Saturday, December 30, 2017

The New Year Better Open With a Shit-Ton of Arrests For the trump Campaign

This shit, I can't even right now (via the New York Times):

During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton...
...Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.
The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.

Trying to keep up with the timeline on this should be a full-time PAYING gig at the honest media outlets. As long as the benefits include free drinks at the nearest bar because SWEET JESUS CHRIST THIS IS INSANE.

...The information that Mr. Papadopoulos gave to the Australians answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?
It was not, as Mr. Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign. Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies...

Don't forget that by July 27 - when the leaks were becoming noticeable and the media was noting that it seemed to come from Russia - trump openly called on Russia to hack Hillary some more.

trump is now running around claiming "It's not collusion, but if it IS collusion is not a crime." Well, dealing with a foreign nation to subvert the U.S. Election system IS a crime. Getting that foreign nation to hack American citizens for your benefit is a crime. And knowing how trump works - that it's all about the money (and money HE can acquire) - I'm willing to bet there's a lot of fraudulent stuff there to boot (there's a reason why Mueller brought in investigators experienced in money laundering cases).

Every last bit of this on trump's side of things reeks of TREASON: "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason..." We may not be directly at war with Russia, and the Cold War itself a historic relic, but we are opposed to that nation on many foreign issues - especially Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Middle East - to where we have active sanctions against Russia (something that trump promised to end, there's your Quid Pro Quo).

If this were England involving itself in our election, if this were France, if this were Canada or Jamaica or Egypt or Saudi Arabia or any other "close ally" of ours, this would still be a problem because a FOREIGN POWER would be involving itself in the sovereign affairs of our own government. We had an international scandal when a British Ambassador commented on the election of 1888, which may have thrown the election against Grover Cleveland (who won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College, SOUND FAMILIAR?). Our own government admittedly meddled in the elections of other nations during the Cold War, under the pretext of stopping global Communism, so say hello to the irony of Russia interfering in ours.

So this bothers me. It horrifies me, truly, that the Republican Party seems willing to sign off on this to clench onto political power they might not have honestly earned. That trump and his campaign staffers seem - based on the known evidence - to willingly, gleefully seek Russia's aid in all of this reaches a level of criminality that fits - to my American sensibilities - the definition of treason.

Arrest them all. Damn them. Let this new year be a clean slate for the nation.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

In Short: We're Screwed

There was a dreaded inevitability to this. Republicans obsess over these goddamn tax cuts, it has become their ever-fixed mark. Out of all the things they could do, they pass the one thing they shouldn't do (via Reuters).

...The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval on Wednesday to the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years, sending a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax bill to President Donald Trump for his signature.
In sealing Trump’s first major legislative victory, Republicans steamrolled opposition from Democrats to pass a bill that slashes taxes for corporations and the wealthy while giving mixed, temporary tax relief (NOTE: ha! there's no relief to be had) to middle-class Americans.
The House approved the measure by 224-201, passing it for the second time in two days after a procedural foul-up forced another vote on Wednesday. The Republican-led Senate had passed it 51-48 in the early hours of Wednesday...

Just a reminder to everyone: THIS IS NOT TAX REFORM. What the Republicans just passed was a massive tax cut giveaway to billionaires and profit-laden corporations, while doling out minor snacks to average Americans whose tax rates will go back up in three-five years and also setting the stage to gut every social safety net that average Americans need for themselves and their families.

And in the process, they trip over themselves to lavish praise on the most hated man on the planet (via Washington Post):

Over nearly three minutes, Pence offered plaudit after plaudit after plaudit, praising Trump's vision, his words, his strategy and his results in light of the passage of tax cuts. By the end, Pence offered 14 separate commendations for Trump in less than three minutes -- math that works out to one every 12.5 seconds. And each bit of praise was addressed directly to Trump, who was seated directly across the table.

And Pence wasn't the only one. The entire Cabinet offered hosannas and prayers and genuflections towards the giant Shitgibbon who sat there and basked in the idolatry.

As though passing an UNPOPULAR BILL is going to somehow turn an UNPOPULAR Loser of the Popular Vote into the Second Coming of Saint Ronnie.

I've lived through two major tax cuts passed by modern Republicans:  1) Reagan's massive tax cuts of 1981, which led to a major recession before Democrats in Congress forced Reagan to hike some rates back up in 1983; and 2) Bush the Lesser's major tax cuts of 2001-2003 - done at a moment when we engaged in a global war on terror - that created economic malaise before the banks collapsed the economy in 2007-08 with their toxic mortgage assets debacle.

Both times, I never saw job creation. I never saw wages and incomes for most Americans go up. I only saw the rich get richer off their stock portfolios. The only thing I ever saw out of both massive tax cut plans were massive deficits.

And so here we are, handling a tax cut that goes sharper and deeper than anything previously attempted, with Republicans lying out of their asses about how great this was all going to be. I can't believe a goddamn word they say. The facts of those tax cuts are the only thing I believe.

And those facts taught me: We are so royally fucked.

If there is any justice in this world - and the cynic in me is growing weary of believing there is any justice - the first ones to get hurt the worst by this Republican Armageddon would be the 62 million idiots who voted for trump.

Once this anger subsides, the only sane response now is to fight back. Get the Democratic voters lined up and ready to vote. Agitate. Motivate.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Two Minutes to trumpocalypse

There's been a little too much noise this weekend that we may be - finally - facing the end of all things. Not the chatter about Iran and North Korea: I'm talking about the inevitable attempt by Loser of the Popular Vote and Russian Puppet donald trump to try and stop the ongoing investigation into Russia's attempts to compromise the 2016 Elections.

It seems that trump and ilk have seized on a - faulty - argument that Mueller is doing something illegal in the pursuit of emails managed by the GSA handling trump's campaign and transition efforts (via Balloon Juice):

FOX NEWS tweet: BREAKING NEWS: Trump transition team sends letter to lawmakers; claims Mueller team inappropriately obtained private documents.
WEALTHY ELITIST URBAN DWELLER re-tweet: Translation: they obtained embarrassing emails appropriately. 

Here's the Reality: Mueller's investigations went through the proper channels to request those emails, and it was up to GSA to respond or not which they did, and this IS standard prosecutorial procedure to go after such emails.

What trump and co. are trying to do is scrounge up a plausible-sounding excuse to shut down the investigation once and for all. Any excuse will do, really. Because like any mob-boss wannabe, trump doesn't like the law and doesn't feel like he should answer to the law.

Thing is, trump can't directly fire Mueller. There are layers to the bureaucracy that any President had to respect lest the whole thing collapses.

trump would have to fire the Deputy Attorney General responsible for the Special Counsel and then fire every Associate AG until one fired Mueller, or trump would have to rescind something called the Good Clause Regulation and fire Muller himself.

So what will happen if trump takes Option A, and fires everybody he can within the Department of Justice (or he gets a loyalist who'll do the job) in order to fire Mueller?

The likeliest response would be an entire Department of Justice - and the nineteen Intelligence Agencies investigating the Russian hacking of our election - turning in revolt against the White House. These intel agencies already have a good idea what Russia did, and what we know is just the stuff they can leak without compromising our own national security so the nasty stuff they can't release is likely way more criminal. If trump makes this move, all it will take is one of those agencies saying "fuck it" and reveal every nasty detail trump has hiding in his closet (including the already infamous Pee tape).

One thing we know is Mueller has tied much of his investigation into state efforts - especially New York - investigating trump's financial dealings. The likely response to Mueller getting canned is the New York state attorneys filing charges on EVERYONE in trump's circle - as they're ALL tied into his shady business practices - including trump himself. Presidents can't pardon state charges or convictions: if trump tries to burn that bridge down to save himself it would destroy the federal-state balance of government forever and spark a civil war between the states opposing his move - which could include Red States lead by governors who know better - and trump's White House. Congress may well blow up in response, with the Democrats clearly opposed and with enough Republicans terrified of the consequences of trump's actions versus the hardliners still trying to keep the GOP in power no matter what.

