Friday, December 14, 2018

The Banality of Corruption

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
So, after nearly two years of this feces-flecked nightmare passing itself off as an administration, what do Trump's fellow Republicans think of him?

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson
Given what we know about the collusion — and there is no other word for it — between then-candidate Donald Trump's most senior advisers and what they thought was a Kremlin-tied lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, the most shocking thing is that no one on the Trump side was shocked. The most offensive thing is that no one took offense. … It is the banality of this corruption that makes it so appalling. The president and his men are incapable of feeling shame about shameful things. (PennLive, July 14, 2017)
Trump's inner circle has always been a cesspool. And there is a reason for this — a reason Trump has traditionally employed unethical people to serve his purposes. It is because he has unethical jobs for them to do, involving schemes to remove political threats and gain electoral advantage. And there is every reason to believe that Trump has fully participated in such schemes. (The Washington Post, Nov. 29)
 George Will
America's child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care. … [J]ust as astronomers inferred, from anomalies in the orbits of the planet Uranus, the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer, and then find, still-hidden sources of the behavior of this sad, embarrassing wreck of a man. (The Washington Post, July 17)
The late Dr. Charles Krauthammer, Psychiatrist
I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied. He lives in a cocoon of solipsism where the world outside himself has value — indeed exists — only insofar as it sustains and inflates him. (The Washington Post, August 4, 2016)
David fucking Brooks
Trump's emotional makeup means he can hit only a few notes: fury and aggression. In some ways, his debate performances look like primate dominance displays — filled with chest beating and looming growls. But at least primates have bands to connect with, whereas Trump is so alone, if a tree fell in his emotional forest, it would not make a sound.
It's all so pathetic. (The New York Times, Oct. 11, 2016)
You're beginning to see a lot of Republicans who are looking seriously at 2019, with a lot of Fridays like this one, and Trump really hurting himself, and maybe not serving out the term. (Interview on the PBS NewsHour, Dec. 9)
William Kristol
I'm absolutist on Trump. He shouldn't be president. We should limit the damage he can do as president. And we should try as hard as we can to prevent him from being renominated or reelected.
In terms of the conservative movement, I do think it would be foolish to deny that Trump has exposed certain aspects of that movement as less healthy than I thought or hoped.
Their last line of defense is 'it's not Russia.' but how do we know it is not Russia? Michael Cohen seems to be cooperating. Michael Cohen may well know about the Trump Tower meeting... and Manafort was at that meeting... and Cohen was in touch with Trump throughout 2015 and 2016... I don't really buy the argument that this isn't important for the Russia side. (MSNBC, 8/22/18)
The last person quoted, Bill Kristol, cofounder and Editor-at-Large of The Weekly Standard, is significant because today it was announced that TWS will publish its last issue on the 17th. Today, after a meeting between editor-in-chief, Stephen Hayes and Ryan McKibben, the chief executive and chairman of Clarity Media Group that owns the Standard, employees were abruptly told to clean out their desks and back away from your laptops and no one gets hurt. They were also told the only way they could get severance was to sign an NDA.
     There's only one reason someone would be made to sign a nondisclosure agreement and that's if the higher ups don't want something to be known. That's why they're conditional and leverage is always applied, such as money or the threat of a lawsuit.
     And why did The Weekly Standard go the way of Gawker? Well, as with Gawker's case, a right wing billionaire was at the very center of it all. Again, the Weekly Standard is owned by the Clarity Media Group and that in turn is owned by right wing billionaire Philip Anschutz.
     Anschutz had donated millions to ultra right wing causes for many years, including anti-LGBTQ and pro life outfits. Then he cravenly expressed shock, shock upon discovering these right wing groups to which he's so generously donated over the years would actually work to strip rights away from our most vulnerable citizens. Because we all know billionaires are sweet, naive types who always give away vast sums of money to causes and organizations without doing the slightest bit of vetting on them.
     Anyway, Anschutz bought the Standard from fellow right wing billionaire Rupert Murdoch and I guess he decided he couldn't take any more apostasy from a staff that had back in the day dependably championed neocon causes such as the illegal war in Iraq.
I'm absolutist on Trump. He shouldn't be president. We should limit the damage he can do as president. And we should try as hard as we can to prevent him from being renominated or reelected.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/bill_kristo
     But CNN was wrong in its assessment that far right wing outfits have "flourished" while more moderate outlets such as the Standard have tanked. Glenn Beck's The Blaze has been on life support seemingly forever and is doing so poorly he had to sell off his private jet. Breitbart lost virtually all its sponsors (2200, according to MediaRadar), and in just two months flat mainly because of the clusterfuck that was Milo. To this day, it's essentially floated almost exclusively by another right wing billionaire scumbag named Robert Mercer. And, while they should never be classified as news sites even for the far right lunatic fringe, Stormfront and The Daily Stormer were taken off the internet for their neonazi views.
     And Rush Limbaugh? Who's he? The new Bill Kristol, that's who.

