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Send Out the Clowns — Trump in Europe, Congress in Sane

July 12th 2018

“I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk how many times did you look all innocent in your wife’s eyes and lie about Ms. Page.”

And with that, Louie Gohmert, well known as being the most vicious clown in Congress, managed a new personal low, talking that august body, the House of Representatives, with him.

Wait, did I say ‘august’? Silly me. It’s only July. Although a case can be made for Congress being August; after all, that’s the dog days, and Congress has no shortage of curs.

Gohmert was attacking Peter Strzok, the FBI employee who wrote emails to his girlfriend disparaging then-candidate Donald Trump. Gohmert was exercising whatever it is that passes in him for moral outrage to defend the honor of serial adulterer Donald Trump.

It was a low point, but not by much. The Republicans were doing everything in their power to discredit Strzok, the FBI, the Justice Department, and anything and anyone that might bring Donald Trump and much of their own criminal party to justice.

The ones that weren’t vicious were almost preposterously stupid. Paul Gosar, an Arizona dentist who got tired of working for a living and ran for Congress, said to Strzok, “I’m a dentist, OK? So I read body language very, very well. And I watched you comment in your interactions with Mr. Gowdy. You got very angry in regards to the Gold Star father. That shows me that it’s innately a part of you and a bias.”

Well, OK, then. Let’s see if we can recreate the situation in that air conditioned dentist’s office that made Gosar such an expert.

Observe, Watson. The patient has his hands drawn into claws. His back is arched, his face is red, tears are streaming from the sides of his eyes, and he is emitting a loud, shrill, unpleasant noise. Do you note?”

“Amazing, Gosar. I have observed, and noted none of these things. How do you do it?”

“Acute powers of observation, Watson. Nothing more. But what do you deduce from this?

“The patient is, perhaps, a Democrat.”

“That is possible. Likely, even. But it suggests something a more immediate nature, Watson.”

“What would that be, Gosar?”

“That I forgot to administer the novocaine.”

Yes, he’s a member of Congress. Three terms now. The tide brings him in every two years, and the voters keep throwing him back. Bad teeth must be a small price to pay.

Republicans actually tried to threaten Strzok with contempt of Congress for refusing to divulge FBI investigation details that he is forbidden by law to answer. It happened like this: After declaring a motion to adjourn out of order, Chairman Goodlatte, who will never be associated with a tasty coffee drink, erupted in fury that Strzok refused to answer questions pertaining to confidential or secret FBI matters and threatened him with Contempt, despite an existing agreement that the committee honor such restrictions on what they could demand of him. Gleeful Democrats demanded the committee recall Steve Bannon, who also refused to answer some questions, but his basis was that to do so might embarrass President Trump.

They even tried accusing Strzok of claiming Trump supporters stink because he went to a Walmart in the sticks and “could smell the levels of Trump support.” Apparently metaphor is beyond the intellectual capabilities of the moral giants and magic dentists of the GOP.

The Republicans were betting the farm that they would find something, anything, to suggest that a) Strzok was tring to influence the 2016 presidential election and b) that the Russians were not. It’s safe to say they failed miserably, managing in front of a huge television audience, to thoroughly cover themselves in shit. Contempt of Congress isn’t a crime; it’s a sign of mental health.

Congress wasn’t the only branch of government making a complete ass of itself, of course. Trump barreled through Europe, doing all he could go blow up NATO. (Ironically, at the same moment that Strzok was explaining to the Committee that his remark that Trump must be stopped was based on Trump’s campaign pledge to make defense of NATO allies conditional on how much vig they put up.) He deep-sixed his own ally other than Putin by telling Prime Minister Teresa May publicly that she handled brexit all wrong.

(Remember the howls of outrage when Obama told the Brits that Brexit would move the UK down a notch as a trading partner to America? “Monstrous outrage” was one of the terms they used. According to Faux News, “Trump slams British PM over Brexit plan, warns US trade deal ‘probably’ dead in the water.” with the sub header, “Despite anger in London, Trump finds support in England’s pro-Brexit working“-class towns.” Oh, well, that’s OK then. He has support in Sheffield, so who cares what London thinks? )

Obama said Brexit was a mistake, and was clearly trying to interfere in someone else’s election, and that’s not a bit like Trump’s best budyy, that nice Mister Putin, who wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing.

