yes, you are fucked

April 19th 2019

Back on May 17, 2017, Confederate Pixie and then-AG Jeff Sessions told Trump that Rod Rosenstein had just appointed Robert Mueller to be a special prosecutor looking into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump slumped, and said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.”

It’s a side of Trump we don’t see very often: the one that is capable of doing an honest and forthright analysis of a situation. Usually all we get from him is demented and hateful gibberish, a trashy and despicable President playing to a trashy and despicable base.

Much has been made of Trump’s reaction. Not in the morally upside down world of the Republicans, where if Obama had said ‘fucked’ they would have impeached him for using cusswords in the White House. However, Republicans normally would think it’s OK for Trump to do so because he’s bravely fighting immoral people who might say “fuck” in the White House. But they’ve been strangely silent for other reasons.

Trump’s reaction is, prima facie, the reaction of a man who knows he is guilty. It’s the kid snapping his hands behind his back as the teacher walks in the room, the husband slapping off the computer screen as the wife walks in, the guy turning his face away as a police cruiser goes by. It’s not an admission of guilt, but it is the reaction of someone who is guilty.

The rest of the report, even Bawdlerized by Barr, makes it amply clear that Trump repeatedly and knowingly obstructed justice. There’s at least a dozen felony actions by Trump detailed in the report.

And yes, Mueller felt the Department of Justice could not indict a sitting president, and that only the House, through the power of impeachment, could do so. He strongly urged the House to do so, since he believes that no man is above the law—or in Trump’s case, in the sewers below the law.

We now know that in an action that is a felony in and of itself, Barr conferred with the Trump administration on what to censor in the report. Barr needs to be indicted and prosecuted for tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice, and die in jail.

But what we’re seeing now is what Trump felt he could get away with the public knowing. He has utter contempt for the resolve of the American people or their ability to stand up to an self-entitled millionaire autocrat. We do not yet know what remains hidden in the report.

Yes, there’s no doubt that some is hidden for legitimate cause; because it may interfere with other ongoing investigations. (Remember how war criminal and traitor Oliver North was able to skate because of Congress’ reckless release of evidence from a grand jury?) And there may be items that could harm national security if made public.

But this is the corrupt, self-centered and morally bankrupt Trump dictating to his loathsome toady of an Attorney-General what should not be allowed into the public eye. There remains stuff the public is entitled to know, and it’s probably the worst stuff of all. Congress must get the full, unredacted report. I’m happy to say the Congressional subpoena has been issued.

While other legal investigations into Trump’s tawdry life continue, the political battle is now joined.

Some Democrats are still saying it’s too early to consider impeachment. One of them is a presidential candidate, Cory Brooker. In a bizarre show of equivocation, he is saying that Congress should not impeach until the evidence is in, apparently unaware that impeachment is the gathering and evaluation of evidence of presidential misconduct.

He eliminated himself from any support from myself with that statement. What is the point in replacing Trump with a man who was unable to stand up against Trump when the time came to do so. What do we gain from replacing Trump with someone who is afraid of Trump?

We’re hearing the usual political arguments against impeachment hearings, of course. “Democrats are cowards and won’t start a fight they can’t win.”

Well, yes, some Democrats are cowards. And some, like Brooker, are just far too fond of political calculation. But if the Democrats aren’t willing to join this battle now that the time has come to begin fighting, then they will not win in 2020, or ever again.

There were politicians in England and France who, even after Hitler’s invasion of Poland, urged against a declaration of war against the dictator because Hitler had a massive military and England and France were too weak to beat him. In fact, that was the case, but the politicians who still urged appeasement are forgotten to history, because because while they were right in terms of the immediate situation, they were so horribly, horribly wrong on the bigger picture.

Dems who argue that impeachment must not happen because Republican will never support it need to realize that we’ve passed the Polish invasion point of the opposition to Trump, and that political headcounting no longer protects.

