Tuesday, December 31, 2019

How the Year 2019 Ends: In Fire

I woke up this morning to reports of the US Embassy in Baghdad under siege by protesters angered up by recent military strikes on Shiite strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

For almost a month now, the entire continent/nation of Australia has been on fire due to prolonged drought, rising ocean temperatures, and an ungodly heat wave (it's Summer on that side of the Equator) that are all part of the climate change nearly every scientist has been screaming was coming to kill us all. Those eco-disaster movies from ten-twenty years ago? THEY ARE HAPPENING NOW IN REAL LIFE.

India is on fire this month due to their nationalist Hindu government pushing a citizenship law that would specifically exclude Muslims. It doesn't help that the nation is roiling from a growing rape gang crisis threatening the safety of every woman who lives there.

Over the past ten days the number of antisemitic attacks in America have gotten worse, ranging from vandalism to street assaults to someone with a machete stabbing Orthodox Jews at a rabbi gathering in Brooklyn.

Boris Johnson has cleared out nearly every obstruction in his quest to fulfill a Hard Brexit pullout from the EU, which is now including efforts by the Tories to privatize their National Health Service and make it more like the United States (welcome to medical bankruptcy, Brits!). We are looking at a January 31 2020 where a No-Deal Brexit will happen because the EU won't cave on any of Boris' demands.

Israel is forcing itself into yet another general election because the last three tries failed to form a unified government. It does not help that current PM Netanyahu is facing corruption charges... but refuses to leave office and indeed got an overwhelming vote of confidence from his own party meaning that unless enough voters break with their own parties to support an opposition majority they are stuck in gridlock.

China has entered its umpteenth month (since June at least) of Hong Kong protests over the city/region's autonomous status, which is a serious civil/human rights fight that China will never recognize. Not to mention the ongoing human rights abuses of concentration camps punishing millions of Uyghurs for their religious/ethnic differences.

We're still coping with the ongoing Impeachment of President Loser of the Popular Vote and Eternal Shitgibbon donald trump. With additional evidence showing that members of his foreign policy team - Sec of State Pompeo, Sec of Defense Esper, and NSA John Bolton (!) - confronted trump in late August (before the Whistleblower concerns got to Congress) to convince him to release Ukrainian military aid (trump refused). Not only reaffirming other evidence of trump's extortion racket but that key members of his administration have evidence they still need to present for the Impeachment proceedings.

Everything is chaos.

Everything is on fire.

Welcome to 2020.

It's going to get crazier from here.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Sharing Vagabond Scholar's Jon Swift Memorial 2019

Every end of the year, Batocchio hosts a blog round-up of recommended reads in honor of political blogger Jon Swift.

I am honored to be one of the handful offered an opportunity to share, and so I placed "A Cruel Month" article as my submission, of which I hope the readership enjoys.

I encourage the seven followers of this blog to take the time to visit the Jon Swift page and read through the other links, check up on fellow like-minded bloggers raging against the trumpian storm of corruption, and keep yourself informed for the coming year of madness that will be the 2020 general elections.

I hope to blog a few more things today, keep an eye open.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Tis The Season 2019

Just saying IO SATURNALIA and that hopefully I'll be posting some thoughts on stuff soon.

It's been a hectic week and the need to nap on Christmas morning all too powerful...

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A Brief History of Presidential Impeachments

Just for the record:

1842: John Tyler. The first attempt to remove a President via the Impeachment process. The Whigs controlling Congress were horrified after Tyler's promotion to the Oval Office after Harrison's death that Tyler was really a Democrat at heart, but could not offer a legal argument to remove him. They tried to impel him to resign using threat of impeaching, but he refused. The House ended up not having enough votes to carry the process over to the Senate.

1860: James Buchanan. This one I wasn't even aware of because it never got out of committee, but the Republicans in control of the House began a corruption probe of Buchanan's administration that had the authority to file impeachment articles if warranted. The Covode Committee reportedly found evidence of corruption but not enough to pursue impeaching.

1868: Andrew Johnson. The first President Impeached and the closest to getting removed from office, an attempt that failed by one vote. Like Tyler, an unwanted Vice President promoted up to the Presidency and fiercely opposed by a strong Republican Congress, Johnson only survived because the law used to trap him was rigged, because his lawyers were good (and the bribe money better), and because enough Senators were terrified of the replacement - Senate Pro Tem Benjamin Wade was too radical even for his own party - that they figured they could endure Johnson until the upcoming election that booted him out anyway.

1974: Richard Nixon. Watergate, bitches. When the smoking gun tape of Nixon ordering the cover-up got out, Republican Senators told Nixon he was "toast" and he resigned before the House Committee was able to get their three articles of Impeachment to the floor for a full vote.

1998: Bill Clinton. Blowjobs, bitches. While the House made the arguments that Clinton's behavior and deception was unethical, they couldn't convince Americans - especially the voters who sided with Clinton during the 1998 Midterms - that it rose to the level of Impeachment. He was the second President ever Impeached, but the Senate votes failed by such margins that Clinton was never at risk of removal.

2019: donald motherfucking trump. Impeached over charges of Abusing the Office to force a foreign power to intervene in our own elections, and with Obstructing the House investigations into that. From here, given the structure of the Republican-held Senate it seems unlikely that trump will face removal from office, but at least it's finally on record that the son-of-a-bitch has to answer for his sins.

It gets crazier from here, America. Gods help us.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

trump Writes A Letter. It's Predictably Insane

trump, for some reason encouraged by people other than his lawyers, sent a six-page letter to Speaker Pelosi which can charitably be called an insane rant that's more unhinged than a barn door during a tornado. I'm not linking to it because I don't want to promote any further exposure to a plague of madness, but that Balloon Juice article I link to does have the link and you can risk it yourself.

In short, trump accused Pelosi of presiding over an Impeachment process he still publicly decries as a "Witch Hunt" (considering no one has dunked trump in water as a test nor pressed his chest with stones for a confession, is an insult to those who were officially tried and killed during the Salem Witch Trials). trump accused Pelosi of going after him in order to destroy trump's success with the economy, and also accused her of "attacking democracy" while trump and the Republicans themselves are pretty much openly voiding the 2020 elections as he wrote dictated this missive.

In a sane and logical world, Pelosi's response should be this:

I'm not even going to get into how the letter contains spelling and grammar errors.

If trump wanted to impress us with his epistolary skills, he could have simply typed up a one-page letter with a simple sentence "I donald j trump do hereby resign the office of President Loser of the Popular Vote effective immediately." A ton of Americans would be thrilled if he did.

Tomorrow is the offical Impeachment vote in the U.S. House. I doubt Pelosi will be bullied by trump's letter to cancel it. The only thing left after that is seeing how quickly McConnell violates his oath of office by refusing to hold a fair and impartial trial - oh wait he already has.

This still matters, America. We are witnessing trump and his Republican allies fall into hysterics and madness for all to see.

This is why every honest patriotic American needs to vote every Republican out of office in 2020. End the foolishness, end the madness.

Otherwise may God have mercy on our souls.

Monday, December 16, 2019

All I Want for Saturnalia 2019

An honest-to-Saturn Impeachment process that forces an obstructionist Republican Senate to sincerely consider the reasons to remove donald trump from the Oval Office for the common good of the United States of America.

Well, that and a winning Mega Millions or Powerball lotto ticket.

