The department of scaredy-cat

I am writing this in the midst of a Trump Tweetstorm.  I don’t follow Trump on Twitter, but everyone’s saying that he’s trying to deflect attention from Russiagate by claiming that Hillary Clinton, (of COURSE) had her own Russia thing.  Why he isn’t also demanding an investigation of Nixon on the China story is anyone’s guess.

He did get away with this once before, almost.  That was the time he claimed Obama had personally “wiretapped” him.  And yes, his lapdogs in Congress jumped at that and wasted a lot of hearing time asking questions about it.   You know, because it’s not about the actual story, it’s about who leaked it.

That, however, was then.  This is now, after Rep. Nunes disgraced himself by running to the White House for instructions on what to say, then said it, then admitted it, then denied it.  He’s now facing this:
Complaint

And that ain’t all.  The media are after him; his fellow Congressmen/women are after him.  It doesn’t sound like it’s just going to go away.

Nunes has lost his credibility.  Whether or not he recuses himself from the investigation is no matter.  The work of his committee is now lost because of him.  Rep. Schiff or no Rep. Schiff, it’s gone.  That may be no big deal, though, because the Republicans on that committee were more fascinated with who leaked the stories about Trump than the actual stories about Trump.  It’s kind of like casually watching your house burn down, and then your one of your neighbors calls the fire department, and then when the house is in ruins you try to find out which neighbor had the nerve to call the fire department.

Of course that’s only one lapdog down; there are many more in Congress.  It’s just that Nunes was a big one.  Plus, the always-obtuse Paul Ryan expressed his support of Nunes today.  Ryan…you know, the guy who the White House just tried to throw under the bus when the Republican anti-healthcare bill died.  Ryan, the guy everyone hates.  I guess because both he and Nunes are said to be at least peripherally involved in Russiagate, Ryan’s thought is that if he stays quiet about Nunes, the nervous, hiccuping Nunes won’t burp up any secrets about him.

That’s the problem: when the Trump administration finally falls, it’s set to take several ranking members of Congress and possibly the entire Republican party with it.  So who among them is really going to investigate anything?

This brings me to another, slightly unrelated point.  Keep in mind always that just about everyone in the Trump administration has been implicated in Russiagate.  This includes Mike Pence.  If Pence manages to weasel his way into the Oval Office, his stay there won’t be comfortable and he’ll spend whatever time is left to him in office fighting off scandal rather than passing every anti-gay bill he can possibly lay his hands on.  The guy’s a walking scandal-bomb.  He’s certainly no better than Trump, but the point is, he’s no worse.

Also keep in mind what I said earlier: many Republican Congressional members are also possibly involved.  This includes number 2 in the line of succession to the president’s seat once Trump is gone.  That, my friends, is Paul Ryan.

I bring this up because even now I keep hearing and reading whiny articles and posts and comments saying, “if Trump is gone we get Pence, and he’s worse!”  And then when you rule Pence out, they jump to, “but then we get Ryan!”

Uh…people…do you really want to keep Trump for four years because you’re afraid of Pence and Ryan?  That’s assinine.

Even if Trump is deposed somehow (and I don’t believe it will be via impeachment, but I’m still having a hard time believing he will resign, so I don’t know how this will happen), and Pence takes the office, remember that Pence is compromised.  If Pence is removed, the chance of the embattled Ryan still being there to take his place looks like a shaky premise right now.  After all, the Trump administration is trying very, very hard to throw him under the bus and even had the gall to demand he resign as Speaker of the House.  Also, he’s implicated in the Russiagate thing.

But what if he becomes President?  This: nothing.  He’s about as popular as anthrax, even among his own party, and is ineffective to boot.  The only guarantee with Ryan as president is a landslide for the Democrats in the Congressional elections of 2018.  And after that he’ll be paralyzed and unable to do anything, not that he does much anyway.

All that said, let’s get back back to Trump’s Tweetstorm going on tonight.  It’s earlier than usual (it’s only halfway through the evening as I write), and on a Monday (somehow I tend to believe that most of his Tweetstorms happen later in the week).  What’s this about?  Nunes canceled the House Intelligence Committee’s meeting, which was supposed to have been this afternoon.  Can’t be that.  Might be the Senate Intelligence Committee’s meeting on Thursday.  That could mean a long week of Tweetstorms ahead.

