Monday, July 16, 2018

The Tipping Point

I was going to try and write about the entire Strzok hearing but just couldn't stomach it. And trust me, it was horribly bad even before you get to the vile comments by Louie "Gomer Pyle" Gohmert. It was political grandstanding at its worst, nothing more.

It's hilarious to hear the Republicans go on about Strzok's anti-Trump bias, and how that presumably affected his professional work, and yet all of the House Republicans are obviously biased, 100%, no doubt. Yet we're expected to presume they're unbiased in their investigation about the 2016 election.

What's most obvious is the Republicans are desperate and in deep-panic mode. The only goal of the hearing was to discredit Strzok, and by association the Mueller investigation, because they know what's coming. Friday's twelve indictments were just a prelude.

And with today's press conference following the Trump/Putin meeting, that desperation and panic became even more palpable. More than a few Republicans have criticized Trump for his comments, and even Fox's Neil Cavuto said it was "disgusting."

I believe today marks the tipping point. From here we should start to see Republicans increasingly flee the sinking ship that is POTUS Trump. This historically awful and treasonous press conference was likely the last straw. How can the Republicans continue to support this man and his administration, abdicating their duties of oversight and being fully complicit?

As I said, bad things are coming down the road from Mueller and they know it. They've been banking on enough Americans simply not believing the bad news when it's revealed (thanks to the discrediting efforts of Republicans and Fox News).

But Republicans are taking a big chance, one that can blow up in their faces and decimate the GOP for many years to come.

With Trump defending Putin today and denying the findings of our own American intelligence agencies, Republicans are breaking out in flop sweat behind closed doors. Many are starting to realize they may have made a bad bet in siding with party over country.

Get ready to observe the rats turn on their orange leader....

Friday, July 13, 2018

Strzok Congressional Hearing, Part 2

Rep. Jerrold Nadler's opening statement:
  • He rightly points out that this hearing should really be about the nearly 3,000 children wrongfully separated from their families, how this happened and how it will be resolved. As opposed to this sideshow that will only play well on Fox News and to "the base."
  • Nadler goes on to state that post-election, the House Dems requested that the House conduct investigations into Russia's interference in the election, and Repubs said "no."
  • Note: the CSPAN replay had "CLINTON EMAIL INVESTIGATION" posted in the lower left corner the entire time. It's a helpful reminder since this entire hearing was NOT about Hillary's emails. It was all about trying to make Strzok look bad and not credible. This hearing was just another effort by Republicans to smear Mueller and his investigation, to further plant seeds of doubt in the minds of "the base."
  • Nadler requested that his Republican colleagues treat Strzok with common courtesy and respect -- almost as if Nadler knew how this hearing would play out.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Strzok Congressional Hearing, Part 1

Rep. Bob Goodlatte's opening statement:
  • He wants to get this "off the front pages." The Mueller investigation has had zero leaks.  
  • He talks about "text message after text message, dripping with bias." Someone please name the volumes of biased text messages that he's referring to....?
  • He says "the FBI director predetermined the outcome of the case months in advance." Huh? Mueller? Comey? (both Republicans) What is he talking about?
  • It's very telling that he feels the need to state that the House investigation has been "legitimate" in its oversight duties, AND he specifically lashes out at those "who continue to disparage our investigation." When you're defending, you're losing.
  • It's a joke, really. Goodlatte spent most of his time defending the farcical House investigation, trying to rebut the justified criticisms of how the House has completely divorced itself of proper oversight, in this case, of the Executive Branch, and namely the POTUS. But he ends his statement with a LOL howler, saying, "no one is above the law." Really?! How about Trump, the POTUS, will that apply to him down the road? Will Goodlatte abide by whatever comes of Mueller's investigation? And if it is found that Trump is guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors," will Goodlatte remember that "no one is above the law"??
After all is said done, Strock's texts are but a speck on a GOP elephant's ass. Goodlatte tries to make the case that Strzok is Mueller, is heading the entire investigation into Trump, that it's really about Strzok vs. Trump, mano vs. mano. What a joke.

And when it comes to the election, Strzok's presumed and supposed efforts to stop Trump amounted to zilch, notta, whereas Putin and Russia wielded tremendous influence and had a real effect -- and yet Goodlatte and Repubs spend no time on this. It's all about Mueller and Hillary and Comey -- or anything that stands as a threat to their hold on power.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Trump, creator of criminals

Trump claimed Mexico was exporting their rapists and murderers to the USA.
The usual horse sh*t from him.

But by separating these kids, he (and Stephen Miller) has greatly increased the likelihood that many of these kids actually grow up to be murderers and rapists.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

The Telling Quiet

Conservatives and those on the right have clamored loudly against abortion for many decades. Yet finally when overturning Roe v. Wade is within their grasp, they suddenly go quiet.

