Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Slide, Kelly, Slide

     This is WH Chief of Staff John Kelly yesterday during Donald Trump's "Talk Like a Pirate Day" speech at the United Nations. I'm unsure at what part of the speech Kelly did this epic face palm. It could've been at the point where Trump called Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man" or threatened to completely destroy North Korea. Or it could've been when he was bragging about Trump Tower across the street. Or it could've been when Trump, in true right wing fashion, began ragging on the UN for not pulling its weight.
     It doesn't matter. Donald Trump's entire sham presidency has been nothing but an endless highlight reel for late night comedians (Oh, Jon Stewart, why did you retire just as Trump announced his candidacy?). Just a couple of weeks ago, it leaked out to Business Insider that Trump lawyer Ty Cobb wrote an email saying "me and Kelly (sic)" were the "adults in the room." The jury's out on whether or not Cobb qualifies as an adult but Gen. Kelly certainly fits the bill.
    That leaves two questions for the half-assed political analyst: If Kelly is so mature and competent, how the hell did he ever get hired by Trump in the first place? Trump's the guy who invited professional right wing assclowns Kid Rock, Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent into the Oval Office, who installed Joe Pesci's Goodfellas character as Communications Director, made the daughter of a drug lord who was caught with nearly 100 pounds of cocaine on one of his ships Transportation Secretary, made a witless, grinning charter school fuckstick billionaire his Education Secretary and shoehorned Savonarola 2.0 as Chief of the CIA.
     With such a track record for creating such an unprecedented kakistocracy that belongs in some work of dystopian fiction by Sinclair Lewis or George Orwell, you have to wonder how such a capable man found himself in this government that's straight out of Idiocracy.

     The second question we must ask ourselves is, What the fuck is keeping this man in this government? Indeed, when you look at Kelly's face at Trump's public appearances, such as his "many sides" speech about Charlottesville, one gets the feeling he's the First Mate who, instead of helping passengers on the lifeboats, was just ordered by the captain to shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic just after it collided with the iceberg.
     And sometimes, as Kelly showed in Phoenix, he refuses to share the stage with Trump.
     If Kelly's smart, he's thinking of a way to slide out of this government while he still has some credibility left. After all, look what the Bush White House did to Colin Powell after his now infamous presentation to the UN Security Council.

     Yeah, if he's smart, he's weighing his options.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Good Cop, Bad Cops Pt 3

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
(Disclaimer: The proprietor of this blog and Mr. Wilson have an ongoing years-long friendship, in which the former has benefited on several occasions by the generosity of the latter. However, that in no way, shape or form has influenced the blog owner’s decision to post a series of articles about his case nor the content of what is written below.)
As Trooper Wilson began to realize the actual particulars of his case, he began fearing for his personal security. Yes, a career soldier and policeman began to have misgivings about his safety.
     Yet, as we'll see at the end of this installment, that was but the start of his worries.
     About two weeks after the Bar Overseers responded, Tpr Wilson, an Army Reservist, was notified he was being activated to serve as a drill sergeant at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. This would separate him from his legal counsel but this inconvenience was leavened by his remove from Massachusetts, theoretically keeping him safe from reprisals. Like a plot out of a bad spy novel, Wilson was informed by his son that he and his mother were being shadowed by someone closely answering the description of a State Police Internal Affairs investigator attached to his case. Either he was very bad at his job or was deliberately making no attempt at discretion in the interests of intimidation. Either way, it was only after Tpr Wilson had notified his State Police barracks commander that he was ready to contact the feds that the harassment had ceased.
     In order to beat the statute of limitations, Tpr Wilson had filed a pro se lawsuit against the Franklin PD at the end of 2003. In it were charges of assault and battery, defamation and false imprisonment. His intention was to secure legal representation in order to launch that suit and, later, another against the MA State Police. The complaint, along with one to the Board of Bar Overseers, established his knowledge of the conspiracy. It's notable that, by early 2004, officers in both the Franklin PD and the State Police abruptly began retiring, including the Chief of the Franklin PD and Major John Burns, the head of the Internal Affairs unit that had been stalking Tpr Wilson's family.
     In late 2003, as his year-long duty stint came to its completion,Trooper Wilson had accepted a year-long posting to Ft Benning as a Drill Sergeant. Early on, he'd reached out to the head of the Mass Minority State Police Officers Association. By this time, however, he realized that this official had been systematically betraying him by informing the State Police of his strategies and intentions while making a hash of the investigation.
     Following the mass exodus that had already begun, by spring 2004 the Col. Superintendent and his Lt. Col. assistant tasked with Wilson's disciplinary action had also abruptly resigned. While resignations occur all the time, what made this noteworthy, if not newsworthy, was that the Colonel resigned well before his term was up.
      With this development Tpr. Wilson contacted local reporters to suggest that his case played a major part in the spate of resignations. What really should've raised eyebrows was when his assistant quit at exactly the same time. And as further proof the mainstream media is essentially worthless, the local newspapers here in Massachusetts never bothered to delve into the exact reasons why they were abruptly resigning. The closest the papers would come to revealing the reasons for the scuttling away was "dirty laundry." And it became clear to Wilson they were turning in their credentials to protect their pensions. But as for the who's, what's, when's, where's and why's? Well, that was another story. And by that I mean there was none.
     It was the gathering storm involving Trooper Wilson's allegations and the State Police coverup, not to mention the dereliction of duty on the part of his legal team who'd been working both tables, prosecution and defense, simultaneously. In other words, there was plenty of smoke but no one suspected or cared there was a fire under it.