Option B - revoking a clause and firing Mueller outright - would be such a blatant move of Obstruction that trump will STILL face open rebellion by the DOJ, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the NCIS, and any other agency using alphabet soup to label themselves. Mueller will still hand over what he's got to the New York State Attorney and have New York arrest everyone from trump down to trump's golf caddy. The separation of powers between federal and state would still be imperiled and we'd still see open revolt among Republican elected officials.

And that's just within the halls of power in Washington. What do you think will happen among the population?

There's already 65 million ANGRY Hillary voters who view trump as illegal, that he cheated his way into the White House despite losing the popular vote and with clear evidence that Russia schemed to hack and manipulate votes to get trump to "win" enough states to skew the Electoral College. Not a one of them will accept Mueller's firing as "legal".

Add onto that the millions of Americans disapproving of trump's performance: his approval is hovering in the low 30s and his disapproval close to 60 percent of polled voters. Just imagine 60 percent of Americans angry enough to rebel against trump when he makes a move that pretty much confirms the worst they already think of him.

I keep thinking back to Machiavelli: it doesn't matter if you're loved or feared, it matters if you end up being HATED. Because at that point the ones hating you will do anything in their power to overthrow you and make your life a living hell.

trump is right now the most HATED man in the United States, and the rest of the world - Russia included - doesn't think well of him either. The only thing saving him from public riots storming the gates has been the people's respect for the Rule of Law, and the belief that the legal system will expose the facts and hold those accountable for their sins. If trump displays his contempt for the Rule of Law by firing Mueller - a blatant act of Obstruction - then nothing can save him past that point. trump will get his war.

It's just the war will be in our streets: between the protesters screaming for justice, and the pro-trump neo-Nazis all too eager to spill blood.

trump is reportedly planning to fire Mueller just as Christmas weekend starts - maybe this Friday, maybe Saturday - so he can prevent Mueller from doing any last-minute steps to preserve his evidence, or at least go off to another golf outing with the belief he's saved himself.

So here's where we are at now, America: trump ruining Christmas for the rest of us. That's how fucked up he is, and how much spite is in his heart for everyone else.

Here's hoping Mueller files his charges on everyone deserving of them - Kushner, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, trump junior, trump himself - this Monday. C'mon. You HAVE to have enough proof by now that trump is Putin's bitch. Drop the hammer. Make this a Christmas Americans can celebrate in relief.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

I Have Got No Service In the Club You See

So trump's hand-picked destroyer of the FCC flipped the script on Obama's Net Neutrality orders today.

The agency scrapped the so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. The federal government will also no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as if it were a utility, like phone service.
The action reversed the agency’s 2015 decision, during the Obama administration, to have stronger oversight over broadband providers as Americans have migrated to the internet for most communications. It reflected the view of the Trump administration and the new F.C.C. chairman that unregulated business will eventually yield innovation and help the economy...

Deregulation does not lead to innovation. INVESTMENT leads to innovation. Deregulation leads to shoddy mismanagement, greed, and the inevitable collapse of the industry involved leading to expensive government bailouts.


They are taking away cheap Internet... which wasn't all that cheap to begin with (looks at his $35-77 part of his cable/phone bill)


Serious question to the academic institutions that need affordable Internet for information sharing: any chance you guys can start your own non-profit network that the rest of us can sign up for?

A Saturnalia Wish Come True: Some Sanity From the Alabama Special Election

So I just wanna make sure that this is real and that enough Alabama voters turned out to elect Doug Jones over alleged human skeeve Roy Moore:

In a major upset, Democrat Doug Jones won the Alabama Senate special election on Tuesday to fill the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The last time Alabama sent a Democrat to the Senate was in 1992.
The Associated Press called the race for Jones just before 10:30 p.m. eastern.
Alabama is a deeply conservative state. But the race unexpectedly became competitive after multiple women came forward to allege that Republican Roy Moore had made advances toward them as teenage girls, including groping and assault. The result was a stunning victory for the Democratic Party, which has been locked out of power in Washington after the 2016 presidential election.

Insert Happy Dance Here.

Some rough observations in the wake of good tidings and cheer:

  • Voter turnout remains the thing that Democrats have to work on. For these midterm-type elections outside of the Presidential cycle, turnout is shockingly low. But this election where the turnout was expected to be around 25 percent, the state GOTV efforts bumped the turnout to 38 percent (still bad, but SO MUCH BETTER than expected).
    Jones' victory - pushed by a ground-game that learned from their failures in 2016 and adapted to a more aggressive effort - alongside the earlier results in Virginia and New Jersey proves the 50-State Strategy can (and SHOULD) work.
  • Black voters were the major contributors to Jones' win. It helped that the Republican candidate Roy "Banned from the Mall" Moore was an unrepentant scuzbucket on racial and sexism issues. When Moore was caught at a speech praising how "great things were when we had slavery, even for the slaves" that was just one more motivator among African-Americans to GET TEH DAMN VOTE OUT. Most Blacks are, for what I know, very spiritual and religious in that state but NOT evangelical, meaning that they weren't buying the snake oil from the local White Evangelical pastors who proclaimed Moore a perfect God-inspired candidate.
    And this was IN SPITE OF a massive voter suppression effort committed by the State-level Republicans in charge of the electoral process. For every Black voter who had to fight over getting illegally shunted to INACTIVE Voter status, for every Black voter who had to march past county sheriffs parked illegally outside polling places as intimidation tactics, for every Black voter likely lied to about whether their votes mattered... YOUR VOTES MATTERED, and THANK YOU.
    This should also be a reminder to the Democratic Party at the national level that YES, the Black Vote is a key foundation of their support. The ongoing media chatter about "changing" the party message to attract "Working Class Whites" - AKA Racists who flipped to trump - should go away. Democrats need to focus on the voters they HAVE and just need to get to vote, and make themselves attractive to the Independent voters who aren't lost to a haze of racial hatred. You're not getting those trump voters back, Dems. They're lost. Get the voters - the moderates, the pragmatists, the ones who want government to WORK - who matter. The 50-State Model of nationwide campaigning worked in 2006, and it can work in 2018. Jones' win proves it.
  • This is a big blow to the Republican election schemes. For the past four decades, they've plotted out a game-plan of winning thanks to Geography and Demographics, using both to carve out Congressional gerrymanders to win the House and then using the small-population (and more conservative) states to garner enough control of the Senate. While a Senate election can't be gerrymandered, the state of Alabama was so Social Conservative for decades that it had become a "Safe" seat for any conservative candidate, effectively gerrymandered for the Senate.
    No more. The Demographics are starting - finally - to turn against the Geography of Elections. Voters under 40 leaned Democrat for Jones and in the earlier off-year elections in Virginia and New Jersey the youth voters went Democrat by around 70 percent. That will be the largest voting bloc - bolstered by a Millennial age group that's more politically involved than the slacker Gen-Xers - in the 2018 Midterms.
    And given the large-scale efforts Republicans are attempting to pull with voter suppression, they're failing at that: voter turnout was higher than normal (which sucks) for non-Presidential cycles, and that overwhelms any attempt to deny voters from their access to the ballot box. The GOP running the elections offices can come up with a lot of ways to stop (minority and youthful) voters, but they can't stop all of them.
    Granted, it took a candidate as evil as Moore to shake things up, but when you look at how close the results were the GOP STILL LOST in otherwise "safe" Alabama. If this had been a special election in a state that wasn't normally +30 or more Conservative/Republican, say a state like Florida that leans Democratic but still has Republicans winning by +2 or so, the Democratic candidate could have snagged a larger win percentage.
    There may be "safe" Red States like West Virginia and Utah and Wyoming out there, but given the voter anger there's no guarantee anymore. The unsafe "competitive" Purple states are now going to be massive fights that the Dems can win. And too many states that were once reliable Red States - hi, Texas! hi, Georgia! hi, Kansas - aren't going to be reliable anymore.
  • Following on that point, this is why this should bother Republicans: THEY ARE RUNNING OUT OF NOT-EVIL CANDIDATES TO NOMINATE. Their ongoing purging of moderate, centrist candidates in lieu of extremist, ignorant demagogues - who turn out to be crooks, perverts, or worse - is getting to the point where they can't win in "Safe" seats with such candidates. Any attempt to run a rational lower-case conservative is going to get stomped during the Primaries by the Fox Not-News fueled voter base that bought all in on trump and his ilk. Alabama HAD a sane candidate in Luther Strange, but the primary voters choose Roy Moore whose history of inflamed rhetoric, unhinged religious views, and outright anti-Establishment positions appeased the Far Right but horrified everyone else.
    Granted, if the sexual assaults never went public - which tells you how important it is for actual media like the Washington Post to dig up these things - Moore could have eked out a win. But given his nature, SOMETHING else could have come up to make enough general voters recoil in horror. The man was a walking disease.
    And the Republican leadership has to realize that Moore is the only kind of candidate that can win their Primaries anymore. They need to rethink their need for ethical standards in candidates if they hope to retain the "safe" seats they got. But going that route - bringing in more moderate candidates - will outrage their base anyway and they'd get primaried by Moore-type whackos. They've fallen into a particularly nasty Catch-22.
  • Speaking of extremist, ignorant demagogues, this election was as much a referendum on trump as it was on the Republican Party.
    The evidence is there: trump is a drag on the GOP. Both times he went into Alabama to campaign for "his" choice - first for Strange, then for Moore - and both times "his" choice lost.
    While trump wasn't noticeably toxic in Alabama - his approval/disapproval balanced out at 48/48 - he still wasn't any help. In other Red States, trump's disapproval is worse.
    Any idea that trump voters will be there for other Republican candidates in the midterms should be laughed off. As of right now, the Republicans are on their own. Bringing in trump to campaign for you might actually lead to your defeat.
    But the Republicans can't ignore trump either. They're stuck, tied to a blowhard liar whose popularity numbers ought to be lower than the 32-33 percent he's at right now. trump may be enormously popular with the Far Right base, giving him control of the Republicans... but the number of self-described Republicans is dropping, meaning at the broader level of GOP-Indy-Dem the GOP is going to be a superminority party by the time 2020 rolls around. We're getting to the point where gerrymandering and fearmongering isn't going to be enough to bully the Republicans to victory.

