Is anything unclear about this pattern?

Let’s try to keep this as simple as possible, to show Donald Trump’s consistent pattern of behavior as it goes to his motives.  A pattern of behavior can be used to establish corrupt motive– if the person does the same suspicious looking thing every time he is challenged you can infer the motive from that behavior. 

The current Ukraine drama/scandal is pretty easy to follow.  Trump, feeling elated after Mueller’s live testimony didn’t move the needle a tick about the findings of the investigation, called the newly elected president of the Ukraine the very next day to ask him for a favor: dirt on one of his top political rivals for the 2020 presidency.  The appearance of impropriety shocked several administration officials enough to make them hide the records of the call.   A whistleblower report about the call, vetted, found credible and urgent and legally required to go to Congress within a week, was buried on orders of Mr. Trump’s top people.   Since then Mr. T has vowed over and over to resist this new shameful, vicious, desperate, illegal and unconstitutional witch hunt against him.    The question is: did Mr. Trump act with corrupt motive or merely, as Barr insisted in regard to his repeated efforts to shut down the Mueller investigation, as an innocent man understandably outraged by the vicious unfairness of his enemies? 

I will take the high road today and resist starting the pattern prior to Mr. Trump’s presidency.  It would seem dirty and gratuitous to mention, for example, Trump’s well-known infidelity to each of his three wives — his affair with Marla Maples while married to Ivanka, the affairs while married to Maples, the dalliances with the two women he paid off to dummy up about sexual trysts they had while third wife Melania was recuperating from childbirth.  Bad, bad and bad– but NOT ILLEGAL.   Don’t worry about legal/illegal, though, let’s just look at the pattern of behavior.   Forget I mentioned this, or the large eve of 2016 election payouts to a Playboy model and a porn star (a quid pro quo— more than $100,000 each in exchange for non-disclosure agreements) that were at the center of what landed Michael Cohen in prison.

November 2016, Donald Trump is elected during an investigation of Russian meddling in the election.   This meddling would be detailed in  Mueller’s report and later confirmed in a bipartisan Senate report that also documented what Mueller called “sweeping and systematic” Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the election in favor of Mr. Trump.   Trump was adamant in his denials of knowing anything about Russian help and insisted he was clearly joking when he looked into the television cameras and said “Russia, if you’re listening…” and then asked for the Hillary Clinton emails that magically were produced, hacked by Russians, a few hours later.  Plus — in fairness to DJT–  lifelong Republican partisan witch hunter Mueller was unable to find sufficient evidence of a chargeable criminal conspiracy between Trump’s team and Russia, numerous incidental indictments and convictions notwithstanding.

Now, follow the events after Trump is elected president.   National Security Adviser Flynn lied about speaking to the Russians about lifting sanctions during the transition period.   He apparently lied to Mike Pence and then to the FBI.   In Flynn’s defense, and as Sean Hannity makes clear, the FBI trapped Flynn, they never told him he needed a lawyer or that lying to the FBI was a federal crime.   Total entrapment!   I’ve excerpted a section from an AP analysis that puts a lot of flesh on the hideous bones [1].   

So first big scandal of his new administration had this response from Trump: have somebody write an email denying the White House had anything to do with Flynn’s lying or his talks with Russia about lifting sanctions for election meddling.

Flynn is out and, to Trump’s disbelief, the FBI simply won’t let it drop.   Trump meets alone with FBI director James Comey, tells him Flynn’s a good guy, asks him to drop the investigation.   Comey is taken aback, tap dances a bit, makes detailed notes of the conversation on his ride home.  Trump fires Comey to end the Russia witch hunt thing, as he later nonchalantly says on TV and claims as his prerogative.  But not before having Sessions and Rosenstein write letters urging him to fire Comey for his unfair handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.  

THE PATTERN:

The firing of Comey, while legally within the president’s sole discretion, raised flags when Trump met with Russians in a closed door oval office meeting the following day.  When Sessions told Trump the DOJ had opened an investigation into the president’s possible obstruction of justice, Trump, after a moment of despair, lashed out.    He ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, he later ordered McGahn to write a memo saying the president never ordered him to do it.   He also drafted Corey Lewandowski for purposes of getting Sessions to “unrecuse” and having him shut down Mueller’s probe.  Trump repeatedly tried to curtail the scope of  Mueller’s investigation.  POTUS prevented the disclosure of evidence and testimony, even refusing to answer the most pressing of the written questions his legal team was at a loss to answer without perjury.   

He later, at AG Barr’s recommendation, argued blanket presidential immunity to resist all subpoenas for anyone he’d ever had contact with.  Trump, before publicly humiliating him and obtaining his forced resignation, repeatedly pressured Sessions to “unrecuse” and put a lid on Mueller.   Trump tried to dissuade Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort from cooperating with investigators, dangling pardons if they remained loyal.   He had encouraged Michael Cohen to lie about the Trump Tower Moscow project, which continued well into the presidential campaign.   

Before the Mueller Report was finalized the president put a new Attorney General in, a man who’d auditioned for the job by pledging loyalty and protection to the Unitary Executive, to act as his unappealable spokesman and fixer.   Barr, the most openly corrupt AG this country has ever had, lied about Mueller’s findings while throwing dirt on Mueller and vowing to investigate the investigation itself.   Since then, muscular attempts by Trump dead-enders to resist all subpoenas for documents and testimony.