Help a Unitarian out, Minerva, I may not be a citizen of Rome but I am a citizen of a federal republic modeled on the Roman system of checks and balances.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

I Know The Voices Dying with a Brexit Fall

So despite some early hopes that the youth vote turnout would flip enough districts in the UK, the British General Election right now is showing a major Conservative victory: Tories getting an increase of 51 seats for a solid majority, Labour losing 71 seats, the Lib Dems not doing well enough to be a factor, and absolutely everybody on the Remain side of the debate utterly horrified that a No-Deal Brexit is going to happen.

Even though the results of the overall population showing 40 percent support for Labour over 32 percent for Tories, the way each district is Winner-Take-All within that district distorts the final results (like the U.S. Electoral College, an overabundance of voters for one Party in one locale cannot compensate for smaller turnout in others).

It was foolish for Labour under Corbyn to agree to letting Boris Johnson push a new election at this point in time. Corbyn either didn't think his own unpopularity with general voters (and within in his own ranks) would hurt Labour, or else thought the controversies Boris was having with bad Brexit deals would weaken Tory support. There's also the reality that Remain voters - the ones most likely able to NOT vote Conservative - were split between Liberal Democrats and factions within Labour... which could have been positioned to uphold Remain but didn't because even among the Far Left there is a desire to exit what they view as a corrupt (pro-Capitalist/pro-banking) EU.

Either way, how the HELL do you lose 71 seats to the worst Prime Minister in British history? If Corbyn doesn't resign from Labour leadership for his open incompetence, just surrender now and relocate to Finland, my Progressive brethren.

So where does this leave the United Kingdom?

Boris and the other hardline Brexiteers are going to push for votes on the hardest possible terms for leaving the EU... which may not get enough votes in Parliament anyway if enough Tory members are terrified of the long-term consequences. This "blowout" election is no guarantee of the backbenchers signing up for something that a majority of Brits will end up regretting... and they know it.

The Scots may well revolt to get an Independence referendum. Northern Ireland might as well if the border backstop is screwed by Boris' Brexit deals.

The National Health Care system - already under the strain of budget cuts and preliminary reaction of a future Brexit - will face even tougher hardships under a Conservative Party that openly wants to turn their universal health care system into a for-profit model similar to the United States. (Just on this alone, Brits, you should have voted those Tory fuckers out of office. The hell?)

More chaos and bad leadership. That's how bad it's going to get under a Boris majority in the UK.

It's time to bring punk music back, my people.

Gods help you.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Accountability Moment 2019: trump and the Republicans Have to Answer for Their Sins

This is just one step, there are more to come, but the Democrats in the U.S. House announced two articles of Impeachment on President Loser of the Popular Vote donald trump. Via Andrew Prokop at Vox.com:

Both articles are based on the Ukraine scandal, meaning the party decided not to introduce any articles of impeachment solely based on the Mueller report, as some had pushed for...
Articles of impeachment are essentially the “charges” against the president that the House of Representatives is considering approving. The final House votes on impeachment will be a yes or no vote on each article. If even one is approved, Trump is impeached — and the Senate will then hold a trial to determine whether to remove him from office.
Article I, abuse of power, addresses Trump’s general underlying conduct in the Ukraine scandal. It alleges that Trump abused his power by trying to pressure Ukraine’s government into announcing an investigation into the Bidens by withholding both a White House meeting and military aid.
Article II, obstruction of Congress, is about how Trump responded to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry over the Ukraine scandal. It alleges that Trump obstructed the probe by urging witnesses not to cooperate and government agencies not to comply with subpoenas...

Some observations were made that Democrats left several other impeachable offenses - some related to Mueller's findings that are tangent to what trump did/is doing to Ukraine - off the table (for now), and that somehow these two articles may not be enough to sway Republicans either in the House or Senate. Which, of course, will never happen. The Republicans are too far gone into their sealed bubble of disinformation that all of them attack these proceedings as partisan and deny any merit to the facts at hand.

To anyone arguing that Democrats are doing this as a "coup attempt," trying to overturn the 2016 election results or subvert the coming 2020 election, I counter thus: Democrats could have done this to Bush the Lesser after 2006 over mismanagement of the War on Terror and his torture regime or even on mishandling the response to Hurricane Katrina... but they never did. Impeachment may be partisan but it has to be based on provable crimes. If Democrats are making official impeachment articles against trump, it's because trump IS GENUINELY BREAKING THE RULES AND ACTING AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION. Sheesh.

It's unlikely the wingnut Republican Senate will follow through on any impeachment and remove trump from office: They still have ways to profit from his misrule after all. Which is why this still feels like a half-accomplished thing. The best news about all of this is that it will be on the record: trump committed impeachable acts... and the Republicans refused to hold him accountable. The GOP is going to have to own this vote, and there are far too many people in favor of impeachment who will hold THEM accountable if they fail to hold trump accountable.

Get the goddamn vote out, America. The Republican party needs to answer for their sins.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Personal Status Report: Digging Into the Membrane

Well. This has been something on my mind for some time.


I went to see about clearing out my sinuses back in June, and when I got a CAT Scan they found a lump in the middle of my brain.

Further MRI and exams point to a tumor on my Pituitary gland, which shockingly enough affects about one in five people. Most people live their lives not even aware of it. I hadn't, didn't have any of the obvious signs for it - severe sufferers will have frontal headaches behind the eyes - and in some respects didn't even think to look for it. My blood tests over the years didn't show much deviance in the hormones managed by the gland, although I've been a chronic depressive for years I dunno if this tumor caused all of that.

The thing is, the tumor pushes upward from the spot in the skull where the gland rests, which just happens to be right below the point where the optic nerves criss-cross. So that as the tumor grows, eventually it will push apart or even engulf those nerves, causing vision loss. I already have loss of outer edge (peripheral) vision based on the eye exams they gave me two months ago.

So the neurosurgeon and ophthalmologist are both saying I need the surgery.

No idea yet how much it's going to cost. All I know right now about the surgery is that they gotta go through the nose, scrape out the tumor (they know where not to scoop the Pituitary, here's hoping), and patch up the hole in my head so I don't leak out spinal fluids. It involves a stay in the hospital for at least two days, have to be off work for at least a week maybe two...

The horrifying thing is, of course, they'll be digging in my brain. As someone who prides himself on above-average intelligence, I dread what effects this will have on mah head, brah.

The risks are minimal, but my parents are telling me I'm way overdue for a Will just in case things don't go well.

I'll keep blogging until the day of surgery. We'll see how it goes from there.

Good luck and IO SATURNALIA, everybody.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

The Snowflake That Is trump

Didn't know about it until earlier this week that trump was going over to Europe to hang out with our nation's NATO allies, and I also didn't realize how bad a trip it was turning out to be until THIS little tidbit got out there for public consumption. Just consider the headline to Anne Laurie's article at Balloon-Juice:

Late Night NATO Open Thread: They’re Not Laughing *With* Him,
They’re Laughing *At* Him

With links to various Twitter threads like this one:

When even Boris Johnson is getting in his kicks at you, you're clearly not the cool kid at this school.