The Banality of Corruption
Hannah Arendt famously called Adolph Eichmann's seemingly inoffensive demeanor "the banality of evil" during his 1961 trial in Israel. Arendt took a lot of heat for that iconic quote and more by those who didn't know and those who did. They misinterpreted what she'd said about Eichmann, focusing on the "banality" part while glossing over that she'd also called him "evil" in her world-famous saying. In that phrase, she was merely describing the face of that particular evil, not the uncritical, unthinking mind behind it.
     What we're seeing in Washington, DC these days is an evil that is not so banal but almost what one would call "flashy." And it has to be acknowledged by both defender and detractor that Trump is nothing if not flashy. Think of Donald Trump and it's impossible for one to not imagine the billionaire surrounded by porn stars, Playboy bunnies, super models and other jiggly, giggly types of eye candy. He is to sleaze what Bill Gates is to software.
     The thing we ought to be paying attention to is what Michael Gerson had referred to as the "banality of (his) corruption", meaning Trump. Now, Trump certainly did not import corruption to the Beltway. Corruption has been a part of Washington since Jefferson was planting cherry trees there. And we've grown alarmingly relaxed with that political corruption to the point where it hardly raises an eyebrow to hear about a lawmaker figuratively if not literally getting into bed with a lobbyist.
     Eichmann's trial gave birth to the phrase "desk murderer", also coined by Arendt, by way of showing that as much, if not vastly more evil is launched from wooden desks than by the hands of those who actually put that evil into action. And Donald Trump certainly proves that the same certainly applies to the banality of corruption. It can be plausibly said even before Mueller's findings become public in the papers and in Congress that Trump has launched more evil from the Resolute Desk than any president in his first two years. And Trump's flashy corruption is also threatening to turn commonplace, so inured are we to it, as if we fully expect and even depend on it to hit us in the face to awaken us with our morning coffee.
     And those conservative news outlets that had grown critical of Trump have indeed suffered. Not exclusively but certainly they've suffered. That's why the abrupt termination of The Weekly Standard is an ominous harbinger of things to come. Different publications of different political stripes, most notably Gawker and now The Weekly Standard, have gone to that server or four color press in the sky. But these erasures from the national discourse have one thing in common: Right wing billionaires who are not only quite relaxed regarding Trump's flashy style of corruption but are also expecting us to be as relaxed with it, too.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Interview with LJ Trafford

     This month, I interview British author LJ Trafford. LJ is about to launch her fourth and final entry in her 11 year-long project of writing about AD 69, the infamous Year of the Four Emperors.

15) LJ, you’d joined quite an august group of extremely talented novelists who have also written fiction almost exclusively about ancient Rome. Among them are Steven Saylor (Gordianus the Finder), Lindsey Davis (Falco), Ruth Downie (Ruso the Medicus) and Zara Altair (Argolicus). Were you mindful of their long shadows while writing your Four Emperors series?
     I am very aware that Roman historical fiction is a crowded field with some truly excellent writers, such as those mentioned above.
     But I don’t think you can worry about what other people are writing.
     I write what I find interesting and hopefully my readers do too. I like to think I have carved out my own niche in the subgenre of gossipy palace intrigue.

