In the Foreseeable future

Before this blog ends up on some snotty little right-wingish “fake news” list*, which will then be quoted like scripture by the terminally lazy who will not even bother to use Google or their own common sense, I thought I’d once again clarify the following:
this blog has never been a news source.  it is an opinion blog only.

I’d also like to add that in the foreseeable future, the purpose of this blog will be altered slightly.  I will attempt to pull together all the accurate information I can on the Trump-Russia scandal, and put it here, all in one convenient place.  Reason?  It’s because there is so much coming at all of us every day during this scandal that it’s almost impossible to keep track of it if you are also trying to live your life.  Since I have no life at present, I’ll try to do that for you.

That said, I can’t guarantee anything except that I will try to keep my sources above-board, and also I can’t claim that I can make sense of all of this story without a security clearance (which I certainly do not have, and not having any relatives in the Trump family, probably cannot get).  I am also not a journalist.

Please keep all this in mind while you are reading.  I hope to be of some help to you in sorting all of this out, that’s all.  Peace.  And resist.

*It was noted, right after “fake news” became an issue the day after the election, that many, many lists of “fake news sites” suddenly popped up all over the Internet, and most of the “fake news sites” seen on a majority of those lists seemed to be left- or center-leaning news sites and blogs.  The reason turned out to be that many (not all) of those lists were compiled by right wingers who had swallowed too much Russian-style Breitbartish kool-aid.

Fried Reality

Do you want Kool-aid with that?

Woke up unusually early this morning, slouched over to the computer, brought up Twitter…and what the hell did I find?  Louise Mensch, sometime during the night, had posted to her Patribotics blog something to the effect that the death penalty was being considered for Steve Bannon.

That should have come with a full-scale, five-alarm splarf alert.  Alas it did not, and my coffee ended up all over my computer screen.

To most people I need not explain that loathsome as he is, Bannon has not been charged with anything and no one even knows for sure if he’s being investigated, or what for if he is.  That is to say innocent until proven guilty.  That’s the way the system works.  To say he’s getting the death penalty (again, what for?) is the cyber equivalent of road rage.

All of which means that this is yet more nonsense coming from the Pied Piper of the left (actually she’s a neocon).

I have to credit the denizens of Twitter, however.  There was some chuckling, some outrage, and some shrugging for about an hour…and then they went on with their petty feuds, pontificating, and general puffery as if nothing happened.  That is to say that the death-penalty incident did nothing but make Mensch look worse than she’s already looking to a lot of people — and at this point, it’s no longer a big deal.

There has been far more discussion of Trump’s incoherent New York Times interview, and that’s as it should be.  Here we have an isolated, unhinged individual who is sick with jealousy of his predecessor, so much so that he has not bothered to study the issue of health insurance — Obama’s crowning achievement — at all (he thinks it costs $12.00 a year), and has only convinced himself that the ACA (Obamacare’s real name) is “bad.”  No definition of “bad,” just “bad.”  And so it has to go.  And if Congress won’t do it, he’ll destroy it himself.  And to the 32,000,000 people such an action would deprive of healthcare, fuck off.

He also thinks the Attorney General is his private attorney who should have told Trump before he was confirmed that he was going to recuse himself (WTF), and so forth and so on.  And it does go on and on, making less and less sense every day.  To put it bluntly, he has no fucking idea what he’s doing.

But he doesn’t really care, because the only reason he got into the Presidency to begin with was to grift.  And that he’s doing quite well, along with his family.  It begs the question, “if we can’t afford the ACA how can we afford the Trump family?”  It’s getting almost that bad.

The closer we get to the grift being revealed publicly, the more angry, agitated and acid Trump becomes — and so yesterday he insulted his Attorney General so badly that the pundits couldn’t see how Sessions could stay in the job.  Of course Sessions, who probably views Trump as his protector to some degree, announced today that he’s staying.

As long as these people are making money off the situation, and feeling somewhat protected by the Oval Office, they will stay no matter what Trump does to them.**

And then Trump was staggeringly dumb enough to accidentally reveal that Special Counsel Mueller was probably investigating the Trump family finances.  He did that by cautioning Mueller not to investigate that issue.  Today Mueller’s team announced that they are, in fact, doing that, which tells me they have been all along (Trump’s finances and those of his administration are entwined, after all; remember — Trump is a grifter and his administration a massive scam).

