there’s no hope

Or at least not much.

Seriously, this is what we’re up against.  I have many neighbors—serious Trump fans— who believe all kinds of astonishing things, and will bob and weave like this to reconcile impossible incongruities of precisely the kind on display here.

Their take is that Trump is totally on the ball and is playing some kind of deep game, so any incongruities are part of the plan.  It’s a religious vision in a way, no question. It’s an extension of the “god works in mysterious ways” narrative.

But there’s another aspect to this problem.

Almost all my neighbors, including almost all the bobbers and weavers, are precisely the kind of people who are likely to show up at your door with a pot roast or an apple pie whenever serious difficulties strike.

Complicated, isn’t it?

Brexit on Trial??

In this morning’s news. PM May has called a “snap general election” for June 8.

She is assuming that her party will receive a fresh vote of support, to set up the negotiations with the E.U. over the terms of Brexit.

BUT . . .
What if the voters deliver a verdict against Brexit?

What if the UK voters have re-considered last year’s vote and enough of them have changed positions, to make a real difference?

If the Scottish Nationalists run on June 8 on a platform of holding another devolution vote, within a year or so, and get a solid vote of support for that, how could Whitehall stop them?

Has she thought this through, any better than her predecessor did for Brexit?

Our UK peeps, please wade in.

 

dick waving, part 2

Our tax dollars hard at work. The USS Carl Vinson.

Reports are now coming out that the US Navy is moving a carrier battle group toward the Korean Peninsula.

BNO News is reporting that “a US official” told Reuters news agency that Carrier Strike Group 1 (CSG-1) would leave Singapore and move towards the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula.

Carrier Strike Group 1, which is part of the U.S. Third Fleet, has the USS Carl Vinson as its flagship and is composed of approximately 6,500 sailors. No word as yet as to mission.

Now it really is starting to look like Der Führer is zeroing in on his strategy to keep all those pesky investigators distracted.  The news media, of course, have already decided that his completely telegraphed fireworks display in Syria which apparently demolished a few quickly emptied outbuildings—and which is now being variously described by the teevee talking heads as “decisive” and, godhelpusall, even “beautiful”—, means that he’s become, magically, a Real President.
(FAIR documents how the five major newspapers have published some 18 opinion columns on the Syrian strikes since Thursday and not a single one has been critical.)

Der Führer pays serious attention to things like that, this we know, so it’s not in the least irrational to suppose that he’ll keep the pressure on. Hell, why not? It’s working beautifully.

I have a feeling that I’m not the only one who was hoping, albeit forlornly, that the footrace between Trump solidifying his grip on power and the advancing investigations into his utter unworthiness to hold that power would be won as soon as possible by the latter. Just days ago it looked as if that might even be possible.

Not so much now though.

His brand new SCOTUS justice is installed, Enviro regs governing power generation are being stripped, OSHA is being crippled, directives which made it tougher (but not tough enough) to harass women in the workplace have been revoked , the Endangered Species Act is in the crosshairs, and that’s by no means a complete list.

Der Führer is on a roll, and almost none of it is on the front page. Oh, and he holds a strong position in Raytheon stocks too, and ever since he burned up 60  of Raytheon’s Tomahawk missiles the stocks have been surging, so he’s not only running the political table he’s making a profit out of it.

Oh sure,  the ACA repeal was a fuckup as was his Muslim ban thingy,  and the Wall Building is running into all kinds of problems, not least of which is that a lot people who voted for him are now discovering that swathes of their land may be subject to eminent domain. And yeah, he was a clod with Angela Merkel, but she’s German and, you know, a woman, so we’ve forgotten about that already. What matters now is that he’s BLOWN SOME SHIT UP, so he’ll be cut all kinds of slack with all that wonky stuff.

Maybe those characters who were fulminating about the dangers of electing that dreadful liar, dangerous neocon warmonger and all-around swamp creature Hillary Clinton will have the courtesy to show up again and talk about how relieved they are that we were at least able to dodge that fucking bullet, eh?

Whaddaya say, kids?  Don’t be shy. How is that swamp-draining thing working out for you?

well, that didn’t take long…

Nothing like throwing some high-tech explosives around to  a) boost your poll numbers, and b) distract from damn near everything else.

Especially if one of those things you wish dearly to distract from is your ties to Russia and this escapade provides an opportunity to appear like you’re seriously confronting Russian interests.

Even more especially if you pull a stunt like this mere hours after Hillary fucking Clinton—who just needs to fuck off and tend her retirement veggie garden and shut the fuck up—announced that bombing that very airfield was definitely the way to go.

Would you buy a used car from this man?

The observable fact that small children have been gassed aplenty by Assad’s functionaries on several occasions over the last few years didn’t deter Trump in the least from leaving Assad alone ‘cos “he’s fighting ISIS”,  and never mind that Trump has now flipped 180 degrees away from where he was just hours ago because he saw the latest horrible photo evidence of dead children.

