Any full-scale war is bad, but this one has repercussions for the USA: Turkey is a member of NATO, and thus ostensibly our ally. Syria under Assad is our enemy.

But …

In this case it is possible to argue that the Syrians are the good guys. Two reasons: (1) They are defending their own borders against the invading Turks; (2) They have swept in to be a white knight and prevent the genocide of the Kurds, who really were our allies until about a week ago.

Of course the Kurds can’t trust Syria, but then again they couldn’t really trust us either, could they? They took the only road open to them.

In other words, it’s a shitshow, and a probable lose-lose for America.

“You can pull your troops out, as President Obama learned the hard way out of Iraq, but the ‘enemy gets the vote’ as we say in the military. And in this case, if we don’t keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge. It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”

Former Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis

Good to know. We all miss those guys. Gosh, I just hope their comeback works out better than that reboot of Twin Peaks.

It was tested successfully on the Russian section of the ISS.

“It’s one small nibble for man, one giant bite for mankind”

One of the developers pointed out that creating meat was the easy part. The hard part was creating a Russian word for “meat.” It has never really come up before. Apparently the new word translates back into English as “animal cabbage.”

We pretty much already knew this, since we knew that he talked to Trump in between two of his text messages, but “Sondland’s testimony will raise the possibility that Trump wasn’t truthful.”

Trump might have lied? That’s not the Donald Trump I know! 

It’s only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth.

Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to Europe, to a colleague

“The statement that Rudy was demanding was a quid pro quo for a White House visit, there was no doubt about that. By Sept. 9, Sondland had grown increasingly concerned, as military funding for Ukraine now appeared tied to the statement as well. “

But …

Sondland “somehow wants all of us to believe that he is ‘shocked, shocked’ that anything he was wrapped up in was aimed at the Bidens. That beggars belief.” 

Here’s a quick summary of what seems to be Sondland’s position.

  • I knew that the Burisma investigation was a quid pro quo for the White House visit
  • I began to suspect that the Burisma investigation was also a quid pro quo for military aid.
  • However, I was not aware that Burisma had anything to do with Biden.

This position may be true, but needless to say, it is raising some eyebrows.

Trump tells reporters he doesn’t know if Giuliani is still his attorney

Do you think Rudy has spotted the bus coming yet?

Probably not.

But he’s starting to think he might hear the horn. His response, ringing with confidence, was: “I spoke to him yesterday and I have no reason to believe I’m not.”

This story is really getting complicated. These are the same two guys we read about Monday when they refused to testify or be deposed in the impeachment investigation. Shortly thereafter, they were fleeing the country.

Pictured in the photo: the two suspected criminals.

Also pictured: the two Ukrainian guys.

Allegedly, these are two unrelated cases. Congress wanted them to testify about the Ukrainian Bidengate scandal, while the feds arrested them for laundering money to make illegal campaign contributions. (Illegal because they were channeling money from foreign donors into American elections to support Trump and others.) I have a feeling things may tie together when all the curtains are pulled back. At the moment it is not clear whether they were fleeing the country to avoid the expected Congressional subpoenas, or because they knew the feds were closing in on the criminal charges.

But here’s a kicker. Get this. The two had one-way tickets to Vienna. Rudy Giuliani was also scheduled to travel to Vienna the following day. Rudy claims those two trips were unrelated, that he was going to Vienna for a completely different reason, and that he was not scheduled to meet with them until they returned to Washington – a pretty difficult trick considering they had one-way tickets!

I wonder if Rudy will still go ahead with his Vienna trip, just to pretend that he was telling the truth about that completely different reason. Probably not. One thing about Rudy – he doesn’t spend a lot of time trying to construct plausible lies. He just wings it.

Much like his main client.

Here’s another kicker, hot off the presses: Giuliani was not only using these two guys in his crusade to dig up dirt in Ukraine, but he also accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from them for consulting and legal services!

These guys are tight!

They concluded that there was a significant Russian effort to interfere in general, and to stoke racial division in particular.

The report details how a Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency used automated posts and fake social media identities to hurt Hillary Clinton. Their research uncovered the fact that about 2/3 of their Facebook posts were focused on race, and that they inundated potential black voters with messages like these: “Don’t Vote for Hillary Clinton,” “Don’t Vote At All,” “Why Would We Be Voting,” “Our Votes Don’t Matter,” and “A Vote for Jill Stein is Not a Wasted Vote.”

The conclusion of the committee was that the giants of social media can’t be trusted to police themselves, and that some additional government oversight is essential.

Michael Che had an interesting point on SNL. Are we sure it’s politically correct to make fun of this guy? It’s like making fun of Lenny in Of Mice and Men. Why do liberals think it’s OK to make fun of Trump, when they would raise a fuss if we made fun of anyone else with obvious mental or emotional problems?

That’s not really the interesting thing about the case, because that ruling will drag on through level after level of appeals.

No, the most interesting thing is a contention by Trump’s own attorneys. They did not stick to the basic defense that a sitting president cannot be prosecuted. Instead, they also insisted that releasing his returns would cause him “irreparable harm”!

