“Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.”

(“AMI” is the company which publishes The National Enquirer. “Pecker” is the head of that company.)

“It’s a critical admission because, if true, it transforms the payment into a criminal violation as opposed to simply a private transaction.”

It’s weird to hear old guys who don’t understand tech at all try to tell a tech expert how his own company works.

Here’s a classic exchange:

LAMAR SMITH: You’ve never punished a Google employee for manipulating search results, is that right?

GOOGLE CEO SUNDAR PICHAI: It’s not even possible for an individual employee to do that.

SMITH: I disagree. I think humans can manipulate the process.

Now here’s the really good part – by bringing this matter up in a public forum, covered by every news site and many bloggers (even me), Smith just made it even MORE likely that a search for idiot will turn up a story about Trump – or about Lamar Smith! If a Google search for “idiot” should actually lead to Lamar Smith, the picture would certainly be convincing!

 

But here’s the really sad part: this simple, elderly fellow who can’t understand the very basic concepts behind a Google search, is (at least for a few more weeks) the chairman of the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology!

Gee, I can’t imagine why American students keep falling farther behind the rest of the world in science.

At least Smith seemed alert enough to know who he was talking to. That’s an indication of genius by congressional standards. He seemed like Dr. Steven Hawking compared to Louis Gohmert, who complained to the CEO of Google about Wikipedia, or Steve King, who complained about Apple.

“Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company.”

Gohmert’s complaint at least sounded like something that really happened. In King’s case, he not only addressed his concerns to the wrong guy, but it was pretty obvious that he had totally fabricated his complaint, but was too tech-challenged to realize how transparent his lie was.

The plea and co-operation agreement indicates that Paul Erickson knew she was a Russian agent and helped her carry out her assignments.

People will be throwing around the T word, but there are no treason indictments in peacetime. The Constitution defines treason very specifically, and even the Rosenbergs were not charged with it. Erickson could, in the worst case, end up being charged with espionage, which can carry the death penalty.

It has become a standard conservative talking point to refer to that dossier with the adjective “discredited” attached, but I can’t think of any part of it that has actually been discredited, while several parts, including these, have been confirmed.

What about the famous pee tape?

My opinion is that it either exists or did at one time. I base that on this:

“President Trump reportedly told former FBI Director James Comey that he was considering asking Comey to investigate the infamous ‘pee tape’ in order to prove that the alleged recording — one of the more salacious items in the ‘Steele dossier’ — did not exist.”

If you think about it, Trump would never have considered asking Comey to investigate if he had been absolutely certain that he had never done anything like that in the first place, because in such a case he would be 100% certain that no such tape could exist.

Of course there is also the point that no investigation can ever prove universal or absolute non-existence. Think about it. How could anyone possibly prove that a tape does not exist? What would be the standard of proof? “We looked at every square inch of the planet Earth and frisked all seven and a half billion people. It wasn’t there.” If Trump had followed up on this discussion with an order to Comey, he would have been sending the FBI on a snipe hunt, but that’s not really evidence of Trump’s guilt or innocence. It is, however, strong evidence of his dim-wittedness.

Mind you, I don’t give a damn whether such a tape exists. I can’t see how that could have any bearing on a man’s ability to govern. Consider the rankings of Presidents. You can bet that high-rated presidents like JFK (top 15) and Jefferson (top 5) did a lot kinkier shit than that, while low-rated chief execs like Nixon and Jimmy Carter (both bottom 10) stuck to the missionary position with their wives.

Continue reading ““Three key facts from the notorious Steele Dossier that Robert Mueller just confirmed.””

Rex Tillerson didn’t have the mental capacity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell.

Wow! If somebody seems lazy to Trump, imagine the degree of laziness that involves. It might even warp the known parameters of the time-space continuum. Could Tillerson somehow have found a way to watch TV 25 hours a day?

I wouldn’t defend Tillerson’s tenure at State. His government service did seem disastrous, although I haven’t tried to study it in depth, but he did have an amazing career at Exxon. He joined the company right out of college and worked his way to the very top. He did that all on his own. His family is just an unconnected, typical middle class family, and his teen jobs included work as a bus boy, janitor and cotton-picker. Based on his astounding ascent from humble beginnings, I doubt that he could be either lazy or dumb.

Federal prosecutors said in a new court filing that President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen should spend significant time in prison

Cohen was prosecuted by two separate parts of the Justice Department, Mueller’s office and federal prosecutors in Manhattan. Their reports differed sharply:

“Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York filed a memo arguing that he should serve substantial time, possibly years, in prison  — saying that while Cohen did provide useful information to investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, he refused to disclose everything he knew.” (I was surprised to hear this. I thought Cohen was genuinely contrite.)

Mueller filed a separate document, taking a much softer stance, saying that while Cohen’s crime was “serious,” he had “taken significant steps to mitigate his criminal conduct.”

