The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category

Comey

James Comey is the strangest, most mysterious man in the known universe. And boy, does he have a poker face. What is his deal? What is his game? Officially people in the world of politics still vouch for his integrity. But the rest of us mortals can probably say: “Comey, I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I like you. I’m not sure. I hate you. Huh?”

Most citizens probably never gave Comey much thought until his press conference announcing FBI would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for using a private e-mail server, although Clinton was very very naughty. The bizarre “She broke rules but we won’t prosecute” announcement brought out angry responses from Republicans and grudging gratitude from Democrats. When Comey was called to explain his actions before Congress, Democrats shielded him. Then the tables flipped when 12 days before the election Comey sent The Letter, making Republicans dance with joyful glee and sending Democrats into apoplectic fits of rage. There is no doubt that The Letter swung the election to Trump. Through all this Comey was investigating Trump’s connections to Russia. FBI started their investigation at the end of July. (July 27th is when Trump called on Russia to hack Clinton’s e-mails, but rumors of Trump’s relationship to Putin were already swirling. See Robby Mook/Jake Tapper clip below.) How in the world does the head of the FBI throw one candidate’s candidacy into chaos while knowing that the other candidate may be colluding with a foreign power to manipulate the election? These actions are inexplicable. And through it all Comey’s Mona Lisa smile is infuriating.

Now again Comey, with Trump installed in the White House, has unleashed the wrath of the Republicans and weary excitement from Democrats in Congress. Democrats need him. Republicans and Trump need him to shut up. If you’re keeping score, Comey has pissed off Republicans more often than Democrats. But he also handed Republicans the ultimate gift: The Presidency of the United States. What is his deal? What is his game? Will we ever actually know? Or will his motives and actions forever be the source of speculation? What will history books say about James Comey?

Of the people within Trump’s administration who seem likely to go down hard are Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone. (Davis Nunes says he’s never heard of Page and Stone… make of that what you will… )  CNN put together a handy guide to Stone’s public comments regarding his connections to Assange, WikiHacks and Guccifer 2.0. These are great for when Stone says he didn’t know anything about anything. The timeline spans from August 10, 2016 (“Stone tells a local Republican Party group in Florida “I’ve actually communicated with Julian Assange”) to March 20, 2017 (“It’s only fair that I have a chance to respond 2 any smears or half truths about alleged “Collusion with Russians” from 2day’s Intel Hearing.”) I hope Stone starts prepping himself for a stone cold cot.

Alfa Bank

One of the sources of concern to Trump and Co. is Alfa Bank. The second largest private bank in Russia it came to some people’s attention when it was caught trying to communicate with a Trump server. The original story on the bank’s strange behavior came to light before the election, but the story was dismissed by almost the entire media. NY Times infamously dismissed it on October 31, 2016 with the following headline: “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.” And with that, the media’s interest in the Trump/Putin connection died. The only person who followed up on it was a Republican writer Louise Mensch. She reported days later (late evening of November 7, to be exact) that the FBI had a FISA warrant to examine communications between Trump’s campaign and a Russian bank. Mensch claims the NY Times (Erich Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers wrote the article) knew about the FISA warrant. And that they even interviewed then Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid about it. But threw out the entire Reid interview and buried the FBI/FISA detail. She continues to question Lichtblau on twitter about why he did these things and he largely ignores her. Meanwhile Alfa Bank is now claiming they have been hacked and are suing one of the analysts who examined their suspicious communications with Trump organization.

The information on Trump’s connections to Russia were discussed in public as early as July 24, 2016 by Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. On CNN’s State of the Union, on the first day of Democratic convention, Mook told Jake Tapper there were great concerns regarding potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia, stolen DNC e-mails published via WikiLeaks, and RNC’s watering down of Republican platform on Russia/Ukraine. These are now all vital parts of FBI’s investigation that could sink Trump and will most certainly sink many of the key players of his campaign. The media did not investigate this story until it was too late. (Notice also the chyrons on the Mook/Tapper video. An intellectually dishonest representation of the e-mails being published by WikiLeaks.) The media dedicated all of their resources to the Clinton e-mails. They dedicated no resources to potential collusion between Trump and Russia. This will always be one of the great journalistic disasters of all time. Perhaps greater than their failure to vet the Iraq War (NY Times again.)

