It was reported back on September 6, that Trump was withholding military aid to Ukraine, in an effort to compel the new president of Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election via a mud slinging campaign against Joe Biden, via his son Hunter. As you recall, Hunter Biden once served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, which was investigated by Ukraine. Then-vice president Joe Biden, along with several other senior Western officials, urged the dismissal of the prosecutor who investigated the firm, because he was accused of blocking anti-corruption measures. Then Wednesday, news of the whistleblower complaint broke, revealing extensive phone conversations between Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine, on this topic, and Thursday, Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community, testified in a closed door session of congress for three hours and declined to disclose the specifics of the whistleblower complaint, claiming that he was “not authorized to do so.” if the Inspector General is not authorized to do so, who might be? Reportedly, “He was being excruciatingly careful about the language he used,” according to the Washington Post. Then Friday, Joe Biden chimed in. If these reports are true, then there is truly no bottom to President Trump’s willingness to abuse his power and abase our country. pic.twitter.com/PblNGDarXU — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 20, 2019 This is turning into a real showdown. Dan Rather chimed in as well. A president turning to a foreign leader to keep himself in power was a central fear of the Founding Fathers. The question of the moment is whether GOP officials share that fear, At a minimum this must be investigated with no interference. https://t.co/bTES41W58Y — Dan Rather (@DanRather) September 20, 2019 Every elected official should be put on the record on these allegations around President Trump extorting the Ukrainian government for his reelection. If an official doesn’t answer, ask again, and keep asking until they answer… or walk away. — Dan Rather (@DanRather) September 20, 2019 This is about as simple as it gets. This is the line of demarcation between holding Trump and the most corrupt iteration of the GOP ever, accountable for their actions, or letting our system of government stay broken and become more broken still. The spinmeisters are at work, calling this “Russian Hoax 2.0” the sequel to the Witch Hunt. The bedrock of the constitution is at stake here. We need to see the details of that complaint. Adam Schiff is right. Real Clear Politics: The whole point of the whistleblower statute is not only to encourage those to report problems, abuses, violations of laws, but also to have a legal mechanism to do so and not to disclose classified information — because there’s no other remedy,” Schiff told reporters after a closed-door meeting. “That whole purpose is being frustrated here because the Director of National Intelligence has made the unprecedented decision not to share the complaint with Congress.” REP. ADAM SCHIFF: We know that the Department of Justice has been involved in the decision to withhold that information from Congress. We do not know, because we cannot get an answer to the question, about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress. We do not have the complaint. We do not though whether the press reports are accurate or inaccurate […]
Donald Trump did another one of his “Sir” stories Monday at the White House. As you know, when Trump tells an anecdote wherein advisers appear as obsequious mice and beg for the Great Negotiator’s wisdom and guidance, calling him “Sir’ it is a lie of the first magnitude. The star of Trump’s story yesterday was none other than James Mattis, and if you believe this interchange took place between them, wherein Mattis assured Trump that the United States military was out of stores for it’s ordnance, I have some triangular buildings in Egypt I could sell you. Raw Story: “I’m not blaming anybody.. But that is what he told me. Because we were in a position where with a certain country, I won’t say which one, we may have had conflict. And he said to me, sir, if you could delay it because we’re very low on ammunition. And I said, you know what, general? I never want to hear that again from another general.” “No president should ever, ever hear that statement, we’re low on ammunition. And we now have more ammunition, more missiles, more rockets, more tanks. We have more of in everything than we’ve had before,” he added, before pausing to praise the F-16 fighter jet. Trump concluded: “So we are very high on ammunition now. That is a story I’ve never told before. Breaking news. But we were very low. I could even say it stronger. I don’t want to say no ammunition but that gets a lot closer.” That’s a believable conversation isn’t it? I mean, didn’t FDR and George Patton have the same interchange all the time? Trump’s idiocy may appeal to his cult, who are conditioned to believe Fox News over the CIA, but in the real world, breaths are held and the mood is somber, watching what this idiot does, and worrying, justifiably, about what he might do next. Rick Wilson, Daily Beast: Having butted up against every American