Monday, January 21, 2019

Why Can't Giuliani Make Up His Mind?

It sure does seem that Rudy Giuliani is a total idiot. One day he'll give an interview where he says that Donald Trump was trying to make a deal with the Russians from the day he announced till the day he won the election. This is tantamount to admitting Trump was making foreign policy decisions to benefit himself.

The next day Giuliani will say that was just hypothetical, and he was making assumptions about what Trump was saying, or that someone in his company might have been making deals, but there's nothing wrong with that, and anyway Trump was totally oblivious about what was going on with those deals in his own company, or the changes to the Republican Party platform to remove sanctions on Russia so that companies could make those kinds of deals without being charged with the same sorts of crimes that the Trump administration is hammering companies with that do business with Iran.

Which begs the question: if Trump has no idea what his company, or his campaign or his government are doing, and refuses to take responsibility for the actions they take in his name, why is he president?

One day Giuliani will say that Trump never told Cohen to lie to Congress about his Russia deals. The next day Giuliani will say that Trump and Cohen might have talked about Cohen's testimony before the hearings, implicitly admitting that Trump tried to get Cohen to fudge his testimony, but that there's nothing at all wrong with that.

Why is Giuliani talking at all? He clearly has no idea what anyone said or did, and he's just spouting his own suppositions. What kind of a lousy lawyer is he?

Is Giuliani senile, lying or just stupid? Yes, on all counts, but he has also assumed the same garbage-filled speaking style that Trump has: say everything, toss every wild theory out there, contradict himself endlessly, then deny everything in the hopes that the public will just throw up their hands in confusion and forget about it.

Then, when the truth comes out, and we know with absolute certainty that Trump really was trying to get dirt on Hillary from Russian hackers, and really was trying to cut a real estate deal with the Russians, the White House will say that this is old news, everyone always knew that Trump was talking to the Russians, and no one cares about it because he won the election anyway (pussy-grabbing!), so we just forget about the collusion, the backroom deals, and the conspiracies to sell out American foreign policy, NATO and our European allies so that Trump can plaster his name on a tower in Moscow and feel like big-boy dictators like Vovka and Un and Recep.

This is the strategy: lie, and lie, and lie and lie, and repeat the lie five different ways, and then come up with five new lies, and sow so much chaos and confusion that no one has any idea what went on, and hope that they just get tired of the mess and want it to go away.

The irony of it all is that the Russians were always playing Trump for a fool. They've been stringing him along for decades, dangling a shiny Moscow tower in front of him since the 1980s.

If Trump had lost the election, it's inconceivable that Putin would have given a prominent American politician -- an enemy of his state -- such an ostentatious symbol of power and wealth in the center of Moscow. It would make Putin look like he was giving loser Trump a consolation prize after Russian hackers failed to get him elected.

And if Trump won and Putin let him put up a tower in Moscow, it would make Putin look even weaker, rewarding the winner of the election from Russia's greatest foe with a huge Moscow propaganda blitz.

So this deal was never going to happen. Trump had to remain a reality show gadfly and backstage voyeur at his soft-core porn beauty contests to have any shot at Trump Tower Moscow. As soon as he won the Republican nominee any such deal was off.

But Trump was still going after the deal until election day. Only a greedy narcissistic sucker could actually believe that there was any chance in hell for that Moscow tower. Trump has got to be the worst deal maker in American history.

He can't negotiate his way out of a paper bag. Or a month-long government shutdown of his own making, as shown by the fact that all sides flatly rejected his Saturday proposal for ending the shutdown.

Trump's only negotiation tactic is a flat demand: my way or the highway. That's why the shutdown won't end. He doesn't have the slightest clue on how to negotiate a deal that benefits all sides. He views every deal as a zero sum, with the only acceptable outcome is him winning everything and the enemy losing everything.

And that's not how democracy works.

Even Trump's fans are getting tired of this stupid routine: the latest polls show that his voters are starting to blame him for the shutdown.

Which they should, because he claimed he would own the shutdown and never blame the Democrats for it. And then he promptly blamed it on the Democrats.

Trump is always trying to have it not just both ways, but every way, the sure sign of a con man and liar. I am still completely baffled that the Republicans in the Senate still have not realized they'll be going down the toilet with Trump when he finally gets flushed.

It seems the only way out is for Senate Republicans to save Trump from himself by passing a continuing resolution to fund the government with a veto-proof margin. Trump would sign the bill defiantly, saying that he would continue to fight for the wall tooth and nail, and then it will quietly die.

