Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, May 31, 2019

M.M.Man. (Masters of Media Manipulation)

So "Washington Week" spent about 30 minutes on Mueller, and about 5 on tariffs coming for Mexico. The consensus was that: a) tariffs had been announced; b) would never be implemented (not really); and c) Trump would declare victory, all based on past patterns.

Oh, and he was making all this noise about Mexico as a distraction.

As I write, Slate has an article about Barr's CBS interview, and one about how the mere mention of Mexican tariffs is scaring Wall Street and could, if imposed, cause a recession. Vox's lead is critical of how Mueller has handled his report (everybody is a couch potato special counsel), critical of how Trump is handling USMCA, and criticism from Mexico about tariffs.  Daily Beast is going with Jerry Nadler announcing that impeachment is more likely than not. Raw Story has 13 stories about Mueller, Barr, or impeachment, and 2 about tariffs.  TPM has 5 stories related to impeachment, one on tariffs.

I do think Trump will never really impose sanctions on Mexico. I accept he's still playing the distraction game. My question is:  how's that working out?

Mexico will pay for the wall AND the tariffs

a/k/a Business as Usual at the White House


(I still say the "problem" will be miraculously fixed by Father's Day; June 30 at the latest.)

"I'm proud to be an American..."

..or at least laugh about it.

As I said....

The courts are not interested in delays.

What's the over/under?

So, will they impose tariffs until they wreck the U.S. economy and crash NAFTA (the rewritten version still awaiting approval), or will the declare victory by Father's Day and drop the whole thing down the memory hole?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Very Stable Genius (horses are smarter)

The largest single trading partner with Mexico in the U.S. us Texas. Laredo is now the largest trade port (by value of what passes through it) in the country, ahead even of the port in Los Angeles. Affect that long enough, and see how loyal Texas is to Trump and the GOP in 2020.

If Trump  does to Texas what he's done to farmers, he has no chance.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Yup.

Like Donald Trump, just another working class average Joe

Although I must demur: Wodehouse characters are a bit more self-aware.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

POTUS as Internet Troll


Yeah , those "models" predicting a Trump win HAVE to be right. Trump can't lose in 2020! I mean, who wouldn't vote for a guy like this?

'Cause, you know, it's not like this is the situation or anything:

"None Dare Call It Treason"


If you are old enough to remember the book, odds are you never knew it came from an epigram by Sir John Harington:

"Treason doth never prosper.  What's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

If you don't remember the book, it's what fired off the John Birch Society, bane of "liberals" and liberal democracy through the defeat of Goldwater up until the rise of Reagan, who effectively replaced it.  The emphasis was on the idea of "treason," which is not the legal definition of the crime set out in the Constitution (famously the only crime defined in the Constitution.  Congress can decide what "high crimes and misdemeanors" are for purposes of impeachment; it can't decide what treason is.).  Ironically, treason was used then, by the Birchers, hell-bent on protecting the Constitution as they understood it, and by Trump and his adherents today, proving the reasons why treason was strictly defined in 1789; so it couldn't be used as a political crime.

But the point I wanted to make was:  Trump & Co. are using the term the same way it was used (most recently) by the Birchers, and for the same purpose:  power.  The Birchers were convinced they alone had the right ideas and therefore the right to run America.

Everything old is new again.

Conviction is a powerful thing; but then it becomes an excuse for eliminating everything that doesn't conform to that conviction.  Or, in the case of Trump (and probably Cheney), it's just used to further ignorance and as another way to punish one's "enemies".  Which, again, is why treason is a specific crime aimed at the United States of America; not at whoever is President or, in the case of the FBI agents, a candidate for President.

Signs of the Times


 
 
May you live in interesting times.

"Social Media"--where everything political becomes personal


 
Something tells me that's not gonna happen....

Once again..

What, exactly, is the problem?
In libel, truth is an absolute defense (and in law, an "absolute defense" is as rare as hen's teeth).  And we'll always have the one that started all this:

So, the difference between those statements, and “Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better President than Sleepy Joe Biden," is what, exactly?

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019--Later that same day



A)  What this guy doesn't know about the Vietnam War draft would fill quite a few history books.  The draft was "universal"?  Yeah, except for kids who could afford college (back when state college was so cheap even my late mother-in-law could put all four children through college on what was basically a secretary's salary.  Both of her sons served in Vietnam, one because he flunked out of college and got drafted.  He redeemed himself; he's one of the smartest, and most successful, persons I know.)  Most of the people in 'Nam were working class kids; anybody who could afford any kind of college education at all, was home in class, and a perishing few of them (less than 1%, I'd guess) were making all college students look like privileged protestors.

