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

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.