Category Archives: Michael F

The Lev & Rudy Show

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Well, the relationship is presumably shattered beyond repair — breaking up is hard — but until then, it was kind of like…Scarface-meets-The-Odd-Couple-meets-Borat-meets-Who-is-America-meets…the fucking United States government, i.e., the reigning global superpower.

A global superpower that’s been…MAGAtized.

Hell, Parnas, judging from last night’s interview, seems the sanest of the damn bunch. Rudy’s a gibberish machine, and Trump himself went off on a no-shit-no-pun-intended-obsession/extendend-rant-about toilets last night.

And it’s not just his equally psychopathic base (and the failure of the media to do a proper job of reporting). It’s the entire GOP cult. They’re all in.

And we’ll be in…deep…if he gets another term.

President Little Mittens Declares Victory In War Against The Sea

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OK, maybe that’s a little unfair — to Caligula — and DJT’s performance yesterday was more doggie downer (am guessing that will change if/when he makes it a highlight in his wingnut-bizarro-free-association rallies.)

Besides, what the hell, unilaterally declaring victory beats the hell out of DJT putting his stubby little fingers on any button that might escalate things. Also, with his briefing of Congress so pathetic it made Mike Lee and Rand Paul gag, it looks like the real men who were salivating over the chance to REALLY fuck things up will have to wait a little longer.

No word on if/when Trump nominates a horse for counsel.

And you know, it’d almost be funny to watch Pompeo, Mulvaney, and Pence getting ordered to waddle along a beach collecting sea shells as spoils.

America’s Gaslighters

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Happy New Year! And why not ring in the new with bugfuck insanity? It was what, barely a month ago when Trump was giving Rudy the who-is-this-Michael-Cohen-of-whom-you-speak? treatment and buses everywhere were being prepped for Ghouliani to be found underneath…minus Rudy’s insurance policy, whatever that was…

Or, what the hell, maybe he does have something, since he’s apparently back in the circle for however long enough, along with twin goons Lev and Igor and whoever else…and they’re all going to insist that we’re the ones with the problem, we’re the ones who support corruption, we’re the ones up to our necks and beyond in Russia or Ukraine…and who are we going to believe? Them or our lying eyes?

This year’s going to be interesting, and not always in a good way.

Oh, and forget about the media doing its job. Two words: Chuck. Todd.

Welcome to the future.

Trump L’Oeil

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Happy Boxing Day — and in the spirit, here’s a target if you’re inclined to practice a jab or cross.

DJT did his part to merit jab or cross status, celebrating Christmas by “lashing out” and generally acting like a baby — is that even news anymore?

And while I can’t complain about much if anything personally, I think the best present for next Christmas would be a pink slip for the present occupant of the White House.

Fire Trump in 2020.

Also, Happy Solstice.

Moscow Mitch Has A Sad

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Human Turtle (not entirely certain about the human part) Moscow Mitch — he really hates being called Moscow Mitchexpressed a new found love of precedent following the House Impeachment vote of Donald Trump, and the announcement that the measure could be delayed in being reported to the Senate unless and until he agrees to at least the appearance of fairness.

In fairness, with a nickname like Moscow Mitch, would you expect anything else besides a show trial Vladimir Putin would be proud of?

Oh, and hats off to the Democrats, particularly in swing districts, who votes yes.

Yesterday morning I heard, on NPR of all places, the kind of analysis you’d get from old Soviet TASS or Pravda, namely that Democrats who won midterm elections in Trump leaning districts would need to be careful, because, you know, Trump.

Or maybe Democrats in Trump leaning districts WON midterm elections because of, you know, Trump. You think? Your good old librul media, hard at work.

Anyway…under the circumstances, not a bad outcome.

Whenever Moscow Mitch — and did I mention he hates being called Moscow Mitch? — anyway, when Moscow Mitch emerges from his shell and mutters “hrrumph,” it’s a good sign.

If Donald Trump Was A James Bond Villain

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Well, Trump WOULDN’T be a James Bond villain. Bond villains have more class. They have names like Goldfinger, not Shitheel.