Speaking of which, Putin and Trump meet in Finland next. No staffers, no aids, no interpreters. No witnesses.

It’s a truly terrifying prospect.

But perhaps Congressman/Dentist Gosar will read their body language as they leave the meeting, and tell us just how badly Trump has sold us all out.

NOTE: Article corrected to reflect that Putin and Trump are meeting in Finland, not Iceland as I originally stated.


Kavanaugh — The latest face in America’s decline into fascism

July 10th 2018

There’s a story going around that the reason Trump picked Brett Kavanaugh as his second nominee to the Supreme Court is that retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy offered to retire now and not after the midterms if Trump picked Kavanaugh to replace him. The thinly-sourced story, broken by NBC, seems unlikely on the face of it. Kennedy may like or not like Kavanaugh, but it’s unlikely he sees him as a continuation of the Kennedy legacy—whatever that is.

Slightly more plausible is the theory that Trump just wanted to annoy liberals. The day after his announcement, he pardoned the Hammonds, a couple of common land thieves who deliberately set fire to publicly-owned federal lands in hopes of making the land worthless for anything other than grazing. He saw their cause as anti-environmental, one of the more suicidal elements of Republican spite.

But the infantile philosophy of “Kiss a Nazi, it really annoys Democrats” could have pertained to any of the names on his showy short list, all of whom were religious whacks who disguised utter contempt for the Constitution in the nonsense jargon of ‘original intent.’ If the Constitution, hotly debated and compromised from the first word to the last, was crystal clear in its intent, what would we need with a Supreme Court?

All of them had appalling Dominionist policies, coupled with a deep, fascistic desire to make Americans the property of corporations.

Another theory going around is that Kavanaugh was willing to swear loyalty to Trump personally as a condition of being nominated. That one is much more credible, because Trump has made similar demands of his other appointees and department heads, including most notoriously James Comey. Kavanaugh would just be Tony Soprano’s Big Pussy (“Please. Not in the face.”). Is Kavanaugh dishonest and dishonorable enough to agree to such an oath in return for the coveted seat? I hope the Senate asks him about that.

No, the main reason Trump selected Kavanaugh over the sad pack of godstruck corporate hacks was because Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh alone, was on record—repeatedly—of asserting that a sitting president should not be subject to indictment or criminal persecution while in office. It seems a curious stance for a man who played a leading role in the writing of the Starr Report, a damp piece of juvenile pornography (“Daddy, what does ‘analingus’ mean?) that was used to impeach and lynch a sitting president. The Starr Special Counsel’s office leaked like a syphiletic penis, and some believe Kavanaugh to be the starr leaker, particularly the juicy Monica Lewinsky scandal that the Republicans hoped would finish off Bill Clinton.

In the Minnesota Law Review in 2008 Kavanaugh penned an article entitled “Separation of Powers,” in which he wrote:

The result the Supreme Court reached in Clinton v. Jones—that presidents are not constitutionally entitled to deferral of civil suits—may well have been entirely correct; that is beyond the scope of this inquiry. But the Court in Jones stated that Congress is free to provide a temporary deferral of civil suits while the President is in office.

Congress may be wise to do so, just as it has done for certain members of the military. Deferral would allow the President to focus on the vital duties he was elected to perform. Congress should consider doing the same, moreover, with respect to criminal investigations and prosecutions of the President.

In particular, Congress might consider a law exempting a President—while in office—from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel. Criminal investigations targeted at or revolving around a President are inevitably politicized by both

their supporters and critics. As I have written before, “no Attorney General or special counsel will have the necessary credibility to avoid the inevitable charges that he is politically motivated—whether in favor of the President or against him, depending on the individual leading the investigation and its results.”

The indictment and trial of a sitting President, moreover, would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas.

Even standing alone, the argument is radical. It isn’t enough that a president be shielded from criminal indictment, he argues; the President should be shielded from criminal investigation. Not only would a president be exempt from criminal law; he would be exempt from any inquiry of whether any evidence of criminal activity existed. Under such an arrangement, there could be no investigation into the 1972 Watergate break-in until 1977, when an unchallenged Nixon finally left office.