Why the silence?

I liken it to sneaking a fox into the hen house. You must be very quiet, don't make a sound, no sudden moves, don't breath until you finally get the fox inside. Then it can pounce and go crazy!

Anti-abortion proponents are going to try and deftly sneak through their pick. The relative quiet is telling and foreboding.

Trump's pick will undoubtedly dance, dodge and attempt to finesse his/her way through the hearing(s). For an example of what to expect, watch Al Franken grill SCOTUS pick favorite Amy Barrett. It basically becomes an exercise in running out the clock without saying anything especially controversial or of substance. Feign ignorance, experience memory lapses, act naive -- whatever it takes to get through unscathed.

And nearly all the senators will oblige. For those few who choose to look tough and determined, just hold the line, it won't last long.

Such a charade allows senators like Susan Collins to later claim she was duped, that she was told X during the hearing and can't be blamed for the new Justice siding with Y or Z.

Yes, an incredibly lame defense for those who have at least half a brain, but that's beside the point.

However, all of that said, voting for Gorsuch is quite a different matter compared to this time around. Yes, Gorsuch did the dodge and dance regarding Roe/Wade, offering his respect for "settled law" and precedence. Right. But everyone knows, everyone, that push come to shove, Gorsuch will help to overturn Roe/Wade.

Yet there was always Kennedy to serve as a ballast, to keep the Roe/Wade decision intact. And in effect, Kennedy offered cover to "moderate" senators like Collins to vote for Gorsuch.

But that cover is now gone.

This next SCOTUS vote will directly target Roe/Wade. If a senator votes for Trump's pick, he/she will be voting to overturn Roe/Wade, period. No lame excuses allowed later about how you were misled or if you knew then what you know now. Nope, no one's gonna buy it. This vote is plain as day.

Such a reality should make the likes of Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski sweat a bit and force them to do some earnest soul-searching. Clearly their legacy is at stake. Do they want to be forever remembered for the key votes that turned back the clock 50+ years, to an awful era of coat hangers and maimed women? Not to mention the possibility of criminalizing mothers??

It's one thing to give empty rhetoric and then cave, voting the party line. It's quite another to be the deciding factor in establishing a dystopian nightmare.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Conservatives and the SCOTUS opening

Jeremy Peters was on Morning Joe this morning to discuss his NY Times piece concerning conservatives and the soon-to-be SCOTUS opening.

Some brief comments:
  • Jeremy said conservatives bemoan the fact that historically they've been on the wrong side of many SCOTUS verdicts.
Hmm, maybe this is because they're on the wrong side of the law and Constitution. Yet instead they perceive it as the fault of a person, the Justice(s). See Souter, or Kennedy or Sandra Day O'Connor. They want someone who is not going to properly interpret the Constitution or what the founding fathers intended. Rather they want strict ideologues, to side with narrowly-focused beliefs, not legal mumbo-jumbo.
  • Many evangelicals and/or conservatives voted for Trump for one reason only: abortion. In other words, SCOTUS picks to ban abortion. That's it. They ignore all of the voluminous filth and repugnant aspects of Trump, believing they're good with God & Heaven if they just ban this medical procedure. Trump may ruin the USA as we know it, but that's not going to stop these people from entering the pearly gates. And let's ignore the fact that the founding fathers specifically designated for the separation of church and state. We are NOT a country founded on religion, but rather a secular nation founded on laws. 
  • Jeremy said on MJ that it's amazing to think Reagan -- "the conservative lion" -- appointed O'Connor and Kennedy. 
But not before the Democrats fought hard and got Bork borked. And note also that Reagan today would be a moderate centrist compared to the far right positions of the GOP. I maintain that if Reagan were alive today, running for president, and yet did not look like Reagan, Republicans would cast him out with fervent animus. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Eagles, Trump & Fox News

Every morning I watch both Fox News and MSNBC, flipping back and forth to see the difference in coverage. It's really incredible. This morning I watch Doocy, Kilmeade and whatever beautiful babe sits between them go on and on about the Eagles visit to the White House being cancelled by Trump due to disagreement over kneeling during the national anthem. 

But the FACT is no Eagle player ever kneeled during the national anthem. It's another Fox News lie. And the pictures Fox showed of Eagle players kneeling were NOT during the national anthem but rather during prayer gatherings well before the game and anthem -- meaning Fox News purposely showed pictures out of context to prove their (false) narrative. Outrageous.

Fox does this all the time, I see it every morning, lies and distortions to mislead viewers. They violate Journalism 101 ethics regularly. The sad truth is too many Americans rely on Fox for supposedly real news and actually believe what they're being told, never fact-checking (as I do).

