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.

 

Putin Gets It All Wrong

The ever-helpful Vladmir Putin is today offering Congress a transcript of the meeting between Trump, Putin’s foreign minister, and Putin’s ambassador to the U.S.  This is to prove that Trump did not convey any top secrets to these nice boys, even though Trump himself admits he did.

Meantime it’s become apparent that McConnell and Ryan are eagerly awaiting the transcript, which they will accept as if it is a golden tablet passed down on Mt. Sinai (kind of ironic, since this leak situation involves our intelligence relationship with Israel).  They will then announce that it’s all cleared up, no need to press for further information on anything, anything at all.  Everything’s fixed.  Now let’s get back to reducing taxes on the super-rich and destroying healthcare!  You know, like nothing happened.

You see, severe a transgression as Trump’s revealing highly classified information to an enemy was, it wasn’t a statutory crime.  Presidents can declassify anything any time.  Whether they should or not is another question.  Let’s just say that they almost never do, and there are good reasons for this.  Therefore, Trump’s transgression was never something that was going to get him kicked out of office or land him in jail.  It was just stupid.  It was also baldly transparent, because if he ever needed to prove his loyalty to Russia at the expense of the U.S., that did it.

But again that’s not illegal, it’s just immoral.  Somebody lost their life because of this, after all.

And so, Putey-dear, I wouldn’t bother with your “transcript,” which in itself is proof of where Trump’s loyalties lie and nothing more.  The only people who will try to believe it will do so because they are trying to cover up something.  That “something” may be their contacts with you or your flying monkeys, for sure, but what they’re going down for are laws they broke here at home in the U.S.

You see, the real problem here is not the leak.  The problem here is obstruction of justice (addressed in the Comey memo, which McConnell, Ryan, and the twit Chaffitz will try very very hard to pretend is fake), and massive corruption.  Those are the things that will bring your little section of the big house of cards tumbling down, transcript or not.

In a way it’s kind of touching for you to offer, Putin, but the thing is that we don’t give a shit what you have to say.  You’re beneath us.  Be off before someone drops a house on you.

The Hounds of Hell

…or is it a lizard?  Getting my metaphors mixed up here.

The good news is that Trump’s attempted nyah-nyah-nyah (the bit with the Russians in the Oval Office with the U.S. press shut out, and a TASS photographer having the run of the place), coming on the heels of him firing the popular Comey, has quickly turned into an “ouch ouch ouch.”  Yesterday as media pundits and former IC folk sounded the alarm that the Russians in question were probably spies, Trump claimed to be shocked, SHOCKED at the Russians, and tried to claim they “tricked” him.

Oh Christ, Trump, even you can’t be that stupid.  Well, maybe you can…

Apparently early this morning Trump followed all that up with a tweet threatening Comey with “tapes.”  Yes, “tapes.”  Just like Nixon.  Apparently while Trump has been whining about being wiretapped, he’s been taping people (remember that virtually everything he claims is being done to him unfairly is projection, meaning he’s the one actually doing it).  It’s evident he thinks the people he’s been taping have more to lose than he does.

Wrong again; that blew up in his face in under 12 hours.  Bigly.  The formidable Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi dashed off a letter to the president’s legal counsel, (which is included in this tweet), turning Trump’s “clever” claim into yet another nightmare for him.  Now the entire Democratic party is demanding that the contents of Trump’s tapes be revealed as part of the investigations — and they have a right to.  Worse for Trump, instead of cowering in terror, Comey just shrugged.

Next outburst of stupidity from Trump in 5..4..3..2..  He never learns.

Yes, there are far more serious things going on right now in the saga of Russiagate, but the catalyst that unleashed the hounds was the firing of Comey — which is why I discussed it here.  Suddenly everything that was going to take months is taking place right now, or will be soon.  Yesterday I heard about a boatload of subpoenas being served; today I heard a rumor about Flynn and Manafort flipping (neither rumor has been substantiated).  Jeff Sessions seems to be teetering on the edge of career-ending trouble about his refusal to confirm whether he has or has not recused himself from matters concerning the Trump campaign (if he did indeed recuse himself, he never should have advised Trump to fire Comey, as he evidently did).  And the acting FBI director has turned out to be anything but loyal to Trump.