B)  Maybe the problem with the "all volunteer" army isn't "late stage capitalism" (whatever the hell that is.  We all think we're living at the "end" of something; it gives our lives false meaning.  And it's usually just another lie we tell to make ourselves feel important.), but that we have a standing army at all.  That's much more a problem of post WWII (does this idiot even know the Pentagon was designed to be a government archive, not a standing military HQ?).

C) And for the love of all that is holy, SHUT UP about this crap!

“Today, more than 300 million Americans lay claim to rights, liberties and security and that not a single one of them is obligated to protect and defend,” wrote Dennis Laich and Lawrence Wilkerson in the American Conservative. “Apparently, only 1 percent of the population feels that obligation. The 1 percent is bleeding and dying for the other 99 percent.”

Whose freedom is being defended by the troops and military armaments Trump has sent to the vicinity of Iran?  If we didn't have troops there already (and why is that?), we wouldn't have anyone for Iran to "threaten", and we wouldn't need to defend our 'freedom' (to do what?  Establish military bases wherever we please on the planet? Wasn't it a military base in Saudi Arabia that enraged Osama bin Laden to 9/11? Was that military base worth all that followed?).

No one "secured" my freedom, except the people who established this governmental system and kept it running to pass on to me to keep running.  The Declaration doesn't say governments secure freedom for citizens through military might.  The Constitution didn't establish an army first thing, so we could all keep on bein' free! The closest it comes is giving Congress power to raise money to raise "armies,"; well, that and the "militia" of the 2nd Amendment (freedumb enshrined, as we use that one now).   ENOUGH WITH THIS SHIT!  The freedoms we are obligated to protect and defend come from living in a democracy, where the people have the responsibility of self-governance (and how's that working out for ya?).  This isn't some Heinleinian dystopia where citizens earn their privileges through military service.  In this country, the military serves the citizenry, and "professional" soldiers should be anathema, not the reason we have a Constitution.

Damn, these people are stupid.  Honor the military dead, and the civilian dead, and if you are inclined, say a prayer for the living.  But don't make the military something they aren't.  We all deserve better than that.

Memorial Day 2019



I will bother to repeat myself:

Memorial Day, of course, didn't start as a day to honor veterans who "died for our freedom." Ironic, because the last war fought "for our freedom" before WWII, was the Civil War. We had a lot of wars in the 19th century, most of which we ignore: the Spanish American War, the Mexican War, the war in the Philippines, the war in Panama, all the imperialist efforts Mark Twain decried and Henry Thoreau protested. Memorial Day was not a day to remember we'd won our freedom at the expense of others; it was a day simply to remember dead family members, those who had died in the Civil War. Now we extrapolate the concrete reality into an abstraction: "they" died for "our freedom."

Bollocks. Our freedom wasn't threatened in Vietnam, or Korea, in the Persian Gulf, either time we fought there in the last 20 years. It wasn't threatened by the sinking of the Maine or in the Philippines, either. It was threatened in the Civil War, and Memorial Day came from that conflict. Memorial Day is simply a day to honor the dead. Perhaps we would better to limit it to the dead we know, and if we don't know any war dead, to be respectful of those who do. Perhaps we would do better to remember the uncut hair of graves, and to visit a graveyard and remember these dead were once as young and fair as you, or me. Perhaps we would do better to simply remember Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and let it go at that.



And elsewhere and when:

The stories about its origin are indeed varied. Perhaps it began as "Decoration Day." The stories I heard was that families would go out to the cemeteries to honor the dead from the Civil War. Graves would be decorated, picnics would be held. The dead and the living would both be honored. Where it originated, and how, is still subject to debate and conjecture. But this much seems clear: we used to be more mature about such things.

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we
may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them;
It may be you are from old people and from women, and
from offspring taken soon out of their mother's laps,
And here you are the mother's laps.

This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues!
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing.

I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
What do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprouts show there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.

All goes onward and outward. . . .and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.--Walt Whitman

"The beautiful uncut hair of graves." We used to put our graves beside our churches, so we knew where our dead were. Now in our sanitary ways, and our sanity, we keep them as far from the beaten path as possible; along with our hospitals, our nursing homes, our "funeral homes." We don't want to be reminded of death, unless it is on TV, and involves the death of "bad people." Or just the unknown faceless ones, the bodies at the crime scenes that always get the stories going.