Trump

Which brings me to Donald Trump himself. I won’t use any of the big words like sociopathic or narcissistic. I think he’s just a man who has never in his entire life had to deal with consequences for any bad behavior. Rich white man. If he did anything wrong, he got a gold star from daddy and lawyers took care of the fallout. He said and did as he pleased. No blowback on anything his entire life. 70 years of this. Imagine what this complete lack of accountability and self-awareness can do to a human brain. He goes bankrupt 7 times? Meh, someone will take care of the fallout and get him more loans. Wife isn’t pleasing anymore? Meh, someone will take care of the divorce and settlement. Being sued for racial discrimination? Meh, someone will take care of the settlement. This is a man who has thrown money at his problems and the problems went away for 70 years. He behaved during his campaign the way he has behaved his entire 70 years on Earth. Badly. Rude, arrogant, mean, vicious, malicious. Said everything that came into his head. And the crowds adored him. Think about what a crowd of 10,000 people chanting “Lock her up!” can do to your brain. Adoration. Say and do anything you like – and TV gives you hours of non-critical coverage. The crowds go crazy. Your approval ratings go through the roof. Your opponents, seasoned politicians all, go down in flames. And you don’t even have to do anything different! It just happens. For a man who has spent his entire life with zero accountability runs his campaign the same way – and he is rewarded with the Presidency of the USA. Think what that does to your brain. Everything he has ever done and said has been vindicated. He does not recognize that things are different now. His brain can’t process this information. Incapable of self-awareness or awareness of others. For 70 years he has done as he pleased, said as he pleased. And an army of Yes-Men have enabled and encouraged his delusions for 70 years. But it is different now. He is stunned that his inauguration crowd isn’t as big as his predecessor’s! (A Black Man!)

“No, it’s just not possible. Fake news! The Black Man wire-tapped me! Obviously. Why do I have to retract this? I don’t have to do anything I don’t want. I want to golf. Why can’t I golf? I said I want to golf! This is my resort! This is my home away from gilded home in NYC! I’ll do what I want! I’m President! I won! I did everything the way I always do! And I won! People love me! They all voted for me! All voted for me! Because I’m President! Those who didn’t vote for me have no right to exist! Deep state is out to get me! How else to explain that these things I said are being held against me? I always say what I want! Why are you ganging up on me?! I’m not a puppet! Tillerson will go to Russia! Because I said so! Because I won! This is a conspiracy to destroy me! You can’t tell me what I can and can’t say about Putin! You don’t like Putin? Too bad! I love Putin! I’ll say what I want! I won! I’m President! And you are nothing.”

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I will finish on a completely different note. It is a story of love, regret and perseverance.

Through all the madness music has been a great source of solace to me. (Classical music and opera generally, but then…) Here is my favorite performer Madonna, in a “pirate” recording of her classic song “True Blue” at Barclay Center in Brooklyn on September 19, 2015, as part of her “Rebel Heart Tour.” Two nights earlier Madonna celebrated 30 years since her Madison Square Garden debut with a concert at MSG. (Amy Schumer was Madonna’s opening act at the NY shows in 2015, that’s why Madonna gives Schumer a shout-out in the clip below. At that tour way back in 1985, “The Like A Virgin Tour,” her opening act were the Beastie Boys.)

“True Blue” was written in thL. Cohene mid 1980’s by Madonna as a declaration of love for her then-husband Sean Penn. He was in the audience at MSG two nights earlier and there is private video of him watching Madonna singing the song. At Barclay’s (one of the two times I watched this show), Madonna told the story that after the MSG anniversary concert she received a letter from Penn. In it he wrote that watching her perform that night, after so many years and everything they’d each been through, he really appreciated everything she had accomplished and he acknowledged he was a fool to not have recognized her talents when they were married. “Thirty years!” Madonna screamed to the audience. “Thirty years I’ve been waiting for those words! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is marriage and why I will never get married again.”

Last time she sang “True Blue” live was in 1987, just as her marriage to Penn was falling apart.

Yesterday felt like I had been at the carnival too long. I had ridden the Tilt-a-Whirl too many times and eaten too much cotton candy. I was dizzy and jittery. Sensory overload.

There was just too much news yesterday. It was a carnival sugar high leaving me craving something savory – wanting something real. No what ifs – no fake news – just what’s real.

This story is real.

Imagine an eighty-something guy – let’s call him Marty. Marty is a retired AT&T employee. Not a sophisticated investor, Marty had accumulated a sizable chunk of AT&T stock at discounted prices. It was a nice nest egg, except…

In 2008 Marty watched Jim Cramer of Mad Money on the Today show say, “Whatever money you may need for the next five years, please take it out of the stock market right now.”

So without consulting financial advisers or knowledgeable family members, Marty sold his AT&T stock. This was October 2008. Wall Street was beginning a bout of serious bulimia after gorging itself on the mortgage/derivative/credit cotton candy fraud scheme. Selling was neither smart nor prudent.

If Marty had reinvested his funds, the S&P 500 total return would have been 192%. Within just five years, reinvestment would have returned him 98%.

In the popular vernacular: Sad!

Here’s where it starts getting real. Marty’s last name is Bannon. Marty is Steve Bannon’s dad. And Steve Bannon lays his entire life philosophy around the “Rosebud moment” of Marty losing money in the stock market in 2008.