The appeal to Trump is obvious. It’s his ‘get out of jail free’ card, held by someone he probably regards as his own personal justice. It’s probably the main—indeed the only—reason he picked Kavanaugh.

But there is a drawback to Trump’s fantasy that he’s probably too dim to be aware of, and it’s almost certain Kavanaugh does know what it is, and chose not to mention it to Trump.

Clinton vs. Jones is stare decisis –- standing law –- and while it can be modified by an act of Congress, it cannot be done ex post facto, or after the fact. It could only apply to future inquiries against future presidents. Such a law would not apply to the existing Mueller investigation, or any of its findings.

Given his writings, Kavanaugh would have to rule in a way Trump would not like, not one little bit. That, or he could recuse himself, and we all know Trump doesn’t handle recusals at all well. Although that course of action would reflect better on Kavanaugh.

Congress might pass such a law between now and January (unlikely, since it would require 60 votes in the Senate) and the SC would probably find itself being petitioned for an emergency ruling at that point, or risk a possible revolution. Public tensions would be sky-high.

At that point, the Court would have to decide between law and order, or Trump and chaos.

It Can’t Happen Here — Of Course It Can. It Just Did.

June 18th 2018

Is there anyone reading this who approves of taking children from undocumented immigrants and throwing them in concentration camps? If so, please stop reading now, and go throw yourself into the intake of a running jet engine, or try flossing with a running chainsaw. I don’t much care what happens to you, as long as I don’t have to put up with you. Go. Now.

“It Can’t Happen Here” is, of course, the title of a 1935 satirical novel by Sinclair Lewis. It was a time of Huey Long and Father Coughlin, when American plutocrats openly admired fascism and strove to push America in the same direction as Germany and Italy. Both the Presidents Bush and Trump are descendants of the 1930s proto-Nazis who thought Hitler offered a better way.

It was also a time when Americans viewed themselves as independent and freer than any people on the face of the Earth* (well, the 35% of Americans who could own property if they wanted, eat at any restaurant, or run for office). It was a time when the notion that big business was a friend to Americans and would treat them fairly was rapidly losing ground, and both fascism and communism were gaining ground amongst working Americans with promises of decent income and respect.

Lewis understood that in times of deep national crisis, Americans could be their own worst enemy, more than willing, desperate to follow the siren songs of every demagogue that came down the path. And of course, quite a few did.

As horrible as the current situation is, I do see one ray of hope. I’ve never seen the American public so outraged, and it includes segments of the population that I believed had simply abandoned all ethics and decency in order to follow Trump. Wide swatches of the fundamentalist Christian movement, which had just last month been 80% pro-Trump, are not only breaking with Trump over the incredible cruelty of his immigration policy. Two governors, in Massachusetts and Colorado, have respectively pulled their National Guard or mandated they not participate in the ‘jail the children’ movement. Every single living first lady, including Melania, have condemned this.

Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, America’s tag-team of five-and-dime fascists, openly chortled over how effective truly vicious cruelty could be in dealing with the relatively trivial problem of immigrants sneaking in. Jeff Sessions, America’s most despicable Southern-fried pixie, described the Trump policy as “zero-tolerance policy that leads to the high rate of family separations as a method to deter immigrants.”

Steal their children and throw them in the camps. His answer to the immigration problem is to turn American into a place no decent, sane person would ever want to visit. It’s an effective policy; immigration to Germany plummeted in the late 30s.

Trump tried to play all sides of the issue, first declaring that throwing children in concentration camps would continue until he got his silly wall. Then he said it was a Democratic Law that was causing it, and his hands were tied. (Apparently he forgot that the policy—not law, policy—of jailing the kids began just six weeks ago). Most recently, he sent his forlorn flack, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen out to explain that America wasn’t throwing children in camps. They shipped the Gestapo head in all the way from New Orleans, where she presumably was setting fire to kittens, to fill in for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who apparently couldn’t take another day of discussing the matter with the press.