Republicans can also count heads, and some of them are cowards. They know, first hand, the political calculus of an impeachment, and how it can blow up in their faces. But they also know that this is a whole lot bigger than the man in the White House lying about getting a blow job. Trump is a felon hundreds of times over, and a serious and immediate threat to the continued existence of the United States. To not act is treason.

Even the redacted Mueller report makes it clear that we are at the point where we must impeach. We’re long past any reasonable excuse to let the Trump regime continue.

Yes, Pissmop: You are fucked.

Opening Day – A Light at the End of a Cave

January 25th 2019

Just the other day, I wrote, “First, he [Mitch McConnell] may have decided he could keep 40 Republicans in line, effectively filibustering the bill. Given that would be the same forty Republicans who voted for that very same bill five weeks earlier, only to have Trump double-cross them, dumping them into a nightmare of rising public fury, it’s unlikely that even the goose stepping discipline for which the Senate GOP is renowned could keep them all in line…Second: McConnell finally convinced Trump that the wall was nothing but a loser from the GOP standpoint.”

Turns out in the end that it was something of a combination of the two. He had the two votes, and while they didn’t actually do anything, they sent a clear message: Republicans in the Senate were far more interested in a “clean” (no wall) continuing resolution to open the portions of government closed by the idiotic impasse than they were in securing funds for the wall, or whatever it is Trump is calling it this week.

After the votes, reports leaked of mounting Republican fury and desperation in the Senate, shared by McConnell himself, who snapped at one cohort, “Do you think I’m enjoying this?”

Still, the Senate, the Republican half especially, is something of a kabuki. An experienced Senate Majority Leader isn’t going to permit a vote which shows large cracks in his caucus unless he wants someone to know those cracks exist.

Even the Idiot Trump had to know that six Republican Senators voting for a clean CR meant they were never going to vote for the wall.

Another such vote might result in a 66-34 vote. There’s an element of kabuki in Senate votes, and while 66 Senators would have voted for the CR, the final vote needed to make the vote veto-proof, which almost certainly would have to be cast by a Republican, would be hard to get.

However, public rage was mounting by the day. Republicans, blindly in love with their delusion that voters want them to eliminate government so they can have all that common wealth all to themselves, were quickly realizing that the voters had a different opinion on the matter. And while most of the public blame was correctly aimed at Trump, the Republican Senate was seen, at best, as his lackeys, and at worst as his co-criminals.

I think Americans have finally lost patience with the GOP tactic to using extortions such as government shut downs to get things they want but which lack the political and public support. That’s my hope. Time will tell.

But for now, all the poor bastards who missed meals and saw their credit scores plummet because of der Trumpenfuhrer’s little games are going to get their back pay, and the even poorer bastards who did contract work for the government are still fucked. Lots of damage done, and for utterly insane reasons, but at least it stopped getting worse.

Another reason for the Trump Cave came from Robert Mueller III. He grabbed his scoop and a plastic bag and got Roger Stone last night. Stone, one of the sleaziest and most vicious political operatives in the country, is believed to have had a central role in the three way tryst between Trump, Wikileaks, and Russia. And probably a whole lot more.

Trump’s tweet reaction was…less than lucid. It read, “Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN to be there?” Sounds like a Speak N’ Spell with rabies, doesn’t it?

I’m sure the mental image the tweet created, of an American President, naked, smeared in his own feces, screaming and ineffectually urinating in the direction of the CNN building, is a bit less than reassuring. But have no fear: Ann Coulter stepped in to reassure him and calm him down.

She tweeted, “Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.”

That’s right: She kicked a recently-dead guy to take a shot at a volatile moron over losing a no-win situation that she helped precipitate in the first place. History will remember you kinda, Annie.

She went on to say, “Obviously the gov’t shutdown hasn’t gone far enough if the corrupt & incompetent FBI still has funds for a Keystone Cops stunt like the pre-dawn raid on Roger Stone….Sure feel safer today, with the feds taking Roger Stone off the streets. No need for a border wall now. Nothing to fear from MS-13.”