The elevator pitch offered by The Wall Street Journal is this:

There were many factors that turned Steve Bannon into a divisive political firebrand. But his decision to embrace ‘economic nationalism’ and vehemently oppose the forces and institutions of globalization, he says, stems from his upbringing, his relationship with his father and the meaning those AT&T shares held for the family.

“Everything since then has come from there,” Bannon told the Journal. “All of it.”

Let’s break this down, shall we? Marty was 80-something then, he’s 95 now. He watched Jim Cramer screaming on the teevee. He didn’t call his son Steve who worked for Goldman Sachs or his other son who also worked on Wall Street. He didn’t reinvest. He was overleveraged in AT&T. He didn’t diversify. And here’s the kicker…

Marty probably didn’t lose $100,000. Without getting all wonked up, given the time Marty worked for AT&T he most likely paid a lot less than what he sold for. In fact, when he sold, the stock was trading at a 2006 level, far above Marty’s accumulation dates from 1945-1995.

If Marty had sold at the high point, most likely he would have made $100,000 more, but he didn’t lose money. Marty made a stupid mistake. I’m sorry that he did, but he wasn’t the only retiree who suffered because of Dubya’s lack of SEC enforcement and the greed of Wall Street.

What’s different is that Marty’s son is using this as his personal “Rosebud moment” – his excuse for being. So what does Steve Bannon do to protect the little guys – the Martys of the world?

Like Sancho Panza, Steve Bannon hitches his wagon to the millionaire, pussy-grabbing heir to a real estate fortune. A fortune siphoned-off renting to blue-collar hardworking Joes and Josephines as long as they were lily-white. To everyone’s surprise, this legacy heir wins the presidency.

Bannon pedals his tricycle to the White House where he is tickled to see a bevy of Goldman Sachs buddies occupying every nook and cranny. Within a week, Bannon has dinner and helps send a Navy Seal, someone’s husband and son, to his death. Not to be deterred, Steve then sets his sights on taking away the insurance of 24 million ordinary Joes and Josephines. The demonic irony is that by denying these folks insurance it will ensure the one-percenters an $800 Billion tax cut.

I can’t begin to capture the hypocrisy as well as Francis Wilkinson does:

So if you want to know why Steve Bannon ran a website that became a digital drag bar for neo-Nazis and racists, or why he is determined to ban desperate, war-ravaged Muslim refugees from reaching American shores, or to deport mothers of American children to nations they haven’t seen in years, or to stop subsidizing health insurance for the poor and middle class, or to eliminate environmental safeguards, or to deregulate Wall Street so that it has fewer constraints in exploiting vulnerable investors, or to deliver vast tax cuts to extremely wealthy people like Steve Bannon — all while the president of the United States conceals his tax returns and sells the presidency for profit, well, it all comes down to what the elites did to poor Marty Bannon.

“Everything since then has come from there,” Bannon said. “All of it.”

An illegitimate President being served by his own kind – a Decepticon, perhaps named Optimus Subprime. Bannon is fake. His whole “supposed philosophy” is an ontological excuse for believing in nothing. A real Rosedud.

What’s on your mind today?

 

Cunning Con

Posted on: March 15, 2017

Conway caricature

There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their—certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.

It’s not. But so said Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s senior advisor with an office on the 2nd floor of the White House (because he doesn’t like stairs), and the first woman to run a winning Presidential campaign. She is also the person who invented the phrase “alternative facts” and the Bowling Green Massacre. (Also fun fact: Conway’s husband, George T. Conway III, is a litigation partner at law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, whose previous notable alumni include Glenn Greenwald.)

Conway’s rise to power and fame has been long and steady. She first gained prominence as a right-wing blond pundit in the 1990s, along with Laura Ingraham and Barbara Olson. Over the years she has worked for Newt Gingrich and Todd “Legitimate Rape” Aikin. In 2016 she endorsed Ted Cruz for President and campaigned for him and against Donald Trump. Her numerous media appearances blasting Trump blasted her into election year stratosphere, so much so that when Cruz folded his wings, Conway was brought to the Trump campaign by the very scary Mercer family. (Mercers are just like the Kochs, but 100% more evil. They own Breitbart, among many other notable acts of devilry.) Once at the helm of Trump’s campaign, Conway really began to shine. Her dizzying feats of triangulation, circular talk and topic avoidance, became an Olympic sport. And it’s really not too crazy to say that she is a yuge reason Trump managed to “win.” She helped humanize him. Somehow, for a very long time, people managed to see Conway as a human herself, even SNL (where she is played by Kate McKinnon) always portrayed her as a good person stuck in an impossible situation working for an awful man, but not knowing how to stop him. (Same fantasies still exist about Ivanka Trump and Melania, contrary to all existing evidence.) That is patent nonsense, of course. Conway knew exactly what she was doing and helped give the world Trump. She is not a victim.

