Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Honest Mike


Garnering little attention, The Washington Post obtained a secret Kremlin document. Containing plans to destabilize the West, especially the US, it proposes to do so by “continuing to facilitate the coming to power of isolationist right-wing forces in America” [Ed. note: MAGA?] and “to escalate the situation in the Middle East around Israel, Iran, and Syria to distract the U.S. with the problems of this region.”

The plans entail an “offensive information campaign” and other measures including “the military-political, economic and trade and informational psychological spheres.” As described by the Washington Post, part of the goal is to “leverage the Ukraine war to forge a global order free from what it sees as American dominance.”

This ought not be news. Excepting the Gorbachev/Yeltsin eras, Russia’s place on America’s enemies list has been obvious since the end of WWII. Remember Reagan? Remember Khrushchev’s “We will bury you”? No surprise to people paying attention, which excludes most Fox-watchers, Putin has aggressively picked up the baton. The document proves it.

Here’s the point: cluelessness alone, of which there’s a surfeit within the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, doesn’t explain the Putin-love we see among so many Republican politicians and their mouthing media. Even without the aforementioned document, the clarity of Russia’s intentions means their support for Putin against Ukraine can be understood only as willing collaboration with a dangerous adversary. Sedition, by definition. What Putin has on them or what they expect from him remains clouded.

Whatever it is, though, Ms. Greene’s fact-free proclamations about Russia and Ukraine have pushed her higher even than Tucker Carson in the estimation of Russian media. “She believes that Americans should help Putin win,” gushed Russian TV host Evgeny Popov. “... To help him win in Ukraine.” How proud she must be. Considering themselves patriots, Georgia voters chose her to represent them. Will again, no doubt. Making America great.

Then there’s Elise Stefanik (R-NY), full-time groveller for Trump’s VP spot. Having once said, “Vladimir Putin is a war criminal and deranged thug. We must stand with democracies under assault,” she’s now among over half of House Republicans voting against aid to Ukraine. What happened? Trump happened.

Not a single Democrat voted “nay.” Knowing Putin’s intentions, which party, then, is making America great?

Holy Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House, deserves the credit he’s getting for “bravely” risking his job by cooperating with Democrats to get the aid packages passed. Being called “brave” for doing the right thing, however, is reminiscent of a favorite W.C. Fields bit, explaining why his character was called “Honest John.”

Moreover, reporting suggests his change of heart was less about patriotism than being convinced, by a group of Evangelicals with whom he was praying, of the need to save Christians. Here's a link to an impressively deep dive into that dynamic, from an unnecessarily NSFW-titled but well-researched source.

Putting himself first, per usual, as when he demanded killing the bipartisan border security bill, Trump made it clear that he didn’t want the Ukraine and Israel bills to pass before the election. For the same reason: no wins for President Biden. Plus, in the case of Ukraine, whatever it is that binds him to Putin. It’s safe to say Trump couldn’t care less about saving Ukraine’s Christians. For crossing him, what retribution will he exact from His Holiness?

But there’s other news, too. Trump, in court, unused to being held accountable for his life of transgressions, muttering, glaring, dozing, and, according to several accounts, making life unpleasant for the macrosmatic seated within his olfactory aura. The gagged and the gagging.

And the gaslighting. Daily, Trump emerges from court to bemoan being required to sit there while his crimes are exposed; freely speeching that gag orders violate his right to free speech. Nope. He’s an indicted criminal, out on bail. Within that category of American illegals, free speech has always had limitations. The lifelong escaper of consequences is finally facing some.

Certain that MAGAs will neither understand nor accept that particular truth, gassiest of all gaslighters, grandfather of the Republican devolution into nastiness as policy, Newt Gingrich analogized Trump’s plight: “This is literally like some of the civil rights workers in Mississippi in the 1960s.” (“Literally” is Newt’s favorite word.)

That’s only the most ridiculously phrased and unhistorical claim made by Foxian talkers. All of them share Newt’s rejection of the rule of American law, making Trump the victim, rather than those he’s victimized, which, whether they know it or not, includes his ardent, rally-going devotees. Jesse Waters gave us next-level mind-blow. Very much worth a view.

The trial and the pro-Ukraine votes show what can happen when reactionary, enemy-adoring Trumpists are (temporarily, anyway) outnumbered in Congress. For the good of all Americans, and of the world, November is when we can – must! -- make it permanent.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Who Thinks You're Stupid?