Via Martin Longman at Washington Monthly:

I’ve been watching Trump since I was teenager growing up in the New York media market. It has been obvious to me that he’s driven by insecurities and resentment toward the Manhattan financial elite who have always viewed him as a mannerless fraud from the outer boroughs. He really wants their acceptance and I think he thought he’d finally get it when he won the presidency. It hasn’t worked out that way, and the only thing that has changed is that people see him now as a threat.
It’s hard to imagine anything that would strike Trump to his core more than being ridiculed by his would-be peers, and that’s why it was predictable as the rain that he’d throw a fit when he realized that he was the butt of jokes at the Queen Elizabeth’s Buckingham Palace reception on Tuesday night...
Trump was particularly angry with Justin Trudeau who was captured on an audio feed sympathizing with Macron for being unexpectedly roped into a tense 40 minute press conference that was supposed to be a brief photo opportunity. Doing his best “Mean Girls” impression, Trump called Trudeau “two-faced” and suggested he was just angry about criticism that Canada doesn’t contribute enough money to NATO.
Then he did this:
President Donald Trump on Wednesday abruptly canceled a press conference that was scheduled to cap a contentious trip to London for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 70th anniversary meeting.
The presser was scheduled to come after a series of bilateral meetings with NATO members, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
“When today’s meetings are over, I will be heading back to Washington,” Trump said in a series of tweets.
“We won’t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days. Safe travels to all!” Trump said.
The president is obviously wounded. His feelings are hurt. And now he will seek ways to exact revenge. This is such a well established pattern with him by now that I have no trouble predicting that he will repeat it.
This behavior has never won him respect in the past and it will not work in the future.  At this point, I’m surprised that he continues to make foreign trips to Europe since they always end in humiliation...

trump's vanity has always been a sore spot: HE has to be the biggest brightest star in the sky even when he's clearly not. he'd been obsessed with his claims of wealth and power and dealing prowess, even as the business deals collapsed into bankruptcy courts and even as the real rich kids banned him from such cool things as major team sports ownerships.

What will actually happen next isn't entirely predictable. trump can express his impotent rage towards Europe in various ways. Forcing the United States to quit out of NATO altogether is still out there as an option. he's still of a mind that tariff wars are easy to win (he just started them up again versus Brazil and Argentina).

The thing is, when trump does his damage to his perceived enemies, he's not going to do it in the best interests of the United States.

he'll be causing damage to satisfy his own rage.

And that's not how a President should act. Ever.

That's what 62 million of you Americans voted for.

Gods help us.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Kamala Harris Withdraws From 2020 Presidential Campaign. WHO THE HELL AM I GONNA ROOT FOR NOW?

Seriously. She was the only one in that pack of candidates most likely to throat punch that Eternal Shitgibbon trump first chance she got.

But after the resignation of one of her operations managers - who pretty much firebombed everything on the way out the door - it looked like Harris couldn't find any other personnel or resources to justify going forward.

This falls under the categories of Damn, Goddamn, and What The Fuck.


The immediate impact of her departure is that the field of major candidates dropped to three - Biden, Sanders, and Warren - while showing no sign of any second-tier candidate - Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Klobucher - being able to step up (unless one of them can appeal quickly to Harris' now-stranded fanbase). There's every likelihood several of them may drop out soon - joining recent departures from Bullock and Joe Sestak (who?!) - narrowing the field even more to the headliners (B S and W) and pretenders (Gabbard and Yang, neither of them gaining with voters but neither of them going anywhere).

Harris - who was relatively Centrist but no fan of the banks - is leaving as the field receives more billionaires and Wall Street types (Bloomberg and Deval Patrick). The candidate choices are now down one less woman and one less ethnic minority, increasing the odds that the next Democratic candidate could be a Boomer-aging White Guy. It's been noted that unless the rules change or someone like Castro or Booker get a huge fundraising boost, the next Democratic debate is going to be just white people (four guys and two women).

I was rooting for Harris this primary season: Primarily on her opening positions of improving education and paying teachers better, but also because of that "throat-punching trump" hope I had. This kind of leaves me in the lurch now about who to root for next... although like the Tampa Bay Bucs fan that I am, I'm dreading the possibility that when I root early for a candidate I somehow jinx them... /cries

I could root for the other high-profile woman candidate in Elizabeth Warren - and yes I need to get that Character profile done on her soon - because her push for reforms resonate well with me, but again I worry I might jinx her if I do.

I could root for Amy Klobucher as well, because I truly want America to have another chance at electing a woman to the office of the Presidency, and goddammit it shouldn't have to be this hard, guys, just let go of your misogyny for God's sake... but again I worry I might jinx her if I do.

There is no goddamn way I am backing a fringe candidate like Williamson or a compromised candidate like Gabbard.

I could throw my support to Julian Castro or Cory Booker... but again I worry I might jinx them like all the candidates I rooted for the last time (2008) until it all came down to Obama vs Hillary back then.

If I really am a jinx... hmm... okay, BernieBros, ready to accept me BHWHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHeeeeheheh... Okay I guess not.

And to Steyer and Bloomie: Screw you, rich boys. PAY YOUR FOOKING TAXES.

I shall contemplate all this on a tree of woe uh actually at a Dunkin' Donuts. I'll let you all know later.

Fricking campaign fundraising... sigh...

Sunday, December 01, 2019

As We Get Closer to 2020, the Democrats Get Closer to Having Rich White Men Panic

You might remember me all the way back in January of this year railing against the foolishness of a rich white man with no political experience trying to pull that stunt with Democrats the way trump did with Republicans.

A lot of that had to do with party ideologies. Republicans are thrilled to have amateur CEOs run for office because they believe those CEOs are their betters. Democrats tend to root for candidates who, you know, actually know what they're doing in office. Dems want politicians who speak to the actual majority of Americans who are NOT rich greedy white assholes. Just sayin.

It still hasn't stopped Rich White Men(tm) try to insert themselves into a Democratic primary stage in obvious desperate attempts to control the debates and stop such dangerous talk about raising wealth taxes or revoking the GOP 2017 Tax Cut from Hell. Just look at Thomas Steyer who jumped in back in July and has gotten nowhere even with 47 million already spent on his campaign.

Just look at Michael Bloomberg: he's not ready to run and yet there he is. And he's making poor decisions that ought to drive him to shut down already (via Bill Scher at RealClearPolitics):

Bloomberg’s late-entry strategy is more ludicrous than what Clark, Thompson and Perry cooked up. Bloomberg plans to completely skip the first four contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, and begin competing on “Super Tuesday,” March 3, when 15 states will hold primaries.
There is superficial logic to this plan. The billionaire former Republican isn’t a great fit for the college-educated liberals of Iowa and New Hampshire, nor for the union workers of Nevada, nor for the African Americans of South Carolina. Winning any of those four small-state contests involves much retail campaigning, and Bloomberg is very late in assembling high-quality, locally sourced, get-out-the-vote operations. So, he might as well pass on the ground game and go straight to the air war — dumping millions into a Super Tuesday TV and online ad blitz.
But red flags are everywhere. The last person who tried to circumvent multiple demographically unfriendly early states was Rudy Giuliani in 2008. After he performed poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, he declared he would skip the next three contests and focus solely on Florida. But having already been weakened by defeat, he never found his footing in the Sunshine State and fizzled out.
Bloomberg wants to avoid this problem by never giving the first four states a chance to weaken him. But the fact that Bloomberg can’t easily compete is, in and of itself, a sign of weakness. If his natural constituency isn’t liberal college grads, working-class laborers or African Americans, then just who is it...?