Trump’s level isn’t Bond villain, it’s wrestling heel, which he’s actually done. And the impeachment hearings offer more evidence. His style is crude, ham-fisted, heavy-handed, cloddish; his associates are almost comically villainous: Lev, Igor, Rudy, Devin, Gym…his alternate narrative of “what really happened” is straight out of the wrestling hype playbook, right down to the loud, fast paced hectoring offset by epic self-pity.

And if you don’t find the spectacle…repulsive, well…

Just A Bunch Of Fucking Goons

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Stupid Watergate continues, and despite the the best efforts by the librul media to pull out all the usual flags — Democrats in disarray, the GOP’s terrified of their base (well, that one…yeah, maybe they should be a little afraid), both sides, Melania (for real — christ) — one thing I keep noticing, in part because I’m still dealing with a busy work schedule, is that, regardless of what you think of the pro-Trump side…at a glance, they all look like a bunch of fucking goons. No lie.

And if what you’ve heard or seen at the hearing, or even simply over the last three years of the daily assault on the senses that is the DJT administration, doesn’t make you look up and say, goddamn, what a bunch of goons, then…

I only did up four, but offhand I can’t think of a single Trump administration official, or hanger on, or Congressional cheerleader, who doesn’t look like they could easily fit in a book of classic gangster mug shots. Contrast them with the career civil servants and legal scholars who testified (and consider Trump Junior’s hack statement that his dad was elected to fire them).

So…sure, the press has to sell newspapers, or at least the eyeballs of those who read newspapers (or view/hear other forms of media) to advertisers, but I can’t imagine anyone having a look and not being able to make up their mind.

You’re either comfortable with the goon squad, or not.

I’m not.

And So This Is Christm…Um, Thanksgiving

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Continuing from last week, work’s been super busy (long story), enough to keep me from following the news cycle as much as usually do. It happens.

Still, I made an effort to keep an eye out, and…it was another shitty week for DJT.

Even in the confines of a “cozy interview” with fellow dirt bag Billo, Trump was explaining and backpedaling, and like they say, in politics, when you’re explaining, you’re losing.

So, something to be thankful for.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

His Legacy

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So..the debate? Nah, didn’t watch. Besides, the Democrats could nominate an empty podium at this point and I’d vote for it, lesser of evils and all that…

And, will spare the details, but it’s been a distracting week for me otherwise, and my usual habit/hobby of paying attention was limited by…work.

That said, and  with the hope that I’ll never devolve into an actual low-information voter, I feel like my perspective was a little more, I dunno, similar to someone who might only catch a bit of news now and again.

And for those folks, Trump had a pretty shitty week…but also a pretty normal week. Because…everything revealed thus far in the impeachment hearing seems so utterly believable for someone like Donald J. Trump.

If Richard Nixon was the dark side of the American Spirit, Trump is the tawdry, cheap, clown veneer. He’s dictator chic, reality television, and PT Barnum minus the charm or intrigue…Dick Nixon as a warped, old, fat-Elvis impersonator, a greedy liar who’d stomp your fingers for a Rex doubloon, and the worst bead hog at Mardi Gras…someone who thinks a neckful of gaudy plastic implies elevated status.

Not even Las Vegas. More like Atlantic City, if not Biloxi.

His associates are equally skeevy. Lev, Konstatin, Igor…Rudy Buttdial.

And while that very cheapness might motivate his rally goers, I think the rest of the country still has just enough basic decency, if not self-respect, to realize how much of a mistake 2016 was.

Trump, not that I much like it, will go down in history — he’s on the list of presidents (hang my head in shame). But it doesn’t mean he deserves a legacy in stone.

And, good lord, I don’t even want to think of how chintzy a DJT library’s going to be…

A Tale Of Two Hearings

What We Saw

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What They Saw

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To me it would take the sort of squinting reserved for reading the finest of fine prints in the harsh glare of the brightest of bright summer days — or a intravenous Fox Noise feed at fire hose volume — but I guess if you’re all in with Trump, you’re all in.

And they’re all in.

So, what to a normal person is pretty clear evidence of disgusting, corrupt, petty if not criminal venality becomes in the light-bending black hole of MAGAtry an attempt to root out corruption, and that’s their story and they’re sticking to it.

If Trump killed someone on 5th Avenue, they’d say the victim needed killing.

