Sunday, April 15, 2018

Just a Very Minor Point

Call me crazy, and I certainly hate to defend anyone from the Trump administration, but I think a cabinet secretary has a right to fly first class.  Come on, every sleazy businessman and kid of a rich father flies first class; I think it's perfectly reasonable for one of the very highest officials of our government to do the same.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Cohen and Casey- Remembering the Iran Hostage Sabotage

Michael Cohen, sadly only looking like he is being pinched by the long arm of the law.

Most of us have some awareness of the Iran hostage negotiations in 1980, in which the Reagan campaign seems to have sabotaged the release of our hostages until after the election in a blatant specimen of treason which was never punished in any way.  What most people will not remember is the crucial incident in this ugly spectacle of betrayal- a trip by William Casey, Reagan's campaign manager, to Madrid to meet with Iranian mullahs to make the deal to delay the release of the hostages, in return for promises of future sales of weapons to Iran, fulfilled later in Reagan's reign by the sale of 2,000 TOW missiles to the Iranians in another blatantly illegal specimen of treason, which again, being committed by a Republican administration was never punished in any way.

Republicans provided supposed evidence that Casey's trip never happened; only years later was it discovered that the evidence was a lie, and of course the hapless Democrats just let this treachery slide by without consequences.

I think it is very instructive to consider this sordid event, in light of the Trump administration denial of a crucial claim of the Steele dossier, that Michael Cohen was in Prague during the campaign to make a deal with the Russians for them to interfere in the Presidential campaign on behalf of Trump.  A year of the most belligerent denials that Cohen was ever in Prague, then or any other time, was backed up by displaying his passport, which contained no Czech visa stamps.

We now discover, via reporters from the McClatchy news service that this claim is false, and that in fact Cohen was in Prague in 2016, during the campaign, and met with Russian officials and a number of Eastern European hackers:

"WASHINGTON- The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter."

Cohen seems to have taken a private jet to Germany, and then crossed the border from Germany to the Czech Republic, a crossing that does not require showing a passport under European Union regulations, thus rendering the "evidence" of his passport meaningless.  If the information compiled by this investigation holds up (and there is at present no reason to doubt it) it is a confirmation of one more of the explosive claims of the Steele Dossier, and is virtually smoking gun proof of treason on the part of the Trump campaign.

This incident is strikingly similar to the treachery of the Reagan incident, so I thought it would be interesting to provide this excerpt from a Los Angeles Times article recounting it:

"The Reagan administration and Republicans always denied that they had any back-door negotiations with Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary regime during the Iran hostage crisis. Specifically, they denied that Reagan's campaign manager, William J. Casey, traveled surreptitiously to Madrid in the summer of 1980 to meet with a representative of the ayatollah, and to suggest that it might be in Iran's interest to stall the negotiations over the release of the American hostages. Casey allegedly intimated that a Reagan administration would resume arms sales to the Iranians.  These allegations seemed too outrageous, too outlandish to be believed...
...we now know that Casey took time off from his campaign duties sometime in the summer of 1980 to visit Madrid. For "purposes unknown...
...it is now reasonable to conclude that Casey did something. The Iranians dragged out the negotiations over the release of the hostages. President Carter believed these negotiations were nearly successful in late September 1980, but suddenly new demands were made that stalled the talks. Polls showed Carter within single digits of catching Reagan until about 10 days before the election. Carter lost decisively, and the hostages were inexplicably released minutes after Reagan was sworn in as president... In retrospect, this was the beginning of the scandal that broke in 1987, when it became known that the Reagan administration had been exchanging weapons for hostages."

Shortly after this incident, Casey developed a bizarre case of "brain cancer" the main symptoms of which were to render him unable to either speak or write, thereby making it impossible for him to be deposed.  He eventually died, without ever regaining these allegedly lost abilities.

And before moving on, let me just mention that the campaign of Richard Nixon made deals with our Vietnamese partners to prevent progress toward a peace agreement, with the same treasonous intent:

"Nixon’s Vietnam Treachery...Nixon insisted that he had not sabotaged Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion. “My God. I would never do anything to encourage” South Vietnam “not to come to the table,” Nixon told (President Lyndon) Johnson...Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative."