Bloomberg's already had to apologize for his obsession to defend a flawed Stop-And-Frisk police policy that was overtly racist as well as ineffective in stopping drugs or other lawbreaking. Bloomberg's still arguing against marijuana legalization (which is insanely popular with Dem primary voters). As Scher points out and as others have added, Bloomberg has terrible optics when dealing with a voting bloc - Black voters - that's key to winning the primaries in battleground states.

And yet Bloomberg is throwing himself into the inferno, as though he alone can save the Democratic Party from itself.

That's because as the primaries move onto the first true stages of voter choices, Bloomberg (along with other billionaires) is convinced the Dems are moving in the wrong direction when it comes to things like Medicare-for-All (which would mean massive tax increases), a serious Wealth Tax on the One-Percenters, and the likelihood of forcing corporations to - gasp - pay workers by boosting a $15 federal minimum wage.

This isn't because these Rich White Men(tm) are honestly opposed to trump and to his destructive policies (although these RWM do loathe trump as a pretender con artist).

This is because these Rich White Men(tm) are terrified that a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren Presidency means an end to their cushy wonderful super-big tax cuts that let them be triple-digit-billionaires instead of single-digit-billionaires.

The good news is that Steyer (who oddly has offered a wealth tax plan... it's just weak compared to Sanders and Warren's plans) and Bloomberg and (and latecomer Deval Patrick who has ties to Wall Street that would make Hillary seem an outsider) are polling in single digits nowhere near to winning any primary votes.

If Bloomberg and Steyer, either or both, were legitimately serious about helping the Democratic Party stop trump, they wouldn't campaign: They should be setting up SuperPACs and funding every Congressional, Senate, and State-level Dem campaign across the board. If they do THAT, then we might see victory against Republican corruption and stupidity this election cycle.

Just focus on that, rich guys. Fight the fight that NEEDS winning, and worry about your godless tax breaks later.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Turkey Sacrifice Day 2019

There's not much to say this year as we're all preparing for the nightmarish political landscape of a Presidential election cycle.

Except to note that trump and his Fox Not-News allies are making noises this year that libruls are waging a War on Thanksgiving. Wait, seriously? Yes seriously, because GOP fearmongering about ALL the national holidays is required to scare the voters into submission (I can't wait to see how they complain about National Donut Day (June 5 2020), you craven bastards).

So travel well, my fellow Americans, because on THIS national Turkey Sacrifice Day, we must make sure to eat every bit of the sacrifice for the rituals to work.

And as always, this day is best honored with this, this epic punchline to the best Turkey Sacrifice Day episode ever:

Stay healthy, kids!

Friday, November 22, 2019

A Nation Divided By The Comfort of Right Wing Lies

As the impeachment proceedings into trump's scandalous behavior with Ukraine soldier forward, the likelihood of it ending in peace and with some national solace in justice served grows less.

Mostly because the Far Right of this nation will never believe the truth of it. Via David Frum at The Atlantic:

...Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, opened today with a statement attacking media reporting on the Trump administration. He singled out six stories for attack...
Nunes can complain about this story, but it has since been corroborated by the haul of text and other evidence uncovered by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump lied about the deal again and again, on Twitter and from his own lips. For Nunes to suggest that Trump was somehow a victim of false reporting on the Trump Tower Moscow project is to endorse that lying.
Nunes knew that his intended audience would not bother to review the history as you and I just did. Nunes is not interested in talking with anyone who is interested in checking claims, or verifying statements. He is talking only with people locked into a closed and sealed knowledge system.
This closed knowledge system entraps millions of Americans in a universe of untruth, in which Trump is a victim and the allegations against him are “fake news.” The prisoners and victims of this system live in a dreamworld of lies. Yet it would not quite be accurate to describe them as uninformed. They are disinformed, and on a huge scale. The false-knowledge system supported by Nunes is closed and sealed, but also vast and intricate.
The Ukraine allegation against President Trump is simple and straightforward. It can all be summarized in a few sentences of plain English: Trump wanted dirty help for his 2020 reelection campaign. He sent messages demanding that dirty help to the Ukrainians directly on the phone and via his henchmen. He stalled military aid to extort the help. The Ukrainians nearly surrendered, until the whistle-blower report reached Congress on September 9 and knocked loose the aid on September 11.
Now watch Fox News or read the pro-Trump websites. Suddenly the story becomes very long and very complicated. It can hardly be summarized at all; it can only be alluded to indirectly by a litany of callout phrases: “Burisma.” “Hunter Biden.” “Where’s the whistle-blower?” “Vindman’s conflict of interests.” “Star chamber.” “#coup has started.” The intricate tale is animated by a burning rage of injustice against “fake news”—most of that “fake news” (like the story about Trump Tower Moscow) in fact true and corroborated...
The House Republicans’ underlying argument is too jumbled and confusing even to be agreed with. It can only be absorbed. It is to be repeated, not to be analyzed. It is not even really an argument at all. It is a hypnotic litany, a creed of faith—a faith all the more compelling for defying sense and experience.  
At Fox News, on talk radio, and on the web, American conservatives have built a communications system that effectively consolidates in-group identity. Much of the time, the talkers and listeners do not themselves understand what they are saying. They use key words and phrases as gang signs: badges of identity that are recognized without necessarily being understood.
This system of communication tightly bonds in-group members. That bond, in turn, exerts tremendous power over American politics.
The price paid for this achievement is that the communications system lacks any means to convince nongroup members. How can you convince people when they cannot understand what on Earth you are talking about?
Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, and the others have fenced off conservative Americans from the rest of American society. Within that safe space, insiders hear only what is familiar and comforting. When those protected insiders step outside into the larger world, they find themselves completely unprepared for it. To those not immersed in the fantasy franchise, people like Devin Nunes sound like crazy people. Which in turn, of course, only drives them crazier...

Frum knows the world of which he speaks: Formerly a speechwriter for Dubya (infamously responsible for the Axis of Evil speech), he's since moved away from a Republican Party he can't even speak to anymore.

But it's not even with the upper echelons of the Republicans. Buzzfeed is reporting now how Facebook, a social app with millions plugged in, is inundated with fly-by-night pro-trump groups that form, spread false reports about the impeachment hearings, and close out before the company can close them down. Staying on just long enough to convince the MAGA crowds and confuse the rest.

The entire Republican Media Bubble is self-sustaining now. Holding the pundits and politicians accountable won't stop the GOP base from perpetuating their own bullshit.

The only thing the rest of us can do is vote the bastards out of power. Prevent them from causing more damage within our legal and political and economic systems.

It won't stop their bullshit or their hatred of fellow Americans. It might not even make us safer, because they've been riled up now to the point of violence.

But it's the only way to bring the United States back to some level of sanity.

Gods help us.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

This Week In Exposing Trump's Sins Part 146: The Quids And the Quos Meet the Pros

Update: A big hello again to everybody linking in from Crooks & Liars' Mike's Blog Round-Up! Thank ye, Tengrain! Please take a moment to peruse, add a comment, and if you're having difficulty with the comment section you can tweet me @PaulWartenberg with suggestions. Also, good luck on NaNoWriMo this last week of writing!

How bad has trump's week been going so far?

His daily helicopter screamfest to the media had to come with notes handwritten in 60 point font size.

And oh GOD, someone put the lyrics to a Ramones backbeat.