About all Trump has going for him right now are the loyal chimps in Congress who refuse to notice that anything is amiss.  I’m talking about McConnell, Ryan, Chaffetz, Burr and Nunes specifically, but there may a hundred more.  The thing is, almost none of them are clinging to fantasy out of a great love of Trump.  It’s more fear of the Russians, who apparently have compromised the entire Republican party.  The evidence is there, clear as daylight; all one need do is be willing to look — which Trump is frantically trying to prevent us from doing.  And his lackeys in Congress are trying hard not to see anything.

All in all, it seems to be whipping up into a nightmare for Trump.  He’s so rattled that it’s no wonder he accidentally admitted that he fired Comey because Comey wouldn’t stop investigating Russiagate.  (Or maybe it wasn’t an accident; maybe he’s just too stupid to know he should never have said that.  It’s called admitting to an impeachable offense, dummy.)

As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, I’m not much for rumors.  But suddenly a fair number of them are coming true, so I’ll be a little more open about repeating them here.  Certainly I am finding out more about what to anticipate from rumors than I am finding out from the legitimate media in the U.S. at present (and no that does not include state-run Fox News).

As Trump is trying to hold back the attack dogs by acting ever more autocratic (he’s now threatening to stop having daily news briefings because his lackeys can’t keep his lies straight), it’s a fair bet that there’s even more going on right now than the rumors are hinting at.  Stuff is coming down, folks.  All I can say is, hold on and stay tuned.

P.S. rumor as to when the entire Trump administration will be gone is that it will be “by June 1.”  (That seems overly optimistic to me, though.)  And neither Pence or Ryan is going to be president in Trump’s place; they’re both tainted by Russia (the entire Republican party is; look at the well-documented FBI raid on a GOP consulting office that occurred yesterday — no that was not about a long-ago gubernatorial race).

Current word is that the next president will be Orrin Hatch.  Inherit the wind.

They just can’t stop themselves

Turns out Comey lied to Congress again about Hillary Clinton’s emails*:

running off at the mouth

And it doesn’t matter now, anyway, because Trump fired Comey this afternoon, and the reason is rich: because of Comey’s insistent mishandling of the Clinton email question (such as it was — wasn’t much of a question).   Right.

Where we go from here is a down a long, dark road.

*late evening update: there’s now at least one thread of thought that Comey dredging up the inaccurate Clinton email story was deliberate.  Yeah, you read that right.  He did it because he knew a long time ago he would be fired (insert rumor about Russia’s insistence on it here), and he guessed that Trump would use this “lie to Congress” as an excuse to get rid of him.  I didn’t believe it at first, but then I noticed that the would-be master propagandist, distorter, and all-around twit Julian Assange actually put Hillary Clinton in the same sentence as Marine Le Pen (good lord!) and claimed that they were discriminated against and “patriarchy is alive.”  Coming from someone hiding out from a sex-offense charge and living under the protection and thumb of a tyrant, I found that to be a bucket of sheer gall.

However, from contemplating the fact that the vapid Assange chimed in at the moment he did, I knew Russia had something to do with all this (actually I knew that Russiagate had something to do with it from the start; everybody did).  And the more I thought about Comey repeating the past lie about Clinton to Congress, the more I agreed that it likely was deliberate.  He was trying to force Trump’s hand, because on Comey’s end, the work was done.  There was nothing left to do but let the courts handle it.  And apparently, they are.

We’ll see if I’m right.