presidential administration since Carter, Iran is not inexperienced in the kind of political and intelligence warfare even a competent and determined American president would need to face in a competition like this. As our long, long engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan has proven, asymmetric warfare is tough on modern-era great powers. Iran is deeply skilled at the art, and in using terror, third-party actors and transitory alliances to offset the power deployed against it by the West. The JCPOA Iran nuclear deal had its flaws, but one thing it did accomplish was to push back the risks of kinetic conflict in the Gulf. The U.S. withdrawal from the agreement and the subsequent “maximum pressure” campaign was a perverse incentive of the highest order: Iran sees the withdrawal as a chance to exercise its power for disruptive, asymmetric warfare in the region. If the withdrawal didn’t give the Iranians a reason, it at least gave them an excuse. Like so many degenerate gamblers before him, Trump decided he could bluff his way past the canny and determined adversary. The world economy will pay a brutal price if the Greatest Negotiator In History™ bumbles into a shooting war in the Gulf. The costs to American influence and power are incalculable. The human cost could be nightmarish. Given his failure in every other international contest to date, expect […]
This is one of those times when not only is a picture worth a thousand words but a picture is the only thing that can truly convey the weirdness of the topic under discussion — and even then you’re going to be rubbing your eyes and blinking. Yes, Virginia, Sean Spicer really looks this way now and no, you’re not having an acid flashback — or maybe you are. Some of those are purportedly induced by bright lights and Spicer’s shirt is blinding. It is so loud, that it’s beyond words, it must be measured in decibels. This is what life is now. #DWTS @seanspicer pic.twitter.com/heFCEwfjfT — Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) September 17, 2019 The puce goose is loose and pounding his fists like King Kong. Raw Story has a video up of Spicer’s White House days and his present career as celebrity hoofer, the Baryshnikov of Bullshit. Hit the link, because it’s not to be believed otherwise. Spicer’s dancing partner is an acrobat, whose costume creates an illusion that she’s naked except for a partial tutu that matches Spicer’s shirt. The name of the video is “Sean Spicer Does Whatever the Hell This Is.” Actually, in truth, he’s a much better dancer than he ever was a press secretary. Enjoy.
Remember that sweet television show with Rock Hudson, back in the day, “McMillan and Wife” where the couple solved mysteries together? Welcome to McConnell and Wife, where every week the couple that preys together pillages the coffers of the United States government and uses their political positions to influence things to their own personal advantage. If there’s one show in Washington that needs to go on hiatus, or better yet get cancelled, this is the one. The Hill: The House Oversight Committee on Monday launched an investigation into whether Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is using her office to benefit herself and her family. “The Committee is examining your misstatements of fact, your actions that may have benefitted the company in which you continued to hold shares, and your compliance with ethics and financial disclosure requirements,” Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) wrote in a letter to Chao. Elaine Chao didn’t divest herself of shares in a company that posed a clear conflict of interest when she accepted her cabinet position until June, 2019 — and then only because of bad publicity. New York Times: Days earlier, The Wall Street Journal, followed by other news media, reported that she had not cashed out, as promised, stock options she held in Vulcan Materials, an Alabama-based producer of crushed stone and asphalt, where she served on the board before joining the Trump administration. On Wednesday, Ms. Chao sent a letter to the Transportation Department’s top ethics lawyer, notifying the agency of the sale. In the letter, she attributed the stock holdings to an “inadvertent misstatement” made after she was nominated in late 2016 to take over the top transportation job. In various ethics agreements and financial disclosures she has filed since last 2016, Ms. Chao had said that stock options awarded during the nearly two years she served on the board at Vulcan would be paid out in cash — ending her financial ties to the company. Instead, those options were paid out last year in stock, which Ms. Chao held onto until this month, meaning she continued to have a stake in the industry. The Transportation Department placed blame for the controversy on an unnamed accountant to Ms. Chao, who apparently told agency officials that she would receive cash instead of stock. No conflict of interest here, Chao merely heads the Department of Transportation and Vulcan merely makes money constructing the materials used to build highways. Then there was the business of one of her aides coordinating federal highway grants to the State of Kentucky. What, there’s a problem with that? Of course