Trump Times Entry 135 – Brazen Sycophant

Brazen Sycophant

March 23, 2017

Yesterday, the one-hundred-thirty-fifth since the election, Congressman Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee, secured an anonymous tip regarding his investigation of Trump’s collusion with Russia. Shortly after reviewing the tip he ran to the White House and informed the very people he is investigating of the new information.

Ever the eager beaver, he also managed to hold two press conferences, where he both affirmed and denied that the new evidence implicates the Trump campaign. He finished up his busy day by definitively announcing the new evidence may implicate Trump people – or maybe not. We’ll just have to wait and see.

(That’s right, he said yes, no and maybe – all on the same day. Devin, obviously, is adopting the Trump style.)

Oh, and he didn’t bother to inform fellow members of the House intelligence committee of his discovery – they found out through the news outlets, like the rest of us.

When asked why he went to the president with this information, Nunes said the president had a right to know.

No, he doesn’t!

Under no circumstance does anyone under investigation have the right to know what’s going on inside the investigation. NO ONE! Once charges have been filed, of course, discloser is required. But, during investigation – no.

These fucking rightwing players have some odd ideas about judicial prudence. Public disclosure’s okay when democrats are investigated. And private disclosure to those being investigated is okay when considering Republicans. Yeah, odd.

Given the brazen nature of Nunes breach of investigative protocol (he could have told the Donald privately with no press) it looks like he’s trying to get disqualified from the investigation. If he just wanted to provide cover for Trump, a phone call would have done nicely. No, a publicly announced, private meeting with multiple press conferences is an attempt to draw attention – not hide.

Draws attention to himself, while he blatantly breaks the rules – hmm.

The congressman, probably, doesn’t want to be the guy who indicts Trump. If his committee gets kicked off the investigation, that won’t be a problem. After all, the Donald threatened to “come after” Republicans just for not voting as directed. Who knows what could happen to the poor slob who tries to charge him with a crime? Would Trump take a cue from his buddy Putin and start throwing people off buildings? Poison, maybe?

Yeah, the republic understands, Nunes fears the Donald’s wrath. It’s okay – just resign your chairmanship, Devin, and it won’t be your problem. There’s no need to go to these extraordinary lengths to get disqualified – just quit, you sniveling coward.

In Peace and Justice,
osv

Trump Times Entry 134 – Slow News Wednesday

Slow News Wednesday

March 22, 2017

Not much going on today. Sure, the Judiciary Committee is questioning Neil Gorsuch, but Neil ain’t answering. His response to any probing question is: I am not political and have nothing to say – perhaps the most political answer possible. Conversely, Neil’s history suggests he may be a little political – since he’s been active in the Republican right since childhood. But some old white guy lying to us about easily checked facts isn’t really news anymore. Is it?

Yeah, we do have that whole FBI investigating Trump and his team for espionage thing. But, the ruling party, is more interested in who leaked any damning Trump information, because leaks are dangerious. While, Russian infiltration of the White House is hardly worth a mention – nothing to see here.

The Republican Unaffordable Care Act is up for a vote tomorrow – maybe. Paul Ryan can’t say for sure; the bill is so unpopular he may not have the votes to pass it. If passage is not a sure thing, he’ll postpone the vote and let congress do what it does best – nothing. But, Paul Ryan failing and congress doing nothing isn’t really news either.

Apparently, the Dakota Access Pipeline has been sabotaged. But, the extant and consequences of the vandalism are unknown since the status report has been filed “under seal”, keeping details secret. For the sake of safety, there’s nothing further to report – no news here.

Rex Tillerson recently revealed he never wanted to be Secretary of State. But, since he doesn’t talk with the press, no one’s been able to ask the obvious follow-up: if you don’t want the job, why don’t you quit? But, like I said, Rex doesn’t talk to the press – so, no news here.

The Donald continues to power tweet, push around fellow Republicans and play golf on a weekly basis. But, none of that is new.  And he hasn’t said anything particularly crazy for a couple days now.

The last interesting Trump performance was when he tweeted a lie about Comey’s testimony while Comey was still testifying. It was a classic Trump tweet dropping, but it also was two whole days ago. Come on Donald, if you want to be the Hemingway of 140 characters, you need to produce more. But so far, no news here either.

After one-hundred-thirty-four day of focusing on the Donald’s story, the republic is bored with his one-dimensional characters, childish plots and shitty English. Can we just get on with it, banish him to mother Russia, and start beating up Mike Pence? We could all use the change.

In Peace and Justice,
osv

Trump Times Entry 133 – The Art of the Leak

The Art of the Leak

March 21, 2017

The FBI has been investigating the Trump crime family for collusion with the Russians since last July. They, of course, didn’t tell the voting public about their suspicions because it’s bad form to publicly comment on active investigations – unless you investigating a Democrat. Probably because they don’t fight back.

We know about the Trump-Russian affair because leaks forced congress to do their job.

The Intelligence community has the technical capability to listen in on pretty much anybody through common electronic devices, though the microwave oven is not one of the candidate devices.