They know we can see that, right?

The point can’t be related to the fact that he’s the president, because every other recent president has released his returns, as have all major candidates, and it did them no harm at all. Therefore his own lawyers are admitting that he’s different, that his returns are filled with all kinds of shady shit that he doesn’t want people to see!

That’s some good lawyering right there! Is this a Giuliani strategy?

Imagine if everyone was allowed to use this as a legal defense. After all, any good evidence causes the defendant irreparable harm. No, your honor, I can’t allow the video tape of my client and his late wife at the moment of her death to be admitted into evidence. It might cause him “irreparable harm.” Especially the part with the knife.

The latest news from Bizarro White House comes this WTF headline:

“Most Implausible Alibi I’ve Ever Heard”: Trump Ridiculed for Blaming Rick Perry for Ukraine Call.

Yup, I can believe this whole thing was Perry’s scheme. Trump may seem to be the “great and powerful Oz,” but Perry is the little man behind the curtain. I’m not even sure that was Trump’s voice on that call. After all, we saw a WRITTEN transcript. It seems obvious to me that it was always Perry, impersonating Trump! That guy is a mastermind, the ultimate puppet master!

Ex-Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko said that he told President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that there was no basis for a case against former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Hunter. “Sometimes the mayor is very wise, but sometimes he gets carried away.”

Rudolph responded with one word: “Liar.”

So testy. I guess Ukraine wouldn’t let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.

Lutsenko is the guy who had agreed to go after the Bidens in order to curry favor with America. Trump mentioned him in the infamous call, “I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved.” (That must have been a difficult one for Zelensky to field, because he is the guy who actually “shut down” Lutsenko!)

So, if Lutsenko knew there was no case, why did he agree to go after the Bidens? He’s a politician and knows exactly which side of the bread is buttered. He explained to the failing New York Times:

As soon as he got the invitation from Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, it was abundantly clear to him what Mr. Trump’s allies were after.

“I understood very well what would interest them,” Lutsenko said in an extensive interview in London. “I have 23 years in politics. I knew. I’m a political animal.”

When Mr. Lutsenko sat down with Mr. Giuliani in New York in January, he recalled, his expectations were confirmed: The president’s lawyer wanted him to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter. It was the start of what both sides hoped would be a mutually beneficial relationship.

It’s apparent to everyone but Rudolph that Trump, when he runs out of lies and deflections, is going to throw his lawyer under the bus. Either Rudy hasn’t figured that out, or is willing to fall on his sword. I just hope that Giuliani is on camera when it finally dawns on him, so we can see something like this:

This may have triggered an extinction event. At this point, that is an unsupported hypothesis. Scientists postulate a general time period in which a major extinction event is likely to have occurred, but have not yet been able to pinpoint the cause or the point of origin.

One thing that makes this especially intriguing is that it did not happen 60-some million years ago, ala Alvarez, but in the time when modern humans were propagating. It therefore must have had a direct disruptive impact on human life, and not just upon those near the impact crater. The climate could have destabilized globally, which would have affected humans through the food supply, and through unexpected climatic events for which they would have been completely unprepared. (Imagine primitive humans, living placid lives in a Hawaii-like climate, suddenly facing an Alaskan winter, for example.)

Anyway, at this point we are dealing with suppositions and possibilities, but it definitely arouses ones curiosity. There is so much yet to learn.

Franco actually ran classes in how to do sex scenes and nude scenes, and it has been well known that he crossed the customary boundaries with his female students. One of the actresses suing him had already made all these same allegations in May of 2018.

Since the activities were already public knowledge and Franco showed no sign of contrition, it was only a matter of time before legal action.

Even people who study conspiracy theories are baffled by this one. Trump seems to have taken the core of a totally preposterous “flat earth” sort of theory and added even more far-fetched details that he just made up on his own

I do this for a living, and I’d never heard anyone say the servers were in Ukraine.”

And with good reason. Why would they be? That entire idea makes no sense at all. If you wanted to hide activity that took place on a server, you wouldn’t ship it intact to another location, thus taking a chance that somebody could intercept it, or find it later. You would scrub it, shatter it to pieces or incinerate it, then dump any remaining traces of it into the Pacific, over the deepest part of the Mariana Trench.

The servers do seem to a have a virtual life somewhere. Before CrowdStrike could repurpose the DNC servers and get the organization back online safely, they made a digital image of everything and shipped that evidence to the FBI. I don’t know if that record is still intact somewhere.

Another bizarre detail Trump seems to have concocted is the idea that CrowdStrike “was owned by a very rich Ukrainian.” Nobody can figure out where he even got that idea. One of CrowdStrike’s co-founders, Dimitri Alperovitch, has an Eastern European name, but his family fled from the Soviet Union when he was a child, and they fled Russia, not Ukraine. He was born in Moscow to Russian parents, although even that is irrelevant because, like me, he’s totally American except for his name. He grew up in Chattanooga and took his higher education in Georgia. He looks and talks like your friendly, awkward, slightly doughy uncle. If you are picturing some sinister Bond villain, well, you have it back-asswards. (See for yourself). Could Trump have based his entire wacky scenario on the fact that one smart, avuncular guy has a Slavic-sounding last name? That is bizarre even by his own deviant standard.