In other words, Trump's treasonous action to gain the White House was not an anomaly in Republican politics, but at least the third specimen of clear treason carried out to rig Presidential elections. Three Republican Presidents in the last half century have been illegitimate, elected via a campaign of treason.  And their reigns have caused massive damage to the United States. That is the reality we live with in this nation today.


It must be made clear that Donald Trump is not some sort of diseased growth on the body of Republicanism; his behavior is completely in keeping with the standard operating procedures of this anti-American, terminally corrupt organization.  Only its total elimination can provide hope of our rejoining the ranks of decent nations.


A slight addition to my comments:  It occurred to me that I should have pointed out that there is no evidence in all of our history of a Democratic Presidential candidate ever engaging in treachery that comes even close to these three examples.  One more example to demonstrate the maliciousness of the standard argument that both parties are the same.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Russia and Syria

I am the last person to ever claim that Vladimir Putin is anything but a vicious dictator, who deserves to be put down any way possible, but that does not neutralize the fact that Russia has an urgent interest in seeing to it that no group of Islamic fanatics, like ISIS, takes control of Syria. 

Here's a map of the northern Middle East and southern Russia.  Please note that the distance between Syria and Russia is, at the narrowest point, only about 250 miles.  That is a distance that could be covered in less than half an hour by a fighter jet, or less than four hours on a straight freeway drive, if a freeway existed there. 


I ask anyone to consider what the United States would do if a genocidal Islamic state arose 250 miles into Mexico; which is to say, around Mazatlan.  Do you think we would not be bombing the whole area into oblivion, regardless of the civilian "collateral damage?" After all, we killed a million civilians in Iraq just a few years ago, for nothing.  And please consider this question in light of the fact that the United States has, for over a century, maintained vicious dictators throughout central and South America; dictators that have been every bit as brutal as any Islamic ruler, and that our country has done this in the face of far less threat than Russia faces from Islamic extremism.  Many of these countries posed no danger to anyone except American corporations, before we destroyed their governments.  This reached a height of abomination in the fifties, when the Eisenhower administration essentially turned foreign policy over to two brothers who were on the board of the United Fruit Company, and who used their positions to see to it that no Central American country ever acted in the interest of its own people, and during the Reagan administration, when the Republican President illegally financed an army of drug gangs to force a legitimately elected government from power; these monstrous interventions continue to produce disastrous effects for our own country today.

No matter how vicious Putin may be, the reality remains that Russia cannot tolerate a fanatical, genocidal government almost on their border.  We would do well to keep that in mind as we see how Trump's current temper tantrum plays itself out.

Comey

Just to get things clear before the orgy of praise directed toward James Comey which is coming this week, here is the truth about Comey.

James Comey is a right wing hatchet man, who, in by far the most important act of his pathetic life, stabbed Hillary Clinton in the back in an absolutely gratuitous raising of an issue that he knew was a total lie, right before the election, and in the process did more than any single person, Putin included, to put Trump in office.

This was a deliberate, knowing act of treachery toward our country which is proving to be more damaging than almost any other single act of a government official since Robert E. Lee decided to turn traitor.

Then, after Trump, in true gangland fashion, rewarded Comey's act by firing Comey and humiliating him in public, Comey decided to take his revenge, not for the damage Trump was doing to the country, but for the personal insult he suffered.  That is not the act of a patriot; it is the act of a mobbed up criminal little different than Trump.

Be careful who we invite into our house.  Great that he is spilling the beans on his corrupt boss Trump, but don't be fooled into thinking that this act makes Comey a patriot, or anything else besides the wretched Republican tool he is.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

I Thought He Was Going To Make Everything Better

Donald Trump yesterday:

"Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War."

I thought he said he was the greatest negotiator on earth and he was going to make everything better.  I thought he said he was so good at foreign policy that he could handle everything- it would be easy for him.  I thought he said he was going to have the greatest relationship with Russia.  What happened?