Just like it died during the two years that Trump and the Republicans had total control of the entire federal government, but never did anything to start building the wall, because no one actually wants the god-damned wall. It's just a hammer for Trump and white nationalists to pound Latinos and liberals with to make them squirm and scream.

But Senate Republicans are too cowardly to rear their crocodilian heads from the swamp, for fear that Trump's nihilistic supporters will primary them come re-election time.

What Are You Doing For Others?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Christmas 2018

This year my youngest sister, M, drove up from Texas for Christmas with her husband and two sons. Because my brother-in-law is Latino and my dad is a racist dick, we didn't spend the holiday at my parents' house as usual, but at my sister J's house instead.

This year M gave my mom a DNA test from Tests from and have become a popular gift in recent years. They purport to help you find long-lost relatives by looking for genetic similarities, allowing you to fill in the gaps in your family tree.

While these tests may have provided some entertainment and insight, they have also caused a lot of problems and heartache. By this time, thousands of people have discovered that the man who raised them is not their real father, that mom cheated on dad or their mother was raped.

Entire family histories are being rewritten as people try to establish whether grandma really was Irish, or German, or American Indian. Elizabeth Warren has injected DNA testing into the presidential race.

Neo-Nazis are finding out that they're not as racially pure as they thought they were, and are not at all happy about it.

And family DNA tests are being used to find serial killers. The most famous of these is the Golden State Killer, who was found by investigators through a commercial online DNA database. Actor Patton Oswalt and his wife, Michelle McNamara, who was writing a book about the serial killer when she died in 2016, are largely responsible for keeping the public spotlight on the case.

Now, these DNA tests are nowhere near as accurate as the companies that sell them pretend they are. They've picked out a few genetic markers that are indicative of ethnicity, but because the databases are incomplete and genetic inheritance is random, these results are nowhere near definitive.

Anyway, on Christmas Eve M pulled me aside and in a grave whisper told me that, based on DNA testing and, our maternal grandfather had lived under an assumed name.

She hadn't told our mom yet, and wanted it kept quiet. But she was clearly disturbed by the revelation.

We never knew anything about grandpa, except that he had come up from the South sometime in the 1920s. He came to live with us when my grandmother died of breast cancer in the 1960s. After her death he started drinking heavily, imbibing the "white lightning" he made on his hog farm, which had an outhouse and no electricity (though he did have a phone).

He collapsed one day and lost the use of his legs. I never knew exactly what the problem was, but now I'm guessing alcoholic neuropathy. connected M to a family in the South, and a genealogy tree with a man, AH, who'd gone missing in the 1920s. Photos of the man's nephews, who died years ago, were dead ringers for my grandfather.

According to the family history my sister dug up, AH was a moonshiner -- prohibition was still in effect in the 1920s. The cops broke up AH's still and were after him, but before he left town he tracked down one of the cops and shot him dead in a church.

How reliable is this narrative? Is it just a story someone made up to explain a missing uncle? And just how accurate are these DNA tests anyway?

Is it wise to ruin my mother's memory of her father, branding him a murderer after all these years? My sister hasn't mentioned any of this to my mom yet; she's still waiting on for the results of my mother's DNA swab.

But why not just tell her now? If grandpa wasn't a murderer, she'll tell my mom because it's such an interesting story. And if he was, she's still going to tell my mom because why would she go through all this effort and expense to verify it, only to keep it a secret? She just wants to know.

But it really shouldn't matter to my mom. Despite the paltry jealousies of Old Testament and Greek gods, the sins of fathers should not be visited upon their sons and daughters.

At this point, the truth about my grandfather is purely academic. He's been dead for 25 years, and we'll never know what happened with absolute certainty, so whatever my sister finds out it won't change anything, except perhaps to cause my mother sorrow.

My grandfather's drunken actions almost a century ago have no bearing on my mother. Unless, of course, she knew about what he did and kept it a secret, or continued to say what a great guy he was after learning he was a murderous moonshiner.

Which brings to mind the hypocrisy of the Daughters of the Confederacy and other apologists for Civil War traitors. Confederate soldiers went to war to keep human beings enslaved. They either believed in slavery or were cowed by the slave masters who ran their states into committing treason against the United States and killing their fellow Americans.

The treason and defense of slavery by Confederate soldiers should not reflect poorly on their descendants. But by refusing to acknowledge their ancestors' crimes, Civil War apologists inherit their ancestors' crimes, branding themselves as liars, racists and traitors.