One Shade of Grayer
As it turned out, Trooper Wilson's nightmare of thieving, duplicitous, incompetent attorneys was just beginning. This time, instead of waiting to be assigned another, he'd sought out C. David Grayer. Grayer came well recommended by his own sister who'd had him as a law instructor in college. To launch the pro se lawsuits against the Franklin and State Police, Grayer took a $10,000 retainer from Wilson. Finally, some traction!
     Or so he thought.
     Months after forwarding the retainer, Wilson received no subsequent contact from Grayer. When Wilson finally got hold of him, Grayer asked Wilson if he'd spoken with his associate, Harrison Fitch. Problem: Fitch was already very well-known to Wilson, namely through his affiliation with the aforementioned Major Burns and the Internal Affairs Division that was stalking Wilson's family. For his part, Grayer was unaware that Wilson knew about this alliance between Fitch and Burns (a strange assumption to make with a policeman). In the end, "no legal action was taken against the State Police and the case was subsequently dismissed from court for failure to comply," to use Wilson's own words. Bottom line: Grayer took $10,000 out of Wilson's pocket for doing absolutely nothing. Well, nothing to Wilson. From the Massachusetts State Police's viewpoint, he magnificently did his job in spiking the lawsuits against them and their brothers in arms in Franklin.
     By now, poor Trooper Wilson must have felt like a lead in a Pod People sci fi movie. Everyone to whom he'd turned wound up working for the bad guys or were the bad guys. His lawsuits now seemingly blown out of the water and given a State Police chopper ride to the legal morgue, Wilson had no recourse but to file complaints against his last two lawyers with the MA State Board of Bar Overseers. When he did so, he got some surprising news: Grayer didn't practice tort law (a revelation you'd think he'd make to Mr. Wilson but I guess he really needed that $10,000). Furthermore, in violation of legal ethics, Grayer then subcontracted Wilson's lawsuits to another lawyer and agreed to split the loot with him. That other lawyer was the morally, ethically, and most importantly, legally compromised Mr. Harrison Fitch, Esq.
     A thinking person acquainted with the particulars of this case would justifiably wish they were a fly on the wall just to see the look on Burns' buddy's face when he read the brief and saw Wilson's name on it. Then Fitch showed what a true profile in courage he was when he essentially hid from Wilson and failed to tell him of the conflict of interest and his failure to file the paperwork in time. Their reason for hoping their incompetent collusion was almost comical: They were hoping that Trooper Wilson would get deployed to Iraq and that his death would give them that permanent degree of blessed separation.
     Instead, these do-nothing shysters got much more time off than they'd bargained for- After a determination, the BBO had ruled to suspend Grayer for five years. Fitch is still suspended after more than a decade and was reduced to asking the BBO for permission to work as a paralegal. And before you ask, yes, their collusion in spiking Mr. Wilson's case was one of several reasons to suspend both lawyers. (Grayer's suspension order can be found here and Fitch's own ongoing suspension order can be found here. They both sound like something out of a bad John Grisham novel.)

Catch-22
Between the spring of 2005 and January 2009, Trooper (Now US Army Sergeant) Wilson did not go gently into that Iraqi good night as his so-called lawyers had hoped. He had, instead, served at various Army posts in various capacities ranging from Counter-Intelligence Special Agent, Military Intelligence Drill Sergeant and finished a six-year tour, again, as a Military Police Drill Sergeant. After getting mysterious phone calls from the MA State Police inquiring about his return, he'd learned his family's home had been burgled. Some legal documents were rifled through and, oddly, only a video game was stolen. The local detectives investigating the burglary advised him it was someone's attempt to send him a message. And they were completely ignorant regarding his legal situation.
     About a year later, his son's mother reported having been followed by a light-skinned African American man with a shaved head in a red Ford Taurus. Days later, he'd gotten another cryptic phone call from a trooper again inquiring about his return. This caller perfectly fit the description of the man who'd been following Wilson's son's mother. Wilson shot back he was aware of his ex-girlfriend's suspicions. Furthermore, he'd warned he would liaise with the Army's CID and contact the FBI. The stalking and burglaries ceased... for a time.
     For those unfamiliar with the laws regarding this, it's worth noting all military service spent during wartime counts toward state-service retirement. Trooper Wilson left his job with the MA State Police after 14 years of honorable service. He'd returned with over two decades and was already eligible for retirement. However, in spite of honorable service with both the DoD and Massachusetts State Police, Wilson encountered animosity from a Major who was his Troop Commander. It's also noteworthy that all returning service members undergo background, physical and psychological exams. After passing the physical and background check with flying colors, he ran into an obstacle with the behaviorist conducting the psych eval. In the spirit of openness, he informed the behaviorist about his Major's hostility and ongoing legal struggles with the MA State Police. Over the course of four counseling sessions, he'd even provided corroborating documentation.
     Incredibly, the behaviorist decided Trooper Wilson was unfit to return to duty and that, furthermore, his well-documented claims of persecution and retribution was evidence of PTSD, despite the fact Trooper Wilson hadn't served in any combat capacity. In other words, he could've either silently accepted this ongoing "conspiracy" (the psychiatrist's own word) to prevent him from getting relief from a court or he could have reported the abuse and detonated his law enforcement career. Fighting his persecution and betrayal at the hands of the State Police and his incompetent attorneys constituted grounds for rejection. In other words, Catch-22, only in reverse- By being cognizant of the potential danger he was in, he was deemed too crazy to take back.
     He disagreed with the diagnosis even as Wilson's Troop Commander illegally attempted to prevent him from attending drills conducted by his unit at Ft Meade, a strange turn of events considering Wilson had been rejected as unfit to return by the state police's own shrink. Only after complaining to the VA was he "allowed" to fulfill his duties to his unit.
     The stalking of his family continued until as recently as last month.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Facebook Posts From the Edge

     Some of my more interesting posts on FB for the last week or so. Sorry I haven't time for anything more substantial. I'm working on a new book plus I'm in the teeth of another article.





