What now, mad cow?

Right now, trump is behaving like he never really backed Moore in the first place. his ire towards the rest of the GOP making him look bad is going to create greater divide between him and the party leadership.

Right now, there's a large number of Alabama voters quietly taking their Roy Moore bumper stickers off their coal-roller trucks. There may be a lot of hard Right voters who'll still proudly claim their bona fides, but even they have to feel some shame in having sided with a goddamn pedophile.

Right now, the Congressional Republicans are trying to finish up their conference tax cut bill before their own internal deadlines and before Jones can show up to become a bigger stumbling block. They didn't have much room to maneuver their massively unpopular tax cut for the rich bill before, to where three Republican Senators could say "no" to a bad bill like they did to stop the "Kill Obamacare" bill. Now they're down to two GOP Senators who can say "no"... and there are enough Senators in vulnerable elections who may be more interested in saving their own skins with voters back home (or have already pledged to retire and thus have nothing to lose).

Right now, the Democrats need to take the strategies they had for winning in Alabama and weaponize it. They need to go back to the Fifty-State Strategy that worked so well in 2006 and 2008. They need to push a unifying Get-Out-The-Vote effort to ensure large turnouts that benefit them. If they can win in Alabama (albeit in bizarre circumstances) they can win ANYWHERE.

Know hope.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Letter to Alabama Today

To the state of Alabama:

Today is a special election to fill the US Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he got picked to f-ck up our nation as Attorney General under trump.

This election is a very simple choice.

Alabama voters must choose between The Democrat or The Goddamn Pedophile.

A quick word from the YouTuber known as Liberal Redneck:

Everything known to date about Roy Moore is that he's a showboating, twice-exiled ex-judge who deems himself God's Chosen while violating many of the rules and requests of the Lord and of Jesus. Topping that is the recent revelations that Moore is a known skeeve who stalked after teenage girls at shopping malls and their high schools while he was in his 30s. In one case actively violating Alabama's Statutory Rape laws by seducing and groping a 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL while serving as a state prosecutor (he cannot argue ignorance of the law: the SONOFABITCH was supposed to be upholding it!).

Roy Moore represents EVERYTHING that is wrong with today's Southern region of the United States: an arrogant, self-serving hypocrite who espouses racist and sexist ideology that fights to keep the Deep South states mired in the mindset - and the economic backwardness - of the 1850s.

Doug Jones the Democrat is, well, a Democrat. He's stood for civil rights and fought the KKK, convicted those who bombed a Birmingham church killing four girls back in 1963 (the case finally got prosecuted by 1998, which tells you how hard it is to get justice in the South when it comes to civil rights). He's been described as "middle-of-the-road" on his politics, meaning he's no Bernie Sanders.

And yet there are still Alabamans who think that makes Jones WORSE than a GODDAMN PEDOPHILE.

This is your choice now, Alabama. Your vote for Doug Jones will send a practical, level-headed, scandal-less Democrat to the US Senate to represent you and your state. Or you can vote for the GODDAMN PEDOPHILE who will proceed to embarrass you and your state for another 100 years. You vote for Moore and you will NEVER live it down: Every nasty stereotype of southern assholery will be confirmed for now and all the years to come.

You wanna spite the rest of the nation and the world by voting for the GODDAMN PEDOPHILE. Go ahead. You will mark yourself as standing with the monsters that condemn and assault your own communities forever. Hell of a bargain, as the Devil would tell you.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

How Low CAN We Go?

I used to have faith in my fellow human beings that there was some level of common sense to prevent the worst of what we can do to ourselves.

But in the wake of watching 62 million Americans buy into the trumpian BS, becoming willing accomplices in the Crime of the Century, my faith has been shattered. I still cannot comprehend how so many voters genuinely thought trump was a better choice than Hillary. And while I knew that a lot of the Far Right were hypocrites about faith and Christian grace, for so many of them to eagerly embrace a self-avowed pussy-grabber and greedhead in trump seems a betrayal of absolutely everything Jesus stands for.

I still cannot comprehend some of the progressives I know on Facebook and Twitter who openly argue that Hillary would have been just as bad a warmonger and ripoff artist as trump. They've become so convinced that Bernie could have won that they've blinded themselves to how bad trump really is.

Who thinks like that?

This is why this week is going to be so troubling. This Tuesday, Alabama will have their Special Election to fill a Senate seat.

The choice is between a Democrat in Doug Jones who's been an effective prosecutor, with a clear track record of civil rights defense and pragmatic policies that lean Center-Left on the spectrum. The kind of person you think rational Alabamans would support to lead their state into the 21st Century.

The other choice is Republican Roy Moore. The Roy Moore who openly proclaims himself God's Chosen eager to put the Ten Commandments on display as though that would enforce God's will, while violating half of those Commandments on a daily basis. Roy Moore, who openly contends that slavery was great, everyone liked it including the slaves, and shows every sign of wanting to bring those days back.  Roy Moore, who allegedly stalked and molested HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS when he was in his 30s. This is the kind of person who represents every worst aspect of Alabama and the Deep South, the long dark shadow of Slavery and Jim Crow that still haunts this region, combined with the sexist Patriarchy of Far Right religious views of women as playthings and breeders.

And there's every possibility enough Alabamans will close their eyes to everything WRONG about Roy Moore and vote for him.

All because the Conservative mindset of Alabamans excuses every sin a fellow Conservative - now Republican - could and did commit.

