Friday, November 16, 2018

Big News From Trump

From the Washington Post, this news:

"Trump says he’s finished writing answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller"

And there you go.  If you think the real answers are going to be one bit more informative than this picture, or if you are deluded enough to think they will actually be written by Trump, rather than whatever lawyers he can threaten into lying for him, you haven't been paying that much attention to the news.

Okay, okay, here's a picture of a Corgi dog to help erase the above from your mind:
See, didn't that work?

A Thing of Beauty

This graphic of Orange County, long considered the most Republican county in the State of California:
A true work of art.  Apparently, in some cases, the French are wrong.  The more things change...the more they change.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Matching Signatures

I would like to make a point about the Republican ploy of using signatures that don't match to disqualify tens of thousands of Democratic votes.  I don't think this point has been made clearly enough:

Has anyone out there signed their name exactly the same twice?  I mean, literally ever. None of us is a machine, and our signatures vary in minor ways every time we sign them.  This Republican strategy is nothing but a ploy allowing them to reject any ballot they want.  The vast number of people who have their ballots rejected are never even notified about it, let alone given a chance to contest this action.  This is a massive Republican vote rigging scheme, and needs to be seen for what it is.  Instead, most people are just writing it off as sour grapes, when in fact, at least in Florida and Arizona, this behavior has a strong possibility of stealing a governor's seat and two Senators.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Free Enterprise In Action

Here are the headlines of two stories that ran on the same page in the Los Angeles Times today:

"Goldman Sachs Malaysia Scandal Expands"

"Goldman balks at handling Space X loan"

Carried right next to each other without a suggestion of irony.  Goldman Sachs would not invest $500 million in the company of perhaps America's greatest industrial innovator, but it was willing to invest $6.5 billion with a pack of Malaysian crooks.

And this is the most influential financial organization in the country.  There is a virtual revolving door between its corporate suites and high government positions.  Here is a partial list of Goldman alumni that work for Trump:

Stephen K. Bannon, chief strategist to the president and a former Goldman banker
Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council and Goldman Sachs president
Steven T. Mnuchin, Treasury secretary and Goldman partner
James Donovan, nominee for deputy Treasury secretary and Goldman partner
Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy and longtime Goldman executive

Well, I guess the company casting their lot with crooks isn't that surprising.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Donald Trump Appoints Monstrous New Attorney General

But of course, who would expect anything different...imagine an Attorney General whose contempt for the law makes the execrable Jeff Sessions look not so bad in retrospect.  Well, we've got him.
Wimp trying to look like a thug.

Trump has, in apparent open defiance of the law,* named one Matthew Whittaker to be our new "interim"  Attorney General.  Whittaker was a failed candidate for a county judgeship before he was snatched up by Trump, given an administrative role in the Justice Department, based apparently solely on his open opposition to the Mueller probe, and here he is, a year later, serving as Attorney General.  Here is some more information about him.

First, from an article at Daily Kos, which I most urgently suggest you read, some other information beyond the fact that he has attacked the Mueller investigation repeatedly:

"Whitaker was behind a secretive group that stepped in to protect members of the Trump campaign from allegations of meetings with Russian officials. That included trying to distract from the fact that Jeff Sessions lied about his meetings with the Russian ambassador in Senate testimony...The organization was also connected to spreading rumors that Christine Blasey Ford mistook Brett Kavanaugh for another high school classmate.

When not busy interfering in the Russia investigation, Whitaker also kept busy promoting a patent scam. As Miami New Times reports, Whitaker wasn’t just on the board of a company selling would-be inventors worthless (and nonexistent) “worldwide patents,” he also sent threatening letters to a former customer of the scam who complained about being taken for tens of thousands of dollars."

A criminal and a thug, behind not only the most malicious type of Republican behavior, but actual corruption reminiscent of that repeatedly engaged in by Trump himself.  What a great choice for Attorney General, huh?

And here is another read I recommend, by Ian Millheiser at Think Progress, covering an interview Whittaker once gave:

"In a 2014 interview, the man Donald Trump just picked to run the Department of Justice appeared to claim that Social Security is unconstitutional and that basic labor laws like the minimum wage must be struck down...Whitaker launches into a Trumpian rant against “chain immigration” and “people trying to bring illegal people and illegal drugs into our country.” He claims that climate change “doesn’t appear to be that significant or quite possibly isn’t man made,” and calls for the Department of Education to be “disbanded.”

"There are so many (bad rulings)...All New Deal cases that were expansive of the federal government. Those would be bad. Then all the way up to the Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate."