Friday, September 8, 2017

Caption Contest

Trump is advised not to go to Mar-a-Lago this weekend and why.

Top Ten Reasons Why Trump Fired Comey

     Late last month, special prosecutor and former FBI Director Robert Mueller obtained a first draft of the letter written by President Donald Trump and his top aides that resulted in the firing of James Comey as FBI Director. The final draft of the letter states Mr. Comey was terminated on May 9th because of his handling of the Clinton email investigation and Mr. Trump believing he could not effectively lead the FBI. However, the original draft was four pages long and had been characterized by its "angry, meandering tone" and listed, in fact, several reasons why Mr. Trump had decided to terminate Mr. Comey's tenure. What were they?

  • 10) During January private dinner with Comey, was disappointed he had not brought Hillary Clinton's severed head for the entree.
  • 9) Loyalty oath involved hazing ritual that included a panty raid on female senators' offices.
  • 8) Used too many bigly words like "email" and "the".
  • 7) Left slobber on his ring.
  • 6) Originally used and was ultimately embarrassed by his Terminator tactic and fired three other James Comeys before at last finding the real one.
  • 5) Refused to say grace during private dinner thanking Vladimir Putin for the food.
  • 4) Comey refused to say whether or not Trump was under investigation  to determine if he was the greatest President ever.
  • 3) During Comey's Trump-era tenure, ratings were bad, very bad.
  • 2) Demurred when Trump asked him if he'd like to fuck Melania on the Resolute Desk.
  • 1) Attorney General Sessions very uncomfortable with his and the 6' 8" Comey's three foot height difference.
  • Thursday, August 31, 2017

    On This Day 129 Years Ago...

         ...Jack the Ripper killed his first victim, Polly Nichols. Read how Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull and Arthur Conan Doyle got him in TATTERDEMALION. The paperback version can be found here.

    Wednesday, August 30, 2017

    Devant Moi, le Déluge

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
     Well there's floodin' down in Texas
    All of the telephone lines are down
    And I've been tryin' to call my baby
    Lord and I can't get a single sound
    Well dark clouds are rollin' in
    Man I'm standin' out in the rain.
     
    - "Texas Flood", Stevie Ray Vaughan
     It didn't start out very promisingly.
         We'd known for days the Texas panhandle was going to get seriously slammed by Hurricane Harvey. Even without the aid of someone heading the NOAA, meteorologists had predicted days before the storm made landfall that it was going to be a Cat 3, perhaps a 4, and all the predictions and simulations were absolutely spot on. What they couldn't predict, however, was how devastating the flooding would be.
         But fear not, Deplorables, because Donald came to the rescue... sort of. After lambasting President Obama for appearing in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Trump sneered from his little blue perch about how Obama was "standing in a puddle" and "acting like a president." Which, of course, Mr. Obama was. The 44th president arrived in the most devastated areas while Trump said "neener neener" even as he was preparing to lay the groundwork for a new Trump Tower in Moscow. Meanwhile, the president brought tidings of hope, and followed through on them on the form of a $50.5 billion aid bill that 19 out of 20 Texas Republicans tried and failed to scuttle that put Chris Christie's fat little head on Mr. Obama's shoulder, thereby effectively ending his political ambitions outside of Trenton.
         Then, as with domestic terror attacks, a Category 4 hurricane in the Gulf region is virtually an inevitability for a new President. If nothing else, it offers the chance for photo ops and to act presidential and to show leadership even if, as with Bush, your heart really isn't in it.
         But Trump dragged his responsibilities, starting with the very rudiments of presidential optics and follow-through, down to a new low. While George W. Bush exactly 12 years ago surveyed the devastation in NOLA from a coign of vantage in Air Force One and began blabbering at Louis Armstrong Airport about his dissolute frat boy days in New Orleans, eventually Bush did the ten cent tour, visited the devastation and hugged a few victims.
         Trump stood on a loading dock behind a fire engine and a Suburban SUV in Corpus Christi, blathering on about the size of the crowd, essentially starting a Rodney Dangerfield routine ("What a crowd! What a turnout!"), said a few meaningless platitudes, circled around a 15 mile radius then was back in DC in time for lunch. Melania stood behind him thankfully not wearing the four inch stiletto heels she'd worn earlier that day on the way to Marine One. He'd warned his aides in advance not to let him get wet because, you know, gremlins. In that, he was spectacularly successful. Trump barely got the soles of his new boots damp and never met with a single victim in a state in which he'd beat Hillary by exactly 9 points. Oddly, the press didn't have a problem with that.