Someone on Twitter stated that we are not up against Russia alone, we are up against an extra-national crime organization funded by oligarchs who are looking to rob the rest of us blind and enslave us.  Yes.  Yes.  And Yes.  This whole business with Trump is nothing but a giant scam; a front.  It’s advanced money laundering, if you will.

And that brings us back to the Queen of Conspiracy, Mensch.  Some say she’s a plant.  Judging from her own words, I cannot imagine why anyone center or left would support her; she has made no secret of her neocon origins and leanings.  In fact she may be indirectly and/or unwittingly working for Trump; in a way, everyone on the far right is doing that, just as it appears independents and hard-left wingers got scammed by Jill Stein and perhaps Bernie Sanders (who may or may not have been scammed himself — more on that later).

Whatever the truth is, however, my hat’s off to Twitter for pretty much passing this Mensch nonsense by this morning and quickly moving on to the important stuff — Trump’s nonsense.  That is ultimately what will affect us all.

** another perspective entirely is that Sessions may be staying to stop Trump from firing Mueller.  Problem with that is that Sessions supposedly recused himself from the Russia investigation, so he can’t protect Mueller.  That job falls to Rosenstein.

 

How to spot fake tweets

By “fake” I mean “nonfactual” tweets.

The idea for this article came yesterday, when a lengthy tweet thread was posted by someone on Twitter who has long claimed to be
(1) some sort of religious consultant in the White House
(2) a victim of death and other threats, mostly coming from Steve Bannon but also coming from minions of Bannon who have recently been arrested (?? I haven’t heard of any arrests, have you?)
(3) a distant relative of Trump
(4) a cancer patient.

I’m neither here nor there on who this person claims to be, but I do have issues when they tweet stuff like this:

(1) Donald Jr. and Eric turned on their father last October
(2) Donald Jr. released his incriminating emails intentionally to bring his father down
(3) Ivanka is her father’s partner in crime and also “his lover,”
(4) a Rothschild is actually the reason for Putin and Trump being in power.

Okay, folks…now I get off the train.  Any time you mention “Rothschild” you lose me.  It’s been a hallmark of right and left-wing cranks for years: when all else fails, blame the Rothschilds.  I’m not saying they’re innocent, I just don’t know who the hell they are.  And unless one steps on my toe in an elevator, I don’t give a shit.  Power is, after all, given — not taken.  Trump is finding this out in real time, right in front of us, for all to see.

Ivanka’s relationship with her father is none of our business.  Nepotism is very much our business, but it is not the same thing as incest or whatever the hell the charges are.

As for Beavis and Butthead (Eric and Donald Jr.), there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that they have turned on their father, nor that they are bright enough to carry out any sort of plot.  No, the truth appears to be just this: Donald Jr. released the emails because he simply isn’t smart enough to realize that what they reveal is not only illegal, but possibly treasonous.  If it turns out otherwise, I’ll be the most shocked individual in the cosmos, and Donald Jr. will deserve a goddamn acting award for his performance as the village idiot.

All this brings me to the point: beware of what you read on Twitter.  If the writer claims membership in any sort of “club” (you know, names that sound like Anti-Trump Team A or the Elite Force or other juvenile crap like that), speaks in jargon (whether real or invented), claims military status that others have questioned, does little on Twitter but talk about how bad other twitterers are, doxxes people, invents sensational rumors (see above) especially while claiming dubious status…they probably need professional help.  And you aren’t the one to help them.

Neither believe what they say, nor pay much attention to it.  Instead, pay attention to people widely known to have expertise in their fields (Preet Bahara comes to mind).  You will get a glimpse of the truth from these people.  You will not get it from someone claiming to be hiding out from antagonists in the White House, or claiming to know a lot of unnamed sources in the IC, or God knows what else.  All you’ll be doing is wasting your time with these people.  Tune out.

 

A few things I wish we’d get straight

I just saw another of those headlines: “Here’s why Hillary Clinton didn’t win the election!”  I’ve seen numerous articles on this subject, most slamming Clinton for running a bad campaign, or the Democrats for being out of touch, etc.

It’s bullshit, people.  Stop it.  Fact is, Clinton won big and would have won bigger if there hadn’t been so much tampering going on.