It also could mean some major shit is going to hit the fan before Thursday, and Trump knows about it and is nervously trying to deflect.  Never mind that one of his lapdogs has been disgraced, and he’s publicly shamed Ryan, so that’s two down among his sworn secret-keepers.  He probably hasn’t factored that in, anyway; he’s too dumb.  And you’d think it would occur to him at some point that the reaction of an innocent man would be to swear to get to the bottom of this supposed hoax (Russiagate), rather than Tweet like mad to try to deflect interest elsewhere, but no…again, he’s too dumb.

No, something caused this Tweetstorm that hit too close to the truth for him to stay quiet.  I can’t wait to find out what it is.

The Fake News Wars

I’m in a lot of anti-Trump Facebook groups.  A lot of them.  And something I’ve noticed recently is people who, without bothering to research, shout “fake news!” when someone posts a news or opinion article to one of those groups.

It’s been happening quite a bit lately.  I even had it happen when I posted an article from a House member’s Capitol Hill site, and the guy who made the accusation would not back down.  Not only that, he used the juvenile and snarky, “I’m sorry, but this is fake,” which with me is like waving a red flag in front of the proverbial bull.

Luckily for him the group moderator stepped in and backed me up (otherwise it would have ended badly) and someone else took the liberty of saying the “fake news” claimer was “FOS.”  Sorry, but that’s true.

The point is, don’t claim “fake news” without doing your own research first.  It doesn’t make you look smart, discerning, or well-informed.  And don’t confuse news sites with opinion sites, hard as that may be in the era or MSNBC and Fox News.

While right-wing groups thrive on fake news and exist only because of it, among middle and left-leaning groups, posting fake news has become something of a minor felony.  It’s a very serious charge. Someone tried to soothe my ruffled feathers by saying that shouting “fake news” has become a game for some just to get a reaction, but to me that’s like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater (which is illegal).

Plus it’s bullying, not discourse.

Anyway with that in mind, I’d like to post a short list of often-cited “news” sites that do post fake news, or at least misleading and inflammatory headlines.  The first three are my additions to the list provided by Wikipedia, and then there’s a link to the Wikipedia article.

learn progress
realtimepolitics
bipartisanreport
Wikipedia list of fake news sites
Another thing that you may want to watch out for is any news article posted by someone with an unlikely-sounding name (you know, like “Mortimer Guessalov” or “”Fatima McHenry,” or something like that), and if on Facebook, if their profile is filled with nothing but stock photos.  You might also look at the URL of the “news” they are offering to see if the URL reads something like, “mybackyardpool.com.”  It’s almost a dead giveaway that both the article and the “person” who posted it are fake, and if you click on that site, someone may be gathering info on you.

Also, these bots/trolls often post articles with inflammatory headlines, from never-before-heard-of sites, without commenting…or with a brief pro-Trump comment or something else equally weird if you’re in an anti-Trump group.

In addition, watch out for any article that has a headline written in all caps or that includes exclamation points.  If you click on a tantalizing headline and find out that the article underneath has little or nothing to do with it, that’s another red flag.  Realtimepolitics and bipartisanreport are often guilty of that, and especially for bipartisanreport, which actually does contain good info once in a while, it cuts into their credibility.  (I have never seen anything worthwhile on realtimepolitics.)  Learn Progress often kills its own credibility by starting their headlines with “BREAKING,” which is another dead giveaway that it’s a click-bait site, and following up with articles devoid of substance.

Before anyone snarks that this blog is itself “fake news,” please read the disclaimer page at the top of the screen (“How this blog got here, and a word to the wise”).  I’ve never claimed this is a news site.  What’s written here is just my understanding of what’s going on.  If I may pat myself on the back, I sometimes latch on to minutia just a bit before it becomes national news.  But no, I do not have my own private sources, nor do I seek them out.  My sources are like yours: national news, and some opinion blogs.