Playing the system like a kazoo, abetted by a judge feeling a bit too grateful for her lifetime appointment to a plumb job by him, Trump has successfully delayed the most clear-cut case against him. While calling the timing of all similarly delayed cases “election interference.”

It’s the stolen secrets, kept at Mar-a-Lago and elsewhere, illegally, subpoena-ignored and lied-about. The illegality is so undeniable that his only escape is the ridiculous claim that a “president” has absolute immunity to break whatever laws he chooses, whenever and wherever he wants. Or becoming “president” again, and having the prosecutions terminated. Like his Attorney General Barr did for him previously.

Obligingly, SCOTUS is putting off ruling for as long as it can. Presumably, even the Sanctified Six know they’d have to rule against him unless they’re willing to destroy what remains of their credibility. So, for now, we’re stuck revisiting Trump’s Stormy Daniels election interference scheme.

It’s the least interesting of the cases against him and, regarding implications for national security and the taxpayers he’s scammed, the least important. So, while he dozes off during the proceedings (who’s “Sleepy” again?), let’s talk about other things. But not before noting this trial is the opposite of what MAGA Republicans are calling an unfair, two-tiered justice system. In court, Trump is being treated exactly like all indicted criminal defendants.

Now, those other things.

Constantly, viciously, and death-threat invokingly, having attacked all other judges overseeing his prosecutions, Trump whined, a three-fer, that Biden, Garland, and Smith are calling the aforementioned grateful Judge Cannon “terrible names, wrongfully threatening her with impeachment, and disrespecting her.” Neither Biden nor Garland has said a word about her, much less threatening impeachment. And Jack Smith has mostly pled with her to move things along, and appealed, successfully, to higher courts when necessary. Accusing others of what they do and others don’t, expecting their voters to buy it, is typical MAGA Republican strategy.

That, and performative uselessness. Holy Mike Johnson, R-LA, Speaker-of-Lies of the House, scarpered to Mar-a-Lago, where its so-far owner and he announced plans to criminalize voting by non-citizens. It’s already illegal. Fox “news,” when carrying the announcement, hilariously ran a sidebar showing the existing law. Even Steve Bannon, as Trumpophilic as it gets, found it meaningless

Because illegal voting isn’t a thing. The right-leaning Heritage Foundation found fewer than 100 votes by non-citizens between 2002 and 2022, looking at a BILLION ballots. And the left-leaning Brennan Center found 30 among 23 million votes from 2016. Which confirms what’s really behind the vote-suppression laws rising like swamp gas from red state legislatures: Lies. Rigging to win.

Speaking of gas, Trump made one of his usual “It wouldn’t have happened if I were president” statements after Iran sent hundreds of drones and missiles into Israel. (Nearly all were shot down, helped, in part, by the US military and others – thanks, Biden.) Trump is hoping voters have forgotten that when Iran injured 110 American soldiers by firing missiles into a base in Iraq while he was in office, he did nothing. Except lie about it.

Back on the trail after collecting (he says) fifty million bucks from billionaires he promised more tax cuts, he discussed the Battle of Gettysburg, sounding like a grade-school student faking a book report. It’s disturbingly bizarre. Among the fawning faithful, nary a wtf expression. Watch it here.

Earlier, on his way to milk a few more billionaires, he’d faked a “spontaneous” photo-op, “surprising” just-regular folks at a Chick-fil-A. Fox “news” was ready with their usual Trumpophansy

Cataloging the week’s fakery would be incomplete without mentioning the agenda cooked up by House Republicans. Serious legislation to save us from Joe Biden. Because, you know, he’s approaching your driveway right now, with a truckload of illegal immigrants, ready to haul away your appliances. Guns, too, probably, though unmentioned in the current proposals.

No satire, this is their proposed legislation: Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act; Liberty in Laundry Act; Clothes Dryer Reliability Act; Refrigerator Freedom Act; Affordable Air Conditioning Act; and the Stop Unaffordable Dishwasher Standards Act. Jared Moskowitz, D-FLA, responded appropriately For once, shaming the shameless worked.