Also, it’s clear that the Trump campaign colluded (not a legal term, btw) with the Russians to get Trump elected (we’ve spent the past 3 days yammering about Donald Trump Jr., haven’t we?  and how about all the bombshells before that?), and some of this collusion involved the creation and promotion of fake news, as Trump loves to call it — although in his eternal projection state, he confuses “fake news” with legit news.  We’re talking about genuine fake news here — the right-wing kind.

In fact, it’s being surmised that the Russians would not have known where to target their fake news campaign without the help of the Trump campaign.  It’s easy to see proof of this: just observe Putin, who is obviously clueless on the subjects of U.S. government and society.

Yes, this collusion is illegal, immoral, treasonous, and from the looks of Trump, fattening.  BUT THE FACT REMAINS THAT HILLARY CLINTON WON THE FUCKING ELECTION.

Since the general election there have been several local/Congressional elections in which the Republicans apparently used their election-eating machine to retain seats that they otherwise would have lost.  Yet I am still seeing articles about the Democrats being out of touch, rather than articles examining just how it is that unpopular/unsuitable/unqualified/downright grotesque Republican candidates keep winning elections — never by a landslide — that they were projected to lose.  And why, why are there always stories about weird shit happening at the polls at those elections?

So that’s it.  I want to know why are we not dealing with two basic problems that led us into this debacle: a corrupt and useless Electoral College, and a vast Republican voting fraud/intimidation/disenfranchisement machine which far outstrips anything put together in decades past by Chicago’s first Mayor Daley (who did, via vote fraud, help get Kennedy elected; otherwise Watergate would have happened a decade earlier).

And I want to see some investigative journalism done about this.  Now.

Conduct Unbecoming

It’s a low moment when one realizes that the term “conduct unbecoming” technically does not apply to the president of the United States.  But there it is: it does not.

Currently the qualifications for the office are lower than those for local school-board members, I believe.  This accounts for much of the GOP field in the last two elections.  Many were nothing more than vanity candidates.

What concerns me is that the most obvious vanity candidate of them all was able to steal the office.  (NO, HE WAS NOT ELECTED.)  Now securely there, he is being held to no particular standards of conduct and execution of duties, simply because there aren’t any.

Things have come to a new low point now; this morning he was revealed on national television to have blackmailed two popular talk-show hosts.  Don’t get excited; nothing will happen to him.  Remember what I wrote in the previous post.

However, this came directly on the heels of yesterday’s revelation that…let’s see if I can get this straight…a Republican operative contacted Russian hackers for Clinton’s emails, somehow for or through Flynn.  This is huge, folks.  This indicates collusion.  The only choking point is determining Flynn’s exact role in the scheme.  Someone might also like to take a look at just how it was that the Republican operative in question died just days after revealing this story.  Yes, he was 81 years old, but still — that’s a big coincidence.

Meantime, remember Carter Page?  It’s been revealed that he spent much of April — roughly the last time we heard anything about him — talking to the FBI without a lawyer, which indicates that either he’s stupid (but we already guessed that), or he has flipped.  This revelation seemed to make various satellites in the Trump orbit rather shaky.  One of them suddenly did what he’d been resisting doing: he registered retroactively as a foreign agent.

Left wing Pied Piper and right-wing operative Louise Mensch suddenly withdrew from Twitter this morning, claiming Trump is done (he is not) and because of that her work is done for the time being.  Those who have been following her for a long time claim that she has done this before.  I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that Mensch has been under pressure from various Twitterers for a few months now, one of them being Seth Abramson, about whom I still have serious questions — although I’d believe him before Mensch any day.  Another person she’s been tussling with is the highly credible Preet Bahara, with whom Mensch presumed to argue the legal point of whether a sealed indictment against a sitting president is possible.  I’d say she lost; at least, nothing has happened to prove her right and the attorney Bahara wrong.

It’s gotten particularly intense recently, with claims that she’s been doxxing people (doxxing basically means making private information very public; it’s not always illegal but it is always unethical).  Certainly she seems to spend more time lately issuing denials and threats of legal action than she does inventing conspiracy theories and making wild claims.  Her announced disappearance this morning comes just after the very latest charges of doxxing; there seems to be a new victim coming forward every few days.

So it seems stuff is going down, folks, in various arenas.  Unfortunately Trump is not one of the things tumbling down, and that brings me back to the point.