Sanders is the most shameless and souless liar in America, and it would be nice to assume that she finally reached the bottom, ethically and spiritually. Hell, maybe she has. She wouldn’t be the first fundie this week to go, “Hey, Trump ain’t no Jesus! He’s a dirtbag!”

Trump today declared America would not become a “migrant camp.” Silly bastard doesn’t realize the United States have ALWAYS been a migrant camp. Nearly all of us are from somewhere else. Trump’s grandfather was from Germany, and opened a whore house in Canada. Then came to America to inflict his predatory capitalism on Americans. A fine family tradition.

I wonder how many members of the Trump administration have asked themselves, “Suppose it was my kids? How would I feel if they were forcibly taken from me, and tossed into a camp where they were not to be told how long they would be there, or if they would ever see their parents again? If the children cried, nobody could comfort them or even touch them. Apparently the administration isn’t even keeping track of what kids belong to what parents.  Have they discarded the notion that some of these kids might survive the camps?

An audiotape came out today that had one of the concentration camp guards mocking a childrenfor crying. Said guard sounds like someone who needs to be run over by a bus. Slowly. Repeatedly. While an orchestra plays. He can conduct, if he wants.

But Sanders probably just didn’t want to put up with those uppity reporters. I’m quite certain Trump is looking for internment facilities for the media, CNN in particular.

Or maybe she realized the Trump administration is doomed, and is just mailing it in now.

Doesn’t matter. Once she’s out of the White House, she’ll spend the rest of her life trying not to be recognized whenever she goes outside. That seems a reasonable fate.

Meanwhile, Trumpkins need to beware. Autocrats like Trump always end up turning on their own, and before America finally rids itself of him, he’ll have a fair bit of opportunity to do just that. Just ask Jeff Sessions. (OK, Sessions richly deserves abuse. But still).

Trumpkins, the next children Trump throws into the maw of his vicious Gulag monument to his ego might be yours. History makes that a near certainty. Especially if Americans wait too long, and this dissolute monster consolidates his power.

Blame Canada — Or maybe it’s Canadian Bacon

Blame Canada — Or maybe it’s Canadian Bacon

June 10th 2018

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) just defined the term “custard head” by agreeing that if the summit between Pissmop and Little Rocket Man blow up, it’s all Canada’s fault. The only reason he won’t replace “custard head” in the dictionary is because it’s much easier to spell and pronounce than is Krishnamoorthi. Still, his constituents, in a deep blue district, need to peer closely at their Congressman and ask themselves if the man is secretly an idiot, or maybe just had one too many that morning.

You expect this sort of lunacy from the Trump administration, and most of the Republicans in Congress, who are so busy trying to conclude their coup against the United States that they basically don’t give a wet shit how crazy Donald is, so long as they can finish off the New Deal and those pesky Civil Rights that they hate so much.

It’s easy to dismiss Krishnamoorthi as a custard head. It’s kind of the default state of Trump supporters these days. There’s also the crooks and the traitors, but they tend to be a subset. Most Trump supporters are fools. Either they know what he is and don’t care, or they don’t know what he is. Either state requires a heroic amount of stupidity.

“Krishnamoorthi was cuing off shameless Trumpenflak Peter Navarro, who actually said out lout, “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door, and that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference…That’s what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One.”

OK, I immediately thought of the song, “Blame Canada” from the animated movie “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.”

But I also thought of Michael Moore’s foray into fictional satire, the movie, “Canadian Bacon.” In it, a US president (Alan Alda) is tricked into a near-nuclear war with Canada by a lunatic businessman (GD Spradlin) whose business failure he blames on Canadian tariffs. As the crisis mushrooms (so to speak) Alda’s character tries to phony up a new cold war with the Russian president, a fellow named Vladimir, and when that fails, proposes an international war on terrorism, a concept his cabinet dismisses as too absurd for words. He doesn’t want a war with Canada; he is educated, and knows what happened whenever the US tried messing with Canada. It never went well.

It’s depressing how sane and intelligent the characters, even Spradlin’s, are, compared to what we have in reality now.

Michael Moore made that movie 23 years ago. Obviously this is all his fault.