14) About a year and a half ago, you were profiled in a local newspaper about your series and you mentioned your interest in Roman history but not why. What is it about ancient Rome that fascinated you so much that you’d studied it in college?

     My interest in Roman history began when I was 17 whilst studying for my A Level in English Literature. One of my set texts was Antony and Cleopatra and being somewhat swotty I decided to read round the subject. I was shocked to discover that the villain of Antony and Cleopatra, Octavius Caesar, became the good emperor Augustus. I love a mystery and I wanted to understand this transformation. So I began a quest. I started off reading historical fiction like I, Claudius and Allan Massie’s books. When I’d exhausted the limited range of Roman histfic available in the UK in the 90s I moved onto primary sources like Tacitus and Suetonius.
     The moment I could draw a family tree of the notoriously interbreeding Julio Claudian Dynasty from memory it became clear I should perhaps consider studying Roman history. That way I could obsess over Romans in an official and acceptable way. Having dropped history as a subject at aged 13 I talked my way onto a degree course by sheer passion, enthusiasm and dedicated fangirling over Augustus.
     What I like is how different a society Ancient Rome is. We like to think we know the Romans, that they are a bit like us. But you don’t have to dig very deep to discover some very odd and strange aspects to their culture and society. I like that gap between their world and ours. I find it fascinating.
     That and all the scandal: the murders, the weird sex games, the endless plotting.
     Being an Emperor is hard and dangerous. You had a whopping 64% chance of having an unnatural death. I am fascinated by how different men successfully, or not, handle this lucrative but often fatal job.

13) One of the central characters in your Four Emperor series is Epaphroditus, the slave who’d eventually killed Nero when the legions were closing in and Nero hadn’t the nerve to kill himself. How challenging was it for you to convincingly recreate someone who lived nearly 2000 years ago?
     In the case of Epaphroditus his personality, his family, his life are all my own invention. This was by necessity for we know precious little about the historical Epaphroditus. He pops up in the historical record in 65AD as the freedman who informs Nero of the Piso plot against him. He next turns up as one of only three people who accompanied Nero on his escape from Rome. A huge stone with his name on it was excavated on the Esquiline Hill, so we know the location of his house. But that is it.
     We have no idea if he was married, if he had children, what positions he’d held previously in his career, when he was born or what he looked like. In forming his character I took some clues from what we do know and importantly, what we don’t. He’s Nero's secretary. One of his few trusted advisers. So why do we know so little about him in comparison to Claudius’ freedmen Narcissus and Pallas? He had a large estate on the fashionable Esquiline Hill, yet he escapes mention in Tacitus as one of those rich, greedy, grasping freedmen the historian frequently heaps scorn upon.
     That got me to thinking, along with the extraordinary fact that he pops up in the mid 90s AD,, that Epaphroditus is the ultimate survivor. Growing up in the palace he has seen and learnt from the rise and fall of senior Imperial freedmen. He’s learnt not to be too flashy. Not to stick out. He knows the importance of choosing the right side at the right time and then knowing the key moment to swoop. That is how he survives the fall of Nero, when  plenty of Nero’s aides did not. It is how he makes it through the year of the four emperors unscathed when other freedmen were facing crucifixion. It’s how he makes it all the way to the 90s AD.
     Nero is the complete opposite. Our sources describe his appearance, his clothing (hilariously he was fond of wandering about the palace in a long robe, slippers and with a handkerchief dandily tied round his neck) his actions and his life from birth. So my job here is to take these facts and use them to create my Nero. He’s going to be different to other writers’ Nero because we are all going to concentrate on  different aspects of him to form our portrait.

