Thursday, January 31, 2019

Trump's Groundhog Day Stock Market Tweets

Vox is a great site. One of the services they provide is reading Donald Trump's tweets (so I don't have to), and remembering what he said in previous tweets.

Which is something that Trump is apparently incapable of. Trump has now bragged about the Dow hitting 25,000 at least three separate times. Most recently on Jan. 19, but also on July 14th and Jan. 4 of 2018.

As Vox points out, Trump is bragging that he has trashed the stock market, which has become extremely chaotic and/or stagnant since he started screwing up the economy with tariffs, government shutdowns, border invasions and other stupid pet tricks.

But what does this bragging over reaching the same milestone over and over and over again -- like Bill Murray waking up to "I Got You Babe" in Groundhog Day -- mean? There are two possibilities:

The first possibility is 1) Trump is clueless: he just doesn't remember that the market surpassed 25,000 at least twice before. He's a senile dotard, addled by Alzheimer's, who is unfit to be president.

Now, Trump uses Twitter so that he can communicate with his supporters completely unfiltered by the news media. In this way he escapes any and all fact-checking and he can completely ignore the truth, shaping reality to his whims.

So the other possibility is 2) Trump thinks his supporters are clueless. He doesn't think they can remember what happened six months or a year ago, and he brags about the exact same non-accomplishment repeatedly, even though the bragging reveals how totally disastrous his presidency is.

So, Trump's Twitter feed reveals either that he is a total idiot, or that he thinks his followers are gullible idiots.

Ironically, the thing that seems to irk Trump followers the most is that moderates and liberals think they're stupid for supporting Trump, yet  -- unless he is a total idiot his followers insist he is not -- Trump clearly thinks they are even stupider than the liberals do.

Trump is taking his followers' support for granted, constantly feeding them bullshit and treating them like idiot children.

When Trump's followers finally get fed up with him -- and they will: they got tired of being taken for fools by the Republican establishment for decades -- these people are either going to give up on politics forever, or march on Washington demanding Trump's head on an impeachment platter.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Four Bucks for Cheerios Is Not a Lot. Four Bucks for Starbucks Coffee Is Highway Robbery

Talking heads are shocked that Howard Schultz, the billionaire who owns Starbucks and is running for president as an independent, doesn't know how much a box of Cheerios costs.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, amid a media tour rife with awkward moments, got stumped by Morning Joe on Wednesday when asked: “How much does an 18-ounce box of Cheerios cost?”

“An 18 ounce box of Cheerios? I don’t eat Cheerios,” the billionaire responded to host Mika Brzezinski.

When she revealed the price was four dollars, Schultz was shocked.

“That’s a lot,” he said.
To be honest, springing gotcha questions like this on billionaires is bogus: I didn't know much a box of Cheerios costs. We haven't bought Cheerios in years -- we make 1-minute oatmeal in the microwave. And I have no idea how much a box of oatmeal costs.

What's shocking is that Schultz is pretending to think that $4.00 for a box of Cheerios is a lot. Especially compared to how much coffee costs at Starbucks. Maybe Mika should have asked Schultz how much a Caramel Frappaccino costs.

That $4.00 box of Cheerios contains 18 servings, almost three weeks of breakfast. The cereal has actual nutritional value, including dietary fiber, which most Americans don't get anywhere near enough of.

Coffee at Starbucks costs between $3.00 and $6.00. For one serving. It's a frill, nothing but empty calories (most of them have 100 to 150 calories, some as much as 600!). Starbucks coffee has no nutritional value and is a huge drain on the American pocketbook -- more than a thousand dollars a year for regular customers. It's a huge waste of people's time, as millions go out of their way to stop at Starbucks, where they waste ever more time waiting in line for their orders.

Starbucks has also added drive-through windows at their stores, resulting in millions of gallons of wasted gasoline as people queue up, their engines idling as they wait for their orders.

Schultz made his billions selling people an overpriced luxury product that no one needs, that is actively harmful to the nation's productivity and health.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that this master of worthlessness is threatening to run for president as an independent. Such a run could siphon off just enough votes from the Democratic candidate to give Trump a second term.

