Thursday, April 18, 2019

Nothing to See Here, Folks...

     An hour and a half after Bill Barr's dog and pony show of a press conference this morning, the heavily-censored version of Robert Mueller's report was released to the US Congress and the American people on the DOJ's own website.
     What you see above are just four of the first 11 pages that follows Mueller's Executive Summary of the 448 page report. I've taken several other screengrabs of the heavy-handed censorship but I'm sure you get the idea.
     Obviously, I haven't had the chance to read much beyond the Executive Summary but this paragraph strikes me as being perhaps the most important in the report. Mueller wrote (emphasis mine):
Under applicable Supreme Court precedent, the Constitution does not categorically and permanently immunize a President for obstructing justice through the use of his Article II powers. The separation-of-powers doctrine authorizes Congress to protect official proceedings, including those of courts and grand juries, from corrupt, obstructive acts regardless of their source. We also concluded that any inroad on presidential authority that would occur from prohibiting corrupt acts does not undermine the President’s ability to fulfill his constitutional mission. The term 'corruptly' sets a demanding standard. It requires a concrete showing that a person acted with an intent to obtain an improper advantage for himself or someone else, inconsistent with official duty and the rights of others. A preclusion of 'corrupt' official action does not diminish the President’s ability to exercise Article II powers. For example, the proper supervision of criminal law does not demand freedom for the President to act with a corrupt intention of shielding himself from criminal punishment, avoiding financial liability, or preventing personal embarrassment. To the contrary, a statute that prohibits official action undertaken for such corrupt purposes furthers, rather than hinders, the impartial and evenhanded administration of the law. It also aligns with the President’s constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws. Finally, we concluded that in the rare case in which a criminal investigation of the President’s conduct is justified, inquiries to determine whether the President acted for a corrupt motive should not impermissibly chill his performance of his constitutionally assigned duties. The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.
      In other words, Mueller is saying it isn't up to the Justice Department to make a determination as to whether a president committed obstruction and that it never was. Remember, it was never in the Special Counsel's job description to hand down indictments. The 38 that were handed down were just ancillary. Mueller was saying the final arbiter of the question as to whether or not Trump committed obstruction ought to be Congress. Barr's position was that Mueller should've made that determination, which is, at best, very flawed legal reasoning. Mueller kicked the ball into Congress's court. This is very far from being an exoneration. Mueller was inviting Congress to look at the entire report, not a heavily redacted version, THE ENTIRE REPORT, to determine whether or not Trump committed obstruction and other crimes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Racist-Reverse Racist Right Wing Three Ring Circus

  (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
Step right up and see the right wing hate clowns spew venom in all three rings before your amazéd eyes!
     That was sort of the way it was on Vapidol Hill yesterday as the Democratic grownups tried to question various right wingers, two of them senior Cabinet officials. And, considering their, well, deplorable conduct, it'd be very difficult to imagine them not getting their marching orders beforehand from one Donald J. Trump, who never met a national landmark he didn't hate.
     "Stick to your guns an' don't let them uppity black women scare you into sayin' somethin' that'll embarrass me or get me in trouble," one can hear Donald Trump saying in Alec Baldwin's voice. So let's start with the third and final confrontation of the day: Failed B movie producer and kleptocrat extraordinaire Steve Mnuchin vs House Finance Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters.
     24 hours before his so-called hearing, Mnuchin had sent a letter to the committee telling them how much time he'd actually be able to give them as he had a very pressing engagement at 5:30. Chairwoman Waters began by telling the Treasury Secretary that in all times his predecessors had testified before the pertinent committees, none of them had ever specified how much time they would give in testimony.
     They had a testy give and take that lasted for several minutes, with the rich Jewish white man mansplinin' to the uppity little old black woman how it should've gone down. Finally, after being told he wasn't being held against his will and thereby thwarting his persecution complex, Mnuchin then told Waters that, "You're supposed to take the gravel (sic) and bang it, that's the appropriate ..."
     Dutch Auntie Maxine wasn't amused and told Mnuchin just before he fled for his important meeting, "Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee."
      By the way, Mnuchin's "important meeting" was with "Bahrain’s Interior Minister, H.E. General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, to discuss important cooperation in the fight against terrorism and illicit finance." Which, as I helpfully reminded Mnuchin on his Twitter account, "Two billionaires getting together to discuss how to combat 'illicit finance' is like a butcher and a big game hunter talking about animal rights. Btw, Maxine owned your arrogant ass. Maybe you should go back to producing B movies, Fort Knox."
      Mnuchin was supposed to testify before Waters' committee about releasing Donald Trump's tax returns. So, please, put your considerable money where your big mouth is and help us combat "illicit finance," Steve.