If clear evidence emerged that Trump was licking the boots of Vladimir Putin, they’d insist it was the classiest, hugest, bigliest boot-licking they’d ever witnessed. And why would anyone be against licking Putin’s boots, unless they hated Donald Trump?

Cult doesn’t even begin to describe.

But I’ll still insist he’s bluffing, and he’s vulnerable. Not that I much like citing David Frum, but credit where it’s due, and yeah, it’s due here.

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Maybe Reporters Went To The Wrong Diners

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Or maybe there aren’t any folksy diners in suburbs, where people hang out all day wearing MAGA gear, waiting for journalists out on their Cletus safaris (BTW, who the hell has time to hang out all day in a diner?).

Not to read too much into the off-year elections, but minus Hillary Clinton on the ballot — and with credible evidence emerging daily that Trump, ironically, is actually doing most if not all the things HRC was accused of for decades — it appears that MAGAts are a substantial segment but not majority of the voting public, or at least aren’t without wholesale gerrymandering and/or voter suppression.

In other words, Trump can be beat. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone who hasn’t been running from rural diner to rural diner. And, sorry to repeat, but he’s still bluffing.

Hell, Trump was beat in 2016. 64 million people didn’t decide the election, 304 did…and sure, it’s possible lightning could strike twice, heaven forbid, but relying on the Electoral College for a bailout is something…that maybe reporters prowling around diners will accept, but…reaction to DJT’s first end-run around the popular vote was significant.

Again, not to read too much into them, but it does look like some of Trump’s luster has worn off. Or maybe it was never there to begin with. Sure, some folks enjoy the bizarre, stream of consciousness rallies where Trump really lets his inner psychopath loose, just like some people like watching car races…or at least the spectacular wrecks that sometime happen at car races. But not everyone.

Smells Like Teen Spirit Vlad Putin

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Ukrainegate (Vladgate? Vodagate? whatever, take your pick) officially reached bizarro if not shady status with the adding of former Loosiana [sic] US Representative and coulda-been-Speaker-of-the-House but for his own personal issues/failings Bob Livingston to the mix.

Livingston, for those who’ve forgotten, was one of many who displayed a fine sense of hypocrisy in wagging a finger at Bill Clinton, only to be exposed for similar behavior.

Holding to the same standards in his professional life after resigning from Congress — like plenty of other Republicans — Bob showed just how much he hated Warshington by staying there and becoming a high-end lobbyist, representing clients like Turkey and Egypt.

Turns out Mr. Livingston is also pushing Vlad’s line about Ukraine and/or the then ambassador of Ukraine being the REAL problem, adding in the Democratic Party just because, and topping it with an extra scoop of George Soros, because, hey, if you’re going all-in, why not add a dollop or two of anti-Semitism to (jack) boot?

Funny how all roads lead to Vlad…

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Lèse Tangerine

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How’s this for a news cycle?

We’ve got DJT’s lawyer in open court insisting ANY attempt to limit the Le Dauphin is a … HUGE … affront to his dignity and therefore completely off limits (I wonder what Bill Clinton’s thinking?), the Matt Gaetz-Louie Gohmert-even-among-intellectual-lightweights-these-nitwits-stand-out-GOP-MAGAts reprised the Brooks Brothers riot, bypassing the repetition of history first as tragedy, going straight to farce; meanwhile, DJT let us know what he really thinks about William Taylor and Never Trumper GOPers generally (Human Scum — how presidential)…insisted we were building a big, beautiful wall in in Colorado (paid for by New Mexicans?), and claimed Syrian oil as a spoil of war while dismissing the greater Levant as basically a shithole collection of countries.

Oh, and the two Ukrainians indicted for campaign finance fraud claimed executive privilege due to personal association with this POTUS.

In one day.

If he gets re-elected…

 

Meltdown Of The Week

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Pretty sure that pretty soon it’s going to be meltdown of the day or even meltdown of the hour as DJT becomes simultaneously more unhinged but more willing to offer fresh material to a news cycle that just can’t quit him.

And speaking of can’t quit, nope, the GOP won’t, or can’t. Sure, individuals break off, but to date NOTHING Trump’s done will keep the lemming mass of the party from following him off the cliff. Hell, down here in the Gret Stet, one of the remaining candidates for governor proudly declares himself in favor of DJT in, I think, most or all of his ads.

