Donald Trump congratulated himself Saturday on strong economic indicators continuing, which he believes will handily carry him into a second term of office. Our Country is the envy of the World. Thank you, Mr. President! https://t.co/2h8mvu16YX — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2019 You may recall Larry Kudlow admitting to Chris Wallace on Fox […]
I was just saying to a colleague tonight, “We ought to create something called the PZazz award.” Specifically, I wanted to give the PZazz award to Sam Rockwell, in lieu of an Oscar, for his incredible portrayal of Dubya in the movie “Vice,” which I screened a few nights ago. Now, another category of PZazz […]
Russian Oligarch Bought Company That Controls Voter Registration System and Database. Smoking Gun, Much?
Charlie Pierce introduced this topic better than I can: There is simply no way to argue that the 2016 presidential election was a legitimate exercise in democratic self-government. There are too many bread crumbs leading in the same direction, somewhere north of the Vodootvodny Canal. If it wasn’t rigged, and I am entirely agnostic on that point, it was certainly vandalized to the point of uselessness, and all the vandalism was directed at one specific end: to make sure Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States. And we are now coming up on another presidential election with the 2016 election still lying on the slab, its autopsy unfinished and its cause of death not entirely determined. Against that backdrop, Pierce directs us to an article from last year, showing that Russian oligarch, Vladimir Potanin, owns AltPoint Capital and they have a financial interest in ByteGrid, a vendor which handles the State of Maryland voter registration database and candidate management operations. Maryland’s two Democratic senators got right on it. Roll Call: “As the Rules Committee prepares to mark up the Secure Elections Act, we respectfully request that you sponsor an amendment requiring that an election infrastructure vendor submit a report to the Chair of the [Election Assistance Commission] and the Secretary of [the Department of Homeland Security] identifying any foreign national that directly or indirectly owns or controls the vendor, as well as any material change in ownership resulting in ownership or control by a foreign national,” Cardin and Van Hollen wrote Monday. “We also recently asked Treasury Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin to review the acquisition of ByteGrid in his role as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States,” the Maryland Democrats wrote. “While we are hopeful that the Treasury Department’s review will be able to provide additional information about this specific transaction, we are concerned about the implications of this case for elections across the country.” “Currently, CFIUS is authorized to review foreign investments in U.S. companies that result in foreign control of the company. If an investment poses a threat to national security, it can be blocked,” the senators wrote in the letter to Mnuchin. “If either AltPoint Capital or ByteGrid did not file a notice with CFIUS, the Committee has the ability to look back at any completed transaction that results in control and threatens national security and take steps to address the national security threat, including requiring divestment.” It goes without saying that if the Russians just walk in here and buy up the firms that control our voter registration databases and other functions of our elections, that is something that sounds a note of concern; actually more of a cry of outrage and justifiably so. Here’s a link to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the “Russian Active Measures Campaign and Interference in the 2016 Election” report and here’s Pierce’s synopsis of same. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence dropped the first of the reports stemming from its nearly three-years long investigation into the Russian “active measures” as regards the 2016 presidential election. There will be others, but this one was quite enough. There were some astounding conclusions; for example, the report indicates that Russian ratfckers were prepared to raise holy hell all over social media if Hillary Rodham Clinton had won the election. […]
For four long, embarrassing, tortured years, Donald Trump has gotten away with being a virulent racist. He’s gotten away with it mainly because the party he purports to represent has consistently ignored, laughed off, refused to comment on, or attempted to explain away his inexcusable behavior. But those days may rapidly be coming to a close. Trump is devolving, and everybody but Trump knows it. His blatant racism is becoming more frequent, and more pointed. And it’s only going to get worse from here on out, since he is rapidly losing all of the other distractions that he could call on, such as the Trump-Russia investigation, and Robert Mueller. The attacks are becoming more base and disgusting, and it’s becoming harder for anyone, even the Republican party to ignore or explain away. I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again: while very few of us are racists, all of us have prejudices. There are things, people, and even groups that we individually just instinctively just don’t like. That’s called humanity. But the vast majority of us make the conscious decision to keep those personal feelings walled off from the world at large, that’s why we’re not racists. They have no such moral compunctions. Like Donald Trump. It was one thing for a Jewish-American like Gary Cohn to stand idly by while Der Trumpenfuror praised racists and neo Nazi’s. That was Cohn’s personal choice, and he is welcome to it. But Cohn had the additional advantage of not having voters to face, and that’s not true for almost everybody else. Right now, there are 197 Republican House members up for reelection in 2020, along with 22 incumbent GOP Senators, and Trump has potentially put them at risk. And while the 2018 midterms may have culled down the GOP House herd to more base Trump-friendly representatives in allegedly “safe” districts, there are still some like Will Hurd in Texas that are on the bubble. And Trump’s overt racism is making it nigh on impossible for the Republicans to try to flip back any of the swing House districts that they lost in 2018. And in the Senate it only takes three seats to flip control if a Democratic President is elected, and Arizona is already well within reach. Every GOP incumbent in 2020, both House and Senate, is going to have the anvil of Trump’s racism hung around their necks by their Democratic challengers. Incumbents are going to be hard pressed to respond, since they have all either ignored, or worse yet, defended Trump’s racist claptrap.But Republicans challengers to Democratic incumbents will face the same stiff challenge, since their opponents only have to bring up Trump’s overt racism, and leave the challengers trying to deal with the guilt by association. Trump’s racism is not going to get better, in fact it is only going to get worse. And as it does, it places every GOP candidate in an ever increasingly untenable position electorally. It will be interesting to see at what point do some, and how many GOP incumbents jettison Trump, in order to try to save their precious seats. Don’t touch that dial.