What is unclear about this pattern?  How does it show anything but corrupt intent?   How do AG Barr, and Mr. Hannity, explain it away today?

Stay tuned.

If you’d like a dramatic guided tour of just the obstruction outlined in the Mueller report, you’ll find it here

 

[1]  The story [that Flynn had lied to him about discussing the lifting of Obama’s sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak] shook Pence, who had been in the dark. A review of Justice Department documents sealed it. Flynn couldn’t have just forgotten. He had lied. McGahn and Priebus told Trump he had to fire Flynn.

That weekend, Flynn flew to Mar-A-Lago with the president. On the plane back to Washington on Feb. 12, Trump asked him whether he lied to Pence. Flynn said he may have forgotten some things but denied lying. “OK. That’s fine,” Trump responded. “I got it.”

The next day, Flynn was out.

Priebus delivered the news. In the Oval Office, Trump embraced Flynn and shook his hand. “We’ll give you a good recommendation. You’re a good guy. We’ll take care of you,” he said.

Flynn had spent just 25 days as national security adviser.

Trump had lunch with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie the next day, which was Valentine’s Day. “Now that we fired Flynn, the Russia thing is over,” Trump told him. Christie burst out laughing. No way, he said.

“What do you mean?” Trump responded. “Flynn met with the Russians. That was the problem. I fired Flynn. It’s over.”

Flynn is going to be like “gum on the bottom of your shoe,” Christie said.

___

In the Oval Office later that day, Flynn was still on Trump’s mind. The president was being briefed by his top national security team. That included FBI Director James Comey, who Trump was intent on making part of “his team.”

As the meeting wrapped up, Trump cleared the room and asked Comey to remain behind. “I want to talk about Mike Flynn,” Trump said, according to Comey. There was nothing wrong with Flynn’s calls with the Kislyak, he said, but he had to fire Flynn for lying to Pence.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said, according to Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Comey awkwardly sidestepped the issue. But over the next few weeks, Flynn remained on Trump’s mind.

Trump praised him publicly. Privately, he turned to McFarland, who had covered for Flynn before. On Feb. 22, 2017, McFarland, now the deputy national security adviser, was asked to resign. But Priebus and Bannon, who conveyed the message, suggested it came with a soft landing. The president could make her ambassador to Singapore.

The ask came a day later.

As reporters questioned whether he directed Flynn’s Russia contacts, Trump told Priebus to have McFarland draft an internal email saying that the president didn’t order Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak.

source

 

The First Draft of History

We currently have a president, in his great and unmatched wisdom (if he does say so himself), who is as prudent as a petulant two year-old who feels he’s being unfairly singled out for punishment when all he did was take a tiny dump in the punchbowl.   He was obviously joking when he pulled his diaper down to let one fly! No sense of humor, his aghast parents.   The other day the artist of the deal made a deal to allow the Turkish autocrat to wipe out our allies in the war against ISIS, the Kurds in northern Syria, the army who did the actual fighting against the ISIS “Caliphate”.  If Trump wasn’t an EXTREMELY stable genius, we might have reason for concern that his seeming unilateral impulsivity is hurting our international reputation beyond repair.

I’ve been thinking lately about the age of the child in each of us, when certain reflexes get frozen into our adult personalities.    In my father’s case, as he was dying, he told me his life was basically over by the time he was two years old.  He lived almost eighty more years, his life basically already over.  He had good reason to feel that way, but still.  Then I think about the lessons he taught me, directly, and also by his tragic example, about history.   Whenever you can, he told me, find primary sources– and always put the date on anything you clip from the newspaper, it will come in handy years from the date you first read it.

Journalism, which is what many of these pieces I’ve been writing lately amount to, is correctly said to be the first draft of history.   For proof, look no further than this dusty magazine cover from April 15, tax day, 1974.   The cover article is a nice secondary source for digging into the story of the unraveling of Nixon’s presidency.  

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I’d forgotten all about this story, probably because I never saw it in the first place.  I was picking peaches on a kibbutz in Israel when the news broke here in the USA. Gone for a year, I missed the entire drama of the downfall of Tricky Dick Nixon.  He had a tax scandal?   Flipping to the article I see he underpaid his taxes by a gigantic sum of 1971 dollars, had apparently been doing so the previous few years too.

Jesus, I thought, looking at the pie charts of what Nixon paid and what he should have paid, plus penalties, this is why our current president, a man of great and unmatched wisdom, is so keen to have his lawyers use any means necessary to block disclosure of his tax records.  Of course!   No way to make someone look bad as quickly and dirtily as showing he’s a tax cheat.

In Nixon’s case, his resignation came after a long, determined fight against a mounting army of determined enemies, some from his own party, brandishing “smoking gun” evidence of his wrongdoing.   He had tried to cover up his involvement in the break-in to the office of his political enemy (a guy he handily defeated in a landslide, so the break-in had been totally unnecessary) a criminal act he probably gave the green light to, and arranged payments to silence the burglars he had hired to break into the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex. He’d gone on television to assure America that this investigation into him was a witch hunt (though he didn’t use that word, as far as I recall).  He explained to America that he was honest, not a crook, and that everything he did was on the up and up.   America eventually came to understand he’d been lying, was not honest, was a crook, that everything with Nixon was not on the up and up.