Gotta say, Annie, I feel a lot safer with Roger Stone in jail. Truth be told, I think the average MS-13 member has higher moral and ethical standards than Stone—or you, for that matter.

But the upshoot of the Mueller action this morning shows that for Trump, the walls are closing in like a Star Wars trash compactor. (Ann as Princess Leia: shudder!)

The continuing resolution is good through Feb 12th, whereupon we find out if the Republicans and Trump want to play some more of their extortion games, or if they finally realized that particular tactic has passed it sell-by date, and the public is well and truly fed up with it.

Meanwhile, Trump will be able to give his SOTU speech, if perhaps a week or two late. I hope the Democrats don’t waste any time being polite to him. He does not deserve respect, or even polite courtesy.

Boo the lies, people! If they can do it in Parliament, they can do it here!

Barr None – He hit all the right notes, but…

January 15th, 2019

I watched the William Barr hearing this morning, and came away with mixed feelings. He hit all the right notes, vowing not to interfere with the Mueller investigation (but not swearing to recuse himself) and agreeing that the investigation was valid and important and needed to continue.

He agreed that a primary role of the DoJ was to prevent foreign interference in US elections, but undercut it by saying that Russia “appeared to interfere” in the 2016 election. That’s a bit like saying Boston appeared to have won the 2018 World Series. The equivocation is pointless, and leaves one with the unsettling feeling that Barr doesn’t really understand the nature of the investigations against Trump. At best, that’s what he doesn’t understand.

He also had a weird equivocation about the Emoluments Clause, appearing uncertain as to whether it could pertain to Trump. It reads, “And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” An emolument is “profit, salary, or fees from office or employment; compensation for services: Tips are an emolument in addition to wages.” OK, Trump is holding an office of trust, and is getting gifts and kickbacks from a variety of foreign states. Seems pretty straightforward. And it would be insane to pretend that presidents are above the law on conflicts of interest, bribery, self-dealing or misuse of office for profit. All of which Trump is demonstrably guilty of.

The Founders wanted a chief administrator, not a Divine Right King.

That a former Attorney General and lifelong Constitutional lawyer would profess uncertainty about this is troubling. At best, it’s disingenuous.

Barr also equivocated on whether he would allow Mueller to indict Trump. This, too, is troubling, since on a previous occasion he interfered with an investigation that would quite possibly have led to indictments of then-President George Bush and former President Ronald Reagan. As reported here:

Mr. Mueller indicated to Mr. Rivera and to me as well that they would prefer that our indictment — that we work aggressively on it as much as possible… I received a phone call a little bit before noon on August 22 from Denis Saylor who indicated to me that I was directed not to return the BCCI indictment. And I asked who was directing me not to return it, and he said Attorney General William Barr…” (US Atty Lehtinen)

As Robert Mueller III, the Assistant Attorney General at the Justice Department now in charge of the BCCI investigation, testified in October, 1991: BCCI was not an ordinary bank. It was set up deliberately to avoid centralized regulatory review, and operated extensively in bank secrecy jurisdictions. Its affairs are extraordinarily complex. Its offers were sophisticated international bankers whose apparent objective was to keep their affairs secret, to commit fraud on a massive scale, and to avoid detection” (“The BCCI Affair A Report to the Committee on Foreign RelationsUnited States Senate by Senator John Kerry and Senator Hank BrownDecember 1992“)

It’s important to remember that in 1991-2, Barr was a very partisan lawyer, one who helped Bush write a series of last-minute pardons that effectively destroyed the Iran-Contra investigation, something that threatened to throw some 80 members of the Reagan and Bush administrations, including Reagan himself, in jail.

And now he is in a position to potentially short-circuit Mueller again. Yes, this is cause for concern.

It didn’t help that he was mouthing administration talking points on the wall, immigration in general, and indicated a willingness to make marijuana illegal again.

