he that soweth discord

I declare, it’s like Comrade Donald Trump is a complete stranger to himself. He can say (or tweet) stuff that’s so absolutely contradictory to who he is that you’d wonder if he was being ironic — if you didn’t already know he was incapable of deliberate irony. Yesterday he tweeted this gem:

Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!

Great! Here’s a little Bible literacy lesson for the preznet. (I’ma use the King James Version of the Bible on account of I like the way the language rumbles; it’s so much more rich than the anemic New International Version.) From Proverbs 6:16-19:

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

In Trump’s favor, I don’t think his feet runneth all that swift, even toward mischief. But those other things? The proud look, the lying tongue, all that discord sowing? Comrade Trump is solid there. And that heart that deviseth wicked imaginations? Dude, just wrap your head around his ‘bound and gagged women in the backs of vans’ fantasy.

I believe this is where liars and sinners are supposed to end up.

While we’re doing this Biblical bit, let’s take a look at that deadliest of chapters, Leviticus. Leviticus doesn’t mess around; it flat out tells a person what to do and what NOT to do. Some of which Comrade Trump has totally done. Leviticus 19:13, ya’ll:

Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

I’m not suggesting Trump defrauded his neighbors. I’m not sure he even has neighbors in his Trump Tower penthouse. But Lord knows (see what I did there?) he certainly defrauded lots of folks with a free hand. What I’m just focusing on, though, is that bit about wages. I think we can safely say ‘the wages of him that is hired’ abided with Trump for 35 nights and mornings during the government shutdown.

But here’s the kicker: Trump went all wage-abiding in pursuit of another violation of Leviticus. I’m talking Leviticus 19:33-34 here:

And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Comrade Trump was seriously vexing the holy shit out of strangers attempting to sojourn into the US with his wall. And all those strangers that dwelleth in the US under DACA? They are surely not as one born among Trump. He wants to toss their brown asses out, and he was willing to abide all night with federal employee wages to get that done.

I should note, if it wasn’t already apparent, that I’m not a Christian. Neither is Comrade Trump, for that matter. But only one of us is pretending.

 

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the lesson of history

I’ll bet you’re sitting there right now and asking yourself, “Hey, I wonder how the patriots at FreeRepublic reacted to Comrade Donald Trump being totally nutted yesterday in the Rose Garden by Nancy the Knife Pelosi?” Well, you can stop wondering, on account of I’m going to tell you how they reacted.

Not well, is how they reacted. Depending on how you define ‘not well’. Many of them were…well, let’s say they were somewhat disappointed.

He just caved on TV….what a PUSSY!! — sailor76

Stock up. The Republic is dead. — dware

First, he said Mexico would pay for the wall, then demanded $5 billion from US tax payers. Second, he said no to opening the government no matter what until the wall was funded. It is now opening today. NO wall. CAVED! — CodeToad

Some sought to understand–to explain how this Jedi Master of the Deal could have been out-maneuvered. Surely Trump must be playing multi-dimensional chess.

What is this 3 week delay accomplishing for the wall funding? Getting us by the Superbowl. Only thing that makes sense to me. — mewzilla

He will get a SOTU and the dems fear this. — Boardwalk

But most seemed to understand that Comrade Trump was overmatched. Not even Superman could have withstood the implacable and evil forces arrayed against him.

I don’t have energy to follow this shit on a day to day basis anymore. Democrats want to destroy this country, period and the Republican’s don’t seem to be doing a damn’ thing about it. They should’ve funded the wall within weeks of Trump taking office. That they didn’t tells me they don’t really want to do a damn’ thing about illegal immigration. Not even sure why I bother to vote anymore. — usconservative

DJT is facing never before seen attacks and pressure and is fighting back every way he can. Yet still, weenies on this site take every opportunity to so discord along with Ann coulter. She is a whore who would change her allegiance in a new york minute for an extra million dollars. — okkev68

He is a duly elected President who hasn’t been in charge since the election….he has been battling a coup since day one. The Feds (IRS, CIA, FBI, DOJ) have committed illegal crimes against him with impunity…and their protorian guards in the MSM have covered it up. Your ire is facing the wrong direction. — roses of sharon

A surprisingly large proportion, though, felt their ire was facing in the right direction (I’ll bet you didn’t know ire had a face). They suggested Comrade Trump just wasn’t up to the task. Not only was he taken down, he was taken down BY A GIRL.