OK, so if Trump screws up in his meeting with Kim Jung Un, it’s Trudeau’s fault. He made Trump look weak, foolish and brittle, qualities nobody had ever suspected of Trump before the all-powerful Trudeau destroyed him.

I suspect that Trudeau, who is widely viewed in Canada as a kitten with some housebreaking issues, is Trump’s go-to foil, someone he can blame for if the talks are so catastrophic that even Trump can’t put lipstick on it. Trudeau is a lightweight who is a bit too cozy with oil and some other vested interests. He does great photo op, and has a knack for crowd-pleasing moves. Machiavellian and possessed of great personal power he is not. If his last name was “Smith” he would probably be in the Civil Service, in charge of teaching French in Newfoundland and Labrador. Yes, Canada has a province called “Newfoundland and Labrador.” It used to be just “Newfoundland” but someone decided a mouthful like that needed four more syllables. It’s not quite as goofy as “The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”, but it is in the same league. Oh, wait. No, it’s in the Canadian League. But I digress.

I spent some time trying to think of historical parallels to this. I’m sure there are some, since many leaders in history have been childish, bratty, and incapable of normal human relationships. Most of them have been (wisely) forgotten by history. A fellow named Dr. Robert Sternberg wrote a book called Why Smart People Can Be So Foolish, and identified five fallacies associated with bad or unwise leadership. These fallacies were, in order given: Unrealistic Optimism; Ego-Centrism; Omniscience; Omnipotence; and Invulnerability. All involve large amounts of self-deception, slopping over into delusion.

Hmm. Looks like Trump is what the baseball scouts call “a five-tool player”. He makes Louie Gohmert look sane. That’s terrifying. He makes Krishnamoorthi look smart, even as he makes him sound stupid. That’s pretty scary, too.

Now, I’ve said in the past that I never expected this summit to take place. I figured someone in the Trump administration would figure out a way to put the brakes on this diplomatic disaster. But I keep underestimated the Republican capacity for servility and cowardice when it comes to Trump. They really are pathetic.

Trump, barring a massive political insult even he can’t ignore, will come back, gloating over his great victory. He will have convinced North Korea to destroy its nuclear arsenal, and in return, all America will have to do is destroy its own nuclear arsenal, cede Hawaii to North Korea, and become a province of Russia. Hawaii, because volcanoes and it will annoy the shit out of Barack Obama, and Russia because…well, that had nothing to do with Korea. He was going to do that anyway.

Chuck Schumer, a bit of a kitten himself, tweeted, “Are we executing Putin’s diplomatic and national security strategy or AMERICA’s diplomatic and national security strategy? After the last few days, it’s hard to tell.” No, actually, it’s all too easy to tell. Trump is a fool, a crook, and a traitor.

Now, Kim might greet Trump by telling him “I like Trudeau because he makes you look weak and stupid.” And during negotiations, speak to his aides (well, his sister) in Korea, with the only English word in clear being “Mueller” interspersed with giggles.

At which point, Trump will declare war on Canada, and then attack Mexico because someone handed him the map upside down.

Milkin’ It — Why Canada Won’t Be Cowed By Trump

June 9th 2018

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

In the chaotic and insane presser Trump gave at the G6+1 summit in Québec he railed about the Canadian tariffs of 270% on American dairy products. He howled that this was a devastating blow to America’s brave, patriot dairy farmers, or words to that effect. Canada was screwing America inside out, an insult not to be borne!

Oh, those awful, awful Canucks. (Truth in Advertising time for those who didn’t already know: I’m a Canuck). Two hundred and seventy percent! No wonder America’s going down the tubes! It’s probably why the US budget will have an extra trillion deficit next year!

Well, it was almost lost in the avalanche of sheer nonsense that Pissmop uttered during that strange press conference, but what makes his whines about Canadian dairy pure nonsense is this one inconvenient fact: The US actually enjoys a trade surplus with Canada in dairy. It’s about a 5-1 trade surplus, at that. Granted, the market, in both directions, is minuscule—about $600 million US—but it still means that the US exports about a half billion in dairy to Canada while Canada exports about $100 million to the US. Now, in case Trump is reading this, I’ll type it very slowly: The US does not have a trade deficit with Canada over dairy, the stuff that comes from cows, and for some reason, hens. It actually sells more than it buys. Have someone with actual business experience explain it to you, Donald.