Well, it’s not like Trump was going to appoint a liberal. It couldn’t have been easy, searching someone who combined plausible credentials with the type of selective moral, ethical and legal blindness needed to serve under Trump.

It may be that it doesn’t matter. Mueller is close to end game, and in any event, even if Barr decided to be a Bork and fire or impair Mueller, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee could simply subpoena Mueller’s records and go from there.

It’s possible I’m being unfair. Yes, Barr was a partisan ratbag in 1992 and contributed to the vast amount of damage the corrupt Reagan and Bush regimes did to the country by making their criminals exempt from the law.

But that was 26 years ago. People change, mature, develop some ethics. Sometimes. Perhaps Barr did, and perhaps he was sincere, if overly lawyerly in today’s testimony. Perhaps the equivocations were those of a man used to dotting eyes and crossing tees.

Perhaps. But Barr needs to know this going in: This isn’t the America of 1992. If he, and the GOP, try to evade justice and put themselves outside of legal reach though obstruction and misuse of the pardon, they won’t walk away. America will come after them.

They aren’t free to spit on the country the way they did in 1992. It’s a different world, and people have learned about the nihilism of the far right.

If Barr lied, he will end up in jail.

End Game – It’s us or him

December 21st 2018

Even by the vicious, arbitrary, capricious and sometimes insane standards of the Trump administration, the past 48 hours were beyond belief.

First, there was the Michael Flynn sentencing. Judge Emmett Sullivan was expected to give the seditious and disgraced General a slap on the wrist as a result of supposedly very valuable evidence provided to the special council’s office in relation to Trump and Russia. But Flynn, whose common sense is the equal of his sense of loyalty to his country, ran his mouth to the press, whining that the FBI fooled him into thinking it was OK to lie to them because he thought the 11 separate interviews they hauled him in for were just friendly chats. Koffee Klatches. They talked about the latest Vogue magazine, you know. Just more proof the FBI was evil. Sullivan’s patience snapped, and he let Flynn know just how big a pile of human shit he really is, delayed sentencing, and let it be known if he spread any more right wing bullshit, he would be treated as a near-traitor.

That happened just a day after California Congresswoman Jackie Spier penned an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle titled, “Did Putin Buy Donald Trump?” She didn’t actually use either the word “traitor” or “kompromat,” but the concepts were definitely intrinsic to her narrative.

So now even the mainstream press is starting to use the word “treason” in relation to Trump. It’s about time.

Trump made Spier’s case for her by suddenly and unilaterally announcing that all troops would be pulled out of Syria, a sudden action that betrayed the Kurds (again) and no doubt delighted Putin. Make no mistake: I’ve argued for pulling troops out of Syria right along, but I don’t for an instant believe that Trump went about it the way he did because he gave a shit about the troops, let alone the Syrians who are dying by the thousands. He did it because Putin wanted him to. And time is running out for him to do stuff like that.

This in turn caused Jim Mattis to quit in disgust. No flowery language about it being an honor and privilege to serve Trump; just a letter that boiled down to, “I can’t help you, get yourself a defense secretary who will do your bidding.” I used to joke about how it came to be that the only adult in the Trump administration, the sane thoughtful one, was known as “Mad Dog” but that Mad Dog might be one of the very few to leave that benighted administration with his reputation as an adult and an American still intact.

It is scary to contemplate Trump’s foreign policy now that his only remaining advisor is John Bolton.

Then Trump blew up the Continuing Resolution. This was a kick-the-can-down-the-road measure to keep the government running while the ludicrous impasse over the Wall continued. Nothing too unusual there: it’s been pretty much what passes for Republican governance since 1993. They love America but hate the United States, and don’t want to pay for anything other than a big military and an economy that consists mostly in the form of raping the workers. So they’ve been running government by extortion, whittling down any stake Americans might have in their own country.

