our ignorant president

First, let me point out that by calling Comrade Trump ‘ignorant’ I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. To call him ignorant is simply to say he’s lacking in knowledge. Everybody is ignorant about some things. Trump, who has lived by the credo that bigger is better and ostentation is impressive, is ostentatiously ignorant about a lot of things. One of which is counterintelligence.

A LOT of people are ignorant about counterintelligence; they don’t understand what it is or how it’s practiced. There’s no reason they should be familiar with it, But, sadly, Trump is POTUS; he should understand it — especially since a counterintelligence operation was put into place to protect him from Russian influence.

Let me repeat that bit, because it’s important. A counterintelligence operation was put into place to protect candidate Donald J. Trump from Russian influence. That’s the heart of this whole mess.

Back to basics: counterintelligence is the gathering of information to protect something or someone from acts of espionage. The goal of counterintelligence isn’t to find evidence of a crime; it’s to identify and monitor foreign intelligence activity, then render it ineffective.

That leads us to kompromat. What the hell is kompromat? It’s a Russian term, a portmanteau, the squishing together of two words — in this case ‘compromising’ and ‘material’. Compromising material, of course, is what’s used to blackmail somebody. But kompromat combines blackmail with what’s called ‘black public relations’. With ordinary blackmail, the blackmailer says “Do this or I’ll make the compromising material public.” Kompromat is more subtle; the compromising material is publicly teased out. Rumors are started, questions are asked, hints and suggestions are made — all of which are damaging to the person being blackmailed, but none of the damage is necessarily fatal. Kompromat is the Death of a Thousand Cuts coupled with the implication that those cuts can be stopped and the wounds healed…but only if the compromised person cooperates.

The Russian secret services didn’t invent kompromat, but they are well-known to be masters at it. They routinely try to acquire kompromat information on foreign politicians and businessmen — and Trump has been doing business with some really shady Russians since the late 1990s. He’d had a string of bankruptcies, most of which he’d been able to lawyer his way out of while his investors lost their shirts. This led to every major U.S. bank refusing to lending him money. But those shady Russians had deep pockets and were willing to open them.

Here’s the weird and dangerous thing about post-Soviet Russia: there’s no way to differentiate between oligarchs and former intelligence officers and political figures and organized crime gangsters and legitimate business people. It’s not just that these different groups cooperate with each other, it’s that they’re often not really different groups — they’re often all interconnected. These are the people who provided Trump with financing when nobody else would. He literally owes these people. That makes him vulnerable.

By the summer of 2016, the FBI were aware from at least two different sources that at least four significant members of the Trump campaign were in contact with known Russian intelligence/criminal elements. So the FBI launched a counterintelligence operation to find out what the Russians were up to. If they hadn’t done that, they’d have been derelict in their duties.

Again, the first goal of counterintelligence is to identify and monitor foreign intelligence activity. This has to be done covertly in case the activity is actually innocent. It was, after all, entirely possible that nothing suspicious was taking place between those Trump campaign members and the Russians.

What Trump, out of ignorance, doesn’t understand is that this counterintelligence work was done to protect him, protect his campaign, and protect the democratic process from Russian interference. Out of ignorance, Trump is apparently under the impression the FBI ‘infiltrated’ his campaign in an effort to ‘spy’ on it and entrap his campaign staff into breaking the law. Again, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt by saying he’s just ignorant rather than suggesting he’s actually complicit.

“There was NO COLLUSION with Russia! It’s a WITCH HUNT! Deep State Fake News total disaster ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?”

BUT if you look closely at how Comrade Trump has behaved toward Russia and Putin, it looks a LOT like complicity. If you look at Trump’s refusal to implement the sanctions voted by Congress, if you look at Trump’s policies toward the Ukraine, if you look at Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that Russia interfered with the election, if you look at just about everything Trump has said or done about Russia — well it looks a lot like a successful Russian kompromat campaign.

Ignorance is the best case scenario.

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the things i do for you guys, i declare

If you’re like me (and really, there’s absolutely no reason to suppose you’d be like me, but let’s just agree that it’s theoretically possible), you probably read Comrade Trump’s tweets this morning and thought to yourself, “Oy gevalt, what will they say about this mishigas on FreeRepublic?”.