Children who, if he had his druthers, would be prohibited from obtaining refugee status here in the US.

Never mind that plenty of children have been killed and maimed as collateral casualties with some regularity by US forces in various locations.

Never mind that Trump himself was shrieking just a short while ago that if President Obama wished to bomb Syria he would absolutely need to get Congressional approval, and never mind that the very GOP voices which loudly agreed with him then, and actually withheld congressional approval, are now praising their new Führer’s “decisiveness” for lobbing 60 or so missiles into Syria without any congressional consultation at all.

It was inevitable that Trump would start waving his dick around like this, though I did think it might take a little longer. But now I think about it some more, this is exactly what he could be relied upon to do given that the Russian election chicanery noose is starting to tighten.

This man will not allow himself to be revealed for what he actually is.   There is no crisis he’d be unwilling to precipitate in order to prevent that.  If this doesn’t work, there’s always North Korea, just like he said the other day. There is not the slightest reason not to think he means it. This is the guy who wanted a Red Square style military parade at his inauguration, remember.

This prick has few limits when it comes to burnishing his self-image and none whatsoever when it comes to self-preservation.  None.

And now I see a report from ABC suggesting that the heads-up warning given to the Russians also enabled the Syrian forces to evacuate both themselves and most of their equipment prior to the strike. If that turns out to be true, and that the damage to vital equipment and supplies was minimal, that will be embarrassing.

And people like Trump are at their most unstable, reckless and dangerous when embarrassed.

Skinned by Flynn?

How many gigatons of speculation can the interwebs churn out before we know if there’s really a there, there, or whether Flynn tries to whitewash?  Is Mrs Pence thinking about re-upholstering the White House sofas yet? Can anyone except me remember those photos of Nixon slouching in ignominy down that beach with his metal detector, still wearing his suit trousers, white shirt and leather shoes. What are the chances that Trump could feel even a momentary shiver of shame? Are deals being made as I type, trading one vote for a SCOTUS confirmation in return for one vote for a POTUS disconfirmation?

 

Or is it all just more gas and air? As illusory as ‘Clean Coal’?

the question for today

I slung this up on the “quotes to be proud of ” sidebar first, then after thinking about it for a minute decided to wave it around more prominently.

Precocious boy genius Jared Kushner is reportedly to be placed in charge of whatever product we’re all going to be choking down as “customers” of the US government.

It’s about words, today. It’s about the ongoing sneaky normalization of words and ideas which, in any context of a democratic republic, are neither normal or even remotely acceptable.

There are reports (Reuters, WaPo) that Jared Kushner, our frisky Führer’s son-in-law, is to be installed as head honcho of a brand new entity called, evocatively, the White House Office of American Innovation.

This is, according to our Führer, a part of his ongoing project to keep his promises to the American people;

“I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my ‘ahead of schedule, under budget’ mentality to the government.”

(speaking of words, I’m uncomfortable with the idea that an article can reasonably contain the words “Trump” and “mentality”, but I see no way to avoid it in this case)

Anyway, here’s Kushner making a statement about what he sees as his role in that development;

The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.

As we see, he’s basically dissolving any meaningful distinction between entities he’s calling “citizens” and entities he’s calling “customers”. They are now the same, plain as day. You are a customer. Government is the company and Jared’s function is to oversee things so that it’s run like a business.

(Implicit here is the project, dear to right wing hearts since forever, of stripping the public sector to the bare walls and distributing the spoils—after skimming the Trump® kickbacks, naturally— to deserving white people, almost all of them men, but let’s leave that discussion for another day.)

So here’s today’s question. Just how in the hell can we dissolve any meaningful distinction between citizens and customers,—and, since he’s saying this too, between business and government—without the word “fascism” popping up in the minds of at least one or two journalists and denizens of Punditstan?

Let’s throw in the word “nepotism” too, while we’re at it and just for grins.

Because I’m a’tellin’ ya, if both those words—fascism and nepotism— are not front and center by mid-week, then both the media and any trace of effective political opposition to this ongoing coup, and that’s exactly what it is, really have abandoned ship, and we’re sunk.

really?

OK, I have no way to know how accurate this might be, but the Sunday Times is reporting that our frisky little Führer presented German chancellor Angela Merkel with a bill, an actual printed bill, for $300 billion which, he says, is owed to the US because Germany is in arrears with their NATO financial obligations.

A dunning notice production session in the oval office? People are saying so.

Stories of spectacular dimwittery like this fit so well with my personal judgements of what a dipshit Trump actually is (that he would assume NATO membership operates like his Mar-a-Lago club membership dues is not in the least surprising to me) so the temptation to just grab it and run with it is strong, but all reports I’ve found so far all lead back to that single Times story, and we’re not too damn far from April 1st, so hey, who knows.

So did our lovable little carnival barker actually deploy someone in his staff to print up an no-foolin’ invoice, basically a dunning notice, and really no-shit present it to Merkel at their meeting?

