Sunday, April 21, 2019

To Impeach, Or Not To Impeach? That Is The Question.

If you’re a President, you have a better chance of winning the Powerball lottery than you have of being impeached. I mean that literally. If you buy a ticket, you at least have a one in some odd million chance of hitting it lucky, but no sitting President has ever been impeached. Andrew Johnson was the only sitting President to be impeached in his first term, mainly because he only served one term, ascending to the presidency with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Johnson’s impeachment was in fact a purely procedural political impeachment. Nine of the eleven House counts against Johnson stemmed from his firing of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, a violation of the Tenure of Service act. After almost needing a hanging chad Supreme Court recount in the Senate, Johnson survived. Both Nixon and Clinton were impeached in their second term. Nixon mainly because the incident that started the whole ball rolling, the bungled Watergate break in, occurred during his reelection campaign. And Whitewater had been swirling around ineffectively through Clinton’s first term, but it wasn’t until after his reelection that Monica Lewinsky splashed onto the scene. The Democrats, and especially Nancy Pelosi are in a box. Billionaire Tom Steyer has been baying for Trump’s political blood since shortly after the inauguration, and he has millions of signatures on his petition to show for it, yet the option of impeachment remains underwater in public opinion polling. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the democrats ran on, and were elected in the House in 2018 as bringing accountability to a lawless White House, and impeachment is the ultimate form of oversight. Pelosi complicated matters by appearing to take the topic of impeachment off of the table until after receiving the Mueller report, and only bringing it out if there was a “smoking gun” that could attract Republican support. Initial analysis seems to indicate that there is no such product in the Mueller report, especial;y since the remaining GOP incumbents have apparently tied themselves to the mast of the SS Trumptanic. I do not doubt for one moment either Pelosi’s toughness, nor her spine. Madame Speaker has more balls than a brass monkey. In 2009, the GOP had successfully labeled the ACA sa “socialized medicine,” replete with “death panels for granny.” Obama was committed to passing the ACA, but the outcome in the House was murky at best. There was a cadre of “blue dog Democrats” who were balking at supporting the President’s signature issue, fearing it could endanger their reelection chances. Speaker Pelosi’s response? She dragged her entire caucus into a private eeting, where she bluntly reminded them that they were elected to serve the people of the country, not their reelection campaigns.This bill would give health insurance to millions of Americans, even if they didn’t realize it yet, and she expected to do their damn jobs. The end result? Pelosi cracked the whip, Obama signed the ACA into law, millions got insurance coverage, and some of those incumbents lost their seats in the fallout. My strong personal preference is for Speaker Pelosi to once again crack the whip, rally the troops, and tell Chairman Jerry Nadler to start impeachment hearings. But there are two differences this time that change the basic equation. First, this time around, Pelosi […]

Mueller Established Assange Cynically Used Seth Richs’ Murder to Cover for His Russian Sources.

The Muller report firmly establishes that Julian Assange used Seth Rich’s murder to cover for his GRU sources after he published DNC emails on Wikileaks. I say used his murder because would he have dared to smear Rich, attributing to him the theft of the DNC material if the young man were alive to defend himself? I think not. Deplorable. Daily Beast “Julian Assange not only knew that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer wasn’t his source for thousands of hacked party emails, he was in active contact with his real sources in Russia’s GRU months after Seth Rich’s death. At the same time he was publicly working to shift blame onto the slain staffer “to obscure the source of the materials he was releasing,”  Special Counsel Robert Mueller asserts in his final report on Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election. “After the U.S. intelligence community publicly announced its assessment that Russia was behind the hacking operation, Assange continued to deny that the Clinton materials released by WikiLeaks had come from Russian hacking,” the report reads. “According to media reports, Assange told a U.S. congressman that the DNC hack was an ‘inside job,’  and purported to have ‘physical proof’ that Russians did not give materials to Assange.” Seth Rich was murdered on July 10th, 2016. Mueller establishes that Assange coordinated with the Russian cutout DC Leaks in June 2016, and GRU persona Guccifer 2.0 in July to obtain the DNC material: “As laid out by Mueller, Assange’s involvement in Russia’s election interference began with a June 14, 2016 direct message to WikiLeaks’ Twitter account from “DC Leaks,” one of the false fronts created by the Russians to launder their hacked material. “You announced your organization was preparing to publish more Hillary’s emails,” the message read, according to Mueller’s report. “We are ready to support you. We have some sensitive information too, in particular, her financial documents. Let’s do it together. What do you think about publishing our info at the same moment? Thank you.” A week later, WikiLeaks reached out to a second GRU persona, Guccifer 2.0, and pitched WikiLeaks as the best outlet for the hacked material. On July 14, 2016,  GRU officers used a Guccifer 2.0 email address to send WikiLeaks an encrypted one-gigabyte file named “wk dnc link I .txt.gpg.” Assange confirmed receipt, and on July 22 he published 20,000  DNC emails stolen during the GRU’s breach.” Mueller could not establish who provided Assange with the Podesta emails, but notes that they might have been hand carried to him in the Ecuadorian Embassy. This Guardian article notes that Assange had at least 80 visitors in the months leading up to their publication. Assange was aided in his deception by Individual 1, the entire conspiracy-regurgitating RW so called press, Sean Hannity and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It would be nice to get those last two under oath and find out what they knew and when they knew it.   Please follow me on Twitter @durrati  