Healthcare as distraction

In truth, I wasn’t going to mention yesterday’s acrid anti-healthcare vote by the U.S. House at all, but then I realized a bunch of stuff:

(1) The bill barely passed;
(2) The instant it passed, the Senate killed it.  Reason?  They already have a team writing their own healthcare bill.  As in, they knew about this potential distraction beforehand and were ready.  They’re covering the asses of the jackasses in the House kind of like you’d pitch in to stop your kid brother from being beat up by schoolyard bullies because he was stupid enough to thumb his nose at them.  And that’s supposed to make it all okay with the public, all is forgotten, don’t look at Russiagate, look at the Senate taking care of the mess the House made.
(3) Several of the representatives who voted for the bill didn’t read it.  It’s long been evident that many of them (including Ryan) don’t understand the purpose of insurance, either.  I suppose they feel this gives them plausible deniability as certain parts of the bill gain publicity, most particularly those that turn being a woman into a preexisting condition, which of course the bill does not cover (it does, however, exclude erectile dysfunction from the list of preexisting conditions).
(4) If that’s the case, they’re wrong.  As the Republicans passed the bill, the Democrats sang the old song, “nah-nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah-nah, hey-hey-hey, goodbye.”  Because in attempting to prove that having the Republicans in control of the House and Senate doesn’t mean automatic permanent paralysis of government (and some representatives are saying that’s why they voted for the bill — yay party!  fuck country!), the Republicans very possibly also ended their possession of the House.  The election, after all, is in November 2018, and they are all up for re-election.

I’m guessing the Republicans are betting that we will have forgotten about this fiasco by then, because (as I just said), gosh darn while they were in the Rose Garden swilling taxpayer-funded cases of beer in celebration of their offense, the Senate killed the bill.  Also, as I said earlier, a fair number or reps didn’t even read the fucking thing, (and some of those who did said they didn’t even like the bill); how can they be responsible?  Also, morbid misogyny is okay!  Look at the 2016 election!

Am I saying that the representatives gambled on a potentially career-sinking bill (which the Senate very conveniently stepped in and killed) because they think it will distract us from Russiagate — which could not only end many of their careers, but end them without the chance to run another corrupt election and steal the House (and Senate) yet again?  Yes.

The biggest fuggedaboudit factor is this: this morning, Keith Olbermann revealed that there is good evidence that two grand juries are investigating various aspects of Russiagate.  Actually the evidence has been public for at least a week, and has been discussed extensively by the denizens of Twitter, but Olbermann was the first I know of to point out that Comey probably confirmed this during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.  Notice how quickly the anti-healthcare vote came after that.

Another Twitter king, Tea Pain, said that there must be something to all of this because the Russian bots and trolls are suddenly saying nasty shit about Comey.  As the behavior of the Russian trollbots has become a good way to gauge what Russian interests are scared of — and what they’re scared of generally tells us about how the Russiagate investigation is proceeding — it’s a fair bet that there’s something to the story being told on Twitter and by Olbermann.

I can also confirm that the trollbots have been unusually active on Facebook for at least the past week.  It’s not as bad as it was before the election, but the activity level is definitely elevated.

What does this mean?  It means that the anti-healthcare vote by the house, as serious an offense to humanity as it seems to have been, was yet another distraction.

And why would the House (and the Senate) try to distract from Russiagate?  Because a lot of them are involved, and their involvement, if brought to light, would not only end their political careers but possibly put them in prison.

But still the House is partying like it’s 1999.  They just don’t realize that for them, it may well be.  For sure if the Russiagate grand juries (and don’t forget the investigations going on in New York State) bring indictments, Trump may be forced out of office, and everyone’s attention will be focused on that.  But that doesn’t mean that nobody in Congress will get caught in the same net, and this story is so big that it also doesn’t mean that by November 2018, all will be forgotten.

So if you’re a Republican rep and are betting on that, good luck.  I have a feeling the American public is in the process of developing a long-term memory, but in truth, we may not even need one.

Comey’s Island

(Article updated late in the afternoon; see last paragraph)

Today James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would be “mildly nauseous” if it turned out he actually helped Trump to win, or rather, caused Clinton to lose.  Of course there was instant outrage on the Internet at this comment, and the formidable Representative Schiff blasted him for holding a double standard — having no scruples about casting shade on Clinton, but withholding any mention of the by-then at least 3 month old investigation into Trump-Russia.

I have no idea why Comey did what he did, but I do have some names to add concerning who affected the outcome of the election — that is, if you’re accepting that this leak, such as it was, caused Clinton to lose.  I don’t; more on that in following paragraphs.