It's rather ironic that, if the story about grandpa is true, my father harbored a drunken murderer for more than 20 years. Yet he won't let the stable, solid, gainfully employed father of his own two grandsons into his house because he's Latino.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The New Hitler Youth

Ah, the new Hitler respectful of other cultures and veterans...

Get ready for a world of pain, boys! Your faces are all over the inter webs. It won't be long before people find out who you are...

Ah, the white male threatened...

Gillette ran this great ad about men being the best a man can be. Here it is...

For those of us that are secure and comfortable in our masculinity, it was a great message. But some older, white men aren't that way...especially the gun humper snowflakes. Man oh man, are they PISSED OFF!! Check this asshole out...

He might as well have a sign hanging around his neck that says WHITE MALE DINOSAUR THREATENED. I also like the fact that he's in a cotton field in a not so subtle racial dog whistle. They are so cute when they try to get all the attention and stuff, right?

I'm kinda hoping that these guys actually do try some sort of armed insurrection. Something tells me that President Pelosi isn't going to be too kind to them.

Neither will the gentlemen they will encounter in prison:)

No Fancy Words

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Trump Is Still Working for the Russians

Last week we learned that the FBI was so concerned about the huge number of Donald Trump's Russia connections that they actually opened an investigation into whether he was working for them, something he declined to immediately deny in a Fox News interview.
Trump reacted Saturday during a telephone interview broadcast on Fox News Channel after host Jeanine Pirro asked whether he is currently or has ever worked for Russia.

“I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked,” he said. “I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written, and if you read the article you’ll see that they found absolutely nothing.” Trump, however never directly denied the claim, a fact which quickly became a Twitter meme.
Eventually Trump did deny it, in the same way that he denies grabbing women by the pussy. But no one is buying his denials, not even Republican senators, judging by recent actions on the Senate floor with regard to sanctions on a Russian oligarch.

Last year Trump levied tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, proclaiming they were necessary for reviving American industry.

The world's second-biggest aluminum producer is Rusal, owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is tight with Vladimir Putin. Rusal dumps a lot of cheap aluminum on the United States.

The company is under sanctions because of Russian meddling in the last presidential election, to help get Trump elected. Deripaska also paid Paul Manafort millions of dollars. Manafort worked "for free" as Trump's campaign manager, until secret payments from pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians were revealed.

But, despite all these highly suspicious Russia connections, Trump's treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, decided to remove sanctions on three of Deripaska's companies, including Rusal. So you gotta ask: why is Donald Trump still carrying water for Putin's pals if he's not working them?

At least some Republicans understand how absolutely terrible this looks. In a Senate vote, 11 Republicans joined Democrats in a vote to maintain sanctions on Rusal.

Munchkin Mnuchin says sanctions on Rusal have to be lifted to avoid damaging the aluminum market. Huh?

Thousands of American soybean farmers are declaring bankruptcy because of Trump's trade war with China, yet the tariffs are still in place. Thousands of federal employees are being forced to work without pay. National parks have become disaster areas. TSA workers and FAA controllers being stretched to the limit, increasing the risk of aviation terrorism and air traffic control disasters. Yet Trump's government shutdown is in its fourth week.

Why is Trump going out of his way to reassure the Russians that he has their backs, when he spits on American farmers, American companies like GM and Harley Davidson, and federal employees?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Saturday, January 12, 2019

You're Locked In Here With Me

As if I wasn't already in love with her...

I can only imagine how 'splodey the heads of right wing bloggers and commenters are right now. You assholes are so fucked.

And D-O-N-E...DONE!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Trump Shutdown Increasing Terrorism Risk

Donald Trump claims that the whole reason we need to build a wall at the Mexican border is to keep out terrorists.

The fact is, essentially zero terrorist suspects come over the southern border. More actually come in via the Canadian border, but the vast majority come in through airports.
For example, this Justice Department report says that in fiscal year 2017, of the 2,554 encounters DHS had with individuals on the terror watch list who were traveling to the United States, "335 were attempting to enter by land, 2,170 were attempting to enter by air, and 49 were attempting to enter by sea." It is unclear which land port DHS was mentioning.
Since the real entry point is airports, clearly we need to beef up security at airports. Ironically, Trump's shutdown is blowing a hole in airport security.

During the shutdown TSA agents are being forced to work without pay. As a result many are calling in sick. And many are deciding to call it quits altogether.

Clearly, Trump does not give a damn about the security of this country. He is demanding a wall for two reasons: first, Ann Coulter has him pussy-whipped, and second, he wants to claim he fulfilled a campaign promise, hoping that he can gain re-election in 2020 and avoid going to jail before he dies of Alzheimers.