Simply the Worst, Barr None
Stepping into the second ring of this right wing Republican Klown Show, we see the recycled William Barr, another white man whose sole remit and purpose in life has been shriveled down to defending a felonious freak named Donald Trump. Like Mnuchin after him, Barr decided to white mansplain to another African American Congresswoman, Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan. The optics, to put it mildly, were horrendous.
     Barr was there to testify about a wide variety of topics, including the Mueller report that he's furiously redacting even as we speak, Trump's obsession with repealing the ACA and which one he really serves: The American people or Donald Trump?
     Lawrence fought mightily to square what Barr was saying before the committee with what he'd piously promised the Senate during his dog and pony show confirmation hearing. During his confirmation he assured the gullible right wing senators that he would enforce and follow the letter of the law, obviously with two pudgy sausage fingers crossed under the table. Since being repurposed and reinserted into the Attorney General's office, Barr essentially told Lawrence that, no, his job was to give the President what he wants (provided it's Donald Trump).
     In other words, as long as the psychopath Pretender is still in the Oval Office in between rounds of golf, we are a nation not of laws but of one profoundly disturbed man who makes George W. Bush look like George Washington.
     At one point (see image above), Barr made an emoji face plainly designed to convey that he didn't give a shit what the mouthy black woman was telling or asking him. But at least he held out his pinkie as he swilled from his plastic water bottle to show that he is, after all, not the hatchet man as some have characterized him but as a man of sophistication.
     These two performances by Mnuchin and Barr put on full display the sheer level of arrogance and contempt these Republican operatives feel toward the new Democratic-led House that, unlike their Republican predecessors, are actually tasked with, and pursuing, the rule of law and its enforcement. Mnuchin was there to discuss releasing the six years of Trump's tax returns the Democrats have demanded. Barr was there, again, to ensure the Mueller report would never be seen and that the ACA will be repealed if one man wishes it so.
     But there was a sliver lining in the dark clouds gathering around women of color and one fought back. Unfortunately, that one was token...

Nazi History Major Candace Owens
Candace Owens is part of a breed that never seems to die out, regardless of an abundance of facts that should make their existence impossible- The black token Republican. People like Owens and the occasional Uncle Tom trotted out by Fox "News", are used for one reason and one reason only- That such human window dressing proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that they don't hate black people and can actually stand being in the same room with them provided they think like them, i.e. if they're one of the "good ones."
     Owens is the comms director of Toilet Paper USA or some other right wing advocacy group. She was called to testify before the Judiciary Committee during a hearing on violence caused by white nationalism. And at some point, Rep. Ted Lieu of California, a Democrat who's as tech and media-savvy as AOC, played a 30 second clip of Owens' speaking at a conference in London, a city that had the shit bombed out of it during the Blitz early in the second world war, in which she seemed to extol Adolph Hitler.

     This was the look on her face when she heard her own words, in her own voice, played back on Lieu's cell phone held up to the microphone. Understandably, she wasn't pleased, nor should she have been. However, Owens wasn't displeased because of her ignorant blathering on about Hitler and how he wasn't a nationalist, the precise platform that got him elected Chancellor of Germany in 1932 because a nationalist wouldn't kill his own people as Hitler had (even though history informs us they do all the time, with Trump but the latest example). 
     She spat some words back at Lieu that came thisclose to calling him a racist for thinking black people "were too stupid" to listen to the rest of the speech, even though everyone is free to do so and that her own words were taken completely out of context. This is what Owens in fact had said in London last December:
"Whenever we say 'nationalism,' the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. You know, he was a national socialist, but if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine."
     Owens seemed to have admitted that Hitler was a nationalist and that, if he'd confined his ambitions to Germany, everyone should've been hunky-dorey with it. And that, for better than his first six and a half years as Chancellor, is pretty much what he'd done. In fact, these were some of the major accomplishments of Hitler's first six years and eight months of his dictatorship:
     Forcing Jews to register as Jews. Sending out the Bund to vandalize and close down Jewish-owned businesses (the Kristallnacht). Gutting the German judiciary from the top on down and packing it with Nazi ideologues. Removing or executing journalists who weren't onboard with the Nazi agenda and replacing them with, again, Nazi ideologues. Doing the same with German radio. Reducing German President Hindenburg to a mere puppet.
     This was all before Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Everything that Hitler did, including his plans for a Holocaust, were done during those non-Nationalist years in which everyone should've been like Neville Chamberlain (who adopted a ruinous and spineless policy of appeasement exactly one week after the Kristallnacht) and let him do whatever he wanted as long as he kept it confined to Germany.
     These were all things Owens should've and would've known if she'd but consulted even the always-dodgy Wikipedia.
     These are the people who, while praising Hitler, show their contempt for the rule of law in a democratic republic that Hitler also held in complete and utter contempt.
     Like their ringmaster, one Donald John Trump.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Gotham City Digest

(In which we promise to never have a tantrum until we get our way)

     This was Attorney General William Barr's attitude when questioned earlier today by Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan. This is exactly the sort of arrogance you would expect of mob lawyers.

     Speaking of Barr, apparently the fix was in a lot sooner than we thought it was.

     That Rep. Ted Lieu isn't wearing a cape and a big S on his chest right now is a sign of his true humility. He OWNED GOP token black person Candace Owens with her own words extolling Hitler. The look on her face was priceless.

     This is just like something out of the Onion. On election day in Israel, Bibi's at the beach and screaming at people that he's going to lose and the liberals will win.

     It figures that Devin Nunes, the stupidest congressman in the country, would also hire the stupidest lawyers in the country. #YachtCocaineProstitutes

     I agree with everything Michelle Goldberg says except stopping short of yelling at her in restaurants, Making someone a pariah should be an all in proposition. This woman would have fit in perfectly with Hitler's relocation program and Eichmann would have loved her. She should be ostracized from all polite human society.