As I said, you probably need more qualifications to run for the local school board than you do for president, and once you obtain the office of president, you are under no particular obligation to your oath or to anything else (definitely not true of school-board members).  Trump has taken and is taking full advantage of that.

Because of that, I’m writing to my senators to ask them what they think of raising the standards for those who run for the office of president.  I know it’s the last thing we have to worry about right now, but think about it — it’s part of what got us here.  It’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

Because I can’t say it any better than this

The Rude Pundit

The level of disgust I feel right now, not only for Trump but for his cabinet, the GOP in general, and all devotees…well, I cannot express it any better than The Rude Pundit.

But I can say this: there’s a lot of speculation that Trump tweeted this shit on purpose, to distract from a bunch of GOP nonsense going on in the background (think the healthkill bill, which has died another temporary death, and/or some of the shit going on overseas).

The fact is, Trump is incapable of doing anything on purpose.  He operates on 100% pure reaction; he’s a combination of a toddler and a parrot and no more.  It’s clear that he’s not even acting as chief executive at this point; speculation gives that title to everyone from Kushner to Bannon to Mattis, to…on the far end of reality…Hatch (Pence is nowhere in the equation).  Whoever it is, they are working outside the Constitution and in spite of it.  We have, after all, the 25th Amendment, but for some reason that’s being ignored.  And here’s the reason: they’ve installed a pretend president (“I’m not a president but I play one on TV!”) so that they can get away with shit while he distracts everyone with his bottomless vapidity, immaturity, and general unfitness for the job.

I repeat: It doesn’t suit their needs or aims to get rid of him.  And so they won’t.

And so we are destined to keep having to put up with this massive charade that is ruining our reputation abroad and our stability at home.  It is said that Putin is through with Trump and is waiting for an opportunity to destroy him (I don’t believe it).  Trump, on the other hand, has convinced the Cabinet that it’s a good idea for him to meet with Putin.

If that doesn’t show you his true function, nothing will.  A smart man would stay a planet away from the toxic Putin if he could, but Trump doesn’t care how it looks.  To him it’s just business as usual; this whole president thing was nothing but a grifting scheme to start with.  He wants what he wants and he takes it.  That’s his entire grasp of the job right there: he’s got all the toys and a little shiny crown and he’s not sharing any of it; nyah, nyah, nyah.

He has a solid wall of protection while he refuses to do his job and tweets like an imbecile, fleeces his followers for “campaign funds” and meets with the asshole who underwrote all this, as if that were normal.  The GOP doesn’t care that somebody else is actually running the country — or rather, attempting to destroy it.  Why are they attempting to destroy it?  Remember the old slogan “carve up the Chinese melon?”  Yeah, that.

Trump is just there for show.  Whether or not he realizes this is another story; I don’t think he does; I think he is allowed follies like tweeting and incoherent speeches just to keep him thinking he has actual power.

The only thing that’s completely clear is that the rest of us have been thrown to the wolves.  At this point I have no idea who or what will save us.

Read the Health-kill Bill (this is not normal)

Here it is in all its secretive glory, written by a handful of white men in a locked room:

Republican Heathkill Bill

And oh, you may be hearing a lot about Trump not actually being able to produce tapes of his conversations with Comey.  This is because there are none — or at least, if there were, they were deleted long ago.

Trump’s threat of “tapes” was just that — a threat, a distraction.  He’s a schoolyard bully who never grew up; he just doesn’t grasp that as president, people take what he says seriously and demand proof.  And if the proof isn’t there, Trump can’t get it through his head that he could be in far more serious trouble than merely a trip to the principal’s office; witness tampering/intimidation is a BIG deal and obstruction of justice is even bigger.  When you’re the president, people have notoriously long memories about what you have said and they tend to want to make you live with it.  It is not enough to tweet “never mind,” as Trump did today.  To put it simply, if he were Hillary Clinton, he’d be impeached and in leg irons right now.  But he’s Trump, so he is held to a much lower standard.

Meantime the White House just held a blacked-out press briefing, or whatever it was (I wonder if they brought any shrubbery into the room?).  And Jared Kushner is in Israel, talking to someone about something, and refusing to be photographed (is he Amish now?).  This puts me in mind of the rumors that Rex Tillerson won’t make eye contact with anyone and won’t let anyone sit in a room with him, or something like that.  Or that Pence has issues with the presence of women that are severe enough to suggest he may be more comfortable working in certain portions of the Middle East.