All because they've been ingrained over generations to HATE anything that reeks of liberal values that now associate with the Democratic Party.

All because there are enough of us who want everything to burn in the Hellfire that these Republican crooks and hypocrites will inflict on the entire world.

There may be, hopefully, a chance that Doug Jones wins, that enough Alabamans are repulsed by Moore's extremism and sins to turn away. But after what happened in 2016, I can't believe that.

We are so royally fucked, America.

And it's your damned fault, Republicans, for letting us sink this low.

You could have stopped all this. You could have shown some ethical standards and kept trump off the ticket in 2015 when he so clearly came out on a racist, hate-filled agenda. But now you're stuck, like the rest of us. And it's getting worse.

Moore shouldn't have won the primary earlier. You had a standard level evil-doing Hard Right candidate in Luther Strange, but he wasn't hate-filled enough and your own primary voters went with crazy asshat Moore.

And do you think Moore will be the lowest point?

Your voting base can now easily forgive PEDOPHILES as long as they are librul bashers. Your voting base will easily go for the most racist, most sexist, most insane candidate on the ticket because they've bought into your party's nihilistic views on governance.

But you can't control that. For all the dogma and certainty these Far Right candidates present, they will not recognize common sense in any way shape or form. They will pander to the most vicious instinct and destroy everything our nation - even things YOUR OWN PARTY respects - built up for the last 200 years.

Until the Republicans and their media enablers wake up to the damage these extremist candidates present, we are going to get the WORST OF THE WORST coming out of Alabama and every other hardcore Red State.

Gods help us.

We are so very royally fucked.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Fake News Is Part of the Problem. But REAL News Still Looked The Other Way While the Crime of the Century Took Place

I went to University of Florida for my Journalism degree, and while it's a Top 10 program, it's not as prestigious as Columbia's.

I just note this because the Columbia Journalism Review came out with a devastating report on mainstream media's failures during the 2016 Elections:

We agree that fake news and misinformation are real problems that deserve serious attention. We also agree that social media and other online technologies have contributed to deep-seated problems in democratic discourse such as increasing polarization and erosion of support for traditional sources of authority. Nonetheless, we believe that the volume of reporting around fake news, and the role of tech companies in disseminating those falsehoods, is both disproportionate to its likely influence in the outcome of the election and diverts attention from the culpability of the mainstream media itself...
...A longer and more detailed report by the same researchers shows that by any reasonable metric—including Facebook or Twitter shares, but also referrals from other media sites, number of published stories, etc.—the media ecosystem remains dominated by conventional (and mostly left-of-center) sources such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, HuffPost, CNN, and Politico.
Given the attention these very same news outlets have lavished, post-election, on fake news shared via social media, it may come as a surprise that they themselves dominated social media traffic. While it may have been the case that the 20 most-shared fake news stories narrowly outperformed the 20 most-shared “real news” stories, the overall volume of stories produced by major newsrooms vastly outnumbers fake news.
According to the same report, “The Washington Post produced more than 50,000 stories over the 18-month period, while The New York Times, CNN, and Huffington Post each published more than 30,000 stories...” 
...(The research team) found roughly four times as many Clinton-related sentences that described scandals as opposed to policies, whereas Trump-related sentences were one-and-a-half times as likely to be about policy as scandal. Given the sheer number of scandals in which Trump was implicated—sexual assault; the Trump Foundation; Trump University; redlining in his real-estate developments; insulting a Gold Star family; numerous instances of racist, misogynist, and otherwise offensive speech—it is striking that the media devoted more attention to his policies than to his personal failings. Even more striking, the various Clinton-related email scandals—her use of a private email server while secretary of state, as well as the DNC and John Podesta hacks—accounted for more sentences than all of Trump’s scandals combined (65,000 vs. 40,000) and more than twice as many as were devoted to all of her policy positions...

In other words, the mainstream media - the Beltway pundits that dominate the political discourse - flipped the real world. They focused more on Hillary's "scandals" - which turned out to be nothingburgers, inflated to inflame the voters against her - than on her policy positions to where I guarantee the average voter didn't even know what her policies were. They focused on trump's "policies" - which was BUILD A WALL, Start a TRADE WAR with China, and Shut Down NATO - while ignoring trump's failures, financial scandals, and sexual assaults.

In short: Hillary got all the bad press, trump got all the good press.

Go fuck yourselves, mainstream media.

What we're seeing in hindsight - looking back at how the traditional press handled themselves between covering Hillary vs. trump - is growing evidence that media bias played a role.

It's also telling, as an aside, that a lot of the male media pundits who displayed that bias - Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and obviously most of the jerks at Fox Not-News - are turning out to be sexual harassers and misogynists.

They made it easier for trump - one of their own - to campaign against a woman who dared challenged their personal narratives of how women should be treated. Let's be honest: going back to 1992 when her husband Bill ran for President, there was more outrage aimed at HER than at Bill.

It makes me wonder what it will take for a woman candidate to get serious and respectful treatment from the Fourth Estate, ever. This is disgusting. And this is why we've got sexual predators in the highest levels of political office now.

Seriously, mainstream media, go fuck yourselves and die in a collective fire. We've got some wildfires consuming California right now that none of you are reporting on, that ought to do the trick.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Hypocrisy Has to End. The Sexism Hiding Behind It Has to Die

I've kinda ignored this, spending too much time railing against Roy Moore, but this is a case of Both Sides in terms of political parties. Even Democrats have to answer for this bullshit:

Embattled Sen. Al Franken will make an announcement Thursday, his office told reporters, as calls for the Minnesota Democrat's resignation rapidly gained momentum Wednesday in dramatic fashion.
Sixteen Democratic senators -- ten female and six male including the second ranking Democrat in chamber -- called on Franken to resign as allegations of sexual harassment against him continue to mount. Republican Sen. Susan Collins also called on Franken to quit.

Rumor has it right now that Franken is not going to last the day.

This is on top of long-time incumbent John Conyers resigning after allegations came forward about him paying off sexual harassment victims with a Congressional-backed slush fund set aside for such situations.

This is how bad and for how long this sexual harassment crap has been going on: Congress set aside a fund accessible to BOTH PARTIES to keep the harassment complaints hush-hush.

If there is anything to point out now, it's how either party is handling this outbreak of accountability for their sexist, pussy-grabbing male leadership.

The Democrats are at least coming to terms with the rampant sexual abuse and asking - if not pushing them out - the men in question to step down/resign/burn in hell.

The Republicans are more than willing to VOTE these sexual predators into high office and keep them there (up until it becomes clear they're going to jail).

With all of this coming out now - with the realization that sexism is this powerful negative force within our workplaces, our schools, our halls of power - this is in my honest opinion the perfect time for the Democratic party to push an All-Female candidacy at every level - county, state, Congressional - heading into the 2018 Midterms. Every open seat: Challenge it with a woman candidate. Every competitive seat against a Republican: Challenge it with a woman. Every seat that's been gerrymandered "safe" for Republicans: CHALLENGE THAT SHIT WITH A WOMAN CANDIDATE.

(Okay, if you got a male incumbent in a risky district or state, let him run. But glare at him like this >:-[ the whole time through to let him know NO MONKEY BUSINESS BUSTER)

The Patriarchy thrived, still thrives, on the sexual harassment protected by male leadership that never takes that shit seriously. Time to bring on the Matriarchy, America.

Clean house.

Schadenfreude: Saturnalia 2017 Edition Phase One

Because I get the feeling there's going to be more than one nasty laugh to be had at Republicans' expense before this month is over.