     So what do you do when you invite Chinese spies and oligarchs into your golf club and the Secret Service lets them in? Fire the Director.

     I admire Republicans who eat their own because think of the intestinal fortitude it requires to deal with the aftertaste. This is the court document detailing my old "pal" Jerome Corsi's lawsuit against Roger Stone.

     Translated Trump: Democrat liberal politicians will never be happy unless they get to enforce the rule of law after the audacious revelations and evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors are uncovered. We cannot allow this to continue!

     Another flaming log to throw on the growing pile.

     "Give me a quickie." Jesus God, we're all doomed.

     If he can demand a birth certificate, we the people can demand the tax returns.

     No. Donald Trump will be remembered as the person who put kids in cages. Just remember, for all her cruelty, Kirstjen Nielson got fired Sunday for not being cruel enough.

     Wow, this hit piece by Harry Cheadle from last year really aged well, huh? SNL is enjoying higher ratings than they have in years, so blow me, Harry. PS, I coined the term "limousine liberals", among many many others that have been used without credit or attribution over the last 15 years. You're welcome.

     6(e) is the key here- What is permissible to be released. Barr seems to be adopting a razor-narrow definition of what is permissible for the public to see. And if Barr had his way, we'll get a redacted report that'll look like, no pun intended, a fucking bar code. Grand jury testimony should not necessarily be covered in 6(e). Even a federal grand jury wouldn't be privileged to be told national security secrets. In light of that fact, everything in the Mueller report should be released to the people.

     More of us should be making these connections between Fox personalities and white national terrorism. Countless times, Fox hosts make threats against specific people and those people are either targeted or killed (Like Bill O'Reilly and his constant jeremiads against Dr. George Tiller, who was eventually killed by a right wing zealot). It's notable that Fox didn't fire Pirro and just suspended her for a couple of weeks.

     Remember back in the good ol' days when San Francisco used to be the most liberal city in America? The right wing yuppies took over. Check out the video. The little foreign man with the jogging suit sounds like an Andy Kaufman or Sacha Baron Cohen character. The city has 7000 homeless people. This shelter would house just 200 of them.

     While Trumpie the Klown is screaming on Twitter that Mueller leaked details of a report we all paid for (ergo admitting the findings are true), this is the REAL leak. Yes, the Commandant of the US Marine Corps is now officially a whistleblower.

     Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, Mickey. Your boss is a crook with a lot to hide. You know it, Trump knows it, we all know it. He's fighting this tooth and nail because he's got a lot to hide.

      Poacher killed by elephant, eaten by lions. Why, I'm... I'm crushed. This just eats me up.

     I don't mean to make light of the assault on Bret Hart the other night but watch the various videos taken from different vantage points and tell me this doesn't resemble a Trump rally. I guarantee you at least 75% of the mouthbreathers in this crowd, these little Chadwicks, voted for Trump.

     Creepy cult "evolves" its anti-gay bigotry to ensure tithing continues.

     Oh I'm sure Republican David Stringer doesn't demonize child sex trafficking since he contributed to it.

     I don't know why we're all not drinking more heavily because of Trump.

     Really, could you expect anything better from Betsy DeVos?

     "Yeah, uh. Da hard drive fell offa truck. Yestiddy. Yeah, dat's it." Yeah, Michael Cohen found evidence of illegal GOP contributions from China? Let's keep in mind that during this time, Michael Cohen was the RNC's deputy finance chair.

     OK, I'm guessing this right wing nut job Trumpanzee who threatened Rep. Ilhan Omar's life isn't an MS-13 gang member.

     I got two words for these right wing nut bag trolls- "Puertooo Ricoooo..."

      Albert Wilson got 12 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit.
      Again, Brock Turner got three months for a rape he did try to commit, in front of witnesses. #whiteprivilege

     In other words, the son in law of Individual #1.

     Another racist bites the dust.

     As with the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Mueller probe investigators are now in the ridiculous position of being whistleblowers. And now, Republicans who should've known better than to even let Barr get out of committee let alone to confirm him in an up and down vote are starting to mutiny.

     Donnie Dumbo picks a fight with another corpse.

     Praise the Lord and pass the IRS.

     Click on the link. Read the tweet in full. It's the saddest thing you'll read all day. This three year-old girl actually has more sense than the entire NRA.

     No, the health care industry will go down with a fight.

      I'm not ashamed to say I'm laughing myself sick over liberals who foamed at the mouth over Trump's sexual predation but are now suddenly OK with #CreepyJoeBiden's own. Oh, he was just showing affection, you say? How about we ask the countless females he's creeped out over the years with his groping? Or shouldn't they have a say in the matter?

     Shorter Paul Ryan: "AOC didn't want to follow my advice on how to spectacularly fail in Congress."

     This is how Don Young chose to observe #NationalHugANewspersonDay. @DonYoungAK is a snarling psychopath. Sheer spite is the only thing keeping that piece of whale shit alive.

      “Barr told lawmakers he concluded the evidence was not sufficient to prove that the president obstructed justice. But members of Mueller’s team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming & significant.”
       One more time- Barr was a plant for this very reason.