You can relax now. Because I checked. See what I’m willing to do for you, even though you didn’t ask? You can thank me later. Anyway, here’s some of what they had to say:

— Twitter heads explode again. “Wile E. Coyote” was trending. — SMGFan

— This is an example of why Trump is glorious! The lefties will be drooling and tripping all over their tongues. — dforest (Never let a Muslim cut your hair.)

— I know l am In the minority here but I think it Trump sounds a little on the defensive with this. I think he needs to watch less CNN and MSNBC. — gibsonguy

— Those who criticize his tweeting are “made to look like fools”. President Trump fights back. He is winning. MAGA. President Trump is very different than most repubs who sit back and whimper when attacked by LIB lunatics. — hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)

— Trump is a genius for sure – he works at a level not many even know exist. IQ off charts. Humble he is not. Trump can challenge any member of congress to an intellectual battle of wits. He would win against almost all and blow most out of the water so badly it would be an embarrassment. — rdcbn

— A MAN who is our PRESIDENT and who is also VERY GOOD at “pressing the other guy’s buttons.” Trump keeps those DIM-BULBS dancing to HIS MUSIC. — VideoDoctor

— He will be making the mainstream media chase the red dot for days after this including getting Mensa experts on TV meanwhile he will make them look like fools chasing the red dot While he gets Tons and tons of stuff done on our behalf. You should be grateful. He posts these tweets knowing they will say he is a fool he is taking all of the arrows for us while getting tons of stuff done for us. — CincyRichieRich  (Hurtling deplorable!)

— Fun to watch. 5.56mm — M Kehoe

— I will never understand the people that wince at the tweets. They are delightfully subcutaneous — mylife ( The roar of the masses could be farts)

— please brag more Mr. President. it offends the retards… they NEED to be offended, it helps feed the dark side of their “VICTIM” complex. just… you know… like a knife… stick it to them… and twist it… — MIAcc11212 (10 metres, 10 rounds, 10 seconds, grouped within 10 cm…)

And there you have it. These are verbatim, by the way, in case you were wondering. Heads are exploding, Trump is glorious, MAGA, and don’t let a Muslim cut your hair.

uninformed, ignorant, and easily played

It’s been a while since I’ve stuck my head into the roiling mass of hate, stupidity, and hot bubbling fear that’s FreeRepublic. Lately I haven’t really felt the need to find out what’s going on in the fevered minds of the extreme right, mainly because it appears every day in headlines from the White House and in the cesspit of Comrade Trump’s Twitter account.

But this morning, while waiting for the coffee to get off its ass and do its job, I decided to see what that group of manky patriots are fussing about today. And I saw this subject line:

New Poll Finds 92% of Democrats Uninformed, Ignorant and Easily Played.

Now that, I thought, would be an interesting poll to look at. There was a link to the Gateway Pundit (which, in case you don’t live under a rock, is a conservative website that describes itself as ‘one of the top political blogs in the nation’ and has received (and no, I’m not making this up) the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism). But before examining the source material, I thought I’d look at the comments made by Freepers. Here’s a representative sample:

Willful ignorance. Combined with pathetic and badly-constructed lies. That’s all the FraudStream Media knows how to sell. Problem is, there is a WHOLE LOTTA STUPID goin’ on out there, taking it as “truth”. How do you educate someone who rejects reality?

Which is a good question, isn’t it. How DO you educate someone who rejects reality? Let’s probe deeper into that question.

When you combine the results of Dunning-Kruger and Murray’s The Bell Curve, when you look at street gangs like Antifa, BAMN, or any communist humanities college student, you are left with the inescapable conclusion that democrats are genetically stupid. They were short-changed in the DNA Lotto, with their ratio of grey and white brain cells, short-term vs long term memory, and the number of synaptic connections.

Sorry, there it is.

Yes, there it is. Democrats are genetically stupid. It’s inescapable. Need more proof? This Freeper has it for you.

92% of democrats are on the left side of the Bell Curve. That is why they have been named the LEFT. 8% of democrats are the political leaders of the LEFT, and they know better than the lies they tell to the other 92%.

There it is again. You can’t argue with science. Or whatever this is.