I mentioned earlier in my rage against the Senate Tax Scam bill that the final product was so rushed that opponents could file court orders to dismiss the whole thing just on bad grammar alone. Now it turns out (via that the proposed Senate bill would choke the hell out of some of their deep-pocket corporate overlords:

When Mitch McConnell & co. revived the AMT, they absentmindedly left it at its current rate of 20 percent, the same as the new, lower rate of the corporate income tax that the bill included. As a result, many companies won’t be able to use tax breaks that were supposed to be preserved in the legislation, including the extremely popular credit for research and development costs. Corporate accountants started freaking out about this over the weekend, but the situation reached high farce when a group of lawyers from Davis Polk pointed out that, by leaving the AMT intact, Republicans had essentially undermined their bill’s most important changes to the international tax code...
Keeping the AMT was supposed to raise $40 billion, but that already appears to be a gross underestimate... NYU Law professor and tax expert Lily Batchelder concludes that the AMT will actually cost companies at least $329 billion—good for limiting the blow to the deficit, bad for the corporations who are supposed to be stumping for this legislative Frankenstein—just based on the value of the R&D credits and international exemptions that have been rendered useless...


When I talked to Batchelder briefly on the phone Tuesday night, she pointed out that while the GOP’s AMT debacle would end up raising more money than expected, there are almost certainly other, undiscovered mistakes in the bill that would lose revenue. “I think this evidences what can go wrong when you try to pass massive tax reform this quickly,” she said.

Reason No.98301940305 why this Republican-led Congress is the WORST EVER. They can't even pass their keystone legislation without shooting themselves in the collective foot.

And Republicans have only themselves to blame. If this HAD BEEN an OPEN and HONEST process, with committee reviews and floor debates, a lot of the loopholes and gaps would have been spotted and filled. If this had been a bipartisan effort with Democrats, at least the Democrats would have spotted errors and corrected them because the Dems are SERIOUS about effective government.

Instead, the Republicans kept it all under wraps because they knew the public would recoil from a lot of the things they wanted to pass. Instead, the Republicans didn't care enough to get the details rights because they have never been about actual effective governance.

This is why the House CANNOT simply pass the Senate bill and ship it to trump for signing, because their financiers running the SuperPACs they need to win elections are going to get hurt by this faux pas. The two houses of Congress are going to have to send the respective tax cut bills to the Conference process to iron out the differences.


It's likely the Republicans will ignore you and pass a godawful tax cut bill no matter what. But they need to know that what they're passing will piss off MILLIONS of Americans. They need to know 2018 Midterms are going to be brutal for them and they are going to have to answer to US for their folly.

All I Want for Saturnalia Is for Sanity And Goddamn Common Sense to Return

Tis the season to be drinking more hard cider to chase away the blues.

By the by, my twin brother recommends Redds over Angry Orchard.

This has been a year of madness and despair, against which only the slimmest slivers of hope have endured.

But we're getting to the edge of the cliff where everything and everyone goes over.

Congress is dead set on passing a deficit-heavy tax cut for the rich doomed to wipe out the social safety net and cause the same economic mess we had in the mid-2000s.

Republicans are about to elect a publicly confirmed sexual predator for US Senator from Alabama, lying to themselves about Moore's "spiritual pureness" all because they cannot abide a Democrat winning at all.

And trump. Gods help us. trump.

If it's not selling the whole nation out to Russia, it's his open racism and hostility towards diplomacy along with his immeasurable incompetency about to condemn the entire world to war.

His current push to formally recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capitol and moving the US Embassy there would spark hostile reaction across the entire Muslim community of the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America. It would seem the ultimate provocation against any peaceful solution to a problem that has vexed humanity for 2000 years.

Street protests by Palestinians would be the LEAST of our worries. Terror groups would use the move to rally more recruits. Allied nations like Turkey and Egypt and Jordan and even Saudi Arabia would cut off diplomatic relations or undermine all other US interests in their regions.

And I wouldn't doubt trump WANTS this. The Shitgibbon WANTS a war to prove his mettle as President Loser of the Popular Vote (and use the war powers of a Presidency to impose some twisted forms of martial law to make him Dictator). And getting the Muslims to react in violence would fit his Narrative.

This is supposed to be a time of Christian peace and goodwill. Instead we are roiling against evangelical hypocrisy, and un-Christian hatred and greed.

If ever we needed to return to the Pagan ways of Saturnalia - where you got drunk and gambled dice - now is the time.

Sunday, December 03, 2017


So the Senate passed their evil Tax Cut For the Rich bill.

After a day of twisting arms and striking side deals, Senate Republicans muscled through an overhaul of the tax code that puts the party on the brink of its first major legislative victory of the Trump administration.
The $1.47 trillion bill cleared the Senate shortly before 2 a.m. Eastern on a 51-49 vote, as Republicans overcame the unified opposition of Democrats who argued it was a budget-busting giveaway to big business and the GOP’s political patrons. Just one Republican, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, voted against the measure on the grounds that it would add too much to the deficit...
...In the end, self-described deficit hawks voted for legislation that, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, would increase the nation’s budget gap by $1 trillion over a decade even after factoring in economic growth. Supply-siders allowed tax cuts for individuals to expire after six years while making them permanent for corporations. And Republicans who blanched at gutting Obamacare earlier this year agreed to eliminate the law’s individual mandate as part of the tax bill...

The Republicans were never about the deficits. The Republicans were always about their goddamn tax cuts.

While this seems bleak, the good news right now is that this is NOT OVER. The Senate bill is so different from the House version that this bill goes back to the House where they can do one of three things: vote on the Senate bill exactly as is (which would make every so-called deficit hawk among House Republicans die of shame), send the bill to reconciliation to forge a compromise bill that both branches have to pass (which could make it unpalatable to enough Senators to reject that version), or reject it outright.


Granted, these are Republicans we're talking about here. THEY DO NOT CARE FOR THE MAJORITY OPINION, only their own (and the opinion of their SuperPAC overlords). Unless they get a good idea that the Majority is rightly PISSED and in no mood to vote them back into office during the midterms. And the only way they'll know that is by haunting them every minute of every day with EVERY phone call you can make.

So use this link to Find Your Congresscritter By Zip Code, and then call their LOCAL offices (the DC offices are usually set to voicemail because they know damn well we're calling) often and get your friends and family to do the same.

This tax cut bill IS THAT BAD.

Meanwhile, thanks to the very rushed haphazard methods the Republican Senators used to pass this debacle, it turns out that they missed a major piece of legislation that could make their corporate overlords call up and yell at them as well (thanks to Rude Pundit for finding this tidbit):

Senate Republicans, in their final push last week to pass a sweeping tax bill, undermined a research-and-development tax credit many companies count on to encourage innovation, and business interests are in revolt over the move.
Late Friday, just hours before the Senate voted 51-49 to pass the bill, which included about $1.4 trillion in tax cuts, Republicans decided to preserve the corporate alternative minimum tax instead of repealing it as planned. The change helped them provide money for other priorities lawmakers demanded to include in the legislation, but it could also force many companies to lose tax breaks the bill’s authors intended to protect...

Everything about the modern Republican Party has been this level of incompetence and screw-ups. Even being in full control of all three branches of the Federal Government, they don't take the time to do the job right.

They don't deserve to keep a single job. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD VOTE EVERY REPUBLICAN OUT OF OFFICE.

Friday, December 01, 2017

He'll Flip Ya Flynn Will Flip Ya For Real

So this was kinda how I was on Twitter this morning when they announced Mike Flynn had plead out to Mueller's Russian investigation and was cooperating with Mueller's further probing into trump's actions subverting our national elections:

While the early arrests into the trump-Russia scandal were nice, they weren't direct links to trump himself. Mike Flynn is a bigger deal: He has ties to trump going back years, was picked to serve as his National Security Adviser, and had so many illegal acts linked to him - including an insane plan to kidnap a Turkish national off American soil, an act of espionage that defies any legal excuse - that getting him to flip wasn't a question of if but when.

