abuse of power

On 5 February of this year the United States Senate acquitted Comrade Trump on two impeachment charges: obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. In the 157 days since then, Trump has:

  1. Fired Joseph Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence (‘acting’ because Trump fired DNI Dan Coats in August, 2019) because his subordinate Shelby Pierson, an expert on election security, had briefed members of the House Intelligence Committee saying Russia interfered in the 2020 election to help Trump. Maguire was replaced by Richard Grenell, a vocal Trump supporter.
  2. Fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the Director for European Affairs for the National Security Council, who testified in the impeachment trial. He also fired Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman.
  3. Fired Gordon Sondland, the Ambassador to the European Union, who testified in the impeachment trial.
  4. Fired John Rood, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, who had certified that Ukraine had met all the anti-corruption standards, making it eligible for the foreign aid Trump wanted to withhold in exchange for ‘a favor’.
  5. Fired Michael Atkinson, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, because he found a whistleblower complaint involving Trump’s Ukraine call to be credible and forwarded it to Congress, as required by law.
  6. Fired Glenn Fine, acting Inspector General of the Department of Defense, who’d been appointed to head the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee which oversaw the spending of Covid-19 funds voted by Congress.
  7. Fired Christi Grimm, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services who’d filed a report saying that the nation’s hospitals were suffering from severe shortages of personal protective equipment and testing supplies, contrary to Trump’s claims.
  8. Fired Steve Linick, the Inspector General of the State Department, who was conducting an investigation into whether Sec. of State Pompeo had used government employees to run personal errands for him.
  9. Fired Mitch Behm, the acting inspector general for the Department of Transportation and a member of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, who was investigating a claim that DOT Secretary Elaine Chao had given preferential treatment to the state of Kentucky, which is represented by her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  10. Pardoned 1) Lt. Michael Behenna, who’d been convicted of murdering an Iraqi civilian and sentenced to 20 years, 2) Conrad Black, a friend/supporter/biographer of Trump, convicted of mail fraud and obstruction of justice, sentenced to 3.5 years, 3) Pat Nolan, Republican lawmaker convicted of racketeering and soliciting illegal campaign donations, sentenced to three years, 4) Maj. Mathew Goldsteyn, charged with murdering an Afghan citizen, pardoned before trial, 5) Lt. Clint Lorance, convicted of two counts of murder, attempted murder, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice, sentenced to 19 years, 6) David Safavian, Republican lawyer/lobbyist, Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, convicted of obstruction of justice and three counts of perjury, sentenced to six years, 7) Bernard Kerik, Trump supporter, former NYPD commissioner, Fox News consultant, convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to four years.
  11. Commuted criminal sentences for 1) Ted Suhl, who ran faith-based behavioral healthcare treatment centers for juveniles in Arkansas, a friend of Trump supporter Mike Huckabee, convicted of bribery, sentenced to seven years, 2) Rod Blagojevich, former Gov. of Illinois and contestant on Trump’s Apprentice reality show, convicted of extortion and 10 counts of wire fraud, sentenced to 14 years, 3) Judith Negron, friend of Kim Kardashian, convicted of multiple counts of healthcare fraud and money laundering, sentence to 35 years and US$87.5 million in restitution, 4) Roger Stone, friend and associate of Trump and career Republican ratfucker, convicted of seven felonies, sentenced to four years.

That’s what Trump has done in the 157 days since Republicans in the Senate voted to acquit him of abuse of power. There are still 115 days until the presidential election. There are 79 days between election day and inauguration day. Assuming Trump loses the 2020 election, that means he has 194 days to continue to abuse his powers.

(Photo: Jim Vondruska)

We know Republicans in Congress won’t act to stop his abuses. We know Attorney General William Barr will enable Trump to continue to abuse his power. We know that Democrats in Congress will be outraged and complain, but are either too timid or too disheartened to even try to hold him accountable.