The tragedy of Notre Dame. A lesson and a question.

As an Irish Catholic, it broke my heart to see that magnificent spire collapse through the flames, and down to the floor so far below a few days ago. But you don’t have to be an Irish Catholic, or even religious, to feel the sadness and loss of an iconic symbol of peace, hope, and beauty destroyed before your eyes. Notre Dame cathedral is approximately 850 years old, and took decades to build. It began as a vision, and an article of faith, a monument to hope and good, and a vision of something larger than just ourselves. And when it was completed, its beauty and intracy far surpassed any expectations. And Notre Dame was almost a living organism. Over the years it was modified and updated, changes made to improve the structure, and keep it relevant, without removing from the original beauty and function. But 850 years is a long time. Everything gets old, even you and me. As Notre Dame aged, it required constant vigilance and care, both to protect it, as well as to keep it structurally sound. And while renovations and repairs were made when problems became obvious and dangerous, there were times when matters of economics, as well as political expediency, vigilance waned, and protective measures were ignored. Our democracy is 243 years old. Like Notre Dame, it began as a shining vision. A vision of hope and freedom, A shining vision of something greater and more noble than ourselves, a higher purpose for mankind. And like Notre Dame, our democracy has been a living organism, updated and mostly improved over the years, making it hopefully safer and more functional, without detracting from the original beauty of the structure. But like that other magnificent cathedral, the cathedral of democracy also required constant attention and care as it aged in order to keep it safe and functional. And like that other temple to a great and higher vision, as the years have gone by, economy, political expedience, and even avarice and corrosive agendas have led to a level of disrepair that weakened the structure. On January 20th, 2017, a fire strted in the cathedral of democracy. Despite the best and heroic efforts of all of those who instinctively understood how important this symbol and structure is to the nation and the world, the conflagration has destructively blazed, largely unabated. It seems as if everything that is good and right in this world is going up in flames, right before our eyes, while we can do nothing except to watch helplessly. Fortunately for France and the world, it has been determined that the basic structure of the great Notre Dame cathedral is structurally sound. French President Macron has already vowed that Notre Dame shall arise from the ashes within 5 years, and shall be every bit as magnificent as ever it was, and even safer and stronger than it was before. Billions of dollars are pouring in from around the world, and the nation is unified in its desire to restore its historic treasure. But what is to become of the cathedral of our democracy? Like Notre Dame, it is currently little more than a smoldering hulk. I honestly believe that thanks mainly to the independence of the judiciary, as well as a mammoth volunteer fire brigade […]

Schumer and Pelosi Issue Statement Calling for Mueller to Testify Before House and Senate.

Looks like someone is tired of all the theatrics…. The Hill “The top Democratic congressional leaders are calling on special counsel Robert Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill as soon as possible following what they describe as Attorney General William Barr‘s “partisan” handling of the release of the Mueller report. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a joint statement early Thursday, hours ahead of when a redacted version of Mueller’s report is expected to be released, and hours after a New York Times report revealed that White House lawyers and Department of Justice officials have already repeatedly discussed details of Mueller’s conclusions. The Democratic leaders laid out a series of actions they say show Barr as being loyal to the president. “Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote in a statement.” Personally, I think this should have been done three weeks ago when Barr initiated act one of this Kabuki shit-show. But maybe they had their reasons to delay. What steps will Barr and Trump take to prevent Mueller’s testimony? He seems a bit old to be drafted into the Space Force.   Please follow me on Twitter @durrati  

Is Trump Paranoid? Of Course He Is, Except Maybe Not Today.