      Caligula nominated his horse to the Senate.
      Trump just nominated jackass Herman Cain to the Fed. #themorethingschangethemoretheystaythesame

     51 years after Dr. King's assassination, the FBI's massive and furtive spying on African American activists is ongoing. Meanwhile, our government is still forbidden from tracking gun sales on a national database.

     This fascist bullshit is exactly like something you'd read about in the Nuremberg trial transcripts. But it's happening at our southern border. And finally...

     The Trump 2020 campaign now officially has a trailer.

Friday, April 5, 2019

In Praise of White Men

     Sure, white men have done a lot for this country and the world. They denied women the right to vote for nearly a century and a half, enslaved Africans for 450 years, wouldn't give them freedom until nearly a century after the Declaration of Independence, started all seven Crusades, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WWI, The Boer War, the Spanish American War, The Korean War, the Vietnam war, both Iraq wars and the endless war in Afghanistan. They crushed union uprisings, the Civil Rights movement, created the Great Depression, the atom bomb, the hydrogen bomb. brought about the Holocaust. White men starved to death tens of millions of Ukrainians, have overturned democratically elected governments, have polluted the entire planet earth so pieces of ice the size of Rhode Island are calving from the Arctic then hid the evidence of global warming for decades. White men have polluted entire countries then called out paramilitary death squads when the locals rebelled. They also brought about the Great Panic of 2008 that crashed the housing market and other white men rewarded them for their horrible behavior. White men carry out almost every mass shooting since Columbine then fight against the slightest gun control measures. White men created the KKK, carried out countless lynchings, opposed school integration and integrated busing, the IRA and every right wing nationalist, neonazi movement since the Second World War they also created. White men gave us McCarthyism, the Teapot Dome Scandal, Watergate, Iran-Contra and, lastly, Donald fucking Trump and Russiagate.
      Why, if white men keep helping us as they have, they might make it so we won't have to worry about anything else ever again.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Dial T For Treason

     Betrayal of the American people by aiding and abetting a hostile foreign power to subvert the electoral process for Donald Trump's personal and financial benefit then taking an oath to defend the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. is certainly a crime. It's called treason.
     One could see how little Trump cared about those hallowed American institutions in his final moments as a civilian while taking the oath of office on January 20, 2017. He cocked his head to one side and tonelessly and narcoleptically repeated Chief Justice John Roberts as if he was ordering a taco bowl from the Trump Grille.
     So why aren't the mainstream media doing their part and using the T word? That would be T for Treason. T for Traitor. Hell, even T for Treachery. Why is it up to guys like David Corn in non-corporate media outlets such as Mother Jones to remind those in the reality-based community what is palpably true? That Donald Trump is a traitor and not just any traitor. One worse than Benedict Arnold (Unlike the Russian plot to infiltrate and influence the 2016 election, the West Point plot involving Arnold was a bust).
     From practically the moment he took office, Trump would start treating the Justice Department as if it was his own private law firm and legal goon squad. He had made it plain that he'd appointed Jeff Sessions as his first Attorney General simply so he could spike any investigation into the Russian meddling in the election. Not long after Sessions had done the ethical thing and recused himself from any involvement or oversight of such an investigation, Trump publicly fumed that if he knew Sessions would do that, he never would've nominated Sessions, in the first place.
     Not long after Sessions was confirmed by the same Judiciary Committee of which he was a part, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, lifelong Republican, on May 9th (which triggered the Mueller probe a week or so later) when Comey refused to answer whether or not Michael Flynn was under investigation. Then the very next day Trump bragged about doing so with Russia's Foreign Minister Lavorv and then-Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak (whom several Trump insiders, including Sessions, lied about meeting during the campaign). He fired Comey, as he said in front of Tass photographers who were given the privilege of attending the Oval Office meeting that was denied US journalists, to relieve the pressure of the Russia probe.
     Others lied about meeting with Russian nationals and Kremlin-linked Putin insiders, starting with Trump's own son in law, Jared Kushner, who lied on his SF86 form (the security clearance application) and was allowed to revise no fewer than three times while still keeping his clearance. Flynn lied about meeting with Russians, Sessions lied about meeting with Russians (despite plenty of photographic evidence showing him speaking with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel), his namesake Don Jr lied about the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 and even kept the meeting from the FBI, the Justice Department, the media and the American people. Then Trump Sr lied about the meeting again by dictating a memo on Air Force One about the meeting being about Russian baby adoptions and not sanctions.
     Trump openly invited the Russians to hack the DNC servers for Hillary's emails, which appeared on Wikileaks the very next day. That alone should've ended Trump's campaign but it didn't.
     So, after months of openly colluding with top level Russian government officials, then repeatedly lying about it, some of whom being sentenced to prison terms for doing so, after acting exactly the way a guilty man would act, how come the Mueller probe, according to Bill Barr's "I didn't read the book" book report on the report, gives Trump a free pass?
     The answer, of course, is it doesn't. Even the reliable right wing stooge Barr said in his ridiculous four page synopsis of the 320+ page-long Mueller report, culled from millions of raw documents, that it did not exonerate Trump of collusion or conspiracy to collude or anything specific. Trump was given, according to Barr, “multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” And then, there was the closest thing that Barr would give us to a smoking gun when he wrote “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
     So, when one gives this even a cursory look, a disinterested bird's eye view of this whole sordid affair with a detached historical perspective, one has to ask why the mainstream media are not calling Trump's actions for what they are: Treason?
     Many Democrats are freely using the I word (Impeachment), something hardly ever uttered during the Bush years. Whereas the I word may have lost much of if not all of its shock value, the word treason has not and should not, considering the stakes. While Trump may or may not have colluded with the Russians to spike the election for his personal benefit, the fact remains, he knew about it, the Mueller report proves the Russians reached out with offers to help and, at the very least, he stood by and let them without once realizing they would immediately have leverage over him and his insiders (such as Flynn).
     Then there's Trump's post-election behavior while he slouches across the world like a bored, exhausted mall husband, the unconditional support for anything Putin wants: Lifting of sanctions on Russia, withdrawing from Syria (which still hasn't happened), walking away from the INF Treaty and a whole host of other wish list items. In short, anything that strengthens Russia and weakens the USA, you can be sure Trump will support.
     For his entire so-called presidency, Trump has been acting not just like a guilty man but a kept man, someone given an exalted slave position but is still a slave nonetheless, because his master has something compromising on him.
     These are words and ideas that people other than David Corn and Adam Schiff should be hammering home several times a day, every day. Goebbels once famously wrote that the way to make a lie the truth is to keep repeating it loudly and often until people accept it as truth.
     Might I remind us all that the same applies to the truth itself?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Anti-Idiot Idiot