We used to recall that war had a high price, and yet we too easily forget how easily is it is paid when all the bodies are out of sight. It wasn't long after the Civil War, after all, that we were engaged in the glorious adventure of liberating the Philippines. Apparently inspired by that venture, Mark Twain wrote his famous "War Prayer." But even so, we used to honor our dead soldiers.

Perhaps the Gettysburg Address is linked to Memorial Day, too. The eloquence of Lincoln is unimaginable in any living politician. But just try to imagine any of them even addressing the subject of death in this way:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal"

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground -- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lincoln praised those who died in a valiant struggle to preserve the union, to keep the nation from ending. "I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,/And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps./ What do you think has become of the young and old men?/What do you think has become of the women and children?" I think: "A wise man who speaks his mind calmly is more to be heeded than a commander shouting orders among fools." I think: "Wisdom is better than weapons of war, and one mistake can undo many things done well." (Ecclesiastes 9:17-18, NEB)

I think it is time to praise famous women and men, and for believers to remember their Creator, and to honor the dead not for what they fought for, but because they, too, were God's children.

Let us now sing the praises of famous men,
all the heroes of our nation's history,
through whom the Lord established his renown,
and revealed his majesty in each succeeding age. Some held sway over kingdoms
and made themselves a name by their exploits.
Others were sage counsellors,
who spoke out with prophetic power.
Some led the people by their counsels
and by their knowledge of the nation's law;
out of their fund of wisdom they gave instruction.
Some were composers of music or writers of poetry.
Others were endowed with wealth and strength,
living peacefully in their homes.
All these won fame in their own generation
and were the pride of their times.
Some there are who have left a name behind them
to be commemorated in story.
There are others who are unremembered;
they are dead, and it is as though they had never existed,
as though they had never been born
or left children to succeed them.
Not so our forefathers; they were men of loyalty,
whose good deeds have never been forgotten.
Their prosperity is handed on to their descendants,
and their inheritance to future generations.
Thanks to them their children are within the covenants-
the whole race of their descendants.
Their line will endure for all time,
and their fame will never be blotted out.
Their bodies are buried in peace,
but their name lives for ever.
Nations will recount their wisdom,
and God's people will sing their praises.

--Ecclesiasticus 44:1-15, NEB



And one more:

My uncle fought in World War II; with the French Resistance, if memory serves.  Or maybe not. Maybe that was a grand embellishment by the family, or my own early imagination.  He never said anything about the war, or about war, to me; except once.

I went to visit him after I'd married and his kids, my age, my cousins I all but grew up with, had all married, too.  So it was just my wife and I and my aunt and uncle.  He picked us up at the airport.  I was reading Studs Terkel's then new book "The 'Good' War."  The quotes around good weren't too apparent in the cover design, and he asked me what I was reading this time (in those days I was always reading).  When I showed it to him, and told him it was about World War II, he said, "I didn't think there was such a thing as a 'good' war."  And he smiled; the kind of smile that always made me think he knew much more about much more than I did, or ever would.

My brother-in-law fought in Vietnam.  When everybody else was going to college so as not to get drafted, he volunteered.  He was Green Beret, and a Captain.  He never told me anything about Vietnam, either, except that when he first arrived there it was the most beautiful country he'd ever seen.  And within 10 minutes, he knew the U.S. had no business being there.  But he did his job; he followed orders.  He was a good soldier, and he's one of the finest men I know.  He's as kind, generous, and open-minded as anyone can be.

I have a recording of the "Airborne Symphony," by Marc Blitzstein.  Maybe it's the first performance, because the narrator is Orson Welles.  I always think of it this time of year, because the most poignant part of the libretto is the section about bombs, and the cities destroyed by planes.  It's "The Ballad of the Cities."  The narrator reads a partial list of cities destroyed by bombs, but the music moves into the "Morning Poem" with the chorus singing plaintively and repeatedly:  "Call the names.  Call the names.  Call the names."

It always seems to me the only appropriate observance of Memorial Day.  Call the names.


PEACE

O Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy upon us.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy upon us.
Arise, O Christ, and help us,
And deliver us for thy Name's sake.

AMEN.

O Christ, when thou didst open thine eyes on this fair earth, the angels greeted thee as the Prince of Peace and besought us to be of good will one toward another; but thy triumph is delayed and we are weary of war.

