If you love the lore of America, you will certainly be able to identify the President who said or wrote each of the following (not always while President):

“Government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

“All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

“Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

“Fuck the law. I don’t give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money.”

Trump bragged about having a great memory, but suddenly can’t remember anything about the Trump Tower Moscow project.

Wow. Rudy Giuliani has made a fool of himself before, but he really outdid himself this time. Here’s an actual conversation with George Snuffleupagus:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did the president – did Donald Trump know that Michael Cohen was pursuing the Trump Tower in Moscow into the summer of 2016?

GIULIANI: According to the answer that he gave, it would have covered all the way up to – covered up to November, 2016. Said he had conversations with him but the president didn’t hide this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Earlier they had said those conversations stopped in January, 2016.

GIULIANI: I don’t — I mean, the date — I mean, until you actually sit down and you look at the questions, and you go back and you look at the papers and you look at the — the — you’re not going to know what happened. That’s why — that’s why lawyers, you know, prepare for those answers.

I assume he is talking about OTHER lawyers being prepared to answer questions.

Vicious (and totally justified) attacks.

The real reason he resigned is, of course, that the Democrats will take over the House, and the Republicans will no longer be able to block the investigations of him. In the past month or so, even his own department has turned over a report on him to the Justice department, so if his own subordinates think he’s a criminal, you can imagine what the Democrats in Congress will do.

There is no reason for environmentalists to rejoice. Zinke will be replaced, at least temporarily, by David Bernhardt, who basically is Zinke without the scandals, and with even less regard for the “interior.” He used to be a lobbyist for the fossil fuels industry.

You have to love Trump’s comments. Even Trump could not find anything positive to say, tweeting that Zinke “accomplished much during his tenure,” a comment that also could be applied to Hitler or Caligula.

If you said “honesty,” the chances are that you are not a Republican.

The share of Republicans who say honesty is extremely important has fallen to 49 percent.”

This same stat for Republicans was 71% in 2007. The comparable stat for Democrats and independents has stayed exactly the same since 2007! Why have Republicans changed? Pretty obvious. I think you can blame one specific person. It’s kind of interesting to see how Trump apologists have adapted to reality. At first, they defended Trump’s crazy and obviously false claims, but there is now a new dynamic in play – they admit Trump is a serial liar, and they don’t care.

But take party affiliation out of the analysis and just look at people in general, and the results are fascinating. Without being told who made the false claim, people are more likely to believe a false, wild-eyed assertion by Elizabeth Warren than by Trump.

I guess that Trump’s lies have been generally exposed by the media, but the fact-checkers kind of ignore Warren, so her lies are not universally known to be false. They gave one example of a Warren claim. I was able to identify it as false because it’s so preposterous, but I have never seen it formally debunked. In contrast, the media outlets tend to jump on every single misstatement Trump makes, so I have seen all the counter-arguments to all of his claims. Does that mean the media are biased? Well, maybe. Nobody can ever claim total objectivity. But of course Warren is not the President, and far more intense scrutiny comes with that position.

By the way, I hesitated over the adjective “preposterous” in that paragraph. Something to mull over: should the adjective for an absurdly and obviously inaccurate claim be “Trumpian”?

Another interesting finding: Trump himself is often a victim of the “boy who cried wolf” syndrome – people assume his completely accurate claims are just more of his lies! “Trump often accurately says that the U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest level in roughly 50 years, but less than half of adults, 47 percent, believe this is true.”

The “statement of admitted facts” says that AMI admitted making a $150,000 payment “in concert with the campaign,” and says that Pecker, Cohen and “at least one other member of the campaign” were in the meeting. According to a person familiar with the matter, the “other member” was Trump.

———-

In another angle on the story:

“Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says Trump knew it was wrong to make hush-money payments during campaign.”

“Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to arrange hush-money payments with two women because then-candidate Trump ‘was very concerned about how this would affect the election’ if their allegations of affairs became public, the president’s former personal attorney said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.”

“Trump Moves to Deport Vietnam War Refugees”

This is even a bigger dose of WTF than usual.

“Many pre-1995 arrivals, all of whom were previously protected under the 2008 agreement by both the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were refugees from the Vietnam War. Some are the children of those who once allied with American and South Vietnamese forces, an attribute that renders them undesirable to the current regime in Hanoi, which imputes anti-regime beliefs to the children of those who opposed North Vietnam. This anti-Communist constituency includes minorities such as the children of the American-allied Montagnards, who are persecuted in Vietnam for both their ethnicity and Christian religion.”

Note that ONLY applies to people who have been living in the United States for 23 years or more. Since a 2017 ruling already declared the intent to deport any in that group who committed crimes, and this new policy would exempt those who have become citizens, this new policy would therefore deport people displaced by the war in Vietnam who have been living in the USA for 23 years or more as law-abiding residents, but without the protection of citizenship. It would deport them to a country that persecutes them either for being Christian or for their own or their parents’ support of America.

Does that make sense to anyone?

“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.”