For nigh on a year and a half now I have been saying that Donald Trump is literally killing the Republicans as a viable national party going forward. As a result, I have taken my fair share of incoming slings and arrows, telling me what a fool I am, and recounting how many times that the GOP has been left for dead before. But I never predicted the death of the entire GOP, only their demise as a consistent force in national politics. And so it was with great pleasure that I suddenly found someone, anyone else who agrees with me, and a card carrying Republican to boot. And not just a card carrying Republican, but one with some serious GOP street creds. That being said, William Weld is rather the pariah in GOP circles right now. A former GOP Massachusetts governor, Weld left the party in 2016 to run as Gary Johnson’s VP candidate on the Libertarian ticket. And now he’s bucking the odds to run against His Lowness in the Republican primaries for President. I was elated when Weld announced his run, not only because it would force Trump to actually campaign, where he can make a frequent fool of himself, but also because, as Lawrence O’Donnell loves to point out, no incumbent President has ever lost a primary battle, but no incumbent President has been reelected when his primary went beyond South Carolina either. And at least some parts of Trumpmenistan are worried, including the aforementioned South Carolina, which is considering skipping a GOP primary in 2020 if Weld qualifies for the ballot. After announcing his run, Weld had restricted his appearances largely to network talk shows, including MSNBC. But yesterday he spoke to the annual NAACP convention, something Trump has steadfastly refused to do. And he led his speech off with a bang; Trump is a raging racist, Okay? He’s a complete and thoroughgoing racist. And he made that choice, a choice a long time ago, when he was engaged in the housing business in New York with his father This is not going to go over well with The Mango Messiah, I can tell you that. As far as my memory serves, no Republican of any import has come right out and called Glorious Bleater a racist. Even that turncoat Justin Amash split with Trump not over racism, but over the criminality outlined in the Mueller report. But then Weld took it to the next level; The national Republican Party, has a choice. And a lot of them like to think that it’s a political choice. But it’s not a political choice. It’s a moral choice. Weld went on to appear on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night, when he put the icing on the cake, telling O’Donnell that if the GOP as a party did not repudiate Trump in 2020, it would essentially cease to exist as a party that could win a national election. He stated that sure, the GOP could still capture the “Dixiecrat states,” as he put it, but those would not be enough to win a presidential election in the electoral college. This could end up working out true either way. Racism works for Trump, but it’s a one trick pony. People who love Trump tolerate racism from him that they would not tolerate from anyone […]
I swear, I’m not really that big of a dumb ass. But can I help it if every time I reach a totally logical conclusion, some paddlefoot comes clomping in and demolishes the whole thing, like it’s a six-year-old’s sand castle? Although it seems like forever ago in the Land of the Misfit Mango, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I wrote that the battle lines for the 2020 August recess seemed drawn. 2020 would be the Democratic equivalent of the GOP 2009 ACA town hall hijackings. In 2009, activists took over incumbent town halls with screams of “socialized medicine,” and “death panels for Granny!” And that’s the way I saw 2020 shaping up, only this time with Democrats at the helm, storming their own incumbent’s town halls to loudly demand that impeachment hearings begin for Donald Juan Trump just as soon as Congress could reconvene. And early reporting was confirming that premise, with activists charting town halls on calendars, and making sure that activists would be there, GOP town halls as well as Democratic ones, making their feelings on impeachment known. Well, there goes another perfectly good plan, shot to shit. Did you ever notice how hard it is to catch a fly, with the way they keep changing direction on a dime, and never ending up quite where you and the fly swatter thought they’d be? Well, welcome to activism in Trumpmenistan, you gotta be quick on your feet, and you’ve got to be adaptable, because the best laid plans are subject to change without notice. It all began about a month ago. Trump started out with a perfectly sane political strategy of painting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of The Squad as far left ideologues, and trying to make them the face of the “new” Democratic party ahead of 2020. But of course, having the social skills of a honey badger, Trump couldn’t contain himself. He had to make it personal, he had to make it racial, and he had to make it sexist. And when His Lowness told the whole damn bunch of ’em