The FACT is most Eagles players had refused to show up at the White House because they disagreed with Trump on many political issues. Reportedly only 9 out of 70 Eagles were going to show, and because that made Trump look bad (which can NEVER happen), he cancelled the visit. It had NOTHING to do with kneeling and the national anthem, but that is what Trump tweeted and that is what Fox News conveyed to their viewers.

Speaking of facts, I'm still numb about Trump saying he can pardon himself. Yes, we have a president who has decreed himself a king, above the law. If he commits a crime, it doesn't matter, he believes he can just pardon himself. Imagine if Obama had said this, or Hillary as president, there would be nonstop calls for impeachment by Fox News and Republicans. But with Trump, nothing, silence.

The word "hypocrisy" has lost all meaning at this point.....

Sunday, May 27, 2018

What is the point?

Rudy Giuliani is usually wrong about everything (esp. of late), but recently he likely got something right. He reminds us that any judgement by Mueller would probably have to be handled by Congress when it came to punishments or reprimands. Quoting from the NY Times, "any finding of wrongdoing would be referred to Congress, putting it squarely in the realm of politics."

That said it's absolutely conceivable the Mueller investigation could result in proven acts of "high crimes and misdemeanors" and ultimately amount to 100% non-action by Congress. Such balking would be entirely consistent with everything we've seen thus far by the Republicans, who have if anything been complicit with Trump as opposed to fulfilling their Constitutional duty to serve as a check on the Executive Branch. And even if the GOP loses the House in November, it's doubtful the Senate would have enough "brave" Republicans to vote for impeachment. 

So where does that leave us as a country?

It's become obvious that the founding fathers never conceived of a Donald Trump, a sociopath compulsive liar who has no moral foundation, no sense of ethical principles. Or should I say, they likely never conceived that such a person would ever be electable to president. Yet here we are.

It goes back to the truism, "we get the government we deserve." Yes, Russia meddled, and yes Hillary was deeply flawed and made the horrible decision regarding her private email server, and yes Comey made an infamously horrible decision just before the election, tilting the scale. But Trump was so bad he still should've lost, and yet just enough voters were conned. 

And now he's in there and we can't get him out. 

Trump has been hard at work trying to once again con just enough people that Mueller's investigation is a partisan witch hunt. He knows that at end of the day, this is more of a political fight than legal. Trump will most likely take the Fifth, not meet with Mueller and the political fallout be damned. Any ensuing blowback he will survive, given the gutless backing of Republicans. 

So remind me again, what is the ultimate point of the Mueller investigation? To present us with the facts for what purpose? To presumably act on, right? Does anyone really see that happening at this point...?? 

Sadly, my fear is Mueller's report will become a for-the-record historical document, much like a Blue Ribbon Commission study. Lengthy, filled with facts, suggesting certain actions be taken, but in the end nothing comes of it, relegated to becoming an ignored effort. 

Hopefully I'm wrong.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Josh Barro can be very silly

I all but laughed when I read this piece by Josh Barro.

There's been many Republicans who have left the party due to Trump. Some have done it for personal reasons involving principles, and others have seemingly done it more out of public appearance, that it would be too embarrassing to remain given the buffoonery of Trump. I believe Barro falls in the latter camp.

After following him on Twitter for several months, Barro appears to be something of a provocateur. Whereas other journalists are hard at work trying to come up with scoops and sourced stories of substance, Barro seems to be all about clickbait. Try to put together that piece that has lots of sizzle, is tantalizing, and couple it with a controversial headline (key to clickbait). Then sit back and (hopefully) watch it catch fire.

To wit, this Clinton piece.

Barro claims that the Clintons are a big reason why Trump supporters are not shocked by Trump's many transgressions and wrong-doings, that they don't care because of the prior awfulness of Bill and Hillary. Really? Such an assertion makes both Clinton and Trump supporters scratch their heads, saying "huh?!" -- which is exactly what Barro wants. Twice the audience = more clicking to read what the heck he's putting forth.

Ding ding, mission accomplished.

Barro's employer, Business Insider, is arguably a web site all about clicks. Much like say Buzzfeed, the writers are judged by the number of eyeballs viewing your piece, as opposed to the actual veracity and quality, which while important, are seemingly secondary considerations. First and foremost, tantalize, provoke, create an immediate stir. Above all else, get people to click on your story for ad revenue purposes.

Barro is all about that. It's to the point where I think he frequently sits back and wonders, "Ok, there's this generally accepted narrative out there about X, how can I say it or position it differently that will cause people to get upset or to say 'WTF?' and click on my piece?"

Ergo this Clinton story.