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
Anyone who's read Dostoevsky's novel The Idiot knows that it's an ironically-titled classic. The titular character, Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin, is actually Dostoevsky's ideal of what the perfect man is, someone imbued with all the good qualities of true, Christian love. He is considered an idiot by the supporting characters who misconstrue his innate goodness, sweetness and seeming simplicity for simple-mindedness, hence an idiot.
     And then there's Donald Trump, the exact analog, a mere useful idiot who unfailingly parrots the Kremlin's talking points and weakens the United States for Putin's own gain and who, ironically, never even got his Trump Tower Moscow OK'd by the same man he now obsequiously obeys and serves.
     Donald John Trump, accused child molester, philanderer, rapist, tax dodger, welcher, serial liar and draft dodger, a man who cherishes loyalty provided it's unconditionally given to him on demand without the burden of reciprocation, is the perfect, exact analog to Prince Lev Myshkin. His supposed Christian goodness is a mere projection thrust upon him by evangelicals who see in Trump a mere actuator, a shaky hand on a lever of the End of Days. His evangelical supporters viciously defend Jews and Israel while secretly looking upon them as another means to that end, the gathering of Jews for an Apocalypse for which they ceaselessly slaver in the interests of converting the last 144,000 of God's "chosen children."
     The Mueller report, now out for four days yet not out, thanks to the odious likes of the always furtive Mitch McConnell, who just yesterday blocked a non-binding resolution in the Senate to release the Mueller report in full, is still an unexploded land mine. Bill Barr, an obvious plant who has already played his part and is now just taking up space in the Justice Department, last Sunday delivered a four page Cliff Notes condensation of the 74 page Mueller report, one that took 22 months and 25,000,000 taxpayer dollars to assemble, to the Senate Intelligence Committee that has since been widely touted by the right as vindication, even though the still-hidden Mueller report doesn't come close to saying that. Even Barr himself had admitted that the report does not exonerate Trump. We just don't know in what way and against which charges he's not exonerated.
     And Barr's own simple-minded reaction to the Mueller report merely raises more questions than answers among those of us who still care to ask questions and be skeptical of so-called official findings. Former Attorney General Eric Holder recently asked what legal methodology did Bill Barr use in his ridiculous usurpation of the powers of judge and jury. It's like the latter day Joseph Smith and his Golden Bible, "Yes, my flock, I have seen the Golden Bible but you cannot. Trust me, it's... somewhere."
     Of course, there's always the possibility that the Mueller probe didn't find actionable evidence of collusion (and, don't forget, it was understood from the beginning the DOJ has a rule that a Special Counsel can't indict a sitting president, so him not recommending Trump's indictment shouldn't be a surprise) because the Trump campaign didn't need to collude with Russia. After all, Raymond Shaw, the Manchurian Candidate, didn't need to collude with the Communists who'd brainwashed him. And Trump simply didn't need to reach out to them because he knew the Russians already had his jiggling back.