to “go back where they came from,” the racism pot went to simmer. But with Trump, racism is like eating one salted peanut. Next, he had to haul off on House Oversight chair Elijah Cummings, as well as the entire city of Baltimore. And since he was on a roll, he threw in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. All places, you’ll notice, where he won’t bother campaigning. If it were possible, Trump would have signed executive orders making them independent nations, just so he could refer to them as “shithole countries.” And the racism pot hit boil. And then last Saturday, one week ago today: A white supremacist piece of shit drives 10 hours to El Paso, fuels up with breakfast to make sure his aim is good, an then strolls into a Walmart like he owns the place, and kills 22 innocent people and injures 24 more. His reason? As a retaliation for the immigrant “invasion” turning Texas into a vassal state of Mexico, and as a warning to future invaders. You know, the ones that President Bone Spurs has been bitching about constantly? He referred specifically to it in some racist dung he posted online, […]
Corporations are people too, my friends. Mitt Romney Anybody remember that old line from the Mittster? I sure as hell do. It was pundit gold, and along with his imbecilic “47%” comment from a closed fund raiser, sealed Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign as being conducted by a hopelessly out of touch 1%er with no regard for the rest of us. I don’t have to remember that moment with crystal clarity, because I just saw a tape replay of it yesterday. Mitt Romney died on that particular hill that day, and he fought all the way to the end, continuing to try to explain why corporations were actually people, even while he was being jeered off of the stage. And when I saw that replay, and Romney’s passionate, logical, fervid defense of his statement, while boo’s cascaded down around him, it struck me. Mitt Romney was dead serious when he said that corporations were people too. And in his mind he was right. Because, as Romney was trying so desperately to explain to the scoffing crowd, when you think about it, all of the benefits that actually accrue to a corporation are ultimately passed down the line to living, breathing human beings. Basically those “little people” make the corporation a viable, living, breathing organism. And nothing that George Orwell put into 1984 even comes close in the chill of its implication. Long before Mitt Romney was a presidential candidate, and long before he was the Governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, Romney was a businessman, a venture capitalist. Or, considering the business practices of his Bain Capital, he was more accurately a vulture capitalist. He made his money by taking what belonged to others, mainly the failing companies he bought, and selling it off to keep the money for himself, nothing went back to the people who built the original company in the first place, except pink slips. And he was good enough at it to become one of the top-tenth-of-one-percent himself. The man knows of what he speaks. When Romney told us that corporations were people too, he wasn’t just committing a gaffe, he was telling us the ruling philosophy of the Republican party. How do we know this? Because, while the Democrats love to tout themselves as the party of the “working man,” the GOP has more and more steadily become over the years the “business friendly” party. The GOP itself no longer even bothers trying to deny that it a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America, mainly because nobody would believe them. And Mitt Romney’s ill advised statement is exactly how corporate America thinks. This explains so much about Donald Trump, it’s not even funny. In Donald Trump, the oligarchs of corporate America have their dream president. Donald Trump is the real life political equivalent of Governor William J. LePetomain, Mel Brooks zany character from Blazing Saddles, who famously stumbled out from behind a curtain in his office, his pants around his ankles, because his Attorney General, Hedley Lamar, had interrupted him fondling his secretary back there. If you can’t see that for yourself, there’s nothing that I can say that would convince you. Trump is the perfect ventriloquist dummy for corporate America in the White House for two reasons. First of all, like LePetomain, he is a totally compliant idiot. Just like in the movie, you stick […]
Now, here’s a hopeful sign. A Trump voter in Ft. Dodge, Iowa who voted for Trump in 2016, has a different point of view for 2020. Here’s a Trump voter in Ft. Dodge who’s going straight #Democrat in 2020. I’ll let him tell you why: pic.twitter.com/tKOdW2eMV4 — John Russell (@heyjohnrussell) June 29, 2019 Sounds like […]
