Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wingnut Wrapup- Great Negotiator Edition

I don't really do much in the way of wingnut wrapups any more, but I thought it would be fun, on the very day of the collapse in utter humiliation of the Great Negotiator's greatest negotiation, to see right wingers scrambling to explain away his failure.  I am sure they will come up with even more imaginative (and piggish) excuses in the coming days, but here are their initial attempts:

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "BREAKING: Trump Writes Kim Jong Un Epic Letter Cancelling Upcoming Summit"

Epic.  An epic whine.  The letter itself is a laughable piece of self-justifying belligerence from a guy who totally misplayed his negotiation and got taken by a 31 year old dufus.  But to right wingers, it's EPIC!

Matt Vespa, Town Hall:  "Eyeroll: Nancy Pelosi Says Trump's Letter To N. Korea Probably Gave Kim Jong-un A 'Giggle Fit'

Hey, congrats to Matt, who managed to turn Trump's latest self-induced humiliation into an excuse to mention Nancy Pelosi, at which point every good Conservative puffed themselves up in outrage and totally ignored the substance of the story.  Good play there, Matt!  And this seems to be developing into a popular right wing line:

Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "Crazy Nancy Pelosi: Kim Jong Un Had a “Giggle Fit” When Trump Called Off Summit"

Well, now the whole story is not about the colossal negotiating failure of the "greatest negotiator on earth," it's about Nancy Pelosi being crazy.

Jennifer Van Laar, Red State:  "Early Thursday, after the Rocket Man’s latest temper tantrum, the White House announced that the planned June summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was off."

Rocket man's tantrum!  Standing by the position he has had all along, and objecting to being threatened with annihilation by deranged warmonger John Bolton and Christian lunatic Mike Pence- that's a tantrum.  Trump stomping out like a jilted boyfriend, well, that's Presidential.

Streiff, Red State:  "President Trump has pulled the plug on the planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. This is how this came to be.  It was apparent to everyone watching that North Korea’s definition of denuclearization did not extend to an independently verifiable eradication of North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile and its ability to make future weapons."

The North's "definition of denuclearization;" i.e. Trump and Bolton's definition of denuclearization, which consisted in "you give up everything, we give up nothing," which anyone who has followed this story or has a shred of sense knew was never on the table at all.

"And during his meeting with South Korea’s President Moon, President Trump said he didn’t know if the summit would happen. Probably both sides were concerned that neither would have anything to bring home."

And here comes the rewriting of history to lie away the obvious truth that Trump got totally conned by Kim, who got the recognition as an equal from Trump that he wanted without having to give up a thing.

The points (Mike Pence) made were that North Korea had to give up nuclear weapons, that there would be no let up in sanctions before the US had seen concrete evidence of denuclearization... 

Something that North Korea has made clear from the beginning was never on the table.  But that is what Trump promised his base, so he had to tank the talks rather than fail to deliver.

"And...he warned North Korea to not try “to play” Trump and that the Muammar Qaddafi solution was always available if he didn’t denuclearize."

I.e. if Kim didn't give Trump what he wanted, Trump would have him killed.  Great international diplomacy there.  I wonder why Kim didn't go along with that.

Bridget Johnson, PJ Media:  "Trump Tells 'Mr. Chairman' in 'Truly Sad Moment' That North Korea Summit Is Off..."I felt like a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me... some day, I look very much forward to meeting you," president writes."

A wonderful dialogue, including, as I mentioned above, Trump's threats to kill Kim if he didn't give Trump what he wanted.  "Negotiation," New York mob style.


Another classic bully strategy:  run and hide behind mommy and yell taunts at the guy who totally beat you down.  And let's just be clear about this:  Any conciliatory gesture is interpreted as weakness by Trump, who knows nothing but bullying and petty meanness, so he is going to tell his equally malign followers that he won a great victory when actually he was humiliated by the juvenile leader of an impoverished country less than a tenth the size of the United States.  And in the process he humiliated our whole country- something which will be totally missed by the kind of jerks that think it makes them tough to wander around the streets with an assault rifle on their backs.

And now the inevitable "black is white... who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes" approach to the subject:

Sandy Fitzgerald, Newsmax:  "Dershowitz: NKorea Decision Bolsters Trump's Deal-Making Bonafides...President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was one that plays into his "strong suite," Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Thursday.  "He knows how to make a deal."

He knows how to make a deal?  Not making a deal proves he knows how to make a deal? Running for cover shows strength? And yet, you know that his base will absolutely swallow the entire notion that this colossal failure was a success, and that somehow getting snookered by Kim Jong Un, of all people, proves he is a great negotiator.  God help us.

"In his letter to Kim, Trump said he was pulling from the summit "based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement."

That would be when Kim called Mike Pence a "political dummy."  No word from Trump about whether any anger and hostility was displayed by Mike Pence when he threatened to have Kim murdered if he didn't go along with what Trump wanted.

"I think once he heard what the leader of North Korea said about the United States, said about our vice president, he had no choice but to walk away"

How about the choice of acting like an adult and stopping his vice President from making mindless threats against foreign leaders?

"(Dershowitz) also pointed out that North Korea has not yet shown the world that it can send a missile to the shores of the United States."

Is Dershowitz suggesting that maybe it would be a good idea for North Korea to do that?  I mean, what exactly is he saying here? 

And of course, how could they miss this take on the whole thing:

David French, National Review Online:  "Good Riddance to the North Korea Summit"

That's the answer- just follow orders and forget that the whole gigantic disaster ever happened.

Newsmax:  "Pompeo: Next Move Up to NKorea"

And I am sure it is, just as soon as Kim Jong Un figures out a new way to humiliate Trump, something he seems to be rather good at.  Stay tuned.

Collector's Item

If you got one of these, hang on to it...there aren't going to be that many around, I suspect.
Tired of winning yet?

Update:  I guess they've got to unload their stock.  Thanks to The Week, this notice at the White House website:
They've cut the price!  This man has absolutely zero shame when it comes to making a dollar off of anything, even when it just advertises his own humiliation.  He doesn't even have the decency to stop selling a permanent record of his own incompetence.  Oh well, his base will find a way to turn this colossal failure into a masterstroke of strong leadership, so I guess it's okay.  Maybe they can mint a medal commemorating his walking away from the summit like some jilted lover pretending that they were the one who decided to break up.

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.