That means the only real resistance will come from us, from the people, through whatever legal and semi-legal means we have available. If we give up as well, then there’s really no hope left for the United States.

post-SCOTUS campaign adverts

That swirling sound you heard earlier today? That was Comrade Trump’s argument (that as POTUS he has the absolute authority to do — or not do — pretty much anything he wants) getting flushed down the porcelain facility by the Supreme Court. Although the final rulings weren’t unanimous, there was unanimous agreement by all of the Justices that “we cannot conclude that absolute immunity is necessary or appropriate under Article II or the Supremacy Clause.”

Democrats rejoiced, of course, because this is good news for representative democracy. It doesn’t mean everybody — or anybody, for that matter — will get to see those records in the very near future, but it does mean that at some point Trump’s (allegedly) corrupt business practices will almost certainly be publicly exposed.

Democrats today.

Republicans (at least those who are complicit with Trump) did not rejoice. They saw their leader suffer an apparent mortal wound. It’s not an immediately fatal wound, but they know he’s bleeding badly and is going to fail — and when he starts to fail, he’ll fail quickly. It’ll be interesting to see how many of his Congressional supporters remain loyal as the end approaches.

So you’re probably wondering Given the spanking SCOTUS just delivered to Trump, what are the good patriots and constitutional scholars of FreeRepublic saying about it? Well, folks, I’m here to tell you. They are sad. Or angry. Or confused. Or something.

Republicans today.

Some Freepers are completely certain there’s nothing damning in Trump’s tax and financial records. Or if there were something damning, he’d have covered it up by now, so there’s nothing to be found. Or even if there’s something to be found, Trump will escape:

What do they expect to find? And Trump hires others to do his taxes…would they commit fraud for him?? — Fawn

I run a business (no where near the size of Trumps!), and taxes would only give Democrats talking points, such as amount of taxes paid (maybe low), or large deductions taken, or special programs or tax exemptions requested. to attempt to prove any kind of fraud, they would need to find discrepancies within company records, actual invoices, emails, etc…. And that’s a whole different investigation. I assume Trump is smart and destroys those after 7 years anyway. — PGR88

There is an excellent chance DJT’s lawyers can run out the clock before the election. — CurlyDave

Trump 2020: Running Out the Clock Like It’s Never Been Run Out Before. A great campaign motto. Other Freepers seem to lack a solid grasp on how criminal investigations work:

if the state has a CRIMINAL case against the president in which his records are subpoenaed, he should comply, right? What CRIME is POTUS Trump being CHARGED with? Or is this just another fishing expedition without justification because that’s what leftists do? — normbal

How can they rule for prosecutors, when all prosecutors have is, “We think he’s committed fraud?” — Jonty30

They can subpoena him and his documents all night long. Doesn’t mean anything will be turned over. Appeal, appeal, appeal. Butt, knowing the commies/socialists they’ll simply, once again, claim he’s hiding something and the lame stream will be right there with them. If there’s no evidence of criminal activity, the should not see the light of day. NO FISHING! — rktman

Trump 2020: Subpoena Him All Night Long! Another great campaign slogan. A few Freepers demonstrated a vague and rather questionable understanding of how the Supreme Court — or law in general — works:

The august Supreme Court is dead wrong on immunity. The justices fell for the fictitious argument application to the presidency that no one is above the law. The Constitution provided for the removal of a rouge president committing illegal acts by implementing the impeachment process. — odawg

So if Congress gets Trumps tax returns, the Manhattan district attorney will have committed a felony by sharing them with congress. — blackdog

Now, with this decision, any jerk who can get a local corrupt DA to start an investigation can ruin you. — RicocheT

Since the 5th amendment means nothing, how does edicts from the rulers in black mean anything anymore? Their power is enumerated in the very Constitution they nullify. — American in Israel

Does this mean that anyone can accuse anyone, even an ordinary citizen of something, then the accused can have his/her tax returns made public? — Doche2X2