“China should start an investigation into the Bidens”

That’s what Trump told reporters as he left the White House to travel to Florida. That came just moments after he said of China:

“If they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.”

I can’t imagine why China would want to help Trump get elected. If they ever got involved, it would probably be to help his opponent. It seems to me that they would prefer any sensible person to Mr. Tariff War.

Damn, it’s difficult to keep up with all of Trump’s shenanigans. In that sense, he’s the Bella Thorne of politicians. Yesterday Trump said Adam Schiff was not worthy to carry Mike Pompeo’s “blankstrap.” Get it? ____strap.

He loves Match Game!

He definitely saw this episode, as noted by Jimmy Kimmel:

“The former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine told House investigators on Thursday that he warned President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, that Giuliani was receiving untrustworthy information from Ukrainian political figures about former vice president Joe Biden and his son.”

Volker also revealed that Bill Taylor, former ambassador to Ukraine and now the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine, texted, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

The idea is that certain entities, corporations or governments, block massive numbers of rooms, pay for them, then do not use them, presumably to curry favor with the President.

As U.S. policy currently stands, this is perfectly legal.

  • As I have pointed out before, Trump would be considered corrupt if Mohammad bin Salman handed him a check for five billion dollars, but …
  • If Eric Trump opens up a lemonade stand, puts up a sign that says “Lemonade, Five Billion Dollars per Cup,” and bin Salman buys a cup, that is completely legal.

For now.

Granted, it is ridiculous that such a thing is legal, but that is the current ruling. Several lawsuits are currently challenging that position, and are slowly making their way through the courts.

Short answer: yes

Long answer: In some, but not all cases. It is up to the Senate.

The Constitution mandates removal from office upon conviction, but specifies that an additional penalty, being barred from any office of honor in the USA, is possible but not mandatory.

In US history, eight non-presidential office holders have been convicted in a Senate impeachment trial. In only three of those cases was the convicted party barred from holding future offices. In the other five cases, the Senate voted for removal only. In one of those instances, the impeached official went on to a long post-impeachment career in politics. Federal district judge Alcee Hastings of Florida was removed from office in 1989 for perjury and conspiring to solicit a bribe. Since 1993, he has been representing a Florida district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The Oval Office meeting this past March began, as so many had, with President Trump fuming about migrants. But this time he had a solution. As White House advisers listened astonished, he ordered them to shut down the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico — by noon the next day.”

“Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.”

“You are making me look like an idiot!” Mr. Trump shouted, adding in a profanity.

The best part of the story: the mayor-elect disagrees with the study because it is based on the facts.

Honest to God, I did not make that up. He said:

“I disagree with the content. I don’t think it is a fair representation, period. It is based on empirical data.”

Talk about “An Inconvenient Truth”!

One spokesperson tried to find a silver lining in the town’s clouds: crime is down.

“We used to be the murder capital of the US, but there is hardly anybody left to kill. We used to be the drug capital of the US, but for that you need money, and there aren’t jobs or things to steal here.”

For the record, I have been in almost every major metropolitan area in America, and I fully agree with the study. Gary is the ugliest and saddest urban area I’ve ever seen in this country. I’ve seen other places that are bad: deserted coal towns, rust belt anachronisms, Florida towns that are nothing but shanties and trailer parks. You may have seen these same things, but whatever you have seen, Gary is probably worse.

Of all the men who ever became President, he has lived the longest. He is the first ex-president ever to make it to 95, thanks in part to his having survived a killer rabbit attack.

There are no official records of Presidential rabbit attacks, but I think it is safe to say that he is the only president to survive an assault by a ferocious killer bunny.

(Did you wonder who came closest to Carter’s longevity? Bush the Elder lived to be 94 years + 171 days. Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford died at 93. Way back near the very origin of the republic, founding father John Adams almost made it to 91, an astounding lifespan for that era, and that remained the longevity record for about 175 years!)

Informative, comprehensive, multi-dimensional report by the WaPo

On the one hand, neither Hunter Biden nor Joe did anything wrong.

On the other hand, it’s complicated. Why didn’t Joe make an effort to avoid the appearance of impropriety?

I can’t answer that question, but I have four grown children, and they decide how to spend their own lives, even when their actions might be strongly contrary to what I would or did advise. The key point is this – they ignore my advice based on what they perceive to be best for THEM, so I rarely bother offering it. Backing off is one of the most important things you have to learn to do as your children become adults. In this case, however, I tend to side with Bill Maher, who said Biden should just have told his kid to get a real job. Of course, the son may not have paid any attention, as was his right as an adult, but at least Joe could have made that effort, and he did not.

Needless to say (when you consider the source), the Biden connection is utterly concocted. Like the famous Uranium One “scandal” there is not one word of truth to the whole Biden/Ukraine story, other than that Joe Biden did tell Ukraine they needed to remove the prosecutor in order to get US loan guarantees.

Continue reading “A quick overview of Biden-Ukraine”