It does not help trump or his Republican lackeys when it got out this week from key testimony on Tuesday - from Lt. Colonel Vindman, State Dept. official to the VP's office Williams, Special envoy to Ukraine Volker, and NSC advisor Morrison - that trump's dealings with Ukraine were to cut off aid to that nation in order to squeeze their newly elected President Zelensky into publicly announcing questionable investigations into the Biden family.

It especially hurt to have Volker - who Republicans hoped to be on trump's side of the investigation - confirm some of the details of the scandal and that trump's actions looked "inappropriate" and indefensible.

It really hurt because Volker provided more links to Gordon Sondland, supposedly the Ambassador to the EU but had been a major part of trump's outreach to Ukraine (nowhere near Sondland's orbit of responsibility). So with Sondland in the crosshairs, rather than take the fall into traffic Sondland took control of the dumptruck and proceeded to drive all over trump, Pence, Sec of State Pompeo, Rick Perry, Chief of Staff Mulvaney, Rudy Giuliani, and random Red Shirt guy who got beamed down to the planet to demonstrate how dangerous the episode was. To quote the Vox article from Zack Beauchamp:

Sondland’s testimony, which kicked off Wednesday’s impeachment hearings, lays out a clear timeline of Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden. And it leaves absolutely no doubt as to what was going on.
“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” Sondland says. “The answer is yes...”

With just that one paragraph, Sondland gave evidence that confirmed the Quid (Ukraine military aid) and the Quo (sham investigations into Hunter Biden) had a Pro (everyone from trump on down was working the scam behind closed doors until the Whistleblower kicked them open). Back to Beauchamp:

Sondland’s testimony also makes clear this was not some kind of rogue operation masterminded by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani alone. He provides extensive documentation, including contemporary emails and text messages, showing that his own personal efforts in service of arranging the quid pro pro were authorized at the highest levels of the administration...
This is it. It’s the ballgame. Sondland’s testimony is the whole scandal in a nutshell: It makes clear that the president of the United States masterminded a conspiracy to use US foreign policy as a tool to cement his own hold on power...
The timeline of the scandal as described in Sondland’s testimony begins on May 23, three days after President Zelensky’s inauguration. Sondland had attended the inauguration in his official capacity and, on May 23, met with Trump to brief him on the new Ukrainian leadership.
The meeting, which included other US officials who worked on Ukraine, didn’t go as planned. Sondland and his team were attempting to arrange a meeting between Trump and Zelensky, which the latter badly wanted as a sign of his political strength. But Trump kept trying to force them to work with Rudy.
“President Trump directed us to ‘talk with Rudy.’ We understood that ‘talk with Rudy’ meant talk with Mr. Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer,” Sondland said. “We could abandon the efforts to schedule the White House phone call and White House visit between Presidents Trump and Zelensky, which was unquestionably in our foreign policy interest — or we could do as President Trump had directed and ‘talk with Rudy.’ We chose the latter course, not because we liked it, but because it was the only constructive path open to us...”
But the key issue here is not Sondland’s own culpability. It’s the president’s and the White House’s. And on that front, Sondland is relatively credible — he’s testifying against his own interest, as he’s still the US ambassador to the EU and thus serves at the pleasure of the president. What’s more, some of his testimony here is supported by email and text records.
So after meeting with Trump, Sondland’s testimony goes on to say, he began working with two other high-level US officials — Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and US Ambassador to Ukraine Kurt Volker — on coordinating the Trump-Zelensky meeting and other Ukraine issues. Perry and Volker were in charge of communicating directly with Giuliani, according to Sondland, but it becomes clear through these contacts that Giuliani is communicating the president’s desire for a meeting-for-investigations quid pro quo.
For example, in a July 10 White House meeting on Ukraine policy, Sondland testifies, “I recall mentioning the prerequisite of investigations before any White House call or meeting.” On July 19, Sondland sends an email to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and other high-level officials in the Trump administration documenting his work in arranging a quid pro quo — an exchange of hosting Zelensky at the White House for the investigations Trump wanted...
The Ukrainians were fully aware of this. Sondland cites an August 10 text from Andriy Yermak, a high-ranking aide to Zelensky, as proof. In that message, Yermak commits to holding a press conference — a key demand of Giuliani and Trump’s — that would announce investigations into “Burisma and election meddling...”

Other witnesses on Wednesday confirmed the Ukrainians awareness: Contacts from both State and the Pentagon (DoD) testified to their Ukrainian connections asking repeatedly why their needed military aid against Russia's border war with them was being delayed so long.

Everything here is a Quid Pro Quo. Or, if you want to describe this in modern legal terms, bribery and extortion.

And yes, Laura Ingraham, bribery - and the punishment for it - is in the Constitution.

Granted, there's more testimony to come - there's a key one going on RIGHT NOW with Fiona Hill already tearing trump and his corrupt administration a new hole - but there's enough here already to begin straight-up impeachment counts in committee and passing it on for a floor vote in U.S. House. We impeached Clinton on less, for God's sake.

But let's be realistic as well. There is no Smoking Gun moment like in Watergate when Republican Senators went to Nixon and told him "It's over, we can't back you." Today's Republican party leadership is craven and greedy and amoral to the point of immorality. Given the option of removing trump to get Pence installed - even as Pence is facing impeachment charges as well - the GOP has instead double-downed on defending the Shitgibbon all the way... even as his leadership has them flying off the cliffs to rocky doom below.

The best thing about these impeachment hearings is the Truth: Real Truth as based on Fact. The facts are trump is corrupt, that he is using foreign policy to extort personal and political favors from allies, that he is coordinating ANOTHER campaign to subvert the 2020 elections with fake scandal and constant lies, that everything Mueller could prove in his Report was real (Mueller just couldn't find the Pro between the Quid and the Quo).

These Facts are out here now. Democrats know full well the demons they're up against and now there's documentation backing them up. Republicans have to defend an indefensible argument, and defend an openly corrupt regime.

This all matters in one way: The 2020 Elections. trump and the GOP can try to avoid accountability all they want, but they STILL have to convince voters to keep them in power. It's up to us, every American registered to vote, every American who NEED to vote, to go to the ballots in 2020 and KICK. EVERY. CORRUPT. REPUBLICAN BASTARD. OUT. OF. OFFICE.

Elections matter, America. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, it is up to YOU to stop trump from dragging us deeper into Hell.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Coming Soon to the Federal Penitentiary System: The Roiling Stone Ten Years to Life Tour

Ahhh, SCHADENFREUDE is the tastiest freude. Via Emptywheel:

During the break in Yovanovitch’s testimony, the jury in Roger Stone’s trial came back with a verdict. They found him guilty on all seven counts. That includes a witness tampering charge for Stone’s efforts to dissuade Randy Credico from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, the very same committee leading this impeachment hearing.
The courts are just now imposing consequences for Trump’s efforts to cheat to win the 2016 election, even as he attempts to prevent the one court that can try him for imposing consequences for cheating to win the 2020 election.

To the official records well okay reporting from Spencer Hsu, Rachel Weiner and Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post for the full count.

The panel of nine women and three men deliberated for less than two days before finding Stone, 67, guilty on all seven counts resulting from his September 2017 testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, which was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Kremlin’s efforts to damage Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton...
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson set Stone’s sentencing for Feb. 6 and allowed him to remain free until then. Stone faces a legal maximum penalty of 50 years in prison — 20 years for the witness tampering charge and five years for each of the other counts, although a first offender would face far less time under federal sentencing guidelines.
Stone’s indictment was the last brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, revealing important details about the Trump campaign’s keen interest in computer files hacked by Russia and made public by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. He was accused of lying to Congress and tampering with a witness, an associate whom prosecutors said Stone threatened in an attempt to prevent the man from cooperating with lawmakers...

