Category Archives: Michael F

Democratic Leaders: This Will NOT Happen


No, Trump will not self-impeach, any more than he’d self-indict or self-arrest/self-perp walk/self-frog march. And every day you allow Trump to stomp on small “d” democratic norms, or worse, you enable his degrading of what’s left of self-government to the aesthetic of tawdry, reality-show, dictator chic.

Nor will “Republican heroes” save you. With the sole exception of Justin Amash, they’re all in. Duh. Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chao rival DJT in overall corruption, if not pussy grabbing sleaziness. The House hearing this week where John Dean was all but called a rat for choosing the rule of law and the Constitution over blind loyalty to the caught-on-tape felon Richard Nixon is only the most recent example of Congressional GOPers behaving more like a criminal gang than a political party.

Besides. Trump. Is. Bluffing. He’s. Not. Playing. 11. Dimensional. Chess. Shit, I doubt the guy can play a decent game of, I don’t know, spin the bottle, and spin the bottle might be the one game he’d like, other than hectoring, bullying, and bluffing his way to what should have been defined–or at least spun like there’s no tomorrow–by the big “D” Democratic Party as an illegitimate administration, enabled by blind dumb luck and stupid, freak rules.

If they let this clown sociopath gain any more of a toehold than they’ve already given him…then what’s the fucking point?

History will judge Nancy Pelosi…and will judge harshly if she, and sorry to harp on this, but if she normalizes Donald Trump. And every goddamned day she, Schumer, and the rest of the alleged Democratic leadership fail to object — forecfully — is another day Trump’s disgraceful performance gets more normalized.

You don’t win by playing not to lose.

The Four Horses’ Asses Of The Apocalypse


No, you don’t have to hold an impeachment vote tomorrow, but yes, as Adrastos noted in a comment thread last week (and yeah, the reply was to me), call it what it is. Control the narrative. Trump’s already been too normalized. We’ve got blind, dumb luck to thank if we’ve not been hurt by his policies (while some people HAVE been hurt).

Move the process forward. Besides, if you do it right, you can negate any attempt by McConnell to sandbag. Investigate thoroughly, hold hearings, and sure, if it just happens that Trump’s impeachment is an October surprise…surprise.

And if that’s not enough to prevent his re-election, then…I don’t know what. Welcome to the Hunter Thompson nation of “used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”

But not fighting is the surest way to lose. By not fighting the Overton window’s been moved so far to the right that Barack Obama was labeled a socialist, Bill Clinton was impeached, and Hillary Clinton was slimed as a crook — slimed by Donald Fucking Trump.

And Trump thinks/assumes he’ll get away with it…like he always does.

Well, he will if they let him.

Today’s the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Europe invasion. Democrats, it’s not like we’re asking you to storm the beaches. We’re asking you to show a little spine in the face of a guy who’s a con, a cheat, a bluffer…a horse’s ass. Take control of the narrative and above all, don’t lay down to him. Please.  We’re asking nicely.

Does Mueller Have To Spell It Out?


I’m with Charles Blow on this

What the hell is it going to take, Democrats?!

What evidence and impetus would compel you to do the job the Constitution, patriotism and morality dictate?

What is it going to take to make you initiate an impeachment inquiry?

Your slow walking of this issue and your specious arguments about political calculations are pushing you dangerously close to a tragic, historic dereliction of duty, one that could do irreparable damage to the country and the Congress.

Political calculation, like it or not, gives at least the impression of political cowardice, and this is exactly the wrong time for cowardice.

Sure, Trump is popular with Republicans, although Justin Amash has demonstrated some political principles, and in doing so, done the Democratic Party an enormous favor. Having said that, it’s not like Democrats will EVER win Republican votes, so I can’t understand why Pelosi thinks she must somehow get the GOP on board.

The job of the political opposition is to OPPOSE. In this case, the opposition has the additional incentive of standing up for the rule of law against a corrupt president who very clearly broke the law, and for whom there’s more than a little evidence of political  and possibly financial ties with Russian crooks. A president who is compromised by a foreign adversary.

Besides, Trump is, I’m convinced, winging it. He has no grand plan, other than to rely on Democrats being weak and mealy-mouthed. He’ll “just figure it out.” Cringing and laying down on this is as much political malpractice as it was media malpractice when the press gave him the freest of free rides in 2016.