No third-party candidate has ever won an election, but they have affected the results: Ralph Nader gave Bush the presidency in 2000. Ross Perot may well have given the election to Clinton. Twice. And Jill Stein drew enough votes away from Hillary Clinton in 2016 to give Trump the win in Wisconsin and Michigan, and if Stein hadn't run Pennsylvania might have gone to Clinton as well.

The last thing this country needs is another egocentric billionaire narcissist with no political or government experience running for president. We've already got one of those, and it's been a total disaster.

Yeah, It's Cold. And Yeah, It's Because of Climate Change

Every year we go through this: we have a cold spell and Donald Trump and all the climate change deniers gloat: "It's cold! There ain't no global warming!"

Yes, it's cold in the Midwest. As I write this it's -28 degrees in the Twin Cities, and the low was -30 degrees.

But if you look at other places, it's not cold. Why, in Anchorage, Alaska, it's 33 degrees above zero. And in Juneau, it's 39 degrees above zero.

It's 67 degrees warmer in Alaska than in Minnesota. How can that be?

Climate change.

Climate change has completely screwed up the jet stream. In the past the jet stream bottled up the cold air around the North Pole. Now that the arctic has warmed so significantly that the jet stream is weakened, and that cap of cold air at the pole is no longer stable. It wobbles around a lot, and now the "polar vortex" has slipped down into the Midwest.

But don't worry: this is temporary. By Saturday it'll be 39 in Minnesota, a swing of almost 70 degrees in just a few days.

Meanwhile, Australia is being roasted by record-setting high temperatures, over 120 degrees in some places. And 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record. The other three warmest years were 2016, 2017 and 2015.

When the four warmest years on record are the last four years, you just can't deny that the planet is getting hotter at a record pace. And the primary cause is the trillions of tons of greenhouse gases that we are putting in the air.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Assimilation Is Always the Goal

Tom Brokaw, a news anchor who's usually a hero to opinionators at the Washington Post, has come under fire for his comments about Hispanic assimilation. Brokaw said:
I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time. You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.
As Paul Waldman notes, this is basically a non-issue. Children of immigrants are all learning to speak English as a matter of course. And this isn't anything new: my grandfather came to the United States from Norway in 1905, and when my dad was born in 1933 they were still speaking Norwegian at home. My dad couldn't speak a word of English until he started school, but, just like the children of Latino immigrants today, he learned English quickly and was soon speaking like a native.

That's what kids do.

I grew up on the West Side of St. Paul, where there were a lot of Mexican immigrants. My best friend's dad was Mexican and his mom was a blonde, blue-eyed northern European. The kids on the corner were Mexican. All of them spoke English just like the rest of us.

I have several Hispanic acquaintances that I play volleyball with, and they all speak English with native fluency. We're in the process of building a house, and a fair number of the workers speak Spanish on the job. But all the ones I've engaged in conversation have no problem understanding English and answering my questions.

But there are still a lot of people who are freaking out every time they hear someone speaking Spanish at the grocery store. Wake up, people! Latino immigrants aren't the only ones to continue speaking their native language when they emigrate to the United States.

Almost every time I shop for groceries at Aldi, I come upon someone speaking Russian. The other day at volleyball two women were speaking Russian to each other. It's nothing to freak out about!

There are thousands of Asian restaurants in this country where the employees speak Chinese, or Korean, or Japanese in the kitchen. What's the big deal?

Services at synagogues often have prayers in Hebrew, and Latin was used in Catholic churches within the lifetimes of many of the people who are whining the loudest about assimilation.

Yet, a couple of years ago, some stupid woman bashed a Somali woman in the face with a beer mug for not speaking English. The irony of it: the adults were speaking in a foreign language so their own kids wouldn't understand.

When people come to this country they bring their languages, their customs, and their food. In the great melting pot of America we take the best imports and toss the rest.

That's how pizza and Kung Pao chicken have become as American as apple pie.

The vast majority of immigrant kids will forget their parent's native language and become monolingual like most Americans. Immigrants come to this country to become Americans, and they really want their kids to be accepted as Americans.. They fully intend to assimilate, and they're trying, but learning a new language is hard. When nativist jerks run around screaming "Speak English!" they're just making the assimilation process that much harder.