Trump 2020: NOPE, Not a Rouge President! An absolute gem of a campaign advertisement. In the end, there were some Freepers whose opinions were…well, they might have been almost sort of tangentially related to…I don’t know, you decide:

another day..another wait to find out if John Roberts is THAT John Roberts And whether Maxwell is the person in the Jon Benet Ramsey photo. — RummyChick

How bout throwing in zeros birth certificate while we’re at it. — lilypad

The Democrats are very very desperate that are really trying to do anything and everything to prevent are great and wonderful president from getting a second term. They’re desperate asked to try to keep the Blackford from slipping away are quite obvious -the kente cloth thing was laughable The BLM and antifa riots in the streets are obviously all of their supporters that they unleash to try to create chaos and scare people and then somehow blame that on our great president which is not gonna fly. — truthoverpower

The whole ‘virus’ sham is another money-making ‘business’ for Liberals They can’t think of enough ways to stuff their pockets — SMARTY

Trump 2020: Just Say No to Kente Cloth! A campaign ad as good as the candidate, right there. The SCOTUS ruling will hurt Trump, no matter how the subpoenas are eventually resolved. Trump being Trump, his reaction to the SCOTUS ruling will likely hurt him as much or more than the ruling itself.

EDITORIAL NOTE: I don’t read a lot of Shakespeare (which makes it sound like might just dip into his work casually and occasionally, which is definitely NOT true) but I recently happened across a line from King Lear that made me think of Comrade Trump. It’s Kent’s opinion of Oswald, and it seems appropriate here:

A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking whoreson, glass-gazing, & super-servicable, finical rogue; onetrunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch.

Now THAT is a campaign ad.

can’t argue with gravity

Comrade Trump is taking a break from his Make the Confederacy Great Again campaign (which some folks believe is largely an attempt to distract the public from the Russia Pays the Taliban to Murder Marines in Afghanistan scandal) in order to demand parents Send Their Kids to School during an escalating pandemic.

Trump says he ‘disagrees’ with the epidemiologists at the CDC and just about every professional education administrator in the nation. Remember Mike Hughes? He disagreed with scientists who claimed the earth was a globe. Trump’s disagreement will end with much the same result.

The late ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, who died 2/22/2020 as a result of gravity.

This is the problem with science. It’s immune from opinion. It’s invulnerable to viewpoint. It’s resistant to persuasion and not susceptible to belief. You can believe it’s safe to send kids to school during an escalating pandemic, but that won’t keep them healthy and alive.

Trump argues “Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden” are opening their schools without problems. That’s not entirely a lie, but it’s far from accurate. Germany, Denmark, and Norway all followed the advice of their scientists, and their Covid-19 cases have declined dramatically. Yesterday Germany had 298 new cases, Norway had 11, and Denmark only 10 new cases. Even Sweden, which fucked up nearly as badly as the US, only had 271 new Covid-19 cases. The United States had 55,422 new cases yesterday.

Part of Trump’s argument is that kids with Covid-19 don’t get as sick as adults. Seriously, he actually said that during a meeting.

“What we want to do is we want to get our schools open. We want to get them open quickly, beautifully, in the fall. And the — as you know, this is a disease that’s a horrible disease, but young people do extraordinarily well.”

That’s the key to Trump’s rationale — relatively few young people die from Covid. So he wants students back in the classroom. Returning kids to school projects the illusion that everything is okay, that we’re back to normal, that the only thing school children have to worry about is homework and sporadic mass murder by their classmates. But even if Covid symptoms do, in fact, tend to be mild among kids, some of them will become severely ill and suffer long term health issues. Some of them will die. And some will go home from class and infect their families.

Hardly any of these happy white kids will die from Covid-19.

The CDC’s guidelines for safely opening schools included desks at least six feet apart and facing the same direction, lunch in classrooms rather than a central lunchroom, staggered arrival times, cloth masks for staff, and daily temperature screenings for everyone. Trump ‘believes’ that’s too cumbersome and impractical. So this morning, Vice President Pence announced “the CDC would issue additional recommendations…that would provide ‘more clarity’.” In other words, they’ll water down the guidelines.