In other words, the Republican dream position:  Every single thing the Democrats have done for the American people in the last hundred years is unconstitutional and must be abolished. What an understanding of the rule of law in this country.  As I said, Trump's perfect pick for Attorney General.  I wrote a few days ago suggesting that in the coming two months, before Democrats can take over the House, we are going to see massive Republican atrocities such as the country has never had to experience; this is just the beginning.

*The rules for appointing an interim cabinet officer without Senate approval require that the person selected has been previously approved by the Senate for some other government appointment, which is not the case with Whittaker.  But of course, what do rules mean to a "President" who think he can unilaterally cancel parts of the Constitution?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

And That Didn't Take Long

Bye bye Mueller, hello impeachment.

Of course, maybe the Democrats should just let it all pass.  The Washington Post is already paving the way for that view:

"Ms. Pelosi, wisely, declined to take the bait, reiterating her determination to use subpoena power if necessary but insisting Wednesday that oversight “does not mean we’ll go look for a fight.”

She would be well advised to stick to that measured approach, because the country does have recent experience with the excesses of investigation (does Benghazi ring a bell?) and the harm it can do to the atmosphere for legislation. In contrast to the attitude Mr. Trump exhibited Wednesday, Ms. Pelosi’s remarks suggest that she has the capacity to learn from experience."

The mainstream press, which showed next to no scruples about the Republicans using their control of Congress to conduct an endless series of "investigations" into what everyone knew were utterly baseless conspiracy theories, now has discovered how damaging any kind of Congressional oversight would be.  But don't worry, it will still be perfectly justifiable for the Republicans to continue to use the Senate to promote the most degraded conspiracy theories, and for the House too, the next time it is in Republican control. 

The more things change, the more the press (and the Republicans) stay the same.

Monday, November 5, 2018

A Warning

To those of you who think your anxiety will get a break after tomorrow:  The rest of this year is going to be a time of almost unimaginable abominations from the Republican party, and this is particularly true if Democrats take control of the House.

If Dems do win the House, the next two months will be the last time (at least for two years) that the Republicans will be in absolute control of the entirety of the Federal Government, and their rich backers will expect them to use that time to push through as much filthy, antidemocratic, corrupt legislation as the can. 

Here are a few things I expect to see between now and the new year:  Another massive tax cut aimed at the very top tenth of a percent of the nation, combined with effective tax increases on everyone else, massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, rules for renewable energy with no purpose but to make it too expensive to be competitive, elimination of the already weakened protections for minorities and women, savaging of environmental law, and as a distraction from all of this, a war somewhere, anywhere Republicans can start one.  My guess is Iran, or if the Republicans realize what a hopeless move that would be, Venezuela.  Both countries are major oil producers, and embroiling either in a war would mean hundreds of billions in profits for oil producing countries (and Trump buddies) Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as right here at home.

And there are so many other things, like killing Obamacare once and for all, that I have not mentioned, or haven't even thought of.

Can anyone doubt that the Republicans will take this last unopposed opportunity to loot the country and do as much damage as they can to every well-intended government program in existence?  So, get ready; it's coming.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Mr. SMITH Goes To Washington

We are all familiar with the legendary SMOTI, the Stupidest Man On The Internet, aka Jim Hoft, whose website Gateway Pundit befouled itself again this week when one of his "reporters," one Jacob Wohl, made an utter fool of himself with one of the most colossally stupid lies ever heard, when he convened a press conference to allege that Robert Mueller forcibly dragged a woman out of a hotel bar in New York (in plain view of the other customers, apparently,) forced her up to his hotel room and then violently raped her, finishing with telling her his name and telling her that he was the head of the FBI, so she had better keep her mouth shut.  Boy, that beats Judge Kavanaugh's youthful dalliances by a long shot.  Well, the details of this almost incomprehensibly incompetent plot have received a great deal of coverage in the blogosphere, so I won't rehash them here.  For those who want to know more, I suggest this article from Wonkette, which pretty much takes a perfect tone toward the whole thing.

What I do want to cover in this post is another accusation against Mueller, which is equally insane, but which was forced out of our attention by the clowning of the Gateway Pundit guys.  This alleged malfeasance comes to us not from the SMOTI, but from a man I call the SMITH; the Stupidest Man In The House, Texas representative Louie Gohmert.  Here's the story, from Crooks and Liars:

"MUELLER’S MINIONS HELPED MOBSTER WHITEY BULGER ELIMINATE MOB COMPETITORS, says Congressman Louie Gohmert...In the extensive report, Gohmert covered Mueller’s shady past of helping mobster Whitey Bulger by eliminating mob competitors. was Mueller, first as an assistant US attorney then as the acting U.S. attorney in Boston, who wrote letters to the parole and pardons board throughout the 1980s opposing clemency for the four men framed by FBI lies."