You know, being an Irishman, I love irony. And being a Murphy, I love it twice as much, since we have that stupid law named after us. When they interview Trump supporters, there are a growing number of them that say that while they’re actually rather ambivalent about Trump, they loudly support him simply because it makes us libtards heads explode. That being said, what kind of pleasure don’t they think we get when every utterance from AOC or Nancy Pelosi, or Maxine Waters makes his head spin around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist? Trump’s rampant paranoia can no longer be disputed or denied. From his continued avowal that Obama had his wires tapped during the 2016 election cycle, to his crazed disavowal of all things Cohen, without even knowing what Cohen was blabbering about, to his insistence that the Mueller investigation was actually a failed “deep state coup,” Trump must be sleeping standing up, with his back against a wall, instead of in a box full of his native earth. If there’s one thing that His Lowness didn’t need, it was any more fuel for his already fevered brain. But that’s exactly what he got, from aides and advisers quietly telling him that maybe his victory lap over the Mueller report findings should have been around the house instead of around Central Park, to the flurry of subpoenas hitting everything from bis accounting firm to his insurance agency, to every bank he ever stole a pen from, Trump is in an almost literal frenzy. And while Trump may be unhinged, there are two areas in which I actually think that his raging paranoia may actually be well founded. The first area of concern would be his base. Since day one, Trump has been monolithic about his rabid base of Trombies. Everything he says or does is geared to keep them revved up and slavish. Trump’s base is to his ego what a double bacon cheeseburger is to his stomach. But there could be cause for concern there. Trump pulled out every trick in the slavish devotion playbook in 2018, everything from telling supporters that he really was on the ballot in a way, because a vote for incumbents was a vote for him and his agenda, to hyping a mythical caravan invasion from a caravan that wasn’t even expected to catch sight of his non existent wall until a month after the election. And what happened? The Democrats scored millions more votes nationwide, flipped 40 GOP House seats, as well as 2 GOP Senate seats, including one in a state that Trump carried in 2016. Even worse is a poll that needs to be watched, but hints at deterioration in his base. Trump’s popularity among GOP voters has consistently been between 84-88%.But in a poll that Lawrence O’Donnell showed last night of registered GOP voters, only 54% were committed to voting for Trump in a contested GOP primary, 20% more leaned Trump, but could be swayed to vote for Weld, and Weld owned 8% outright. The problem here is that even if you give Trump all of that wavering 20%, that still only takes him to 74%, 10-14 points shy of his long time average. And whatever the remaining unaccounted for 28% in that poll are, what they aren’t  is rabid Trump supporters, and […]

Devilish Randall Terry and Fake Jesus Flail at Mayor Pete in Iowa, Twitter Is/Is...

Anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-sanity activist Randall Terry (in the spiffy red suit) has teamed up with fake Jesus-in-Wal Mart- sneaks and his sound/S&M guy to bedevil Pete Buttigieg on the campaign trail in Marshalltown, Iowa today. I guess their point is every expression of love is a lash for Fake Jesus or something… they found a flesh colored union suit and blue gloves?? for fake Jesus, they couldn’t rustle up some Huaraches? Twitter, like the rest of us,  stared agog, but managed a few asides… Mayor Pete had the perfect retort though… One day, when the history of the Evangelical movement gets written, I hope the author reserves a chapter for this.

Numbers Don’t Lie, But I Think Trump Is About To Wish That They Did.