What's interesting to note is that Flynn is pleading out to one charge - lying to federal investigators - while there were so many greater charges facing him. Any amateur who's watched every season of Law & Order can tell you, the ones who get the early plea deals tend to get the better lighter deals because the prosecutors want the higher-ups in any criminal conspiracy. You have to consider that for every major tidbit Flynn turned over to Mueller, that Mueller took a more serious charge off the table in exchange.

Whatever got Flynn off on that kidnapping charge had to be a doozy involving trump. HAS to be.

Thing is, Mueller doesn't have to go straight at trump with the next arrest. He's likely to go after the rest of the outer circle of trump handlers - Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, and VP Pence (!) are on that list - and then go after members of the inner circle - there's already reports that Flynn can give up Kushner on Russian collusion - to where trump has nowhere to run, noone else to blame when Mueller finally lines up to charge him.

It's all a question of how trump reacts to this. When everyone else tried to warn him about Flynn - like Sally Yates - they got fired. When Comey got canned it was because trump worried Flynn was in danger of the investigation under Comey's direction. Trump knows how Flynn is tied to the people closest to him (Kushner can't take a piss without an okay from his father-in-law) and like all mob boss wannabes trump isn't going to figure a subtler way out of this mess.

This isn't over. But it's getting close. And it's a beautiful thing to know this Shitgibbon is quaking in fear of the oncoming storm.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How A Republic Dies: By A Thousand Tax Cuts

Update: thanks again to Batocchio for linking this on the daily Mike's Blog Round-Up at Crooks and Liars!

So this week we're facing the financial end of the American Republic.

After learning blistering lessons from their health care debacle, the GOP Senate has managed -- so far -- to hold their conference together and keep inching toward legislation that will extensively rewrite the country's tax code for the first time in three decades.
But, behind-the-scenes negotiations continue and there is plenty that could go wrong. The party nearly skidded off schedule Tuesday over concerns from Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Corker wanted to ensure that tax bill would actually lead to economic growth and was able to secure an agreement in principle that would trigger some kind of automatic tax increase if the GOP's anticipated growth didn't materialize. Johnson, meanwhile, went into the GOP tax vote in the Budget Committee still frustrated about the way the tax bill treated tax rates for pass-through business income, but voted anyway to advance the proposal, saying that he wanted to keep the process going.

The Republicans voted for it in spite of the fact there are serious problems with what they are about to pass.

The House passed a tax cut plan earlier, one that promises to gut pretty much everything that's not a defense spending bill on planes that won't work.

And this is all happening despite this tax plan being one of the most unpopular things in the universe. 

All of this will cost the government trillions in lost revenue. Republicans are hoping to partially offset that massive expense by eliminating tax breaks that many people, and companies, currently enjoy, and will be very unhappy to lose. The entire home-building industry has already decided to go to war against the plan because it’s worried the bill will kill off deductions for homeowners. Northeastern and California Republicans are in open revolt over a proposal to curtail the deduction for state and local taxes, which their constituents rely on.
Meanwhile, virtually every credible bit of public polling suggests that, if anything, ordinary American think that taxes on big business should be higher, not lower. In September, the Pew Research Center found that 52 percent of Americans thought that corporate taxes should go up; just 24 thought they should go down. In April, 67 percent of adults told Gallup that corporations paid “too little” in taxes. This week, CBS News found that 56 percent of its survey-takers favored a corporate tax hike, while only 17 percent backed a cut.
Even among the GOP’s base, corporate tax cuts simply aren’t that popular. Pew found that just 48 percent of conservatives who either identify as Republican or lean towards the party think that corporate taxes should come down; 49 percent thought they should go up or stay the same. Among all Republicans and leaners, including moderates, just 41 favored lowering the corporate tax burden.

And yet, this is happening. The Republicans are risking a massive backlash by the public if they pass their efforts to slash taxes for the rich and the corporations...

...and yet NOTHING and NOBODY will hold them accountable if they do.

Welcome to the consequences of where campaign finance laws make it easy for the rich to buy up elected officials like so many toys. Welcome to the consequences of gerrymandered districts that make it easy for incumbents to remain elected regardless of their bad legislation until scandal or retirement drives them out. Welcome to the media bubble of the Far Right where Republicans can shelter themselves among like-minded tax cut dereg acolytes who fervently worship at the teats of Mammon.

It'd be pretty to think that in 2018 a voter revolt will cast out these crooks. But I despair over the fact that our political landscape is so partisan that even common sense no longer has an effect on people. Just look at Alabama: they are poised to vote for a publicly known pedophile who chased after TEEN GIRLS in his Thirties in Roy Moore, all because he's a Republican Bible-thumping conservative on "their" team.

This tax cut is less popular than past tax INCREASES. A while back I made a joke about what compromise was like with crazy people:
I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.
We’re now to the point where the American people are screaming for Italian, and the Republicans are looking back at us and telling us that spaghetti is out of the god damned question, and not only are we getting tire rims and anthrax but we need to wash it down with liquid Drano.
This is insanity. They literally want to push the country off a cliff to provide aid and comfort to people who don’t need it and have openly stated they aren’t even going to spend the money the way the Republicans say they will.
That's because this is all the modern Republican Party is after. For all the racism and sexism they shill to their voting base to keep them happy, for all the claims of being pro-fetus and pro-God, the one thing THE ONLY THING the Republicans will never bend on is their goddamn tax cuts. I noted this about Romney before, but it applies to the whole party: it is their goddamn Ever-Fixed Mark, around which their entire philosophy - of killing off the New Deal social safety net, of deregulating every business rule that protects people and workers, of splitting this nation into the Rich and the Fucked - revolves. 

The only positive outlook I have about this is that the tax cut is so demonstrably bad a plan that our economy immediately tanks - much like this massive tax cut devastated Kansas - with clear evidence it has everything to do with the tax cuts adversely affecting our industries, our property values, our stock markets to the point it all comes crashing down like the Great Depression.

The only problem with that is, obviously, everybody who's not wealthy with their money all safely tucked away in offshore accounts will get killed in that economic collapse.

But it's the only way to fucking wake the voters up. If only this time THEY STAY AWAKE AND CHASE THESE DAMN CROOKS INTO THE DEEPEST PIT OF HELL THEY DESERVE.

Monday, November 27, 2017

This Is All he Is: An Insult to Everyone (who's NOT Putin)

Yeah, he went there.

Trump can’t perform the simplest, most ceremonial function without being a massive dick. A while ago, he worked his stupid, racist “Pocahontas” shtick about Elizabeth Warren into an event honoring Native American Code Talkers from WWII...

A lot of other observers noted he was honoring these brave American soldiers from World War II by standing in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson, one of the most racist hateful life forms that ever brutalized every tribe of Native Americans he despised.

I should mention my Grandpa Kinzer once told us kids we were descended from Pocahontas, which was fun for awhile until Grandma Kinzer warned us that Grandpa was what the Southern ladies called a "goddamn liar". Still, I *ought* to go onto and find out how far back the Kinzer bloodline goes.

There's a bunch of conservative-minded folk on Twitter running around arguing that getting called "Pocahontas" isn't an insult, except that trump's demeanor and motive for calling Elizabeth Warren that on multiple occasions has been to insult her. That's all really trump does as his method of leadership: he insults in the most vulgar, derogatory method possible, with no style or subtlety or wit. If trump were to ever come up for an insult for me, it'd probably involve me being a fatass. That's too easy a shot, and degrading, but that's all he's good for.

This is why I have no qualms calling trump a goddamn Shitgibbon. It may sink to his level of immaturity, but that's what he deserves.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

As It Falls

So how fares the only hope we have for all humanity?