It’s game over. Nancy and Chuck run the show. — Scott from the Left Coast

Dude, it ain’t happening. We’ve had two years. Nothing’s going to happen in 3 weeks. It’s over. — DownThe405

Trump folded, ceded to Pelosi. Now he’s just rambling in shame, all talk, no action. Pathetically, he’s just repeating worn speech talking points he’s given over and over. Doesn’t cover that there is no money, just an expectation to talk with people that said No Money and WON. Pelosi owns Trump. — Reno89519

But there were those who started to wonder if Comrade Trump really wanted the wall to begin with. Maybe…just maybe…he wasn’t all that serious.

Trump never fought very hard when the GOP was in control. If Paul Ryan was not going to fund the wall, what made him think Nancy Pelosi would? — David1292

If the problem is so serious, why wait? It’s going to lead many to believe now that the problem isn’t all that serious. — dfwgator

Of course, there were Freepers who focused on the future rather than dwell on the ignominy of the present or the expectations of the past. Where do they go now? What are they to do? How should they respond to the government re-opening without any money for a wall? Some will vote differently; some advocate more direct action.

I’ll write in Mickey mouse before I vote for someone who is rhetoric. 21 months remaining and counting and court up ahead. pelosi in the driver’s seat. The long the waits to declare the emergency, the less likely m amor work will be done. — morphing libertarian

All I can think of is the line: “Cut the cake!” – and there rolls out the Death Mobile. One way or the other the left will be defeated. If not through political action – then by violence … Because that is the lesson of history. — JME_FAN

The lesson of history. Maybe it would be wise to consider recent history — the two caravans that Trump claimed were ‘invasions’. Consider how those people swarmed over the southern border in Death Mobiles (the back seats of which were jammed with women bound and gagged with duct tape), turning right and/or left, pillaging whole communities, marauding the countryside, laying waste to crops and homes, plundering shops and warehouses, massacring innocent Americans in their beds, and…wait. What?

Oh yeah. That didn’t happen. Still, we should keep the words of ‘morphing libertarian’ in mind when the next three weeks pass and there’s still no money to build a beautiful wall: “The long the waits to declare the emergency, the less likely m amor work will be done.” Amen to that, sister.

c’mon, just pay for the wall, okay?

COMRADE TRUMP: I’m going to build a wall and Mexico will pay for it.
DEMOCRATS: Yeah, sure.
CT: I’m ending DACA.
D: Wait, what?
CT: And I’m ending temporary protected status for immigrants.
D: You’re what?
CT: I’m enforcing a program to separate children from parents seeking asylum.
D: The fuck?
CT: Mexico will pay for the wall eventually through a process only I can understand, but in the meantime, you’ll have to pay for it.
D: No fucking way.
CT: I’m going to shut down the government if you don’t pay for the wall.
D: You’re insane.
CT: It’s okay, I won’t blame you for it.
D: Yes you will.

CT: There’s a crisis on the border and Democrats shut down the government.
D: You created the crisis, you weasel-brained mook. And you shut down the government.
CT: Pay for the wall or I’ll put children in cages.
D: You’ve already put children in cages.
CT: I’ll end the Democrat’s shutdown if you pay for the wall.
D: Fuck you.
CT: I’ll end the Democrat shutdown and let you have DACA for three years if you pay for the wall.
D: Jeebus on toast, that’s extortion. And you’re probably lying anyway.
CT: Pay for the wall or I’ll declare a national emergency.
D: There’s no emergency, you stupid fuck.
CT: THERE’S AN EMERGENCY!
D: Take your meds.
CT: Pay for the wall or I’ll ruin the economy.
D: You’re already ruining the economy. And the environment. And democracy.
CT: Pay for the wall or I’ll sell the children in cages to Russia. Creating jobs!
D: You’re a monster.
CT: Pay for the wall and I’ll give you an apartment in Trump Tower Moscow. And Mexico will pay for it.
D: Oh, for fuck’s sake.
CT: It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.
D: …
CT: I’m the best negotiator ever.

dear camel, is this the straw you’ve been worrying about?

Late last night Buzzfeed posted an article claiming that Comrade Trump ‘directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.’ If this is true — if the reporting is accurate — then this means Trump suborned perjury, which is a federal felony. It’s also classic obstruction of justice. We’re talking textbook ‘high crimes’ folks.

