Archive for the ‘Connecting the Dots’ Category.

Lovely Day in Monterey -The VIIC’s Goose is Cooked

I Xootred to the Monterey Aquarium and enjoyed the morning (sort of) marveling at the amazing variety of nature.  Then stopped on the way back with my girl friend (and wife for going on 38 years, for a Bloody Mary watching the surf break.  I say sort of because many people bring their children there and assume the place is a playground and they can just run amuck.  So glad California is not an open carry state.  But the Aquarium is just a wonderful place to learn about the ocean.  As always, watching the endangered sea otters is just a joy.  I did notice on my trip over that there were a lot of very large seals splayed out on the rocks.  Made me think maybe I don’t need to go on a diet, just learn how to bask in the sun on large rocks.  In that group I would be the svelte  one.

Okay to business. The Village Idiot in Charge (VIIC) went to the Coast Guard Academy to give a graduation speech and whined about the press.  I guess the hypocrisy of him telling them how important they are and his proposed 20% budget cut was lost on him.  Then the big news:  Rod Rosestein, acting Attorney General, appointed a Special Counsel to investigate the Russia Probe.  POW!

Now understand what that means.  The Republicans cannot now control the narrative in the investigation.  We have heard the “bi-partisan” Senate and House investigations, which aren’t really because the Republicans will call witnesses to confuse and obfuscate.  Now they will still do that, but reality is going on in the background and they have to be more circumspect.  

The VICC is going to screw himself into the wall because he can’t control the investigation anymore.  Acting Attorney General Rosenstein is toast.  Watch who is nominsted to lead the FBI because that will now be the only way VIIC can get inside the investigation.  Expect a political war here.  Also note who is nominated for Attorney General.  

Now, don’t expect things to take off.  Robert Mueller will take time to get up to speed, but as an ex-FBI Director, he knows the ropes.  He knows where the bodies are buried and how to dig them up.  But things could go dark for awhile with the Special Counsel because like the FBI, he should not comment on an on-going investigation.  Eventually the light will come on and the Senate and the House will look stupid if they do nothing and then we find out there is real smoke.  So this is a very good step forwartd.  We will get to the bottom of what happened.

One last thing.  Some are lamenting that a better approach would have been a bipartisan commission.  Maybe, but the Republicans were never going to let that happen.  Now they know if there is bad stuff there, it is going to come out.  They may soon start distancing themselves, and if we find there is real evidence, there may be talk of impeachment so they can get their guy Pence in.  Oh, I thought up a nickname for Pence.  Homophobic Mike.  The other possiblity is Pious Pence.  I like the latter,

California Dreaming

It’s a good day to be alive.”

Good morning from Monterey.  Yes, we escaped down the coast for a couple of days to enjoy the ocean, some good food, the Aquarium, walks along the rocks, to get away from it all.  You know, getting out into nature, see the bounty of the ocean, and then go eat some of them.  We humans are interesting creatures. But the world keeps crashing back in as the next episode of As the Trump World Turns brings a new astounding revelation and every day is a new twitst in the World of Village Idiot in Chief.  David Brooks, a conservative columnist from the NYT gave us this yesterday:

We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

That’s kind of how I think about pundits trying to analyze him or put some strategic meaning into his follies.  He is simply a village idiot thrashing about.  A very dangerous village idiot.  One has to marvel at the White House’s latest denial of the “alleged” memo from ex-Director Comey about the Village Idiot in Chief’s (VIIC) asking for Comey to back off on the Flynn investigation.  Really?  Alleged?  This is how you do “business” in the business world.  Wink, wink, nod, nod.  Some people are just special.  But in government, where Comey has spent his career, you are always looking for snakes and documenting everything.  Of course the memo exists.

There is some expression among pundits feeling sorry for the communications staff.  I find that rather naïve.  Do you remember the editorials back in November and December by Republicans who told people that they should go to work for the Trump Administration because he will need help?  I laughed then because it was getting on a train heading for a train wreck.  Sean Spicer had to know on day one when he was asked to go out and lie about crowd size.  From day one on, if you had not figured out who the man was, you knew then, and that was the time to walk away.  What we see know is the rationalization of moral/ethical principles down the drain.