This is something Trump does. He pressures governmental agencies to alter their findings or recommendations to support whatever mistake, lie, or fantasy he’s blurted out. Remember the migrant caravans? Trump lied that Middle Eastern terrorists had infiltrated them. So several agency officials published what was later called a bogus ‘official’ statement that it could happen. Before the mid-term elections, Trump promised a 10% middle class tax cut, taking his Treasury people by surprise. So they cobbled together some statements to make it seem that it could happen. It didn’t. And then, of course, there was Trump mistakenly claiming Alabama was at risk from a hurricane, after which NOAA administrators fudged a report saying it could have been at risk. It wasn’t. 

No Sharpie will modify the Covid-19 butcher’s bill. No ‘official statement’ will reduce Covid transmission. No lie or fantasy will keep school kids and their families and their teachers safe from the virus. There’s no messaging solution to public health.

You can’t fucking argue with gravity.

everything would have been knocked down

Task force. Originally, it was a naval term. Specialized ships from different fleets and squadrons would be temporarily assembled to work as a group to perform a single defined task or activity. After the mission was accomplished, the various ships would return to their normal duties. The ‘task force’ concept has been widely adapted.

Comrade Trump signs an executive order creating a task force to protect…wait…statues?

It’s a great concept, an effective administrative tool, and if used wisely, a task force can be incredibly efficient. If used wisely is the operative phrase in that sentence. Here’s an example of the wise use of a task force. In 2013, the Obama administration created the Pandemic Prediction and Forecasting Science and Technology Working Group. It was comprised of members from eighteen different federal departments and agencies, including the National Security Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Management and Budget, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense.

Mass burial of Covid-19 victims.

Their job was to “mitigate large‐scale outbreaks by predicting more accurately when and where outbreaks are likely to occur, and how they will progress.” They did this by monitoring and analyzing a myriad of minor social disruptions which, on their own, might not be alarming, but when considered in context could indicate a potential disease outbreak. If, say, the price of pork in Country A suddenly increases, it could mean the hog farmers in Province X have been forced to slaughter a lot of their stock because of a localized swine disease. Taken in conjunction with an increase in Province X’s hospitalizations for flu-like syndrome, it could suggest the first seeds of an epidemic. Task force experts could then be sent to Province X to work with Country A to find out just what the fuck is going on. Then deal with it locally, and prevent the spread to Province Y — or worse, Country B.

Brilliant. By the way, if you’re curious, you can read a report on the PPFSTWG (which, I agree, is among the worst acronyms ever) here. And yes, this is the pandemic response team which the Trump administration disbanded because…well, who the hell knows why.

Let me repeat myself for a minute. A task for is an effective administrative tool, and if used wisely, a task force can be incredibly efficient. Here’s an example of a task force NOT used wisely. Comrade Trump has issued an executive order directing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to create a task force to “protect historic landmarks against vandalism and destruction” from “violent anarchists and rioters”. Homeland Security, you’ll remember, is the agency created in 2002 in response to the 9/11 attacks; its stated mission is to prepare for, prevent, and respond to domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism. Now, apparently, they have to redirect resources to preventing members of the public from painting ‘Black Lives Matter’ on statues of Confederate generals.

This statue of Andrew Jackson is now safe.

You may be asking yourself if it’s really necessary to create a federal task force to protect statues. Good question. Here’s what Trump had to say about it (and I am NOT making this up):