Last night on The Last Word, host Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed one William Weld, who just announced that he is going to be mounting a Republican party primary challenge to Donald Trump in 2020. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because he was Gary Johnson’s running mate on the Libertarian party ticket in 2016. O’Donnell was almost giddy in his set up for the interview when he explained how having a primary challenger is almost a fatal would for a sitting President. No primary challenger in the modern era has toppled a sitting President, but they fatally weaken them in the process. McCarthy, followed by Robert Kennedy jumped in against Lyndon Johnson in 1968, and Johnson dropped out rather than face the bruising process. Hubert Humphrey, the eventual nominee, lost to Nixon. In 1976, Ronald Reagan ran a primary challenge against incumbent Gerald Ford. Ford narrowly won the primary on the floor, but lost to Jimmy Carter in the general election. And in 1992, Pat Robertson challenged George HW Bush in the primary unsuccessfully, but Bush went on to lose to Bill Clinton. In the interview, Weld, a former two term GOP Governor of Massachusetts, came across as a potentially very serious candidate. He even has a battle plan, noting that California will barely let Air Force One land, making it ripe territory for Weld. He also mentioned Massachusetts, where he was Governor, as well as Wisconsin and Michigan, places Trump barely squeaked out as fertile ground. O’Donnell cited the results of a very recent national poll of registered Republican voters, which showed that at this early date, Weld was already running higher in the poll than Trump did in a similar poll in 2015. Here are the results of the poll he showed last night. 54% said that they would definitely vote for Trump, while another 20% said that they were leaning towards Trump, but could be swayed to vote for Weld. 8% said that they were firmly planning to vote for Weld. The 8% that plan to vote for Weld isn’t what immediately caught my eye, and made me sit up straight on the sofa, and it shouldn’t be what worries Trump and the RNC either. What I caught is much more subtle than that. The fact that an incumbent President, less than 3 years into his first time only has 54% of strong support in a primary is a little odd. But what should be alarming to Trump and his minions is that even if you give him all 20% of the voters who say that they could be swung, that still only takes him to 74%. This is a potentially crushing blow for Trump if true. Since day one, Trump ran exclusively for his rabid base. He has continued to do so up to this day, eschewing any effort that past Presidents have made to moderate himself to expand his electorate for his reelection. Trump lives and dies, both mentally and politically by his base. Polls over the last 2 years have been stubbornly consistent, showing Trump with anywhere from an 84-88% approval rating among Republicans, while he scuba dives with everybody else. Trump’s optimum popularity rating of 74% in this poll is 10-14 points from his established average among GOP voters. I would like to see […]
CBC News / YouTube Donald Trump talks possible impeachment Michael...

Only Trump can use “ancient history” to screw up today.

I’m sorry if this article comes off as just a wee incoherent, but I can literally feel the IQ points dripping out of my ears and nose as I try to digest what I just saw and heard. In yet another somber, serious, and yes, vaguely ridiculous pronouncement, Secretary of State Mike Pomapdour Pompeo stood behind a podium, and announced that the UA government will now allow Cuban refugees and their descendants to sure foreign companies operating businesses in Cuba for “damages.” A little historical perspective here. Upon completion of his communist revolution in Cuba in 1959, one of the first things that Fidel Castro did was to “nationalize” pretty much everything in Cuba but air, and that option was explored. Prosperous land owners and businessmen found their land and businesses being summarily seized, with little or no compensation. Foreign companies started, or rather continued doing business in Cuba, but now through the Cuban government. This left refugees who fled Cuba’s oppression feeling like they were left holding the shit end of the stick. In 1996, the Helns-Burton Act passed congress and was signed into law. One of the provisions of the law, but not a popular one, allowed Cuban refugees living in the United States to sue foreign companies doing or operating businesses in Cuba for compensation. Realizing the nightmare scenario that this set up between the US and its European allies, like Canada, Great Britain and France, every President since Bill Clinton has “suspended” that provision of the law from being used. But not anymore Donnie Dipshit has just lifted the suspension, making it possible for the first time for expat Cubans and their descendants to sue foreign companies doing business with Cuba. And like all things Trumpian, he’s doing it for the stupidest reason imaginable. He’s doing it in an effort to spank the Cuban government for their continuing support of the Maduro government in Venezuela. The lifting of this suspension may in fact have a negative impact in Cuba, but if so, it will be purely ancillary. The real impact will be on companies and entities in Canada and the European Union who operate businesses in or do business with Cuba. And they are already mickle displeased with the news. Both Canada and the EU have announced that they are ready to proceed wth economic sanctions against the US if Trump doesn’t restore the suspension, like soonest. Look, we just wandered our way out of a stupid tariff pissing contest with the EU over cars, and Canad over imported steel. If European companies start getting sued, it is going to start costing them huge legal fees to defend themselves in court, even before any possible judgements against them. If it hits them, dues are going to have to be paid, and we all know who Canada and the UE are going to look at to pick up the tab. And once they impose tariffs on the US in retaliation, it’ll be up to you and I to pay the higher costs to cover Trump’s foreign policy bar tab. Look, full disclosure here. I had to do a quick Google search for basic background on the Cuba nationalization mess, and the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, just so I could understand what I was talking about. But I’m just a lousy blogger,and if I make […]
CBC News / YouTube Does Robert Mueller have the goods...