    Houston, You Have a Problem But I Don't Care to Hear About It
    CNN caved, Fox (of course) caved and even Joey Scar caved. Even Trump's most virulent critics are praising his so-called Texas visit because the MSM are so desperate to show the American public that Trump's visit was gaffe-free and presidential, they'll squint until they can't see any more to convince us, and themselves, that we actually have leadership during the greatest natural disaster in the US this year. But, as usual, Trump didn't get off to a good start.
         By that time five Texans drowned (that Trump still hasn't acknowledged any more than he's acknowledged the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville earlier this month). On Sunday at Camp David, Trump began his day at 7:45 AM pimping Sheriff David Clarke's new book of right wing conspiracy theories (Maybe if Houston buys enough copies, they'll finally be able to start soaking up the 20 feet of water). 19 minutes later, he essentially pats himself on the back for sitting on his fat, pasty ass in Camp David while actual rescue workers risk their lives to save the flood victims. An hour and 11 minutes later, he announces, "I will also be going to a wonderful state, Missouri, that I won by a lot in '16. Dem C.M. is opposed to big tax cuts. Republican will win S!" Because, you know, he won the presidency and won bigly in Missouri, in case you didn't know.
         By 9:44, he's harping on the wall again, and insisting Mexico will pay for it, despite threatening to shut down the government if he didn't get the wall funding from Congress in the upcoming omnibus spending bill. Oh, and Mexico's still full of criminals. Seven minutes later, still obsessed with Mexico, he then lambastes NAFTA as he had on the campaign trail and insists we still have to renegotiate it. Yes we do. But apparently, he thinks now's the perfect time.
         And Trump is a master of timing. He proved it when he pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the racist who'd yet to be convicted for violating a court order that forbade him from racially profiling Hispanics to check their immigration status. With the President of Finland standing next to him, Trump brazenly said he'd announced Arpaio's pardon to coincide with Hurricane Harvey because he thought he'd get "far higher ratings."
         Interspersed with the smattering of other August 27th tweets was Trump essentially saying, "Gee, who knew?"
         By today, Trump made good on his promise to go to Missouri to talk about simplifying the tax code because giving himself and his fellow billionaire scumbags a massive tax cut at the expense of needed services and agencies (such as, oh, I don't know, the NOAA) is exactly what the people drowning in Texas want to hear right now.

    The Return of the Prodigal President
    But in case you were one of the very few naysayers who still weren't satisfied that Trump could be all he could be, he's promised to donate part of one of his countless vacation days to return to Texas this Saturday. But one would justifiably be worried that Trump has all the facts in hand or that he even cares to know them. Yesterday, Trump essentially did a drive-by
         Because by today, Trump has already gone down on record as talking about tax cuts for others like him not once but twice yet has never once mentioned that Port Arthur, the birthplace of Janis Joplin, is now completely underwater. Something else our law and order, cop-worshipping president never saw fit to mention while hawking Clarke's book or his tax reform: A Houston police officer died in the line of duty trying to save people from drowning.
         By now, one could be forgiven if Trump privately wishes he could build that wall, a circular one, around Houston to better drown the very same brown people he'd lambasted on Sunday's tweet storm. Houston is, after all, 36% Hispanic, 25% of the city being of Mexican descent. As horrible as Bush's reaction was to Katrina and New Orleans, which was, before the right wing gentrification sank in, 66% African American, Bush at least tried to play the part.
         Let me again describe what yesterday was like: Trump stood on a loading dock at a fire station, far away from another living human being except for his wife. He never once mentioned the five we know of who were killed, never called on his fellow Americans to help in the relief and rescue efforts (Not that he needed to because fortunately we are a species that produces heroes where none are expected) and never made a plea for charitable contributions or advise people where to go to make them.
         While Texas is at high tide, Trump's "empathy", as usual, is at low ebb. While never mentioning the fatalities of our fellow Americans, one of them being a police officer, while never mentioning Port Arthur being completely submerged, he has mentioned high ratings and tax cuts and David Clarke's book. And, as usual, Mexico's full of criminals and we need a wall to keep them out.
         Undeterred, Mexico has offered help. They were there for us in the aftermath of Katrina when the Mexican Army helped save lives in New Orleans. Despite what buffoon is currently occupying the Oval Office, Mexico has offered their help again. And Trump's pride and racism will not let him accept that help even as thousands are still in danger of drowning in unprecedented floods.

    Monday, August 28, 2017

    The Republican Creep Show

         Seriously, some of these guys give me the creeps.
         What we need to do as a nation is to objectively look at some of the current and past clowns of the Trump administration. Because some of these guys are so evil, it radiates through their physiognomies to the point where you actually can judge a book by its cover.
         Take ousted Deputy Assistant whateverthefuckhewas, Sebastian Gorka. Gorka always strikes me as looking like an Eastern European torture specialist getting a blow torch ready at a Russian garage in a Nicolas Cage movie and his statements match. Not only does he use a line from Star Wars (I guess he didn't stick around for the ending) to make some baleful statement, he threatens "the left" as if we're still a potent form of opposition that's bound to destroy whatever Death Star he's building in his Hungarian dungeon.
         As proof that you can judge a book by its cover, when I made that joke about Gorka looking like an Eastern European torture specialist, this was before I found out that while he served in the British Army, he was in an interrogation unit. Gorka is an unabashed alt-right operative (although we should call the alt-right what it is: Nazis and bigots), He also freely identifies with the Order of Vitéz, which was an honor given out to Hungarians who contributed to the Holocaust. As if this wasn't bad enough, he's also identified with the anti Roma as well as the anti-Semitic Hungarian Guard (both of which having been banned by the EU).
         Not only have Gorka's academic credentials been called into question, so has his sanity. He's generally considered part of the right wing lunatic fringe. So how did this open racist and anti-Semite get himself a job with such immense power in the administration of a man with a Jewish son in law and a Jewish daughter? Well, these are the men with whom Trump likes to surround himself. They're not necessarily all Yes Men (Mattis, Tillerson and other Cabinet officials have openly disagreed with Trump as recently as this week).
         Yet they tend to be men we warn our children about when he tell them not to talk to strangers. Another case in point is Felix Sater.

         I like to call Sater "Mr. Stabby Face" because he once stabbed a broker in the face with the jagged stem of a Margarita glass so many times it required 110 stitches to put his face back together again. What made him fly into such a rage? The fact that the commodities broker had the unfortunate task of informing Sater that he'd lost money.
         Like Gorka a naturalized US citizen, when you hear people call Sater a Russian mobster, they're stating a matter of fact and not resorting to hyperbole. In 1998, the managing director of Bayrock was convicted of a "pump and dump" scheme that was orchestrated by the Russian mob. And it just came out today that Sater bragged in an email two years ago, during the Trump campaign, that getting a Trump Tower in Moscow "will get Trump elected."
         So much for Trump's prior claim that he had no loans, no deals, no nothing with Russia. There may not be a Trump Tower in Moscow but it wasn't for lack of trying on the part of a certain face-stabbing Russian mafioso making a bad attempt at legitimacy and respectability.