Oh, and one last thing, which I find hysterically funny. The VIIC’s best friend Vlad, is offering to provide transcripts of their meeting last week to help out VIIC.  We are depending on Russia to provide a true accounting of what happened?  They probably do have better transcripts than the VIIC because of the multiple listening devices they left behind.  Okay, I hyperbolize, but really?  We can’t trust the White House to give us undoctored transcripts so we are turning to the Russkis?  Think about where we are at, and then consider that some Republicans are simply troubled as opposed to hair on fire, let’s get on with a full investigation.

Here is what I can’t figure out.  The sooner they impeach him, the sooner they will have Pence (I got come up with a nickname for him) to actually pursue the “Republican agenda”.  So why not get it over with?  One thought is the investigation might raise the whole issue of the legitimacy of the entire election including Mike Pence.  The other is that when they do have clear sailing, I am not sure anything will happen because they are fighting among themselves.  See healthcare reform as Exhibit A.

So just another day in what Red American brought us.  You think next time those who didn’t vote, who idealistically voted third party, or voted for a village idiot to shake up the system will think twice.  Maybe, if we have a next time.

Opps

Yeah, I know I have used Alfred E. Neuman before, but is there any better example for our Village Idiot in Chief? According to the WaPo through leaks from our security agencies they are appalled at President Cheeto-heads actions, the moron released critical classified information:

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and National Security Agency.

When the White House denied it, nobody believed them.  It is almost funny that we know it is the lying show. The leakers are far more credible than the White House.  Secretary of State Rex Tellerson came out and made an identical denial as the White House was pitching, and when the State Department was asked about it, they had no idea what he had said.  They were totally out of the loop.  Clearly it occurred and the hypocristy of going after Hillary’s email system when no damage has ever been identified, the classified material was not classified by some agencies, and this leak that will probably cost lives is just enormous.  I wonder if the Russians left any listening devices behind after their visit?  At least they got all the pictures.  The American Press was barred.

But I think the most poignant moment in this latest Cheeto-head fuck up came when Allen Dershowitz, famous attorney, was on CNN and got quite animated about warning fellow panelists not to conflate this with the collusion investigation.  “They are entirely two different things!”  No, Allen, they are not.  Now legally he is right, but they come from the same motivation and misunderstanding that caused them both.  

On the collusion thing, the reality I believe we will soon find out about is the flow of money to finance Trump adventures (investments), much of it laundered or being laundered through his deals.  So in Trump’s little mind the Russian boys and girls are really just good fellow business men and woman and of course there was collusion to send them a signal that the sanctions were just a hinderance to business.  I don’t know this, but I think it is the most likely scenario here with all the denials and head fakes.  Cheeto-head does not get the adversary thing at all.  And if I am right, they have their hooks in him and he has no idea.

So Cheeto-head does not see the Russians as an adversary, but a way to make lots of money. It’s jus business.  He has no idea he is so far out of his league that they are using him to undermining our democratic system.  Thus the leak was just an exchange among the boys and he is clueless about the damage done, as he is clueless about just about everything.  He is their perfect captured idiot in spy talk.  But, hey, it is just business, right?  And with a businessman in charge, everything should be hunky dory, right?  You people who voted for him are morons. As I have pointed out before, none of this is a suprise.

I know what we are going to hear next.  “Who leaked this?  We have to get those leakers! Leakers, leakers, leakers.” Or said another way, deflect, deflect, deflect. Except he is the biggest leaker of all.  And the leakers leaked in order to wake up the nation to the danger he poses and the damage he has done.  And it is only the beginning.  He alienated all the intelligence agencies and the FBI.  Now his bumbling is putting the nation at risk.  They are good Americans and will not stand idly by while he destroys their hard work and undermines our intelligence sources.  It is going to be a fun and dangerous ride.  I hope he did not kill anyone with his leak, but he may well have.  

By George I Think They’ve Got It!