Oh, and I see that the Congressional Budget Office just announced that under his tax plan, the national debt will equal the entire GDP by 2028.  At which point the Republican party will be screaming to do away with Social Security and Medicare.

How can any person on earth take this vicious buffoon seriously for a second?  And how can his party and a large part of the mainstream press go on pretending that this is normal?  How can he be allowed to stay in office for a day?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ryan Runs in Panic


One of the great Republican liars and tools of the rich is running for cover now that it appears that he is about to earn at least a minute fraction of the consequences of his corrupt behavior.

As the Washington Post reports in a headline today:

"Ryan to depart Congress with a legacy of expanded spending and immense deficits"

Of course, the Washington Post reports this fact as a failure on Ryan's part, when in fact it was his greatest success.  He was in Congress for the same reason that all Republicans are there: to rob the nation blind and give the money to their sociopathic rich backers.  And he succeeded just great at that.

And of course, the mainstream press played along like the lap dogs they are, consistently portraying his transparent lies about the economy and schemes to bankrupt us all as the product of a patriotic and brilliant thinker.

Well, the inevitable happened, I guess: the train stopped a couple of stations short of the sort of total dictatorship which would have enabled Ryan to complete his malignant vision for the country.  And in fury at his failure to precipitate the national apocalypse they have been trained to want, they were about to show him what Republican loyalty really means when the chips are down.  Ryan and his fellows at the top of the Republican trash heap spent decades building a base of violent voters, filled with hatred and greed, and now, deprived of their ultimate armageddon through having been swindled one time too many by their rich masters, they were about to turn on him.  So like the coward he so clearly always was, he's running for cover.  Well, good riddance, for as long as he stays in his hole.  You'd have to be a fool to think that he isn't already preparing for a Nixonian return the second he thinks he can get away with it.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Stop Obsessing, You Stupid People!

Here's an article in the Washington Post today, by some guy named Alan Sloan, who the Post describes as follows:

"Allan Sloan is a columnist for The Washington Post. He is a seven-time winner of the Loeb Award, business journalism's highest honor."

The Loeb Award!  A seven time winner!  What sort of profound thinking gets you seven of these things?  Well, here's a sample:

"Stop obsessing about the yo-yo stock market... 

Enough with the stock market, already! 

If you’re trying to make sense of the market, good luck to you. I know that stock market stories are one of the staples of business news — and these days, of general news, as well — and every market effect is supposed to have a rational, understandable cause. 

But you know what, folks? That’s just not how the world actually works."

Any idiot can see that, after years of slow growth under the last Democratic President, the current Republicans only took a year to send it into an almost incomprehensible instability, which could cause a collapse any time.  But you little guys out there, your duty is to ignore all of that and pretend that it's all perfectly normal, like everything else the Republicans are up to today.  Just shut up and get back to work, or no work as the case may be.  Ignore the signs and keep pumping the little money you have into the market; i.e. into the pockets of thieves on Wall Street.  It's all just too complicated for you to understand anyway.  Stop paying attention, and let the rich guys do their thing!

That's what gets you seven "Loeb Awards," and a position writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post.  Okay?  I mean, what did you expect?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Minus 576

Funny old age we live in, huh, when the President of the United States can cause the Dow Jones average to lose close to 600 points in a single day, and the news media hardly bother mentioning it.  Until Trump moved in, this would have been a cataclysm that would have stunned the country, and brought forth screams for impeachment of a Democratic President, without even considering the several times this has happened in recent months, due to Trump's behavior.  But now?  The press is just averting its gaze, and pretending that it will all go away.

Nobody in the mainstream media seems willing to point out that, even in the absence of a total collapse, this kind of volatility is a frightening sign of the kind of instability that could cause even minor events to precipitate massive economic damage.  Just on the basis of pure statistical analysis, this should be seen as a deeply disturbing phenomenon.  Instead, it is simply being ignored, by the same mainstream press and Republican party that spent years screaming about Benghazi and Hillary's e-mails, scandals that every single one of them knew to be totally false.