Mueller: Paul Manafort lied about contacts with Trump administration this year

I love this guy!

If he had co-operated fully, the prosecutors might have asked for him to be sentenced to massive fines and time already served, ala General Flynn. Instead, he committed more crimes under house arrest, so they placed him behind bars, whereupon he committed more crimes during his “cooperation” interviews. And don’t forget the wheelchair! He breathes life into the definition of “incorrigible.”

In Orson Welles’ unfinished (but recently restored and completed) “The Other Side of the Wind” one character is described as “so crooked he’s got rubber pockets to steal soup.” That describes Manafort to a T.

Imagine the frustration of his lawyers. He must ignore everything they tell him. I hope they got their fees in advance, and insisted on being paid in cash, ‘cuz you just know his checks are gonna bounce.

Without the phony Russia Witch Hunt, my approval rating would be at 75%

Pretty sure Trump doesn’t understand how numbers work. He’s working for an absolute max of about 65. His approval rating is 6% among Democrats, and they represent about 37% of the electorate, so he would need 100% approval from independents plus 100% of Republicans to get to just 65% overall. And one hundred percents don’t happen, particularly from independents.

He could get to 75% with imaginary math. All he would need would be every Republican, and 133% of independents!

That’s how you know Rasmussen’s poll numbers are inaccurate. They simply don’t add up. In order for Trump to get to 50%, assuming 6% of Democrats, he would need 95% of Republicans and 57% of independents, but he’s currently at 89/39. I could see some circumstances that could get him to 57% approval among independents, so it is possible for him to reach 95/57 (and therefore 50% overall), but he’d have to pull off something extremely positive that would win bi-partisan praise, like getting Russia to pull all their troops from Eastern Ukraine and brokering a true peace there. He’s clearly not there at the moment. He’s never scored higher than 42% approval from independents because he’s only doing things that please his own base, and that puts a low ceiling on his approval rating.

Trump has the lowest Gallup approval rating in history (40) for Presidents in December of their second year, but there is hope for him. The two guys nearest to his low “Second December” rating were Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan at 41, and they each left office with solid approval ratings above 60%. But he won’t get there by simply pleasing his base.

The Trumps, Obamas, Clintons and Carters were seated together.

Or maybe it wasn’t intentional. Maybe Trump is so large that he pulls them all toward him with a massive gravity field. His belt is not VanHeusen’s, but Van Allen’s. (Astrophysics joke. Very big with us porno guys.)

Hillary was particularly cold and refused to acknowledge Trump’s presence. That isn’t easy with a guy the size of Delaware.

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

Those close to Trump say that one reason the issue of debt reduction has never been an animating one for him is because he is convinced that it can be solved through means other than raising revenues or cutting expenses.

Say – he is a genius! Most budgets have only two dimensions – money in and money out. But he is playing three-dimensional chess!

Actually, his philosophy is true in business, where there is a third dimension. You just milk all you can out of a company, then declare bankruptcy, and your debts go away. I’m no economist, but I’m pretty sure countries can’t do that. Trump has, however, discovered a third dimension that works for him personally – ignore the problem until somebody else has to deal with it!

“Senators emerge from briefing by CIA director Gina Haspel. Corker says jury would convict Prince Mohammed in 30 minutes.”

Corker is famous for his days as a DA, when he would empanel an entire jury of JimmyJohns employees.

(I’m fuckin’ witcha. Corker is not a lawyer. He was a successful businessman.)

The evidence must be overwhelming because even one of Trump’s favorite lickspittles, Lindsey Graham, was willing to speak up.

Stone snubs Senate document request, invoking Fifth Amendment

His lawyer came up with the lamest spin ever. Allegedly, Stone is invoking his right against self-incrimination even though he has done nothing wrong, so you must not assume he would incriminate himself if he answered the questions. Why, he’s as pure as the driven snow! “”Mr. Stone’s invocation of his Fifth Amendment privilege must be understood by all to be the assertion of a Constitutional right by an innocent citizen who denounces secrecy.”

I’m not sure what the right to avoid secrecy has to do with the 5th, but that’s his defense and he’s sticking to it.

So what defense does he use if they offer him an open, public hearing, which I suppose they eventually will? I dunno. I’ll bet it will still be the fifth, but his lawyer will come up with some OTHER bullshit argument about how avoiding self-incrimination actually means he’s innocent.

I hate to say it, but I agree with Roger Stone on one thing. This might be an all-time first. I don’t see any reason why his testimony has to be in a closed door session. If there’s no national security issue, then shine the public light on his testimony.

How Havana is collapsing, building by building

If you talk to the old timers who got an opportunity to visit Havana before the revolution, they agree almost unanimously that Havana was the most fun place they ever visited – the dancing, the music, the gambling, the women, the joy of the Cuban spirit …

Thanks, Castro!