Does anyone think the GOP wouldn’t have impeached Hillary Clinton by now? Consider: with little more than an election decided by odd rules, voter suppression/foreign meddling in key states, and dumb luck, they’ve shoved through two Supreme Court nominees — and McConnell openly gloats about how he gave Democrats a big old middle finger with one — they’ve pushed through what amount to abortion bans in four states and are working on more, they’ve gone so far as to insist that in an age of global warming that fossil fuels are “molecules of freedom,” whatever the hell that means…

Barack Obama won two elections decisively. That didn’t stop the GOP from adopting a scorched earth opposition. Politics is…politics. You compromise if you must, but you don’t play to compromise. You play to win, and Democratic issues are winning issues. Geez.

FDR, in 1936, “welcomed [the] hatred” of people far less worse than the corrupt, crooked, and incompetent Trump MAGAt crowd. He sure didn’t betray his own principles for an infrastructure deal that would never go through anyway…

How They Roll


Not exactly a fun day for Steven Mnuchin — he spent it on Capitol Hill trying to justify his violation of law in refusing to hand over Trump’s tax returns — but he nonetheless managed to pull off a classic dick move of the kind the GOP routinely do, announcing publicly that the twenty dollar bill redesign to honor Harriet Tubman has been delayed until, well, he’s no longer Treasury Secretary.

“It’s not a decision that is likely to come until way past my term, even if I serve the second term for the president,” Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee. “So I’m not focused on that for the moment.”


“The ultimate decision on the redesign will most likely be another secretary’s down the road,” he said.


To be sure, this isn’t THE most critical issue facing the country, yes, it’s mainly a symbolic gesture, Andrew Jackson would probably shit a brick if he found out his face was on paper money, and geez, I don’t use cash all that much anymore…but this is exactly the sort of stuff that’s their stock in trade. Even the smallest issues are matters they’ll fight and claw over. They’ll never pass up a chance to do something that reeks of wingnut.

In contrast, Democrats, faced with Trump making Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan look like twin pillars of gravitas and moral rectitude, continue to play a “let’s-see-if-we-can-meet-them-halfway” game. That’s exactly how, over the course of a generation, we’ve devolved from Reagan to Bush to Trump. Even Clinton and Obama were, in their own ways, GOP-Lite.

I’m not saying Democrats should act like shitheels. But it’d be nice if every once in a while they’d push hard on things they believe in.

The Trump Brand IS The GOP Brand


And the brand is toxic. It’s New Coke.

Which is why it’s so … frustrating to watch the Democrats flailing about (via) with half-assed, mincing, “self-impeachment,” better-test-the-political-winds-for-the-thousandth-time, milquetoast expressions of timidity while Trump and his fellow party members — they are one and the same — look for another dumpster fire to toss the Constitution into, because, hey, who’s going to stop them?


No, they don’t have to hold an impeachment vote tomorrow, but a little bit of spine wouldn’t hurt either. To repeat yet again, if the tables were turned, does anyone think the GOP wouldn’t be investigating, subpoenaing, holding hearings, demanding documents and otherwise doing all they could to oppose?

Um, they did just that for eight years, and after being clearly beaten in two presidential elections.

Trump himself is clearly criminal…and stupid. The Repugs have gone all in with him. Their ONLY option is to shrink the electorate by any means and promise as much red meat to their evangelical, white supremacist base…and hope that Dems will cringe, cry…and act like losers. Maybe promise to be just a little less conservative. You know, like they’ve always done. Because of, I don’t know, infrastructure or something.

Meanwhile, the public, who never much liked Trump anyway — how many times do we have to repeat that he lost the actual (not “popular”) vote? — delivered a clear message with the midterms. They like him about as much as they liked New Coke.

So, Democrats, don’t insist the answer is to offer Pepsi…

Dear Democrats: Show Some Spine, Don’t Back Down, Don’t Be Intimidated


Don’t make this the new DNC logo

Trump’s been wounded — by the Mueller report, by the recent NY Times revelations, Deutsche Bank is allegedly cooperating with investigators, etc., etc. — and like lots of wounded animals, his feral survival instincts are kicking in.