SAVE US AND HELP US, O LORD AND MASTER.

O Christ, the very earth groans with pain as the feet of armed men march across her mangled form.

SAVE US AND HELP US, O LORD AND MASTER.

O Christ, may the Church, whom thou didst love into life, not fail thee in her witness for the things for which thou didst live and die.

TEACH US TO DO THY HOLY WILL, O LORD AND MASTER.

O Christ, the people who are called by thy Name are separated from each other in thought and life; still our tumults, take away our vain imaginings, and grant to thy people at this time the courage to pro-claim the gospel of forgiveness, and faithfully to maintain the ministry of reconciliation.

TEACH US TO DO THY HOLY WILL, O LORD AND MASTER.

O Christ, come to us in our sore need and save us; 0 God, plead thine own cause and give us help, for vain is the help of man.

SAVE US AND HELP US, O LORD AND MASTER.

O Christ of God, by thy birth in the stable, save us and help us;
By thy toil at the carpenter's bench, save us and help us;
By thy sinless life, save us and help us;
By thy cross and passion, save us and help us.

SAVE US AND HELP US, O LORD AND MASTER.

Then all shall join in the Lord's Prayer.

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

--The E&R Hymnal


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Which is worse?



It's the International Date Line, isn't it? That's what's messing with his memory, right?

That or he not only doesn't believe his own intelligence services, he doesn't even believe his own tweets.

Come Back, Ron Ziegler, All is Forgiven!


This kind of deserves a bit more attention, as they say.  Presenting Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the Queen of Hearts:

CHUCK TODD:

I want to ask you about the decision to give the attorney general this unilateral authority to declassify intelligence. The order says the attorney general should consult with relevant agency heads but not that he has to. Why did the president not force the attorney general to consult with the, with the DNI and the head of the CIA? Here he's giving him unilateral authority not to do it. Only saying he should do it but he doesn't have to. Why?

SARAH SANDERS:

The president has total confidence in the attorney general and his ability --

CHUCK TODD:

But not the intelligence community?

SARAH SANDERS:

-- to make those decisions. We expect -- certainly. That's why we expect that the attorney general will consult with them on matters that he needs that guidance and advice from them. Certainly they work in lock step on a number of things. I don't see this to be any different. The bottom line here is there was a lot of corruption at the FBI and the DOJ. We see constantly more and more things that have come out of that. And the president wants transparency and he's given the attorney general the ability to put that transparency in place, make those decisions. And we're not like at all concerned that the attorney general is not going to do everything that is necessary to make sure we're protecting important intelligence that is vital to our national security.

And why does the President get to do this?  Because his delicate fee-fees have been hurted, and the big boys on the playground were very mean to him!  And probably the Knave of Hearts stole some tarts, if truth be known.

CHUCK TODD:
I'm trying to understand what outcome the president expects. He’s, he tweeted the following: "My campaign for president was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American politics. A really bad situation. Treason means long jail sentences and this was treason." Why did the president ask the attorney general to do an investigation if he's already come to a conclusion, already decided what the penalty should be? And I think has already determined what the jail sentences should be? Isn't this the president already playing judge and jury and putting his thumb on the scale here for whatever investigation he claims he wants Mr. Barr to do?
SARAH SANDERS:
That's pretty rich coming from the media who relentlessly covered and accused the president for over two years of being part of this massive election interference, something that never took place. The idea that anybody now says that the president doesn't have the right and not only that Americans deserve the truth to push back and find out where all of this started is absurd. Literally for day after day after day the media and Democrats in Congress called the president a traitor to his own country and said that he cheated to become president. I mean the idea of that is absolutely outrageous that he had to endure that for two years. And now he wants to know where and why it started. And all of a sudden that's a big deal? That is insane.
Ron Ziegler never got much beyond declaring a prior statement "no longer operative,"  Sarah Sanders is flat out saying some people are guilty and we're gonna find 'em!  Guilty until proven innocent, in other words.  This prompts even Chuck Todd to at least behave like a real, live, grown-up journalist!

CHUCK TODD:

Sarah, I didn't ask about him --

SARAH SANDERS:

I think the president is doing exactly what --

CHUCK TODD:

No, no, no, no, Sarah I did not ask --


SARAH SANDERS:

-- he should be. And I think America is glad that --

CHUCK TODD:

Sarah --

SARAH SANDERS:

-- he's asking for that transparency.