I'll be the first to admit the Clintons are no saints. To the point where when Bill was caught lying about Monica -- yes, an entirely unserious matter on its face (marital fidelity is not on par with treason or acts of criminality) -- I was all for Bill resigning. NOT for reasons involving giving in to a true witch hunt, led by Newt Gingrich, but rather he did lie and he was a lame duck, so best to clear the way for Gore to run in 2000. Stepping down would establish Gore as presiding POTUS, allowing voters to already have that title attached to his name. And Gore would've been able to "adopt" much of the good resulting from Bill's eight years and yet give him time to distance himself from the lingering hangover questions concerning Monica and the impeachment crap.

But to relate Bill, and Hillary for that matter, to the willful blindness and ignorance of Trump supporters is absurd, and just silly.

To prove it, I posit this: would Trump supporters be this jaded and quiet if all this was going on with Hillary as POTUS? I highly doubt it. They'd be screaming "IMPEACH" and "TREASON" and "LOCK HER UP," much like they were doing before the election. According to Barro, the Clintons helped to normalize corruption to the point where diehard Trumpians have accepted all kinds of wrongfulness, or Trump is simply the Clintons on steroids.

That all sounds conceivable, especially when Barro selectively whips together incidents and facts into what he sees as a believable thesis. Yet once you start to question this and assert that, it begins to unravel, and he no doubt will start refuting and backpedaling a mile-a-minute as he often does on MSNBC, until you're forced to go to a commercial....

If what Barro is suggesting is true, then Trump supporters should be just as cynical, and therefore not care, if it was Trump, Hillary or any politician for that matter. But we all know that's simply not true. The many Benghazi inquiries went on for years, with no wrong-doing to show for it, but the Mueller investigation turning all of one-year-old has already dragged on too long for most Republicans and Trumpians. But I thought they were jaded? Numbed by the corrupt Clintons? Why are they even keeping track of days or months?

The fact is Trump supporters are all about extreme tribalism, hypocrisy and purposeful ignorance. If all of what has been going for Trump as POTUS had also occurred under a President Obama or Hillary, they'd be up-in-arms upset -- and rightly so. But it's Tribalism 101: because he's a Republican (who also happens to be a TV celeb), it's OK, but if a Dem, 100% unacceptable. And therein lies the bald-faced hypocrisy. Yes, the Clintons got taken to the woodshed for much less, BUT the screaming and outcry was FAR louder against them. It's not quieter now because of the normalization of corruption, rather it's quieter now simply because the Clintons are not in office! And because a Repub is POTUS! Hell, as POTUS, Obama had perhaps one of the most scandal-free eight years in history, yet Republicans tried their darndest to make a big stink out of whatever trivial thing they could find.

As for purposeful ignorance, Trump is a consummate con man and a pathological liar. And his supporters are putty in his hands. I imagine most Fox News viewers are ardent Trumpians, and therefore willfully and purposefully ignorant. It's been widely circulated that Fox News is less than truthful, to the point where many FN viewers I know acknowledge this fact. But they don't care. Fox News confirms their preexisting notions and tells them what they want to hear and believe. That it's fiction or heavily distorted does not matter. They are A-OK with being conned. And Trump knows this, completely. One of the few true things to escape his lips was that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose voters. Sadly, that is VERY true. In fact, if a Russian "pee tape" does exist, what is he worried about? He wouldn't lose one supporter (and may actually gain a few perverts).

There are many studies confirming what we're seeing with Trump supporters. Their outright willingness to be conned and to knowingly believe in non-truths, with the primary motivation being confirmation of preexisting, strongly held convictions. And NONE OF THAT has anything to do with Hillary or Bill.

Josh Barro is just being silly, but more so attempting to provoke for the sake of clicks. As per usual. Quite sad.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Normalizing Collusion

We're now seeing collusion get normalized. See Giuliani on The Ingraham Angle. Rudy admits to collusion with a foreign country, getting dirt on Hillary from Russia. As if that's OK in itself. And then saying because (supposedly) the info was not used, that also makes it OK.

And keep in mind, as with Trump's tweet this morning:

He claims "NO COLLUSION," period. He doesn't say anything about criminality. Rather he just categorically states "NO COLLUSION." Yet his lawyer Rudy just admitted on Fox News that there indeed was.

Watch for this to evolve into there was collusion, but it's no crime. It will morph from there was no collusion, at all, to there was collusion, but so what? It's not technically illegal (in their view). Rudy just started that ball rolling....

And as per usual, just imagine if this were Obama or Hillary. The Fox News world (Hannity, Ingraham, Newt, etc. -- and all Republicans) would be apoplectic, screaming "IMPEACH" and "TRAITOR" 24/7. 

But with Trump, they don't care, all is forgiven. This is tribalism and hypocrisy at their worst possible.