Trump, apparently upset that such intellectual luminaries as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh no longer loved him, changed his mind after most of Congress had left for their indeterminable vacations, so the government will have a partial shutdown at least until January 10th. It will cost billions, and Trump should reflect on the fact that the Secret Service agents following him won’t be getting paychecks for Christmas.

Even the most stupid mob boss knows you gotta pay your muscle. But then, Trump is extraordinarily stupid.

The stock market is showing signs of a possible crash, having lost 4,000 points this past month. Investors are no longer confident we will survive Trump. That’s not a very comfortable thought.

Then there is the Whitaker thing. The swindler-turned-top-cop had a Department of Justice board of unknown parties say he was not required to recuse himself in the Mueller investigation, then they put out another statement an hour later saying he was supposed to recuse himself, and then an hour after that Whitaker said he was going to disregard the advice to recuse himself.

Kremlin watchers thought as of yesterday that Rosenstein was still overseeing the investigation, since Whitaker didn’t want to go to jail for obstruction, but was acting on the QT since if he did recuse himself, he would get the Jeff Sessions treatment. Now nobody knows that the hell is going on. In some ways, that’s the most terrifying development of all, since it smells like Trump is preparing to purge Mueller’s ass.

Finally, there was the Trump Foundation. A judge shut it down, effectively labeling it a criminal enterprise. I had to shake my head at the wonder of it all. Remember all those Republicans who prattled on endlessly about the Clinton Foundation because it took money (legally) from foreign concerns. For all the huffing, they couldn’t find any quid pro quo, unless you count the ridiculous conspiracy theory about the Canadian government selling uranium to Russia. (Would Trump hesitate to give Russia uranium if Putin asked him for it?). Are they apoplectic in rage over the open criminality of the Trump Foundation?

Hmm. Apparently not. Like cheating on wives or banging porn stars or blowing up the deficit or bombing kids in other countries, or screwing kids domestically, it’s only bad if Democrats are accused of it.

The people who worked directly for Trump aren’t the only ones who trashed their reputations; any Republican who whined endlessly about the Clinton/Obama “scandals” and is silent now can expect decades to pass before anyone wants to hear their thoughts on much of anything again.

Meanwhile, the country is now in deep crisis, and when Congress returns, it may have to put aside the budget and the wall and all that, and drive Trump from office.

It’s him or us.

The Filings – Grinding the crooks down

December 7th, 2018

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll just quote the fine recapitulation of Donald Trump’s adventures with the law provided by Sabrina Siddiqui, writing for the Guardian:

  • Cohen told investigators he made efforts to contact the Russian government to propose a meeting between Trump and Putin in 2015, after discussing this with Trump.
  • Prosecutors recommended Cohen receive a prison sentence of about four years.
  • The government for the first time implicated the president in Cohen’s campaign finance violations, saying the attorney “acted in coordination with and at the direction” of Trump.
  • Paul Manafort lied to the FBI and to the special counsel’s office, according to a separate filing by Mueller on Friday.
  • The former campaign chairman tried to conceal his contact with an “administration official” inside the White House as late as May 2018, the filing said.
  • Mueller wrote: “Manafort told multiple discernible lies – these were not instances of mere memory lapses.”
  • James Comey, former FBI director, testified before the House judiciary and oversight committees on Friday, and later criticized the process.
  • Trump tweeted attacks on Comey and also wrongly claimed the sentencing memo “clears the president”.
  • John Kelly, White House chief of staff, has been interviewed by Mueller’s team and is expected to quit, CNN reported.
  • George Papadopoulos, former aide to Trump’s campaign, was released from prison on Friday after serving 12 days for lying to the federal government about his contacts with the Russians.
  • Trump nominated William Barr as the next attorney general, selecting a man who served in the role under George HW Bush.

Well, that’s quite a bit to digest. Cohen committed felonies at the behest of “Individual-1”, aka, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. This means that the President has been officially accused of a felony, since the act of ordering someone to commit a felony on your behalf is, in itself, a felony.

