Slightly louder explosions, but not really

Mother Jones just posted this.

I am assuming this is the big scoop that was hinted at…was it yesterday or the day before?  Anyway, someone on Twitter claimed that one of the major “newspapers” would publish a HUGE piece of information involving Trump/Russia “within 48 hours,” as I remember.

Well, if this is it,*shrug*.  In my view it’s nothing more than a couple more tidbits that will be quickly set buried under an avalanche of new tidbits, and the process will repeat itself over and over and over until…what?

The implication here is that Trump is safely at 30,000 feet, so shit is coming down back at home.  it isn’t.

All these tidbits do not amount to a stack of doodle y-squat, let alone a major scoop.  They’re just restatements of what we’ve already known for a long time.  I am frankly sick and tired of what Trump said about Comey to the Russians (except that he apparently did admit again that Comey was fired because of the Russia investigation, which we all knew anyway).  I am also sick and tired about names not being named; you know, “someone close to Trump is being investigated.”  Well, fucking thanks; that narrows it down to about 600.  (Other sources say it’s Jared Kushner, and state that he is merely “a person of interest.”)

Break a story about how they’re about to arrest somebody, and name that person, and be right…and then we’ll talk about real bombshells.

All sorts of tiddly $#*%

Nothing dramatic has happened this morning; just a steady drip, drip, drip.  No flood.

Trump is preparing to get on a plane to somewhere, not that anything he does or says really matters.  There is the odd report that he is paranoid that Pence will “take over” while he is gone, and certainly there has been a uptick in rumors of Pence funding his presidential campaign for 2020, etc.  But the fact is there has also been a sharp uptick in reports that Pence knew Flynn was crooked well before he allowed Flynn to become national security advisor to Trump.  So if I were Pence, maybe I wouldn’t be thinking about 2020, but surviving 2017 as a free man involved in politics instead.

As for Pence taking over, I doubt it.  Nothing dramatic will happen in Trump’s absence;  Washington is too scared right now.  Apparently Ryan is hiding under his desk after finding out that he had been recorded saying that the Russians were paying Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Trump.  It’s said he’s now wondering what else he uttered that was recorded, and in typical Republican fashion who did it.  Right.  Let’s never face our own crimes, let’s worry about who exposed them.

Anyway, the Rohrabacher situation reveals that Russian influence in Washington may go back further than previously thought, and that the Republicans in particular have been identified by the Russians as sitting ducks.  (For a scathing Wisconsin editorial about our darling Ryan, read hereThis is interesting too.)

So that’s one thing that’s scaring the Republicans.  The other is Robert Mueller, who has now requested Congressional investigations halt, or at least curtail their activities.  Social media reacted to this request with fear and outrage, particularly since a story was planted yesterday about how the law firm Mueller worked for was connected to the Trumps or those associated with them.  People, people…

At this point there probably aren’t too many major law firms that haven’t had dealings with the Trumps and/or their associates.  That doesn’t mean Mueller himself did.  Also, the timing of this story suggests that it came from either the Russians or Trump’s camp.  Put all of that together and I say that unless Mueller starts doing things obviously pro-Trump, don’t panic.

The request that the Congressional committees dial back their investigations is no big deal considering the amount of interference and obstruction various Republicans on those committees were subjecting them to.  Remember all those questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails in at least two of the public hearings that were supposed to be about the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia?  It could be that Mueller saw that too, and decided the committees were just trying to score political points and deflections.  And he’s right on that.  Enough, already.  Let’s not let the inmates run the asylum, as the old saying goes.

Anyway, the little explosion this morning is that Trump signed financial disclosures for 2016 against the advice of his attorneys.  Why was he advised against signing?  Because the disclosures were false.

The other little explosion is that Julian Assange is a free man (odd that this happened at the same moment a massive cyber-attack on social media was in progress); he can leave the embassy now because the Swiss no longer want to question him about the possible rape charge.  It’s said the FBI may have had something to do with this, which is interesting.  It does seem that Assange’s even more vulnerable to Putin now if he doesn’t toe the mark.  So really, he may be free, but he isn’t free, and he will never be free.

And so that’s where we are at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 19, 2017.  Trump’s about to be in the thin air, Pence is stranded on the ground, Ryan is hiding under his desk, Mueller’s sniffing around, Assange thinks he’s free, and nobody’s is going anywhere for a while.