Right now it's all on what Mueller can get out of Mike "On the Payroll to HOW MANY Foreign Governments?" Flynn. Via the Washington Post:

By taking a large fee from Russia for giving a speech in late 2015, Flynn appears to have violated a law that requires retired generals getting such payments to receive prior approval. (NOTE: that's ONE) He also was hiding the fact that he was paid more than half a million dollars by allies of the Turkish government to promote Turkey’s interests while advising the Trump campaign (he later registered retroactively as an agent of a foreign government; failing to register is a felony). (This may be TWO if the feds think Flynn's retroactive attempt was a fool's effort to avoid accountability) He failed to include payments from Russia on his financial disclosure forms and may have lied about it to investigators. (We're already at the Third Strike) During the transition, he managed to delay a military operation against the Islamic State that Turkey objected to while he was secretly receiving those Turkish payments, a story that has gotten strangely little attention. (This fourth allegation shows that, even though Turkey is an ally to the US via NATO, Flynn was operating on the payroll of Turkey against American interests) He was even reportedly involved in planning for a bizarre plot to kidnap the exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in Pennsylvania and return him to Turkey, for which Flynn and his son were allegedly to be paid $15 million. (This one is where they make a movie out of it with Will Ferrell and Keanu Reeves as the wacky kidnappers) 
In short, Flynn appears to have violated multiple laws in multiple ways and could be looking at the possibility of serious time behind bars. He may have information Mueller could use in a case against Kushner, Trump or others, relating to multiple strands of the investigation. He may know things about the campaign’s relationship with the Russian government or about an obstruction of justice case related to Comey’s firing...

So how does Flynn bring the whole circus tent down?

Remember this: Flynn is tied to nearly everybody linked to the Russian-trump conspiracy to hack the 2016 elections, including Pence, who served as the transition leader after November, and had allowed Flynn to get picked for National Security Adviser. People who tried to warn trump and co. about Flynn - Christie, Sally Yates, others - were bumped out of trump's inner circle or fired. Flynn it turns out had been to various meetings with Russian officials and Putin allies alongside Jared Kushner, whose own dealings with Russia are under scrutiny as well.

If Flynn is cooperating now with Mueller, this suggests that Flynn has something worth in trade involving people further up the chain to trump himself. That points foremost at Kushner. Given how trump relies on Kush (his son-in-law) as a right hand man on nearly everything in his West Wing, if Mueller can bring charges on Kushner there's a good chance Mueller can flip him to testify.

Granted, having married into the trump mob, Kushner has little reason to betray his own... unless Mueller can prove to him that he's got enough on trump to charge (and convict) them both, in which case Kushner can roll over to get himself a deal. And there's a good chance Mueller has enough on trump given trump's own blabbermouth bragging how he Obstructed justice when he fired Comey. Anything else Kushner can give up will be adding on the bricks to the prison wall trump himself is building.

We're getting closer to the biggest and scariest step of them all: Mueller bringing direct charges against trump (and maybe some of the other high-ranking Republicans who had a hand in the 2016 elections). There's been reports trump wants to fire Mueller but can't because the bureaucracy is in the way. When push comes to shove, trump isn't going to surrender on this. He's bound to claim himself innocent and try to shut down every investigation into his dealings with Russia.

Then what happens? trump and his cronies will be aligned against nearly every Intelligence agency in the federal government: The CIA and FBI and NSA and so many others are already convinced by what they know that Russia meddled in our elections. The stuff that's been leaked by now is the stuff they can prove without violating national security rules: just think of what they know they can't tell the public. For any bias you may have towards the FBI or CIA or the "Deep State" you have to recognize that these are the men and women hired to defend this nation against the shadow threats. Most of them are genuinely doing their jobs, and most of them - by the look and feel of it - realize there is something nasty involving trump and the Russians.

What happens when our Intelligence agencies are in open revolt against a President they have evidence of dealing with foreign powers against our own nation? Which side will the Republicans in Congress take? Which side will the military, and state/local law enforcement?

How close are we to an actual civil war in our streets?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

How To Talk About JUSTICE LEAGUE at Thanksgiving

In the time-honored tradition of Thanksgiving, we are going to be faced with the terrible reality that arguments are unavoidable. That like it or not, somebody at the table is going to get offended about something.

So, in order to assist other families in keeping things calm while people hold carving knives in their hands, I'd like to offer some helpful hints in case anybody tries starting a Marvel VS DC debate as they pass the sweet potatoes.

Given how the Justice League movie just came out and is still in theaters, and in direct conflict with the current Thor Ragnarok for possible entertainment post-dinner, it's very likely that somebody is gonna talk smack about the lesser-received DC movie that is just too... grimdark about its own 'Verse.

So let's get this resolved by pointing out these key things:

1) Justice League (JL) isn't as bad as Batman V Superman.

Let's acknowledge the first film in this shared 'Verse was severely flawed. It focused so hard on setting up the Big Fight between Batman (Affleck) and Superman (Cavill) that it didn't do a good enough job fleshing out both characters to show how wrong Batman was to pick a fight against Clark, and how Superman wasn't more public in his need to atone for the damage caused in Man of Steel.  Also, Eisenberg's version of Luthor - while a nice departure from the hamminess of Hackman/Spacey - was too creepy and too smarmy to be taken seriously as an Evil Genius threat. BVS didn't do as good a job it needed to fleshing out the backstory of their being other Metahumans in the 'Verse, just tossing up hints about Diana and about the others without giving better context. Forcing a lot of that exposition into Bruce's Knightmares was heavy-handed at best.

JL went a long way towards cleaning up a lot of that mess. It gave Bruce motivation towards repairing the mistakes he made fighting Clark, and made it clear he knows he was in the wrong. It only gave us one big sequence of "the team fighting each other" element that's expected in superhero team-ups - when the team tries to contain a resurrected Superman - but from then on it focused on the prime threat of Steppenwolf, a New God vanguard for the Big Bad of the DC Universe (DARKSEID).

What Justice League does best is establish solid foundation of a superhero team involving characters that were earlier hard to take seriously - Aquaman in particular becomes the brawling badass he's supposed to be from the comics - or were hard to establish as characters who can helm their own solo projects - future Aquaman and Flash movies should be easy sells to the public.

2) Gal Gadot continues to hit it out of the park as Wonder Woman.

You can even roll with the argument that she's not in this movie enough to make it more enjoyable. There are moments where the filmmakers could have gone off a side tangent to show how Diana as THE Amazonian Princess was becoming a potent symbolic figure to women and girls. Every minute Wonder Woman is on the screen is a minute you're paying attention, not just to the fight scenes but also to the emotional drama.

3) Affleck isn't perfect as Batman/Wayne, but he does nail one key element for the DCU to continue.

Affleck is a bit stiff as Bruce Wayne, not conveying much emotionally as though he's focusing too hard on how direct/professional he tries to be as both a billionaire and Batman.

Something that crops up in JL is how old his version of Wayne is. Granted, mid-40s in this day and age isn't old old, but in superhero years he's getting close to retirement. His post-fight with a revived Superman examined the bruises and scars his already 20-year fight against crime has left him, and the battle against Steppenwolf likely added more. Affleck does convince as a vigilante growing aware of how he's no longer meant for this, yet remaining aware that the War (with Darkseid on the way) isn't over.

This sets up the sequel hook for Bats own movie in this 'Verse, one that's still reportedly delayed by creative conflicts, but one that sets up the possibility of Batman's Final Battle (most likely against a Darkseid-empowered Joker) and paving the way towards Dick Grayson/Robin stepping into the role of Gotham's savior as Nightwing. It all depends on how they work it out (Psst: Warner Bros, get in touch, team me up with Kevin Smith and we'll nail out a Batman flick on this inside of six months).

4) There are genuinely funny bits.

Thanks to Ezra Miller as this 'Verse version of Flash - a raw rookie to superheroing, literally taking his first steps even though he can go as fast as lightning - there is humor aplenty from his actions and reactions. Speedsters are popular characters in superhero films - just look at the two different Quicksilvers for Marvel and X-men - in that they play with slow-motion effects with charm and child-like wonder. Flash is the same way: Watching him pull off simple things with just a touch of a finger at super-speed gets the audience laughing. And the bit where Flash rushes in to fight a revived and angry Supes - only to see Clark turn his attention on him at the same speed he is, highlighting how Superman is canonically as fast as the Flash - got some of the biggest laughs with the audience I was with.