12) To return for a minute to that newspaper profile, you’d stated you wished to know what slaves were thinking during the Year of the Four Emperors. Slaves were rarely literate back then and had left behind few if any records of their thoughts even though they were privy to conversations held by their masters because few noticed them. How difficult was it for you to know what their thoughts were or did you have to fill in the gaps?
     I’ll admit I made a lot of it up. But I’d call that educated speculation, For example I recently got pulled up in a Roman history Facebook group for mentioning a slave breeding programme at the palace. The poster wanted to know if I had any evidence for it. The answer is no, no I don’t. In the scant information on slaves lives there is no specific mention of breeding programmes. But given slaves are often discussed as animals or instruments in Roman literature. That home bred slaves were considered more docile than captured slaves. That exotic slaves were highly  prized. It didn’t seem too much of a stretch of imagination .
     We may have no writings from slaves but we do have their tomb inscriptions. These give us some insight into their lives. For instance they often mention their place of origin even when they’ve been in Rome for decades, which shows they held onto their ethnic identity despite everything. They mention  work much more frequently than the tombs of free persons, showing that it how they valued themselves. They often share tombs or set up tombs on behalf of fellow slaves in the same household. So we know they formed friendship groups in households. This is all information I incorporated.

11) You’d said to the newspaper that you’d written a single 500,000 word book over a year and a half, which translates to almost 1000 words a day. How did you manage a workload like that and the requisite research that must have entailed while juggling a family and a full time job as a data analyst?
     I’m afraid that’s fake news! I was grievously misreported! I told the reporter I had written 500,000 ON 18 months. Not IN 18 months. Pah! That is a crazy number. I write one 100,000 book a year. That is quite enough thank you. And frankly it surprises me I somehow manage to produce a book a year.  I write on my commute to work. Or sometimes I ponder the plot staring out the window as the countryside whizzes by. Or I go index sticker mad all over a primary source. Basically I try to do something writing related every day. A small amount each day soon builds up.

10) Assassination and outright murder in ancient Rome seemed to be legitimate methods of political succession. Yet aside from that, how is ancient Roman politics similar and different to you as compared to our age?
     I’m going to be controversial and say it’s not similar at all. There is a sometimes an irresistible urge to compare modern political figures to Roman emperors but resist!
     We are so familiar with terms like ‘Senate’ and knowing that their officials are elected we imagine Roman politics is like ours. It’s not. It’s a court. The closer you are to the emperor the more power you have. Take a look at Nero's last two Praetorian Prefects: Tigellinus and Nymphidius Sabinus.  Tigellinus is a former horse trader, Nero was a massive fan of chariot rating. Nymphidius Sabinus is the grandson of Caligila's secretary, Callistus (a former slave) and the son of a palace prostitute.
     The Senate is there to perform the will of the emperor. Thankfully we live in an age where an opposition is part of our system of government. In the time I write about opposing the emperor could see you forced into suicide. You can be executed due to a rumor, a suspicion. Being related to the emperor is no protection at all. Nero trumped up adultery charges against his first wife Octavia and had her killed. He famously ordered the murder of his own mother, Agrippina because she annoyed him. He had his step brother Britannicus poisoned in front of everyone at an imperial banquet.
     There was no restraint on Imperial power, legal or otherwise.

9) To write about a half a million words about a single but tumultuous year in Roman history must have involved a staggering amount of research. Were you able to travel to extant Roman sites within London or were you restricted to libraries, buying books and perusing academic sites on the internet?
     I did several research trips to Rome back when I was writing the first two books. I took many, many photos from every angle on the Palatine hill. These I consult whenever I need to know what a character can see at a certain position. I also walked the distances between key sites and timed them. Obviously I have lots of maps of ancient Rome which I use to work out the walking routes of characters.  Handily I have Twitter friends based in Rome, one of whom is a tour guide. For Vitellius’ Feast I pinged off a tweet to her asking if you could see the Imperial palace from the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. You can.
     I work near the British Museum so I sometimes nip in there in my lunch hour and look at Roman jewelry or utensils that I might use in a story.
     Other than that I have a large library of classical books at home. Some histories and biographies, but also picture books of mosaics and frescoes.