Jane Mayer reminds us that one of the diehards in the Nixon administration was a young man named Roger Ailes [1], Nixon’s media consultant who dolled the candidate up for TV and made him more telegenic and ‘likable’.  Ailes later was the driving force (before he resigned in disgrace, outed as a sexual predator) behind the mass media antidote to “fake news” — FOX news, fair and balanced.   In the event of a future Watergate scandal against a right wing president, this influential network stands ready to rumble, to set people straight in a way that was impossible when trusted Communists like Walter Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley and their ilk dominated the network airwaves and manipulated public opinion against great Americans like Richard Milhous Nixon.

And so we have the FOX attack machine, running full time attacks (as well as the numerous paid ads the re-elect Trump people are running) against any critics of the president, claiming that the claims against this president of great and unmatched wisdom are being unfairly, even illegally, prosecuted by a bunch of sore loser Commie extremists who lost the 2016 election fair and square, by more than 78,000 votes in every key district needed for Trump’s historic Electoral College mandate.  

I think again of the great advice about fair judging that Justice Boof Kavanaugh [2]  got from his mother:  ‘Use your common sense. What rings true? What rings false?’

 

[1] Wikipedia on Ailes:

His pioneering work in framing national campaign issues, capitalizing on the race-based Southern Strategy and making the stiff Nixon more likable and accessible to voters was later chronicled in The Selling of the President 1968 by Joe McGinniss.[8]

[2] Wikipedia:

Eighty-three ethics complaints were brought against Kavanaugh in regard to his conduct during his U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Chief Justice John Roberts appointed a special federal panel of judges to investigate the complaints. In December 2018, the judicial panel dismissed all 83 ethics complaints, concluding

that while the complaints “are serious,” there is no existing authority that allows lower court judges to investigate or discipline Supreme Court justices.[188]

 

Way to do it, Bobby Three Sticks…

I know, I know, the Mueller report is a dead letter, old news, been there, heard the pundits and party hacks go over the talking points, nothing to see here, etc.   Bear with me for a moment, I’ll be brief.

Though there was a great deal of damning evidence contained in Mueller’s massive report, it was scattered over hundreds of carefully written pages, among the sometimes excruciatingly quibbling legalese Bagpiper Bill Barr was able to characterize as a caviling, equivocating punt that amounted to the exoneration of the man Mueller explicitly said he could not exonerate.    

Read this random example of a very important buried headline (brought to light in the PBS review of the report I got this screen shot from) from page 97 of the second volume:

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“Substantial evidence” that the president’s efforts were intended to prevent investigation into his conduct (the corrupt motive part of the crime obstruction of justice) is not quite the same as “no evidence” as Mr. Fucking Barr kept insisting Mueller and his team had turned up.

Bill Maher said recently that Mueller “shit the bed” by formulating such a difficult and inconclusive report of serious, well-documented criminal wrongdoing.   Fair enough, I suppose, though I’m a bit more on the fence.  

Mueller’s report, at times convoluted in its attempts to be “fair”, certainly does not making its disturbing storyline crystal clear.  On the other hand, there is much to laud Three Sticks for.

Mueller uncovered and preserved a ton of important evidence, though he did it in a way that left his scrupulously careful report open to Barr’s deliberate mischaracterization (thereby effectively shitting the bed, if we take Mueller’s purpose as to advance justice and curb corruption).  

Mueller undoubtedly did future historians a great favor, providing them a wealth of detail, but he also acted, as he struck the Arnold Palmer putting pose over his bed, as though all public officials are as fair-minded and forthright as he appears to be.  

“I present the facts, ma’am, only the facts, and let our Constitutional checks and balances do the rest, as the Founders intended.   I hand over this detailed blueprint to the Congress, the only proper constitutional trier of the troubling facts I herein uncover.   I have done my job to preserve our democracy, now others must step forward to do their’s.”

The flaw in this noble idea, of course, is the presumption of a functional government in our current lobbyists for oligarchs/corporations dominated democracy.  

As if Mueller had never seen a serious news report in the last decade or so about the stalled workings of our government checks and balances.  

As if a Senate presided over by Moscow Mitch McConnell is not the place where anything that might disrupt the seamless right wing narrative (including safeguarding future elections from the sweeping and systematic foreign electoral meddling Mueller uncovered) is consigned to a slow, silent death.  

McConnell recently announced that the Senate would not debate or vote on any bill the president did not tell them in advance he was willing to sign.  

If you had any questions about the terminal state of this sickening partisan brazenness, Bobby Three Sticks, you could have just googled Merrick Garland.

Instead of, arguably, not completely refraining from succeeding in not shitting the bed.

Complete and Total Piece of Shit

Many of us don’t want to believe in the existence of evil.  I never wanted to.  I preferred to think that supremely difficult people had suffered traumas that made them toxic, chronically unhappy, angry, grasping, vain, jealous, incapable of love and determined to reduce everyone else to that miserable state by any means at their disposal.   The toxic person is always crushingly selfish and most often cruel as well.   Their main characteristic is a pronounced lack of empathy.  Any power they are given will be abused to amass more prestige and to enforce their cruel, sometimes insanely vain, whims.  In the extreme form, the most driven and successful of these people are what we think of as evil.