Democrats are the masses of ignorant dependent. Led by the bigoted elite. Pretty much. More exploited for their votes than led by. To be honest. The elite of America hate our history and hate male dominated western civilization and resent Christianity in anything but puff form.

This is how stupid I am. I didn’t even know there was a puff form. Why didn’t anybody tell me about the puff form? I don’t even know what the puff form is, but apparently it’s a pretty important form and is the reason I hate history and male dominated western civilization.

My favorite comment was a photo. That’s it. Just this:

It’s a still from The Return of the Archons, a Star Trek episode from 1967. The episode takes place on planet Beta III in the C-111 system, ‘at the start of “Festival”, a period of violence, destruction, and sexual aggressiveness.’ Apparently during the Festival the inhabitants of Beta III arm themselves with baguettes and potatoes — not normally the weapons of choice for violence, destruction, and sexual aggressiveness. But, to quote an unnamed Freeper, there it is.

Democrats voters is stupid. Republican voters are abused, taken for granted. That’s hopefully not going to fly any more.

Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to fly anymore. I think that’s pretty much incapable of flight. Because Democrats voters is stupid.

With this collective Freeper wisdom in mind, I clicked on the link to the Gateway Pundit. I wanted to see the poll that found 92% of Democrats were ignorant, uninformed, and easily played.

It turned out to be a poll by CBS News that indicated 92% of Democrats believe the Trump campaign did something sleazy with Russia. Seriously, that’s it. That’s the entirety of the claim. Allow me to present the Gateway Pundit’s evidence:

The liberal mainstream media has pushed the conspiracy that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia during the 2016 election to defeat Hillary Clinton.

This was all a lie. In fact, it was Hillary Clinton and the DNC who colluded to defeat Bernie Sanders in the primary and then colluded with Russia. Democrats and the Obama FBI paid cash for a fake Russian dossier so they could spy on Donald Trump at Trump tower.

But Democrat voters are ignorant. And Democrats rely on the fact that they are stupid and easily played.

A new poll released this week by CBS News found that 92% of Democrats believe Trump advisors had improper dealings with Russia.

There it is, yet again. How do you educate someone who rejects reality? Democrats resent Christianity except in puff form, and Democrats voters is stupid.

You may not like it, but there it is. That’s just the way life works out here on planet Beta III in the C-111 system.

fuckwits and cowards

We are a nation ruled by fuckwits and cowards. There are people in this nation who truly believe a continuing cascade of mass shootings is a reasonable price to pay for the freedom to…to what? To own a lot of guns? And there are politicians who know there are practical ways to reduce that body count, but are too afraid of losing their job to actually do anything about it. Fuckwits and cowards.

We can talk about honoring the first responders, but it’s all bullshit if we’re not going to even attempt to reduce the horrors they’re responding to. We can talk about honoring the dead, but fuck them — they’re dead and they can’t vote, and even if the families of the dead make a fuss they can’t outspend the National Rifle Association. We can talk about honoring the Constitution, but it’s just a head fake — we routinely shit on chunks of the other amendments. We can talk, but don’t for a minute believe talk will result in anything. It won’t. Not as long as we’re a nation ruled by fuckwits and cowards.

Here’s a sad thing: I can no longer sustain any outrage about the butcher’s bill. 20 second-graders dead, 32 college students dead, 50 gay folks dead, maybe more than 60 country music fans dead. They’re becoming meaningless numbers. Meaningless deaths. Because we all know we’re not going to do anything about it beyond muttering something about thoughts and prayers. They’re good at that, the fuckwits and cowards; they have a never-ending font of thoughts and prayers.

It’s not just the mass shootings, of course. Every day about a hundred people die by the gun. They’re not all murders; some of them are suicides, some of them are accidental, some of them are a result of negligence. The fuckwits believe those deaths are inevitable, which means the world is a dangerous place, which means they’re afraid all the time, and because they’re fuckwits they believe the only way to protect themselves from people with guns is to have guns themselves. The cowards know better, but they encourage that circular thinking because it helps them stay in power.

Fuckwits and cowards. And the rest of us? The rest of us are worn out. You can’t win an argument with a fuckwit because they’re fuckwitted. You can’t win an argument with a coward because cowards lie. Making arguments you know you can’t win is just fucking exhausting. And discouraging. And disheartening.