Democrats, there’s no GOP hero to step in and save you/give you permission to, um, do the right thing and ITMFA. Same with the media — you feed your DJT addiction at your peril. Fake News has already morphed into Enemy of the People. Do you not get those are fighting words? What will it take to realize he’ll gladly accept real casualties?

And finally…as I’ve said previously, he’s bluffing. Yeah, his base is substantial. But it’s not a majority. Most of us still want to live in civil society, if not the civilized world.

One thousand days in…

Oh, and to change the subject briefly, obviously I’ve only just heard about Elijah Cummings and can only say I’m shocked to hear and may he rest in peace.

The Kurds Weren’t There When The Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor Either

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It’s pretty clear Trump’s not even trying to, what’s the expression, reach out, or act even vaguely presidential — his stategery, to the extent he has any, is to play cult leader to the base. Truth to them is whatever he says (hence his recent ad insisting promises made, promises kept — warning, Fox news video). Hope the media is sufficiently cowed to push enough of his narrative that it fouls the waters. If he can eke out any kind of victory, watch out.

I think it’s not a bad idea to revisit these two pieces. The first is from Jack Holmes, who cites reporter Masha Gessen in the NY Review of Books.

Holmes

It has long been clear that the president is attempting to build a genuine authoritarian movement over which only his word has any power, and which he can use to ride roughshod over the institutions of democracy. So far, this attempt has been an unmitigated success, as his supporters inhabit the same infotainment vortex he does and other members of the Republican Party…bow to him out of craven fealty.

Lies that are not merely lies, but instead serve to destroy the very concept of truth, are a cornerstone of any authoritarian playbook.

Gessen

Lying is the message. It’s not just that both Putin and Trump lie, it is that they lie in the same way and for the same purpose: blatantly, to assert power over truth itself. Take, for example, Putin’s statements on Ukraine. In March 2014 he claimed that there were no Russian troops in newly annexed Crimea; a month later he affirmed that Russians troops had been on the ground. Throughout 2014 and 2015, he repeatedly denied that Russian troops were fighting in eastern Ukraine; in 2016 he easily acknowledged that they were there. In each case, Putin insisted on lying in the face of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and in each case his subsequent shift to truthful statements were not admissions given under duress: they were proud, even boastful affirmatives made at his convenience. Together, they communicated a single message: Putin’s power lies in being able to say what he wants, when he wants, regardless of the facts. He is president of his country and king of reality.

Trump has exhibited similar behavior, apparently for the same reason: when he claims that he didn’t make statements that he is on record as making, or when he claims that millions of people voting illegally cost him the popular vote, he is not making easily disprovable factual claims: he is claiming control over reality itself.

The campaign is only beginning. By the time it’s in full swing, Trump might well insist he stormed the Normandy beaches. His minions will cheer along, and I don’t doubt there will be pressure on the media (with expressed or at least implied violence) to “not show any librul bias” in calling lies out for lies.

The question will be whether it works. If it does…

 

Well, That Was…Something

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POTUS as extended display of childish petulance.

I think what’s weird is that his base still eats it up, i.e., they live vicariously through Trump, and view his tantrums as something to take pride in.

Own the libs by publicly beshitting yourself.

Which leaves us with a question — are we a country of mostly MAGAts or are enough people out there sufficiently embarrassed by this kind of behavior to do the right thing, vote him out of office (and maybe suggest he get some kind of help)?

I guess we’ll find out in…just over twelve months.

American Red State Gothic

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Trump and his buddy Rudy keep flailing around like they’re in quicksand as the Ukrainian spin fails to get any real traction beyond the right wing media and the base that’s, well, pretty gullible to begin with.

I keep thinking about how the MAGAt, rural, (white), diner dwellers bought, hook, line, sinker…rod and reel…the sales pitch of someone who’s lived his whole life in New York City…who’s idea of nature is golf…while Ghouliani looks like the kind of person who’d wear a suit visiting a farm. Yeah, real red-staters.

Their elected representatives aren’t exactly open to reason either.