CHUCK TODD:

I didn't ask whether he should ask those questions. He's not asking questions anymore. He's already made a judgment. That is much different. He’s already -- will he accept a result of the attorney general saying, you know what, "Everything was done legally and on the up and up, Mr. President." Will he accept that result from Bill Barr?

SARAH SANDERS:

We already know that there was an outrageous amount of corruption that took place at the FBI. They leaked information. They lied. They were specifically working trying to take down the president, trying to hurt the president. We'll leave the, the final call up to the attorney general and he'll get to the bottom of it. But we think Americans deserve the truth.
Because we already know the truth, says Sarah. "Verdict first, trial second!"  All she left out is:  "Off with his head!"

CHUCK TODD:

So he doesn't --

SARAH SANDERS:

The president's asked for that. And we should expect nothing less.

Nothing less than arrest, conviction, imprisonment, maybe death penalty for treason, and maybe, at some point, a trial.  If absolutely necessary, but really, we already know they did it, right?  Now pay attention, because she finds several new ways to say "NO" here, without every saying it at all:

CHUCK TODD:

So the president is not going to accept exoneration if that's what Bill Barr finds?

SARAH SANDERS:

Look, I'm not going to get ahead of what the final conclusion is. But we already know that there was a high level of corruption that was taking place. We've seen that in the --

(so how can there be any exoneration, right?  We just need an investigation to nail down precisely who the guilty are.)

CHUCK TODD:

There, there --

SARAH SANDERS:

-- IG investigation --

CHUCK TODD:

-- which is --

SARAH SANDERS:

-- that has already happened.

CHUCK TODD:

-- not out yet.

SARAH SANDERS:

There's a lot more there that we still need to know. And we're going to let the attorney general do his job.

CHUCK TODD:

Well it sounds like you’re not -- that's my point. It doesn't sound like you want him to do his job. It sounds like you, the president has already determined the outcome.

SARAH SANDERS:

Chuck, that's the reason that he's granted the attorney general the authority to declassify that information, to look at all the documents necessary is so that we can get to the very bottom of what happened. Once again, we already know about some wrongdoing. The president's not wrong in that. But he wants to know everything that happened and how far and how wide it went.

(who the guilty are, in other words; the question of innocence is not in play here)

CHUCK TODD:

Does he expect --

SARAH SANDERS:
We know that there was corruption. Let's see --

CHUCK TODD:

-- does he expect criminal charges? Does he expect -- he's accused James Comey of treason. Does he expect Jim Comey to be arrested?

SARAH SANDERS:

Again, we're going to let the attorney general make that determination as he gets to the conclusion of this investigation.

(Determination of who gets punished for defying the greatness of Dear Leader!)

CHUCK TODD:

So the president, he's not going to accept --

SARAH SANDERS:

But we certainly expect the people that were responsible --
(because, goddammit, they WERE!)
CHUCK TODD:

He’s, he’s --

SARAH SANDERS:

-- and that were part of this unprecedented obstruction and corruption at the FBI, those people should certainly be held responsible and be held accountable and the president expects that to take place.

(It's clear the crimes were committed, now we just need to find people to blame for them.  They know who they are!)

CHUCK TODD:

So he expects an outcome that he wants, not an outcome that the facts lead to.

SARAH SANDERS:

Chuck, I think you're trying to muddy the waters too much here. We already know, once again --

(Finally, the point sinks in through the density of bullshit.  And the argument is, we know who is guilty, we just need to find evidence to confirm it.  What do we call that kiddies?  "A WITCH HUNT!"  Irony is in the corner, throwing up her breakfast.  This is too much, even for her.)

CHUCK TODD:

I think we --

SARAH SANDERS:

-- that there was wrongdoing.

CHUCK TODD:

I think what’s rich is who’s muddying waters.

Chuck Todd strikes back!  Wow!  Whodathunkit?

SARAH SANDERS:

Now we want to know how much there was. I don't think it's -- well, I don’t think it’s crazy to want to know how far and how wide the corruption at the FBI was. And that's what the president has asked the attorney general to find.

(We don't want to know if there was any, we want to know how much there was!  We can't put the whole FBI in jail, we have to pin it on somebody!)

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

SARAH SANDERS:

And we'll what happens.
("But it better be what we want to happen, and Barr knows it!")

Like I said, this deserves a bit more attention, don't you think?

Don't You Wish Real Life was like this?

NO COLLUSION! ESPECIALLY WITH FURRINERS!