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But everything that goes up must come down. And Conway is on her way down. Her TV appearances have dwindled because nobody wants to book her. She was temporary banned from CNN. She has been permanently (?) banned from Morning Schmoe. Shep Smith on Fox openly mocks her. (“…senior adviser Kellyanne Conway — who we don’t quote much anymore because, well, history”). Each time she gives a major interview she invents a crazy story (Bowling Green Massacre and spying microwaves are most notable over the past few weeks.) She also got a fair amount of… shall we call it “alternative feedback” to a photo of her sitting on the couch in the Oval Office with her feet up while surrounded by a large group of black men. Granted, she was prepping to take a photograph and that was one way to do it. (One way, not the only way). But when you combine all the nonsense, Conway really does seem to be coming undone and unhinged.

Conway microwave

In a February piece in the New York Times, Erin Gloria Ryan, summarized her growing dislike for Conway, which to her centers on Conway’s faux feminism.

Once she took the reins of Donald Trump’s campaign, though, she went from smooth to slippery. She’d hammer Hillary Clinton for talking too much about gender and duck behind her femininity in the face of legitimate criticism. If she succeeded, it was because she was Kellyanne. If she failed, it was because she was a woman.

As Kellyanne’s once-forceful cable news denials have disintegrated into whimpers, I can’t say I feel anything for her at all. I don’t mind when people point out how tired she looks. I simply cannot dredge up any sympathy for a person who has acknowledged the structural problems most women face only when she is personally facing them, or used them as derailing tactics when she’s losing an argument. I can’t mourn the downfall of a fair-weather feminist, a woman who has used her power to hurt other women.

Ms. Conway made her bed. And now it’s time for her to get some sleep.

 

In different, lighter and more empowering news: it took 188 years for Fanny Mendelssohn to get some recognition she deserves, but better late than never. Fanny was the older sister of Felix Mendelssohn, one of the great Romantic composers, who – among many great works of music – gave us the Wedding March. In 1829 he is said to have written a piano sonata. The manuscript, which was discovered in the 20th century, was autographed “F Mendelssohn” and the assumption was that it was Felix’s. But in 2010 a Duke graduate student proved that “F” was Fanny, not Felix, and last week the work was finally performed with Fanny’s name attached as composer. We actually know that Fanny composed over 460 pieces of music. It was unusual for women to openly composer and publish, so Felix arranged to have a handful of her works published under his name. In 1842, when visiting Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace, the Queen told Felix that she intended to sing one of his songs for him. Felix confessed that the song was actually composed by his sister. Fanny died in 1847 and is buried in Berlin.

-Trump Chuckie

On March 4th, The Thing in the White House sent out a bunch of angry tweets blasting the previous President for wiretapping Isengard Trump Tower. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Then 30 mins later: “How long has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process? This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” When asked to clarify this insanity, The Thing’s minions really could do nothing but heee and hawww. The Thing read it somewhere, they said. NY Times! Louise Mensch! BBC! Naturally once reporters dug deeper, they found that NO, none of those reports talked Trump Obamaabout wiretapping. Mensch broke the story on her right-wing blog HeatStreet on November 7th about the FISA warrant, but all she said was that a FISC court granted permission to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.” In question was a mysterious communication between two Russian banks and a server in Trump Tower. (David Corn of Mother Jones broke the story of the two banks and Trump Tower, but all media dismissed it as a bizarre conspiracy theory a couple of weeks earlier.) In the follow-up reports to Mensch’s story, BBC and the failing NY Times confirmed a FISA warrant, but nobody mentioned wiretaps… except Breitbart and then The Thing in its Tweets. Ahhhhh, the plot thickens. Where did Breitbart get the information about wiretaps at Trump Tower and did The Thing just leak top secret information in a series of Tweets? Sure seems that way. Will anybody hold him accountable? LOL.

There are fleeing moments when it feels like Lady Lindsey Graham and Hero John McCain might hold The Thing accountable for the numerous impeachable offenses it has committed. Earlier today Graham tweeted: “An attack on one political party should be considered an attack on all. We must push back on Russian election interference at home & abroad.” That sounds great! However it should also be noted that Graham had lunch with The Thing earlier in the day.

“Great lunch meeting with ‪@POTUS today. President Trump is strongly committed to rebuilding our military which is music to my ears. (1/3)

President Trump is in deal-making mode and I hope Congress is like-minded. (2/3)”

“How good was the meeting with ‪@POTUS?

I gave him my NEW cell phone number.”

Somebody responded: “1-800-DOOR-MAT?” And then “You, sir, are a profile in courage.”