But damn it, we still have to do it. Call your members of Congress today. It won’t matter, but do it anyway. Why? Because there are a bunch of dead country music fans to go along with our dead gay folks and our dead college students and our dead second-graders and all the dead spouses and girlfriends and co-workers and children and neighbors and siblings and no matter how fucking tired we are, we can’t just stay quiet.

If we stay quiet, then we’re also fuckwits and cowards.

the galaxies are full of very stupid people

The fans of Doctor Who are, on the whole, a pretty intelligent group with a fairly elastic capacity for the willing suspension of disbelief. Most of them (and by ‘them’ I mean ‘us’ because I’m also a fan of the Doctor) have a Disbelief Suspension Toggle that triggers immediately on hearing the first electronic notes of the harmonic waveforms that comprise the show’s theme song.

But there are some fans whose Disbelief Suspension Toggles appear to be seriously malfunctioning.

Consider the Adipose. Cheeky little semi-sentient marshmallows of fat, from the planet Adipose 3. They could, in a crisis, completely absorb humans, thereby turning those unfortunate humans into…well, more fat. To Whovians with a properly functioning DST, this is believable.

Totally believable, this.

Consider the Slitheen. They’re a Raxacoricofallapatorian crime family who plotted to turn the Earth into a huge nuclear reactor pile and sell the planet’s remains off as starship fuel. The Slitheen are able to pass themselves off as human by ‘wearing’ the skin of large, dead people. Because the Slitheen are larger than most humans, they have to compress themselves to fit inside the skin. One effect of this compression is the periodic necessity to expel gas in the form of resounding farts. This is believable.

Absolutely believable.

Consider Chula nanogenes. This was a microscopic form of gene therapy used to repair wounds and injuries suffered by soldiers from the planet Chula. The nanogenes were accidentally released on Earth in 1941 by an immortal, time-traveling human con man who’d stolen a Chula space ambulance. The escaped nanogenes attempted to heal a young British boy who was the victim of a Nazi bombing raid. Assuming the boy’s gas mask was actually part of his face, the nanogenes ‘healed’ the mask. Using the boy as a template, the Chula nanogenes ‘healed’ other injured humans based on the boy’s characteristics and injuries at death — thereby creating gas-mask-faced zombies. This is believable.

Who wouldn’t believe this?

Consider the Doctor — an alien being from the planet Gallifrey who possesses a binary vascular system, maintains an internal body temperature of around 60F (15-16C), and has a respiratory bypass system that allows the Doctor to occasionally go without oxygen for an indeterminate period of time. The Doctor primarily resides in a stolen dimensionally transcendental time-spacecraft called the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) which, due to a faulty chameleon circuit, looks like a 1960s-era British police box. When near death (usually due to injury, age, or disease), the Doctor can regenerate — a process by which the body restructures its triple helix DNA. This restructuring generally allows the Doctor to retain most of the previous Doctor’s memories. However, it also includes the genetic equivalent of ‘bit errors’ in the DNA. This has the effect of altering the Doctor’s appearance, height, mass, and apparent age. This is believable.

So completely believable.

To some Doctor Who fans, however, there is one immutable characteristic of the Doctor. One physical facet of the Doctor’s being than is indispensable, regardless of the regeneration process. One supreme, conclusive physical attribute that defines the Doctor. An extendable intromittent organ that acts as a sperm delivery system. To these fans, the Doctor’s physical body is apparently nothing more than an extension of the Doctor’s dick. Absent that organ, the Doctor is a sham.

In other words — no dick, no Doctor.

What? No. Are you kidding me? Unbelievable.

These particular Doctor Who fans are what I like to call ‘fuckwits’. Why? Because there’s no evidence that the Doctor even has a dick. The Doctor has always appeared to be male, so many fans have fallen into the Operative Assumption of Dick. It is an implied dick; nobody has ever actually seen the Doctor’s dick.

I’m confident, though, that there are David Tennant/10th Doctor fans who’ve made an exhaustive visual inspection of the Doctor’s tailored striped trousers; if a dick had been noticeable, I’m pretty sure it would have been…well, noticed. Even if the Doctor has a dick, it’s possible he’s hung like a horsefly.