8) Of the four emperors and would be emperors you’d profiled in each book, which ones, if any, did you admire most and which ones, of any, did you grow to despise?
     I have a soft spot for Nero. He really got the majesty of being emperor, that it’s about putting on a show. What a show it was!
     On the other hand, by the time we meet him in Palatine he’s somewhat lost touch with reality. Mainly because his staff around him are creating his own reality for him.
     Galba is fascinating in that on paper he should have been a great emperor. He has military experience, plenty of governmental experience, is respected highly by all. Yet within 3 months of arriving in Rome he’s decapitated in the Forum, I had great fun in Galba's Men unpicking quite what goes so wrong so quickly for poor Galba.
     Otho was an interesting one. He does something heinous in organising a very bloody coup against Galba. But once emperor he surprises even Tacitus by his good actions and noble end. I decided that my Otho would be generous, kind, well meaning, but fatally flawed with a reckless charm that inadvertently endangers everyone around him.
     The emperor I really didn’t like was Vitellius. *shudder* He has no redeeming features whatsoever.

7) At the end of Vita Brevis, Ruth Downie pointed out that, unlike Roman Britain, Rome itself was more of a challenge because of the paucity of knowledge about the former (which required more invention) and surfeit of knowledge about the latter. Which aspect of Roman history was most difficult for you to research, which was easiest and what rubric did you use for assimilating that information or not?
     I loathe researching and writing about the Roman army,
     There are so many books on it. So many enthusiasts. Also primary sources are bloody rubbish at describing battles, I almost cried trying to work out what the blooming heck happened in the Battle of Cremona. I hate looking at arrows depicting troop movements. I just don’t understand them. I managed to avoid writing about the Roman army until my third book, Otho’s Regret and then I really had no choice.
     In terms of there being so much information, the benefits of writing fiction is that I can pick what I want to write about. The story is the important thing. It's not my job to educate readers in every aspect of Roman life. It’s my job to entertain them.

6) For those of us who aren’t experts in AD 69 (and I readily plead my own ignorance as my research, like Downie’s, is largely confined to early 2nd century Britannia), did you find it necessary to change certain facts in the historical record or did you weave your fictional narrative around an unalterable framework of Roman history?
     I am extraordinarily lucky in that Tacitus dutifully recorded the events of 69ad in his Histories. He was a teenager in 69 but many of the players in that year were still alive when he was writing his Histories. He interviewed people who were actually there. Similarly the biographer  Suetonius’ father served under Otho and could report on that emperor's final days. The Greek writer Plutarch had friends who had taken part in the key battle of Cremona. It is probably the best recorded year in Roman history. This is all very unusual for ancient history where  historians can be writing hundreds of years after the events they are  describing.
     Tacitus provided the structure and the set pieces of the book. Though sometimes Tacitus and I differed on what is important. I left out most of the happenings in the provinces that the great historian devotes many chapters on. I also felt the narrative needed more sex and swearing. Tacitus as a Roman feels great national shame at certain events that are clearly bloody hilarious. Such as the siege of Placentia where the Romans got so drunk that they turned up to besiege the town having forgotten to bring any siege equipment. Or when Otho's coup was due to take place on 11th January but everyone was too drunk to organise. So it happened on 15th January instead. Booze plays a big role in many of the dramatic turns during the year.
     I changed very little in writing about the events. When it came to characters I did some inventing. For instance I made Epaphroditus and Otho friends when there is nothing in the record to say they had ever met (Though surely given both were members of Nero's inner circle they would at least have been aware of each other). Anyone given a solitary line or two in the historical record is fair game to a writer and I took full advantage that nobody could prove me wrong!

5) Plotter or pantser?
     A bit of both. I have a timeline of what needs to happen to keep to the historical record. I have vague ideas of soapy subplots for my character. But that's it. The rest is made up on the fly. I tried not to read too far ahead in the sources because my characters have no foreknowledge of what is coming and I thought it would be easier to write that if it came as a surprise to me, too.