That said, the role of this blog in the foreseeable future will be to become a sort of one-stop shop for those overwhelmed by Russiagate news and related matters.  I’ll try my damnedest to pull it all together for you into a coherent story.  But I’m not guaranteeing anything, because this story is anything but coherent.

A little ah-HAH moment

I’m guessing this is why the Trump administration just planted a story in the National Enquirer blaming Flynn for all that pesky Russia stuff:

Palmer Report

Gaslighting

Excellent article here for those of us faced with loved ones and friends who appear to be living in an alternate universe (especially if they’re lost in Trumpland): Gaslighting

Nothing much to add to this except that I’m currently wondering if we are all being gaslighted over the huge, really huge outrage regarding Trump’s “hot mike” remarks about sexually assaulting women.

Not that the remarks weren’t awful, but where was the gargantuan outrage when…oh, where do I start?  At the moment Trump went up the down escalator?  He said something about Mexicans being rapists, etc., that day.  Yes, he did.  A lot of his supporters are saying he was misquoted or it was taken out of context, which has become their go-to excuse every time Trump says something that people get upset about (lately there’s a new wrinkle: they just claim he never said any such thing at all even though he did so live on TV — gaslighting at its finest!).  Or else they whine something about “political correctness” oppressing them — and then, when  Trump threatens to sue someone who offended him, and/or his followers threaten violence toward anyone who is offended by Trump, it leaves us in the strange situation that Trump and his minions can say whatever they want, but the rest of us can’t.  It’s the new political correctness, I guess, Trump-style.  Welcome the bold new world, where everything is upside-down.

Back to the subject, darlings, I heard that escalator speech.  That’s what he said:  “Mexicans are rapists…”  In spite of the continued attempts at editing the collective memory of that event, the fact remains that that’s what he said.  No gaslighting allowed.

There was outrage at the remark, but it certainly didn’t stop his campaign.  Since then there has been a new outrage almost every week, sometimes every day.  So what’s different about this one?  Why is this any worse than the other 300 or so outrages?

What I really can’t get through my head is the Republican gasps at his misogynous comments.  They’re upset about something he said about womenReally?

(At this point I really must interject with Mitt Romney’s tone-deaf remark, “these are our wives, our daughters..”  Fine if you’re talking to an audience of all men, or of women like the late Phyllis Shufly or whatever her name was, and all men; stupid if you’re talking on the subject of women to everybody, because everybody includes women, who make up more than half the population.  Dummy, go back and read your binders of women or something.)

The party’s entire platform places women in danger in various ways, and Republican lawmakers across the nation continue to find new and improved ways of raising the danger level.  That’s an established fact.  So if they are going to play the outrage card to the hilt this time, over some misogynous remarks Trump made 10 years ago, (and has attempted to excuse by claiming that he’d heard far worse from Bill Clinton during golf outings), there has to be an underlying reason that has nothing to do with women.

Some have guessed that the Koch brothers are attempting to get Trump out of the way before election day so they can have their boy Pence in the oval office.  Sounds plausible.  Or maybe someone in the GOP finally recognized the very real danger of Trump’s Russian entanglements (the news of which came and went in about a week, without any effect whatsoever) and decided this was a good an excuse as any to try to force him out of the race.

Whatever the cause of the outrage, you can bet it has nothing much to do with Trump’s attitude toward women.  Any claim to the contrary is just gaslighting, and I, for one, am getting damned sick and tired of it.

10/8/16 evening update:
it appears I’m on to something with my Pence guess: writing Pence’s name in

The Republicans are stuck with Trump; there’ll be no forcing him out over a (for the Republicans, fake) woman issue.  All they have left is the futile gesture of writing Pence’s name in.  Of course they would never consider voting for an actual woman as a viable alternative to Trump.  Never.  Which proves my point about Republican outrage over this particular issue.

So now I see the future clearly: he’ll just hang around and in a few days issue some fresh outrage, and all this woman bullshit will be forgotten — not just by him but by the rest of the Republicans.  And if anyone dares bring this up in the future…well, you know, he didn’t say that.