The thing is, we just don’t know. No, wait…the thing actually is, it just doesn’t matter. Whether the Doctor is fully dicked, partially dicked, variantly dicked, or utterly dick-free, it just doesn’t matter.

What matters is whether the Doctor connects with the audience — and that’s a personal issue. Jodie Whittaker will either be convincing as the Doctor or she won’t. If you’re only able to relate to Doctors who possess an implied dick, then — well, I don’t want to say you’re a sexist idiot, but… No, wait. That’s actually exactly what I want to say. If you can’t connect to the 13th Doctor because she hasn’t a dick, then you’re a sexist idiot.

I don’t know if Jodie Whittaker will be convincing as the Doctor. I very much hope she will. But it won’t depend on what’s hidden beneath her clothing.

That said, I’ll be deeply disappointed if she wears heels.

bottom line

Over the weekend I heard somebody run with the ‘give the guy some time’ defense of Comrade Trump. You’ve surely heard this. “Sure, he’s made some dumb moves, but the bottom line is he’s only been on the job a few months. What do you expect?”

That’s a good question. No, wait…it’s a really stupid question. What do we expect? The guy is the goddamn President of These United States. We shouldn’t have to be concerned about whether he meets some minimal tolerable standard. This isn’t Pass/Fail, for fuck’s sake. But sadly, that’s where we are as a nation. We’re actually forced to ask if Donald J. Trump is capable of meeting the bottom line.

The bottom line. It’s about as perfect an expression of a concept as you could ever want. It literally refers to the final profit and loss figure of any enterprise, which is located on the bottom line on an accounting page. Even the term bottom is absolutely perfect. It’s derived from a Proto-Germanic root word, buthm, meaning the ground, earth, soil, the lowest level. There is nothing below the bottom. 

So, bottom line — what’s the very least we expect from the President of These United States? What are the minimal set of behaviors and beliefs we reckon are acceptable from the person who runs the United States government? A few things immediately come to mind.

Is it true? I dunno. Maybe. Probably. Who can say?

A certain degree of honesty. Nobody expects POTUS to be perfectly honest about everything. There are things that, for security reasons, need to be kept secret. We’re all adults; we know this. We may not always like it, but we understand the need for incidental presidential fibbing. Hell, most of us are even okay with the occasional bald-faced presidential lie IF it’s in the best interest of the nation. But at the same time we expect the president NOT to lie casually. Or frequently. Or blatantly.

Comrade Trump violates that expectation. He lies easily, he lies often, and he lies brazenly — even if the lie is obvious. The scope of the lie doesn’t seem to matter; he lies just as easily about issues of national importance as he does about trivial crap. He’s not just indifferent to the truth; he so indifferent to it that we’re forced to wonder if he’s even aware he’s lying.

That’s unacceptable. As citizens, we have a legitimate expectation that our president isn’t a habitual liar. The leaders of other nations share that expectation. When it comes to matters of trade or security — not to mention times of international crisis — other national leaders need to be able to trust that the U.S. president isn’t lying his ass off. At this point, nobody can fully trust Comrade Trump will deal honestly with…well, with anybody.

Whaddya mean, I got to listen to Congress? Who elected them to…oh. But still, c’mon.

A basic grasp of how the U.S. government functions. Yeah, government is complex. No single person can be expected to understand every facet of every organization and agency that comprises the U.S. government. But as citizens, we expect the president to have a working knowledge of how our government is supposed to operate.

Comrade Trump violates those expectations. If you google Trump doesn’t you get the following predictive searches:

understand executive orders
understand checks and balances
understand separation of powers

Okay, executive orders are maybe a tad confusing, but the concepts of checks and balances and separation of powers? That’s basic stuff. The first three articles of the U.S. Constitution are devoted to it. You know — three branches of government: the executive, the legislative, the judiciary. None of them is superior to the others, each operates independently, but are held in check by the other two. For example, POTUS can negotiate treaties, but the Senate has to approve them. Congress can make laws, but the courts determine if those laws are constitutional. The courts can send folks to jail, but POTUS has the power to pardon them. POTUS can propose a budget, but Congress decides whether to fund it. Basic stuff, like I said. American kids learn this in middle school or earlier. But they’re a mystery to Comrade Trump.

