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.