I was sitting in an automobile dealer’s service waiting room the day Comey announced that the emails presented no new evidence of wrongdoing.  They had CNN on both of the TV sets, and ALL THE ANNOUNCERS ON CNN COULD TALK ABOUT WAS HILLARY’S EMAILS, and this went on and on and on for hours, even though Comey had basically said there was nothing to the story in the letter that Chaffetz had leaked.  (There’s a deep backstory here, too — one about Trump suddenly donating $10,000,000 to his own campaign after the letter became public, and so forth.)

Comey’s denial of anything amiss with Clinton came about one day before the election, as I recall.  Nice timing, Sherlock.

So in my mind Chaffetz also has something to answer for here, as do CNN and other news outlets.  It would have been different if the televisions at the dealership had been tuned to the right-wing mouthpiece Fox News, but this was CNN.  Very odd behavior for an outfit Trump has since declared to be “fake news,” but CNN had been acting as a Trump loudspeaker for the entire campaign.

But still I have to say that I don’t think this really affected the election that much, as the entire mechanism to steal the election was in place before Comey wrote his letter and the twit Chaffetz leaked it.

After all, Clinton won.  She won in spite of the Russian interference.  She won in spite of Chaffetz and Comey and numerous others.   She won by an almost-unheard-of margin.  This is why Trump continues to yammer about how big his win was: it wasn’t.  He didn’t actually win at all.  And it bothers him enough that he has chosen to believe if he keeps repeating that he won, perhaps someone outside of his relatively small cult of worshipers will eventually believe him.

The Electoral College, which handed Trump the presidency, only came into play through an elaborate scheme of voting machine failures, voter intimidation (remember those right-wing mouth breathers showing up at polling places and attempting to “guard” them with firearms?  remember the incredibly long lines?  remember people being told in droves that the polling place they were at was the wrong one? remember the voter-suppression schemes that involved people practically having to have their DNA traced in order to vote? remember…oh so many things).  And there were the uncounted ballots in several states, and the over-counted votes: at least a few counties in Wisconsin apparently counted more votes — for Trump — than they had voters.

And so we were stuck with the Electoral College once again, and of course the Electoral College is hopelessly corrupt and has been for a long time.  At least 50 of the electors were there illegally in 2016, possibly including our present U.N. Ambassador, and they were all Republicans.  Why this is not being investigated is something we do not know.  Or maybe we do, but no one wants to talk about it.  It definitely all goes back to one thing: longstanding Republican corruption, so ingrained that the Russians saw an opportunity and seized it.  No, the Russians did not build that elaborate system of election fraud.  It had already been in place for almost 20 years, and the Republicans built it, and the Russians greased the wheels with fake news, pilfered personal info, and probably voting-machine hacking as well.

So how does Comey’s tale of reluctance fit into all of this?  He didn’t lose Clinton the election, but he may have helped cost her an even bigger win, and in so doing he may have helped cause the election to be thrown to the corrupt Electoral College, thereby guaranteeing Trump the White House.  And he still hasn’t really given a solid explanation as to his motive.

Obama could have given Comey hell, and he did call him on the carpet.  But after that he stood by Comey.  Not happily, but he did it.  Trump, on the other hand, is now threatening to fire Comey, which tells me a lot.

There is, of course, the story that Comey could not say anything about the Trump-Russia investigation because it would have spooked too many people and hindered the investigation’s progress.  Again I do not know, and it still begs the question about why the twit Chaffetz blabbed the non-news about Clinton when they could have kept quiet about that too.  Should have, in fact.  See update below; it’s now all been laid on the twit Chaffetz’s wonky little tootsies.

Maybe Comey was trying to lure Trump into a false sense of security, who knows.  But if that was the case, it’s lost now.  So much is lost now.  And it’s partially down to Comey and that twit Chaffetz.  Both of them have got a lot explaining to do.  And no, claiming sick tummies and sore tootsies isn’t going to save them.

