Friday, November 30, 2018

He's a monster, a sick lingering evil that knows no end—it's clear when you listen to this

Donald Trump keeps topping his own repugnance, hatred and lack of compassion. It’s as if he doesn’t know how to stop. And when speaking about “him” and such adjectives, one needs not mention his name anymore.

In the short clip below, Trump is asked how he feels watching children run from tear gas. His answer is that of a monster.


“Grabbers.” They grab children to give themselves a certain “status?” Wtf?

At the end of the clip, Trump adds:
“And I think the funding the Wall has never looked better—never looked better.”
Wait. Was tear-gassing these innocent children and families all just a stunt to justify and find his estimated $70 billion piece of shit wall?

There comes a time when liberals, Democrats, and every compassionate human being in this country, must realize we can put nothing past him. There is no such thing as a “conspiracy theory” when it comes to Trump, because he’s capable of anything. He’s a walking conspiracy. He doesn’t surprise anymore. He just compounds his own disgusting being.

I’ve experienced tear gas. It happened when I was reporting and protesting on the streets of Washington D.C. during Trump’s inauguration. It was like a war-zone that day—dark, sinister and almost surreal. Too little of it was shown on television. The powerful and frightening sounds of smoke bombs and tear gas went off everywhere.

Then the booms got closer and the crowd of protestors I was with began to flee. I suddenly knew why. The smoke and gas burned, blinded and gave me a feeling of suffocation. There was a brief sense that I’d die if I didn’t get away. Some protestors with scarves around their nose and mouth had gallons of milk they were passing around and told us to take a swig to ease the burning throats. They’d already anticipated what would happen because they’d been doing this a while—along with others around the world who fight for good.

There were no milk or scarves for the border children and families. The fact that children and babies were experiencing the same kind fear and pain, all coming from a country “big and powerful,” is as hideous, atrocious and sad as it is unconscionable. 

As Trump, whom I could safely say has never have experienced tear gas, sat pompously in his chair during the press conference with the American flag and emblems of democracy behind him, he spat not only on the suffering immigrants—he also spat on this country. 

It’s believed by some that Robert Mueller is waiting for the new House majority to be sworn in this upcoming January so his Special Counsel report can be more safely delivered. Trump will be exposed more than we can imagine (and we can imagine a lot). It is then that the House Democrats will finally have the ability to start impeachment proceedings.

Trump will fall hard one day soon. Evil always does. And for lack of a better expression, that day can’t come too soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The NRA lost about $57,000,000 in revenue last year—thoughts and prayers

DALLAS, TX - MAY 05:  A custom "Trump 45" handgun is displayed during the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on May 5, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.  The National Rifle Association's annual meeting and exhibit runs through Sunday.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Might have to start pawning some of these gold Trump guns
A couple of weeks ago it was reported that the NRA was hurting so badly financially that its Fairfax, Virginia, headquarters had cut out free coffee and water for its employees. Of course, we all sent thoughts and prayers the organization’s way.

According to Politico, its revenue dropped by about $57 million this past year.1
The gun-rights group posted an even steeper drop in membership dues, which fell 22 percent, or $35 million, to a five-year low, according to documents the NRA filed with the Internal Revenue Service this month.
The NRA has a lot on its plate these days.2 The blue wave that hit the country earlier this month wiped away some of its most well-funded Republican lackeys.3 It is clearly being investigated (to what degree no one exactly knows) for possibly involvement in foreign money-laundering and possible treason.But don’t you worry, NRA official Andrew Arulanandam tells Politico:
“The NRA has approximately 5.5 million dues paying members today — the highest level ever in the history of our Association,” Arulanandam said in a written statement. “The historical fact is nobody has fought for and produced results in defending Second Amendment rights and American values like the NRA.”
The historical fact is? Sounds like Mr. Arulanandam is either copying and pasting a Donald Trump Jr. soliloquy, or he’s just as much of a dunderhead. Here’s another historical fact:
Gun control groups outspent the National Rifle Association in the midterm elections, pouring more than $11m into congressional races as NRA spending dropped dramatically.
The majority of Americans want common-sense gun-safety laws. The NRA is afraid that any and all laws will reveal their con game, by making people less afraid of their neighbors. 
1 Thoughts and prayers.
2 Prayers and thoughts.
3 We are thinking about praying for them.
4 We are praying about whether or not to think about them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Here's what Paul Manafort was lying about—and it's the missing piece between Moscow and Trump

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11:  Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Paul Manafort was hauled back into court this week to face charges from the special counsel that he had breached his plea deal by “repeatedly lying.” And now the Guardian has a report that would seem to be something very, very worth lying about.
Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told.
The source for the story sets Manafort’s visit to Assange in March of 2016.