As the saying goes, folks, This.Is.Not.Normal.  These people are seriously weird, and they are, as the late Alan Rickman’s Snape enunciated so carefully, Up.To.Something.

If I can find it, I have an article somewhere from a few years back, about the inner workings of the Bolshoi Ballet.  It will shock you how similar it is to so much that is going on in the U.S. government now.  This is what the Russian government looks like when it’s transplanted in the U.S., folks (yes, the Bolshoi and the Russian government are interconnected).  Not very pretty.  Let’s not only hope it dies, but work to kill it.

P.S. Mensch chimed in and claimed that Comey’s telephone was some sort of super-duper auto-recorder, like a black box in an airplane, and that COMEY has tapes and so does Trump.  Right.  Then why did Comey write memos, dear?  Enough with the distractions, it’s getting old and in this case in particular, you’re adding nothing to the conversation.  And oh yeah…you lost me at Cheney.

Ignore that leak behind the curtain

Twitter seems to have gotten ahead of itself today.  Everyone’s acting like something big has happened, but they are talking only about the aftermath and not mentioning what actually happened.  I’m guessing this is because nothing much has happened.

Yes, Rosenstein is probably going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation (probably to avoid a run-in with Trump when Trump orders the DOJ to fire Mueller?), and it’s said he’ll be replaced by someone who was actively supporting the deplorable Ted Cruz during the presidential campaign.  Whether this means she is Russia-free or not remains to be seen.  But is that the big event they’re all aftermath-tweeting about?  Doesn’t seem like it.

UPDATE: Seth Abramson just tweeted that Trump had tweeted an implicit threat to fire Rosenstein, and that this is felony witness tampering.  But Abramson also tweeted that no one but himself picked up on this, which leaves us back at square one.  (BTW, I have Trump blocked so I saw none of this.)

Since no one but Abramson picked up on this, we’re still wondering why Twitter is all excited, so…

The White House staff is reportedly lawyering up, and it’s been confirmed that even Trump’s lawyer has hired a lawyer for himself.   Is this starting to sound like a skit from Monty Python yet?  Yes, but it’s not big news.  The White House staff has sounded like a  skit from Monty Python since well before they were actually in the White House.

Steve Bannon is now said to be under investigation for obstruction of justice, as he’s been physically threatening White House staffers (??? how is this connected?).  Bannon can never be counted on to keep it classy, so no, this is not big news.  (Interesting tweet on this subject that has nothing to do with obstruction of justice, but a lot to do with plain old thuggery: Bannon physically threatening people)

One person called Trump “mobbed up” in a comment.  This dovetails with what someone else posted yesterday (or the day before), something to the effect that if Trump’s mob connections had been revealed before the election, perhaps we would not be in the crisis we’re in.  True.  But still…old news.

Someone else tweeted jokingly that Pence is writing a draft of his first speech as president, although Pence seems destined to get no nearer the big chair in the oval office than he is right now.  Too many lies have spewed from his mouth, you see, and sometimes lies have consequences even if you claim to be all Christian and stuff.

So what’s going on?  I still don’t know, but the current excitement seems to have started late yesterday when the DOJ sent out a mysterious statement advising that U.S. citizens not believe any reports sourced to foreigners or unnamed foreigners.  Or something like that.  Um…okay.

Twitter erupted instantly, setting off an avalanche of jokes, but there were also many guesses as to what the cryptic statement meant.  Some guessed that Pence (see above) had leaked false information to WaPo, and this was the DOJ’s attempt to counteract it.  But WaPo is not foreign and neither, at last check, is Pence.

Lots of other guesses focused on the possibility that a foreign government has a “pee pee tape” and is about to…ahem…leak it.  That seems more likely.  But it’s now more than 12 hours since that weird communication from the DOJ, and nothing has happened.

Certainly Trump seems even more discombobulated than usual; apparently he spent the entire night tweeting (see Seth Abramson paragraph above).  In response to what Trump had tweeted, the often-hilarious pundit Tea Pain posted this:

Only believe Putin

Nice summary.  But I still don’t know why this is such a “fun Friday,” as one person called it.  No one has been arrested yet but a few dozen New York mobsters, and while Trump definitely has mob connections, no one has said anything about those arrests being associated with him.

Now when the arrests of Trump staffers and other politicians start, that will be fun.