And that, folks, is Lindsey Graham summarized in a handful of tweets. We have to get used to the notion that no, Graham and McCain won’t hold The Thing accountable for anything until they’ve gotten what they want from him: tax cuts for the rich, bigger military, gutting ACA, etc. etc. etc. Then maybe, possibly, once that’s all done, they’ll throw The Thing overboard.

Speaking of handing out cell numbers, can anybody afford a new cell phone after Republicans pass Trumpcare? Jason Chaffetz, the man who investigated Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails to death, and who doesn’t think there is any reason to look into Trump’s connections to Russia, went on CNN to start selling Trumpcare to America.

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.

This is, of course, patently absurd. An iPhone unsubsidized by a phone company might cover one month’s premium for a single person. How many iPhones does Chaffetz think people buy? Of course, Chaffetz himself doesn’t have to buy his own phone. He gets one from work. His cell bill gets covered too. “How much does an iPhone cost” is the new “How much is a gallon of milk?” and Chaffetz doesn’t know  the cost of either.

Medicaire

Overall Trumpcare is going to gut poor people into oblivion. It gives tax breaks to the rich, provides insurance companies with tax deductions on CEO salaries, will raise costs of premium, reinstate caps, gut preexisting conditions. Millions of people will lose their insurance. Many of them were Trump voters. Sadly many of them were not. But they will suffer also.

Why do Republicans hate poor people? It’s a question that has been asked often and there are many answers. As it came up again in the current Trumpcare discussion, I was reminded of a scene in E.M. Forster’s great novel “Howards End.” In the 1910 novel ForsterForster explored 3 groups of people from 3 different classes: the extremely wealthy and conservative Wilcoxes, upper middle class but liberal Schlegels, and poor but aspiring for something bigger Basts. The Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, try to help poor Leonard Bast, but their well-meaning interventions in his life, as well as not-well meaning interventions from the Wilcoxes, prove disastrous. He loses his job as a clerk in an insurance company after following bad advice from patriarch Henry Wilcox. When the impetuous Helen (played by Helena Bonham Carter in the magnificent film, with Emma Thompson as Margaret) tries to make her case for helping the poor to the condescending 1%-er Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins in the film), the following exchange takes place. Written in 1910, “Howards End”is still relevant in 2017.

From Chapter 22

He [Henry Wilcox] raised his finger. “Now, a word of advice.”

“I require no more advice.” [said Helen]

“A word of advice. Don’t take up that sentimental attitude over the poor. See that she doesn’t, Margaret. The poor are poor, and one’s sorry for them, but there it is. As civilisation moves forward, the shoe is bound to pinch in places, and it’s absurd to pretend that any one is responsible personally. Neither you, nor I, nor my informant, nor the man who informed him, nor the directors of the Porphyrion, are to blame for this clerk’s loss of salary. It’s just the shoe pinching–no one can help it; and it might easily have been worse.”

Helen quivered with indignation.

“By all means subscribe to charities–subscribe to them largely– but don’t get carried away by absurd schemes of Social Reform. I see a good deal behind the scenes, and you can take it from me that there is no Social Question–except for a few journalists who try to get a living out of the phrase. There are just rich and poor, as there always have been and always will be. Point me out a time when men have been equal–”

“I didn’t say–”

“Point me out a time when desire for equality has made them happier. No, no. You can’t. There always have been rich and poor. I’m no fatalist. Heaven forbid! But our civilisation is moulded by great impersonal forces” (his voice grew complacent; it always did when he eliminated the personal), “and there always will be rich and poor. You can’t deny it” (and now it was a respectful voice)–“and you can’t deny that, in spite of all, the tendency of civilisation has on the whole been upward.”

“Owing to God, I suppose,” flashed Helen.

He stared at her.

“You grab the dollars. God does the rest.”

It was no good instructing the girl if she was going to talk about God in that neurotic modern way. Fraternal to the last, he left her for the quieter company of Mrs. Munt.

[…]

“Don’t ever discuss political economy with Henry,” advised her sister. “It’ll only end in a cry.”

“But he must be one of those men who have reconciled science with religion,” said Helen slowly. “I don’t like those men. They are scientific themselves, and talk of the survival of the fittest, and cut down the salaries of their clerks, and stunt the independence of all who may menace their comfort, but yet they believe that somehow good–it is always that sloppy ‘somehow’ will be the outcome, and that in some mystical way the Mr. Basts of the future will benefit because the Mr. Brits of today are in pain.”

Howards End

Also, in brief: Richard Steele, the British spy who wrote the infamous “pee pee” dossier, has resurfaced. While American Senators want to hear him testify about what he knows.

WikiLeaks is dumping top secret CIA documents.

And contrary to earlier denials that he’s never met the Russian Ambassador (a man nobody has ever met), a newly unearthed article in the Wall Street Journal from last April says that Trump met with the Russian Ambassador and greeted him warmly.