So yeah, he’s lashing out, he going all-in with the only thing he knows how to do: the Roy Cohn defense. Petulance as policy. Threaten, holler, play the victim, scream about your enemies…but hope like all hell they back down.

Because it’s all a bluff.

Sure, if they let him, Trump WILL destroy whatever he can to save his skin…and he’s got an ally in the GOP itself, which met him more than halfway long before he descended the escalator. But he’s not invincible…yet.

So, Democrats, please don’t play political calculus games, don’t pore over polling data, don’t twist yourself in knots trying to placate the non-existent Reagan Democrats.

Investigate the hell out of this crook, and if it leads to impeachable offenses (hint: it does), impeach.

He’s a fucking full-service laundromat for mobbed up cash from all over the globe. He’s a loser businessman with terrible instincts  — so if he thinks impeachment is an out/will let him off the hook, consider how wrong he always is. He got “elected” only by the weirdest of flukes, while benefiting from some particularly heavy-handed Clinton bashing by foreign governments, the FBI and The Village/Establishment. He’s not popular. He obstructs justice. If allowed to, he’ll kill whatever’s left of our democratic institutions.

If that still doesn’t register, think of it like this: if Nancy Pelosi went after Donald Trump and the GOP with half the zeal with which she’s gone after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other recently elected Democrats (who, ahem, represent the party’s future), consider how far she might get…just saying.



Why not call it a cult? That’s what they sound like from Barr on down as they look for any reason to excuse Dear Leader…

Then there’s James Comey’s sad realization, part deprogrammed former believer, part wide-eyed person pleading, imploring, “it’s a cookbook!” as others board the ship.

Gee, would’ve been nice if you noticed or thought of that two and and half years ago, James, instead of looking for ways to kneecap Hillary Clinton.

And the same to whoever else figured the very idea of President Trump was so preposterous that they might as well pull Hillary down a rung or two, either to play hardball or just for fun. Message delivered.

Gaslighter In Chief


No real surprise with this or any other stunt Trump pulls between now and election day. He’s testing, prodding, pulling, doing whatever he can think of to undermine both traditions AND actual laws while insisting it’s either all in our minds, or that he’s the real victim, or what about Hillary, and, hey, look over there…

Of course the elite media eats it all up, playing the we’re-so-savvy game…I’ll bet at least some of them can hardly wait to ensure they’re not tainted with librul cooties and take a rental car to the nearest Real-America-Diner-and Coffeeshop, where two regulars at the counter morph into The People.


Trump, for all his rabid, fervid, base — and his “feral survival instinct” — is weak, and should be treated that way. He’s bluffing, like he’s done his whole life (bankrupting a casino? How do you do that? It’s like falling off the floor)? He’s hoping he can bully and bluster his way through.

Caution won’t work. He has to be confronted. Otherwise…yeah.

“No One Said Anything About The Full Mueller”


That’s what I think Barr will be repeating over and over shortly from now as he and the rest of the team see just how thoroughly they can spin and how gullible the press corpse [sic] might be in swallowing, hook, line, sinker…rod and reel…whatever bullshit they can push (“lightly redacted”???).

And…not to get all political, but…to get all political, it’s not like anyone’s mind will be changed by this report, or any report. The Trumpeteers are all in, Trump has decided that’s his play for another term, i.e., divide the country and see if he can squeak out another Electoral College win or at best a bare victory that he’ll insist (“many people are saying”) is the greatest and best of all time…and his cult will hypnotically nod in agreement.

Oh, hell, who am I kidding? They won’t nod hypnotically, they’ll scream, yell, stomp their feet, burn rubber in parking lots, and otherwise continue to be as obnoxious as ever…or worse. Much, much worse.

Stay tuned…

A Somewhat Personal Opinion of The Trump Base


Somewhat personal because I agree with Adrastos and assume most of you feel the same. To use a metaphor in honor of the first black hole photo, they’re beyond the event horizon. To steal a line from Malcolm Tucker, they’re so dense, light bends around them.

They’re also arrogant. It starts at the very top, but William Barr’s testimony dripped with contempt…and then there’s the flat out refusal to comply with a clear law giving Congress authority to review tax records.

It’s the read meat — please the base by owning the libs.

