The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Manafort

What a week! Everyone is struggling to explain what is happening. I’ve heard the pundits say it is where “greed meets incompetence” or “malevolence meets the sewer” or any number of unsatisfying descriptors.

It might be an intersection or a confluence, but I prefer the Swindon “magic roundabout”. It is seven traffic circles in one. Here’s an explanation:

So in the Dolt 45 turd-o-matic roundabout, we have greed meeting incompetence meeting malevolence meeting dirty tricks meeting incoherence meeting indifference meeting amorality. It is the non-compunction junction since there are no qualms about any loathsome behavior.

Then last night it became apparent these idiots have sat on these emails for three weeks – emails saying “Clinton-Russia” in the subject line – and yet, they had no plan for dealing with them I was reminded of Burn After Reading, the Coen brothers movie. Burn After Reading celebrated a bunch of incompetents who thought they were genius; when in reality, none of them should have been in public without a Mommy’s Helper leash.

Like a hummingbird during mating season, the excuses have been everywhere all at once. Of course the paragon of square-headedness, Sean Hannity, the dumbest man ever paid to talk on teevee, quickly got to the essence of it all with a demand to investigate Hillary’s emails.

There are bright spots though. People like Russ Douthat ate a big heaping helping of crow:

The benefit of the doubt I extended to Trump was limited, but on a rather important subject: I thought that direct collusion between his inner circle and Russian officialdom during the 2016 campaign was relatively unlikely and the odds of ever finding proof of such a conspiracy vanishingly low.

You can read my argument in full here; it’s a mere six weeks old. It’s also no longer operative, because we know now that Donald Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his campaign manager all took a meeting in which it was explicitly promised that damaging information on Hillary Clinton would be supplied as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

If this was a tease in the review of a sitcom, the next part would be prefaced with, “hilarity ensued.” Having known about these emails for a month, the crack P.R. Team decided to fabricate a story for release last Saturday that morphed into another story on Sunday that again morphed into another story on Monday, and yet again changed for Tuesday. Honest folks don’t have to lie – repeatedly.

The ambulatory carrot stain has dumbed down normal. Of the top ten recounted in the article, here are a few of my favorites:

  1. It’s not normal for the presumptive nominee’s son to take a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claims she has dirt compiled by Russian governmental forces who want to see your guy win.
  2. It’s not normal for the President to sign off on a public cover-up of that meeting when confronted with the facts.
  3. It’s not normal for the President to hold a Cabinet meeting that consists of his staff gushing over him.
  4. It’s not normal for the President to obsess about cable-news coverage of himself, yell at White House televisions, and instantly react to stories before checking the specifics.

But this is normal for this White House and the person illegitimately occupying the Oval Office. What is not normal is the speed at which Special Counsel Mueller is forging ahead. Mueller learned valuable lessons prosecuting Enron, its executives, and related organizations. He will not be daunted by these halfwits and morons.

In thinking about the week, here are my takeaways:

  1. No matter what happened with the hacked emails, the Russian activities, or the various conspiracies, but for the Comey letter on October 28th, Hillary would now be President.
  2. The Mercer family is battling a $6.0 Billion tax bill. They have also bankrolled Milo, pollster Kellyanne Conjob, Breitbart, Steve Bannon, and Cambridge Analytica, their data mining firm. Someone had to identify and target promising precincts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania and transmit that information to the Russian bot controllers. There is an electronic trail and the NSA probably already has it.
  3. If only Obama had demonstrated the courage to ignore McTurtle’s obstruction last summer and forge ahead with the warning of Russian interference, Obama would have been proved correct and vindicated by the email saving his legacy and the country from the orange plague.
  4. The tightly choreographed kabuki of the G20, starring Pootie, Lavrov, and Dolt was nothing more than a performance for good old Rexxon. If you are Rexxon, how would you feel being played for the fool on a world stage? Watch for a resignation.

Here’s the last scene from Burn After Reading. They ask a good question. If we learn not to let this happen again by making the name Trump synonymous with Benedict Arnold or genital herpes, we will have learned something of value.

 

What’s on your mind today?

 

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The god couple…

Have you ever saved a fortune from a fortune cookie? I have. Why on earth would a person save a little wad of paper tucked into a baked concoction of egg whites, flour, and sugar? It makes no sense other than it might make you feel good or coincidentally validate some action or behavior in retrospect.

That’s what former FBI Director and Lurch body double, Jim Comey must have been thinking last week. Through all the “mildly nauseous” episodes and the “aw shucks Lordy” moments, it felt like “Long Tall Comey” was feeling almost zestful at the little cookies directed toward the ambulatory orange rind.

It rang true when Comey justified his memo writing by saying he did it because, “The nature of the person.  I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.”

What didn’t ring true was the triggering of his Hillary madness based upon Loretta Lynch asking if anyone minded calling the exercise a “matter” as opposed to an “investigation”. Really St. Jim? Was that the real trigger for all your madness and criticism of Hillary? Or was it perhaps just political cover?

When I put the pile of crap about the “nature of the orange person” in one hand and the mouse turd of calling something a “matter” versus an “investigation” in the other, one feels considerably weightier than the other.

But therein lies the rub. They might just both be true. Could be. I don’t feel they are both true, but I don’t know for certain. What I do know is that according to my values hierarchy, calling someone a liar who at his core is a dishonest and untrustworthy is a big deal.

Another off-pissing aspect was the credibility competition between Comey and Dolt 45. Invariably the male pundits trivialized the credibility contest as they do with sexual harassment claims. Instead of the insulting “he said, she said,” they dumbed it down to “he said, he said.”