Manafort lied to everyone about pretty much everything. We kinda knew that already, but you know, it doesn’t hurt to recap what a monumental pile of human shit Trump built his presidency upon.

Kelly’s going to quit. Too late to save his reputation, but at least he won’t be sharing a prison cell with Flynn. Granted, Flynn won’t do any jail time, but that just makes him a smarter lickspittle to Trump, not a better one.

Comey went to Congress to answer their questions. They wanted to know about…Hillary’s emails. No shit. I’m not kidding. They’re still rabbiting on about that. Even though it came to light that unsecured emails were common throughout the Trump campaign, and in the Trump administration. Trump doesn’t even use a secured cellphone because he’s too stupid to figure out how it works. The Republicans wonder why they are doing extinct. Despite what they believe, there’s only so much stupid out there.

Trump bragged that the filings today “clears the President” which reaches Baghdad Bob levels of bullshittery. Anyone remember Joe Isuzu? Yeah, that level of in your face lying. Thousands of people lined up on the web to remind Trump of who “Individual-1” actually is. Hint, Donnie: it’s not Hillary Clinton.

Whitaker was apparently just taking up oxygen. I would love to hear the story of how he wound up not systematically trying to destroy the Mueller investigation; I doubt very much that he or Trump had a change of heart and decided justice must take its course. So Trump is going to nominate William Barr, who is basking in the reflected glow of the newly-sainted George HW Bush, now suddenly a hero due to his ability to drop dead at the age of 94. Barr was Bush’s A-G. On the surface, it seems a wise choice: previous experience, and smells of the aroma of the closest thing to a respectable person the Republicans have remaining. Well, until he died, that is.

But here’s the thing you need to know about Barr: he was Attorney-General at the same time that Bush ordered all those pardons, the ones that wiped out nearly 200 felony charges and thousands of lessor charges from dozens of people working in the corrupt, morally bankrupt Reagan administration. In a sane society, Bush would have gone to prison for obstruction of justice, and Barr would have been in the next cell over as his accomplice. So if you think Trump wants a decent, respectable man in the position, stop it. Just stop it.

But here’s the most important thing: George Papadopoulos is FREE! Let the bells ring out, let the children cheer! It seem too good to be true, but he’s free! And one day he’ll show up at your neighborhood bar, drunk off his tits, and tell you the story of how he set Donnie up for a one-night stand with Vladimir Putin and got a nice fur coat in return. I bet you can’t wait.

And some people say there is no god…

“Fly, My Pretty!” – Mueller condemns Flynn with a benediction

December 3rd 2018

Tonight, there are probably dozens, even hundreds of small puddles of urine scattered around the West Wing, and Trump is curled up in a fetal ball under the Lincoln bed, whimpering and muttering inchoate imprecations, his fingers shaking too violently for him to tweet his rage and fear to the world. He has a large brown stain on the back of his pajamas, and he smells appalling.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, really.

Mueller came out with his sentencing recommendation for Michael Flynn. Flynn, of course, is the retired general who made money by fucking with Turkey, playing each side against the other, and negotiated illegally with the Russian government. He also hatemongered against Hillary Clinton, urging crowds to chant “Lock her up!” for supposed crimes that were already widespread in the Trump organization, specifically use of unsecured private servers for official email.

The guy is a dirtbag, and his actions come within shouting distance of treason. He’s a disgrace to the uniform he once wore, he’s a liar, and he’s a vicious opportunist. Clearly he was destined to rise to the highest ranks in the Trump organization.

So Mueller could have recommended decades in jail for General Dirtbag and nobody would have much cared other than the QAnon nuts and Flynn’s son, Junior, who is, if anything, an even bigger sleaze ball than Daddy, lacking only the power to inflict his douchebaggery on the world.

So when I heard that Mueller had recommended little or no jail time for this dirtbag, my initial reaction was “Say what?” Was Mueller going soft? Or did Trump get to him in some way?

Then I read the sentencing memo from Mueller’s office, and by the time I was done, I was just grinning from ear to ear. I still am.