The primary thing you need to realize is that Stone is one of those rare special Republicans who's been at the dirty tricks game for decades and thus deserves every inch of hard karma about to get shoved up his keister (via Andrew Prokop at Vox.com):

Stone has had a reputation for political shenanigans since he was a 19-year-old volunteer carrying out dirty tricks to embarrass Richard Nixon’s 1972 Republican primary opponent — something that earned Stone a minor role in the Watergate hearings...

Some guys go to college to get a reputation. Stone had to go to impeachment hearings (oh the irony) to earn his.

As a Republican campaign operative, he worked for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole; as a highly paid lobbyist, he worked alongside his friend Paul Manafort for a host of seedy clients. And he’s long been known as a colorful character who rejoices in the dark side of politics: scandals, smears, division, and negativity. Journalists have called him “the state of the art Washington sleazeball” and the “boastful black prince of Republican sleaze.”

He's been at this game of dirty politics so long that at his age now - late 60s - even a ten-year stint in jail screws up his retirement plans, and he risks the odds of dying in a jail cell of old age. If only they'd arrested him when he was younger, like when he stirred up that Brooks Brothers Riot in Miami during the 2000 Recount. But then he never would have reached his greatest achievement: Fucking over the United States by giving us the Eternal Shitgibbon, trump himself:
Stone also, incredibly enough, spent nearly three decades trying to get Donald Trump for president before Trump actually went through with it. The two met in the mid-1980s, as Trump hired Stone and Manafort’s firm to do lobbying and PR for him. After Trump released his book The Art of the Deal in 1987, Stone urged him to consider running for president the following year, but Trump demurred. In 1999, Stone ran a presidential exploratory committee for Trump — but Trump again ended up not officially running...
trump finally bought into what Stone was selling him - noticeably around the same time Obama publicly humiliated him just before Obama gave the order to take out Bin Laden - and from there Stone was both front-office and back-room dirty operative for his boy.

So for all that, absolutely no sympathy for him. Stone was running around shouting "Lock Her Up" for the last four years. Now Hillary can visit him in lockup and just stare at him with a big shit-eating grin for hours on end.

Today's malicious delight out of all the other scandal coverage - trump's Ukraine impeachment inquiry is digging up serious allegations of extortion and bribery - makes me nostaglic, it brings back a lot of fond memories from January of this year when I honored the moment of Stone's arrest with a sweet little ditty "Stone In Jail."

Tweeted this earlier:

Nice to see he's finally getting there.

Save a cell next to him for his boy donald. Given all the exposure trump is getting now for his crimes, it shouldn't be long to wait.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Impeachment Day From the Sidelines

(Update 11/15/19): A big thanks to Batocchio for linking me again to Crooks & Liars' Mike's Blog Round-Up! If any of you are busy on NaNoWriMo I wish you luck, please check out my blog, do try to leave a Comment below (I know it's restricted, I've had issues with spam, if it's not working for you tweet me @PaulWartenberg danke)

Today was a big day on Twitter, as #ImpeachmentDay was a huge hashtag to follow.

And while big revelations were plenty - we heard public testimony, some of it repeated from earlier testimony given in closed sessions - about how trump abused the powers of the office to withhold military aid from Ukraine in order to force their government to begin sham investigations into Joe Biden's family, the hearings still won't mean much because of one thing.

The Republicans in Congress and everywhere else don't give a rat's ass that their boy trump broke the law.

Granted, these hearings are necessary for historical matters and for legal ones. It has to get out there that trump is this crooked, and that the Republicans are just as corrupt for defending every last thing trump has done - continues to do - wrong.

But until enough Senate Republicans decide "to hell with it" and put country before party, these hearings will all end the same way. McConnell and his crooked Senate buddies will hold the most perfunctory vote against any impeachment findings the House presents them and walk away laughing. It would be nice to think otherwise, that reason would prevail and trump removed from office before he can do any further harm, but partisanship dominates the GOP now and they will ignore this reality to revel in their fantasy.

Except they shouldn't.

When the Congressional Republicans ignore the evidence and "exonerate" trump, they will have to answer to every non-Republican voter across the United States. Not just the Democratic voters who already know they HAVE to vote the GOP crooks out of office, but the non-party voters who will hold those Congresscritters accountable for their folly.

Back in 2016, trump eked out an Electoral College win by getting just enough of the Non-Party Voters - 46 percent over Hillary's 42 percent - in key states to choose him. Funny thing about Non-Party voters: they DON'T drink the Kool-Aid the way party voters do. They tend to retain enough independence to know when one party or the other is pissing on them and switch sides.

Last I saw, trump was polling in the mid-30s with independent voters. He's not looking to get the 42 percent total votes he had in 2016. These impeachment hearings ought to make those numbers go lower.

And with any reason worth considering, the disapproval for trump should translate into disapproval for Republicans lying for him.

Get the goddamn vote out, America. And for the Love of GOD hold Republicans accountable for the shit they're doing now and have been doing for years to violate every ethic in the books.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Republicans Train Their Crooks Young: Just Look to the UF Student Getting Impeached Already

Oh man, trump's only been in the Sunshine State as an official resident for less than two months and already his crooked family is f-cking over my alma mater (Journalism 1992). To wit, there's an impeachment process underway in Gainesville (via Megan Reeves at the Tampa Bay Times):

Last month’s visit to the University of Florida by President Donald Trump’s oldest son is still reverberating through campus, with some student leaders pushing to oust the student body president who invited him.
For only the second time in the school’s 115-year history, a student president faces impeachment — and this time it’s happening with a U.S. president under the same threat...
Michael C. Murphy received a formal resolution for his impeachment Tuesday afternoon, which was signed by more than 100 students and alumni. It was delivered to his on-campus office and sent to his UF email. Student senate president Emily Dunson, received a copy, too, in accordance with student government rules...
Those behind the effort say Murphy conspired with an official for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign to bring Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle to campus for speeches on Oct. 10.
Questions have been raised about the legality of the visit, as Murphy agreed to pay the pair $50,000 in publicly funded student activity fees and the law says public funds cannot be used to support political campaigns...

I saw this event announced awhile back, and I was horrified that UF was inviting Fredo donnie junior for what seemed to be a partisan speaking tour. Granted, political figures have been invited to the campus - to many campuses across the U.S. - all the time, but those were usually over established debate issues in a public forum. Junior's visit - which came across as a fete instead of a forum - didn't seem to fit that mold. Back to the report:

Then an email surfaced, as first reported by UF’s independent student newspaper, The Alligator (disclosure: I did stringer work for the Alligator back in 1990, just one article about the then-built Harn Museum), showing Murphy worked to set up the event with Caroline Wren, national finance consultant for Trump Victory, a fundraising committee for the president’s campaign...
At the same time, Murphy has come under fire for his apparent ties to the Trump family. Photos on social media show him and Emily Dunson, who leads UF’s Gator Party, together at Trump events in Washington, D.C. Campaign finance records show the student president’s father, Dan Murphy, donated $5,600 to Trump’s campaign this year.
Michael Murphy and Dunson did not respond to calls seeking comment.
“Public records show that Michael Murphy colluded with a member of the Donald Trump campaign,” student senator Ben Lima said during a student government meeting last week. Lima is leading the impeachment charge.
“If this was not a campaign event, then why was the student body president in communication with the Trump campaign to bring these speakers to campus?” he asked.