Russia certainly was listening. Consider how truly corrupt the Republican presidential field was in early 2016. There were 17 candidates. Between crooks, con men, political hacks, feeble-minded idiots and nonentities, the Russians chose Donald Trump to support through their own GRU. Now, if Trump was the one they chose, hence the one over whom they exert the most leverage, think of how corrupt Trump truly is to stand out in a field comprised of, at one point, a Bush, a former Canadian rebranded as a white supremacist, an intellectual bantamweight from Florida, a mannequin from Indiana and the narcoleptic Ben Carson.
     Yes, Russia was indeed listening, knowing all too well that Trump wanted to build a tower across the street from the Kremlin not just in 2013 but way back in 1987. It was also during that time when, with his trademark brainless megalomania, he thought he could sign the Soviets to a deal that would lead to denuclearization, forgetting that Reagan had already done that. Now, Trump has "evolved" to the point where he no longer wants to put any constraints on Russia ramping up its nuclear arsenal by simply walking away from the INF treaty.
     Putin is smart enough to know a stooge when he sees it and he latched onto a rube in the throes of dementia who honestly never thought he'd win the 2016 election and, by all measurable standards of psychological sanity and political science, shouldn't have. But Putin also was quick to spot the racism, xenophobia, misogyny and general rage and anger of 62,000,000 Americans still infuriated over a black man running their country for eight years and wanted one of their own to put things right.
     If there's no actionable evidence that Trump conspired or colluded with the Russians, it's because Putin had his hands on the wheel the whole time. Trump was just the moron in the back seat whining, "Are we there, yet?" In July 2016, he openly begged for the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's emails because he knew they already had and, in an absurd game of One Degree of Separation, established plausible deniability in funneling the stolen cache of data through Wikileaks while Julian Assange cowered in the Equadorean embassy.
     Donald Trump is not the rightful president. He's not even an accidental president like Gerald Ford because everything Russia did on his behalf, and the scores of indictments and half a dozen prison sentences prove there was something going on between Team Trump and the Russians, was entirely deliberate.
     With the unwitting or perhaps witting aid of Wikileaks and tech giants such as Twitter and Facebook, Putin's intelligence services and hundreds of paid trolls put together the slickest hacking and disinformation campaign ever seen in the history of the internet. Trump may be hopelessly demented, screaming, "No collusion!" to people instead of "Hello". But he was certainly with it enough to know that Russia was helping him for its own ends. It's no accident that nearly everything Trump has decided has benefited Russia in some way, shape and form. He is the perfect analog of Prince Myshkin if Dostoevsky's Idiot had an evil twin.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Gotham City Digest: No Collusion, No Obstruction, No Nuttin' edition

(In which, if the fix is in, we'll make it less transparent than the current administration)

     So, to recap: Bill Barr writes memo preemptively clearing Trump of obstruction charges.
     As a reward, Trump makes him the Attorney General, whom Mueller was forced to let decide whether Trump should be tried on obstruction charges.
     Barr then clears Trump on obstruction charges without releasing the actual report.
     And the lesson, boys and girls? Don't just follow the money, follow the sinecures, as well.

     "Why are you thanking me? I didn’t do anything. I didn’t help anyone. I just perpetuated a system of senseless violence." - former US Marine who served in Afghanistan.

     Thank goodness the corporate cunts at Verizon never waste a good opportunity for PR, even if it's the negative kind. I guarantee you they wouldn't have suspended him if he was white.

     Another Parkland survivor committed suicide. Sydney Aiello shot herself in the head last week. I'd say something about this but this meme is so much more eloquent:

     DNC and DCCC: "Oh my God, the socialist is going to beat Trump! Quick, get Hillary on the phone for advice on how to hamstring him!"

     I wish she hadn't given up as a Russian troll slayer, although I can understand why she had. But her work should've been taken up by other Russian journalists instead of them leaving her to wither as an outlier.

     Please don't, guys. A lot of people are about to be murdered. This is exactly what the fascist Israelis want you to do.

     A Fox "News" poll blew up in their faces. "Far more voters say they trust Special Counsel Mueller more than President Donald Trump when it comes to potential 2016 Russian interference..." However, most of the dummies polled said they'd back Trump no matter what the report says.

     Then someone please explain to me how Parkland happened. There was one cop there when the shooting started and he cowered and kept himself safe while students were getting butchered. Some alarming statistics:
     1.7 million students attend schools with cops but no counselors.
     3 million students attend schools with cops but no nurses.
     6 million students attend schools with cops but no school psychologists.
     10 million students attend schools with cops but no social workers.
     At least one school district has already hired mercenaries to patrol the halls. The militarization of our schools is not the answer, especially when school shootings continue to happen at an alarming rate.

     He's right. That's not his job nor should it be.

     Devin Nunes, who's suing a fake cow, thinks the Mueller report should be burned and that we should create another special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton. Yet, Democrats are terrified of impeaching Trump for fear of looking "partisan." The right wing nut jobs dpon't give a shit about looking partisan. Why should Democrats and why should Repubs get a free pass every single fucking time?

     I can't believe Harvard is fighting the family over the photographs of their slave ancestors. White people used to own them now they own their family's histories.

     $80,000 for a light bulb? Sounds legit. Thanks, Boeing, for monetizing everything including warning systems that could've saved hundreds of human lives.

     Your presidential candidates who voted to INCREASE Trump's bloated military budget:
     Booker: 3 ‼️
     Brown: 3 ‼️
     Gabbard: 1
     Gillibrand: 1
     Harris: 2 ‼️
     Klobuchar: 3 ‼️
     O'Rourke: 3 ‼️
     Warren: 2 ‼️
     Sanders: 0.
     You're welcome.

     Seriously, England? You're going to war with nesting birds?

     Yes, zooming in on the unassisted elderly victim after her assault was a nice touch. I'm ashamed to say I come from the same city as these worthless assholes. It has a happy ending, though: They got the asshole.

     Streisand really disappointed me in saying this. She has a blind spot to the effects of child sexual assault as wide as the Grand Canyon.

     Ah ha! I knew it!

     Of course. Another white cop gets off after shooting a harmless black kid in the back. This one was on the job for just a few hours. Guess he couldn't wait to kill his first black person.