But I still think it’s a bluff, and I still think it’s pretty much all they’ve got. They’re hiding something, and it’s likely awful (though the base won’t care because…beyond the event horizon)…

Without anything better, they’ll try to brazen it out, see if they can score points by portraying the Democrats as both weak AND monstrous socialist menace (consistency’s not a strong suit with the MAGASSes).

And part of me fears the Dems might fall into the trap. They’re complaining, but so far I haven’t seen much else. That’s not good.

I keep trying to imagine the shit-storm if the tables were somehow turned … difficult, given there’s really no Democratic Trump or rabid Fox Noise watching base … but, then again, it’s not like they were particularly civil to the legitimately elected and not-at-all-corrupt Obama administration.

But all that said, bluffs and cons are all Trump knows. And his core supporters? Hopeless suckers…

He’s Bluffing


Not exactly ground breaking news to anyone who regularly keeps up with things, but between his weird language spasm and what’s sure to be an upcoming Twitter bender, Trump is the ultimate anti-poker face (he’s also a compulsive liar, which is why when he says “no collusion,” that’s all the proof I need). About all that’s surprising is how readily people who should know better — ahem, librul media — insist on marching to his orders.

Sure, he’s got his minions who will stick with him to the bitter end…and sure, their numbers are large enough to be a concern…but the whole operation has been a con job from the beginning. Trump is…weak. His getting elected was due to odd rules, dumb luck, voter suppression, and, ironically, fake news, which blew the email non-scandal out of proportion while giving Trump a comparatively free pass.

He’ll keep playing the same game. After all, it worked in 2016 (though, ahem, it was a disaster in the midterms). But bluffs only work if your opponents let them…

Twit Declares Victory, Takes Twit Victory Lap


The dust is starting to settle, but I’m amazed that the press, even and including allegedly librul MSNBC, spent a few news cycles falling for Team Trump’s bluster and spin. Geez.

You’d have thought the pope himself had lain hands upon the crusty orange thing that sits above Trump’s skull … anyway, of course they were going to loudly grasp whatever straws William Barr threw in their direction. That’s their way…and that’s the GOP way, too.

The country is, as we all know, divided. The hard core Trumpeters won’t budge (about the only thing chronic liar Trump says that has a grain of truth — a grain — is that he could shoot someone and not lose his base). Yep.

And that’s Trump’s strategy, to the extent he’s got one: divide the country, play loud and long to the base, hope to come up with another inside straight, or, with incumbency, a bare plurality.

Welcome to campaign season, and get ready for a long and ugly ride.

Pretty Weird When This Could Be An Actual Headline


Well, assuming John McCain went to, you know, the good place

He said he gave Mr. McCain “the funeral he wanted, and I didn’t get ‘thank you,’” exaggerating the role he played in honoring the senator’s death four days before his 82nd birthday.

“I have to be honest: I’ve never liked him much,” Mr. Trump said, about 10 minutes into a freewheeling speech that was ostensibly about the resurgence of manufacturing jobs. “Hasn’t been for me. I’ve really — probably never will.”

OK, points for honesty, I guess. Whining about a dead person not thanking you for pretty much anything certainly suggests animus…and bug fuck lunacy.

Meanwhile…this week marks a grim anniversary


Sixteen years…even worse is the utter lack of any self-reflection, much less remorse, from the people who didn’t just “bring it on,” but who insisted on it…and who questioned our loyalty and patriotism for opposing. That they’ve not been drummed out of public life and/or are in a state of perpetual apology for demanding this moral and strategic disaster … might explain why we’ve got a cretin like Trump in the Oval Office.

At Least We Were Spared The Otherwise Blameless Life Nonsense


OK, Manafort’s prison sentence was doubled, and as a bonus, New York State filed charges that are beyond Trump’s pardon power, so he’ll be wearing jumpsuits for a while.

And this is still early on. We have no idea where this ends.

Which is why, to change the subject a bit, I was disappointed to hear Nancy Pelosi flat out reject impeachment earlier this week. Sure, you don’t want to jump off the cliff, but neither do you want to bring a white flag to a gun fight. She’s worried about dividing the country? The country is already divided — on one side you’ve got the downward spiral of a major political party into a cabal of utter dirtbags without the slightest sense of anything approaching a rule-of-law mentality, while on the other side, there’s…who?