Mr. Hitler is a poster boy, of course, his every mad utterance was immediately transcribed into the German legal code by an army of blindly ambitious lawyers.  We have always had a number of these types here in America too, Robber Baron types and their well-paid enablers and enforcers.  They believe that their will is the only true law of the universe, a universe rightfully ruled by the fittest.   The fittest, according to their view of nature, based on their understanding of science, are entitled to whatever they can wrest from those weaker than them.   They call their Might Makes Right worldview “Social Darwinism” (much as those who hated our first mixed race president tried to give themselves an obscenely tiny fig leaf of dignity by calling themselves “Birthers”).

My one time friend Mark who just died, friendless in the world, in the midst of great, hoarded wealth and many fine talents, was an example, in miniature, of this willful type.  No negotiation was satisfying in his zero-sum world unless he got the clearly better end of the split, the lion’s share.   You must be prepared to pay the price for living this way and you need some kind of force to enforce this brutally one-sided arrangement.   Often that force is not direct physical violence (though, in a pinch, why not?) but economic coercion — you offer a hard job at shit pay with no benefits, take it or leave it, there’s a long line of powerless chumps behind you, asshole.

We have long lived in a world where the only measure of human progress has been economic expansion and growth.   The Free Market, we are taught in American elementary schools, must constantly grow and expand throughout the globe  so that profits continue to rise and everyone’s standard of living keeps getting more comfortable.   Countless iterations of “a rising tide lifts all boats”, the misleading mantras of our most successful entrepreneurs and our top inheritors of vast wealth,  are inculcated in little American consumers throughout the educational process.

On the other hand, as is becoming more and more easily seen, the result of this extractive, expansionist worldview is massive inequality, widespread poverty and hunger, a devastated planet and mass extinction.    There is only so much oil in the ground, as the old Tower of Power song goes.   Even before it is all extracted, “refined” and burned, life on the planet for hundreds of millions of people — and countless animal and plant species that will leave the universe forever —  is over.   

The rising tide we all heard about in the Free Market myth is coming in the form of killer storms that flood densely populated areas and seas that are beginning to swallow real estate and homes.   Unless this escalating crisis is averted, huge cannibal hordes with nothing else to eat will roam a parched and crowded earth, seeking places to live that have not been drowned under rising oceans. 

The US Defense Department long ago studied the devastating national security effects of the looming and inescapable (on our present path) climate refugee/mass starvation crisis and ranked it as the number one security threat we face.   Measured against the massive march of desperate, homeless climate refugees, the president’s symbolic border wall is an expensive pile of children’s blocks.

Young people are rightfully concerned about the precarious state of our precious planet fifty years from now, when guys like me will be long gone.  Many older people also are very concerned, but some are not.   You can pretty much predict which ones find the prospect of an irretrievably ruined planet depressing, something that demands immediate, coordinated action, and which ones will let their crusty, naturally scented assholes do the talking.

Greta Thunberg, a fearless and articulate 16 year-old from Sweden, has become a worldwide leader of this student movement to force government action to slow and reverse the gathering climate holocaust.  She is suddenly everywhere, looking very young for her age and unflinchingly speaking the proverbial “truth to power.”   She speaks openly of being on the autism spectrum and how this allows her a certain dispassion and lower concern about how others perceive her.  She was at the United Nations the other day, passionately addressing a worldwide audience. 

At the UN, Mr. Trump predictably timed his brooding entrance to upstage Greta Thunberg’s speech.  She glared at our childish president, a man who refused to send U.S. representatives to the UN Climate Action Summit, since, according to his stubbornly moronic view, Climate Change is a Chinese hoax.   Trump spoke for a long time on the world stage, sounding many of his familiar themes, without mentioning the mounting climate emergency at all, though he made a point of waving red meat for the Christian block of his base — promising that we will protect the unborn, eventually worldwide, from the murderous intention of those who would kill them in their mothers’ womb. 

I don’t know if Greta spoke before or after Trump’s standard teleprompter campaign speech, but her remarks took on an angry, militant tone I’d never heard her use.   Her short, urgent call to action  is worth hearing and you can hear it here.

Here’s a visual soundbite from her impassioned speech:

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

How does a vain, myopic, self-serving, childish, attention-craving, eternally fighting old man respond to Ms. Thunberg’s well-reasoned argument?   The only way he knows how to.

Like a complete and total piece of shit, perfectly in character and stinking like the unholy mess he is:

 

Troll tweet.png

 

The teenager apparently immediately changed her Twitter page to out-troll our super impressive Troll in Chief:

Greta twitter.jpeg

You go, girl.

QUID PRO QUO, yo

Trump is the (unintended) beneficiary of the long-game Charles Koch and friends have waged to reshape the U.S. government into a body that will tirelessly protect the liberties and privileges of our most privileged.    Attaining this “business friendly” government has been the death of a thousand cuts.   A series of Supreme Court decisions now clarifies the high bar for corruption in a federal court:  proof of an actual quid pro quo in public corruption cases. (It’s worth a click, if you’re interested, Zephyr Teachout does a great job explaining the problematic series of unappealable holdings about corruption). 

