Thursday, May 17, 2018

Vegas Shooter a Gun Nut

On October 1 of last year, as most people will sadly remember, a man in Las Vegas barricaded himself in a hotel room and began shooting at a concert below his windows, killing 51 people and injuring over 800.  The man seemed to be a prosperous middle class man with no known connection to terror groups, and his motives for this monstrous act seemed doomed to remain forever a mystery.

Now, however, it seems that the mystery has been dispelled.   In an extremely important report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which will predictably be virtually ignored, we learn the following, as reported by Adam Peck, at Think Progress:

"Evidence suggests Las Vegas shooter was motivated by pro-gun conspiracy theoriesBefore killing 51 people, Stephen Paddock shared his pro-gun conspiracy theories with numerous witnesses...

Just days before the massacre, at least two people told police that a man they believed to be Paddock ranted to them about federal government efforts to impose gun control measures. Another witness recounted how a man thought to be Paddock shared his belief that a “camp” set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was in fact “a dry run for law enforcement and military to start kickin’ down doors and … confiscating guns.”

There's more at the article, which I suggest you read.

51 dead at the hands of a right wing gun nut, led into his violent rage by the lies of the Republican party and the NRA.

I don't even have the energy any more to go into one more rant about what the right is doing to this country; I just want to add to the record of their hatred.  Not that it will do any good, since to the Republican base, this sort of violence is a good thing, not an abomination, and it's clear at this point that no one is going to convince them differently.

Addendum:  A few days later, and there is a post up at Daily Kos pointing this out:

"Police documents about the Las Vegas shooter show he's a right-wing terrorist but no one will say so"
No one but Green Eagle, I guess.

Six Democrats We Can Do Without

"WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate confirmed Gina Haspel on Thursday...
Among Democrats supporting Haspel are several who are up for re-election this fall in states where Trump is popular, including Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida. Other Democrats voting yes were Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire."

I don't give a God damn that some of these assholes are running for re-election in States that voted for Trump.  If supporting torture is okay with them, they have no place in my party, and the sooner it repudiates every one of them and finds a winnable replacement, the better off the country will be. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

There's Actually Another Name For That

From the Washington Post today:

"The Trump administration is making preparations to hold immigrant children on military bases, according to Defense Department communications"

There's another name for that, as I am sure you know:  concentration camps.
Coming to a country near you.

Next time some right wing jackass tries to tell you that the Republican party is not on the way to turn this country into a replica of Nazi Germany, remember this.  And then tell them to fuck off, when they tell you that it's only for illegal immigrant children, so it's okay.  "First they came for the Jews," and all that.

The big difference this time around? Instead of finding some poor sociopath to play the role of Hitler, they picked one of their own, to see that no subhuman action of their was allowed unless a rich guy made a huge profit off of it too.  That makes it twice as good, as far as they are concerned.

Here's a little excerpt from an article about a concentration camp for children in Lodz, Poland, run by the Nazis:

"During the German occupation, a concentration camp for children was established in the city of Łódź...Where did the terrible idea of setting up a children’s camp come from? Shortly after entering Poland, Germans became aware of the issue of orphaned and homeless children.  From 3,000 to 5,000 children were imprisoned in “Little Auschwitz.”

Don't allow yourself to think for one second that this is going to end up any different, if the Republican party is not crushed.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Joke of the Day

From the Washington Post:
"CIA nominee says she would obey her moral compass, not Trump, if told to carry out questionable activities"
Moral compass!  The "moral compass" of someone who approved and carried out torture in the first place!  The moral compass of someone who engaged in illegal destruction of evidence to hide that torture.  That's some moral compass you have there, lady.
"She resisted efforts by senators to get her to say whether she believed it was morally wrong to use techniques such as waterboarding on terrorist suspects."
Her "moral compass" can't tell her whether it is okay to torture people, but by God, she will rely on that moral compass. She wouldn't ever engage in "questionable activities," as long as we understand that those activities would have to be a lot worse than torture and destroying evidence before she would consider them questionable.

And that is good enough for Republicans.