Frank Bruni, NYT columnist and liberal, had a long column this morning on my favorite topic, Cheeto-head isn’t shrewd or strategic, he is really just a petulant child:

For all of the negative news coverage that he receives, there has also been a strand of analysis that insisted on, or at least sought, a silver lining to the golden-haired huckster. It reflected all the rationalizations that I heard from Americans who had voted for Trump or were willing themselves to see some upside to his election:

The tweets weren’t merely splenetic. They were strategic, providing distractions when he needed them most. He was amoral, sure, but that was part and parcel of his craftiness, which could do the country some good. He was a liar, yes, but the best deals and the bent truth often went hand in hand — and he was a deal maker above all. He flouted norms, but that might be precisely the purgative our politics needed.

Commentators strained to spot and savor any flicker of something more dignified. Remember the accolades for his address to a joint session of Congress? All he’d done was the commander-in-chief equivalent of chewing with his mouth closed.

…And when I picture him at that Time magazine dinner, with a portion bigger than anybody else’s, I don’t see him on a throne. I see him in a highchair, keeping his audience guessing about just how much ice cream he’ll fling against the wall.

Frank is talking about the reporter dinner where Cheeto-head got served something better than anyone else including two scoops of ice cream instead of the one everyone else got on their dessert.  But the point is there is nothing strategic in his wild outbursts.  They are not to unbalance his opponent for strategic advantage.  They are just wild outbursts.  That ought to really work well when we have a real crisis not caused by Cheeto-head himself.

But wait!  Conservatives are also joining the wake up call.  Here is Ross Douthat, conservative columnist for the NYT:

The reaction to the sacking of James Comey is the latest illustration. Far too many observers, left and right, persist in being surprised at Trump when nothing about his conduct is surprising, persist in looking for rationality where none is to be found, and persist in believing that some institutional force — party elders or convention delegates, the deep state or an impeachment process — is likely to push him off the stage.

…Childish behavior can still lead to abuses of power, of which the Comey firing will not be the last. But liberals need to accept that the strongest case for removing Trump from office is likely to remain a 25th Amendment case: not high crimes and misdemeanors, not collusion with the Russians, but a basic mental unfitness for the office that manifests itself in made-for-TV crises and self-inflicted wounds.

Here is Charles Sykes, conservative talk show host, on what has become of the Republican Party to be able to support the unsupportable:

Rather than defend President Trump’s specific actions, his conservative champions change the subject to (1) the biased “fake news” media, (2) over-the-top liberals, (3) hypocrites on the left, (4) anyone else victimizing Mr. Trump or his supporters and (5) whataboutism, as in “What about Obama?” “What about Clinton?”

For the anti-anti-Trump pundit, whatever the allegation against Mr. Trump, whatever his blunders or foibles, the other side is always worse.

But the real heart of anti-anti-Trumpism is the delight in the frustration and anger of his opponents. Mr. Trump’s base is unlikely to hold him either to promises or tangible achievements, because conservative politics is now less about ideas or accomplishments than it is about making the right enemies cry out in anguish.

…As the right doubles down on anti-anti-Trumpism, it will find itself goaded into defending and rationalizing ever more outrageous conduct just as long as it annoys CNN and the left.

In many ways anti-anti-Trumpism mirrors Donald Trump himself, because at its core there are no fixed values, no respect for constitutional government or ideas of personal character, only a free-floating nihilism cloaked in insult, mockery and bombast.

By George, I think they’ve got it!  And on that note I will leave you with a link to Laurence H. Tribe’s call for Cheeto-head’s impeachment. Laurence Tribe is a Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, so he ought to know something about the subject. Here is his conclusion:

It will require serious commitment to constitutional principle, and courageous willingness to put devotion to the national interest above self-interest and party loyalty, for a Congress of the president’s own party to initiate an impeachment inquiry. It would be a terrible shame if only the mounting prospect of being voted out of office in November 2018 would sufficiently concentrate the minds of representatives and senators today.

But whether it is devotion to principle or hunger for political survival that puts the prospect of impeachment and removal on the table, the crucial thing is that the prospect now be taken seriously, that the machinery of removal be reactivated, and that the need to use it become the focus of political discourse going into 2018.

I can’t help but think that if you buy Charlie Sykes’ description of the new Republican Party where there are no principles just anti left anything, then Ross Douthat may have our only way forward, the 25th Amendment.  The guy is bat shit crazy.

How Did We Get Here?