Which puts Manafort’s visit, and his chairing of the Trump campaign, squarely in the middle of the Russian hacking effort.

This is what that period looked like when everything is put together: On February 29, Paul Manafort sent Trump a written “pitch” document explaining how he should direct the campaign. His pitch was backed by a recommendation from Roger Stone.

The very next week, Trump senior campaign staffer Sam Clovis told the team that “good US-Russia relations” were a goal of the campaign. The week after that George Papadopoulos, fresh off hearing Clovis describe the campaign’s desire for good Russia relations, first met with the London-based “professor” who claimed to have Russia connections. That was all in March.

So was this: Russians begin a dedicated attempt to hack into the emails of more than 300 employees of the DNC, DCCC, and Clinton campaign using two large teams of specialists. They managed to penetrate the the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, stealing 50,000 emails through a phishing attack. Hackers gained another entrance to other accounts on the campaign that same week, and began sophisticated attacks on the security of servers at the DNC. That was in March.

At the end of the month, two things happened: Trump met with his campaign team, where Papadopoulos discussed Russian help and the possibility of meeting with Putin. And Paul Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign.

If Paul Manafort was meeting with Julian Assange in March 2016, it shows that every part of the Russian plan, from stealing Democratic emails to distributing them through WikiLeaks, was planned in advance. And that the campaign chair of the Trump campaign was at the dead center of that plan.
One key question is when the Trump campaign was aware of the Kremlin’s hacking operation – and what, if anything, it did to encourage it. Trump has repeatedly denied collusion.
The March 2016 meeting wasn’t Manafort’s first visit with Assange. The use of both stolen emails and social media campaigns was something Manafort relied on heavily in his actions in Ukraine.

Why did Paul Manafort lie? Because it increasingly looks like the origin of the plan to attack the United States through stolen emails, false media accounts, and social media pressure didn’t originate with Moscow, it came from Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.

Manafort did for Trump what he did for pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. And with the same assist from Moscow. That’s worth lying about.

And based on how Robert Mueller waited until Trump turned in his written responses before calling Manafort on the carpet, it’s going to be interesting to see how many of his lies Trump repeated.

What’s that word?  Boom.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Manafort plea deal may have started as a set up for Robert Mueller ... and ended as a trap for Trump

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Paul Manafort (R), former campaign manager for Donald Trump, arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, February 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is Manafort's first court appearance since his longtime deputy Rick Gates pleaded guilty last week in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
I ... don't got this

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has accused Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort of breaching his plea deal by repeatedly lying to investigators after agreeing to provide information in exchange for a reduced sentence. This positions Manafort to face higher penalties for his original charges and additional penalties based on misleading the investigation in the weeks since he made his plea. It also opens the possibility that Donald Trump will pardon Manafort—a possibility that was underlined by Trump’s actions over the last day. Put together, there’s a real sense that this was the intention all along: Send in Manafort to distract and mislead the investigation with Trump holding out the promise of a Get Away With It All deal should his campaign manager be caught.

But there’s more to it then just Manafort being unable to find the off button on his lies. The way this is playing out suggests there’s another angle: One in which Manafort and Trump were together all along in hopes of upsetting the special counsel investigation. Except this dirty trick may be backfiring. 

According to the New York Times, Robert Mueller’s team was in court on Monday to report that Manafort’s “crimes and lies” on a number of topics means that his plea deal is void. All except the guilty plea. Because the way the deal was made, Manafort is not allowed to withdraw his guilty plea. In fact, Manafort testified to his guilt, in court, in a prolonged statement made before a judge on the day the plea was signed.
Striking a plea deal with Mr. Manafort in September potentially gave prosecutors access to information that could prove useful to their investigation. But their filing on Monday, a rare step in a plea deal, suggested that they thought Mr. Manafort was withholding details that could be pertinent to the Russia inquiry or other cases.
Everything about the Manafort deal seems to scream that Manafort meant to lie from the outset. It also seems to show that Mueller knew Manafort was likely to be less than honest when he agreed to a deal. Because of course he was. Paul Manafort’s entire life consists of lying, cheating, and getting away with it.