"Senators were visibly frustrated at Haspel’s unwillingness to say definitively whether she believed it was wrong at the time to waterboard terrorist suspects."

Democratic senators, that is, as the Washington Post carefully avoids pointing out.

"Haspel said she had a “great reputation” with Trump and his inner circle"

Well, that's a comfort, particularly given the overwhelming likelihood that every Republican in the Senate will vote to confirm her.

Let us be clear, this woman is evil, in the most literal meaning of the word, just like John Bolton, Jeff Sessions, Scott Pruitt, Betsey deVos and just about every other person appointed by Donald Trump, who incidentally is evil too.  But that's okay with Republicans if these evil people will go along with more big paydays for the rich, because that is all that government is for, at least with them in charge.  So a little thing like being an evil person on the level of SS or Gestapo agents really isn't a disqualification these days.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Possibly The Dumbest Suggestion I've Ever Heard

Rudy Giuliani, from a story in the Washington Post:

"Giuliani says Trump doesn’t have to comply with a Mueller subpoena and could invoke the Fifth Amendment...

President Trump would not have to comply with a subpoena issued by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and could invoke the Fifth Amendment if he does sit down with him, one of his lawyers said Sunday.

“We don’t have to” comply with a subpoena, Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor who recently joined Trump’s legal team, said in an interview on ABC News’s “This Week.” “He’s the president of the United States. We can assert the same privileges other presidents have.”

A little unclear there whether Rudy is saying that other Presidents "have" this privilege, or that other Presidents have used the privilege.  As far as I can recall, no other president has actually ever pleaded the fifth, as they call it, in our country's history.

And it should be noted that not only other Presidents,  but mob bosses, serial killers, and in fact every person on earth has the privilege to refuse to testify because it might incriminate them.

There-see how easy it is, as demonstrated by Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo during the 1951 Kefauver hearings.

Naturally, there are few spectacles I would rather see than the ignorant jackass Trump spending two public hours trying to lie his way out of his corruption and treason, but as some sort of consolation prize, I will take his pleading the fifth amendment, as long as it is in public and on camera, showing as much respect for our American legal system as that displayed by Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo.

Unless maybe he'd like to utilize another successful legal stragegy, employed by Enron head Ken Lay before his sentencing:  "I'm dead.  So fuck you, what are you going to do about it now."

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Cinco de Marxo

For those who have not noticed (that would be just about everybody) today is the 200th birthday of Karl Marx.

If you have never read any Marx, or if it is a long time and you don't remember much, I want to strongly recommend that you read some of Das Kapital, or the Communist Manifesto.  I am not for one second going to argue in favor of Communism- its history shows that it depended on some utterly implausible ideas about the perfectability of humankind that Marx got from Hegel, and which turned out to be totally groundless.  Instead, just read his analysis of Capitalism and where, in 1850 or so, he saw it headed.  I am convinced that you will find what he has to say chillingly prophetic- probably the most accurate long range economic prediction in history.  It is a deeply disturbing read, and well worth your time.

Thursday, May 3, 2018


So what we have learned today is that Donald Trump has made a series of payments to Michael Cohen over the last year or so, in the amount of apparently about $460,000.00 to cover his payoff to Stormy Daniels, taxes owed on that payment and whatever the hell else Cohen has done for Trump.  These payments are being referred to as "retainers."

Well, these payments are not retainers.  Yes, Cohen is an attorney, but passing hush money to a prostitute does not constitute legal work.  If I paid Cohen a couple hundred dollars to lube my car, that wouldn't make him my attorney, and neither does this make him Trump's attorney.  To be blunt, this does not constitute an attorney-client relationship, merely because Cohen happens to have (for the moment) a law license.

So, here is my question:  I am not an attorney, so I guess that I am just speculating here, but what I wonder is, does that mean that there is no attorney-client privilege in this matter?  Will Mueller, who certainly does know what the law says, be moving tomorrow to remove the special master, and treat every scrap of information seized from Cohen as fair game?  As I said, I don't really know, but it seems to me that there is a pretty damned good case to be made for this action. We'll see, I am sure.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Apres Moi le Deluge?