4) Describe your average writing day. Do you use notebooks, laptops or a combination of both?
     Due to limited time my commute into work is my writing time. I used to write in notebooks. But as I don't write chronologically it was a nightmare remembering what scene was in which notebook. It made things way more difficult than they needed to be. These days I write on my smart phone. It is quicker and as I have Parkinson’s Disease my right hand has limited mobility some days, so it is much easier to type than write by hand.
     I try to avoid working in the evenings. I’ll use a day off to power on with a book. Whenever I’m approaching a deadline I sacrifice my lunchtime walk and hole up in a library near my work place.

3) What advice would you give to any novice considering or beginning to write a historical novel?
     Read, read, read. You’ll absorb a good background knowledge of your era that’ll save you loads of time having to look up the basics.
     Always have at least one unobservant character that you can blame any inaccuracies on. That was how I got over my fear of writing about the Roman army. I put my character Philo in the action. He knows even less about the Roman army than I do. So if there’s a mistake on the shape of the army helmets, it’s Philo’s fault not mine. He’s an idiot.
     The undescribed soup/stew ingredients is a great way round the pain of working out which food was available in which part of the year.
     But most of all write about what you find interesting.

2) Did you ever stop to think about what you admired most about ancient Rome and what aspects you’d found the most deplorable? And if so, what were they?
     The obvious answer is slavery. It was absolutely engrained in Roman society. Though there is much hand ringing by Roman authors about the treatment of slaves, at no point do any of them even consider abolition. It never enters their thought process.
     Also the complete lack of mercy in warfare. There is no distinction given to civilian populations from fighting soldiers. Civilians are raped, killed or enslaved as a matter of course.
     In terms of what I admire about the Romans I guess it’s their ability to get stuff done. Huge building projects, a road network, aqueducts and viaducts. Their ability to create infrastructure both in physical form and in administrative systems is quite brilliant. 

1)      What’s next for LJ Trafford? The Year of the Five Emperors? The Year of the Six Emperors? Or something more contemporary?
     I’m writing How to Survive in Ancient Rome for Pen and Sword books. It’s non fiction so very different to what I’ve written before. But it should be just as fun as my fiction books.

Linda Trafford's books can be found here on her Amazon page.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Pecker Leaks, Cohen Gets Three Years

     OK, let's try to put this in perspective. Michael Cohen is a dried out hors d'oeuvre, a shrunken road apple on the highway to justice. He got three years today after prosecutors originally had asked for about five.
     I expect Trump will be crowing about that while never mentioning that his old pal David Pecker cut a sweetheart deal with those same prosecutors after turning on the scum spigot. Pecker even admitted to prosecutors that, yeah, the National Enquirer should have mentioned the $150,000 in hush money disguised as "catch and kill" to Karen McDougal to federal authorities, "Oops, sorry, we sure won't do that again. Can I go now?
     Because Cohen shot his wad and has long outlived his usefulness to Trump and just about everyone else on the planet except for Bubba, the hypermasculine 300 lb bull whose penis is tattooed with, "Shake hands with it, bitch" and anxiously awaiting Cohen in the prison shower. Trumpie may still have use for Pecker in case another incredibly greedy and misguided woman like Daniels and McDougal come out of the woodwork  alleging an affair with a mushroom-headed guy who seems to think he's the honorary Bachelor.
     But Cohen's second guilty plea, that earned from a Trump an enraged Twitter response that read like something Al Capone would've written if he'd found out Frank Nitti had just served him up on a silver platter on tax evasion charges, is nonetheless important. "He's weak!" Trump voicelessly screamed. Weak how? In stove-piping information to the feds about your direction of dirty deeds done not so dirt cheap?
     Granted, this facet of the probe doesn't mention the Russians... yet. But we all know about the Steele Dossier and Cohen's testimony all but proves that dossier does indeed exist.  Who cares who'd paid for it if the contents are real? As Trump himself has said on countless occasions, opposition research is part and parcel in a campaign. And, yes, yes it is.
     And, even more important than the Steele Dossier (although it alleges leverage Trump had given Russians in the form of the pee tape not to mention preliminary research on real estate sweetheart deals Trump intended as bribes to those selfsame Russians (such as offering Putin a $50,000,000 penthouse suite in the unbuilt Trump Tower Moscow that would've virtually required his personal approval), is what Trump had directed both Cohen and Pecker to do.
     Seeking his own leverage over Trump, Cohen had secretly taped several conversations he'd had with his boss, tapes that were seized by federal authorities in the raid on Cohen's home and office. We have all heard by now Trump directing the hush money to McDougal and disguising it as a "catch and kill" payment.
     And, of course, since this was all orchestrated after Trump had officially thrown his jester cap in the ring, all this hush money came about simply because Trump tried to sway the results of the election by making sure McDougal's story wouldn't sway the results of the election.
     That's not only campaign finance fraud, which is a felony under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, but anything amounting to a sum of $25,000 and up is punishable by five years in prison, two more than Cohen got.
     Math's not my strong suit but I think I stand on pretty firm ground when I guess $150,000 is much greater than $25,000.
     And if I know the Department of Justice's MO as well as I've grown to these last 14 years, it's that the DOJ doesn't spend upwards of a year and a half plus and millions of dollars going after stooges like Cohen. There's an end game, an even bigger pot of gold beyond this little rainbow provided by Cohen, Flynn and Manafort.
    And we all know who will be the star of that end game.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Gotham City Digest, 12/22/19