What’s on your mind Widdershins? This is an open thread.

From Anne Rice’s book, The Witching Hour:spork

Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a very dangerous enemy indeed.

Our White House is chocked full of dangerous enemies. I doubt Dolt 45 has ever read a book.  Of the two power brokers, Steve Bannon and Steve Miller, or Steve Squared, Bannon has undoubtedly cracked more books than the dead-eyed, zombified Miller, but their coming of age is almost identical.

According to acquaintances, Bannon changed after 2001.  He came to embrace eras of historical significance divvied-up into 20-year increments of “highs, awakenings, unraveling, and crises.”  To quote one of Bannon’s 2008 films, “History is seasonal, and winter is coming.”

The Miller part of Steve Squared was an enfant terrible calling into conservative talk radio while still in high school in the early aughts.  He bragged to conservative audiences of cracking the whip on laggardly high school janitorial staff. A graduate of U.S. Senator and ambulatory garden gnome Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’ tutelage, there is no better description of Miller than this:little-trump

In any other Republican administration, Miller would have been lucky to land a second-tier job at a third-tier agency.  But in the Trump White House, Miller stands out: He’s one of the few people in the president’s inner orbit who has actually worked in government.

And that my friends is the high water mark of what constitutes a policy shop for a petulant 70-year old who might or might not have successfully graduated from the Trump University of Potty Training given the reports of vodka-swilling, borscht-loving prostitutes.

Bannon and Miller are zealots. They are true believers – not of Trumpism for whatever that may turn out to be. They have spawned an apocalyptic philosophy of white national populism – the schizophrenic belief of a Judeo-Christian right to a 21st Century modernity of gadgets and gizmos nestled safely in a 1950’s culture where we are all employed by jobs last worked by our grandparents.

Empty vessels are the easiest filled. Barely 40-days in and this truism is proved by Flynn resigning due to canoodling with the Russians, a Secretary of the Navy, a Secretary of the Army, a Secretary of Labor, a Deputy Secretary of Commerce, and at least six White House staffers biting the curb because of non-existent vetting.  Hundreds of offices are unfilled without any hint of nominees.

Thank goodness Republicans don't engage in identity politics...

Thank goodness Republicans don’t engage in identity politics…

We have a rolling disclosure of Russians leaping like Baryshnikov to meet with campaign Trumpets. As of this writing, Flynn, Kushner, fruitcake Carter Page, J.D. Gordon, Walid Phares, and His Gnomeness Sessions, all met with the Russian ambassador Kislyak.

Then there is Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, who is so squirrely his bushy tail twitches when he someone says, “nuts.”  Add to that Paul Manafort and you just need one more to field a baseball team, maybe the Chernobyl Reds who can play in the majorly radioactive league.  The nagging question is this: Why the concerted effort to conceal these meetings?

Given these people’s intellectual challenges, they would be safer if they ate their meals with sporks since they are absolutely unfettered by their cluelessness of what they don’t know. The two people who are dancing on Occam’s razor, hoping against hope that Dolt 45’s signing pen doesn’t run out of ink are McTurtle and the doe-eyed Granny starver Ryan.

These two who worship power above all else are hoping that when the dust settles, their treasonous tryst will go unnoticed. And even if they are suspected of nefarious collusion, they will have accomplished their goal – tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. The 400 highest income earners in the country will get an average tax cut of about $7.0 Million a year for the low, low price tag of depriving health care to 21 Million.

congressional-hearingsOf course this pas de deux of the vacuous and the treasonous will culminate in a virtuoso of viperous Republican retribution. All in an effort to make good on the promise to the reliably hateful Republican/Tea Party voters to hurt those with less.

Overwhelming the already anemic media is part of the Steve Squared’s plan – not that overwhelming the media requires much effort. At least it appears that the Democrats are heeding the message to fight. It seems as if they finally understand there were no rewards for working with Dubya or no punishment for eight years of Republican obstruction.

It seems as if the Intelligence Community is our last bastion of protection. I follow a few former intelligence officers on Twitter and I perked right up when one said quite unequivocally that Dolt 45 will spend his last years in prison. They use sporks there too.

What’s on your mind today?

 

iceberg1bAnother round-up of the latest news (real news!) because I can’t stay focused. Indeed, with the amount of shit flying around, trying to not get hit by a turd is an increasingly losing game.

Was it only a week ago that the degenerate neo-Nazi racist, xenophobe, homophobe, misogynyst Milo Snuffleapagus immolated? Seems like such a long time because events unfold at the speed of light. If it goes any faster, we’ll jump dimensions… Which come to think of it might be ok! Is there a dimension where HRC is the 45th President?