“I took out an old act, the statues and monuments. And we’re going to have thousands of people in Washington last week. And nobody showed up because they get a 10-year jail term now. They pushed down a statue. They — they even touch anything. It’s a very tough act. You couldn’t get a thing like that approved today. I took it out and we used it and you see the difference. You haven’t seen any rights. You haven’t seen people doing things lately. And the reason is 10 years in prison. If they knocked down a statue, now it started with Confederate soldiers, and then they started hitting George Washington, Abraham Lincoln. And they started hitting Thomas Jefferson. And you know, I’m going to a very special place this weekend, as you know, very beautiful monuments called Mount Rushmore, and somebody said they want to see that come down, that’s never coming down. And we’re going to, uh, run it the way I’ve been running it. Very tough. Now, we had to see what was going on for a period of a week, week and a half. Once we saw what was going on, I did this act last week, a week ago, a little more than a week ago. And it’s been very powerful because people don’t want to go to prison for 10 years for knocking down a statue. And most of these people they’re anarchist or they’re agitators, most of them don’t even know what they’re knocking down. You know, whether it’s Andrew Jackson, they were doing Andrew Jackson the week ago. Almost got it down but I had people go in that were very strong and they went and did a good job. The ropes were up, everything was ready, we got just in time. Andrew Jackson was a great general and a good president, very good president and probably two term and we did a good job. If I weren’t here, this all of Washington would have been knocked down. That’s what would have happened. You would have had Washington knocked down with somebody like a Biden where there’s no law, there’s no order. Everything would have been knocked down, but I’m here.”

There you go. Trump’s here, with a task force. Otherwise everything would have been knocked down.

Yesterday, there were 51.097 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. and a butcher’s bill of over 130,000 dead. But at least Trump has saved a statue of Andrew Jackson, the president who signed the Indian Removal Act (which resulted in at least 15,000 native American deaths — or about 11.5% of a pandemic).

lying, ignorant, or delusional?

So, what do you think? Is he lying? Ignorant? Or delusional? Me, I’m inclined to go with lying, with ignorant coming in a close second — but it’s impossible to completely rule out delusional. I could be talking about any number of Comrade Trump’s recent comments, but I’m focusing on this one particular Tweet for now.

He’s not entirely wrong about that whole ‘scandal of our times’ business. But the scandal is we have a president who is either lying about the coming election, ignorant of how mail-in balloting is done, or suffering from paranoid delusions. It’s got to be one of those.

I’ve voted by mail. It’s dead easy, and its secure. Here’s how it worked for me:

After you fill out the ballot, you put it in an envelope labeled ‘Secrecy Envelope’, and seal the envelope. The Secrecy Envelope is then placed in an ‘Affidavit Envelope’, which you have to sign and date and seal that as well. The Affidavit Envelope is then placed in the ‘Return Envelope’, which also has to be sealed. All of these envelopes are the old-fashioned lick-and-seal type, not the fancy new remove-a-strip-and-press type. If you want to vote Absentee, you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of saliva.

What I didn’t say — and didn’t know at the time — is that the Return Envelope had a unique barcode for each ballot to insure the individual ballot corresponded with the envelope. Nor was I aware that my signature on the Affidavit Envelope could be quickly compared to my signature which is kept on file by the local election office (you’ll recall you had to sign up to vote the very first time; you also signed in to register for every earlier in-person election).

That level of voting security — signature verification, ballot barcode verification — is only the beginning. The ballot itself has been tested to insure the ballot scanners will read ONLY authentic ballots, and only authentic ballots for that particular election cycle. The scanners aren’t able to read ballots from previous election cycles, even if those ballots were created to use the same scanning system.

But wait, there’s more. There are 3,007 counties in the United States. There are another 236 first-order administrative divisions, which are basically counties by other names (for example, Louisiana has parishes instead of counties, Alaska has boroughs, and the District of Columbia has…well, the District of Columbia). Why is that important? Because there is NO national ballot.

That’s right. Every voting jurisdiction designs and creates its own unique ballot. We’re talking the typeface, the weight of the paper used for the ballot, the size of the ballot, the phrasing of the text instructing the voter on how to vote by mail, the envelope in which the ballot is mailed to the voter, the security envelope containing the marked ballot to be returned, and the actual return envelope. These designs are deliberately changed from election to election.

So in order for Comrade Trump’s claim that “millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries, and others” to be true, those foreign countries (and ‘others’ — I have no idea WTF he could possibly mean by ‘others’) would have to exactly duplicate thousands of distinctly different ballot packets unique to every voting jurisdiction in the United States for the 2020 election cycle PLUS be able to match the signatures on file of the individual voters they were attempting to impersonate.