5) It makes me miss City of Heroes all that much more.

Oh, sorry, this is me. Let's continue.

6) If you can't convince the others around the table about the merits of the Justice League movie, at least point out that The Last Jedi is coming out in three weeks (OMG) and that we all need to settle down and wait to go see that as a family/group. That should resolve all matters until later.

Just don't go talking rubbish about Hawk The Slayer.

Update: I kid you not! I did talk to my sister-in-law about Justice League today! I was right!

Pagan Turkey Sacrifice Day 2017

Before we all get into Black Friday before chasing after our Saturnalia dreams, we need to perform the ritualistic slaughter of turkeys to appease our Gods!

And so, let us look back on the greatest performance of the ritual in modern American history!

WKRP'S "Turkeys Away" An Oral History

Appease the Gods!!!!

Also, a clip:

Monday, November 20, 2017

This Place Has Gotten The Better of Me: November 20, 2017

So I've been dealing with THIS particular bullshit since morning:

Appearing on a CNN panel of Trump voters Monday morning, (pest control company owner) Mark Lee claimed that the president is standing up for the "little guy" and that no amount of negative press will change his mind.
"If Jesus Christ gets down off the cross and told me Trump is with Russia, I would tell him, 'Hold on a second. I need to check with the president if it's true,'" Lee said as his fellow panelists reacted with shock.

I've been in a goddamn rage since seeing this.

I know how bad it is. How the trump voter sees the world in a Fox-Not-News induced haze of ignorance that flips reality on its head. That the ill-informed GOP base - buying into the lies of the culture war, selling out for tax cuts to the rich that will kill their own jobs just because they've bought into the trickle-down hype - accept every statement from a confirmed liar as Gospel while the fact-checkers and reporters are demeaned as "fake".

But I've never seen it THIS bad before.

We're at the point the Far Right voters are so into the goddamn Kool Aid that they'll accept the word of a con artist over the WORD OF JESUS (straight off the Cross, for God's sake).

It has come to this.

For 47 years of my life. Me: Sober. Never wanting a drop of alcohol. Barely trying stuff like rum to see what it was like and shaking my head at it. Never understanding the urge or need to get a buzz going with booze in my system.

Well, you broke me, trump voters. You've driven me over the edge. You've FINALLY REALLY DID IT. You got me to say this in all seriousness.


Now I'm not crazy enough (always sober never sane was my motto. WAS) to go jumping straight into the super-heavy stuff. But I think apple cider has an alcoholic content of five percent, right?

I checked the local Publix. There were several brands but one stood out. ANGRY ORCHARD. Perfect. I WAS IN THAT KIND OF MOOD.

So a toast, to you damn muthafuckas who voted a lying bankrupt con artist into the White House.

Bottoms up.

This is all your fault, trump voters. You blew it up. Damn You. Damn you ALL TO HELL.


Reports this morning that Charles Manson, worst party crasher in California, passed away. While he had been slated for the death penalty for his involvement in the serial killings he had his "Family" cult commit for him, changes in the legal system in the 1970s altered his terms to life in prison. He'd been up for parole, but it's been obvious over the decades that the fucker's mind was just GONE man.

Lemme bring up Sam Kinison's take on Manson:

Of the people who die that make me feel nostalgic, or lost, or despairing, Manson ain't one of them. I despise mass murderers, so let this one pass while waiting on Henry Kissinger to kick the bucket.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Personal Note: Clermont Comic Con 2017

I hope to see you at the Clermont FL Performing Arts Center this Sunday November 19th!

I shall be selling my wares and crying under the table due to emotional stress. Let's have fun!

You Broke My Heart, Frankie, You Broke My Heart...

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you... for the 2020 General Election, because DAMMIT ALL OUR HEROES ARE DEAD TO US NOW.

As John Cole at Balloon-Juice puts it:


As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.
When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.
On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’
He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.
I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.
I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.
I felt disgusted and violated.

Al Franken's response? Uh, it was meant to be a joke. Which is right up there with the "The Dog Ate My Homework."


One thing I wanna make clear: my current ranting against Roy Moore is fueled by two thoughts. One, that son of a bitch as a prosecutor and judge should have known better than to chase after HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS; Two, His running on a Holier-Than-Thou platform is a massive act of hypocrisy and fraud.

With regards to ANY political or business or entertainment figure being a goddamn sexual predator, my stance is the same: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS THAT YOU HAVE TO GET OFF ON GROPING AND HURTING WOMEN?

I'm not a huge fan of Bill Clinton because of this (if I ever side with him it's strictly on the issues, and because his attackers are worse SOBs). I still kick myself for ever buying into John Edwards as a viable candidate for the Presidency. And trump, GODDAMN YOU 62 MILLION AMERICANS AND PUTIN THAT SHIT IS UNFORGIVABLE.

Part of me worries, really really worries, that even Obama could behave like this. GOD NO PLEASE NO, NOT HIM...

As of right now, no male authority figure from Hollywood to Washington DC to the Vatican are safe from the worst realizations that the men in power are just a bunch of goddamn scuzbuckets.

The only sane solution to all of this is, obviously, VOTING MORE WOMEN INTO ELECTED OFFICE AND HIRING MORE WOMEN AS CEOs.

'Cause right now, I am absolutely terrified we're going to find out that (Insert incredibly popular and well-liked public male figure here) is into Vorarephilia. And that is not a made-up word, BUT PLEASE DON'T LOOK AT THE DICTIONARY OH GOD YOU LOOKED I AM SO SORRY...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


So there'd been stories about Roy Moore told around his hometown of how he'd stalk teenage girls at the local shopping mall back in the late 1970s.

When I was branch manager at Centennial Park Library, I had to issue a handful of trespass orders on unruly teens who hung out in the area, hassling library users and stuff.

It's a huge process. You have to call in the cops, file the trespass, file an incident report for the county gov't, and then when the banned person showed up calling the sheriff's office to hurry over and confront the violator about that trespass.

Most of the ones who got trespassed stayed away. There was one who kept violating it but sneaking off - the library was in the middle of a neighborhood, so it was easy - before the cops showed. They finally got him, and enforced the trespass order complete with arresting him and dragging him off in handcuffs.

It turned out they had that teen on more than just trespass. He'd been a suspect in local break-ins and acts of vandalism (there were other things, but I can't verify those charges), bad enough to where they were holding him without bail. The last time I saw the kid, this was 2008 maybe, it was in a courtroom on a preliminary hearing about his charges (I was called in to provide witness. I found out the prosecutor's office had triple-charged the teen on that trespass, so I told them it was just the one charge, but that probably didn't help him considering the more serious stuff he was facing).

I'm rehashing all of this today because of recent news about Senate candidate Roy Moore: how an investigating reporter dug up story after story about how Moore back in 1979 had been banned from a shopping mall because he was there all the time trying to pick up teenage girls (this was when he was in his 30s!). To get banned from any place to where the police were notified and scanning for you is a big fucking deal. That Moore kept doing this - that he kept showing up even after the ban trying to pick up girls - highlights how obsessed he was chasing after them, and how problematic it had to be if a sizable number of witnesses STILL REMEMBER HE DID THIS STUFF 30 YEARS AGO.

Remember, kids: a Sexual Predator does not stop at one victim, or four, or forty. He keeps going until someone actually stops him and he goes to jail. And even then, he'll likely keep trying, because it's all he knows to do.

That he stalked a shopping mall while he was employed as a District Attorney - even after being warned, even after being banned - points to the horrifying truth that Moore could not be trusted to uphold the laws of his state. Moore placed himself above the law.

How easy do you think it is for a bastard like that to place himself above God?

Such trespass should not be accepted by the faithful or skeptic alike. What the hell, Alabama. What the hell, Republicans.

This is insane.