Mueller was quite happy with General Dirtbag. General Dirtbag, it seemed, sang like a canary. Nineteen separate interviews from a guy who lived a happy, slimy existence neck-deep in the Trump Swamp. And it seem the interviews covered quite a bit of ground. There was a criminal investigation, mentioned but the nature of which, and the persons of interest were artfully redacted. There was the ties to Russia thing, again with interesting amounts redacted and which promised much more to come in ensuing reports. Mueller praised General Dirtbag for his “substantial assistance.” And there was topic 3, which was completely redacted. Completely: just a line for a header of some sort, and a five-line paragraph. Mueller apparently saved the best for last.

Keep in mind that Mueller doesn’t go easy on assholes who try to cut a plea and then whip around and try to shank Mueller. He’s been a prosecutor for a long, long time, and he sees opportunistic scum like Papadopoulous and Manafort coming a mile away, and eats them for breakfast.

So for Mueller to give General Dirtbag a pat the head and a soft murmur of “Fly! Fly, my pretty! Be free!” means he got all kinds of stuff on Trump and his gang of thieves and traitors, vetted the information very carefully, made sure it would stand up in court, and then, and only then, pulled the hook from General Dirtbag’s mouth.

I picture Sally Yates, one of Manafort’s first victims as National Security Sellout, roasting her toes in front of a warm fire in her living area, sipping an appropriate beverage, and smiling off into the middle distance.

General Dirtbag is finished in the eyes of the country. Normal Americans despise him for what he did, and the Trumpkins hate him because he got caught and then snitched. He may as well take his medals and pawn them—he won’t be wearing them to any Fourth of July parades, not in this lifetime.

Adam Schiff, the Democrat who will be replacing the contemptible Devin Nunes as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said of the sentencing memo, “The recommendation of no jail time for Flynn, apart from its obvious irony for the man who led chants of ‘lock her up,’ reflects both the timeliness and significance of his help. That most of the details are redacted signals he has given far more than we or the President may know.”

Of course, we’ve known for some time that Mueller knows more than Trump thinks he knows. The recent implosion of the Manafort plea bargain, and the earlier, casual revelation that Trump knew more about the inner workings of the Russian “fuck with America” troll farms than the Russians themselves did, showed that to the world. But Schiff didn’t see any harm in reminding Trump about this. After all, what are the odds that Trump will eventually start tweeting and sink himself deeper with reckless, self-destructive and insane responses?

I caught a clip of Rudy Giuliani, who does for lawyering what Tiny Tim did for the ukulele, fuming on Faux News that Mueller and his team were “sick puppies”. That’s our Rudy. Always projecting.

And we had been treated to a steady stream of assurances from Trumpkins on line that Mueller was actually investigating Hillary Clinton for collusion with Russia, and was about to drop a house on her. They seem to have vanished this evening.

Finally, a note to General Dirtbag: why don’t you round up that vile kid of yours and go get drunk, and stay that was for a few weeks? It isn’t like you’ve got anything better to do now.

The Plea Bag – Mueller outsmarts them all

November 27th 2018

Like everyone, I’m watching the spiral death dance of the Trump with a mixture of wonder and disgust.

We expected major developments from the Mueller probe this week, and we certainly have been getting those. They just aren’t the ones anyone expected.

What we’re getting is a whole lot more twistier and amusing.

Let’s start with Paul Manafort, once and future felon. Mueller’s office dropped the plea bargain arrangement they had up until yesterday, on the grounds that Manafort had been steadfastly and systematically lying to them.

Of course, there are dozens of theories about why Manafort would lie (nobody, as far as I know, has tried to suggest he wasn’t lying and Mueller is simply wrong). Perhaps Trump has been dangling a pardon, in itself obstruction of justice. Manafort may have been afraid of Trump, or some of Trump’s mob contacts, or perhaps Vladimir Putin. Or he may have just thought he could pull it off.