As Snuffleapagaus was burning his alt-right/white supremacist friends were blaming everyone for the event except Snufflepagaus himself. Evan McMullin, the Republican former CIA operative from Utah who ran for President in 2016 as an Independent was the most common target on Twitter. (McMullin is not a fan of Herr Drumpf.) But last week we learned that the person responsible for Snuffleapagus’ downfall was actually a 16 year old Canadian girl. Considering the level of Snuffleapagus’ misogyny, this is the most delicious bit of information.

I see Milo as this embodiment of the awfulness you see over the past few years with the general tilt of millennial conservatism,” said the teen. “It’s diverged from this traditional conservatism so much. You’ve seen it essentially become full of awfulness and all about attacking the left and not about actual principles. It has nothing to do with conservative ideology so much as it has with opposing the leftists, SJWs, and so on and so forth.

The teen took down Snuffleapaganus without even leaving her house. She used the cyber to find an old video of the neo-Nazi degenerate defending a personal Credo that sex with 13 year old boys is good. Sex with minor boys was a bridge too far for Rethuglicans (if it was girls, I’d imagine nobody would have protested too much…)

How long before Snuffleapagus becomes a pundit on Faux News? The countdown is on.

Agent Orange itself has declared that it will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The dinner is an old tradition, sometimes an odd one. The last person to intentionally skip the festivities was Nixon (LOL.) Though Reagan also missed one such dinner. But he had just been shot, so that’s sort of a legitimate reason maybe? Some people suggested this year the dinner should have been cancelled anyway (and before Agent Orange dropped out) because these are not normal times. However, the organizers already RSVP’d filet of sole for their entree, so they remained determined to attend. Although some news organizations (like the New Yorker) said they would not attend and Bloomberg said they would not host the party they have traditionally hosted. But now it’s all moot anyway because Agent Orange will just go to his man cave in Florida and have his own well done steak with catsup.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Media’s love affair with the man who called them “enemy of the people” continues. After the SOTU speech that didn’t include a Nazi salute or public urination by Russian hookers, chuck_toddThe Thing has been declared Super Presidential (capital P, according to NBC’s “little” Katy Tur, who was verbally assaulted by Trump numerous times at his rallies so she needed Secret Service to escort her to her car). Chuck Todd was having orgasms, Van Jones declared that Trump finally became President, might be President for 8 years, and that there is something wrong with Chicago that maybe Trump can fix. No really, these are things Van Jones said on live television and Katy Tur tweeted. And I’m just ready to give up on these people. When Trump builds camps, I hope the Media goes first.

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One thing (ok, another thing) that drove me completely bonkers over the last couple of days on twitter were a couple of dudes telling Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to go away. Josh Barro, a Republican writer who occasionally dabbled in criticizing Trump, said Hillary and her toxic Clinton brand need to vanish, and that he fears Chelsea plans to run for office. Then Matthew Yglesias of Vox also told Chelsea to sit down and shut up. I was told that former Obama staffers Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett, who host a Pod Save America, declared that Hillary Clinton’s video after the DNC vote was terrible and she needs to go away. So what do we learn from all this? Men from Right and Left still hate Hillary and now hate Chelsea. The responses to Yglesias and Barro were great. Mine has accumulated a few hundred likes and re-tweets.

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A story that has vanished from the headlines for a few weeks was the Yemen raid. Now you can bet that if this raid had happened under a Democratic President,

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William Ryan Owens

Chaffetz and Burr/Nunez would have been chasing administration officials with pitchforks. But because it’s Agent Orange, who authorized the mission over dinner, went off to watch “Finding Dory” and left Jared Kushner to oversee it, it’s ok with Rethuglicans. Trump even used Owen’s widow as a prop at SOTU. Everybody swooned. Even though earlier in the day he blamed the Army for his death (“they lost Ryan”) and we learned the intelligence gathered was useless. Seems the one person who isn’t taking this shit is William Owen’s father. Bill Owens says he refused to meet with Trump.

 

Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why?” the father said to the (Miami) Herald.

For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?

We shall see if this story, which our own Prolix has been trying to keep tabs on, will ever have the light shone on it.

Another story that has vanished from the headlines was Standing Rock – and it’s end. Last week government forces moved in and removed the last of the protestors and razed their camp.

A live stream from independent journalist Unicorn Riot showed officers in military fatigues and riot gear marching through camp, some with rifles drawn, while a helicopter hovered overhead and heavy machinery began demolishing remaining structures.

Restarting the construction of the pipeline was one of Agent Orange’s first actions after 241bbae37747429f8c7363aaaf989428_8taking office, overturning the previous Obama halt to what is sure to be a natural disaster. Not to turn it into a partisan issue, but most Standing Rock activists supported Sanders and denigrated Clinton. That was not helpful in the election and if Clinton had won, she certainly would not have overturned Obam’s decision to halt construction of the pipeline. It’s just another reminder that elections have consequences. And in a great piece at Esquire, Charles Pierce articulates what so many of us have been feeling: do regretful Trump voters (and, as far as I’m concerned, those who voted for Stein or Johnson) want our sympathy? Yes? Well, fuck you! No really, go eat a bag of dicks. (Sorry, sometimes these things need to be said.)