Kentucky needs new roads, hubby Moscow Mitch has that new aluminum factory, that Manafort’s buddy Oleg Deripaska is bankrolling, to the tune of $200 Million being built. That business venture was handily approved after the Trump administration took Rusal, Deripaska’s firm, off of the U.S. sanctions list. The new plant, which is slated for construction will be the largest new aluminum plant constructed in the U.S. for decades — and Rusal will own 40% of it. Is there a problem with that? “Rusal, one of the leading global aluminium producers, and Braidy Industries Inc., a U.S. base holding company which owns both Veloxint, an MIT-incubated lightweighting solutions company, and NanoAl, a Northwestern University incubated materials research and technology company, announce an intent to establish a joint project in Ashland, Kentucky, USA to produce flat-rolled […]
Of all of the characters in the Trumpworld comic strip, I have found Mike Pence to be the least palatable. But all that’s changed since Donald Trump revealed Pence’s secret identity — Mike Pounce, stupid, sanctimonious Veep by day, intrepid pootie being by night. It’s like finding out that staid and boring Clark Kent is really The Man Of Steel. Wow, can Mike Pounce do this? Mike Pounce! 😂😂😂😂#TrumpResignNow pic.twitter.com/GxvxTmwhh1 — #FlamingDancer #disloyal2tRump #25thA #fbr 🌊 (@Betsy_Manning) September 13, 2019 I’ll give Pouncey-poo a saucer of milk if he can do that. Now, you’ll be happy to learn, that through my vast network of secret operatives, I have obtained photos from Mike Pounce’s family album, never before published and of course, I share them with you, fellow Zoomers, herewith. Hahahaahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaahah pic.twitter.com/GhfK25V6EN — Guerrera💛💙❤️✌🐺🐶🐱 (@ariesmorrison) September 13, 2019 #MikePounce pic.twitter.com/s7GJIKnmBX — Dion (@Noid68) September 13, 2019 #MikePounce pic.twitter.com/rFo9tF0Zum — TXMXBEAR (@txmxbear) September 13, 2019 pic.twitter.com/Xcz5wIyyZa — Kimmie 🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊 (@LBC1961) September 13, 2019 I dunno pic.twitter.com/bPjoABkIGc — T o n y G e e (@theTonyGee) September 13, 2019 And that’s the end, no pun initended. Pounce-mania is upon us. Come on, let’s all chip in and get Mike Pounce a plane ticket to go to Baltimore, where Donald Trump says all the rats are — at least, all the ones that aren’t in the kitchens of Trump properties. Hopefully, there will be a few as big as Mike Pounce, and in the end, there can be only one. And it won’t be Mike Pounce.
It’s actually somewhat amusing that attempts have even been made recently by the White House to present Mike Pence as anything other than what he is and always has been, a dyed in the wool homophobe, who opposed gay rights legislation from his earliest days as a congressman. You may recall the big to-do recently, when Pence and Mother went to Ireland to have lunch with the gay Prime Minister and his spouse, and how that was touted by Pence’s token gay aide as proof of what a great liberal open minded guy Mike Pence really is. Nobody bought it, and after this exposition from CNN’s K-File, nobody is going to:: Pence argued in the 1990s that, unlike protections for African Americans, homosexuals choose or learn to be gay and was part of a “grassroots-generated movement for recognition of homosexual rights” nationwide. – “Once you identify homosexuals as a minority, then by definition they would need to be afforded constitutional protection,” Pence added. “Up to this point, our legal tradition in America has drawn a line over those things. I do not choose whether I am a black American … the great vast majority of the psychological community says homosexuality at a very minimum is a choice by the individual, and at the maximum, is a learned behavior.” – The American Psychological Association said in 1992 that data did not support the view that homosexuality was a choice and studies at the time in the 1990s suggested homosexuality was biological and genetic. – The arguments made in the 1990s by Pence would echo those he later emphasized when he ran for Congress in 2000 when his platform protested extending civil rights protections to gay Americans. But the 1990s comments show for the first time Pence calling homosexuality a choice and offer a clearer view into Pence’s view on gay Americans at the time. – As president of the conservative think tank Indiana Policy Review Foundation, Pence opposed a vote by the city council of Lafayette, Indiana, to make itself the first city in the state to add sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination law. Designating gay Americans worthy of such protections under the law, Pence said, would open “a Pandora’s Box of legal rights and legal difficulties” and was part of grassroots movements by gay activists for increasing their rights. Just keep thumping the Bible, Mike, with the rest of the fundies and hold the gays down. Or, try to. Pence is a dinosaur and the irony is that he’s part of the group that’s going to be history soon, not the gays that he seeks to persecute and deny basic rights, like employment and housing to. What a great day it will be when the last Pence-ling goes extinct — at least in political life.