3:00 p.m. update: we now know why Chaffetz limped back to Congress on his sore tootsie, weeks before he was due to come back: Comey threw Chaffetz under the bus, claiming that his letter to the committee chairmen was never meant to be made public.  Ever the crafty little weasel, Chaffetz probably guessed that would happen.  Of course Chaffetz will not get in trouble for this (Republicans almost never do), but it’s apparent he’s afraid he will — so much so that he’s now talking starting an investigation into about taking away Obama’s pension because Obama accepted payment for a speech (which is absurd, but that never stopped Chaffetz before; he’s made a career of the absurd).  And here we were looking forward to seeing him retire soon.  Stay tuned.

Page the Flynn-flam man

In the past week focus in Russiagate has swung wildly from zeroing in on Carter Page, who not only keeps incriminating himself during interviews, but apparently also transmitted to the Russians some recording of Trump asking the Russians to help with his campaign, (and this coincided with Trump publicly asking the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails during a Presidential debate*), back to Michael Flynn, who accepted money from foreign governments even after being told not to.  Apparently in addition to other investigations of Flynn (one of which the White House is obstructing by refusing to release certain documents), the Pentagon is also now investigating him.  All of which means that it sucks to be Michael Flynn right now.

One wonders when the focus will shift back to Manafort, who we have not heard a whole lot about in a while.  And how about Giuliani?  He was supposed to be in handcuffs at least 2 weeks ago.  Haven’t heard a word lately.

As for Nunes, he’s disappeared for the time being.  Chaffetz keeps speaking in mazes and hasn’t taken leave yet, it seems (guess that tootsie wasn’t so sore after all).  McCain and Graham were full of shit to begin with.  Burr has had an ethics complaint brought against him.  And it goes on and on and on, and almost everyone in Congress whose behavior has been weird has R-(state) after their name.  A few, like Nunes and Chaffetz, have gone downright squirrelly, but according to them we’re supposed to believe that nothing is wrong.  Sing along with them: “It’s just another day in paradise,” and go happily about your business.  At least, that’s what they’d like you to do.

Put all this together and I have just one piece of advice to help sort it out: it’s not just one person who is the key to this.  It’s ALL of them.  (Otherwise how did they all end up in one administration, and one Republican Congress, together at the same time?Add to that at least 4 decades of Republican-party corruption and you have your answer.

And then there’s Comey.  The only thing I can say for him is that Obama stuck by him, and I trusted Obama.  But I can also say that Comey’s dragging his feet…or is he?  Word has it that there are two Russiagate grand juries in progress, and one is nearly done with its work (since all the news last week was about Flynn, I’m guessing this grand jury was focusing on something related to him).  Stay tuned.  In the end it may turn out that Comey sacrificed his reputation for the sake of the Republic, but that sounds a bit too melodramatic to believe.  Still, Obama stuck by him — and Trump has made at least one threat to fire him.  To me, that says a lot.

Once again, to anyone feeling lost and confused, all I can advise is never lose sight of the fact that just about everyone on the Trump administration has Russian connections, and so do an awful lot of other people in the Republican party.  This will get you through all these wild changes of focus on the part of the investigations and in the media.

It will also help you deal with any attempted distractions thrown out by Trump or others in his circle, and those are pitched out almost daily.  Never expect to read about any of that here because I can pride myself on being almost immune.  Not that I won’t slip up now and then; I will (and I already have).  But keep this in mind: if you don’t read about it here eventually, it’s a distraction.  Don’t bother with it.

*I’d like to point out once again that not only did Trump publicly ask the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails, but at the last debate, when his poll numbers were in the toilet and we were all looking forward to Madame President, Trump stated that we should just hand him the election now.  Somehow no one seems to remember this anymore, but I do, and I believe he said it because he knew the election was fixed.  Also remember how from October on he kept crying about the election being fixed in Clinton’s favor.  Just always keep in mind that Trump is nearly transparent.  Whatever he whines that someone else is doing (and they’re usually not), you can bet he’s doing himself.  As in, he knew what the Russians were up to, AND he asked them to do it.

P.S. It’s now Sunday, the beginning of week 3, and no one has been arrested.