This weakening of anti-corruption laws was one of the deepest of the thousand cuts hacked into our democracy by a corporatist Supreme Court made possible by the indoctrination of literally dozens of Koch-funded institutions, including the famous Federalist Society, a national fraternity of lawyers and judges committed to the conservative/libertarian project of preserving the status quo and making it eternal.   In post-Citizens United America, if you can’t show that there was an actual negotiated deal involving you scratching my back in exchange for me scratching yours, and a formal exercise of governmental power involved in my scratching, you haven’t proved shit as far as corruption.  

So let’s say Trump didn’t tell Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick “Koch-funded Tea Party government shut down patriot” Mulvaney [1] to withhold $400,000,000 in military aid to besieged Ukraine until he spoke to the new comedian president of the Ukraine, Volodymyr (that’s kind of funny already) Zelensky, about getting dirt on the allegedly corrupt son of Trump’s possible sleepy rival for the presidency in 2020.    Let’s say Trump just called Zelensky and told him he needed dirt on the son of his adversary, to discredit the corrupt father and help Trump win reelection in 2020, without holding withheld military aid over Zelensky’s head.   No quid pro quo, nothing to see.   Just two guys being guys.

In other words, if the Trump-hating Washington Post hadn’t reported the other day that Trump ordered Mulvaney to place a hold on the promised $400,000,000 in military aid to the Ukraine back in July nobody would have been aware of the leverage Trump was exerting on the new Ukrainian president when he asked him for a perfectly normal favor — help from the Ukrainian justice department in discrediting a political rival here in America.   The real culprit here?   The liberal media again: enemy of the people.  So unfair!

The drumbeat is getting louder for impeachment of this arguably corrupt, arguably unimpeachable singularly Unitary Executive.   Senator Elizabeth Warren has been outspokenly for impeachment since the Mueller Report was released in redacted, hard-spun form more than five long months ago.   That report was a long-winded blueprint for impeachment, even as it reached no conclusions other than that the president could not be exonerated, based on the impressive evidence of his obstruction of justice.   The other day Warren used Twitter to challenge the inaction of Congress:

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In yesterday’s New York Times Michelle Goldberg had some excellent insights on the current Mexican standoff over impeachment.   After quoting from Nancy Pelosi’s arduously worded letter of “warning” to fellow House Democrats:

“If this administration persists in blocking this whistle-blower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the president, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us to a whole new stage of investigation.”

Goldberg wrote of Warren’s tweet:

Screenshot_20190923-224143_NYTimes

Well said, sister.

 

 

 

[1]  Wikipedia:

During his time in the U.S. House, Mulvaney aligned himself with the Tea Party movement.[36][37] He was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus.[38]

He opposed gun control initiatives and the Affordable Care Act.[39][40][41] In response to criticism for meeting with the extremist John Birch Society in July 2016, Mulvaney said, “I regularly speak to groups across the political spectrum because my constituents deserve access to their congressman. I can’t remember ever turning down an opportunity to speak to a group based on the group’s political ideology.”[42]

and

According to The New York Times, Mulvaney took “a hard line on spending during President Obama’s term, vowing not to raise the nation’s debt limit and embracing the term ‘Shutdown Caucus’ because of his willingness to shut the government down instead.”[40] In 2015, Mulvaney voted against a government-funding resolution, which would have prevented a government shutdown, in part because it included funding for Planned Parenthood.[44] Explaining his vote, Mulvaney said, “This is not about women’s health. It’s about trafficking in pieces of dead children.”[44] After his appointment as head of the OMB in 2017, he reiterated his conditional position of support for a shutdown.[45]

 

Is anybody dumb enough?

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This odd picture should really speak for itself.  Of course, it won’t, it’s got to be a fake picture, with its low rent set-up fit for the president of a small town PTA, certainly not our gold-plated POTUS.   I will let the man who is now obstructing the acting Director of National Intelligence from doing his duty under the law (supported by the cunning Jesuit legal contortions [1] of the unimpeachable William “Bagpiper Bill” Barr) explain.    

Today Mr. Trump is doing what he does so well, aggressively getting out in front of the story, claiming he had a “perfect”conversation with the comedian and TV star who is the Ukraine’s new president.   It was perfect because Mr. Trump has “the best words”.   He did not, of course, ask the president of the Ukraine to investigate the corrupt son of the sleepy Democratic presidential frontrunner with the capped teeth, hair plugs and nice, recent face lift that makes him look so deceptively youthful.  No matter what a so-called traitor “whistleblower” might have supposedly reported about the innocent, the perfect, chat.

fToday Mr. T is assuring everyone that his call to the Ukrainian president was perfectly cool, nothing to see but hysterical fake news spewed by the dangerous enemies of the people, after him as always.  Ho fucking hum.  This is a genius tactic for staying in front of a story:  I never screwed that porn actress right after my final son was born, I paid her $130,000 to shut the fuck up and we had an ironclad legal deal that she’d stay silent, in consideration of that fat check I had the liar Cohen give her, but she tried to rat me out like you’d expect a disloyal bitch like that to do. You can’t trust most people, which is why everyone I work with is sworn to silence and why we have courts, to enforce the deals against those lying shit heads.