By here I mean a President who is ethically and morally challenged, ignorant of history or our fundamental values, and we try to normalize him.  He has so many conflicts of interest it boggles the mind.  He just fired the person who was investigating him and seems to want to put Republican yes-men in his place. Loyalty to United States means loyalty to Donald Trump.  The very basis of democracy, a trust in our institutions and processes are being undermined at a hectic pace and the people who could do something, “proud” Republicans, do nothing.  We put a known racist and liar in charge of the Department of Justice*, and ethically challenged and climate change denier in charge of the EPA, a non scientist and who once said we should abolish the Department of Energy in charge of it, and a public educating hating and totally ignorant person in charge of public education. How did we get here?

Well first of all, there are no more “proud” Republicans except some pundits whose mind is clouded by the past that doesn’t exist anymore. Now I have spent lots of time in this blog explaining how middle America and Red States got dumbed down by a lazy press in bed with those they cover, being falsely fair and balanced claiming both sides do it, and a 50 year plan by conservative ideologues to take over the country.   But what I am talking about here is what happen to the Republican Party that no longer exists as a moderate conservative approach to government.

If you really want to understand this, look at it from 30,000 feet. Republicans won in 2000 by stealing an election and that set the tone for our next 17 years.  The tone set was winning is everything, whatever it takes.  The problem with that win in 2000 was when Republican ideas were actually implemented, we blew up the deficit with tax cuts, and eventually blew up the economy by removing regulations on banks.  All that is masked by the Afghanistan/Iraq war, but there it was.  Republican ideas simply did not work in a world economy. So in 2008, the country tried Barack Obama (Yes We Can!).  In the famous inauguration night meeting, Mitch McConnell and his Republican boys decided that they would do whatever it took to make Barack fail (No You Can’t!).  That was the end of the Republican Party as we knew it and the finally end to two-party governance.

That agreement was the stake in the heart of democracy because it went after the implicit contract we all live under, that we will abide by the vote, that ideas compete, and when you win election you get to try your ideas. If they could not be in charge they would ensure that no one else could run government. Republicans even turned their back on their own ideas if they were offered up by President Obama.  It got to be quite a joke.  And while spinning all the hate toward President Obama, they created the Tea Party, a right-wing, racist, nationalistic party that hardened the ideology.  The Tea Party, although a minority of Republicans, held the key to getting elected and the party swung further right and ideological.

Here is the fact that most people who call themselves Republicans (not politicians) have yet to grasp evidence by the fact that they are still Republicans:  The Republican Party is no more the party of small government, low taxes, and few regulations, with the caveat that rational logic told them that sometimes one size does not fit all and they had to compromise.    They are the party of the status quo, the rich, and continuing growing economic inequality.

Those people who were principled are gone forever, and what is left is a sniveling group of politicians led by Mitch McConnell that is terrified of their base, trapped by ideological beliefs that are fundamentally flawed, and gave up principled thinking many years ago.  Their only goal is to stay in office and to take total control of government and ensure that when things go south, democracy no longer functions so they are sent home.

That is where here is.  The Republican Party holds both houses of Congress and the Presidency, sort of.  They can now finally implement their agenda**. But there is a fly in ointment.  Donald Trump.  It is clear there was Russian interference in our elections although just this week Cheeto-head raised doubts about believing that. It is also becoming clear that there was some sort of collusion with his campaign and maybe his administration.  He has left the normal ethics of conflicts of interest out in the cold.  He has done morally reprehensible actions, and now he is trying to kill the investigation into his administration.  And Republicans, those “proud” Americans who wear their lapel pins so proudly and wave the Constitution every chance they get, they do nothing.  And now you know why.

We have faced threats throughout our history from the British, to the Civil War, to Communism, the Cold War, and now terrorism, but who would have thought that the real threat to our country was going to be from within, from the “proud” Republican Party that is now just a bunch of fanatical ideologues who are tearing down our Constitution in the name of conservative ideas.  Yes Virginia, Republicans are evil. So are people who vote for them when the truth is for everyone to see if only they will look.

*Sessions want to clamp down on Mary Jane and get tough on drug offenders again.  Turn back the clock, forget what we have learned and do more stupid stuff.

**They had their first chance on healthcare and the answer is, there is no conservative, market place fix for Obamacare.  So they either consider a single payer or deny millions healthcare.  They still haven’t faced that reality yet and there is no Republican plan.