So why is Fearless Leader pissing and moaning about Canadian cows? The best reason anyone can think of is that Canada has a regulated, efficient and effective dairy industry, whereas the American one is in such an intense state of cutthroat competition that there is a huge oversupply of milk, with the result that the “gate price”–the price distributors are willing to pay to take it off farmers’ hands—is lower than what it cost the farmers to produce the milk. And that’s with the cows doing all the work.

American dairy farmers overproduce, hoping that having more to sell means that more will be bought, and they will thus get a bigger share of the market. Anyone who has taken Econ 101 in high school knows this is utter nonsense, and someone who knows anyone who took Econ 101 in high school will probably be able to explain it to Pissmop.

Milk is milk is milk; there isn’t a great variation in quality from one farm to the next, despite what the advertising says, so the market is free to select the lowest price, knowing the quality will be about equal to the stuff selling for a few pennies more per gallon or liter. Which further drives down prices.

What will happen is what is happening: small farms are being driven, and the big dairy companies are buying their stock, overproducing yet more to destroy the remaining small farmers, and eventually they will turn on one another, and classic economics suggest we’ll eventually end up with a consortium of three-to-five big companies that will collude to artificially raise milk prices and limit supply. This is known as “the free market”, a market in which suppliers, consumers, and the product are anything but free in any sense of the word.

Not only are American farmers going broke competing with one another, but last year they cumulatively threw away forty three million gallons of milk—literally dumped into holes in the ground.

In Canada, they have this thing called “Supply management.” The Canadian Dairy Commission (and doesn’t the name just scream “Nazi socialism”?) set national quotas on supply, and coordinate with the ten provinces to ensure a stable market in which supply very nearly matches demand. (I don’t know if it applies in the Territories, despite that being nearly half of Canadian real estate—I haven’t heard much about an Inuit dairy industry, and cows are notoriously unhappy on ice).

Now here’s the thing: It works. It works extremely well. Yes, it means higher prices for consumers, but since Canadians enjoy a higher level of disposable income, nobody minds much. They look at the madness of the American industry and realize that the extra fifty cents a liter is a wise investment.

American wants a dumping ground for the surpluses created by its overheated cutthroat industry, and Canada isn’t interested in destroying its own efficient and effective industry in order to oblige suicidally competitive American dairy farmers. Nor do they want a system that encourages such patently destructive competition. They are also suspicious of lax American regulations regarding the use of hormones and antibiotics in cattle, and GMOs. The wild-west approach to basic health and safety measures in America has led to a deepening mistrust of American food products.

Pissmop has to know he’s spewing nonsense when he attacks Canada over dairy trade imbalances, since it’s obvious the existing imbalance actually works in America’s favor. (Part of the reason for that is that Canada doesn’t limit imports on cheese, and the American standards for cheese, which include permitting a certain amount of animal parts in the cheese, is much lower—as are the prices.)

Trump is taking a similar approach to trade with the rest of the world: American can’t compete because standards are low for their products, so Trump is demanding the rest of the world lower their health and safety regulations to let America compete “on a level playing field.”

The problem is the rest of the world, including Canada, perhaps America’s best friend, are looking at the US the way is is right now and muttering to themselves, “Don’t be that guy.”

Gone Trumpin’ — North Korea Played Trump Like a Trout

May 17th 2018

Even before Trump came along, America had a bad reputation about keeping their word in international agreements. There’s a long list of American toadies who sold out their countries to American interests and then got shafted anyway, ranging from the Shah to Ky to Saddam Hussein.

One lesson stood out: meet American demands to disarm, and get attacked anyway. It happened in Iraq, and it happened in Libya. The lesson was clear enough; acquisce, and get beaten up. Show a willingness to put up a fight, and the Americans will back off.