They all had the same choices we did. They all had the same opportunity to inform themselves; I mean, it wasn’t like the campaign was under-covered, and it wasn’t like the eventual winner hasn’t governed precisely the way he campaigned.

Elections have consequences. I thought we already learned that in 2000. But… here we are. Many of us saw the icebergs. Now we’re sinking. And there aren’t enough rafts.

 

 

 

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It seems that every week I say something about how difficult it is to keep up with the news. And gosh darn it, I’m gonna do it again. I wrote a post on Sunday that by Monday afternoon was no longer entirely relevant. So here I am re-writing it on Tuesday night. It may or may not be up to date on Wednesday morning.

The big news development of the last 48 hours has been the very very rapid downfall of Conservative hero Milo Yiannopoulos. Why does anyone care about this degenerate and why are we taking pleasure in his unraveling? Though he was an active asshole before, Milo became famous in 2014 as a result of GamerGate. For those who may not know this travesty, here’s a brief synopsis: Several prominent female video game developers becamemilo the target of harassment and death threats on the internet, especially Twitter, because they were accused of colluding (having sex with) journalists for flattering coverage. Yiannopoulos published articles about it for Breitbart and led many attacks on the women. And so his right-wing, misogynistic public persona was born. He became a hero of the right, he hated political correctness, and his attacks on women, Jews, African-Americans, immigrants, transgender people, etc., made him a Conservative super star. His college campus tours brought out protestors, which fed his fame among Conservatives/neo-Nazis/white supremacists. It was a curious thing because Yiannopoulos is gay (and British. He also fetishizes black men. He only has sex with black men, which he insists is what makes him not racist. He doesn’t realize it actually is one of the most racist things about him.)

Earlier this year his fame extended after he led on-line attacks on actress Leslie Jones, SNL cast member and one of the stars of the “Ghostbusters” reboot. Yiannopoulos led racist Twitter leslie-jones-87255f4e-af77-4da8-9ec3-bfa8abb1a20cassaults on Jones. Around the same time these people published private photos stolen from Jones’ phone. (If you think you can stomach it, see some of the racist Twitter attacks here. The overwhelming assaults briefly led Jones to leave her social media accounts. Protests against Yiannopoulos finally led Twitter to ban him. (But he did get a $250,000 book deal with Simon and Schuster.) These things made him a hero of the Right/Conservatives who claimed he – and the Conservative point of view – were being censored by the corrupt Libtard media. Ultimately Milo’s behavior – and the keynote address speaking slot he was given at CPAC this year – have revealed that modern day Conservatism is morally and intellectually bankrupt. The young leaders of Conservatism, like Yiannopoulos and bobble-head Tomi Lahren, are proudly anti-intellectual. The days of someone like Bill Kristol – a man you may disagree with, but you can’t argue he’s probably read a book or two in his life – are long gone for Conservatives. They exist solely to offend. Even many Conservatives recognize it.

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On Friday night Yiannopoulos (wearing a pearl necklace) appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time. Maher has been consistent on his support of free speech – and he has hosted many deplorable guests over the years. But his interview with Milo was the equivalent of Jimmy Fallon tossling Trump’s hair on the maher-miloTonight Show. An embarrassingly soft fluff piece, in both its official on-air interview and on the internet only Overtime segment. And Maher’s attacks on liberals who protest Milo are preposterous. I actually think over time Maher might become radicalized to the far Right. There is a very thin line between Far Right and Far Left. Maher’s long-standing Islamophobia and support for people like Yiannopoulis, could turn him into a Right-wing crusader.

But, back to the degenerate Yiannopoulos. He was still riding high through the weekend after his triumphant appearance on Real Time, when on Sunday an anonymous Republican Twitter group, Reagan Battalion, published previously public but unknown interviews with Yiannopoulos, in which he waxed rhapsodic about sex with 13 year old boys. And all hell broke loose. Though the Breitbart crowd fiercely defended him (including Michael Flynn Jr.), slowly establishment Republicans turned on him. Pressure was put on CPAC to cancel his appearance. It took over 24 hours for CPAC to withdraw their invitation. Simon and Schuster cancelled his book. And word came out that Breitbart employees revolted, demanding that he be fired. Eventually Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart (where he was an editor) before they could fire him. In his sorry/not-sorry resignation, he said he was sorry for his choice of words but really, everybody knows sex with 13 year olds is good and everyone is overreacting and blah blah blah. Where this horrible human being goes from here is anyone’s guess. Pundit on Fox? I have no doubt he will be back.


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