Any Questions?

Executive Summary:  We (they) elected a crass, ignorant, pathological liar who is debasing (Timothy Egan used debase this morning and I like the ring to it) our culture and assaulting the very foundations of our democracy and the Republicans do nothing, decrying partisianship and describing brave loyal Americans as political hacks.

All it took was Cheeto-head deciding to take over messaging (lying) from his professional White House communications (lying) staff and he spilled the beans for all of us to see.  I am talking about his interview with Lester Holt of NBC where he basically spilled the beans.  Even if you are heartless, don’t care about destroying the planet (pollution and global warming),want to throw people off healthcare, and lust for packing the court with conservatives (Republicans), at this point one would think they could not see their place in history rapidly catching up to those who enabled Hitler.

So what did he do?  Well first he threw everyone in the White House under the bus  and showed they were lying (maybe on his orders) by admitting that he fired Comey because of his handling of the Russia investigation.  He fired the guy who is investigating him::

“And in fact, when I decided to just do it [fire Comey], I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,’ It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won…I was going to fire Comey — my decision. I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”

So all the stories being told by the White House were made up lies including the Comey handling of Hillary’s investigation.  It was always about Russia from his own mouth.  Now a couple of things here.  We now have a White House Press corps who does not just try to spin the facts to put their guy in the best light, they lie repeatedly and have lost all credibility.  Forget the Hillary thing and the next lie, that Comey lost the respect of his troops.  We now have a White House who no one trusts a word they say.  Think about that.  The leader of the free world has a White House that looks like incompetent Keystone cops who lie as frequently as Russian Television (RT).

Second, we now have Cheeto-head admitting he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.  He wants it to go away.  Let’s see, what is that called? Obstruction of justice?  This is not just “improper”, it is against everything we believe in.  It undermines the rule of law and our institutions.  It is an attack on the very foundation of democracy, trust and faith in our processes and institutions.  And they impeached Bill Clinton for lying about sex.  Seems kind of trivial now.  Cheeto-head lies about everything, is unstable, and tried to obstruct the investigation into the Russian connection and the Republicans are just “troubled”?

Then there was his description of the Comey meeting at a dinner where Cheeto-head described it as Comey pleading for his job:

Mr. Trump said Mr. Comey had reassured him first at a private dinner, and then during two phone conversations. He acknowledged that he had directly asked if he was being investigated.

“I said, ‘If it’s possible, would you let me know if I’m under investigation?’” Mr. Trump said. “He said, ‘You are not under investigation.’”

The admission raised questions on Thursday among reporters, who asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, whether it was inappropriate for the president to ask the F.B.I. director whether he was under investigation. “No, I don’t believe it is,” Ms. Sanders said.

The president said Mr. Comey requested the dinner early in his administration to ask to keep his job. That would be an unusual — and perhaps unnecessary — step for an F.B.I. director, who by law is appointed for a 10-year term. Mr. Comey was four years into his term when Mr. Trump was inaugurated.

“He wanted to stay on as the F.B.I. head,” Mr. Trump said. “I said: ‘I’ll consider. We’ll see what happens.’ But we had a very nice dinner and at that time, he told me I wasn’t under investigation, which I knew anyway.”

Imagine a gangster having a polite dinner with the chief of police and he says he can keep his job as long as he keeps his nose out of the gangster’s business.  That is exactly what was going on from this description.  There are no more ethical standards and the Republicans do nothing.  It started with Cheeto-head’s conflicts of interest and now we are down to raw thuggery and the Republicans do nothing.

Comey let it be know that this not how things went at all:

Comey has told associates, the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief.

As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.

Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense.

Who to believe, the pathological liar or the guy who over moralizes everything?  And in either version we have the gangster to the politician basically saying forget your oath to the Constitution, be loyal to me and you can keep your job.  Welcome to the Trump Administration.  This morning Cheeto-head is tweeting that there might be tapes and warning Comey to not make anymore statements.  Free speech anyone, or is free and truth only defined by Cheeto-head.  I hope they do have tapes, but of course they don’t.  Either way, we will see Cheeto-head as the thug he is.

This morning Cheeto-head gave us this on twitter:

“As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!”