So it was never in the cards that the paranoid and secretive regime in Pyongyang would agree to American demands they give up their nuclear weapons. Even if they didn’t already regard America as the absolute evil in the world (an opinion formed, in certain measure, by American atrocities in the Korean war), they had the object lessons from other places.

And now, with Trump in charge, America is absolutely feckless, and totally bereft of any moral rudder. They reneged on the Paris agreement. They reneged on the Iran agreement. They reneged on multiple treaties, including SEATO and NAFTA.

If American couldn’t be trusted in the eyes of North Korea when they had an honest president (Carter) or at least one who would stay bought (Clinton), why would they throw away the one element of self-defence they possess dealing with Trump?

Trump had been crowing about his diplomatic triumphs, both imaginary and delusional, for several weeks, puffed up with grandeur of delusions fed by the Faux Noise machine, which promised Trump would surely win the Nobel Prize for all this. It was so ridiculous that if Kim was any better than Trump, he might have deflated Trump as an act of mercy, because Trump went beyond ridiculous.

Of course, Kim isn’t really in a good position to notice wild megalomania and paranoid self-aggrandizement. He may have considered Trump’s behavior to be normal.

But he deflated Trump, and made him look like a fool in a way even Trump couldn’t miss.

The denouement was triggered, in part, by joint South Korea/US military exercises, which Pyongyang interpreted as an affront and an expression of poor faith bargaining. The Pentagon may have argued that they couldn’t stop the exercises because red tape would have reared up and strangled them all (not seeing a downside here…) but even if it wasn’t meant as an insult, or at least a challenge, it was taken that way.

Trump reacted with typical good grace, promising Kim he would meet the same fate that Gaddafi did. That seems a good way to restore Kim’s trust: threaten to have him lynched and stuffed in a sewer pipe.

Ah, Trump. Always the charmer. That’s how he proposed to Melania, you know.

He then went on to offer the least convincing carrot-and-stick deal since Hitler assured Churchill he could keep his brandy and cigars: Kim “will get protections that will be very strong. He’d be in his country and running his country. His country would be very rich.”

Why, he would even be allowed to stay in office and rule the country, if you define “office” as “stuffed in a sewer pipe” and rule as “having your intestines set on fire and your testicles ripped off.”

I just can’t imagine how Kim would refuse a deal like that. Trump is very trustworthy, you know: he says, “You can believe me” all the time. He couldn’t say that if it wasn’t true.

Trump will probably have to back away in angry confusion. He’s already so weakened as President that if he ordered an attack on North Korea (almost certain to result in nuclear and conventional attack on South Korea that would kill tens of millions) the Pentagon might actually mutiny. There’s already been open talk in the military about defying some of the more capricious scenarios likely to occur under Trump.

Iran has to be watching this closely, both for signs a humiliated Trump might try to save face by lashing out at them, and for object lessens on how to manage Trump. He is not shrewd, he’s easily played, and all Iran needs to do is figure out a good point of leverage. What can they offer to stroke Trump’s ego, and how can they manage it to either continue to play him, or if to make him fall flat on his face, leave him baffled and helpless.

Hint: look to Qatar. Suddenly, they’re Trump’s best buddies again. And all it cost them was a $300 million investment in that enormous white elephant at 666 Park Place.

Time is on the side of Trump’s would-be targets: as more and more evidence of Trump’s criminal and possibly treasonous activities emerge, his residency in office appears shorter and shorter. Even Senate Republicans are showing a willingness to move against him at this point.

In the meantime, in North Korea, they’re probably planning a spectacular military parade (of the type Trump yearns for so tragically) to celebrate their stupendous victory over the evil Americans.

Not that it matters to the North Korean people: they have to applaud such displays every other day and twice on Sundays, and somehow, they still go hungry.

War Games — Bribery, Corruption, Land Grabs and Swindles, Oh My!

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 12th, 2018


I had been treating the whole Stormy Daniels thing as an amusing sideshow. Anyone who ever watched “The Sopranos” knew that Trump was just a real-life version of Tony Soprano, and knew that he spent a lot of this spare time banging porn stars, hookers, and any woman unlucky enough to catch his attention. I didn’t have any reason to want to contemplate Trump’s sex life (ewwww…) but after nearly thirty years of listening to Republican whining and hypocritical, pious moaning over Bill Clinton, it was fun watching these same proctors of public morality proclaim that Trumps self-whoring and harassing was Different, somehow.