“Little Things Mean A Lot”

A line a day when you’re far away, Little things mean a lot   Little Things Mean A Lot OK! *CLAP!* Everybody have their final walk through with the caterer for the menu for tonight’s “Mueller Report Watch Party?” Waiting in suspense for Lo-Barr to release the gobbledygook that will have to pass for the Mueller report is like sitting down with your friends to watch the 2001 Super Bowl on the NFL Network. It promises to be entertaining, but just barely. Besides, I stopped looking at coloring books when my youngest daughter went into first grade. But there will still be excitement and drama in the release of the Mueller report, even though you find yourself thinking you’re looking at one of those “Magic Eye 3-D picture b”books, staring at the colored bars, waiting for the picture of the motorcycle to pop up. The secret to success in de-ciphering the Mueller report isn’t in trying to guess what’s behind the bars, it’s in knowing what to look for in what you can actually see. Forget about even thinking about a “smoking gun” nuclear explosion, it ain’t there. If we take Barr at his word, Mueller found no solid evidence of criminal collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, and not enough legally admissible evidence of obstruction of justice to convict in a court of law. And if, as expected, Barr is lying his furry little Ewok ass off, that shit is safely ticked away behind festive, Christmas card colored little bars.But think about that for a moment. Those were the two main pillars of the Mueller Temple of Doom. If that’s what the report will show tomorrow, why are White House aides and advisers wringing their hands that Trump took his victory lap too early, and too loudly, and why are current and former west wing staffers lining up to get into the witness protection program before it’s released? Because, as the title says, “little things mean a lot.” Even a craven legal prostitute like Barr knows that he can’t paint Trump as a Mona Lisa with this report. It doesn’t take 400 pages to reach the conclusion of “Dude didn’t do shit.” He’s going to have to let Trump have some warts, especially in the obstruction of justice category. After all, most of that evidence is already public, there are no sensitive national security interests in obstructing justice, and the report can’t “OK, here’s the 411 by Robert S Mueller III,” followed by 400 pages of semaphore code. And as with your cell phone service contract, the devil will be in the details. Iconic lawyer and prosecutor Vincent T Bulgiosi, the man who put Manson away, described the conflicting notion of guilt that lawyers used to explain to a jury in closing arguments thus; A defense lawyer compares the prosecutions case as a long chain. Each fact and statement is a link in that chain. If any single link breaks, the chain is broken,and the defendant must be acquitted. A prosecutor will instead tell the jury that the case is like a rope. Every fact, piece of evidence, and testimony is a strand of that rope. With each new strand the rope becomes stronger. And even if one strand breaks, the mass of the rope is still more than […]

Fla. State Rep. Randy Fine(R) Calls Fellow Jewish Man a “Judenrat”.

Gallopin’ down the backstretch and leading the pack in the race to the bottom sweepstakes, Florida State Rep. Randy Fine called a fellow Jewish Man a “Judenrat” cause he dared to participate in a forum discussion about justice for the Palestinians… Orlando Sentinel ‘Republican state Rep. Randy Fine twice called a Jewish Facebook commenter a “Judenrat,” a term used to describe Jewish Nazi collaborators, for his supporting an event to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian situation…. …In an April 4 post on his Facebook page, Fine called that night’s event in Melbourne, the ‘Palestine/Israel, Opening the Dialogue’ panel discussion sponsored by the Space Coast Progressive Alliance, an “anti-Semitic rally targeting Jews sponsored by a Democrat club.”… …In an interview, Phil Stasik, the president of the Alliance, said “everything [in Fine’s description] is wrong. We’re not a ‘Democrat’ club, we’re a progressive group. It was certainly not a ‘rally,’ it was a panel discussion. And it sure as hell wasn’t ‘anti-Semitic.’” On Facebook a Jewish participant in the event pointed out to Fine that the forum was merely a discussion about the ongoing tension between Israelis and Palestinians. Fine called it a “farce” and used the first Judenrat reference which led to this exchange: This current iteration of the GOP is nothing more than a open sewer. And Fine has floated to the top… …to mix metaphors.   Please follow me on Twitter @durrati  

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