“Maybe, the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”

Free speech is what he says it is, not to mention what is truth.  How did we get here?  Oh, and he is forming a commission to look into voter fraud and suppression.  There isn’t any fraud and the suppression is an attempt to deny minorities the right to vote.  This is another attempt to further undermine our democracy and our institutions.

So we are back to my Executive Summary:  We have a moron and a thug as president undermining the very foundation of democracy and we are becoming the laughing stock of the world. Kiss your exceptionalism goodbye.  How low can we go.  Impeach the bastard. Oh, and Republicans are gutless evil bastards.

I Can See Clearly Now

The only saving grace from the White House is their total incompetence.  The reason for the firing of James Comey is becoming crystal clear.  In spite of the memo claiming it was the outrageous treatment of Hillary, which nobody believes from this White House, White House minions were out with very different versions of Trump being unhappy with Comey for some time and had lost trust in him,  Of course that says what happened to the plot line that the new guy Rod Rosenstein who had been in office 12 days, writes a memo and the White House gets it, and then acts?  Well, nobody believes that one either. There are reports that when the White House started to lay blame on him, he threatened to resign.  We all know that was a fiction to get Sessions involved.  And it is clear Sessions’ involvement was a clear breach of his recusal.

Now the veil is slowly being lifted.  Apparently the Russia investigation was ramping up and Comey had asked for more money and resources.  Trump had been getting madder and madder about the ongoing investigation and that Comey would not follow orders to back off. He was mad that Comey had not supported his Obama had phone tapped me.  He was mad because Comey had confirmed an investigation into his campaign and administration.  And he was really mad because, as noted, Comey seemed to be ramping up the efforts.  And as now reported Comey thought Cheeto-head was mad in an insane way.  Oh, and did you see where yesterday after Cheeto-head’s meeting with the Russians (now there is a visual), he banned U.S. Reporters from the photo session/ meeting? And don’t forget Valdimir gave Cheeto-head a thumbs up for acting presidential.  That ought to count for something.

So there is no question about what is going on today.  The smoke was getting thicker and Trump ordered the hoses brought out.  No one listened.  And for an immature child, who has something very bad to hide, he went on a firing tantrum.  Republicans so far have failed to understand their duty to the country, with all of them hedging their comments, calling Sally Yates a political hack (although nothing in her testimony was political and backed up by multiple accounts) and saying the President had the right to fire Comey, which he did, but not noting that in an ongoing investigation of his administration, highly inappropriate and destructive  to our democracy and our confidence in it.  If it’s not clear at this juncture that we have a president who is out of control, has things to hide, and is a danger to a functioning democracy, then you must have voted for this dangerous moron in the first place, clear evidence of brain damage. And so far the Republicans are right there with him.

But I think the dam has broken.  There are so many lies and blame going on, that people are starting to push back.  I think what we have learned is that the political appointees cannot be trusted, Right now that is Acting Attorney General Rosenstein and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe are suspect, Rosenstein with his part in given cover to the White House for firing Comey and McCabe for failing to answer a simple question put before him by the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning, did Comey tell Cheeto-head that he was not under investigation?  Oh, I get the privileged conversation, except the President already put it out there.  We ought to be able to know if it is true.  He did promise to report any political interference which kind of puts him on notice with career professionals.  I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.  Wouldn’t you have given Comey a heads up call?

So between the Republicans and the political hacks, the real ones, nothing will happen.  But as I mentioned earlier, the dam is broken.  Career professionals will take their Constitution and country as more important than toddying to the Firing-in-Chief.  Expect to see more leaks and a real blow up if the Republicans and Cheeto-head try to slow walk this.  Finally, I will give Comey the same advice I gave to Obama.  Speak out.  These are not normal times and the very foundation of our democracy is at stake.

How Much Smoke is There?  UPDATE SEE BELOW*

While the media is distracted with a Trump head fake to restart the war in Afghanistan which I will comment on later, but do you really think the guys who want a tax cut for the wealthy want to fund another war, the Russia thing just gets bigger and bigger.  What we know is not much since everything we do know is based upon leaks and the Republicans seem to be in no hurry to get to the bottom of it.  So let’s see if we can itemize the smoke columns;

Said another way there is just too much really weird stuff going on that makes no sense if there is no Russian connection.  And that brings me to the investigation.  As an American, I am apalled that I had to learn about the investigation through a leak.  It is an obvious question that if the Russians are being investigated for interference in our campaign, was there collusion by the Trump campaign.  Directory Comey felt compelled to tell us about reopening the Clinton investigation but said nothing about an investigation into the Trump administrations connections with the Russians.