The whole thing reeks of a campaign rally / fundraiser type event, using student funds to cover the costs, and reaching far past the level of action that the student President should be working. If you read the rest of Reeves' article, you'll notice the parts where Murphy seems more interested in cultivating a future career in politics rather than focus on his job serving the students' on-campus needs.

This is how corrupt conservatives have gotten, all the way down to their college-level rank and file. Wasting other people's money for partisan gains, lining their own pockets and setting up deals to serve themselves further down the road.

By the looks of things, Murphy's not going to last long as student President. But I guarantee you he's going to find fleeting fame among the Fox Not-News crowd as "another martyr" of campus political correction gone amok. Even though Murphy was honestly caught breaking the rules, even though by all rights Murphy is no damn martyr.

Here's hoping UF kicks the bum out. And Go Gators.

P.S. I hope the bum doesn't transfer to South Florida, my other alma mater (MLIS, 1993). Go Bulls.

Monday, November 11, 2019

From the Battlefields of World War I, A Small Red Flower

From Flanders Field, this.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

poem "In Flanders Field" by John McCrae

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Honest Bumper Stickers 2020 Part I: The Pantsing Menace

So there I was minding my own business, working on my NaNoWriMo project for this month of writing, when out of the blue we get a new wannabe candidate running in the 2020 Democratic Primaries.

So here comes Mike Bloomberg, doing nobody but billionaires any favors hopping into the campaign cycle ostensibly to run on a Centrist, pro-business platform but most likely doing whatever he could to stop the Progressives like Bernie and Warren taxing the ever-loving shit out of Mikey and his billionaire buddies.

So here I am rolling my eyes at Bloomberg's tone-deaf needless sacrifice to take one for the rich white guys, because the last type of person who is going to win over enough Democratic primary voters is going to be someone who promoted anti-civil-rights BS like Stop and Frisk while encouraging Wall Street to rip off homeowners by the truckload. Christ, look at the polling already. Wassisname, the Starbucks guy he didn't even survive the first wave of Twitter outrage. There's already this hedge fund manager Tom Steyer doing his best to get over 2 percent polling (and failing). If Bloomberg thinks he's gonna cut into Warren's - or even Biden's - lead, he's let his campaign advisors rip him off for millions with bad advice.

Here's the dark secret, billionaires who may harbor non-Republican values enough to be Dems: Most of the Democratic voting base hate rich guys who refuse to pay their fair share of taxes. If you wanna do Dem voters any favors, help fund the state-level candidates who need the fcking money to break the stranglehold Republicans have on too many state legislatures.

But no, the worst part of Bloomberg's rollout had to be this:

Yeah, I know. I couldn't stop laughing for three minutes.

Sadly, it turns out the marketing logo is actually a fake, but for a day or two I was haunted by this terribly designed logo: This cluttered mess of trying to make Bloomberg's name 'exciting' by putting in two 2020s and capping it with a lame motivational "OWNING IT TOGETHER." Whoever did design this fake logo knew how bad it could get. Seriously, this looked like something that would have wowed the crowds... back in 1973.

Ah, and this kind of thing stoked my ire back in 2015/16, when all the bad campaign ad work popped up on BOTH sides of the political primaries. All of that questionable logo design - all because Obama's people figured out early the big letter O for Obama could get used artistically for genuinely eye-catching logos - struggling to try and match Obama's marketing success.

It drove me to make Honest Bumper Stickers for 2016, and now here I come for 2020, revved up to mock the ever-loving hell out of candidates I will support for the Democratic ticket (I am not at the moment in any mood to make mocking bumpers for trump: All I will make for him is IMPEACH THE FUCKER, indeed).

So here I come, walking down your street, I get the funniest looks from, everyone I meet... HEY HEY IT'S HONEST BUMPER STICKERS! ...what?

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

If They Boo trump a Third Time, We Call That a MAGA Hat Trick

Oh dear Gods. trump really wants to keep trying this (via Sports Illustrated which apparently can't stick to sports like SOME compromised websites mutter grumble):

BamaCentral has learned that the University of Alabama is making preparations for President Donald Trump to attend the LSU game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
Numerous sources have confirmed his expected visit.
The potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup, depending on the initial rankings by the College Football Playoff committee Tuesday night, will be shown on CBS at 2:30p.m. CT. 

trump has already gotten boo'ed at a game he thought he'd be cheered at with baseball, then got boo'ed at a fight night with a crowd he - and a lot of other people - assumed would cheer him.

Now he's going for what he and his peeps HAVE to think is the safest spot for him to show up: Fritters Alabama, uh Tuscaloosa Alabama. The key point is, it's in a safely Redneck Conservative State playing a safely Redneck sporting event for a safely Redneck college conference.

He's shown up for this type of sporting event before, attending the College National Championship game back in 2017 between Alabama and Georgia. So by some level of logic this might be a safe game for him to show up for the cheers he's been desperate to hear. Given it's a game between the TOP TWO programs in the nation with guaranteed viewership, and trump is hoping to get big cheers and adulation to please that toxic ego of his.

Except, well... it might not be that safe.

The crowd for that championship game he attended was a little different than this game's. The big games tend to be stuffed with boosters and alums who are older and richer: This is a regular college game albeit - one with national viewership - but the crowds will have more college-age attendees. And trump is not polling well with college-level voters and especially that age bracket.

And times have changed. In 2017 trump was barely into his office, reactions to his actions still underway. It's been two-three years now and people know what trump represents. There's also the impeachment factor, where the public exposure of trump's scandals are hurting his approval numbers (which have NEVER gotten above 50 percent). Even a "safe" state like Alabama outside of his fanbase rallies may not approve of the man.

Throw in the mood most game attendees will be in. This WAS going to be a major college game to determine who owns the SEC West (and top dibs on the championship game in January). But now it's a political event, where everybody knows that trump attending ONLY so trump can get his damn cheers in front of national television. trump is hijacking a Big Game for his own damn self. And some fans may not take kindly to that and boo him out of spite.

My two cents on the matter is: To the Bama fans and to the LSU fans planning to attend, just don't go in. Keep tailgating in the parking lots. Listen to the game on your radios and watch on portable TVs. Don't let trump hijack YOUR game for HIS ego. Give him an empty stadium and root for your teams in other ways.

You don't have to boo him and you don't have to cheer him. Just let him sit in silence. Right now, that's the punishment trump deserves.

Monday, November 04, 2019

I Already Hate My New Neighbor

This is the last person we need to turn himself into a Florida Man. NOOOOOoooooooooooo.

Via Elliott Hannon at Slate:

Donald Trump has always been a Florida Man at heart, but the president has now put his allegiance in writing , officially submitting a “declaration of domicile” to move his primary residence from New York to the absurd state of Florida. Donald and Melania Trump both filed documents at the Palm Beach County Circuit Court in late September to relocate their primary residence from Trump Tower in Manhattan, where the president has been a resident since 1983, to Mar-a-Lago. Please welcome: Donald Trump, Florida Man.

NO. NEVAH! A TRUE Florida Man has genuine style and elan when it comes to pulling off batshit crazy stunts. With trump, there's no grace, no truth, no wit to his actions, just pure malice and denigration.