There’s a common thread here: It’s not commie, America-hating, Marxist “thugs,” as Trump likes to call liberals, saying MAGA Republicans are stupid. The call is coming from inside the house. From Trump and Moses Mike; from Fox “news;” from Lara Trump’s RNC robocalls amplifying lies about “massive fraud” in the last election.

Nor do they merely assume stupidity. To win elections, they count on it. Adopting Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda methods, they’ve learned that repeating lies for long enough turns them true in the manufactured minds of their voters. Unless outvoted, they won’t stop, because polls show they’re not wrong.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs


Even a blind squirrel, it’s said, can find an acorn once in a while. Thus it is that Marjorie Taylor Greene, strong contender for Congress’s dumbest and most obnoxious member, yet privy to God’s thinking, came up with a worthy pronouncement. “God is sending America strong signs to tell us to repent,” said she. “Earthquakes and eclipses and many more things to come. I pray that our country listens.”

Though total eclipses of the sun have been predictable for centuries, before dismissing her connecting the timing with a minor East Coast earthquake, not unlike recognizing the evil behind Joe Biden forcing Easter onto International Transgender Day of Visibility, let’s admit she’s onto something. The epicenter of the quake was, for practical purposes, Trump’s Bedminster golf-cemetery tax write-off.

God attends to the entire universe, a gazillion miles across, so we can excuse His missing by a mile or so. Failing to mention for what, our little Margie is right that America needs to repent. And the “what” is daylight clear. Bedminster? Not subtle. What God is saying, as MAGAgonizers proclaim Trump’s divine chosen-ness, is, “No. He’s not. Stop it.”

A disturbingly large umbra of America needs to repent for its commandment-breaking idolatry of Trump, whose latest ungodliness, after lying that Biden wants to “quadruple your taxes,” suborned criminality from his idolators, whining, “How many more corrupt judges do I have to endure before someone steps in?” Steps in. No wonder God is repulsed.

Differing from Ms. Greene, Rudy Giuliani hears from God that He quakes California and New York because they’re “communist states.” It’s certain that America’s Used-to-Mayor couldn’t define communism, which describes no US state. Fascism, though: Texas, Florida... Weirdly, neither he nor MTG had anything to say about catastrophic hurricanes in those states. Slippery things, empyreal omens.

Republicans could also use a little repenting for their curious capitulation to America’s enemy, Vladimir Putin. Defending her opposition to helping Ukraine, MTG said, as counterfactually as humanly possible, “This is a war on Christianity. The Ukrainian government is attacking Christians...Russia is not doing that. They are not attacking Christianity. As a matter of fact, they seem to be protecting it.” Just. Wow.

It’s that kind of traitorous untruth that has led a high-ranking Republican Representative to admit it’s “absolutely true” that members are repeating Russian propaganda on the floor of Congress; and another to say it has “infected a good chunk” of his party’s base, blaming it on rightwing media. “Trumpofoxification” is the word he’s looking for.

Holy Moses Mike Johnson, Speaker of lies of the House, should repent for his unending, Trumpophilic lies, like referring to “Biden's unprecedented assault on American oil production,” when the truth is the opposite. For better or worse, US production of oil (and all forms of energy) is at an all-time high. It’s only by lying that Trumpublicans have a chance of winning. If Trump is the fakest Christian, Mike is the real deal. He should be ashamed of such Biblical mendacity.

For further repentance, Americans on both sides need to renounce the scam that is RFK, Jr’s campaign. Unbagging the cat, his New York campaign manager removed any doubt that his goal is to put Trump back in office. Explicitly. A vote for him is one for Trump. The truth is out there; no longer can it be self-righteously rationalized away.

In a speech full of lies, Trump, whose blasphemy RFKers would return to office, tried to have it every which way on abortion. “Leave it to the states,” he obfuscated, which is exactly what SCOTUS did in ending Roe. After the ridiculous claim that “all legal scholars” wanted Roe overturned, he lipped the libelous lie that Democrats “are the radical ones on this position because they support abortion up to and even beyond the ninth month.” Where’s an earthquake when you need one?