I can just picture Manafort meeting with one or two members of Mueller’s team. As Manafort talks, the Feds are enrapt, scribbling furiously or clacking their keyboards, even though everything is being videoed. Manafort will correctly assume this means they are taking his testimony very seriously, in a way a silent and unassuming camera eye cannot. It inflates Manafort’s sense of self-importance and self-worth.

Suddenly, the agent with the computer sighs and slaps the laptop shut. He sighs. “Damn thing crapped out again.” He looks at his partner. “Do you have yours handy?”

The partner shakes his head. “Died Wednesday. I was supposed to have one for this meeting. You know how important M thinks it is.”

The first agent turns to Manafort, a sad smile inviting sympathy. “You know how it is. You worked on the campaign. It’s the same here. People screaming at each other, in panic, nothing gets done.” He olds up his number 2 pencil. “Why if it wasn’t for this…”

Manafort nods sympathetically. He was the one sane man in the chaos of the Trump campaign.

Later, the agents make a friendly wager on how long it will take for their little “slip” to turn up in a Trump speech. Mueller runs a tight ship, but the White House leaks more than a geriatric ward, and so they know that Trump is trying to use Manafort as a mole into the Special Prosecutor’s activities.

And of course, it did start showing up in the speeches and trumpentweets. You have to wonder how many other false tidbits Mueller’s people fed to Manafort to confuse and divert the already confused and diverted Trump.

Then there’s the thing with Julian Assange. Mueller’s office filed a court document that accidentally named Assange as being under a sealed indictment. The document didn’t say what the charge(s) was, or when it was filed, and people thought it odd the normally legally meticulous Mueller legal team would make such an error.

But it apparently shook something loose. The Guardian reported yesterday that “Manafort visited Julian Assange three times at the Ecuadorian embassy, including once during the 2016 election.” That right there would send Steven Colbert’s right eyebrow clear up into his hairline. Then it broke that the Trump team had been conferring with Ecuador over their somewhat unwelcome sanctuary guest in their London embassy, meeting with them as recently as yesterday. The speculation is that they are begging Ecuador to NOT release Assange over to American authorities.

Gee, I remember being critical of Obama because he did want Assange turned over to American authorities. Strange times we live in, eh?

Manafort and the Trump people are vociferously denying the report, and given the general ethics and moral characters of those worthies, I can’t help but conclude that it means the report is true. Terribly unfair of me, I know, but when the ball keeps landing in double zero, it’s pretty stupid to bet against the house.

When Mueller asked for a ten day extension on the plea bargain arrangement with Manafort, everyone assumed he just wanted more time to draft his next round of major charges, and was just doing due diligence. We now know that can’t be the case, because we’ve learned that Mueller had proof Manafort was lying, and he knew what Manafort was lying about and when. And because he had to know Manafort was feeding information back to the Trump people through some likely-to-get-disbarred-if-not-imprisoned lawyers, he was systematically convincing Manafort he was being believed, and he was probably feeding disinformation for Manafort to send back to his homies.

So why the ten-day extension? The plea bargain deal was already dead. Why extend it to yesterday?

That’s the deadline for Trump to turn in his written answers to Mueller’s questions about cooperation between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

He turned them in with help from his lawyers who, through Manafort, believed they had a handle on what Mueller did and did not know, and thus had an idea what lies Trump could tell that would be safe.

This right here is a major disaster for Trump, but he really sealed his fate hours after he turned his under-oath answers to Mueller, publicly boasting that his lawyers did not write the responses, but that he did them himself. Every word.

The sad thing (OK, the hilariously sad thing) is that Trump is probably bullshitting and in reality probably just signed off on answers his lawyers wrote and probably had at best a dim understanding of their contents.

But his public boast stripped him of his one and only fig leaf, and the cold blasts of the perjury indictments are coming.

Somewhere in Mueller’s spartan offices, a couple of junior lawyers are holding up a number two pencil, and laughing their asses off. And they may have just helped save the country.


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