If it’s true. If the reporting is accurate. So clearly the first thing we need to do is look at the folks who wrote the article: Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier. Cormier has been an investigative reporter for about 15 years. A couple of years ago, when he was writing for the Tampa Bay Times, he won a Pulitzer for reporting on violence and neglect in Florida mental hospitals. Leopold’s career has been somewhat more controversial. He’s done investigative reporting for some serious news outlets (like the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian), but he’s also done work for online venues that have occasionally been sketchy (TruthOut, Counterpunch, Raw Story). He had a story on the Enron scandal pulled from Salon because he failed to adequately attribute part of his report to another source and he slightly misquoted a suspect email. The facts of that story, however, were accurate. The book on Leopold is that he’s an aggressive reporter who has occasionally made mistakes in how he gathers information, even though the information has been reliable.

So the reporters seem solid. What about the content of their reporting? We know from court documents (and his own guilty plea) that Cohen lied to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal. We know he consulted with Trump’s legal team before he testified falsely to Congress. We also know Cohen kept Trump and members of Trump’s family informed about the negotiations with Russian officials regarding the deal. What Cormier and Leopold have added to the story is that Cohen has apparently told Mueller that he lied to Congress at Trump’s direction. It’s the first direct link between Trump and a crime.

According to the Buzzfeed report, this new information came from a pair of law enforcement sources, apparently connected to the Mueller investigation, both of whom have chosen to remain anonymous. Anonymous sources have to be treated with skepticism, of course. We should also be skeptical about any alleged leaks apparently coming from Mueller’s team, which has been famously tight-lipped. However, the Buzzfeed report also states Cohen’s claim that he was directed by Trump to lie to Congress is supported

through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.

But again, we have to rely on the integrity of the reporters to assess the reliability of that claim. It’s important to approach this revelation with caution.

The Twitterverse, of course, erupted after the Buzzfeed revelation last night. There was an pyroclastic flow of speculation. What does it mean for Comrade Trump? How will Republicans in Congress respond? Will this lead inevitably to impeachment? How will Trump himself respond in the morning?

Trump responded this morning by tweeting mostly about the border with Mexico, blaming Democrats for not supporting his wall, castigating Nancy the Knife for wanting to visit NATO and the troops in Afghanistan while the government is shut down, and re-tweeting a FoxNews report that Cohen pleaded guilty to perjury. This could be a strategy of distraction — trying to focus attention elsewhere. Or, perhaps more likely, it’s just Trump repeating whatever he sees on FoxNews, which has largely ignored the Buzzfeed story.

Don’t look behind you; history is catching up and has a thin, sharp blade.

But here’s the thing. Even though the Buzzfeed story fits in with the pattern of Trump’s behavior, and even though the story makes logical sense, and even though the reporters have an overall good reputation, it’s a good idea to approach the story with some hesitation. We’ve seen other ‘this has GOT to be the last straw’ stories before, and Trump has always managed to produce more straws.

BUT IF it’s true, then Comrade Trump is fucked. IF it’s true, there’s a good chance Ivanka and Don Jr. are fucked. IF it’s true, then the only thing left between Comrade Trump and impeachment (or resignation) is how to begin the process.

with an emphasis on the ass

The revision list informs me I starting writing this post on August 21, 2018. I’ve revised it eight times in the intervening months without publishing it. I chose not to publish it because the supporting evidence was too complex to fit conveniently in a blog post and I didn’t want to assert that Comrade Trump was an intelligence asset without backing it up. Happily, the New York Times has finally done all that, and I can simply link to their article:

Here’s the meat of my original much-revised post. I’ve edited out all the supporting material, I encourage you to read the Times article, and a rather good summary of the evidence by Politico.


My opinion? Comrade Donald J. Trump is a Russian intelligence asset.

I know that sounds like some conspiracy theory shit, but I’m serious. It’s probably a good idea to define ‘intelligence asset’. An asset is someone or something intended, developed, cultivated or utilized to gather or disseminate information that might be useful to an intelligence service. That’s all it means.

It doesn’t mean Trump is a Russian spy. It doesn’t mean he’s intentionally working for his boy Vlad Putin. It just means Putin is using Trump to further Russia’s geo-political agenda, and has been doing so since Trump began his campaign. It’s possible — even likely — Trump isn’t aware he’s being used.

Comrade Trump meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov & Ambassador Sergei Kislyak the day after he fired FBI Director Comey. During the meeting Trump disclosed classified material obtained from a US ally.

Let’s face it, Comrade Trump is a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect (which, for some reason, I always read as the Freddie Kruger effect). The D-K effect is defined as ‘a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is.’ In other words, the D-K effect describes folks who actually aren’t terribly clever but believe they are. Comrade Trump has claimed expert knowledge of: international trade, politicians, social media, ISIS, campaign finance, television ratings, taxes, the visa system, governance, debt, renewable energy, the law, infrastructure, finances, drone technology, science, border security, and the economy. In fact, he’s shown himself to be painfully ignorant in those areas.