Finally, since we led with it, solar eclipses are magical. Our family’s first, of three, was in eastern Washington, in 1979. After all the media hype, I expected disappointment. I was totality wrong. It began with watching the moon’s shadow race, west to east, up the Columbia Gorge; amazing in itself. Then the drop of temperature, and cheers, as that unworldly ring of light appeared, centered in darkness, making one feel somehow connected to the Universe, yet also the tiniest, tiniest part of it. I’ll be one hundred for the next one.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

No Foolin'


April Fools’ Day passed with few of the usual prank postings. Or maybe I missed them. These days, who can tell? For example:

Members of the “Freedom (for me but not for you)” Caucus want to rename DC’s Dulles International Airport “Donald J. Trump International Airport.” If that doesn’t fly, how about Folsom Prison?

“Some folks probably like to eat bugs with Bill Gates, but not me,” said Tennessee state Republican Bud Hulsey. He was talking about meat, lab-grown from animal cell cultures, which has environmental benefits, is safe, and tastes normal. It doesn’t yet exist for consumers, but red-state legislatures are already criminalizing its distribution and consumption, with stick-to-the-libs rationality. And, no doubt, with cash from big meat. 


Devout Catholic President Biden, who attends church weekly, who MAGAs believe hates Christians, said, “Jill and I send our warmest wishes to Christians around the world celebrating Easter Sunday. Easter reminds us of the power of hope and the promise of Christ’s Resurrection...”

Then, the man who compares himself to Jesus, MAGA-certified presidential material, Trump, indicted felon, out on bail, posted a picture of President Biden hog-tied, unconscious, in the back of a pickup truck. MAGA Republicans, Christians all, loved it.

He even lies when exploiting the death of Ruby Garcia.

Another non-joke: The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, doctors pushing a ban on the abortion drug mifepristone, didn’t exist two years ago. Their claims about the drug are false, and they’re arguing against being forced to provide care they consider against their religion; something that’s never happened. Moreover, if they’re really “Hippocratic,” they’ve sworn allegiance to Apollo and a few other Greek gods, plus their teachers, to whose children they’ve promised to teach medicine for free. 

Alabama football coach Senator Tommy Tuberville says Democrats are part of a “Satanic cult.” A quality guy, one in a hundred, chosen by MAGA Republicans over highly-qualified incumbent Doug Jones. Remember the coach’s blockade of military officer promotions, protesting a program to pay abortion-related expenses for military members? Only 12 people have availed themselves, costing a total of $40,000. For travel and lodging, but NOT abortions themselves. Nice work, Tommy.

ETTD: Lawyer John Eastman has been permanently disbarred for his role in Trump’s fake elector plot. Mike Lindell’s business was evicted for non-payment of rent. Rudy Giuliani declared bankruptcy.

Trump, out on bail to play golf, bragged that, as usual, he won trophies at his own golf course, which he does by cheating. Openly. Flagrantly. Well-known and documented among golfers. Is this consistent with presidential character? 

What about posting pictures of a judge’s family, knowing the death threats it’ll incur? Presidential?

Investigator extraordinaire, James Comer, giving up on finding impeachment-worthy crimes by President Biden, claims Attorney General Merrick Garland is colluding with the “deep state” and the press to hide evidence. 

In the Georgia election fraud case, a Trump lawyer told a judge, that “... examination of a false statement—even if made deliberately to mislead—can promote a form of thought that ultimately helps realize the truth.” Right: Liars lie to help us find truth. Makes sense. Especially for a life-long liar.

RFK, Jr’s announced running mate believes IVF is “one of the biggest lies that’s being told about women’s health today.” She has no political experience; nothing to suggest she’d make a good president. She does, however, have tons of money, with a few millions of which she bankrolled his bizarre Superbowl ad.

The guy who bankrolled Trump’s bond-posting, seems kinda sleazy. And not because he’s Mr. Hankey. (South Park reference) 

When a bridge over the Mississippi collapsed during the GWB admin, Congress unanimously approved funds to rebuild. Trumpublicans are outraged that Biden promised the same for Baltimore. The men who died were immigrants. Likewise, 120,000 workers in the Baltimore area, about 40% of the total workforce. Without immigrants, or, as MAGAs call them, “animals,” our economy would collapse.

Also not a joke was the reaction by Republican leaders and their media and preacher mouthpieces to Easter at the White House. Whatever you think about “Trans Day of Visibility,” it’s been March 31 for fifteen years. Easter Sunday varies wildly. That the two coincided this time was Biden deliberately desecrating the holy day. Lying like that is who they are.

Same with their claims about banning religious-themed White House Easter eggs, a rule in place for 45 years. These are awful people.

No joke.

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