(You too, Obama – on general principles)

Yeah, that’s right. I remember reading that law that makes it illegal to appoint a special counsel.

After a while, there just no more to say about Trump’s crazy pronouncements. Obviously there’s something seriously wrong with him, but I’ve given up trying to figure out what it is beyond the obvious pathological narcissism. Is he scared of the walls closing in? Is he mentally challenged? Is he senile? Is he totally delusional? Perhaps he really knows what’s going on, but just lies about everything? I have no idea. I’ve never seen anybody like him.

“Mueller’s keen interest in (the Trump/Stone) relationship was laid out in a draft court document revealed this week in which prosecutors drew a direct line between the two men — referring to Stone as someone understood to be in regular contact with senior Trump campaign officials, ‘including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump.’

The inclusion of the president by name in the draft filing rattled his legal team and indicated how closely the special counsel is scrutinizing what Trump may have learned from Stone about WikiLeaks’ release of emails that prosecutors say were hacked by Russian intelligence operatives.”

That’s not all Trump could have gotten from Stone. Stone was a direct conduit to Russian intelligence, although he probably didn’t realize it. Stone claimed to be in touch with Guccifer 2.0. He claims that he was unaware that Guccifer 2.0 was an identity assumed by Russian intelligence. That’s probably true because: (1) he’s not the brightest bulb on the tree; (2) before we knew that Guccifer 2.0 was just a front for Russian intelligence, Stone wrote a long article for Breitbart arguing that it was Guccifer 2.0, not the Russians, who hacked the DNC.

Yup, Guccifer 2.0, but not the Russians!

In the immortal words of B. Bunny, “What a maroon!”

==========

Stone also wrote, “The original Guccifer famously hacked Hillary’s home email server, you might remember.” The original Guccifer, who was a single person and was not Russian, claimed to have done that, but investigators found no evidence to support such a claim, and Guccifer never presented any evidence that he had done so. Guccifer later admitted in FBI questioning that he had lied to Fox News when he made this claim. Apparently Stone never got the memo.

Manafort lied after pleading guilty, Mueller’s team says

“After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement. The government will file a detailed sentencing submission to the Probation Department and the Court in advance of sentencing that sets forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies, including those after signing the plea agreement herein. As the defendant has breached the plea agreement, there is no reason to delay his sentencing herein.”

I have a new respect for Paulie Numbnuts, I thought he was just an evil grifter, kind of like Scott Pruitt on steroids, but it turns out he’s a full-fledged Bond villain, complete with his new wheelchair. All he needs now is a fluffy white cat in his lap!

Note the words I placed in bold. They form the real point of the article, which is that Mueller is setting up a way to enter key facts into the public record – facts which can be accessed in case Whitaker decides to bury Mueller’s report.

======================

It also popped up this week that Manafort made several previously undisclosed visits to Julian Assange in his lair in the Ecuadorian embassy. The last of those occurred while he was involved in Trump’s campaign.

UPDATE, from the comments section:

“Manafort calls the Guardian story ‘totally false and deliberately libelous,’ and says he’s never met Assange nor anyone connected with WikiLeaks either directly or indirectly. WikiLeaks supports that: ‘Remember this day, when the Guardian permitted a serial fabricator to totally destroy the paper’s reputation. WikiLeaks is willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange.’ Both are talking about suing the Guardian, and the paper is now backtracking, adding the CYA phrase ‘sources say’ post-publication.

Scoop’s note:

The Guardian once printed the Presidential IQ Hoax as a fact! It essentially was a typical e-mail scam that they printed with no effort at verification, although it claimed the authority of a non-existent institute, and the preposterous claim that Bill Clinton has an IQ of 182. (Dr. Steven Hawking and Albert Einstein have been estimated around 160!)

So there’s a tough call. Which do you believe, the world’s most gullible newspaper, or a guy who just lied to the Feds after entering a cooperation agreement? I’m inclined to believe the opposite of anything Manafort says, and have found that compass more reliable than the North Star itself, but this case may prove to be an exception. If anti-Manafort is a compass, the Guardian is a magnetic storm.

“Trump thought the military’s top officer made $5 million a year”

“When Kelly asked Trump how much he thought the Joint Chiefs chairman earns, the president responded with a guess of $5 million. The post actually pays less than $200,000. According to the report, when corrected by Kelly, Trump suggested that Gen. Joseph Dunford, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs, should get a large raise and noted how many stars he had on his uniform.”

OK, two hundred grand isn’t that Trumpian, but there are plenty of perks. For example, each one of those stars can be traded in for a free foot-long at participating Subways, excluding premium sandwiches and double-meat upgrades.

Offer not valid in Alaska or Hawaii.

(This anecdote leads me to believe that Trump must not know his own salary, which is $400,000. Surely he doesn’t think that a military officer would make more than his commander in chief? No. Never mind. He’s not capable of a thought that complex.)