We know about eBig Brother because of leaks. Though, I thought everyone assumed this already.

Michael Flynn, was forced to resign as national security adviser after reports exposed his lies about conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Oh, and he got $68K in payment from Russian companies, and worked for the Turkish government.
All from leaks.

Two factions are jockeying for position within the Donald’s White House: the New York moderates (Gary Cohn, Ivanka, Jared) and the Republican populists (Bannon). In this turf war, Bannon is killing it – probably due to his high-energy personality and winning smile.

We know about White House power struggles because of leaks. Though in this case, knowing the hyper-rich are losing to the bat-shit crazy is more depressing than informative.

We know aides have to keep Trump away from “bad” information because he gets cranky. From leaks.

Leaks everywhere.

So, of course, the House Intelligence Committee Republicans are focusing on leaks rather than on Russian interference in the election. Yeah, punishing those who expose crime is way more important than the actual crime – well, if the criminal is Republican. After all, leaks could compromise national security!

Yeah, fuck ‘em. Our boy and girls in Washington hide too much with that “National Security” cover. And frankly, since we already have Russian agents in the White House, national security seems a mote point.

The republic acknowledges that leaks are dangerous – the question is: to whom? Plus, over the last one-hundred-thirty-three days since Trump wikileaked his way into office, all news of value has been the result of leaks.  So, in context, leaks seem reasonable.

After all, the government holds the key to controlling leaks – stop lying to us. There wouldn’t be so many leaks if there wasn’t so much hidden.

In Peace and Justice,
osv

Trump Times Entry 132 – Comrade Comey

Comrade Comey

March 20, 2017

This morning FBI Director James Comey told congress that, sure, the FBI has been investigating Russian-Trump campaign complicity since last July. As an afterthought, he also directly refuted the Donald’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. So, he indicated his boss a liar, while not calling his boss a liar – a neat trick, even for one as practiced at bullshit as comrade Comey.

While Comey didn’t say so directly, he did imply that this investigation was not mentioned during the election because it was an open, ongoing, investigation. Implying that talking publicly about the Clinton bogus email case was okay because it wasn’t an open case, but it was technically open – the FBI didn’t close that case till November 6. Comey made his public Clinton remarks on October 28.

Once again, the pompous ass hats think we’re too dumb to read a calendar. By his own admission, back in October, Comey had open, ongoing, investigations on both Clinton and Trump. He chose to break protocol and publicly talk about one – Clinton. And now, we are to believe, he’s honestly investigating his boss, Trump – the guy he gave the pass to last October? Yeah right.

We won’t get a clean investigation from Comey or either of the Congressional committees – they all harbor conflicts of interest. Comey’s investigation may lead back to Comey. And frankly, Paul Ryan said it best last month when he shared that Republicans are disinterested in investigating Republicans. They won big time riding Trump’s coattails – why would they want to cross him? Besides, they’re all cowards and the bully scares them. (Oh no, the Donald will primary me if I say the wrong thing. Butthurt!)

The republic requires an independent investigator to consider the 2016 election. But, it’s very unlikely that congress will authorize one. An independent investigation could lead anywhere – even back to the guys who authorized it. For reasons, too easy to understand, our representatives would rather not be investigated.

It been one-hundred-thirty-two days since a foreign power helped Trump take the election. Democracy may require the consent of the governed, but Putin’s consent seems to have been the deciding factor this time around.

In Peace and Justice Comrades,
osv

PS –
I wonder what wild claim the Donald will make to distract from this latest problem. I’m kinda hoping a really big lie, like actual aliens landing at Area 54 and requesting audience with the greatest leader in the universe, the Donald. You know, something more credible than what we’ve been hearing from Trump so far.

Trump Times Entry 131 – The Pompous Ass Generalization

The Pompous Ass Generalization

March 19, 2017

Increasing the number of news sources doesn’t necessarily enhance understanding. It’s like that old project management thing: If it takes one programmer 1000 hours to write a program, then it should take two programmers 500 hours. Following that logic, assigning 1000 programmers to our dream project should render a one hour completion. Which is obvious nonsense.

(Sorry, I know, that’s a lot of numbers of lead off with, especially when it leads to nonsense – but, bear with me. I have a point. Promise.)

The point being, throwing additional resources at a problem won’t necessarily solve that problem sooner or better. There’s sweet spot, beyond which adding stuff slows things down. We, of course, passed that sweet spot with the number of news resources a long time ago. A Google search of “news” yields over 10 billion results.

Given the huge number of news sites, I find myself headline scanning aggregators (Huffington, Salon, CNN, YouTube, …) for stories of interest. I even scan FOX, InfoWars and Breitbart, but never on a full stomach. Rapid scanning gives me an overview, an initial impression that I try to use as guidance for further exploration. New idea stimulation, as it were.

But lately, this technique has miserably failed. Over the last few days, after scanning my big three or four, I find I have the same redundant impression – every single time. No matter where I look, the overriding generality, the recurring primary player and theme has been the pompous ass.

They’re everywhere, chairing the House Intel committee, where they say they have no evidence of wiretapping, but you never know – ya know? Pompous Ass.