         And then there's Stephen Miller, one of the very few survivors of the original Trump administration. One of the three S's (Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka that, appropriately make a Sss sound when put together), Miller became a conservative after reading a book by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. Yes, that's all it took.
         As a teenage right wing nut job (that must've embarrassed his liberal-leaning Jewish family), Miller would scream at Hispanic students to speak English. While at Duke, he helped spearhead a fundraising drive for a debate that would've involved Richard Spenser, the notorious neofascist and one of the chief architects of the Charlottesville riots. Despite spending a huge amount of time together at Duke, both Spenser and Miller now deny the extent of their once-close relationship and now in his spare time, Miller pretends to repudiate Spenser's alt-right activities.
         The one-time Communications Director for noted racist Jeff Sessions eventually found himself at Trump's elbow. This dead-eyed sociopath would become one of the chief architects of the anti Muslim immigration EO that had been struck down by several federal judges. Miller infamously said the power of the president was "not to be questioned" and a few weeks ago had a shouting match with CNN's Jim Acosta over immigration and the Statue of Liberty.

         The recently-departed Steve Bannon was another piece of work. The former and current again Breitbart CEO has long had ties to white nationalist movements. The only difference between Bannon and Gorka is that Gorka is still squirting sewage at "the left" from the fringes of right wing media while Bannon is squirting sewage at the Trump administration from the fringes of right wing media.
         Like Gorka, however, Bannon's openly an anti-Semite, someone who once sparred with one of three ex-wives about putting their twin daughters to "The Archer School for Girls because there were too many Jews at the school and Jews raise their children to be 'whiny brats'." He once bragged that Breitbart was the official "platform for the alt-right" that, again, was responsible for the mayhem in Charlottesville.
         Bannon now lives out his days as an incidental useful idiot for the "vast left wing conspiracy" with which his old colleague Seb "Darth" Gorka is still obsessed.
         We had and are still having a lot of fun with peckerheads like Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, Scaramucci (who only pretends to be what Sater actually is) and Sarah Huckabee Sanders. They're not the ones to worry about. With one exception (Mr. Stabby Face), all these people have worked for the Trump administration in several key capacities and they are the ones to worry about. You put these people together and look at their individual histories, it unerringly points to an administration that has literally openly embraced the alt-right and all the racists, anti-Semites, white nationalists and neo Nazis that come with them. Not only that but such a cast that looks like a lineup in a David Lynch movie proves that Trump loves to surround himself with some of the worst monsters walking the face of the earth.
         And when we lower the bar and shift Overton's Window that much more to the right, that's what makes plausible Senate candidacies by Curt Schilling, Kid Rock and 85 year-old racist Joe Arpaio.

    Sunday, August 27, 2017

    "They'll be safe. Good luck."

         Famous last words from the Slanderer in Chief as he scuttled off to Cape David for yet another mini vacation. The lead photo was taken this weekend in Houston and is going viral. This is a nursing home after the record flooding in the Lone Star state as Hurricane Harvey continues to rage across it. There are several reasons why Katrina is trending on Twitter and this, I suspect, is one of them. Remember hearing that horror story when Katrina hit Louisiana almost exactly 12 years ago, the one in which the staff had completely abandoned nursing home residents (although the owners were acquitted of any wrongdoing a decade ago)? Apparently, we have learned nothing and have certainly not gotten better in the compassion department.
         Where was the staff here? Why weren't the residents evacuated before the water got, literally, hip-deep? It's not as if experts didn't know that Houston and other parts of Texas would see record flooding unseen in 500 years. Well, except for this clown...
         ...which was written right after he wrote this:
         Remember when Houston served as, well, a sanctuary city after Katrina struck? It's time to return the favor.
         Remember when the Mexican military offered assistance, as had many other nations after Katrina and we shoved their offers back up their ass? If Mexico is magnanimous enough to offer aid again, we should take it. But you know Trump...
         By now, I'm sure you've already made note of all the aid agencies that are accepting donations (I wouldn't, however, recommend giving a penny to the Red Cross after their grand theft of a half a billion dollars in donations after the Haiti earthquake), so I won't bother listing them unless asked to. But, despite the half-assed efforts of a few right wing politicians to secede Texas from the Union, they're still our American brothers and sisters and they desperately need our help.