"Thou hast committed fornication/but that was in another country...."

Nothing to see here. Move along, people!*

*So, Bremmer's tweet became controversial, and seemingly has now been removed.  However, exact quote or not, the sentiment seems to be confirmed:



Saturday, May 25, 2019

I always feel like I'm taking crazy pills

Okay, two things:

1) For the love of language and communication, can we PLEASE stop using the word "existential" outside of the context of western philosophy? I mean except as a term of art in philosophy, or as a reference to a particular school of western thought.

2) What is "existential," in any meaning of the word, in responding to a subpoena? The only question is whether or not you spend the money on a lawyer when Congress goes to court to enforce it. And even eventually facing contempt of court is not an "existential" problem, it's only a question about how much MORE trouble you want to be in, and more importantly:  why?*

Okay, 3)  I used Rick Wilson's tweet because it's the perfect response to this "glamor shot" NYT attached to their article.

*it's not like she's a character in a Beckett play, for pity's sake!

History is so cool....

And in case you do t trust some random tweet (why should you?):

Friday, May 24, 2019

Asking For A Friend



If Pravda or RT has published the documents Wikileaks published and Assange is now charged with violating the Espionage Act over, would there still be a 1st Amendment issue?

Hard cases make bad law.

"Me? Or your lying' eyes?"


(How many outlets on-line had archives of the press conference that day for easy comparison?  Who does he think he's foolin' here.  "The dog ate my homework" is a more credible response.)

Besides, where do I go to check this ISN'T what Giuliani meant to say?

 


Funny, I thought


...the Mueller Report "totally exonerated" him.  How is that an "attempted coup"?

Really needs to get his stories straight.

The Playground Way

"She started it!"

Not the "Chicago Way":

Talking with the press before his departure to Japan, the president was asked whether he thought it was appropriate to share a deceptively edited video intended to demonstrate that Pelosi was feeble minded.

Trump responded to the question with rage.

“This just shows how fake you and the news are!” Trump seethed. “Did you hear what she said about me long before I went after her? She made horrible statements, she knows they’re not true, she said terrible things! So I just responded in kind!”

He then went on to accuse Pelosi and the Democrats of “hurting our country very, very badly” because they are conducting investigations into his administration.
If this wasn't the way he'd been functioning since he came down the escalator at Trump Tower, I'd say he was decompensating.

Can I start panicking now?

Fox & Friends dumping in Diamond and Silk? Am I going to look outside and see water running uphill and pigs in flight?

Well, you know....

Freedom of speech, free press, FREEEDUUMMMMBBBB!

Certainly not another reason to break up FaceSpace, right?

Nip It In The Bud

(A) It comes from the POTUS, not a campaign.

(B) It is, at the moment at least, a "pinned tweet."

(C) It's a lie, no less "doctored" (there is actually an argument over whether this one was "doctored" or merely "edited." Seriously?), than anything done by Project Veritas.

(D)  Trump is plainly and bluntly lying. We allow a certain leeway for politicians pushing the preferred narrative. We even call it "spin" because euphemism is so much easier to deal with than plain language. But this isn't "spin." It's a lie. Period. A lie from the POTUS on his official Twitter account.

Maybe not a reason to panic, but certainly a reason to decry the practice.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Hail to the Chief!


Because what else do you do with a doctored video that even FoxNews says is fake?  Loud Obbs puts it on his show so the POTUS can tweet it!

Of course.....

UPDATE:  It's actually "better" than that; they created a brand-new one!  (Gotta stay ahead of the curve!)


(Well, it is doctored, it's just a new one! Can't tell the players without a scorecard! So, a bit of the real press conference, for comparison:)


"Kill 'em all! Let God sort 'em out!"


Because sure, why not?  They probably didn't vote for Trump anyway.....

9 out of 10 Sycophants Bobblehead in Agreement



Projecting Like A Cineplex


That is one monster log in his eye.

Any one else doing this in public would be immediately removed from any position of power or access to anything sharper than a rubber ball, and recommended for therapy and intervention. What kind of adult demands this kind of sycophancy from his staff in front of cameras?  Because anyone who has to declare this:


Clearly isn't; especially when he talks like this:

 
Recognizably English words, but not a recognizable sentence in English.

Rick Wilson is right; but even that analysis is so far behind the breaking news and Pelosi's strategy it's like a history lesson.  Historians should remember that, if not for Nancy Pelosi, this country would be in a world of hurt.