     My my, look at who the investors are in illegal oil drilling in Golan Heights. Cheney, Murdoch, Rothschild. Oh my.

     Three words spring to mind: Travesty. Of. Justice. OK, three more words: Alabama. Black. Man.

     Remember when Comrade Obama kowtowed to dictatorial Communist regimes like North Korea? Yeah, me neither.

     Trumpie the Clown blames Fox and the media for his ceaseless attacks on John McCain. Including on his Twitter account.

     Fucking Charlottesville again. But I'm sure he's a very fine student.

     Devin Nunes, cow hunter, got a new one torn by Tweetie himself.

     Another fucking moron offered an important post by Trump. This one suggested the man who declared bankruptcy four times, began a needless trade war that's cost jobs & threw national economies in turmoil and added over two trillion to the national debt in two short years should get the Nobel Prize for Economics.

     Breaking: Crook endorses another crook's ongoing land theft.

     "Here at Facebook, we take your privacy concerns seriously..."

     I think the most amazing thing about this is that anyone in the world still uses an AOL email address.
     So, to conclude, KT McFarland was using a AOL address to conduct nuclear sales to the Saudis,      Jared Kushner is using WhatsApp and his personal email address to conduct White House business, Ivanka's destroying emails and Trump is using an unencrypted Blackberry for his tweeting. Doesn't that just heighten your sense of security?

     Meanwhile, renowned renegade cow hunter Devin Nunes once had this to say about freedom of speech.

     "(A)ppears to be a case of racial profiling"?!

     So, this came out recently. Apparently, Acosta and his prosecutors and Epstein's defense attorneys were all on the same side and even conspired to lie to the judge presiding over the case.

     Dogs will lie to get what they want. Maybe now, Trump will appreciate dogs more.

     As I've been saying for nigh unto 20 years now, the only thing that'll save this nation is the stupidity of the Republican Party.

     The universe is out there, just waiting for Trump to destroy it.

     Most people have never heard of Nowata County in Oklahoma and for good reason. It's a tiny county of just 10,000 souls. Yet the political corruption of tiny Nowata County would almost rival that of Washington, DC. Consider the case of a corrupt judge who ordered a jail to be reopened even though its toxic conditions had sent several staff members to the hospital. The judge tried several times to bribe then threaten the sheriff into compliance. Instead, she and virtually her whole staff quit. The NY Times also wrote it up but, typically, completely ignored the corruption angle, even though the sheriff went into exhaustive detail over what was said to her by the judge.

     Power lines, landfill or umbilical cord around her neck? You be the judge.

     "For impeachment to succeed, it means capturing the votes of 20 Republican Senators. Republicans will only 'defy' Trump by supporting impeachment if supporting Trump proves to be a political disadvantage. That means making a case compelling enough for Republican voters to support." And finally...

     Remember back in the good old days when your parents' Republicans were redder than Karl Marx's asshole?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Here's What Mueller's Report Won't Do