To believe that could happen, Trump would have to be delusional. Which, let’s face it, isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Ignorance, on the other hand, is not just a possibility but almost a certainty; he’s profoundly ignorant of how government works. But I’m opting for lying, simply because that’s Trump’s natural response to almost everything.

more than a little odd

First thing this morning, a text: Greg, old sock, this Berman thing, it’s a little odd, don’t you think? I think you should stop calling me ‘old sock’. But yes, it’s a little odd. Well, it’s odder than that. It’s really seriously odd.

Late on Friday Attorney General William Barr announced, “Geoffrey Berman is stepping down as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.” Later on Friday, Berman announced, “Nope.”

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York ain’t going nowhere, thank you very much.

That just begins to touch the surface of how odd this is. Normally (and c’mon, nothing has been normal since Trump slithered into the Oval Office) a US Attorney is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. That pretty much gives POTUS the ability to fire a US Attorney if he wants to. And that’s exactly what Trump did to the prior US Attorney for SDNY, Preet Bharara (which is a whole nother scandal). Trump being Trump, after he fired Bharara, he wanted to put his own guy in the SDNY slot. He made an interim appointment of a guy who’d done some part-time volunteer work for the Trump transition team. Geoffrey fuckin’ Berman. That’s right, the guy Trump is now trying to fire.

But here’s the thing (in case you were wondering what the thing is): Trump being Trump, he got distracted by some shiny object and never bothered to actually nominate somebody to fill the SDNY position. That meant the Senate never had anybody to confirm. So after about four months, the Chief Judge of SDNY “entered an order on behalf of a unanimous court appointing Berman U.S. Attorney pursuant to its authority under 28 U.S.C Section 546(d).”

This probably means Berman has the appointment indefinitely, until the Senate confirms someone nominated by the president. Since he was appointed to the gig by the federal court, he can probably only be fired by that court. (I keep saying ‘probably’ because I don’t think this has ever been tested; no other administration has been this incompetent.) The only other way for Trump to get rid of Berman is to formally nominate somebody to be the US Attorney of SDNY, and for the Senate to confirm them.

Attorney General William Barr after meeting with President Trump checks to make sure he still has his wallet.

So there’s that. Now the real question is this: why does Trump (through Barr) want to get rid of Berman five months before the presidential election? We can only speculate, of course, but the speculation can be based on what we know Berman has been investigating. For example:

  • campaign finance violations that grew out of the indictment against Michael Cohen
  • the Jeffrey Epstein case and any allegations that Trump may have been involved
  • Rudy Giuiliani’s potentially illegal campaign contributions as well as his shenanigans in Ukraine.

That suggests Berman may be on the verge of announcing some legal action against one of Trump’s associates. Or one of Trump’s children. Or Trump, though that seems the least likely possibility. In any event, firing–or attempting to fire–Berman at this point in time seems like the act of a desperate administration.

Just as important — no, wait. More important is that the attack on Berman is just the latest of AG Bill Barr’s blatant attempts to interfere with the course of justice to benefit Comrade Trump. In the 16 months since he was appointed, Barr 1) misrepresented (okay, lied about) the Mueller Report, claiming it found no evidence of obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation, 2) interfered in the sentencing of Roger Stone (also regarding the Russia investigation), 3) is attempting to dismiss the case against confessed felon Michael Flynn in regard to the Russia investigation and related corruption, 4) is dropping the case against the Russian individuals and agencies known to have interfered with the 2016 election, 5) authorized a political appointee to conduct a second investigation into the investigation of Russian interference apparently because he didn’t like the result of the DOJ Inspector General’s earlier investigation of the investigation, 6) issued a DOJ opinion that extorting a foreign nation to investigate a political opponent was NOT a violation of the law, 7) lied about the peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square AND 8) deployed armed DOJ personnel from various agencies (with their affiliation deliberately masked) to clear those protesters from Lafayette Square in order for Comrade Trump to hold a three minute photo op.