Propaganda is as propaganda does, and that lady in pink in North Korea is a stone cold amateur compared to Fox Business host Lou Dobbs. She better understudy him. This has to be seen to be believed. "The joint is hoppin'. There is sunshine on almost every face and our president is at the top of his game." You simply HAVE TO WATCH this edition of Dear Leader Watch. pic.twitter.com/LZm8h1vnA4 — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 13, 2019 Now play the gif at the bottom here and see if you can discern the salient differences between that message and Lou Dobbs’ pitch. I cannot. we have reached peak state run TV pic.twitter.com/JqsINkQ1jA — Nick (@ThresherNick) September 13, 2019 They’re walking on sunshine over there in North Korea, too. Ain’t it grand? There once was a man named Lou DobbsWho had the worst of all jobsGetting down on his kneesTo say please, please, please pleaseI'll swallow covfefe in gobs — Charles S Lore (@Clore_Man) September 13, 2019 What, you’ve heard that there is chaos and backstabbing in the Trump White House? Really? You just have to get your head right, and then you’ll realize how wonderful Washington is these days. pic.twitter.com/wr0oteUMp4 — Jessica Kia (@JessicaKia) September 13, 2019 Lou Dobbs must be a hoot at the family BBQ… "This meat was brought to you by Trump's own giant hands of American Pride saved from Chinese importation and really upsets Muslims with every bite" — Grandpa Rufus ™ (@Grandpa_Rufus) September 13, 2019 Wazir: What? Not happy in Baghdad? Why, that's impossible! Baghdad…it's a symbol of happiness on Earth. (aside to guard) Fetch me 50 happy people, quickly.Guard: My lord, it will take a month. (Kismet, 1955) — Bazooka Jane & Her Jet-Propelled Horse (@DTembreull) September 13, 2019 Love what appears right after this in my Twitter feed pic.twitter.com/WVkJIiY18v — MrStripeyShirtPhD (@Mr_StripeyShirt) September 13, 2019 The light’s just fine in the White House. Trump controls the weather and the sunshine. Trump controls the horizontal. He controls the vertical. He’ll control the stock market if you”ll give him just a minute to make up a lie about China. I feel like I'm watching Oinker on Animal Farm live. 🐷 — livin' the dream… sort of 🙄 (@eprophotog) September 13, 2019 It’s all rainbows and star shine at the White House. Mike Pence, excuse me Pounce, is riding a unicorn — naked. And as for Fox News? It’s going to change it’s name to Trump Daily Devotional any minute now. Prayer pillows, beads, and communion goblets for the kool-aid will be available for sale on the Trump/Pence and GOP websites. Washington is the new Jonestown.
It’s an Orwellian axiom that “who controls the present, controls the past and who controls the past, controls the future.” There is no better device to control the present and the flow of information than the internet, and the Department of Education apparently is of that opinion as well. It put an interesting muzzle on Public Citizen, which is a website founded by Ralph Nader in the 70’s, devoted to consumer safety. Public Citizen found out that the DOE was using an internet filtering service which classified it in the same category as pornography. Yeah. Daily Beast: Attempting to access their own website from the Department of Education’s WiFi network, Public Citizen attorneys realized they were being blocked from doing so, with a note popping up that said accessing www.citizen.org was “in violation of your Internet usage policy” At first, they thought it was a bit of vindictiveness from a department whose secretary, Betsy Devos, they had been targeting—an attempt by the agency to use control over its network to silence critical voices. In February, they filed a Freedom of Information Act request for more information, but that proved unsuccessful. So they filed a lawsuit instead. And in the course of litigation they discovered the actual answer to the blackout: the Department’s web filtering company was categorizing them as an “advocacy organization”—which they are—and, for some inexplicable reason, advocacy organizations were being placed under the “adult/mature content” categorization, right alongside porn and gambling. Now the intriguing thing here is that this internet filtering service, Fortinet, classified Public Citizen as an advocacy group, which is perfectly correct, but nobody could proffer a reason why advocacy groups were classified with porn. Could it be that all advocacy groups might be classified along with the porn sites? Roll that concept around in your head for a moment or two. Porn is said to have a pernicious and eroding effect on the moral fiber of the country. And now advocacy groups are put in that league? Now there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the DOE told Public Citizen that it would whitelist it’s website, so it would not longer get caught up in it’s security filters, and Public Citizen agreed to drop it’s lawsuit. The bad news is that they’re wondering how many other similar groups are being treated thusly. “It is possible this problem still exists but we just don’t know about it,” said [attorney Nandan] Joshi. “It is a little bit scarier in that the effects are broader. Some web filterer decides to do a classification and all of the sudden voices are silenced.” It’s that simple. A web filterer is now a political actor of great power. Very chilling.