Show some spine: if Trump commits impeachable offenses, impeach. If the idiot Repugs (I repeat myself) refuse to convict, use it against them.

They. Are. Crooks.

The Otherwise Blameless Life Of God’s Littlest Angel, Paul Manafort


Sigh, I caught more than beads at this year’s cold and at times rainy Lundi/Mardi Gras, but am awake/alert enough to give Tommy T a hand today if he doesn’t object.

From Franklin Foer, a nice rundown of Paul Manafort’s blameless life

In an otherwise blameless life, Paul Manafort lobbied on behalf of the tobacco industry and wrangled millions in tax breaks for corporations.

In an otherwise blameless life, he helped Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos bolster his image in Washington after he assassinated his primary political opponent.

In an otherwise blameless life, he worked to keep arms flowing to the Angolan generalissimo Jonas Savimbi, a monstrous leader bankrolled by the apartheid government in South Africa. While Manafort helped portray his client as an anti-communist “freedom fighter,” Savimbi’s army planted millions of land mines in peasant fields, resulting in 15,000 amputees.

In an otherwise blameless life, he stood mute as Yanukovych’s police killed 130 protesters in the Maidan.

In an otherwise blameless life, Manafort was found guilty of tax evasion on an industrial scale. Rather than paying his fair share to help fund national defense and public health, he kept his cash in Cyprus and wired it home to buy more than $1 million in bespoke clothing.

In an otherwise blameless life, he disguised his income as loans so that he could bamboozle banks into lending him money.

Oh, and this same judge sentenced Congresscrook Bill Jefferson to thirteen years…just saying.

Small Hands, Large Checks


So, we’re now being told that Donald Trump, who routinely stiffed or underpaid contractors, and once cashed a thirteen cent check, was maybe just paying a $35 thousand dollar monthly retainer to Michael Cohen, and not $420 thousand dollars for specific services rendered, i.e., payoffs, plus a bonus, for sweeping embarrassing details of his personal life under the rug long enough to keep it out of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sorry, that doesn’t pass the laugh test.

Besides, if it is strictly a retainer, then consider what that could also be for, i.e., lying to Congress, insurance fraud, possible money laundering…and more.

Yesterday’s closed door hearing with Cohen came complete with boxes of documents. That’s a lot of retaining, particularly from someone as (small) hands-on as Trump.

Remember, he takes great pride in being greedy

It’s The Party Of Trump…It’s Also The Cult Of Trump


Like Adrastos, I’m recycling an image. Wish I could say it was because of Muses, but unfortunately it’s because of work. Well, work and that while watching yesterday’s House hearing, I kept thinking, wow, they’re fucking brainwashed. All of them. Sure, Cohen’s a convicted felon and a liar, but as the pundits kept saying, the lies were when he was … the president’s lawyer.

Michael Cohen got caught, realized his options were, at best, highly restricted, and that cooperating was his only chance at avoiding decades in prison.

The Trump cultists, on the other hand, have decided to stick with him, regardless. They’re either going down with his ship, or we’re in for some particularly dark times.

Meanwhile, what is Trump himself doing? Cozying up with a finalist if not top contender for creepiest living despot on the planet.

This isn’t normal.

Charles Pierce

This was a vivid look into the chronic ward of the prion disease that has eaten away the higher functions of American conservatism—and, thus, those of the Republican Party as well—since Ronald Reagan first served up the monkey brains almost 40 years ago. These are the complete creatures of the talk-show culture, the perfect products of two and three generations of gerrymandered in-breeding. These are the monsters from inside The Bubble. You could see this moment coming during the Obama years, in which the country returned the two worst Congresses in American history, full to the gunwales with Bible-banging crazy people. Sooner or later, this was going to be all that was left, and it was going to have to confront a serious crisis with unserious people. That’s what Wednesday was about.

John Cassidy

For all Cohen’s record of duplicity and lying, which he repeatedly fessed up to during the hearing, [his] statement[s] had the ring of genuine insider knowledge. To be sure, this was a figure who acted as Trump’s fixer and bruiser for more than ten years, and who recently pleaded guilty to tax evasion, making false statements to banks, engaging in campaign-finance violations, and lying to the last Congress. But the very things that made Cohen such a problematic witness—his closeness to Trump and his history of finagling on behalf of his boss and himself—are also what made him a compelling one. This was an account of the darkness, told from within.