What, you think Republicans are doing anything about this?  They're lining up behind Kudlow, Conway, and Sanders, and calling Justin Amash a traitor.

None Dare Call it Socialism


Right?

"Me! Me! Me! It should be about me!"

By way of context:
But don't tell her that.

Nancy Pelosi us an elected official. Ms Conway us not.

“I’m not going to talk about her,” Pelosi said. “I responded as the speaker of the House to the President of the United States. Other conversations people want to have among themselves is up to them.”

And Trumpian narcissism is contagious.

Watching the Do-nut


This, by the way, is how you do it.

"I offer these tweets..."


As proof of my calmness and rectitude.

But I'm still going to take my ball and go home!

The Thing About Twitter...

...is that it's so easy to use.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

You Pay What You Get For



Since taking office, Trump has forced taxpayers to spend $81 million on his trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, according to HuffPost. The revelation about Trump’s expensive golfing habits are noteworthy, given how the current commander-in-chief frequently lambasted his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, over his own golfing hobby.

Trump has also stuck taxpayers with a $17 million tab for his trips to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey; at least $3 million for his two days in Scotland last summer, $1.3 million of which was for rental cars for his entourage; and $1 million so he could visit his Trump club in Los Angeles.

Thus far, the amount of taxpayer money Trump has spent on his golf totals equals 255 times the presidential salary that he promised not to take, as well as three times the cost of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. And the president has given no indication he intends to slow down.
Money which supports businesses Trump owns.  Hmmmmm...... 

The Numbers Game, Or: Political Twitter is not the U.S. House of Representatives



All arguments for impeachment assume the House would draft and approve articles of impeachment handily, and then put the Senate on the hot seat to remove Trump from office.

Not so fast, Clever Hans.

“At the end of the day, by our count, there have been 20 members who have expressed a desire to proceed to an impeachment inquiry. An additional seven members have said, ‘throw him out, he should be impeached, we need to get rid of him.’ That’s a total of 27 members,” [Rep. Hakeem] Jeffries [D-N.Y.] told The Daily Beast. “Nobody counts better than Speaker Pelosi. There are 239 members of the House Democratic Caucus. Nobody counts better than Speaker Pelosi.”
....

But privately, some lawmakers have begun to wonder how much patience there is within the caucus for Pelosi’s methodical approach. One House Democrat scoffed at Jeffries’ insistence that there were only 27 members who wanted impeachment considered. “Far more,” the member said. “It seems like people are getting there, one at a time.”
So, how many more?  28?  29?  30?  "It seems like" is not the same thing as a solid head count, and 27 is a long way from 239.  "One at a time" means you'd need another six months (at one day at a time), to get the votes to impeach in the Democratic caucus.  You surely want a unanimous vote, knowing removal from office has no chance in the Senate (whether McConnell will even allow it to come to trial is an open question, to be honest).

Pelosi and her team have prided themselves on not getting swept up in the fetishes of the national press corps, noting that they won back control of the House in 2018 on a platform that emphasized protections for people with preexisting conditions while cable news obsessed over Russia. But, increasingly, it’s not just the media that’s been buzzing about impeachment but Pelosi’s own members, including several swing-district freshmen who have, to this point, largely resisted calls to start proceedings.

Considering what Pelosi did to Trump today (did he learn nothing from the government shut down?  Threatening to do nothing on legislation, which is simply saying out loud what McConnell is doing in the Senate (where he has Merrick Garlanded all legislation coming out of the House).  If McConnell is right, and there's no education in the second kick of a mule, Trump is uneducable.), it is probably the best course to follow her lead.  If the House holds impeachment hearings and sends articles to the Senate by year's end, what do the Democrats run on in 2020? Especially if the Senate quickly acquits Trump, who then claims once again he was the victim of a "witch hunt" which couldn't touch him because he's now invisible and bulletproof? (In the final analysis, do you want to remove Trump, or make him inevitable?  The people bleating about "principles" are using the same argument people used to justify not voting for Clinton.  How did that work out?)

And what's it really going to take to move that head count from 27 to unanimous?

Trump's head is not going to be the first ever to roll under the blade of impeachment.  But death by a thousand cuts, which is what Pelosi is administering....that could well be another matter.

"This is not a temper tantrum"

"Nor is it a pipe." -R. Magritte

All the News That Fits In a Tweet

Remember when it was going to be years?
Whoops.
Everyone surprised by this, please raise your hand.
This is when you have supreme confidence in your case (and how is that delay going?)
A totally spontaneous outburst this morning. Unplanned and unscripted.
How many "plus-ones" are appropriate on a state visit? (Somehow I think the British know the answer to this question.)