Because of the D-K effect and his massive ego, Trump is easily manipulated. And let’s not forget, Putin is a former intelligence officer who has worked undercover and has been trained by experts in social manipulation. But it’s not just a matter of Trump being a dupe; there are a lot of other reasons he may be acting as a Russian asset.

He’s vulnerable to kompromat. I mentioned this back in July of last year. It seems probable that Putin has something on Trump. It could be his shady business and banking transactions with Russian and former Soviet states have made him vulnerable to blackmail. It could be money laundering in the US; we know a LOT of Russians have purchased Trump condos and apartments for millions of dollars (and real estate is the money launderer’s favorite tactic). It could, I suppose, be the infamous pee tape, though I think that’s unlikely. I’m inclined to think the Trump kompromat is more criminal than salacious. 

It really doesn’t matter what his motives are; what matters is that Donald Trump, the sitting president of the United States, is furthering the geo-political agenda of a hostile foreign nation. What matters is that one of this nation’s two major political parties is complicit in Comrade Trump’s offenses. 


Again, the reason I didn’t publish this back in August was that I wanted to include evidence to support the claim — but all that evidence made for an awkwardly long blog post. Over the past several months, even more supporting material has become known and has been reported by major news sources.

Even so, it still sounds incredible to state that the President of the United States is a Russian intelligence asset. But I can’t find any other explanation for Trump’s behavior, for his pro-Russian policies, for his reluctance to impose sanctions against Russia or Russian oligarchs, for his willingness to remove those sanctions, for his campaign’s frequent inappropriate interactions with Russian agents, and for his consistent attempts to undermine US law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

It seems clear the guy is helping the Russians and damaging the security of the nation he’s sworn to defend.

comrade trump spent three hours in iraq

I was actually prepared to give Comrade Trump some credit. I mean, he actually visited troops in a theater of combat operations. Yes, that’s something every POTUS in recent history has done and is expected to do, but let’s face it — nobody really expects Trump to behave like a president anymore. But I believe in giving credit where it’s due, so I found myself in the unusual position of giving Trump props for doing the minimum requirements of his job.

But Jeebus on toast, he had to go and fuck that up. All he had to do was go the al-Asad Air Base, shake a few hands, take a few photos with a few troops, and give a simple speech supporting their mission. Seriously, a high school student could have done that. But Trump? Apparently beyond his ability. He just couldn’t do it.

First, the point of POTUS visiting troops in a combat area is to bolster the morale of the men and women who do the fighting and killing and dying at the Commander-in-Chief’s direction. That’s it. It’s a simple task. It’s NOT even remotely a venue for partisan politics. And it should NEVER be about money.

Here’s one of the early comments in Trump’s speech to the troops:

“America shouldn’t be doing the fighting for every nation on Earth not being reimbursed. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price — and sometimes that’s also a monetary price — so we’re not the suckers of the world. We’re no longer the suckers, folks.”

The US military isn’t a mercenary army. They’re not for hire. We don’t tell other nations we’ll protect their interests (and our interests) only IF they can reimburse us. The US military isn’t a for-profit enterprise. Comrade Trump doesn’t seem to understand that.

Then he moved on to domestic partisan politics.

We want to have strong borders in the United States. The Democrats don’t want to let us have strong borders — only for one reason. You know why? Because I want it. … You know, when you think about it, you’re fighting for borders in other countries, and they don’t want to fight — the Democrats — for the border of our country.

First, Trump makes it about him. Democrats are opposed to building a wall along the southern border just to spite him. Second, he accuses his political opponents of not wanting to protect the nation. Turning a morale-building mission into a political campaign speech is despicable.

That said, I must say I have no problem with Trump signing MAGA hats while at the air base, providing the Trump campaign didn’t bring them or distribute them. I don’t think the criticism Trump received for hat-signing is justified. If troops ask him to sign their hat, he should damn well sign their hat.

Near the end of his speech, Trump flat out lied to the troops. He lied to them in a typical Trump self-aggrandizing way.

“You just got one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received… You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one. They had plenty of people that came up. They said, ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3 percent. We could make it 2 percent.’ I said, ‘No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent.'”