A few days ago, when the story broke about Trump possibly asking the president of the Ukraine to dig up some dirt on Sleepy Joe’s son (and why is he working, at $50,000 a month, for Ukrainain petrol oligarchs anyway?), and people became incensed that the whistleblower’s urgent report about likely presidential impropriety was being kept secret, instead of having its details reported to the appropriate House committee (as the law requires)  Mr. Trump did what only someone of his genius can do.  He tweeted the “obvious”:

trump tweet.jpg

Obviously, you know, the president knows that people from the Deep State and other disloyal and dangerous people are listening in when the president calls a foreign leader.   That’s why when you have an important conversation with a world leader, like, say, Vlad Putin, you do it face to face, no witnesses, no notes, no transcripts, full and total confidentiality. privilege and immunity.   That’s when you can say all the inappropriate things you want.    Though, of course, you never would!   Certainly not on the phone.

Seriously, though, since Trump has so far never been held accountable for anything he’s done in his life — his youthful bullying, his father’s criminal tax evasion schemes that he was a partner in and the biggest beneficiary of ($403M), his reckless squandering of over a billion dollars in a decade, his idiotic hubris in borrowing $750,000,000 to build the mother of all Atlantic City casinos which put the two highly profitable Trump casinos in the same town out of business, along with the shabby new “Taj Mahal”, his serial bankruptcies, having a network of scumbags — starting with the King of Scumbags, his long lost mentor the disgraced Roy Cohn (who Trump abandoned when Cohn was dying of AIDS, disbarred and under indictment) — pulling strings for him (several are now in prison in connection with the rendering of shady services to Mr. Trump), paying $280,000 in hush money, on the eve of the vicious 2016 election, to two women he had sex with while married to his third wife (all of whom he committed adultery against), his lifelong reliance on nondisclosure agreements, lying, attacking, mocking, his open hatred of non-whites, of Rosie O’Donnell,  his nonchalant misogyny, his brutal child-separation policy — carried on in contempt of court orders, the forced shuttering of his fake charitable foundation,  the huge ($25M) payout he made to settle the suit against his fraudulent “university”, his imbecilic insistence that he has never in his life done anything wrong, his brazen policy of staffing crucial government posts with unconfirmed interim loyalists who do his bidding on pain of being easily fired at will, the more than a hundred coordinated actions between his campaign and Russia (“Russia, if you’re listening, LOL!”) that, largely because of his obstruction of the witch hunt investigation, did not rise to the level of provable criminal conspiracy, his ongoing obstruction of justice, his braying about COMPLETE AND TOTAL EXONERATION by the “conflicted” liberal partisan Bobby Three Sticks, his absenting the US from this week’s UN Climate Action Summit  — the list is too long to compile here — why would he care about new accusations?   

My point is, since he has never been held accountable for even his most despicable acts (how about all the Atlantic City businesses he stiffed for huge bills when the Taj Mahal and his other two casinos went under, contractors and other small businesses who, saddled with uncollectible Trump debts, then went out of business?) he has no fear of ever being held to account for anything.   He’s like a gigantically fat rat with no natural predators.

In office, so far, he has committed more impeachable offenses than the combined high crimes and misdemeanors of  Nixon, Clinton and Johnson in their most fevered wet dreams.   What was the crime that brought Nixon down?  He obstructed justice, tried to cover up his crimes by hiding evidence and firing a series of justice department officials who were on his trail.    Clinton lied under oath, about a blow job, but still — arguably a disgusting thing for a president to do, even if the effort to impeach him was 100% partisan.   Andrew Johnson, in a way, may have been the closest to Trump, he simply behaved like a dictator, ignoring Congress, the Constitution and the results of the Civil War, he was just not going to carry out laws made overriding his veto, laws that favored the accursed Negro over the superior white man.  His attitude was the same as Trump’s “make me, asshole.”  In the end Congress impeached him as the only way of “making him”.  After the impeachment, though he narrowly stayed in office, he was done.

Is anybody dumb enough to believe that Transactional Trump won’t always do what he thinks is best for himself and his wealth?   He has monetized the presidency (genius move, really) and has been openly enriching himself since he came into office, while claiming that his generous public service is costing him billions in lost business opportunities (only fair he get to make a measly few million from his hotels and resorts).

Let me try to be fair.   Admittedly, he did give all Americans the low-cost health care he promised, a plan that is so much better than the complicated mess Obama passed into law.   Admittedly, his trillion dollar tax gift to the wealthiest US persons and “persons” has led to massive prosperity for all Americans, as the benefits trickle down to all of us in that time tested way they always do when the rich get to keep even more of their own money.  Admittedly, he has laid the unappealable legal groundwork to protect the inalienable rights of American fetuses and embryos, come what may.    Admittedly, he has convinced at least 38% of 55% of active American voters that this easily observable Climate Catastrophe business is complete bullshit — no regulation of anything is necessary.   Admittedly, he has crushed terrorist networks worldwide, made us all safe and the United States is no longer a laughing stock.  A pariah, perhaps, but nobody is fucking laughing.