Clearly in a perfect world we would not want to pre-judge someone based upon an investigation that might clear of criminal wrong doing, which is what happened to Hillary.  But when you are talking about Russian interference in our election and the potential for a president’s administration (or maybe he himself) colluding with the Russians, we need to know about it so we can make informed choices in a democracy.  This idea that nothing can be said, and we have to find out from a leak that the Trump administration was told Flynn was compromised and then they did nothing is truly disturbing.

Directory Comey is a poor choice for this role and we may have to set some deadlines.  Why not supeona Trump’s tax records?  Why is the Senate dragging their feet?  Why don’t the agencies get together and tell us what investigations are going on without naming names and when we will get some sort of report?  It is at times like these we thank our lucky stars for leaks.  How much longer would Flynn have had access to the highest secrets we have before his compromised position forced him out.  Clearly we have problem with secrecy in this country and maybe it is time to start a discussion about how the public can be informed about potentially very damaging actions that are being investigated.  Just having no comment because it is an ongoing investigation does not seem to work when the stakes are this high.

*PRESIDENT CHEETO-HEAD FIRES COMEY.  THIS SCREAMS SPECIAL PROSECUTOR/INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AND RAISES ALL KINDS OF QUESTIONS ABOUT TIMING AND RELATIONSHIP TO THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION.

Up is Down!

The Republicans have passed healthcare “reform” in the House and you are free from Obamacare! You know the onerous rules like covering pre-existing condition or anything else a state thinks you might not need.  Oh, and no more penalties for not having insurance (so who exactly is going to pay for it?).  And we will no longer have those horrible rules that prevent insurance companies from capping your out-of-pocket expenses! And you get lots of choice now except for Planned Parenthood.  I wonder why that was left out?  And your rates are just going to drop like flies.  Or much more likely the opposite.  But according to Congressional Republicans, up is down.

My favorite lie they were throwing out today was that Obamacare is collapsing.  No it is not, but it does have big problems in states where Republicans did everything in their power to sabotage it.  They made the markets so unpredictable that many plans were bailing out.  Not so in states like California, Washington, and Ohio because they embraced it.  Right now the sabotage continues because plans can’t figure out what the market is going to be like in the future as the Republicans continue to try to sabotage it, and they price more and more risk into who will sign up.  If, as the new Republican Plan will do, reduce sign ups, more and more risk will have to be priced into the plans.

Then there is their argument that they will get government out of controlling your health care decision, you know, like covering depression, or maternity care, or drug addiction, or contraception.  Of course they will tell you you can’t go to Planned Parenthood and while your healthcare provider will be free to charge you what they want for minimal care, you will have no choice since you can’t afford any of it anymore.  As many healthcare professionals and most healthcare groups have pointed out, this is going to cost everyone plenty?

So why did they do it?  Why did they rush headlong into approving a plan that most of them did not read or have scored to find out what it would cost (the great hypocrisy).  Why were they celebrating on the White House lawn when as Lawrence O’Donnell put it, they had gotten through the first inning and had scored a run in a long ball game?  Well some Republicans actually believe their own bullshit, the free market will provide cheaper plans.  The easy argument to that is show me anywhere in the world that works.  Then there is the group that just doesn’t care.  If you are sick, it is your fault and you should bear the cost, not the rest of us cost-sharing.  But the most important reason was that by cutting back on Obamacare, they free up money for their big tax cut coming up. Really.  If they could throw 20 million or so off health insurance and raise everyone’s rate, it sets up their “tax reform bill” to be able to use reconciliation and not be subject to the filibuster.  It was about the money.

So the Senate has a giant stink bomb thrown in their laps.  Senate Republicans want that tax cut for the wealthy too (which repeal of Obamacare already does) so they will try to craft something.  Hopefully no Democrats will go along.  Once again, there is no Republican fix if we decide that we like having health care for everyone.  The simple solution is to put a government Medicare type system on each exchange to let it compete.  You think the conservatives would love that one, more competition to prove the government can’t really compete with the market place.  Except it already does and wins handily when it comes to Medicare.  In fact they are terrified of that outcome.