    Saturday, August 26, 2017

    Why I Am No Longer a Democrat

    (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to constant reader CC)
         The "Democratic" National Committee and the "Democratic" Party are now officially two conjoined rotting corpses. They are literally dead to me. As proof of this, when presented with a new voter registration form yesterday, I knew I didn't have to register again. Mine and Mrs. JP's voter registration status remain in effect in perpetuity until we move or other circumstances warrant a change. However, I filled it out and submitted it yesterday changing my party affiliation from Democrat to Independent (joining 53% of unenrolled Massachusetts voters.).
         And the reason I did this, which was long in the making and not one made lightly, coincided with the breaking but buried news that Judge William Zloch threw out the DNC fraud lawsuit, which effectively put the kibosh on the "Democratic" Party as a legitimate one. You can be forgiven if you'd never heard this late-breaking item from yesterday. With Hurricane Harvey beating the shit out of Texas, Trump pardoning fellow racist and felon Joe Arpaio and the Mayweather/McGregor fight, something like this would slip through the cracks.
         Yet the political and historical implications of this decision to effectively kill the "Democratic" Party, one fittingly made by a Republican appointee of Ronald Reagan, should not be underestimated. Because Zloch's decision (which can be read in full here [pdf]) to dismiss this case, thereby disallowing it to proceed to federal court, essentially shoves a glavius down the gullet of anyone who tries to pretend that the United States has a two party system of government.
         Yes, the world's oldest political party tried to reach its 200th birthday but didn't quite make it.
         To be fair to Hillary Clinton, the entire fault for this cannot be placed like a flaming bag of dog shit on her doorstep in Chappaqua. However, the lion's share of the blame must rest on her shoulders. After all, it was under her guidance that the DNC and its massively corrupt and corruptible superdelegate system of stooges put identity politics above party integrity, the sole identity being earnestly touted, of course, Hillary Clinton's and no one else's.
         There were six counts listed against the DNC, The DNC Services Corp and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. There were as follows:
         Count 1, fraud by the DNC Donor Class and the Sanders Donor Class.
         Count 2, negligent misrepresentation by the DNC Donor Class and the Sanders Donor Class.    
         Count 3, violation of Section 28-3904 of the District of Columbia code by the DNC Donor Class and the Sanders Donor Class.
         Count 4, unjust enrichment by the DNC Donor Class.
         Count 5, breach of fiduciary duty by the Democratic Party Class and
         Count 6, negligence by the DNC Donor Class.
         The crux of the lawsuit filed in the Southern Florida District Court was that the "donor class" and "Sanders donor class" two of three identified, that pool of people stupid enough to actually give money to the crooks of the DNC, were hoodwinked out of their money when the DNC told them one thing ("Oh, sure, we'll be impartial, whatever that means") and did another ("LOL! You actually fell for that? Hell, yes, we supported Queen Hillary and you should've known that.").
         And that last sentence was actually the defense used by Bruce Spiva, the DNC's attorney. "You should've known we were in the tank for Hillary the whole time, we didn't make any serious claims to the contrary and, well, caveat emptor, motherfuckers."
         In fact, this is what Spiva did, in fact, say in court (pdf) July last year:
    “But here, where you have a party that’s saying, We’re gonna, you know, choose our standard bearer, and we’re gonna follow these general rules of the road, which we are voluntarily deciding, we could have — and we could have voluntarily decided that, Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way. That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right.... [T]here is no right to — just by virtue of making a donation, to enforce the parties’ internal rules. And there’s no right to not have your candidate disadvantaged or have another candidate advantaged. There’s no contractual obligation here.”
         Amazingly, despite that brazen of an admission of rampant political corruption and misrepresentation on the part of the "Democrats", it worked and Spiva and the rest of the defense team got their motion to dismiss. Because Spiva's sarcastically hypothetical situation, candidates being chosen over cigars in smoky back rooms, is precisely how Hillary Clinton got the nomination. By hook and lots and lots of crooks.
         It's hard if not impossible to understand why Zloch said and believed the things he did but one fact is clear: While the DNC and its officers and chosen candidate were engaging in a long-term, systemic campaign of corruption, obfuscation and gross misrepresentation of its avowed goals and policies (Which were rewritten after the disastrous 1968 Democratic convention), the defendants still did not violate federal law, thereby making the case ineligible to be heard and reviewed in federal court.
         Whether or not that's true, that means the defense and their aggrieved clients have been effectively cheated out of several salient issues needing to be heard and spoken about more often without closet right wingers shouting them down and crying, "Fake news!"
         Among these issues are the extremely suspicious death of Seth Rich, who was almost certainly Julian Assange's source of information.
         The obvious Russian hack of the DNC's servers as well as Clinton's unsecured servers and John Podesta's email account. This issue also keenly pertains to the identities and contact information of countless Democratic donors.
         The disturbing relationship between Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her former IT guy, Imran Awan, the Pakistani who, along with his family and friends, would've sold state secrets (if he hadn't already) to anyone if the money was right.
         It could have all come out and had been thoroughly unpacked and minutely, forensically examined for the first time, possibly leading to further lawsuits. Now, thanks to Judge Zloch, it will not.
         That's why it's highly entertaining to see "Democratic" Party officials, machine "Democrats", who are publicly lauding the judge's decision. It's entertaining in a Schadenfreude way because allowing the lawsuit to continue is the one thing that would've offered the most hope that the DNC would eventually regain its true north. That the party apparatchiks who brought about this fraud and, like Tom Perez, the current DNC chair, to ensure such fraud and deception continues clear into next year's midterms and beyond would've been expelled like so many little wouldbe Boss Tweeds.
         And I mention Boss Tweed for good reason. The biggest power broker in 19th century Tammany Hall had his downfall in 1871. However, that did not stop corruption from flourishing in Manhattan. Tammany Hall remained its epicenter. And, while the latter-day "Democratic" Party is just a high tech version of Tammany Hall (Oh, let's just call it what it is: Tammany Hall 2.0), putting the kibosh on all its operatives, from Hillary Clinton on down, would've gone a long way toward putting oil on the waters among disenfranchised Democratic voters and donors.
         But these "Democratic" scumbags are high-fiving each other because they know Zloch granting the DNC's shysters their motion to dismiss means business will go on as usual. It may not even result in an immediate drastic change in the DNC's balance sheets since social media tells me there are still plenty of fucking idiots out there who still insist there's a world of difference between the DNC and the RNC, between the Republican Party and the "Democratic" Party...
         ...despite the fact they both show contempt for their own voter base, will illegally kneecap one candidate in favor of a good ole boy (or girl), that they will skew primaries and entire elections and that they all work for the same Wall Street banks and corporations.
         But if history teaches anything, evil will eventually be caught by the consequences of its actions, that it is all-consuming. We do not have a two party system of representative government. We don't even have one. They're both, as Michael Collins puts it, "the Money Party", with just one wing of that party being more extreme than the other. And both wings belong not to an eagle but a tattered vulture, sick of its own sin but addicted to it.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2017