Meanwhile, back in the courts.....

These delaying tactics are not going to work as well as Trump expects them to. Especially as the courts realize these arguments are not being made in good faith.  It's rare for the courts to punish a bad faith plaintiff, but the case Trump is making, over and over again, is a weak one made for one purpose, and the courts are going to figure that out. Judge Mehta moved quickly. The hearing on the Deutsche Bank subpoena was set for hearing on a very short schedule (and will probably be decided before the month is out). In a related matter, a judge just gave DOJ one day to release a search warrant on Michael Cohen. The courts know Trump's game. So far, they don't want to play.

One thing in particular Trump doesn't understand: he can take cases to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court doesn't have to accept them. Given the legal reasoning his lawyers are presenting, there's not much reason why they should. And if they do, a case involving a conflict between Congress and the President won't be left on their docket for long.

U.S v Nixon is instructive here. The case was brought to trial in early 1974.  The Supreme Court heard the case on July 8, and issued its opinion 16 days later.  The case was in the courts less than 7 months. Not much delay there.

The courts won't allow a delay when they don't want one. And while Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were appointed by Trump, they'll be on the bench far longer than Trump will be in office. Even if they think they owe Trump, they are only 2 votes out of 9.  And they'd really have to change the law just for Trump.
I was waiting for this. Why am I not surprised? And please note this court ruled from the bench. Trump's case was poured out like water.

You know, on appeal, one ruling can decide a number of cases.   How are those delays working out?  And if you were expecting the banks to wait until the Supremes speak:
The DC Circuit is going to have to move double-quick to keep these subpoenas from being useful.  They still could, but:  don't hold your breath.


I'm Old Enough To Remember....


...when we were this good at political theater.

(It's hell getting old.)

Is Our President Learning?


A completely unexpected reaction by the POTUS!

More pertinently, when will the press learn?

And frankly, this is the lesson (along with the other lesson:  Trump should not go up against Pelosi):
I give the current media narrative about five more minutes:



Twitter Made Me Do It


Done.
 

Unpossible!

Trump was mickle in his wroth! Righteous in his wrath! He woke up this way! Angry!

You're trying to tell me that was staged?! Forsooth and egads!

The Second Tale of the Tweet

Nothing planned at all:
And then, totally spontaneously:
Of course, no one saw this coming!
Because this President has NOTHING to hide!
As usual, Nancy Pelosi has failed for simply going to the White House like a rational person:
What was she thinking?
Somebody is beyond parody here.

Big, beautiful wall!

This is with authorized funding, not the "emergency declaration."

At this rate it should be finished in, what, 200 years?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"LOCK HIM UP"?

If this were to happen in a court of law, the court would announce a contempt hearing and give the contemnor (McGahn, in this case) notice to appear and present his defense to the charge.  If the court finds the contempt is criminal contempt, which would allow for arrest and detention, then:

Defendants charged with criminal contempt are afforded all the usual privileges of other criminal defendants, like the right to a trial by jury, to examine, and to call, witnesses, and to testify on one's own behalf. 

No immediate jail time, in other words.  If you recall, Joe Arpaio was charged with criminal contempt of court.  Proceedings pended for several months before he was finally held in criminal contempt and taken to jail.  It did not involve the FBI busting down his door at 3 in the morning and hauling him away to a cell to await the final hearing.

The likeliest course here is a contempt of Congress resolution, which has to be enforced by the courts.  Whether DOJ will take that to court is an open question, so other arrangements will probably have to be made.  Easy enough, but then the court holds a hearing, a ruling is entered, and if McGahn again refuses to appear, it would take another hearing to enforce a criminal contempt proceeding (contempt of Congress is not equivalent to criminal contempt of Court, or Eric Holder would have been sent to jail for his contempt of Congress citation).

McGahn is going to testify, sooner or later.  It just isn't going to happen before the 50 minute TeeVee episode is over.

(I mean, honestly, you can't tell the Trump supporters at a rally from the Trump opponents on Twitter:

Yes.  And there won't be an arrest warrant.  Criminal contempt is not a violation of criminal statutory law.
 Never.  This is not Russia.
Don't hold your breath, you'll pass out first.

"Rule of law" on Twitter pretty much means punching somebody in the face.  Feh.)