Which leads to one last point.  What is wrong with the Democratic party, the “Democrat” party, as it is disparagingly called with that dismissive echo of old time Southern Dixiecrat-speak?    The timid, calculating opposition party of a powerful political boss who wrings her hands and wastes month after month of dwindling time as she sniffs the political winds and insists only she sees the bigger picture — the 2020 election.   What the hell is wrong with you, girl?   The Constitution has only one mechanism for holding a rogue president accountable for the corrupt use, the open abuse, of his enormous powers.   Nobody is more corrupt that this man, born with the soul and temperament of a slave holder angry to be living in a land that has largely abolished slavery.  If not him, who?  If not now, when?   History will not paint a pretty portrait of the iron-willed near-octogenarian party boss who singlehandedly prevented the only action that could have saved what is left of our democracy.

 

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Anybody dumb enough?   Show of hands, come on.

 

[1]   The Jesuits, famous for their rigorous intellectual tradition, educated Barr and Boof Kavanaugh.   While the Kavanaugh confirmation freak show raged I read up on the Jesuits’ beliefs.  Apparently their cardinal belief is that whenever you speak to another person you must recognize them as an expression of godliness.  The God in you speaks directly to the God in them.  A beautiful idea, similar to one I read about in Jewish mysticism and other faiths.  

In fact, I was impressed when the American Jesusits took a principled stand, right before Kavanaugh disgraced himself and everybody else by delivering a snorting, tearful, disqualifyingly partisan temper tantrum in response to a credible account of a long ago playful, drunken sexual assault he probably honestly didn’t even remember.   The Jesuit magazine urged him to withdraw his nomination, on the eve of Christine Blasey-Ford’s testimony.   I was impressed with their stance and their reasoning.  It made no difference, of course, but I thought their principled withdrawal of support for their fellow Jesuit, based on a hideously believable appearance of impropriety (the foreshadowings of his Trumplike conduct at the hearings), was admirable.

I mentioned the Jesuits to a Catholic friend in France and he began to laugh.  He told me to look up their origins.   Whoops.  They were (I had forgotten) formed as the zealous lawyers for the Spanish Inquisition, fanatical defenders of the faith.   It might seem terrible to burn people alive for refusing to believe that all-forgiving Jesus Christ is the Son of God and belief in Him is the only path to salvation, but how does that compare to the eternal hellfire that awaits the nonbeliever?   The Jesuits made vigorous arguments that the auto de fe was an expression of God’s will.   They, in the persons of guys like Bagpiper Bill, Boof Kavanaugh and the late, great Antonin Scalia, make those kind of irrefutable God-based arguments today.   They can’t be wrong, you dig, because Jesus tells them what to do to defend the faith.  God’s will on earth and nothing less, my brothers and sisters.  Hallelujah!

 

 

Lawyered Up Lewandowski

I see Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, finally arrived to answer questions at the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry.   His session in front of the House Judiciary Committee is being streamed live as I tap here, though I doubt many Americans are watching it.   Corey was the loyal soldier Trump called to take dictation, to do what Don McGahn and others had already refused to do — get Sessions to “unrecuse” and end the Mueller probe.   You can read all about Lewandowski’s role in Trump’s numerous attempts to end the witch hunt against him in the Mueller Report, he’s mentioned, quoted or cited more than 100 times.

Lewandowski (who tweeted an announcement of his possible 2020 senate run during a long ‘five minute’ break in the hearing) arrived voluntarily  (pursuant to an August 15, 2019 subpoena) according to his Republic(an) colleagues.   Voluntarily pursuant to a subpoena… but still.   His attendance was ‘voluntary’, as his Republican colleagues keep reminding us and he is voluntarily testifying under oath before the House now for the third time (later referred to as the fourth time), accompanied by a bunch of lawyers, provided for him by the president of the United States.   

His former boss, Mr. Trump, has repeatedly vowed to fight all subpoenas and had counsel send  Lewandowski a letter setting forth the exact, limited scope of his testimony, something Mr. Trump calls ‘absolute immunity’ — bullet proof legal protection from the disclosure of any communication of any kind with anybody, beyond what is sworn to in the four corners of Mueller’s report.   The legality of the president’s invocation of this blanket protective privilege over all forms of communication — “absolute immunity” — in essence a blanket , preemptive NonDisclosure Agreement, for any disclosure of anything involving him, is currently being fought out in the courts.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to obstruct any investigation into whether he corruptly abused the massive powers of his office to do illegal things like instructing subordinates to defy subpoenas.     He has been fighting, as is his way, his only way, it’s truly all he knows how to do.   He orders his lawyers and all subordinates to fight to the death.  Lewandowski is doing that today as he resists direct questions to the greatest extent arguably allowed by applicable laws, and at the risk of being found in contempt of a subpoena that ordered him to appear and to testify truthfully.  

Whenever somebody related to the Trump administration appears to testify they are accompanied by a squad of White House lawyers, sometimes including heavy hitters from the DOJ itself (there was at least one of those at the Hope Hicks hearing), who intervene energetically whenever necessary to prevent answers to any uncomfortable question. 

Many people who testify in Congress appear with a lawyer, Trump associates enter the chamber flanked by a team of White House and other lawyers.  Lawyered up, as they say.  Making an aggressive claim of absolute privilege against giving any testimony involving the president, what he may have said, what he may have asked them to do, what documents might have been generated.

“Point of Order!” interrupts a Republican Congressman as Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrald Nadler is making a statement.  The stern, irate ranking Republic(an) member, an indignant man named Mr. Collins, lectures Nadler about the inviolable sanctity of the House’s five minute rule for asking questions of a witness.   