    The Night the Lights Died in Phoenix

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
    To anyone in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday, March 13, 1997, it was a night they'd never forget. Because 20 years ago on that early spring evening, tens of thousands of Arizonans witnessed the closest that a superior extraterrestrial civilization came to introducing itself to our poor species. It was even seen by the Governor at the time (who later made the tremendous error of dressing up his chief of staff in an alien costume in an attempt to ridicule what he and countless tens of thousands had witnessed and documented).
         To the more open-minded of us, perhaps many in Arizona that night hoped and prayed the aliens would finally descend and show themselves, to perhaps guide us to a better way of governance or perhaps even to transcend the need for governance. Perhaps many of us had wished that they would touch down and, having had enough of our clownish and destructive stewardship of this unique planet, would finally set us straight.
         Alas, the giant boomerang-shaped ship which shape was defined by its unforgettable lights merely scanned Phoenix below then slowly drifted off, never to be seen again. And last night in that great southwestern city, the lights figuratively died again when Donald Trump came to town to hold yet another fucking sloppy, rambling hate rally.
         To be fair to the presumptive President, it has been a rough summer. The health care repeal failed. He's under a very serious DOJ probe. Many top aides have either quit or had been fired by him or others. The more sympathetic of us might even say the Commander in Thief needed to have his spirits lifted and ego inflated with a few hundred fellow right wing nut bags, that 25% who recently said nothing Trump could say or do would make their support for him waver.
         Obviously, among those things were siding with neonazis and confederates, something no real President has ever publicly done, trying to steal health care from 22,000,000 Americans, firing the very people who could have functioned as a check and balance, some voice of reason on this rolling Dumpster fire of an administration.
         He teased the crowd with a pardon of infamously racist Sheriff Joe who violated a court order and was recently convicted for it, bemoaned the fate of "poor Jeffery Lord" who was fired by CNN for giving the Nazi salute on Twitter. He praised so-called clean coal and in between jeremiads took long looks to stage left and right, soaking up the usual idiotic, unconditional adoration. But I'm putting the jackass before the cart. Let's look at how it played out in chronological order.

    The 75 Minutes Hate
    It had all started out as well-meaning and well-choreographed, with four people taking to the podium to build a beautiful sand castle of all inclusion, telling those in attendance and all following on social media to not give in to the demons of hate. Even hate peddler Franklin Graham, son of anti Semite Billy Graham, even Franklin fucking Graham of all people joined in the construction of this wonderful sand castle in the sky.
         And then the world's oldest toddler took the podium and kicked it back into loose sand in three minutes flat.
         Yet long before Trump shambled and ambled in his usually sloppy, disjointed way to his peroration, people had already begun to leave or to tune out. Security cruelly had confiscated the water bottles of those who'd waited for hours in 107 degree heat. Trump railed for about 25 minutes on the "fake news" media, pulling his own quotes out of his pocket. He took pot shots at both of Arizona's senators without mentioning them by name (and patting himself on the back for acting "very presidential.").
         He took pot shots at the Republican party in general, at those who criticized him for his statements on Charlottesville (bragging that he lived in a better penthouse than many who call themselves elitists) and claimed that he took shots at the KKK, the white supremacists and other right wing factions whose faux outrage over Robert E. Lee's statue getting taken down by court order resulted in the death of a woman Trump still hasn't acknowledged. Forgotten was his taking it all back at Trump Tower the very next day in a combative exchange with the media.
         Lastly, he finally mentioned the antifa faction by name in much more withering terms than he'd ever mentioned the Klan, white supremacists or the neo Nazis. Few showed up for Trump's rally. There were much fewer there before he finally ran out of hot air that he already added to the stifling Arizona night.
         And that was because they'd heard it all before. Only the topical subjects of Charlottesville and his hideously bad response to it differentiated it from the countless hate rallies he'd held across the country while on the campaign trail. They'd heard it all before and quickly grew bored with the boilerplate, the self congratulations, the constant egoistic masturbation. And even the idiots who'd waited hours in nearly 110 degree heat to hear Idiot Zero speak eventually came to the conclusion that far from being a rally to prop up Trump's popularity, it was merely another exercise in making himself look good by tearing down others.
         Then, just when it couldn't have looked any worse for Trump, he called his new Chief of Staff, Gen. John Kelly, to the stage. But Kelly wasn't there. No doubt, after the debacle at Trump Tower, he knew what to expect.
         Donald J. Trump is a tired old comedian who many had taken way too seriously, a washed up, worn out comic who's too stubborn to get new material or use new props for his threadbare schtick. And America is slowly coming to the conclusion they've been conned.
         Aliens, if you're listening: We need an abduction to take place immediately and you can do with him what you wish (including anal probes). And when you pluck this miscreant from the earth, you can keep what's left over and jettison it into the sun.

    Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    Swamped

         Boy, that was fast.
         As I predicted in Sunday's post, Steve Bannon wasted no time ripping Donald Trump a new one for his speech on Afghanistan and not altogether without good reasons. In fact, Breitbart.com posted five furious articles in rapid succession criticizing Trump on his new Wag-the-Dog Afghanistan policy (Or, as Mrs. JP says at least once a day, "What part of 'graveyard of empires' does he not understand?").
         Predictably, Bannon was allowed to slither out of the undrained swamp of Washington DC and into his old chair at Breitbart and, even more predictably, to fire several salvos at Trump. It only remains to be seen how long it'll take for Trump to denounce the once staunchly pro-Trump Breitbart as "fake news" and label Bannon as the stereotypical "disgruntled employee."
         We all know the impetus behind this about-face: Bannon will always have a mad on about being ousted from a position of immense power after what he no doubt considers a year of faithful service to Trump as his campaign CEO then his Chief Strategist. But, really, at this point who cares? It's always vicariously entertaining seeing Republicans eating their own even if it comes at the expense of the Republic.
         Trump is essentially about to make the same exact mistakes Bush did when he'd unofficially declared war on Afghanistan and Obama during his own troop "surge." Trump said he wasn't going to talk about troop levels, which should strike a warning note for anyone with a child in the armed forces. In fact, Trump is so ignorant about Afghanistan that he thinks they have a Prime Minister (Ashraf Ghani is Afghanistan's President).
         In the interests of full disclosure, it ought to be said that Bannon united with Trump in pulling out US service members out of the 16 year-old war zone (although Bannon wanted to replace them with mercs, which worked out so well in Iraq). And it's odd that the same generals whom Trump had dismissed as ignorant during briefings with them while he was still President-elect were the same ones who had talked him into continuing this quagmire.
         Trump's speech in Virginia last night was notable for its lack of details and tone deafness in the face of a United States that's not only tired of war with Afghanistan but is hardly aware we still have a significant presence there. Prior to Obama, we steadily had 4500 troops there then Obama raised that to 8400 during his surge. Last June, Trump had already ordered the Pentagon to make plans to send another 4000 to Afghanistan (an order belayed by Defense Secretary Mattis until Trump would articulate an actual mission, which he hadn't done as of last night), raising the total deployment to 12,400.
         It's hard to see how we're going to take back a country in which every invading and occupying force had failed from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union, especially when under Bush then Obama the Taliban began taking back key cities and provinces.
         Also not mentioned by Trump were the real reasons for our continued squattage in Afghanistan: Hundreds of billions of barrels of untapped oil, roughly a trillion dollars worth of undeveloped minerals and the poppy fields that are so necessary to the CIA to fund their endless incursions. Trump's right about one thing: It isn't about nation-building. Never was, isn't now, never will be. Every invading force leaves behind a kingdom of rubble in a nation that infamously refuses to be conquered.
         And good luck trying to get India and especially Pakistan on board. Trump tried putting the arm on them last night just as he had earlier this year during the G20 when he accused our NATO allies of not kicking in their fair share (several world leaders were openly snickering at him during his speech in Brussels).
         So as long as Bannon wants to play the part of useful idiot, I say we let him and enjoy the fireworks.

         By coincidence, this is the picture taken yesterday by the 82nd Airborne out of Ft Bragg NC. They scheduled a jump exercise during the moment of the eclipse so they could take this shot. After Trump's speech later that night vowing unprecedented victory in Afghanistan, Americans can be forgiven if that photo brought to mind this much more famous one:

    Sunday, August 20, 2017

    The Future's So Not Breitbart

    (Image courtesy of The Onion)
         Perhaps it's a bit premature to piss on Breitbart.com's grave but we can certainly be forgiven for being tempted to make its funeral arrangements.
         Let's take stock: Last February, its star reporter Milo was forced out just after he diddled into oblivion a $250,000 publishing deal with Simon & Schuster's right wing imprint, Threshold. Before that, the "news" organization took a hit after it had failed to defend one of its female reporters after she was assaulted by top Trump aide Cory Lewandowski. Then Steven Bannon, to no one's surprise, got sucked into Trump's seductive orbit and rode his over-sized tie all the way to the White House.
         Since then, the plummet in Breitbart's fortunes seem to coincide with that of Trump (He of the 35% approval rating) and that's no coincidence. Along with son in law Jared Kushner's Observer, Breitbart's alt-right (read: White nationalist) outlook was always slanted in favor of Trump.The two are virtually inseparable and while Trump has done far more to damage the site's brand name than Breitbart has done to Trump's still-lucrative brand, their fates still seem to be inextricably entwined in a slow motion death spiral one can but helplessly watch.
         Since Bannon waddled to the White House, they'd lost 90%, or 2300 of their sponsors (Don't worry, they still have Jazzy Jeff). The only reason they haven't dried up and blown away is because they still have the deep pockets of right wing hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.
         And then, the day before he himself was axed in this super-sized edition of The Apprentice, Bannon took a page from the Mooch and called up The American Prospect, to bloviate on all matters sundry. In the "accidental" on-the-record interview, an upbeat Bannon bragged about who he was going to fire at Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon. He was essentially a coked-up version of Karl Rove, sans filter.
         He called for trade sanction against China, perhaps forgetting, or not caring, that the Trump administration Organization is doing brisk business with the world's last Communist superpower, especially in the area of Trump-branded massage parlors and prostitution services. Bannon also struck an ominous note when he said his "hands were back on (his) weapons" and more than hinted he was, as he always had been, gunning after the GOP establishment.
         This can't be bad news for progressives and Republicans are shitting their pants that Bannon's planning on dismantling the party from the swamp on up. How much credibility Bannon still has after his site's plummeting fortunes and his own fall from grace remains to be seen but for now, he's looked upon by the left as a useful idiot.
         But a lot of people still listen to him, primarily the white nationalists he's enabled and glorified in the racist pages of Breitbart. And establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, men who don't scare easily, are soiling their pants over what Bannon can still do to the Trump administration to which, as with Breitbart, they'd ill-advisedly had hitched their wagon.
         While it's too early to predict the demise of Breitbart, the now-defunct neo Nazi site Daily Stormer that had been hacked by Anonymous and killed off for good by its host GoDaddy after the disaster in Charlottesville can be seen as a bellwether. America has had it up to the stratosphere with the noxious racism and bigotry represented by Breitbart. Their best days are behind them. Now it only remains if Breitbart will hire Bannon back to dismantle the hideous machine they'd painstakingly built up, the smoking, clanging machine of the Trump administration.

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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