Clueless in New York

As if anyone needed any more proof that Donald Trump has no idea what he is talking about, there was last night’s debate — which also proved that we in the audience have no idea what he’s talking about.  What he presents is a blank slate on which his supporters chalk their fondest wishes, nothing more.

I’m sure he’s claiming he won the debate.  But he also said he lost it because his mike was defective.  Maybe the mike was adding sniffling noises to his gibberish, I don’t know.

As for those sniffling noises, Twitter is ablaze with arguments over whether the cause was illness, allergy, cocaine, or Adderall.  We will never know for sure, because we will never be sure of anything about Trump

All I know for sure is that he’s gotten as far as he has by regurgitating everything that was wrong during the Bush years as if Obama created those problems (he didn’t) and hasn’t corrected anything (he has).   And Trump’s true believers lap up this nonsense.  They get two things out of this: a paper hero, and a continuing excuse to hide from the truth.

And oh yes: he’s white and Obama isn’t.

What Trump gets out of it?  His name in lights, millions skimmed off his campaign coffers into his own companies, and possible Russian backing (they own him, after all) for his further business entanglements (you can’t call them deals) and maybe even in the Oval Office, should he get there.  Oh, and then there’s Deutsche bank.  And all the other stuff.

Let’s just say that it all looks like a huge scheme to bail Trump out of financial hot water, which he is almost certainly in, and keep his name in lights and keep him living in the manner to which he is accustomed.  (One right-wing fanzine site even posted a photo essay explaining why Trump could not live in the icky old White House…it’s not posh enough for him.)

What’s left out of the scheme?  Service and governance, two things Trump knows nothing about.

And no, they are not the same as “business.”  A lot of his supporters fend off criticism by claiming he’s a successful businessman.  See the paragraphs above; he is not.  As a further example, one bank estimated his worth at MINUS $250,000,000.  Even if that’s not true, the jerk’s a definite walking debt-bomb and is clearly looking to make some sort of “deal” by capturing the White House, to get his ass out of the fire.

Even if he were a business whiz, as the current governor of Illinois (a multi-millionaire businessman) is finding out, business and government are two different subjects entirely, involving two different skill sets.  Rauner is quickly becoming famous for stalemate and inaction simply because he is so confounded by that.  (He’s an asshole, too, but…)

Trump appears to have an aptitude for nothing but flim-flam.  He’s known to other billionaires as an empty silver spoon and a swindler.

He’s never even come close to holding public office, and he has no idea at all of what the word “service” means.  In the past 16 months I heard a lot from the right wing about how supposedly unqualified Hillary Clinton is for the Presidency.  Odd that I’m hearing it not at all since Trump got the nomination.  It’s as if the charge was ridiculous to begin with (and it was), and considering what the Republicans have now, no one dares mention it anymore.

Which is to say that Trump is not only patently unqualified, but clueless.  He would have done far better in some other country with “Prince” before his name, but maybe not even then.  Even princes seem to have more demanded of them than he has ever had.  All he knows how to do is maintain his lifestyle, no matter what the cost.

Personally, I do not want to be part of that cost.  I trust not many others do, either.

 

This is what happens when you don’t believe science

Yep, that’s it: you start believing in weird shit uttered by cranky old televangelists.   And the Stupid of the Day award goes to…Pat Robertson

 

Projection 101

Trump’s sanity is questioned; he starts calling Clinton “unstable.”

Trump’s charitable activities are questioned; he refocuses the media on the Clinton Foundation and blows a ton of smoke on the nonexistent fire to keep their eyes there, and off of him.

Trump’s health is questioned and this is worsened by a very questionable medical letter allegedly written by a gastroenterologist (in five minutes in the back of a limo).  He demands to see Clinton’s health records, which she has already released, and calls her unhealthy.

Trump’s racist statements land him the title of “racist;” Trump calls Clinton a racist.

Attendance at Trump’s rallies is apparently dwindling to the point where, as one comment put it, “there was better attendance at Spinal Tap and the puppet show.”  Trump starts tweeting stuff about Clinton being able to fit her rallies into small outhouses.

Trump inexplicably cancels several campaign events, then says Clinton is “in hiding.”

See a pattern here, folks?