They’ll get a 2.8% pay raise next year, which is about average. It’s certainly not the biggest raise the military has ever received. They’ve been given a raise every year for decades. It’s not enough, of course. It’s not even close to enough. I’d applaud Trump if he actually DID fight for a meaningful pay increase for the troops, especially enlisted personnel. But he hasn’t.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, Trump and his communications team inadvertently outed a covert Navy SEAL team. The locations of special forces units deployed abroad is classified, and showing the faces of spec ops troops is generally a violation of operational security. Trump’s team put their faces on Twitter. Twitter, for fuck’s sake.

Oh, and one more thing (there’s always one more thing when Comrade Trump is involved): he didn’t bother to meet with the Prime Minister or any Iraqi officials while he was there. He apparently doesn’t understand that US troops are stationed in Iraq with the permission of the Iraqi government. President Obama worked out an arrangement with the Iraqis; the Trump administration has been attempting to negotiate a similar long-term arrangement since the spring…without success so far. Snubbing Iraqi officials isn’t going to help. Some Iraqi officials are now calling for all US troops to be removed.

Comrade Trump was in Iraq for a total of about three hours. In that time he offended the Iraqi government, outed a covert SEAL team, lied to the troops, and turned a simple morale-building mission into a political campaign event.

Three hours. The thing is, I don’t think any of these fuck-ups were deliberate. They were all just the result of a president who doesn’t understand his job and is incapable of carrying it out. This should have been an easy gig for Trump and his team. But in three hours they managed to create a monumental clusterfuck.

I guess we should be grateful it was only three hours.

700 days

Today is Comrade Donald J. Trump’s 700th day as President of These United States. And I am completely exhausted. A lot of us (well, most of us, if you look at the popular vote totals) were pretty certain he was going to be a bad president, but I don’t think anybody expected him to be so thoroughly and consistently awful. A lot of us (well, some of us) hoped that once he grasped the nature of the job Trump would at least try to do the job well. I mean, we all benefit as a nation when the president — even if we don’t like him — succeeds.

But fuck me with a chainsaw, we can’t go a single day without a couple of scandals that would sink any other presidency. The sheer number and scale of Comrade Trump’s cascading daily outrages is staggering.

Today, for example, we learn that North Korea (you remember…Trump and Kim Jong Un ‘fell in love’ in Singapore and Trump happily reported on Twitter that “everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”) isn’t going to denuclearize itself. I don’t think anybody but Trump actually thought they would, but now it’s official. The president got played by a third-rate dictator. That’s this morning’s horrorshow; we have time for a couple more after lunch.

 

Yesterday we learned that candidate Trump had signed…wait, do you remember when Trump said he had no business deals at all with Russia? Then he said he’d looked at a development deal in Moscow but decided against it before he became a candidate. Then he said he’d planned a major development deal in Moscow and discussions had continued while he was campaigning, but nothing had come of it. Then he admitted he’d pursued the major development deal, but hadn’t signed anything. Well, yesterday we learned he’d actually signed a letter of intent to develop the deal in Moscow. This is a consistent pattern for Trump. When caught lying, tell another lie, followed by still more lies.

Yesterday Trump also decided to pull US troops out of Syria. He’d discussed this with his boy Vlad Putin and with Turkish president Erdogan. But he didn’t bother consulting his own Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. Or the Department of Defense, or the State Department, or the National Security Council, or members of Congress. He just went on Twitter and announced it, saying ISIS had been defeated (which probably comes as a surprise to ISIS, since there are still around fifteen thousand ISIS troops fighting in Syria). This withdrawal effectively delivers Syria entirely to Russian influence.

Also yesterday, the Trump administration decided to lift sanctions imposed by the US Treasury on Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch. Deripaska, who has been described as “Putin’s favorite industrialist”, is also the guy who ‘loaned’ Trump’s former campaign manager and convicted felon Paul Manafort ten million dollars.

And the day before that? Trump was forced to close the so-called Trump Foundation after the Attorney General of New York found the charity had been used by the Trump family as a sort of slush fund for personal use. The AG noted “a shocking pattern of illegality,” including “willful and repeated…unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign.” This happened after Trump’s first National Security Adviser was due to be sentenced for lying to the FBI about being an “unregistered agent of a foreign country” but before we learned that Russia had implemented a disinformation campaign against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And, of course, yesterday the Republican National Committee announced it would merge with Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and become a single entity — an unprecedented move that would have shocked the news media and sparked Congressional investigations two years ago. Two days ago it was just a footnote scandal.

This happens every fucking day now — scandal after outrage after malfeasance after incompetence after scandal. And every day it seems to be accelerating. Seven hundred days of this. It’s no wonder the entire nation is exhausted and frazzled and just wants to have a quiet beer someplace with friends and maybe go a full day without another two or three crises, is that too much to ask?