From his time as an official “dirty trickster” with Roger Stone, to his role as “the torturer’s lobbyist,” right through his seamless transition in to tumbling governments for profit, Manafort hasn’t just lied, cheated, and stolen, he’s come out smelling like—whatever an ostrich-skin vest smells like. In the midst of helping dictators and selling democracy down the river, Manafort was brought back again and again to chair Republican conventions and campaigns. Why shouldn’t he expect it would work again?

And Trump’s fresh round of tweets and statements against Robert Mueller may show that Manafort’s deal wasn’t only with Mueller. In a series of tweets on Tuesday morning, Trump did not mention Manafort directly, but railed repeatedly against how the special counsel investigation “ruins lives.” Before insisting they should be ruining someone else’s life.

The way in which this came down suggests that, from the beginning, Manafort made his plea not in an effort to reduce his sentence, but as a way to curry favor with Trump.

Rather than face a series of charges in federal court that repeatedly trotted out his association with Russia and the rather clumsy schemes to launder money through real estate transactions—both of which served as a tutorial on what to expect should Mueller actually delve into Trump’s business dealings—Manafort may have taken a proposal to the the Tweeter in Chief.

Here’s how that might have gone:
  1. Manafort agrees to a plea deal, promising to tell all. However, what Manafort tells doesn’t just stop short of “all,” it includes deliberate lies and omissions.
  2. In addition to giving Mueller a sanitized version of events, Manafort reports back to Trump on what the investigation is asking him, providing invaluable prep as Trump determines his own actions.
  3. At the same time, Donald Trump is preparing to answer a set of written questions from Robert Mueller’s team. He delays and delays on providing these answers because … because he’s waiting for his inside man to reassure him that the special counsel has swallowed the “official” version of what happened hook, line, and sinker.
  4. Reassured by Manafort that he has sold Mueller’s team on a carefully edited version of the “truth,” Trump turns in his homework.
  5. And it’s only after Mueller has Trump’s answers in hand that he marches Manafort back into court and reveals that he knew the campaign manager was lying all along. Now Mueller doesn’t just have Manafort on record lying, he has written proof that Manafort and Trump were conspiring again to deceive and misdirect the investigation.
In fact, if Trump and Manafort were working together to sell a story to Mueller’s team, it could not only represent the best example of Trump’s willingness to lie to avoid responsibility, it could be a definitive example how his lies never end.

Paul Manafort’s entire lifestyle of having his name clipped into his lawn and having a Mercedes delivered to one of his many homes with the frequency that most people buy milk was based on the idea that he could always find a bigger lie to sell. In this case, it seems he tried to sell it to Robert Mueller. But the person left paying the bill could be Donald Trump.

Maybe this version gives Mueller too much credit. Maybe there was no scheme between Trump and Manafort. But it certainly looks at this point as if Robert Mueller opened up a door marked “one last chance to demonstrate who you are” and both Trump and Manafort hurried in.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Secret Service interrogates Tom Arnold at his home about anti-Trump tweets


Actor and comedian Tom Arnold is a very outspoken critic of Donald Trump. The former Celebrity Apprentice contestant has said that there is terrible B-roll video evidence of the president, during his days as the face of the show, saying offensive things about everybody and everything. Arnold is a tough foil for Trump in that the two men have shared the same physical space before, and at one time might have passed for whatever Donald Trump considers “friends.” Arnold is also wildly erratic and prone to grand gestures of self-importance, making him something of a comparable nemesis for our current self-important windbag in chief. 

Mother Jones reports that Arnold gave them an hour-long security tape purporting to show a conversation Arnold and two Secret Service agents had, during an interview at the actor’s home, on October 25 of this year. In it, the two agents explain to Arnold that his social-media reach is a big part of why they are there to warn him about his statements about the president.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the interrogation came when the two agents explained to Arnold that the Secret Service’s main concern was not that he was personally dangerous but that tweets and Facebook posts can spur others to engage in violent action. One of the agents noted, “We’re not the First Amendment police… You’re free to say whatever you want to say within certain boundaries… In your type of case, what we’re concerned with a lot, too, is the audience it can reach, that it could incite somebody to do something.”
The day the agents met with Arnold at his home, President Trump was reportedly bitching and moaning that he was the real victim of the recent unsuccessful pipe-bomb attempts on the lives of former President Barack Obama, Democratic politicians like Hillary Clinton, and Democratic donor George Soros—all people Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked in the press and on social media.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Bernie Sanders Targets Walmart and Takes Aim at Low Wages and CEO Pay