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
After 22 months of anticipation, mystique and speculation, Robert Mueller's report began to take on the dimensions of the Holy Grail- 
     Precious to those on both sides of the Great Ideological Divide but worrisomely elusive. It's like Frodo finally getting the ring to its rightful destination or the Red Sox bringing home its first World Series trophy in 86 years. Those on the left and right have been snatching at non-existent crumbs of speculation disguised masterfully as information. The left has been clinging to the hope that the fat bastard will finally fall while the right have been just as desperately clinging to the threadbare straw that neither Daddy Warbucks or his spawn have been indicted on collusion with the Russians... yet. And even if they are, well, it's fake news and Mueller had a vendetta, an agenda.
     The only thing that remains to be seen is what's actually in the fucking report. And, with right wing operative Bill Barr in sole possession of it, it's debatable that he'll even release the findings to Congress let alone the American public that had invested over $25,000,000 in it.
     But here's what it won't do:
     Regardless of the findings or lack thereof, it won't rid us of the political and spiritual rot that has more deeply infested this once-great nation. Hell, it won't even act as a spiritual deodorant. The corruption that currently infests Washington DC had its seeds laid at the same time as Jefferson's cherry trees and the foundations of the White House.
     It will not rid us of racism or the putrid neo Nazi nationalism that has wound its tentacles around this nation at a time when we thought we'd harpooned it forever. Counties that had held Trump rallies in 2016 saw a 226% increase in hate crimes. In other words, the dirt was already there. Trump was just the hate farmer who was savvy enough to cultivate something out of it.
     It will not prevent the Russians from meddling in the 2020 elections where they will once again bust a nut to keep their stooge Trump in office for another four years... if he survives until 2020. That's up to elections officials all over the country, our intelligence community and lawmakers on the Hill to prevent. As it is, just a month ago Trump's own people had issued dire warnings to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Russians were planning to do just that.
     Mueller's absence of further indictments does not guarantee the Trumps will skate away into the palmy sunset of Mar-a-Lago. Collusion with the Russians during the 2016 campaign may have been the main focus but it was certainly not the probe's sole focus. Between Mueller's nearly two year-long investigation, that of the Southern District of New York and the United States Congress itself, other things have been investigated:
     Along with direct collusion with the Russians, there were also accounting irregularities in Trump's Inaugural Committee, larceny within the Trump Foundation, a part of which Trump's three oldest children have been legally barred as well as from all other New York state charities. There were violations of the Emoluments clause that had to be investigated. They looked into Trump committing campaign finance violations by directing his attorney to make hush money payments. There was tax evasion, the particulars of Trump's strange relationship with Deutsche Bank, obstruction of justice, money laundering. I'm sure there was more.
     And, lack of further indictments or no, several facts remain clear- Six Trump insiders, including his own campaign chairman and personal lawyer, have been sentenced to prison time. 37 indictments, over a dozen of which concerned Russian nationals tied to the GRU, were handed down. Plea deals had been struck by many, including Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and, until he completely butt-fucked it into oblivion with his arrogance and stupidity, Paul Manafort. Immunity had been granted, starting with Allen Weisselberg, the CFO of the Trump Organization, someone who, if not the bodies, knows where the double ledgers are buried.
     Along with Roger Stone's home and Michael Cohen's home, office and hotel room, Deutsche Bank's offices were raided last November and its records seized.
     Six men in prison, not including a Russian spy named Maria Butina, homes and offices raided, immunity given to insiders in exchange for testimony and over three dozen indictments. And that's just what we saw on the outside looking in on these revelations bursting from the otherwise hermetic Mueller probe.
     And it's getting more and more impossible to believe that Trump surrounded himself with secret agents and spies, secret foreign lobbyists, porn stars, Russian gangsters and some of the worst scum crawling across the planet earth without him knowing what they were doing on his behalf. 
     And, at press time, even though the report was submitted to Bill Barr nearly 24 hours ago, Trump hasn't tweeted once, about anything, all day. Even he knows better. Either that or someone threw his unsecured Blackberry into Mar-a-Lago's sinkhole. If the report was that exculpatory, you'd think Trump and his spawn would be doing their 12th victory lap by now.
     But Robert Mueller's report won't open a Pandora's Box of vengeful legal warrior angels tasked with afflicting the man posing as the president or his family, it will not restore the earth onto its proper axis. Mueller's job was simply to investigate any potential wrongdoing between Trump's campaign, transition and administration and the Russians. His job was not to hand down grand jury indictments. The 37 indictments that were issued were incidental.
     And throughout it all, Trump has been acting the way a guilty man could be expected to act.
     And lastly, regardless of how damning or exculpatory the final report proves to be for Trump, it will not rid us of the toxic, racist menace that had been inflamed by him and with which we'll have to deal long after he's gone one way or the other. Robert Mueller was not a superhero. America still hasn't gotten the hero it deserves. All we in the reality-based community know is that that hero ain't Donald Trump.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Claims President Trump is Actually Talking About John McClane

Washington--- In a rare press conference, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed to the press pool that President Trump has not been insulting the late Senator John McCain but fictional policeman John McClane.
     "Contrary to what the liberal fake news media has been saying, the president has not been speaking negatively about John McCain but John McClane. the so-called hero of the Die Hard movies."
     As proof of her assertion, Ms. Sanders had then produced a 5' 7' cardboard blowup of the lead image above, which appeared to show the fictional police officer on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show in 2015. "This is where, when and how it all started," she said.
     Frowning at the press pool, Ms. Sanders added, "I mean, c'mon, fellas, why would the president keep picking fights with a rotting corpse? That would be, well, deplorable."
     CNN's Jim Acosta immediately contradicted the Press Secretary, saying, "Sarah. John McClane is a fictional character played by actor Bruce Willis!" To which Ms. Sanders replied, "Seriously, Jim? I've seen Bruce Willis and John McClane together, especially after that Nokatomi Tower terrorist situation."
     Several media outlets, including Fox News, begged to differ, adding there was ample proof that President Trump was plainly referring to the late Arizona senator, most recently at a tank manufacturing facility in Ohio then again during an Oval Office interview with Fox's Maria Bartiromo in which the president kept insulting the late senator then blamed the Fox Business anchor for bringing up the subject.
     "Look," Sanders said, plainly exasperated after just 30 seconds behind the podium, "we all know the president is seriously challenged in his elocution. Don't you remember, "God blesh the United Shtates'? Hello? Is it really beyond the realm of possibility that the president would be unable to form a simple consonant such as an 'L'? By the way, are any of you losers hiring?"
     In response to this amazing declaration of an alternative fact, Kellyanne Conway doubled down on Ms. Sanders' claim and stated before a skeptical Fox and Friends panel, "Fame just went to McClane's head after the Nokatomi and Dulles Airport thing. Then he started going around with that ridiculous Trump wig on talk shows. I mean, come on, guys, even Serpico had more class than that. He went into hiding in Sweden."
     This has resulted in a fresh round of controversy over whether or not President Trump was speaking of the late Senator McCain, with whom he had a brief but contentious relationship or the fictional police officer who'd been featured in five films by 20th Century Fox. When asked about it on the South Lawn on his way to yet another weekend of golf at Mar-a-Lago, the president was asked if it was true what his White House Press Secretary had claimed.
     "Yeah, whatever she said. Besides, I've always been a Cobra kind of guy. That Stallone-looking guy, I'd like to name him my new Secretary of Homeland Security." Then the president took a golf cart to the hundred or so feet to Marine One before flying off to Andrews Air Force Base.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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