I repeat Green Eagle's First Maxim:  The Democrats could beat the Republican party into historical oblivion without hardly trying; what they cannot do is beat the Republicans and the press working together.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Caravan

"President Trump, who claimed a "crisis" forced him to order National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, said Thursday that a border-bound caravan of some 1,000 migrants fleeing violence in Central America had broken up inside Mexico."


Darn!  I was really hoping to head down to the border to get a look at that.
I just hope the camels are all okay.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I Love a Parade

So, I remember a story from the later years of the Vietnam war, when the United States was getting its rear end kicked by the Vietnamese:  A fair number of people, with a mixture of sarcasm and seriousness, said that we should just declare victory and come home, counting on the American people, or at least the ones who voted Republican, to gladly accept a fairy tale for reality.

I'm hearing lately what used to be called a "trial balloon" (don't hear that phrase much anymore, in a country whose leader's every remark is some kind of mentally deranged boast likely to disappear within hours) that this is exactly what Trump is planning to do in Syria:  Just declare that ISIS doesn't exist any more, and that all of the years of work by so many countries, united in a coalition put together by Barack Obama, was actually the result of an invisible stroke of military genius on the part of a man who knows more about war than all the generals combined.  And of course, the Republican base, which still believes Hillary was raping kids in a pizza parlor, will buy it without question.

Two great results from this plan.  First of all, it involves the United States abandoning Syria to the Russians, leaving Putin free to do whatever he wants there, and presumably in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon too; i.e. another treasonous payoff to the guy who put Trump in the White House.

And second, then we can have Trump's Grand Victory Parade!!!!! Another promise to improve the lives of ordinary Americans kept!  Oh boy, here it comes!  Next, Paraguay or San Marino or maybe California is going to pay for the wall!

Subject or Target?

So Donald Trump is rejoicing, at least in public, over being merely a "subject," rather than a "target" of a federal criminal investigation, pretending (after all the lawsuits he has been involved in, he must know better," that this is a good thing, despite his being the first President in history to rise (or sink) to this level.

Well, in all the talk I have now heard about the difference between the two, I have heard one persuasive remark, which is this:  Prosecutors who have handled this sort of case know perfectly well that the minute someone is identified as a "target" of their investigations, that person clams up, and from that point on there is zero hope of any sort of cooperation or willing testimony from them.  Mueller apparently still hopes to induce the egomaniac Trump to sit down for a face to face interview, which very likely will be the biggest mistake Trump ever made, and Mueller knows that if he lays all his cards on the table, Trump will run for the hills- perhaps the hills just outside of Moscow, if any exist. So he'll take what he can get now, and then we'll see what he really has, after Trump has a good chance to perjure himself but good.

Wishful thinking on my part?  Maybe, because I am not a lawyer, let alone a federal prosecutor, but there is a certain amount of sense in this explanation.


Update:  From the Washington Post this morning: 

"The president has privately expressed relief at the description of his legal status, which has increased his determination to agree to a special counsel interview, the people said."

This Trump guy is as easy to manipulate as it is to trick your dog into going for a walk.  World's greatest negotiator, indeed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wingnut Wrapup

A lot of disgusting nonsense to get to these days, so let's just dig in with what is likely to be the most degraded, sickening response to the teenagers working to control guns, of course coming from the legendary Stupidest Man On The Internet, and holder of a Trump administration press pass, Jim Hoft:

Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "FLASHBACK: Hitler Also Used Children to Promote Gun Control:"

Yup, he went there, right in the headline.  And here is the picture Jim used:

I spent some time searching for details about this picture and guess what?  There seems to be no record of the occasion it was taken, and certainly not a reason in the world to think that it involved guns.  Surprise, surprise. 

"Today’s gun control and confiscation rally was nothing new. Nazis and leftists have been using children for decades in their attempts to take guns away from law abiding citizens. Here’s a history lesson for young adults in America – Hitler’s regime took away guns from people in Germany"

A complete lie, of course, except for taking guns away from Jews.  Other than that, Hitler considerably loosened German gun restrictions

Hitler said – “These boys and girls enter our organizations [at] ten years of age, and often for the first time get a little fresh air; after four years of the Young Folk they go on to the Hitler Youth, where we have them for another four years . . . And even if they are still not complete National Socialists, they go to Labor Service and are smoothed out there for another six, seven months . . . And whatever class consciousness or social status might still be left . . . the Wehrmacht [German armed forces] will take care of that.”