The meek shall inherit the earth. But only after everybody else is dead. Anonymous Break out the band! Raise the flag! Send in the clowns! Gimme a beer! Our national sanity break is here. As of this moment, we’re on a six week hiatus from the dimwitted machinations of Washington D.C. They’re on their summer recess. You know what that means, don’t you? It means that for the next six weeks, they can spend their time boring their families, friends, and constituents silly instead of the rest of us. Oh yeah, and they have to spend their own money, instead of ours. Normally, like any other summer vacation, the congressional summer recess is looked forward to by all. But this time is different. This time there is deep trepidation over the timing of the summer break for Democrats. Because the break started two days after Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony, and this whole to impeach, or not to impeach. That is the question thing is supposed to be coming to a head. Political pundits, commentators, and the other flotsam and jetsam of the media who are incapable of driving a truck, fixing an air conditioner, or soling a shoe to make a living, are all bemoaning the fact that the recess is going to deprive the Democrats of any momentum that Mueller’s testimony may have given them to move the impeachment needle. And as usual, as a quasi pundit, who still has 12 functioning brain cells, since I’ve never been interviewed on national television, I strongly disagree. Because, despite their desperate hopes and wishes, not every important national decision emanates from inside the beltway. Politicians still have to make at least a passing attempt to listen to their constituents if they hope to be reelected, and their summer break is chock full of things like town hall meetings with constituents, and accidental meetings with same in places like grocery stores and shopping malls. And therein lies the possible salvation of the Impeach Trump! movement. Being an old fart, I can remember a decade ago. Hell, I’m damn near old enough to recall the creation of dirt. And ten years ago, once he stopped the global economy from recreating the final scene of Thelma and Louise, then President Barack Obama turned to what was to be the signature piece of legislation for his first term, the passage of The Affordable Care Act. As with the Trump impeachment, the Democrats initial explanation was as fuzzy as a badly tuned TV. But it was the top item on the legislative agenda when congress went on its summer recess. Which turned into a nightmare for Democrats. Almost nightly for three straight months, television screens were full of images from one congressional town hall or other, filled with screaming “constituents,” ranting about “death panels for Granny!” and “socialized medicine!” Forget the fact that half of those screaming idjits were actually GOP plants, specifically sent into those town halls to disrupt the proceedings and get televised. The fact of the matter is that those protests at the events moved the national needle on the popularity of the bill! And it could happen again, and it ties into my little quip at the top of the article. Because, while many, many people may vote, many fine people so to speak, it’s the activists who get things done. Why? Because they’re freakin’ active, […]
It shows you how far we’ve fallen as a nation when an incumbent president who has alienated our allies, fomented domestic terrorism, and is now wreaking economic havoc with his ignorant and ill-advised trade warthi, is still considered a contender for reelection — but that’s the case; at least according to Senator Harry Reid. Daily Beast: “I’m pretty damn worried,” the former Senate majority leader said in an interview with The Daily Beast last week, a day before deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton. “Anybody that thinks he’s going to be beaten easily is wrong. As sad as it is. As hard as it is for me to say this: don’t count that man out.” “He’s carried the term bullshit as far as it will go,” Reid said at one point, offering the slightest chuckle in appreciation of the line he’d just delivered. “I’ve never known a human being in a position of prominence that you can do nothing to damage his ego in any way. It is absolutely unbelievable.” But in Reid’s worldview, Trump is a lost cause: a political figure whose output no one—not even White House staff—can reasonably seek to influence or control. Reid also spoke kindly of Mitt Romney, for at least occasionally standing up to Donald Trump, and I think I know where he’s coming from. In this era of GOP enablers, anybody who even partially takes a stance against Trump is to be favorably noted. That’s the level of cowardice to which the GOP has sunk. Reid disparaged Lindsey Graham, who he said used to be one of his “favorites” a man that he once admired for his independent stance on immigration reform. “He was really, as my dad would say, he was a man. Well, you’re not now. He’s a boy.” I can’t speak for Graham, but if, at the end of the day, I could only have the respect of my old Senate colleague Harry Reid or be yet another sycophant to the racist realtor from Queens, the choice would be obvious. For reasons only he knows, Graham’s chosen the wrong side of history. One hopes that whatever money or kompromat is coming from Russia is worth it. It seems to me that the price tag is his soul.