Bernie Sanders. (photo: Antonella Crescimbeni)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: Antonella Crescimbeni)

By Adam Gabbatt, Guardian UK
25 November 18

Stop Walmart Act would prevent large companies from buying back stock unless they pay all employees at least $15 an hour

ernie Sanders and California congressman Ro Khanna recently launched the Stop Walmart Act – a campaign that would force Walmart and other large corporations to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The legislation would prevent large companies from “buying back” stock – when a company buys its shares back from the market, often enabling it to distribute more cash to shareholders – unless they committed to the $15-an-hour minimum and allowed employees seven days paid sick leave.

Sanders and Khanna wrote:
Walmart made more than $13bn in profits last year, while the median worker was paid just $19,177. Instead of using its profits to raise wages to a living wage of $15 an hour, Walmart plans to buy back $20bn of its own stock over a two-year period to enrich its executives and shareholders.
Another crucial part of the legislation would be that buybacks would be prohibited unless a company ensured that CEO compensation was not more than 150 times the median pay of all employees.

Sanders and Khanna say the chief executive of Walmart currently makes 1,188 times as much as the median worker.

Ocasio-Cortez making presence felt on climate change

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 150 activists from the environmental organization Sunrise Movement for a protest at Nancy Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill last week.

The demonstration called for urgent action on climate change now the Democrats have seized control of the House. Activists – including the progressive organization Justice Democrats – want Pelosi to create a select committee for a Green New Deal, which would have the power to push meaningful legislation to tackle climate change.

“Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic party leadership must get serious about the climate and our economy,” said the group’s communications director, Waleed Shahid, a director at Justice Democrats.

“Anything less is tantamount to denying the reality of climate change. The hopeful part is that we’re ushering a new generation of leaders into the Democratic party who understand the urgency and will help build a movement to create the political will for bold action.”

The select committee for a Green New Deal – a draft proposal for which is on Ocasio-Cortez’s website – would have the authority to develop a detailed federal plan to help the US economy transition to carbon neutral status. It would also have the power to investigate industries or groups that it “deems to be a relevant resource” – including holding public hearings.

What we’re reading

“Oil and gas corporations dumped millions of dollars into the 2018 elections to defeat the major initiatives that could have slightly reduced fossil fuel use,” writes David Sirota in the Guardian. That includes pouring $40m into opposing the modest Proposition 112 in Colorado, which aimed to force oil and gas wells and fracking sites back from from homes, hospitals and schools. And throwing similarly whopping amounts into tackling clean energy measures in Washington State and Arizona.

The expenditure – which didn’t start this cycle by any means – has some prominent Democrats “cowering in fear”, Sirota says. But he believes there is hope for those who don’t want the planet to wither and die – 14 states are now controlled by Democrats, who can wield that power to curb emissions and mandate renewable energy measures.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Believe it or not, there's somebody even more worried about Mueller than Trump.

Leavenworth prison freshman class of 2020

You know, Der Gropinfuror really should stop calling it a “witch hunt.” At last check, small as it is, Trump still had a teenie-weenie, so he really should be referring to Mueller’s investigation as a “warlock hunt.”

There’s no doubt about it, Robert Mueller is the #12 reason for soaked bed sheets in the Presidential bedroom, following incontinence. And I don’t blame Trump one little bit. After all, if Ruday Fhouliani and Jay Suckulow were my last line of defense against Robert Mueller, I’d be scared shitless too.

But believe it or not, there is one person in Washington DC who is even more terrified of Robert Mueller than The Cheeto Prophet is. And that man is Mitch McConnell, Trump’s last, best chance of getting out of this mess with his ass unscathed.

In McConnell’s case, it is perfectly admissible for him to use the phrase “witch hunt.” And that’s because, starting on January 3rd, Nancy Pelosi is going to be leading the coven, and that woman has one mean ass broomstick.Not only does McConnell no longer have a complaint co-conspirator leading the House, what he has instead is an opponent who knows the game and arcane rules every bit as well as he does, and she has a largely unified caucus behind her. “Bubble, bubble, toila d trouble,” asshole.