What this has to do with the self-organized marches against guns, who knows?

"The perennial gun-control debate in America did not begin here. The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. "

The Weimar Republic was, of course, the opposite of the Nazis, first of all, and second, the Weimar Republic absolutely did not "opt for gun registration."  That was part of the surrender terms forced on the Germans at the end of World War I, and was in fact relaxed under the Weimar Republic in the late 1920's.

" It’s reported that when Hitler signed gun control legislation he surrounded himself with children as a backdrop"

Reported by whom, nobody seems to know.  And since he never "signed gun control legislation," the question is pretty much meaningless anyway, huh?

"When former President Barack Obama signed executive orders on gun control he too surrounded himself with children"

Oh, Obama- just like Hitler.  I see:

I can't say I remember Obama ending his administration by shooting himself in the head in the smoking ruins of his capital city, after starting a war that killed fifty million people, but then I guess no analogy can be perfect, right?
"Leftists and Nazis can’t take away guns from law abiding citizens without using children as a backdrop! Today’s rally using children was another grotesque display reminescent of Nazi Germany."

So, to sum things up, no evidence of any kind that Hitler used children to promote gun control (which, incidentally he never did promote, other than taking guns away from Jews,) and modern kids who fight the NRA are nothing but Nazis.  And so is Obama.  Got that straight?  Good, let's move on then, first of all to something that I believe perfectly captures the degradation of the right in this country, and its utter contempt for both truth and decency.

Emma Gonzalez- you know her.  She's the Parkland student with the short hair who has become the number one symbol of the new movement in this country to fight back against the NRA and the corruption that allows rich corporations to force the country to run the way they want it to, with no regard for the harm they do.  Well, here is a picture of Emma Gonzales which is flying around the right wing web the last few days, showing her ripping up a copy of the Constitution.  Many of you have probably seen this by now, but it certainly represents an example of right wing behavior that has earned a place of honor here at Wingnut Wrapup. Take that, liberals!


One problem though:  here is the real picture, from an article at the Teen Vogue website:


Apparently, the phony picture is getting far more coverage around the web than the real one is.  There is just no bottom to the depravity of the right, which knows its positions are wrong, and just doesn't care.  Well, I guess we all knew that, so let's just move on.

Matt  Vespa, Town Hall:  "Anti-Gun Liberals Devolve Into A Cacophony Of Nonsense As They Can't Explain What An Assault Rifle Is"

If you don't know how to build a bomb, you have no right to the opinion that bombing people is bad.  You have to be so obsessed with guns that you know every detail about them before you have a right to say a word about the subject. 

Matt Vespa:  "Surprise, Surprise: March For Our Lives Once Again Shows Why The Left Can’t Be Trusted On Gun Control"

Because you can't trust anyone that actually wants to deal with the problem. If they don't take money from the NRA, they ought to keep their mouths shut.

Timothy Meads, Town Hall:  "Ingraham: 'This Is Like Christmas for Democrats'

Sorry, guys.  Christmas is like Christmas for Democrats.  This is like the liberation of Poland.

Kevin McCullough, Town Hall:  "The Stupidity of the 'March For Our Lives'

You know what, Kevin?  At this point, I'll take stupid but good hearted over smart but evil.  And that doesn't even describe you and the people you write for, who are stupid and evil at the same time.

Marty Gottesfield, Red State:  "I Blame The Teachers, Not The Guns...I blame the teachers for the vast majority of school shootings in the U.S. They run the schools and in many cases they are the worst bullies of all."

Of course you do, Marty.  You can get a tax cut from cutting teachers' pay, but you can't get a dime out of the gun manufacturers, except by repeating their lies in public.  Which you do.

Claudia Rosett, PJ Media: "John Bolton: 'A Reagan Realist' and a Brilliant Choice...He will make America safer."

After the nuclear war.

Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "National Disgrace: Democrats, Not Republicans, Passed Mitch McConnell’s Bloated Omnibus Bill"

Despite the fact that Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House.  IT'S THE DEMOCRATS' FAULT I TELL YOU!!!!!

Awr Hawkins, Breitbart:  "LEFTIST TOTALITARIANS ATTACK"

This is because some liberals criticised a rapper for taking money to make a commercial for the NRA.  What a relief; I thought the battle of Stalingrad had started up again.

Awr Hawkins, Breitbart:  "REPORT: MARCH AGAINST GUNS ATTENDANCE LESS THAN HALF EXPECTED...A report indicates attendance at Saturday’s student march for gun control was approximately 200,000, which is less than half of the expected crowd size."

Well, just an out and out lie.  How surprising, huh?  The actual number is reported as somewhere around 800,000 to 1,000,000 in Washington alone, plus hundreds of thousands in other cities, and Green Eagle, who has about forty years experience of judging crowd sizes agrees.  Oh well, what do you expect from right wingers, who routinely claim the size of their own marches is about ten times the real number?

Awr Hawkins, Breitbart:  "Hogg Mocked for ‘Nazi Salute’

That would be David Hogg, the Parkland student who has been subjected to an avalanche of right wing abuse for daring to not want to be shot to protect gun profits.  Here is the picture that has aroused wingnut ire:


The first time in known history when someone gave a Nazi salute with a closed fist, but close enough for right wingers.  By the way, I thought they loved Nazis over at Breitbart, so why the fit?

Julie Kelly, The Federalist:  "Successful Climate Pressure Tactics Paved The Way For Gun Control Bullying"

Tell the truth about one thing, and pretty soon you want to tell the truth about other things too.  It's just some sort of infectious disease.

Alex Jones:  "[W]e are then treated to a half-a-million young people...marching to declare that they would confiscate all of our guns and kill anyone that did not turn them in. We’ve got the signs, we’ve got the speeches, we’ve got videos from around the country, not just in D.C., with people running for office, for the office of sheriff and other offices saying, “Sure, you’re not going to turn your guns in? We’re going to kill you."

Young people marching to kill!!!  And here I thought that they were marching to not be killed.  But millions will listen to people like Alex and believe what they say, which right now is a worse problem than guns.

Todd Royal, American Thinker:  "On Iran, the USA Is in Big Trouble...Here's sincerely hoping it doesn't come to total war."

Come on, guy, at least show a shred of honesty.  You are praying for war with Iran every single day.

Monica Showalter, American Thinker:  "On 60 Minutes, Stormy Daniels blew her credibility"

How much "credibility" does a prostitute have?  I mean, she's got more than Donald Trump, who has told 2200 documented lies in a little over a year, but that doesn't amount to much, does it?

Guy Benson, Town Hall:  "Addressing the Weak Arguments Against Re-Inserting a Citizenship Question into the US Census Are Weak"

Well, you're right there, Guy, except maybe for that thing about what it says in the Constitution about counting everyone, citizen or not.  But then that sort of thing never matters when the Constitution stands in the way of right wingers seizing power.

Streiff, Red State:  "Debbie Wasserman Schultz and “Stolen Valor” Blumenthal Rip Off Chris Rock’s Gun Violence Idea...You can’t make this stuff up"

I don't have a clue what Chris Rock's idea is, but I do like the notion that it is ripping someone off to go along with an idea they had, if it is not dictated by the party hierarchy and rich donors.

John Hawkins, PJ Media:  "The Ignorant Parkland Kids Don't Speak for Their Dead Classmates...Taking advantage of your dead classmates to get your 15 minutes of fame is disgusting."

But of course, maggots like John Hawkins taking money from the NRA and the Koch brothers to tell their lies about everything is not disgusting- it's the American way.

World Net Daily:  "Bill, Hillary both tied to sex-slaves 'cult'

It will just never stop.  Someone with the same name as someone who knew someone who was arrested for manipulating some women into having sex with him, once contributed to Bill's campaign, many years ago.  That's it.  I bet that has you fuming with indignation, huh?