There’s Sean Spicer’s yelling at reporters, offering a twenty-first century version of “the beatings will continue until your morale improves” as press policy. Pompous ass.

How about the budget guy claiming there are no demonstrable results from Meal on Wheels, so the funding should be redirected (indirectly landing in defense)? Pompous ass.

Paul Ryan, with his childish attempt so scare us with, “This bill is our only chance to fix healthcare” bullshit. Pompous ass.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos – fix public education by killing it – pompous ass.

The Donald, where to start… Pompous ass.

The republic is tolerant of most personality types – this is America, so even pompous asses are welcome. But, shouldn’t they have to register or, at least, wear funny hats – so we can keep an eye on them, for their own good?

In Peace and Justice,
osv

Trump Times Entry 130 – Alpha Diplomacy

Alpha Diplomacy

March 18, 2017

Yesterday the Donald hosted a meeting with the leader of the free world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Our guy showed up wearing his angry adolescent personality and opened with refusing the courtesy of a handshake. Diplomatic symbolism – Trump style.

Chancellor Merkel, understated as usual, landed the first real zinger when she used the motherly, “It’s much much better to talk to one another than about one another” ostensibly in response to Trump’s trash talking her for the last year.

The press, ever analytic, called the meeting tense.

Yeah, no shit. He spent the whole time frowning and looking down – his voice had that angry daddy edge to it. She seemed to be studying him. The Chancellor had that Margaret Mead in observation mode look – gathering data, trying to understand.

Apparently during the closed-door part of the event, Trump pressed Merkel to increase funding for NATO and she agreed to increase her country’s defense spending. So, there we have it, another Trump win.

Or do we? Does spending more on Germany’s defense mean more money to NATO? Not sure – I going to assume she probably would have agreed to anything just to make the closed-door meeting with the rude American combover guy end. I would have. So, who knows? (Is it a good idea to bully another ally? Is it ever a good idea to bully Germany? Drifting…)

After the closed-door segment, the Donald, still looking angry, and Angela, looking relieved, took a few questions from the press. Still waiting for a backbone implant, the American press asked something no one remembers. But the Germans asked about sensitive topics like isolationist policies, fake news and Trump’s infamous wiretap claim – which triggered the Donald.

Trump vehemently announced he was the least isolationist guy we know. And deflected everything else by citing a FOX News show as source for his wiretapping charges. He further suggested that he and Chancellor Merkel, at least, had wiretapping by the black guy in common. Diplomatic wit – Trump style.

The German press laughed.

Angela Merkel gave him the very same look of distaste my, very German, grandmother gave me that time she caught me thumbing through my grandfather’s hidden “nature” magazines – resigned disgust. I think she’s done studying him.

Fox News, immediately published a disclaimer: We have no evidence, blah, blah, blah…

The republic would like to apologize to Angela Merkel.  The Donald has been acting out ever since reaching adolescent fifty-eight years ago, but we’re hoping he’ll outgrow it any day now. After all, it’s only been one-hundred-thirty days since he unexpectedly won this shitty job and, besides, powerful women make him cranky.

In peace and Justice
osv

Trump Times Entry 129 – The Decoy Budget

The Decoy Budget

March 17, 2017

All righty then, just when we thought Trump and his merry band of tricksters couldn’t sink any lower, they prove us wrong. On the tail end of a week riddled with Russian intrigue, healthcare slight-of-hand and bearing false witness the production team that brought us not one, but two, unconstitutional population control orders has dreamed up a budget. And it’s everything we expected and more.

Before I proceed, I feel it important to note: the president does not get to set the budget. Congress handles the money. Period. The Donald gets to make a budget request, but Congress does not have to honor his requests and they don’t need his permission to spend our money. Congress holds the purse strings. (I wonder if anyone has been brave enough to tell Trump about this, additional, constitutional inconvenience.)

Hence, Trump’s budget is really more of a wish list – kind of a glimpse into the vision Trump has for our fair land. And, after one-hundred-twenty-nine days of post-election mystery we appreciate the Donald finally sharing.

Trump’s fantasy budget increases military spending by $54 billion, burns up $2.6 billion more on a wall down-payment and tosses in an additional $314 million for more immigration enforcement. So, that’s like $57 billion in new spending – give or take.

To offset some of the the cost of all that firepower the budget eliminates programs like Community Services Block Grants, Habitat for Humanity, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowment for the Arts – to name a few. The budget also slashes funding to EPA, NASA, oceanic and atmospheric research and nurse training programs.

Of particular interest is the $6 billion cut from the National Institute of Health budget. I guess after Trump-care gets enacted we won’t need health related research anymore, another Trump win-win. (I am, indeed, tired of all the winning.)

So, war toys are in this budget season, but social welfare programs and scientific research are out. Got it. I wonder what he plans to do with all that military hardware. Hmm…

The republic doesn’t understand the Donald’s desire to play soldier. Back when he was invited to serve with the rest of us, he just hid behind deferments.

In Peace and Justice,
osv