So we hear today about Donald Trump's replacement of his longstanding (for him) lawyer Ty Cobb with a guy named Emmet Flood.

Don't recognize that name?  I must admit that it rang only the faintest of bells to me, but Emmet Flood is a guy who is almost entirely known for having defended Bill Clinton during the Republican impeachment nonsense.

I've already heard all sorts of speculation from the as-usual willingly clueless mainstream press about what this means.  What I haven't heard from anyone, of course, is this simple fact:  If you expect to be tried for burglary, you don't hire a corporate attorney, and if you need to have someone write a real estate contract, you don't hire a divorce lawyer.  The fact that Trump is hiring a lawyer known for defending people being impeached says it all.

Only Donald Trump really knows what he has done, and why he did it.  The fact that he is hiring Emmet Flood is a huge clue about where he thinks this is all going, and as far as I am concerned, is a massive reveal of Trump's consciousness of his own guilt.

Monday, April 23, 2018

More Treason

From the Washington Post this morning, this story:

"President Trump's national security adviser said Tuesday that the president's decision to reveal highly classified information during a meeting with Russian officials last week was "wholly appropriate" — the latest attempt by the White House to contain the explosive disclosure that Trump potentially  jeopardized a crucial intelligence source on the Islamic State.

H.R. McMaster, the president's top security adviser, repeatedly described the president's actions in a press briefing just a day after a Washington Post story revealed that Trump had shared deeply sensitive information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting last week."

How many of these incidents, in which the President of the United States deliberately sabotages the security interests of the United States in order to benefit Russia, are going to have to happen before more than a few people will admit in public that he is a traitor?  We have had a constant series of actions like this, since right after he was elected and he tried to do away with sanctions on Russia, but the masses of people that claimed to see something evil in inexplicable complaints about Hillary' e-mails or Benghazi, refuse to acknowledge what is right in front of their faces.  Putin put him in office, and he is paying him back.  That's the reality today, but the vast majority of Americans, including virtually the entire mainstream press, won't admit what is completely obvious.

Sinclair Lewis once said that when Fascism comes to the United States, it would be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.  Well, here it is, only instead, it's wrapped in lies and carrying dollar bills.  To hell with patriotism and religion; greed is all it took to get the majority of Americans to abandon their kids, their own future, and even the continued existence of the human race itself.  And they just don't care; a promise of a couple hundred dollars less in taxes is all it took to get them to sell us all down the river.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

Rudy Giuliani, on the announcement that he is becoming one of Trump's lawyers:

"I’m going to join the legal team...The country deserves it."

At this point, who could disagree?

“I’m going to ask Mueller, ‘What do you need to wrap it up?’ he said.”

How about a guilty plea to treason?  See if you can work that plea deal out, Rudy.  At this point, I am wondering if there is a thing in the world that they do not regard as a gigantic joke on all the rest of us.  Except for stealing our money to give to the likes of the Koch brothers and the Mercers.  That isn't a joke; it's the only reason they are alive.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Just a Very Minor Point

Call me crazy, and I certainly hate to defend anyone from the Trump administration, but I think a cabinet secretary has a right to fly first class.  Come on, every sleazy businessman and kid of a rich father flies first class; I think it's perfectly reasonable for one of the very highest officials of our government to do the same.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Cohen and Casey- Remembering the Iran Hostage Sabotage

Michael Cohen, sadly only looking like he is being pinched by the long arm of the law.

Most of us have some awareness of the Iran hostage negotiations in 1980, in which the Reagan campaign seems to have sabotaged the release of our hostages until after the election in a blatant specimen of treason which was never punished in any way.  What most people will not remember is the crucial incident in this ugly spectacle of betrayal- a trip by William Casey, Reagan's campaign manager, to Madrid to meet with Iranian mullahs to make the deal to delay the release of the hostages, in return for promises of future sales of weapons to Iran, fulfilled later in Reagan's reign by the sale of 2,000 TOW missiles to the Iranians in another blatantly illegal specimen of treason, which again, being committed by a Republican administration was never punished in any way.