He will bury himself.

     Orrin Hatch, the world's youngest mummy, says he doesn't care if a fellow Republican crook is in the WH. But take heart, peeps. He'll soon be replaced by Senator Mitt Romney, the world's most dangerous game show host.

     Sure. The military will build the wall for free. Just like when he rounded up a bunch of undocumented Polish laborers, paid them under minimum wage and let them go crazy like with tRump Tower.

     Time Magazine just made journalists the Person of the Year, among them Jamal Khashoggi. This is gonna make Trumpie the Clown's double-woven head explode.

     So, while we're subjected to Luddite Republicans at the House Google hearing and proving with their stupidity and conspiracy theories that internet illiteracy is indeed a partisan thing, this is the dog and pony show going on in the Oval Office. Who are these 10 terrorists that Trump claims to have caught? And where in the new NAFTA deal did Mexico agree to pay for the wall? Republicans simply live in an alternate universe and they're invading ours while trying to substitute our reality with theirs. That's all there is to it.
     This is what Trump said to "Chuck" and Nancy in the Oval Office before the press. "If I don't get my way (on border wall) I will shut down the government." "If there is a shut down it will be my shut down." “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.”
      If and when there's a government shutdown over this, look for him to blame Chuck and Nancy and all the Democrats despite these words.

     This is a map of the states that have ratified the ERA and the ones who hadn't. Not surprisingly, the ERA wasn't ratified in the redneck states. Even Texas passed it. We need one more state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment that started in 1974. I cannot believe this is still an issue.

     Even though I hated having Obama as president, I miss having intelligence and sanity in the White House. Who else is with me on this?

     Lame duck House Majority Leader claims Democrats shouldn't worry too much about impeaching Trump. Yeah, he'd love that. This clown also once said the purpose of congressional oversight was to bring down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers. The hypocrisy of the GOP is simply breathtaking.

     Because, fuck what Pelosi said. Nadler's got the right idea. All that remains to be seen is whether he follows through on it.

     The third point brought up by Cillizza is, I think, the most important and potentially most damning part of the Friday afternoon court filings:
"3. Cohen lied to Congress about the nature and extent of his involvement in trying to cut a deal on Trump Tower Moscow with the Russians to hide 'the fact that the Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government.'"
      Quite simply, this means the minute Trump threw his hat in the ring in June 2015, the Russians already had financial leverage on him. And this is because since at least 2013, when the Miss Universe pageant was held in Moscow, Trump began to vigorously pursue building a Trump Tower in the capital city.
      Later, of course, they would have more forms of leverage on him. And Cohen's second guilty plea only augments the possibility of the existence of the Steele Dossier.

     And even if the Democrats don't go after Trump, there's always Stepford Wife Betsy DeVos. My Xmas is looking up, already.

     One problem: If the world ends, your Apocalypse Doctorate will be useless.