That’s unacceptable. As citizens, we have a legitimate expectation that the president should be as familiar with this stuff as your average fifteen year old kid. It’s ridiculous that Comrade Trump has to be periodically reminded what the president can and cannot do. He’s NOT the king — he’s not even the CEO of America Inc. — he’s just the guy who temporarily occupies the office.

Go fuck yourself. Go. And then fuck yourself. In that order.

An elementary notion of decorum. I’m not talking about whether he knows what fork is for the salad. I’m talking about preserving and maintaining the dignity of the office of the President of These United States. In the words of Joe Biden (who, let’s face it, wasn’t always the most decorous and dignified person in the room), it’s a big fucking deal. We expect our president NOT to be a jerk in public. When the president is out and about with his wife, he should be polite to her. It’s none of our business whether or not he loves his wife, but it IS our business that he treats her with respect. When visiting officials and dignitaries arrive at the White House, he should be polite to them. It doesn’t matter if he likes or dislikes Angela Merkel. She’s the Chancellor of Germany — shake her damned hand. As citizens, we have a legitimate expectation that our president doesn’t disgrace the nation, doesn’t embarrass the citizenry, doesn’t wantonly insult others. It’s not asking too much to expect the president to comport himself a degree of restraint and a certain amount of grace.

Comrade Trump violates those expectations. He’s consistently rude and boorish — to his wife, to his staff, to visiting dignitaries and diplomats, to his predecessors, and to others in general. He’s quick to ridicule folks he disagrees with, to insult his detractors, to disparage anyone he feels is in any way inferior, and to malign anybody he sees as any sort of threat. At the same time, he compliments authoritarian figures and tyrants. He praises Russia’s Putin, Duterte of the Philippines, Turkey’s Erdogan — but he calls President Obama “a bad (or sick) guy” and accused him of “trying to destroy Israel” and being “the worst president in U.S. history” as well as being “weak” and “insane”.

That’s unacceptable. As citizens we deserve a president who isn’t a continuous source of shame and embarrassment. We deserve to be represented by a person who treats others with a modicum of respect. We deserve a president who is self-confident and mature enough to respond to slights and insults with restraint and sensibility. We deserve a president who isn’t a flaming asshole.

Bottom line: he can’t get any lower.

So, here’s the bottom line then. We expect the president to be moderately honest, to be as conversant with the basic functions of the government as a middle school student, and not to be a jerk. We expect him not to pout, not to whine, not to blame others, and not to have tantrums. We expect him NOT to behave like a spoiled child acting out at the Burger King.

Bottom line — we expect the President of These United States to act like a fucking adult.

a very short conversation about health care

My friend: “I can’t believe what the Republicans did. They hate poor people.”
Me: “I dunno. Seems like it, doesn’t it.”
My friend: “Oh c’mon, they despise poor people.”
Me: “Naw, it’s more like the Republicans are Rick Blaine and poor folks are Signor Ugarte.”
My friend: “What?”
Me: “You know, like in the movie Casablanca.”
My friend: Casablanca? What the hell are you talking about?”
Me: “You’ve never seen Casablanca?”
My friend: “Well, yeah, of course I’ve seen it. But what’s Casablanca got to do with Republicans passing a hateful health care bill?”
Me: “Remember that scene? The one with Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre?”
My friend: “Oh, yeah, right. He wants to search Bogart’s office, and he pulls a gun, but Bogie knocks him out and takes his gun and searches him, and when Peter Lorre wakes up, Bogart gives him back the gun, and Peter Lorre points it at him again and demands to search his office. Great scene.”
Me: “That’s from The Maltese Falcon.”
My friend: “Oh. Right. Sam Spade and…Peter Lorre.”
Me: “Joel Cairo.”
My friend: “What?”
Me: “Peter Lorre played Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon. In Casablanca he plays a guy named Signor Ugarte.”
My friend: “Okay. I’m still confused.”
Me: “What I’m saying…or trying to say…is that Republicans would probably despise poor people if they gave them any thought.”
My friend: “Okay. Wait, what?”
Me: “Congressional Republicans…and this is just my opinion…don’t care enough about poor people to think about them enough to actually despise them.”
My friend: “But if they did, they would.”
Me: “Exactly.”