I have long predicted that a black comedy, probably more than one, will be written on the Trump years when once we know how the story ends, and the scenarists can get right on it. John Bolton became the most recent traveler through the revolving door of the West Wing, Wednesday, and it’s been learned that the most probable reason was not discord over Iran, North Korea, or any other foreign policy matter — but rather, Bolton leaking the news of Trump’s idiocy about nuking hurricanes??? CBS News: …three sources directly involved tell CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett that the main irritant that drove Mr. Trump to distraction was his belief that Bolton or those close to Bolton leaked a story about Mr. Trump asking about whether nuclear weapons could be used to abate hurricanes. […] A source familiar with the situation also told CBS News that the drumbeat for Bolton’s removal grew louder over the past month. According to this source, senior staff at the White House were saying in the last two weeks that Bolton was on “thin ice” and would be “the next one removed.” […] The source defended Bolton’s service in the Trump administration, asserting that in the last 17 months — the duration of his tenure — there have been “no bad deals,” telling Brennan that Bolton weighed in significantly on Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, Syria and Turkey. Bolton was often at loggerheads with Pompeo, most recently over U.S. negotiations with the Taliban to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. The two disagreed over whether a reduction of U.S. troops could happen with or without a negotiated deal. Bolton opposed negotiating with the Taliban. For the moment, we have Charles Kupperman as acting National Security Adviser, the fifth person to hold the job in less than three years. Rex Tillerson called the shot correctly when he said that Trump was “a f**king moron.” Evidently, John Bolton arrived at the same conclusion, just a trifle bit later. They must be belly laughing in Beijing, cracking up in the Kremlin, and Kim Jong Un is probably crying into his kimchi, he’s laughing so hard. We were already a joke on the world stage and this episode only solidifies it. Remember the masks of tragedy and comedy that are the icon of the theater? There should be a third mask, that of Trump, the reality TV actor who combines both in a manner never before dreamed of, and hopefully, never again seen — at least not in American politics.
I thought at the time that Watergate was the nadir of democracy, the worst possible thing that had ever happened to the country, or ever could happen to us, a corrupt and crooked president, lying to the American people. Now, I am starting to regard Watergate as merely a quaint pre-echo of Donald Trump. Watergate parallels have always abounded in this administration, and here’s the newest one. Richard Nixon had Henry Kissinger play the role of not only Secretary of State, but National Security Adviser as well, for two years. Now Trump is thinking of giving Mike Pompeo a double role, and an interesting consolidation of power, by considering putting him in the newly departed John Bolton’s job. Raw Story: “We are learning that administration officials are considering the possibility of giving Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an ally of the president, two hats. He would assume the role as National Security Adviser to the president, and he would remain Secretary of State,” “Now, what’s unclear right now is how seriously President Trump is considering this possibility, because he told reporters at the White House today that there were five people who wanted this job as national security adviser, and they were good and qualified people,” [Kylie] Atwood continued. “So we don’t know where he is right now, but this is something that is being discussed at the White House.” “He wants someone who’s close to him and who sees things through his lens,” added Atwood. “That obviously was not the case with National Security Adviser John Bolton, and that’s why he was let go.” This is how it goes in Trumpworld. People are fired or leave and then they aren’t replaced, because Trump can’t find enough yes-men to fill the void. Sarah Huckabee Sanders left and Stephanie Grisham doubled up as both spokeswoman for Melania and now White House Press Secretary. She has yet to give a single press conference. Mick Mulvaney is “acting” Chief of Staff, still, standing on the ashes of Reince Priebus and John Kelly. Mulvaney already had two jobs as head of the federal Office of Management and Budget, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, when he got the third — and for a while he was considering becoming president of the University of South Carolina. Bear in mind that Trump has already canned nine cabinet members in less than three years, plus six communication directors, and three or perhaps four national security advisers, if you count Keith Kellogg’s brief stint as acting national security adviser for a few weeks after McMaster left and before Bolton took over. You remember the cocky, overconfident character, Bottom, in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” who wanted to play all the parts in Pyramus and Thisbe? Shakespeare wrote it as farce, but to Donald Trump, it makes sense. He lives it.