So yes, this situation is a little odd. Everything about William Barr is odd. Everything about the entire Trump universe is so fucking odd that the scale and scope of the oddness is impossible to understand without a spreadsheet the size of Utah.

The good news, though, is that Berman doesn’t appear willing to go quietly. Or at all. The bad news is, just like everything else related to the Trump administration, this ugly situation is going to get even uglier before it’s resolved.

Note: Just learned that Jay Clayton, who Trump and Barr wanted to replace Berman, has absolutely NO prosecutorial experience. Worse, Clayton used to represent Deutsche Bank, the only western bank that would lend Trump money after his numerous bankruptcies. Deutsche Bank has been in trouble for laundering money from Russian organized crime.

Odder and odder by the minute.

president uxb

Remember a couple of years ago when the US seem to bumble from one crisis to another? One crisis would end, then as soon as we caught our breath, another would start? And remember how the number of crises expanded and the time between them contracted, so we had more crises more often, without any time to catch our breath between them? And now here we are, dealing with multiple crises happening all at the same time.

It was predictable. Hell, it was almost inevitable. This explosion of crises has been building since 1995, when Newt Gingrich began to mix the hydrogen of politics with the chlorine of partisanship, which eventually turned the Republican Party into a fucking time bomb. Max Bodenstein would have seen this coming.

I say it was ‘almost inevitable’ because Republicans could have defused the bomb. They could have stabilized the process, reduced the partisanship, and impeded the likelihood of explosion. They had an excellent opportunity after Gingrich was forced to resign from Congress for ethical reasons. They had an even better chance after the tragedies of the 9/11 attacks. Given the extraordinary circumstances–a period in which most Americans were eager to band together as a nation–setting aside partisanship would have been not only politically astute, but would actually further national interests.

President UXB, not yet rendered safe.

But they didn’t. They have not only refused to try to unite the nation, they have exacerbated minor political predicaments into crises (numerous government shut-downs over partisan policy issues), and created crises where none existed (Hilary’s emails). They have chosen to accelerate the explosive process Each crisis leads inexorably to the next, and the crises have cascaded one after the other more and more quickly. Each smaller explosion has led to a larger, more powerful explosion as the various crises build on each other.

This is going to continue until November when, it’s to be hoped, Comrade Trump will be defeated in the presidential election. Even if he is defeated, the potential for some sort of political kinetic disassembly will continue until January, when the transfer of power takes place. A big bang is almost certainly coming. The only questions are how bad the explosions will be, and whether any remnants of representational democracy will survive.

NOTE: uxb = unexploded bomb.

change gonna come

Every time the United States is coping with widespread rioting sparked by racism and police violence during an economic crisis caused by the near-collapse of the national healthcare system overloaded by an inept and indifferent response to a global pandemic taking place a few months before the most critical presidential election in the history of this nation pitting an essentially decent, good-hearted but bumbling old white man against a malignant, mendacious, ignorant old white man, I am reminded of the words of the Poet Sam Cooke.

A change gonna come.

It has been a long time coming. I don’t know what the change will be, but it’s coming. There’s no guarantee the change will be a good one. But all the same, it’s coming. I’m scared to be very hopeful, I really am. I know the change — even if it’s a good one, even if it’s the change I want — won’t be nearly enough to make everything right. But it’s coming, and it’ll bring some clarity. In a few short months, things will start to get better. Or they’ll start to get much worse. But a change gonna come.

You can’t dodge it. You can’t stop it. You can work to make it the change you want, but it’s coming. You can organize, you can protest, you can sit at home and binge watch television, you can throw stones, you can vote, you can wear a mask, you can ignore science, you can pray to any entity you can believe in, you can burn the motherfucker down, you can donate money, you can buy a t-shirt with a slogan on it, you can bake bread, you can call names, you can close your eyes and hope it all goes away, but it won’t. You know it won’t. You know it won’t.

Change gonna come.