Even better was seeing the despicable Evangelical movement implode over Trump. Franklin, son of Dead Billy, asserted that it was nobody’s business who Trump was banging, and finished off the little credibility that sanctimonious pack of Mrs Grundies possessed.

With Trump enjoying an approval rating from these Falangists who wish to assert Dominion over us once and for all of 80%, it marked the absolute end of the reputation of evangelical Christianity as any sort of ethical or moral force, to the delight of everyone sick of their pious mewlings and scared of their designs to take over the country.

Against the background of the Mueller investigation and the sheer vicious criminality of the Trump regime, it seemed like small beans. I thought the prime effect would be the self-destruction of the puritans.

Then Avenatti started talking about the ‘fees’ that were pouring into Michael Cohen’s shell company for explications from Cohen on how the mind of America’s first RICO-American president actually worked. That had to be pretty tawdry, but was not, in itself, particularly illegal. While the intent (‘pay to play) was illegal, the fiction behind the fees was not. So it didn’t take any of the entities named, such as AT&T long to admit that they had, in fact, paid such fees to Cohen. In AT&Ts case, they stated they paid roughly double what Michael Avenatti knew about.

The media was aghast; it was a major story they had entirely missed. They were, of course, presuming that because they hadn’t noticed it, it probably didn’t exist, and of course the GOP ratfuckers went right to work, triumphantly announcing that the Avenatti claims where riddled with errors, including payments made to another Michael Cohen altogether.

It was that which sealed Cohen’s fate; examination showed that while there were some errors on his list, Avenatti had an accuracy rate of some 97%. What was worse was that more and more payees were coming forward (remember, they faced no legal jeopardy for this) and the pay-for-play system Cohen had erected was even bigger than Avenatti had discovered.

The next question was, “Why hasn’t Mueller acted on this?” Leaving aside the issue of whether any actual laws were broken (in Citizens United States, bribery is basically legal) it came to light that several of the biggest donors had already been quietly interviewed by Mueller’s people several months ago. Mueller runs an incredibly tight ship, and nobody in the media was bright enough to realize that rather than asking Mueller’s people what they asked various donors, they should ask the donors themselves, since they were under no obligation not to discuss the questions and answers.

In most countries, Trump and Cohen would be facing massive criminal charges and decades in prison.

In the roiling sewer of capitalist America, it’s not clear that they broke any laws. Financially, America is a bit like Deadwood, where the only consequence to murder is to make sure the victim didn’t have any buddies who might come looking for you for killing him.

Meanwhile, Trump unilaterally reneged on the Iran agreement, and Israel promptly began strafing some of the remaining Arab population on the Golan Heights under the guise of “attacking Iran outposts”. Syria fired their own rockets, promoting howls that they had attacked Israeli territory.

They hit the Golan Heights, which is Syrian. For decades, Israeli land thieves, squatters calling themselves “settlers” had been infiltrating the occupied area (never referred to as such by Israel because occupation is illegal under UN treaty, although occupation is exactly what it is) and stealing land and displacing the residents. That Israel was attacked is a lie.

Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia wants to see Iran embroiled in a major war, but neither see any need to spend money and manpower themselves: they have a perfectly good puppet state, America, willing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars and uncountable lives to fight the war for them.

And Trump desperately needs a major war to save his presidency. The ginned-up war in Iraq got the undeserving Bush reelected, and even though thousands of Americans died and it has cost nearly a trillion dollars, Americans didn’t mind because the economy stayed stable and they weren’t rationed.

Iran is far more powerful than Saddam’s Iraq. And far far more powerful than Afghanistan, a third-world country that has had America locked in a hopeless, expensive struggle for 17 years now.

There’s also the fact that outside of the evangelical community and Wall Street, nobody likes or trusts Trump, and won’t go all glassy-eyed and patriotic when he starts waving the flag and getting Americans killed.

But it’s the only thing he has left to save his presidency.

Expect the most disastrous war in America’s history to ensue.