When I was in high school I volunteered at the Jewish Community Center to help Russian Jews emigrating from the Soviet Union adapt to life in the United States. ESL programs can really use native speakers to help learners practice their conversation skills.

If these people are so worried about recent immigrants assimilating, they should volunteer to help them learn English instead of just ranting.

Trump Finally Shows Some Spine

Everyone is on Trump's case these days. The Democrats, of course, are talking investigations and impeachment, but Anne Coulter is calling him the biggest wimp since George Herbert Walker Bush. Lou Dobbs says he caved on the wall.

But the fact is, by reopening the government Trump finally showed some spine. Trump has been letting racist know-nothings on the extreme right lead him around by the nose for the last ten years.  To court these nihilists, Trump has been forced to mouth idiotic nonsense, such as claiming Obama was born in Kenya, praising neo-Nazis after Charlottesville, pandering to dictators like Putin and Erdogan, screaming about walls and caravans, and claiming "Mission Accomplished!" with ISIS, when the terrorists are still killing people in Syria and bombing cathedrals in the Philippines.

Reopening the government was the first “presidential” action of Trump's administration, after years of craven pandering to racist dickheads. Trump finally manned up and broke out of the prison that talking heads like Coulter and Dobbs have put him in.

Of course, it happened 35 days after the stupidest and most cowardly and self-defeating action of Trump's entire presidency (worse than firing Comey): shutting down the government.

So instead of gloating that Trump caved, Democrats should reward him by opening serious discussions about border security. They should adopt the proposals that the experts who know what they're talking about have suggested. They should give Trump a little money for physical barriers (a few more in the right places are actually fine). But only if Trump makes a permanent deal on DACA, and not some phony temporary gimmick that he'll just threaten to yank out from under them the next time he wants something outrageous.

Trump could use this opportunity to become a real president, one who represents the entire country, not just the ever-shrinking population of old, white separatists and confederate apologists.

Of course, that won't happen. Trump is incapable of change: he's already threatening another temper tantrum, forcing a second shutdown or declaring a national emergency.

He's obsessed with looking strong and tough, but by having to bend over every time Coulter says "boo!" Trump is only showing that he is a stupid, weak, yellow-bellied, senile old fool who lets himself be controlled by people who despise everything that made America great.

Trump has confused anger with strength, hate with toughness, fear with vigilance. A strong leader is one who does right by the whole country, with an eye to the future, who bucks the demands of corrupt and moneyed malcontents who care only about enriching themselves and their own ilk.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

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!

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...

Saturday, January 05, 2019

"They will thrash and spit and bellow..."

Jon Pavlovitz has an amazing blog that I enjoy every day. His recent piece, The Extinction of the White American Male Dinosaur, is his best post yet. I found myself thinking of all the angry and hateful old white men that used to post here and over on Kevin Baker's gun blog, especially these two parts.

In the coming days, the Tweets will become more erratic, the legislative assaults grow more transparently desperate, the hate crimes more brazen, the sermons grow more alarmist and incendiary. These Jurassic, soon-to-be-amber-trapped relics, will act is if the very sky above them is falling, because in very real ways, it is. They will thrash and spit and bellow, in an effort to buy themselves a few more days and a bit more power and another Federal judge or two, but they cannot stave off their inevitable disappearance, as progress and civilization and time swallow them up. 

The misogynistic, supremacist nostalgia of their dying glory days is dissolving, in the glorious refining fire of what is coming on the horizon: color and diversity and new and young and wide open. The wall-builders and the close-fisted and the table-monopolizers will not survive this evolution.

Indeed, they won't.

This is what the future looks like, assholes. You aren't in it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year!!

Welcome to 2019 AKA the year we take our country back from the internet trolls. It's also going to be the year that Donald Trump will leave office-either by choice or force.

We here at Zombie Politics would like to extend our thanks to all of our readers, especially the new ones who have joined from Quora and Twitter. We used to average around 100 regular readers a day and now we are up to three times that and more sometimes. A large part of the increase has been due to Nikto's solid commentary. Thanks, buddy!

We appreciate your readership!