     Meanwhile, in Cranston, RI, the school district has hired bill collectors to get lunch money. I swear to fucking Christ, lunch money. Remember the good old days when you were worried bullies were going to steal your lunch money?

     One of the latest from Dear Leader, our stable genius:

     Rigged hunt led by 17 angry Democrats snares another witch, according to the fake news.

     "Christian author who said atheists ‘exacerbate evil’ was cheating on his wife with two women." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯And finally...

     Rachel gets the last word on Michael Cohen's sentencing and Butina's plea deal. Let's hope that little red sparrow sings loud and long.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
  • The Missing Security Tapes From the World Trade Center.
  • It's a Blunderful Life.
  • The Civil War II
  • Sweet Jesus, I Hate America
  • Top Ten Conservative Books
  • I Am Mr. Ed
  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #106: The Turkey Has Landed edition
  • #105: Blame it on Paris or Putin edition
  • #104: Make Racism Great Again Also Labor Day edition
  • #103: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Toilet edition
  • #102: Orange is the New Fat edition
  • #101: Electoral College Dropouts edition
  • #100: Centennial of Silliness edition
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Top 10 Things Donald Trump Said to President Obama
  • Paul Ryan's Top Ten Conditions on Running for the Speakership
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Mitt Romney Won't Run for President in 2016
  • Top 10 Results of the NYPD's Work Slowdown
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  • Top 10 Reasons Operation American Spring Went Flat
  • Top Ten Facts of the MH370 Air Disaster
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  • Top 10 Signs Walmart's Mistreating its Workers
  • Top 10 Diversions John McCain Found During Syria Hearing
  • Top 10 George Zimmerman Excuses for Speeding.
  • Top 10 Reasons Paula Deen Got Fired by the Food Network
  • Top Ten Ways Pope Francis is Deviating From Convention
  • Top 10 Reasons For the Pope's Resignation
  • Top 10 Emails Hacked From the Bush Family's Email Accounts
  • Top 10 Lies Told by Mitt Romney at the 2nd Debate.
  • Top 10 Examples of How Hard the Campaign Trail is on Ann D. Romney.
  • Top 10 Ways to Tell The Boston Red Sox Are Finished.
  • Top 10 Things Mitt May be Hiding in His Tax Returns.
  • Top 10 Events at the Romney Olympics.
  • Mitt Romney's Top 10 Wild & Crazy Moments.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Dick Cheney Got a Heart Transplant.
  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
  • My Top 10 Resolutions.
  • Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign.
  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
  • Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter During #OWS Eviction.
  • Top 10 Herman Cain Pickup Lines.
  • Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign.
  • Top 10 Inaccuracies re bin Laden's Death.
  • Top 10 Ways to Prevent a TSA Patdown.
  • Top Ten Things Not to Say When You're Pulled Over.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Donald Trump Bowed Out of the Presidential Race.
  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Today's Parliament Inquiry into News Corp.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why There Was No Vote on the Debt Ceiling Last Night.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Dick Cheney's Upcoming Memoir.
  • Top Ten Ways Americans Will Observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
  • Top Ten Advances in Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • Top Ten Inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Book About Lincoln.
  • Top Ten Suggestions From the Cat Food Commission.
  • Top Ten Worst Moments in George W. Bush's Presidency.
  • Top Ten Facts in George W. Bush's Memoir.
  • Top Ten Reasons Terry Jones Postponed His Koran Burning
  • Top 10 Causes for Dick Cheney's Congestive Heart Failure
  • Top Ten Ways That Jan Brewer Will Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
  • Top Ten Demands in Sarah Palin's Contract
  • Top Ten Whoppers in Karl Rove's New Book
  • Top 10 Items Left Behind in Rush Limbaugh's Apartment
  • Top Ten Things Barack Obama said to Rush Limbaugh in the Hospital
  • Top Ten Bizarre Promos Offered by the New Jersey Nets
  • Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal
  • George W. Bush's Top Ten Lesser Achievements
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
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  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
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  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
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  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
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  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
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  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
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  • YouTube
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