Of course, the biggest terrorist threat is from people who are already here, such as the racist right-wing men who have been shooting up schools, synagogues and churches over the past few years.

The Perils of PDF

Paul Manafort has always been a weasel. After decades of making millions of dollars shilling for evil foreigners like Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Zairean dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, Angolan rebel Jonas Savimbi and pro-Russian Ukrainian dictator Viktor Yanukovich, Manafort agreed to run Trump's presidential campaign for free.

Nothing suspicious about that. No sirree. 

Manafort lasted only a few months: he was ousted when his name was discovered in a Ukrainian ledger indicating he received $12.7 million in secret payments from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. By that time, however, Manafort had already accomplished his main goal: removing the pro-Ukrainian independence plank from Republican Party platform at the Republican convention.

Despite receiving tens of millions of dollars from foreign dictators over the years Manafort was heavily in debt (perhaps because he spent his money on nonsense like a $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket).

Manafort's legal problems really cranked up when prosecutors got hold of emails he sent to his buddy Rick Gates, asking him for help in creating fraudulent profit and loss statements so he could avoid taxes. Manafort couldn't figure out how to covert a PDF file to Word format.

And that wasn't the last time PDF caused Manafort problems. Yesterday Manafort's lawyers submitted a PDF file that tried but failed to redact an embarrassing revelation: While running Trump's campaign Manafort gave internal campaign polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian operative with connections to the Kremlin.

Manafort and Kilimnik also discussed a Ukrainian "peace plan," which would mean dropping sanctions on Russia for the invasion Crimea and the ongoing occupation of eastern Ukraine.

These details, plus the Trump Tower meeting with Jared Kushner, Don Jr., and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya (who was indicted yesterday in an unrelated case that firmly establishes her ties to the Kremlin), and literally dozens of other contacts between Trump campaign operatives and Russian officials, spies and other organizations like the NRA, make it abundantly clear that the Trump campaign and associated PACs conspired with the Russian government to steal the presidential election.

It also doesn't help that Trump constantly repeats pro-Russian propaganda, such as his comments on Montenegro ("Very aggressive people") and Afghanistan ("The Soviets invaded to fight terrorists"), as if Trump was Putin's ventriloquist's dummy.

Trump apologists, such as Rudy Giuliani, have essentially admitted to all the facts above, and have been reduced to claiming that "collusion is not a crime." The thing is, collusion is just another word for conspiracy.

And conspiracy is a crime: Trump conspired to commit campaign fraud in the form of hush money payments to porn stars and Playboy playmates.

It is a crime for foreigners to spend money to influence American elections: it's an illegal in-kind campaign donation. The Trump campaign clearly conspired with Russians who funded vast social media campaigns to sway Americans to vote for Donald Trump or Jill Stein, and to defame Hillary Clinton and dissuade black Americans from voting at all.

In essence, Giuliani and Trump's apologists are going for the "pussy-grabbing" defense: everyone knew Trump was a sexual predator in November 2016, and he won the election anyway, so he should be able to get away with it.

Since "everyone knew" Trump was in bed with the Russians before the election because "everyone knew" that Manafort was a Russian plant and "everyone knew" about Trump's numerous connections to Russian oligarchs and mobsters, the American people obviously didn't care he conspired with a foreign power to steal the election.

Trump's defense, in the end, will be that his conspiracy with the Russians is "old news," and it should just go away.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Quote of the Day

The controversy of the moment involves AOC’s advocacy of a tax rate of 70-80 percent on very high incomes, which is obviously crazy, right? I mean, who thinks that makes sense? Only ignorant people like … um, Peter Diamond, Nobel laureate in economics and arguably the world’s leading expert on public finance (although Republicans blocked him from an appointment to the Federal Reserve Board with claims that he was unqualified. Really.) And it’s a policy nobody has every implemented, aside from … the United States, for 35 years after World War II — including the most successful period of economic growth in our history.

---The Economics of Soaking The Rich, Paul Krugman

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Conservatives Think The Nation Is John Lithgow in Footloose.

Apparently, conservatives think that we are in the film "Footloose" and dancing is evil. So evil, in fact, that spreading a video around of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing in college, was employed in the hopes of making her look bad. Here is he original tweet from a Q Anon psycho... god, the humanity! A person having fun!! Must be a commie because only commies have fun!! The response to this (ahem) expose was hilarious. It shows just how fucking out of touch the right is these days. Here's the best one...