Which means impeachment, regardless of how it’s done (narrow versus broad, quick versus longer in duration) won’t be a coming together in bipartisan harmony. Democrats will have to move this along minus any dream Republican Hero scenario…and accept that, no, they won’t get a conviction, but instead need to use this as a political lesson to, not the lost cause (in more ways than one) MAGAt GOP base, but the people who were never very comfortable with Trump to begin with.

As for DJT himself, no, he’s not playing 11 dimensional chess. Sure, he’ll do anything to motivate his base, but claiming he’s courting impeachment is a pretty desperate attempt to polish a giant turd. Besides, his base won’t put him over the finish line…or at least won’t without a combination of massive fraud, voter suppression, and unprecedented muddying the waters. He also got a remarkably free ride in the last election (“her emails”).

And he’s still bluffing.

Smart Phone, Dumb President

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Maybe the only thing more shocking than this — which, if it was a Democrat, or, god forbid, a Clinton, would have caused Cokie Roberts to grimly emerge from the grave to voice serious concerns while official Washington went on full impeachment watch — is that it’s been bumped from the headlines by Justin Trudeau.

Mon Dieu.

Will it also get lost in the Fog of Trump? It’s starting to look that way.

So…not only is this horror show of an administration getting embarrassingly normalized…it’s making the clusterfuck that was the second Bush presidency look like some latter day Era of Good Feelings, and not the colossal twin failure of domestic and foreign policy it was.

It’s difficult to not get the feeling that…we’re fucked.

All Your Base

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Not exactly news, but the competitive North Carolina election was not decided by swing votes. The difference was large numbers of, well Trump voters voting for Trump. It happens, especially in a state Charles Pierce calls newly insane.

However, as I’ve said, Trump is bluffing. Yeah, with some effort, he or his proxy can pull out a bare victory in a solidly red Congressional District, and maybe even motivate a few die-hards who normally don’t vote at all. And in 2016, against a candidate who’d been pummeled for decades and who didn’t exactly inspire, it made for a razor thin “victory” despite a not particularly close loss.

If the Democrats don’t lose (yeah, I know)…they can win. But they won’t win by flailing about in a desperate attempt to triangulate. Trump voters are Trump voters. Reagan Democrats don’t exist anymore.

Same with undecideds. As if anyone could be undecided.

The path to victory is make your base belong to you. Motivate them, and get them to the polls. And it matters in 2020.

After that, depending on the outcome, it might not.

Some People Just Want To See The World Burn

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Via.

This should make it pretty clear there’s no sense in trying to compromise with or otherwise normalize Trump — he and his minions are fucking psychotic

The paper, which the award panel commended for its “ambitious scope, rigor, and creativity,” is the work of Michael Bang Petersen and Mathias Osmundsen, both political scientists at Aarhus University in Denmark, and Kevin Arceneaux, a political scientist at Temple.

It argues that a segment of the American electorate that was once peripheral is drawn to “chaos incitement” and that this segment has gained decisive influence through the rise of social media.

The intense hostility to political establishments of all kinds among what could be called “chaos voters” helps explain what Pew Research and others have found: a growing distrust among Republican voters of higher education as well as empirically based science, both of which are increasingly seen as allied with the liberal establishment.

Trump’s expertise, in this view, lies in his ability to capitalize on the fear of chaos. “Populist movements,” McDermott and Hatemi write, “rely on inflammatory rhetoric to create a tribal ‘us versus them’ condition — this type of environment instigates neural mechanisms from the evolutionary desire to be part of the group.”

Might Trump and his loyal supporters seek to bring down the system if he is defeated in 2020? What about later, if the damage he has inflicted on our customs and norms festers, eroding the invisible structures that underpin everything that actually makes America great?

A political leader who thrives on chaos, relishes disorder and governs on the principle of narcissistic self-interest is virtually certain to find defeat intolerable. If voters deny Trump a second term, how many of his most ardent supporters, especially those with a “need for chaos,” will find defeat unbearable?

About all I can add is most of these chaos voters don’t have the first clue of what a real crisis is, and would certainly beg for help from the government they allegedly hate if one actually hit them. Until then, they’re more than willing to set it all on fire for their amusement, at the expense of all of us…