So let's see if I have this straight now.  Robert Mueller, an extremely successful prosecutor during the eighties, put mobsters in prison and kept them there.  We can all agree about that.  As Louie's story goes, this was all done not to enforce Federal law, nor to advance his own career, but because Mueller was a corrupt tool of Whitey Bulger, another mobster.  No evidence offered to support this assertion, and as Crooks and Liars continues:

"...retired federal judge and Harvard Law School senior lecturer Nancy Gertner set the record straight in a New York Times editorial:

"There is no evidence that the assertion is true. I was the federal judge who presided over a successful lawsuit brought against the government by two of those men and the families of the other two, who had died in prison. Based on the voluminous evidence submitted in the trial...I can say without equivocation that Mr. Mueller, who worked in the United States attorney’s office in Boston from 1982 to 1988, including a brief stint as the acting head of the office, had no involvement in that case. He was never even mentioned."

So there you go.  Mueller was in cahoots with one mobster, which is proven by the fact that he put other mobsters in jail, which he only did to improve the business prospects of the first mobster, for which he in return received the payment of... apparently nothing.

Maybe not quite as colorful as the rape story, but equally outrageous.  Louie Gohmert should be driven out of public life for this disgusting smear, but instead his massively red district is about to easily send him back to the House, where he can continue working on behalf of the people, as he did in this case.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Truth About the Birthright Citizenship Nonsense

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."-U. S. Constitution, Amendment 14

Before getting to my argument, I would like to remind you of a little history.  The absolute nature of this provision, which allows for no exceptions, exists for one reason:  by the time of its passage, in 1868, it was already clear that Southern dead enders were engaged in serious attempts to strip former slaves of their citizenship.  The law was passed to prevent this.  Its absolute character is  a result of the racist inclinations of many white Americans, and it is that racism, therefore, which bears the blame for the consequences of the fourteenth amendment.  Had these white people done the decent thing and truly reconciled with the victims of slavery, this amendment would have never been necessary; if they don't like it, it is their own fault that it exists.

Well, leaving that aside, I now want to talk about the true purpose of Trump's attempt to destroy this passage of the Constitution through royal decree.  And in stating what I am about to say, I feel called upon to state openly that I first realized in the 1980's that it was the intent of the Republican party to destroy any semblance of popular government in the United States, to replace it with an oligarchic dictatorship responsive only to the couple thousand sociopaths whom they would deliberately enrich until they had the money necessary to finance its takeover.  I have suffered endless derision over the years by my absolute defense of that notion; these days, I don't think it seems far-fetched to many.

This issue needs to be tied to another issue, to make the Republicans' attempts clear for what they really are, and that is the imprisoning of thousands of immigrant children in what are, not to dodge the issue, concentration camps.  This has been taken by the left as a racist attack, and it is certainly that, but it is also something far more malignant.  By selecting just about the weakest and most defenseless group they can find, and throwing them in these camps, the Republicans have begun the process of establishing that it is perfectly legal for the President of the United States to imprison people who have committed no crime, merely on his own whim.

Now, birthright citizenship, which is basically the same vicious story.  Trump and the Republicans have selected a large group of Americans who they have decided have essentially no support at all among his xenophobic base, and they are now claiming the right for the President of the United States, by fiat, and in a clearly unconstitutional act, to strip millions of their citizenship and eject them from the country (or perhaps place them in concentration camps, where history tells us what is likely to happen to them.)  If this happens, Republicans will have established the right of the President to revoke any passage of the Constitution.  There is a name for that sort of leader, as there is for those that claim the right to imprison citizens without any legal process whatsoever.

There is no doubt about this any more.  We are facing a highly developed and financed open attempt by the Republican party to reduce this country to a fascist dictatorship, and at this point the attempt is succeeding.  The dodging of the obvious necessary in order to deny this today is overwhelming, yet there are many millions of propagandized zombie voters out there who refuse to see the truth, and are thrilled to contribute to the open destruction of everything that ever made this country different from Nazi Germany, or fascist Italy, or Saudi Arabia  or Putin's Russia.  That is what these people yearn for, and any supposedly liberal person who refuses to acknowledge that is hastening the end of the American dream.