Collins spends most of his time disparaging the Democrat(ic) investigation into the president’s arguably impeachable behavior (no argument from me, mind you, the corrupt public servant needs to be bounced out of office, pauperized and set to wander the earth like Cain, but without the protective mark).   Mr. Collins goes on at some length about the importance of this five minute rule.  At the end of his indignant remarks we are informed that the gentleman’s time has expired.

A Republican, now giving a speech about truly important issues like the immigration crisis, the unpardonable behavior of the treacherous Jim Comey and other supremely important matters, rather than asking any questions of Lewandowski, just used the term “fake impeachment” — and, a moment later, a second time, the same message in an even fancier iteration “a fake, faux impeachment”.    You’ve got to love the in-your-fucking-face loyalty of these giant balled bastards.  

Now a merciless and totally unfair partisan Democrat from Georgia is showing this Lewandowski quote from the Mueller witch hunt that totally exonerated the president, and trying to force the steadfastly loyal Mr. Lewandowski to answer compromising questions about the note for Sessions that Trump asked him to write, the literally dictated remarks Trump wanted Sessions to make to clear up the totally illegal witch hunt against the completely innocent President of the United States:

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TOTALLY UNFAIR!   Citing a report by a man with a massive conflict of interest (Mueller was once ripped off for unused membership fees by a Trump golf course), a report that completely exonerated the president of any and all wrongdoing of any kind, past, present and future.   COMPLETE AND TOTAL EXONERATION!  And yet, here are those hateful traitor Democrats, quoting from the so-called investigator’s so-called report which found nothing.  THE REPORT FOUND NOTHING!  COME ON!!! OLD FAKE NEWS!!!

Another Republic(an) now lambasts the Democrat(ic) party for refusing to cooperate with the president in his exhaustive effort to protect the integrity of our future elections.   He suggests these disloyal, obstructionist Democrats are “useful idiots,” like the ones Lenin saluted during the heyday of hard-line Communism.  You know how corrupt, partisan and obstructionist the Democrat party is!  They refuse to cooperate with the president’s well-known effort to protect future elections from Russian interference!   Dig it.   

“The Party of Impeachment” is a new talking point, that’s what the damn Democrat party is, we hear today for the first time.  They are the “Party of Impeachment” fueled by irrational and unprovoked  hatred of a man who only wants justice and prosperity for the very fine people of the United States of America, very fine people, on all sides.   

“The Party of Impeachment” is not talking about the terrible acts of the vicious and disloyal Jim Comey, we are reminded, and if Comey hadn’t leaked what he did about Trump’s suggestion to him about letting the Flynn thing go, which the IG found was a breach of Comey’s duty, there never would have been a Special Counsel appointed in the first place and no witch hunt (the traitorous origins of which Mr. Barr is currently investigating) and none of this “Party of Impeachment” blather with its tedious, fake, divisive, failed, loser talking points.   

In fact, as the staunch and defiant Mr. Lewandowski just said, the president has no incentive to do anything to make more money, because “he’s already very rich”.  Now we are treated to a humorously pitched rhetorical question about the so-called Sharpie alteration of the so-called National Weather Service weather map of the projected path of so-called Hurricane Dorian.   Now, staying directly on point, within the four corners of the Mueller investigation, as previously agreed, a question to Lewandowski about the recently called for impeachment of Justice Kavanaugh.  “He’s a good man” answers Lewandowski, steady as Oliver North back in his day.

The Republicans make a barrage of parliamentary objections and points of order to try to stop the thirty minute interrogation of Lewandowski by the designated attorney, an “independent subcontractor” (like an Uber driver) who is not a staff member as provided in the rules and therefore, according to ranking Republic Mr. Collins, proscribed from participating in even this sham ‘inquiry.’   

Chairman Nadler displays an admirable degree of unflappability during these determined efforts to interrupt and stop the questioning of the witness.   The subcontractor asks a series of questions — good ones, and Lewandowski has to pause a few times to make disparaging comments about the privileged honor student (and he knows the college this guy went to, I forget) who got a fancy law degree from Harvard, unlike the self-made, born poor Lewandowski, who got everything he has by sheer hard work and unshakable loyalty.   Lewandowski reminded everyone that he has written two NY Times best sellers recently.

Lewandowski acquitted himself with that high degree of intelligence and integrity we have come to expect from Trump surrogates.   The session of him battling the skillful subcontractor, Barry Berke makes a good 30 minute clip for tomorrow’s youTubes and I hope to link to it here.   (HERE YOU GO– well worth watching).

The Democrats “the Party of Faux Impeachment” need to get Nancy Pelosi to stop publicly wringing her fucking hands and get on with the goddamned actual impeachment of the most corrupt president this great nation has ever been blessed to have.   

Let the president’s people continue to follow his directives, resist all subpoenas to testify and refuse to produce documents in an actual impeachment proceeding, let his lawyers thunder (as they did today at several points during the Lewandowski questioning).   

Let the unimpeachable Boof Kavanaugh and the other four rule on the constitutional right of Congress to call and question witnesses in an impeachment hearing.   

Now get out of the way, Nancy (“I call her ‘Nancy'”).