Republicans provided supposed evidence that Casey's trip never happened; only years later was it discovered that the evidence was a lie, and of course the hapless Democrats just let this treachery slide by without consequences.

I think it is very instructive to consider this sordid event, in light of the Trump administration denial of a crucial claim of the Steele dossier, that Michael Cohen was in Prague during the campaign to make a deal with the Russians for them to interfere in the Presidential campaign on behalf of Trump.  A year of the most belligerent denials that Cohen was ever in Prague, then or any other time, was backed up by displaying his passport, which contained no Czech visa stamps.

We now discover, via reporters from the McClatchy news service that this claim is false, and that in fact Cohen was in Prague in 2016, during the campaign, and met with Russian officials and a number of Eastern European hackers:

"WASHINGTON- The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter."

Cohen seems to have taken a private jet to Germany, and then crossed the border from Germany to the Czech Republic, a crossing that does not require showing a passport under European Union regulations, thus rendering the "evidence" of his passport meaningless.  If the information compiled by this investigation holds up (and there is at present no reason to doubt it) it is a confirmation of one more of the explosive claims of the Steele Dossier, and is virtually smoking gun proof of treason on the part of the Trump campaign.

This incident is strikingly similar to the treachery of the Reagan incident, so I thought it would be interesting to provide this excerpt from a Los Angeles Times article recounting it:

"The Reagan administration and Republicans always denied that they had any back-door negotiations with Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary regime during the Iran hostage crisis. Specifically, they denied that Reagan's campaign manager, William J. Casey, traveled surreptitiously to Madrid in the summer of 1980 to meet with a representative of the ayatollah, and to suggest that it might be in Iran's interest to stall the negotiations over the release of the American hostages. Casey allegedly intimated that a Reagan administration would resume arms sales to the Iranians.  These allegations seemed too outrageous, too outlandish to be believed...
...we now know that Casey took time off from his campaign duties sometime in the summer of 1980 to visit Madrid. For "purposes unknown... is now reasonable to conclude that Casey did something. The Iranians dragged out the negotiations over the release of the hostages. President Carter believed these negotiations were nearly successful in late September 1980, but suddenly new demands were made that stalled the talks. Polls showed Carter within single digits of catching Reagan until about 10 days before the election. Carter lost decisively, and the hostages were inexplicably released minutes after Reagan was sworn in as president... In retrospect, this was the beginning of the scandal that broke in 1987, when it became known that the Reagan administration had been exchanging weapons for hostages."

Shortly after this incident, Casey developed a bizarre case of "brain cancer" the main symptoms of which were to render him unable to either speak or write, thereby making it impossible for him to be deposed.  He eventually died, without ever regaining these allegedly lost abilities.

And before moving on, let me just mention that the campaign of Richard Nixon made deals with our Vietnamese partners to prevent progress toward a peace agreement, with the same treasonous intent:

"Nixon’s Vietnam Treachery...Nixon insisted that he had not sabotaged Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion. “My God. I would never do anything to encourage” South Vietnam “not to come to the table,” Nixon told (President Lyndon) Johnson...Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative."

In other words, Trump's treasonous action to gain the White House was not an anomaly in Republican politics, but at least the third specimen of clear treason carried out to rig Presidential elections. Three Republican Presidents in the last half century have been illegitimate, elected via a campaign of treason.  And their reigns have caused massive damage to the United States. That is the reality we live with in this nation today.

It must be made clear that Donald Trump is not some sort of diseased growth on the body of Republicanism; his behavior is completely in keeping with the standard operating procedures of this anti-American, terminally corrupt organization.  Only its total elimination can provide hope of our rejoining the ranks of decent nations.

A slight addition to my comments:  It occurred to me that I should have pointed out that there is no evidence in all of our history of a Democratic Presidential candidate ever engaging in treachery that comes even close to these three examples.  One more example to demonstrate the maliciousness of the standard argument that both parties are the same.