Okay, this really is “breaking news”

Robert Mueller has been named special prosecutor in charge of investigating Russiagate.

Oh yeah…and then there’s this:  Ryangate

aaaannnnnnd….now they’ve probably got Pence as well: Transition knew Flynn was under investigation; hired him anyway.

Anyone else have a feeling that all the shit is hitting the fan on the same day for a reason?  Stay tuned; heard a rumor that a major newspaper is going to drop yet another bomb in the next 48 hours.  Even if this turns out to be false, it’s been a wild enough day that I can live on what’s already happened for a while.

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.

Slouching Toward Armagedden

So the President of the United States, such as he is, fires the most prominent person investigating him on Tuesday…then on Wednesday invites two major players  in the “Peegate” dossier, two Russian diplomats (spies) to the White House, and holds a closed-door meeting with them to which only the Russian press is invited.  Meantime, in Russia, someone interviews a giddy Putin, who (with a big smile on his face) denies having anything to do with Comey being fired.

All of which means that Putin had something to do with Comey being fired.  And also, sportsfans, it means we are no longer a sovereign nation.  And this is all thanks to Donald Trump, to his 30 or so million gullible, brainwashed worshipers, and to the Republican election-stealing machine (which is now under an increasing amount of scrutiny, but it may be too late).

Of course there are all sorts of rumors flying around about this happening and that happening, arrests, leaks, whatnot.  It all seems too little and too late.  And even in the middle of this maelstrom, all the Republicans can do is offer a few tepid “we should open an investigation,” responses (never mind that we already have at least 3!).  Most of them aren’t even going that far; they are supporting Trump and denying anything is wrong.

As I tweeted to a senior Democratic senator today, it’s all very nice and oh-so-correct that people are starting to talk about more investigations and independent prosecutors, etc.  But we don’t have time for that anymore.  Any day now, Trump is going to decide that no laws apply to him (he’s already unclear on the subject), and the Russians will back him up.  Two Russian actors from Peegate showing up at the White House and being treated like royalty today proves that, especially given the timing.

Trump’s approval ratings may be sinking to historic lows as we speak (never mind that he shouldn’t have any approval at all at this point), but in his mind he is rid of Comey and no one can hurt him anymore, and those polls are lies all lies and didn’t he have the biggest election win ever (well no, but…)?  So he brought in his Russian buddies, right in everyone’s faces, the day after he fired Comey…and didn’t bother to tell us what they talked about because there is nothing anyone can do about it.  He is president and nyah, nyah, nyah.

It’s a short step from that to being a dictator.  The moment Trump totally and fearlessly convinces himself that he is above (not merely running from) written laws and rules of ethics, we will be lost.  There will be nothing else to do but revolt.  And that moment is coming fast.  We are probably talking about hours now, not even days or weeks, let alone months.

What we do need to do to avoid that happening is:
(1) invoke the 25th Amendment.  Won’t happen because Pence has to initiate this (there is a way around that, but it involves action by the Republican Congress, which won’t happen either).  Why won’t Pence do it?  Because he’s in this Russia thing up to his friggin’ neck.  And why won’t Congress do it?  Because many of the Republicans there are also in this up their friggin’ necks.

(2) impeach.  Again, we’ve a very obedient Republican Congress, at least until November 2018.  It will be difficult to get anything done.  And we don’t have until November 2018.  All will be lost by then; it’s almost lost now.

(3) push Trump to resign.  Good luck with that; it’s not in the script of the epic movie he’s invented about himself.  Besides, if he quits, there’s no guarantee he won’t have a Russian heart attack or somehow fall off the side of one of his towers.  Scatterbrained as he is, he knows this.  Staying in office and attempting to gaslight the entire nation is much preferable.

So what to do?  I don’t know.  Wish I could say.

While we’re stuck waiting for these dolts to get off their asses, however, I can suggest one thing: if you know someone who voted for Trump and still thinks he’s great, punch that person out.  Of course I’m just kidding…but not by much.  Maybe physical violence is out, but verbal violence?  Have at it.  Call them out.  Scream at them.  Humiliate them.  Disown them.  Make them face the truth about their god Trump. 

They deserve every last bit of it.  They are traitors.

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.

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.