When you get right down to it, Obamacare already changed the conversation and proved their worst nightmare, that government has a role to play in healthcare.  Democrats biggest mistake in the past was not to show how Obamacare helped not just the poor and sick, but how it improved employer based plans.  They are not making that mistake again.  People like reliable health care and that is what Obamacare brought them.  The cat is out of the bag.  So the boys and girls that want to take us back to the 19th century have already lost this one, they just don’t know it yet.  Bring on the town hall meetings.  People actually like Obamacare and want it fixed.  The only way to do that is to move more to the left.  Na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye.

Note:  This is not to say that free market solutions would not work in healthcare, but we are talking about providers, not insurers.  Based on a system where the government set up (like in Obamacare) minimum requirements to ensure reliable coverage, competing healthcare providers could find cheaper ways of providing care.  After all we have the most expensive system in the world.  But keep in mind that Republicans never walk their talk.  Remember how they protected big Pharma and we now have the most expensive drugs in the world?  But none of this answers how we cover everyone with healthcare without a single payer system where we all bear some of the burden.  And that as we have seen is just not acceptable to conservatives.

One argument they make is that a single payer system incentives more procedures (cash flow), but if you look at systems like Kaiser which is a fixed price system, it can be effectively managed.  It is all in how you do it.

They Still Don’t Get It

Jimmy Kimmel, the late night TV host, was given great kudos for giving an impassioned plea for a health care plan that covers pre-existing conditions since he is now the father of a new son that has them.

But in this, he said this:

“This isn’t football,” Mr. Kimmel added. “There are no teams. We are the team, it’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.”

WTF is he talking about?  This isn’t about a partisan squabble unless you consider Republicans feuding with each other partisan.  Democrats gave you coverage of pre-conditions, and Republicans are trying to take it away.  This is not some partisan both sides do it and they just need to get along thing.  It is a basic dividing line between Democrats and Republicans.  Mr. Kimmel just played into the hands of Republicans by being politically correct and not pinning the blame on the Party that deserves it.  The Press does the same thing which is why Americans see the problem as “Washington” instead of doing the brave thing and naming names.

And now they are taking this to a whole new level as we see the reality of President Cheeto-Head as an ignorant, dangerous man and press continues to not label it and tries to pretend things are normal, just different. He is  not and we need to understand that while he has a base that thinks he is doing fine, they are a small minority and he is a true danger to democracy as we know it.  Congress can be as dysfunctional as they want (Republicans actually), but when the man who leads the nation has to lead and not backwards.  He cares less about human rights or America being a beacon of democracy in the world and he is doing his best to destroy it.

As I write this Comey is explaining why he had no choice which is total nonsense and he and the Russians changed the direction of the country.  Now the Russian investigation is being stymied by the Administration and Republican leaders in Congress.  As I wrote yesterday, Cheeto-Head keeps making statements that show he is either delusional or an idiot.  Stephen Colbert did a number on Cheeto-Head on Monday, speaking truth to the nation and people are just shocked, shocked, shocked.

This is the reality.  And up next is his executive order on “Religious Freedom” which will actually be a license to use religion to discriminate in the public square.  It is rolling back history and the Enlightenment to bring religious discrimination back into government.  Add in to that and this Administration’s willingness to lie and deny science and we are really going back to the 17th century. And you want me to be tolerant of the misguided and ignorant people who voted for this moron?  I don’t think so if you really understand what is at stake here.

And I will leave you with caution to President Obama who very much tone-deaf, signed up to cash in with Wall Street.  This what middle America is turning away from along with young people.  They get that the present economic system does not work for most of them and this raises all kinds of flagsas to whether establishment Democrats get this.  Wall Street is not the answer.  It is the reason Hillary never rang true on understanding Progressivism.  But now we are faced with a very damaged and dangerous man in the White House being enabled by Republicans.  They are the enemy.  If Obama doesn’t stand up and take him on he is a fool.  These are not normal times and treating them as such will be our demise.  Resist.