And yet the cultists, having neither the law nor the facts to pound, pounded Cohen or the table … reality television as government oversight. The Real Representatives of Wingnut Nation.


Roast Tucker


Some things don’t change — and one of those is that Tucker Carlson will forever be a ninny…a weenie

BREGMAN: You’re a millionaire funded by billionaires. That’s what you are. I’m glad you finally now jumped the bandwagon of people like Bernie Sanders and AOC, but you’re not part of the solution, Mr. Carlson. You’re part of the problem, actually.

CARLSON: But AOC — but could I just say, and …

BREGMAN: It’s true, right? That all the anchors on Fox …

CARLSON: You would have to be a moron …

BREGMAN: … they’re all millionaires! How is this possible? Well, it’s very easy, you’re just not talking about certain things.

CARLSON: Fox doesn’t even play where you are!

BREGMAN: “It doesn’t play where you are”? Well, have you heard of the internet? I can watch things, whatever I want, you know.

CARLSON: You haven’t even seen Fox before!

BREGMAN: I have, actually. I can’t say I’m a great fan of your show, but I do my homework when you invite me on your show. So you’re probably not going to air this.

CARLSON: I doubt it.

BREGMAN: But I went to Davos to speak truth to power, and I’m doing exactly the same thing right now. You may not like it but you’re a millionaire funded by billionaires, and that’s the reason why you’re not talking about these issues.

CARLSON: But I am talking about these issues.

BREGMAN: But only now, come on, you jumped the bandwagon. You’re like, “Oh, I’m against the globalist elite, blah blah blah.” It’s not very convincing, to be honest.

CARLSON: I want to say to you — why don’t you go fuck yourself, you tiny brain — and I hope this gets picked up because you’re a moron, I tried to give you a hearing but you were too fucking annoying …

BREGMAN: You can’t handle the criticism, can you?

No, he can’t.

Zombie Special Envoy



Drain the swamp? Elliot Abrams IS the swamp, or at least the zombie swamp thing that won’t go away. And good that Ilhan Omar took some time to remind us.

“Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush,” Omar begins. “I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony you give today to be truthful.”

“If I could respond to that …” Abrams says, before Omar cuts him off.

“It wasn’t a question,” the lawmaker says icily.

Abrams reacts angrily to this response, and only gets angrier from there. Omar pushes Abrams on Reagan-era policies in places like El Salvador and Nicaragua, and he flatly refuses to answer. Instead, he angrily dismisses the entire line of questioning as a “personal attack.”

Omar points out that it isn’t a personal attack at all, but rather quite relevant to his current job. Trump has contemplated intervening militarily in the Venezuela conflict before; it’s reasonable to ask, with Abrams in a key office, whether he has learned from the cruel and illegal positions he took in the Reagan years.

But more fundamentally, what’s striking about this video is how angry Abrams gets about being held to account for his past actions.

Oh, and pointing this out is not a defense of Nicolás Maduro, who combines malevolence and incompetence. This is also about the United States. And when Elliot Abrams is your public face, the message is more than a little malevolent and incompetent as well. Not to mention just plain gross. Abrams is a creep.

So, Did I Miss Anything While I Was Away?


Wow — there are places in the world where people live their lives without the unwelcome and unpleasant truth that our own country is nominally headed by a guy who can’t get out of bed or away from the television most days (and that’s probably for the best…really. I mean, do we actually want this guy doing anything besides muting the commercials now and again?).

That said, and also having thankfully missed the Toddler SOTU, I did see it included a firm warning about the dangers of socialism…from someone who’s almost certainly up to his eyes or beyond in debt to Russians. Wow. That he wasn’t immediately drummed from the stage by the echoes of divine/derisive laughter — and likewise manged to get through the national prayer breakfast without something similar — suggests either a lack of divine presence, or maybe that the Supreme Being is telling us something…something like, “Medamnit, Trump’s your problem. You deal with it.”

Two more years…or, heaven forbid, six…