Really out loud


As you have heard, last night the Senate voted down the umpteenth effort to kill off the ACA and several million Americans along with it.  People are celebrating, but I know they’ll just try it again, possibly as soon as next week.  McConnell and Ryan are acting as if their lives depend on it, after all; maybe someday we’ll find out why.

At this point it can’t be just a deep-seated hatred of Obama and his achievement that’s motivating them (although it is certainly one of Trump’s major motivations).  It has to be something more, and it has to be something to do with money; otherwise, why try repeatedly over a course of years — not to mention just the last several days — to push through a repeal with nothing but empty and dangerous nonsense to replace it?  Why all the secrecy?  Why induce senators to vote on something they haven’t even read?  Heck, just before the vote last night, which was minutes after the “replacement” was finally revealed, some senators said they were voting for it even though they hated it.

That.makes.no.fucking.sense unless there’s someone waving money at them, hard.  Or else, someone is threatening them.

But as I said we won’t find out what’s pushing this extreme behavior for a while, if ever.  Mensch has been chiming in with her fan-fic, crediting McCain and his buddy Graham with a sweet little patriotic conspiracy where they both voted to confirm Sessions and split their votes on the healthkill bill.  This was necessary so they wouldn’t blow their cover, and OF COURSE it’s top secret!

No.  Try again.  They are who they are — McCain is nothing if not unpredictable — and they did what they did.  I will never believe otherwise unless I hear it from their own mouths.

In the meantime, something far more illuminating has happened.  In fact there were four things:

(1) the Joint Chiefs of Staff has openly defied Trump on his new zero-tolerance policy for transgender soldiers/sailors.  It would appear that the generals are (to an extent) turning on Trump.  This is something I’ve never seen happen before in my several decades of life.

(2) Congress has passed a veto-proof extension (and, I think, a toughening) of the sanctions on Russia.  It’s on Trump’s desk right now, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s passed.  There is nothing he can do about it.  He probably doesn’t totally grasp that there’s nothing he can do about it, but he’s stuck with it.

Putin is already responding by throwing U.S. diplomats out of Russia; that’s fine because now there can be no more talk of the U.S. giving Russian compounds (on U.S. soil) back.  I predict Trump will try, anyway, simply because it’s within his control and he may see it as a way to save his considerable ass with Putin.  (No I don’t believe he’s actually done this already, but I may be wrong; if he has, he’s screwed either way.)

(3) More reps and senators are now talking openly about Trump and Russia on the floor of the House and Senate (and/or in the hallways) and refusing to be hushed.  It’s clear that what we’re hearing, they’re hearing — which means it isn’t “fake news” — and at least some of them are as fed up as we are.

(4) Lindsay Graham, for what he’s worth, is apparently cooking up a bill that will prevent Trump from dismissing Special Counsel Robert Mueller by shouting “you’re fired!” just like he used to on his TV show.  There has also been talk of a bill in the House that would prevent Trump from unilaterally starting a war, but I don’t know what happened with that.  Presidents were never supposed to be able to do that anyway; not that they haven’t — and that’s the problem, particularly with someone as desperate to cause a distraction as is Trump.

All in all it looks like the wheels are falling off, not only for Trump but for the entire Republican party.  I refuse to guess how much longer this is going to take.

I had predicted that things would start happening after June 30; it appears I wasn’t far wrong.  What’s happening now is that people are openly defying Trump and calling Congressional Republican leadership to task, and Congress itself defies Trump one day (the healthkill bill and the sanctions) and coddles him the next (money for the Mexican wall, which they previously said was dead — but it’s stupid enough where I’m sure they’ll go ahead with it anyway, magically pulling money out of their asses).

Next come actual indictments of people surrounding Trump.  There will be no impeachment; for all Congress’s recent bluster, they will not impeach Trump. As I said earlier, someone’s holding something over their heads, and whatever it is scares the hell out of them.

But some things are inevitable, and one inevitability here is that someone is going to jail for all of this, or at least part of it.  I have no idea when the actual legal action will start, but the latest rumor is “by the end of the summer.”  They just aren’t saying which summer.

 

Advertisements

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.

 

 

Clueless in the Kremlin; Dumbass in D.C.

I actually thought this article was from The Onion when I first saw the headline. But no, it’s from NPR, an organization not noted for its sense of humor:

Putin Offers Political Asylum to Comey

Sorry if you just spit your coffee out all over your screen.  Yes, it’s true — Putin does not understand what he got himself into when he hooked up with the GOP and Trump.  In fact, it’s apparent that he has no knowledge of the U.S. at all.

I say this because Putin apparently does not realize that every time he opens his yap about a U.S. domestic matter, in jest or not, he incriminates himself (and Trump).  After all, why the hell should he care unless he has skin in the game?

To put it more succinctly: Putin, you’re an idiot — and not a very useful one at that — a greenhorn, and a joke.  You’ve been had.

Now on to some actual news: in celebration of Trump’s birthday yesterday (June 14).  Mueller let it slip that Trump himself is under investigation for obstruction of justice, something we had suspected for a while and that was kinda-sorta confirmed by Comey at the Senate hearing last week.

Happy Birthday, asshole!  But seriously, this is huge.

Trump, of course, is now blubbering all over Twitter about all these nasty people who are leaking lies (uh huh), and claiming that the fact that he’s being investigated for obstruction means that the Russia collusion stories are false, or at least not very important.  I know you are thinking you just entered the Twilight Zone; welcome to Trump’s brain.  No it does not appear to be working very well.

An ongoing thread of discussion over the past several days has been whether Trump would try to fire Mueller.  This leak or announcement, or whatever it was yesterday, makes it all but certain that he will.  But not so fast…

(1) There is some gray area here, but the basic fact seems to be that Mueller doesn’t really work for Trump; he works for the DOJ and Congress.  Congress has already indicated that if Trump fires Mueller, they’ll just re-hire him — and at that point there’ll be really nothing Trump can do about Mueller.  (Note to Trump’s puppet-master: Congress does not work for Trump.  Really.)

(2) Nixon also tried something like this, and it didn’t work out very well for him.

(3) And here’s the biggie: the rumors about Trump considering saying “you’re fired” to Mueller (just like on TV!) probably prompted Mueller to leak or announce (or whatever the hell it was) that Trump is being personally investigated.  Why?  Because Trump cannot fire someone who is known to be investigating him for a crime.  That is to say that even if Trump had the authority to fire Mueller to start with, he lost that option when it got out that Mueller is investigating him.

Doesn’t mean he won’t try anyway — he’s that stupid — but he can’t.  No, he does not and cannot recognize that fact, but let’s just say this: try it, Trump, and see where it gets you.

And with that, I leave Trump and Putin with this thought: welcome to reality.  Sucks, doesn’t it.