Can you picture that Shitgibbon riding a 15-foot alligator to the nearest Wendy's to try and order twelve Baconators and throwing a live possum through the Drive Thru window as payment? No.

Can you picture that Shitgibbon raiding Disney World at night while dressed as a Power Ranger wielding a Nerf gun? No.

Can you picture that Shitgibbon getting caught in a sex scandal involving an ex-Sheriff, an entire strip club of dancers all named Bambi, two former U of Miami players as henchmen, 5 million dollars of drug money, and an abandoned Deerfield Beach condo tower? Well, yeah he could, but trump could do that in ANY state with beach property!

trump can NEVER be a True Florida Man.

So why the fck he gotta move down here to make things worse?

If we go with what Ed McCaffrey is saying at CNN's website:

Trump's legal move to Florida may indeed be about taxes, as Trump himself suggests, but just not about paying taxes, which Trump doesn't do. Instead, the move seems inspired by attempts to disclose Trump's taxes, which the President also very much does not like to do.
New York has been aggressive on the front of trying to shed light on Trump's taxes: The state legislature passed a law facilitating Congress's access to Trump's state-level returns, and the Manhattan district attorney, Cy Vance, has been pressing the case for access to Trump's returns in court.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James has also proven to be a talented and persistent thorn in Trump's side, specifically on the tax disclosure issue...

Thing is, I doubt this move can stop an ongoing investigation into trump's prior returns. There remain serious questions about property valuation, violations of non-profit filings for his now-defunct Foundation that need answering, and other acts that point to state-level charges of fraud. This move won't stop New York from disclosing his state income taxes, it might even hasten it.

I'm personally convinced trump is doing this NOW - rather than having done this in 2016 when it became clear his tax returns would be a serious topic of legal investigations - because of how it will relate to 2020 and his re-election campaign.

The conspiracy nut in me - the X-Files fan who played the Who Shot JFK parlor game - is afraid trump is doing this to plan ahead for a Presidential ticket move of - yeah, this sounds crazy but hear me out - dumping Mike Pence at Veep and replacing him with Ivanka (and not donnie junior).

Hold on, seriously. The rules of running for President are limited by the Constitution by these rules: 1) Must be over 35 years of age, 2) Must be a natural-born citizen, and 3) Must have lived in the states for 14-plus years. The only other restriction is from the 12th Amendment: that the President and Vice-President cannot reside in the same state (this hails back to when the Founders wanted to keep one state from dominating all the others).

This is why Dick Cheney in 2000 switched his residency from Texas (where he was working as a CEO) to Wyoming: Dubya was from Texas and Cheney's self-appointment to the VP slot conflicted with that Residency rule.

That's it. There's no other restrictions. Nepotism laws at the federal level doesn't cover sharing of election tickets. trump can't nominate his kids for the Cabinet posts but he could run one of them on the Presidential ticket...

There's been rumors for a long time that trump - fearing Pence can betray him at any moment - wants to get one of his kids to serve as Vice President. trump's also considering the possibility of winning cheating at getting a second term, and wants to get one of the younguns' set up to inherit the throne he's desperate to make.

Of course, I can be wrong. I'm not a legal scholar, and my understanding of the Constitution is college-level at best. But it might happen. There's no law about it because in theory this sort of thing was unthinkable: an open act of monarchism defying the very republican democratic institutions the Founding Fathers wanted for this nation.

But trump doesn't play by the rules, does he. The norms of politics don't apply to him.

Gods help us if this is his endgame.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Keep Writing That NaNoWriMo Project: The 2019 Affair

I'm digging in my heels and getting sh-t done.

I promise.

Like the last 12 times.

It's gonna be a book about aliens! And trump making it worse.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

What If You Held a World Series and trump Got Booed At It? (w/ Update)

It'd probably sound and look a lot like this:

And it didn't end there, as reported via NBC News (by Richie Duchon):

Some fans broke out into chants of "Lock him up!" after Trump was shown on the stadium's big screen during a moment to honor a group of Marines...
The chants against the president harked back to campaign rallies in 2016 during which fans of Trump would often break into chants of "Lock her up!" in reference to Hillary Clinton.

So here's trump and his White House handlers, probably thinking that in the wake of this weekend's raid against the ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi that he'd be received in public as a hero, cheered on by fans or at least respectfully applauded while the stadium cameras flanked his appearance with views of military servicemen/servicewomen.

You'll notice from Jesse Yomtov's Twitter video that the crowds cheered the Marines, booed trump, and went back to cheering more Marines. trump and his people didn't fool a damn soul.

Whereas Obama's reception following the death of Bin Laden was positive, it's pretty clear that outside of trump's comfort zone - his MAGA rallies - trump is not going to be received well at all.

This is where Machiavelli's warnings ring true: In the matter of being Loved or Feared as a leader, always avoid the worst possible outcome of being Hated, which trump is to more than 60 percent of the population (and to 90 percent of a solidly Democratic place like the entire Northern Virginia-Boston corridor).

For all the talk about sports being a pure American pastime and how rabidly conservative those fans could get, that's more myth than fact. Liberals and Moderates (Go Rays) are just as obsessed with sports as Conservatives. I've been racking my brain for the past hour trying to think of a "safe place" trump could appear in public where the sports crowd would openly cheer him. For all the Red state places - maybe Texas, maybe Arizona, most likely Tennessee and/or Alabama - you have to remember the cities are heavily liberal enclaves (or at least with enough moderates to make you wonder).

For all the hype about NFL fans getting enraged about athletes kneeling for Black Lives Matter, that is just a vocal faction: There's an equally large anti-trump faction who'd boo trump (especially anybody who rooted for a USFL team back in the 80s).

This has to be a shock obviously for trump. he has lived with the fantasy that wherever he goes people will cheer him (and maybe even be grateful to him). To have an entire stadium boo him and even chant "Lock Him Up" - a clear and direct insult aimed at trump - is not going to improve his constantly dour mood. I'm willing to bet as soon as he can, his next set of tweets will insult every Nats fan from here to back again.

And the next week is going to be him forcing himself onto crowds to make them cheer for him, by hook or by crook. trump won't be happy until he forces reality to fit his bubble.

Gods help us.

Added: People are reminding each other on Twitter how the Nationals had the ceremonial First Pitch thrown by Chef Jose Andres, a vocal critic of trump's and essentially the best guy to symbolically punch trump in the face every chance that arises. There's no link to video yet but I've heard - I'm not watching, I swore if trump showed up I wouldn't - that Andres got a standing ovation. That is sweet stuff.

Update 11/3/19: And then trump tried attending a fight night in New York City, for an Ultimate Fighting Championship (he and the UFC league owner are good buddies, because trump hosted the UFCs back when no one else would). THAT did not go so well either (via Balloon-Juice).

The polling may say one thing - that trump has 40 percent approval - but the real world is clearly showing something else. We have to remember most Republicans getting polled are vocally giving him support simply because of their partisan affiliation: Because they HAVE to approve their own guy even when he's screwing up. But when given an opportunity, in a public place that's NOT a rally, surrounded by communities that aren't all MAGA hat wearing a-sholes, there are a lot of Americans who will express this level of vitriol when they can.

This never happened to Obama in public places to the sporting events he attended. Dubya had some boo birds for the baseball games he went to - especially after 2005 - but he never got this level of vocal hatred from the fans.

trump is arguably the most reviled President Loser of the Popular Vote of modern memory.