There’s plenty of contextual evidence to suggest it’s entirely plausible, not least Trump’s repeated public assertions, via Twitter;

“Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

If he did, well, I’m no expert on international diplomacy but it seems to me the potential for such clownish and petulant acting-out to sour all kinds of future international relations is huge.

A German minister responded, according to reports, by saying “The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations.”  Which is exactly the kind of low-key non-confrontational response one might expect from any nation with a mature and experienced diplomatic corps.

But this stupid little fucker still thinks that the confrontational bullying style which has worked for him in his previous business life—his show-business life to be accurate—will serve him well now, a perspective apparently shared by Bannon and several other of his closest advisors.

These fucking people are nuts, and need adult supervision 24/7, otherwise the wrong tweet at the wrong time and aimed at the wrong person is gonna result in scrambled jets, somewhere, sooner or later.

meanwhile, on death row…

… a shortage of ordinary people willing to watch a fellow human put to death is threatening Arkansas’ plans to execute 8 people in 10 days—the most executions in such a compressed timeframe since the death penalty was ruled not to be unconstitutional by a SCOTUS decision in 1976.

Arkansas law requires 6 to 12 “respectable citizens”—which means people at least 21 years old with no felony history or relation to the people being killed—bear witness to executions.  To make sure that proper protocol is followed, apparently.

Arkansas is offering an opportunity for a night out, if your schedule has an empty slot in April …

Anyway, the shortage is serious enough to threaten the scheduling of the executions—two at a time beginning April 17 and ending April 27—so it’s all hands on deck to find qualified Arkansan residents willing to spend an hour or two legitimizing the killing of one of their fellow humans in a grotesque ritual often carried out in antiseptic semi-secrecy in the middle of the night.

Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley has been out beating the bushes for volunteers, and speaking to the members of Little Rock Rotary Club 99, she said;

“The last times these were set, we actually did not have enough people volunteer.  You seem to be a group that does not have felony backgrounds and are over 21. So if you’re interested in serving in that area, in this serious role, just call my office.”

Bill Booker, acting as substitute president of the Little Rock Rotary Club, said  “It’s a very sobering thought … temporarily there was a little laugh from the audience because they thought she might be kidding … it quickly became obvious that she was not kidding.”

No word yet on how recruitment is coming along. Not much joy at the Rotary Club however, according to reports in Arkansas Online;

Finding volunteers among members of the Little Rock Rotary Club 99 may be difficult, said Bill Booker, acting president of the club.

“What I suspect is that some people might support the death penalty, but when it comes to witnessing something like that, it’s a different story,” Booker said Tuesday. “It may cause emotional trauma for quite a while. It would be one of the most significant things you’ll ever see in your life.”

Booker, a funeral director at Roller Funeral Home in Little Rock, said he will not volunteer for the task.

“It’s a lot different to be involved after the death has occurred,” Booker said, adding that he vividly remembers stopping to help at the scene of a fatal traffic accident 40 years ago and helping a young man as he was dying.

Viewing an execution would be too much for him, he said.

 

oh donny boy, the pipes, the pipes are leaking…

Seven fucking years, count ’em, these assholes have been trying to scupper the ACA.

More that 50 votes to repeal passed in the House in that time, when there was not a president who would sign it.

Now there is such a president and they hold a majority in the Senate too, and their latest attempt just went down in flames.

One GOP faction won’t vote for something which will brazenly put affordable HC insurance out of reach for a dangerously high number of their constituents (and put that faction at risk of losing their meal ticket, of course. We’re not talking integrity or empathy here).

Another faction won’t sign on to anything which doesn’t punish poor people, especially women, quite enough to suit their mean-spirited zealotry.

This won’t be the fault of our Führer and Famous DealMaker®,  of course, nothing ever is. But the spin should be fun to observe.  There has to be a way that it’s all that Muslim Kenyan’s fault, right?

Contempt

If we were looking for one word to sum up the orange hairball, his circus of a campaign and his abortion of a presidency, I can’t find one that better sumps up both. One that means both ‘disregard for what demands regard’ (such as facts, truth, his promises, the vulnerable, the health of the planet, the dignity of his office — the list goes on and on) , ‘disrespect for the law and its institutions’, and ‘worthless and despicable’.

This morning the worthless and despicable orange hairball denies again that that there is any evidence whatever that he or his team had dealings with Putin, but at the same time insists that whoever leaked all that undeniable evidence of him and his team dealing with Putin needs to be tracked down and punished.

The longer GOP game must be to let Trump talk his Trumpshit as much as he wants, so long as he passes their bills, wait for the ripe moment and then ditch him in favor of Pence, so Pence can run in 2020 as an incumbent.  If they jump too soon the the orange floater might fail to flush; if they wait too long then their boy Pence will have too much orange stink on him. How long is too long -from their jaded perspective- to leave this floating orange hairball festering in the bowl?