Wrong. It was really “Trump said or tweeted and Comey swore under penalties of perjury.” Trump is an inveterate liar. He doesn’t mind being called a liar. It is a prerequisite for New York real estate development. It is what he does, has done, and will continue to do until his vermilion verisimilitude is relocated to the ninth circle of hell.

Just as Comey’s representations draw conflicted credibility responses due to confirmation bias, there are certain things about this entire sordid affair that only have one side. For instance, if Dolt 45 didn’t know better than to ask Comey to let the “Flynn thing go,” he must have had a series of memory numbing strokes since he asked Attorney General Granny Sessions and dead-eyed Douchner to leave the room.

And here’s something no one has offered to explain: For the past eighteen months, you couldn’t throw an empty vodka bottle anywhere near the Trump campaign without hitting a Russian. Flynn, Manafort, Page, Stone, Seb Gorka, Boris Epshteyn, Sessions, Douchner, Russian spymasters, Russian bankers, plus Boris and Natasha chasing Moose and Squirrel. Even Doltalot’s new lawyer has all sorts of Russian connections. No one has offered the first explanation of why the mango meerkat campaign suffers from an epidemic of Putinophilia.

Like Greyhounds chasing imaginary prey, everyone is going to be running in circles sniffing out obstruction of justice claims. Two points: (1) Obstruction doesn’t have to be successful to be illegal; and (2) Obstruction is always in the eye of the beholder and Republicans are unlikely to ever see it.

The challenge for us, who believe science-based solutions should underpin progressive policy, as we say it around these parts, is to keep our daubers up. We have eighteen months before the midterms and perhaps at least that long before we see the first reports from Special Counsel Mueller’s band of merry marauders. He does seem to be interested in money laundering and financial fraud.

While Russians don’t have fortune cookies, if they had fortune blinis, they might contain this old Russian adage: От тюрьмы и от сумы не зарекайся. Translated – Don’t denounce prison or poverty. It means anyone can lose all their money or be thrown in jail, no matter how they live or behave.

We can only hope for such a good fortune.

What’s on your mind today?

 

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?

 

Political Science was one of my majors in college.  One of my professors said, “Welcome to the only social science where everyone you meet with an opinion considers themselves an expert.”

All the pundits, columnists, and paid marionettes have an opinion as to why the Bogey Yam so decisively won the primary.  Why he so “resonates” with “his people”?  Why the demon Yam inspires such unyielding loyalty?

Here’s the eye opener – the yammering Yam might just be the caterwauling canary in the coal mine of authoritarianism.  Here’s a video explaining the political science niche of authoritarianism.

If you want to read more about this subject, Vox has done some good, long journalism and original research on the subject.  The article is The Rise of American Authoritarianism.  Another article is Congressional Republicans — and everyone else — should take Trump’s authoritarianism seriously.

Fear is the aphrodisiac, revenge is the religion, and xenophobia is the calling card of the authoritarian.  Evolving social norms and demographic changes frighten authoritarians.  Overreaction is the only acceptable reaction to change.  Democracy is only tolerated to the extent it provides the instruments to further the interests of authoritarianism.  Curtailing civil liberties is praised as a means to an end.Trump Salute

At the risk of violating Godwin’s law, the concept of authoritarianism emanated from studying fascism after World War II.  Whatever the genesis, the conservative media infrastructure preaches how terrifying the world is and how little the god-less liberals care about protecting our security.  This is the Siren song of authoritarians.

Terrorism, instability, and instantaneous communication channels have turned the world into a Petri dish for authoritarianism.  The clamoring Yam is Patient Zero.

As a political strategy it is not new.  Nixon used it in 1968 by creating a zeitgeist of rampant lawlessness and then sculpting his candidacy to fulfill the need he created from whole cloth.  The election of 1968 was the first where the concepts of Vance Packard’s Hidden Persuaders were put to use.  It was Mad Men meeting The West Wing for the first time where it was love at first sight and an inseparable bond was forged.

Trump and babyAuthoritarianism plays to the basest of human instincts, but it creates fierce and fulsome adherents.  The bond between an authoritarian and their followers is unshakable.  As the blabbering Yam said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”  Finally, he has said something that is true according to the research.

Don’t for a second think this concept is lost upon Trump or his henchmen.  Roger Stone’s first self-proclaimed dirty trick was during the 1968 Nixon campaign.  And there isn’t an authoritarian despot or two-bit murderous dictator for which Paul Manafort hasn’t worked.  Authoritarianism is the clamoring Yam’s campaign strategy.  After his declaration of being the, “law and order candidate,” there is no doubt it will be the recurrent campaign theme.

It is easy to see that the Republican Party might well cleave itself into an establishment wing and an authoritarian wing.  Holding power in Congress will force cooperation between the two factions, but such cooperation will mean no comprehensive immigration policy or investment in infrastructure.  It will also mean cooperation to invalidate Hillary’s presidency through continued BenghaziemailserverWallStreetwhatever conspiracies.Trump Mexicans

This week will be awash with fear-mongering.  The end times are here and they will be broadcast live from Cleveland.  It is no coincidence that the only way to get to the stage at this week’s Republican Convention are by ascending white steps.  Authoritarians would have it no other way.

This week will be difficult.  There will be no concern for damage to the country, inciting violence, or healing.  In fact, just the opposite will serve the campaign interests of the clamoring Yam and his goons.

A quote from the article:

“For authoritarians, in case of moral threat, lock down the borders, kick out those who are different, and punish those who are morally deviant.”

For the Republican Party, the party platform seems to channel authoritarianism — build a wall, block Muslims, deport 11 million, torture, punish women for controlling their health care decisions.  These positions aren’t a stretch if your voters are those who profit from fear and proclaim pain is the prescription for “the others” — more like coming out of the authoritarian closet.

What’s on your mind today?

 


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

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