The real problem for McConnell isn’t just that the Democratic led House committees are going to be holding fair, honest investigations, it’s that the ungrateful little bastards are going to hold them publicly. And it won’t be just Trump-Russia either, they’re going to be digging into Trump’s emoluments clause violations, Jared’s financial ties to the middle east, Trump’s ties to Saudi Arabia, Ivanka’s sweetheart patent deals with China, the list goes on and on. and Democratic House committee members will be overjoyed to go on CNN and MSNBC, and explain what it means to the rest of us in simple, easy to grasp terms.Which sucks for McConnell, because while, our bombastic rhetoric about “family values” notwithstanding, Americans have always been rather ambivalent about their President getting a little on the side, we still tend to draw the line at our President selling out the country to stuff his pockets.

The 2018 midterms were McConnell’s worst case of night terrors, because of what it portends for 2020. Nevermind the House debacle, McConnell has worse smelling fish to fry. The Democrats posted record turnout numbers nationwide in a midterm, and thrashed the GOP by some 8 million votes. They flipped seven Governorships in 2018, including ruby red Kansas, putting upward pressure on any GOP incumbents running in those states. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are now blue states again, and North Carolina, Georgia and Texas are not going to be the walkovers they once were. The biggest problem GOP Senate incumbents face in 2020 is whether it’s worse to piss Trump off, and have him back a primary challenger from the right, or let him come and campaign for you, especially in states with large urban areas with adjoining former GOP suburban strongholds.

Look, the GOP was solidly behind Nixon, right up to the point where it became untenable to do so. Forget about Trump-Russia for a minute. Trump is not only dishonest enough, he is sloppy enough to have left the democrats in the House a cornucopia of immoral, unethical, and quite possibly criminal behavior that the Democrats are going to be able to expose, and to great effect. And while a lot of people may not be “into” the political complexities of Trump and Russia, especially with the incessant “witch hunt” branding Trump has given it, what they are going to be into is when they find out just how spectacularly he’s been screwing them! His loyal Trombies may drink the kool-ade, but everybody else in the country is going to want their pund of flesh. They are already going to be starting out 8 million votes behind with Trump at the top of the ticket, and the GOP already tried lying about their healthcare votes in 2018, and it failed miserably. Lying about all of this other shit isn’t going to save them either. Tick-tock Mitch.

The wait is over! Volume two of the trilogy, President Evil II: A Clodwork Orange is now available. Amazon is whining about me crashing their site, but the hell with them, I ain't in this for their health. You can also find volume one, President Evil as well. And fear not, work on volume three is just beginning.

Cross posted on 

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Greenberg: Trump is Beginning to Lose His Grip

Writing in the New York Times, Stanley Greenberg says that Trump is beginning to lose his grip on power.  Greenberg is a pollster, and he says that it was not just white suburban women who switched to Democrats in the Mid-terms.  Parts of rural and white working class voters, male and female, peeled off, too. 

That means that Trump is even losing some of his base.  Yes, Democrats mostly won in the cities and suburbs and mostly lost in rural areas, which makes us look divided on rural/urban lines.

But Greenberg looked at the swings in those areas and found that it was the rural areas which moved the furthest toward Democrats—even if in many cases it was not far enough to flip the seat for Democrats. We saw that heartbreakingly in losing Senate seats in ND, MO, and IN and in failing to flip the Senate seat in TX, the governorships in GA, & FL and in House districts like the KY-06 or the WV-03.

Update: Even in those losses, the Democratic candidate over performed the partisan lean of the district or state.] 

Working people are not fools, and Mr. Trump promised them a Republican president who would never cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid; who would repeal Obamacare but provide “insurance for everybody”; who would get rid of bad trade deals and “drain the swamp,” as he never tired of saying. Instead, had Mr. Trump’s effort to replace Obamacare passed, it would have imposed vast cuts in retirement programs and driven up health insurance costs. His tax reforms were heavily weighted to large corporations and the top 1 percent. So it is no surprise that more than half of white working class men now believe that Mr. Trump is “self-dealing” and corrupt.

Greenberg argues that Democratic Senate candidates in MI, Wi, OH, and PA called out Trump on these issues and they won by double digits (even if, in OH, the other offices did not flip). But Greenberg argues that reaction to Trump is actually making us LESS divided—not undivided, not unified, but LESS divided.

Greenberg thought it would take a massive loss by Trump in 2020 before the nation could begin to heal, but it looks like, he argues, that we are beginning that healing already.  And that means that Trump is losing his grip on power.

I sure hope he is right.