Roger Stone Strikes Again

I have long been against the death penalty, but I think I could make an exception in the case of Roger Stone. On July 10, Trump commuted a 40-month prison sentence that was handed down to Stone after he was convicted of lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into 2016 election interference. Namely, Stone lied to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks, which released hacked emails with the aim of boosting Trump’s prospects. In the weeks leading up to the commutation, Stone made a number of media appearances where he asked Trump to grant him clemency and said that in exchange, he could be a more effective campaigner for the president’s 2020 reelection efforts.  Well, he is living up to that promise.roger-stoneLast Thursday, Stone made a video appearance on Alex Jones’ conspiracy theory program, InfoWars.  Stone declared that the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election would be a Trump victory. He made this assertion on the basis of his entirely unfounded claim that early voting has been marred by widespread voter fraud.

Stone argued that “the ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshalls and taken from the state” because “they are completely corrupted” and falsely said that “we can prove voter fraud in the absentees right now.” He specifically called for Trump to have absentee ballots seized in Clark County, Nevada, an area that leans Democratic. Stone went on to claim that “the votes from Nevada should not be counted; they are already flooded with illegals” and baselessly suggested that former Senator Harry Reid (a democrat from Nevada) should be arrested and that Trump should consider nationalizing Nevada’s state police force.

Are you growling yet?  Just wait … it gets even better.

Stone recommended that Trump consider several actions to retain his power. Stone recommended that Trump appoint former Representative Bob Barr, a republican from Georgia, as a special counsel “with the specific task of forming an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.”

Stone also urged Trump to consider declaring “martial law” or invoking the Insurrection Act and then using his powers to arrest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the Clintons” and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity.”  Apparently, Stone defines “illegal activity” as anything that is not supportive of Donald Trump!  In essence, I am engaging in illegal activity by his definition simply by writing this post. roger-stone-3Now, it’s easy enough to write Stone off as the nutcase he is, but the danger here is that in the past he has been one of the people Trump listened to.  Is he still?  Are there saner heads in the Trump administration who would … or could … talk Trump out of following Roger Stone’s clearly unconstitutional advice?  Would the republicans in Congress finally grow a pair and understand that this behaviour is in essence burning the U.S. Constitution, breaking the highest law in the land?  Would the military refuse to do Trump’s bidding, should he decide to follow Stone’s advice?  Would William Barr finally decide to do his job instead of toadying up to Trump?

Yes, I hear you saying, “It’s not possible.  Even Trump wouldn’t act in such an irresponsible dictatorial manner.”  Think again.

The ‘norms’, the restraints on presidential power that are built into the Constitution, the checks and balances we once believed would ensure that we would not lose the democratic principles on which the nation was founded, have all been shattered in the past three years.  You also never imagined a president would turn on the people of this nation, calling them anarchists and criminals, simply because we don’t agree with him.  You also never dreamed a president would have so little regard for our lives that he would keep the secret of a deadly virus and encourage us to go out and be exposed, and if we die, well, “it is what it is”.  Think back … there are hundreds of things he has done that you never thought possible.

I told you this morning how the Trump administration is once again playing Russian roulette with our lives, altering and manipulating CDC data so as to not “make Trump look bad”.  The agencies we have always counted on to protect us are now agents of Donald Trump and are diligently seeking to undermine our freedoms, our Constitution, our alliances, and in fact our very lives.  So, is it really such a stretch to believe that Trump might impose martial law, or break the law to devalue our election?  Are we really so sure the safeguards are strong enough to hold against a corrupt president and his band of boot-licking sycophants?  Think about it.

Stupid and Stupider

I have many things swirling around in my head tonight.  Each day, it seems there are new horrors and abominations coming out of the Trump administration, campaign, and Trump himself.  So many that I cannot keep up with them and I wonder if we won’t all just implode before November 3rd!  Perhaps that’s his goal.


So much stupidity … it boggles the mind!stupidityThe most recent jaw-dropper came on Wednesday when, speaking in North Carolina to a group of trumpeters, Trump said …

“If you get the unsolicited ballots, send it in, and then go — make sure it counted. And if it doesn’t tabulate, you vote. You just vote. And then if they tabulate it very late, which they shouldn’t be doing, they’ll see you voted, and so it won’t count. So, send it in early, and then go and vote. And if it’s not tabulated — you vote. And the vote is going to count.”

So many points to be made here … where do I even start?  First of all … IF I were willing to risk death by voting in person, DONNIE, I wouldn’t be using a mail-in ballot to start with!!!  Damn but that man is a portrait of stupidity!

More to the point, however, is he just told the people of this nation to break the law!  It is against the law … both federal and state … to cast two separate ballots for the same election!  And as the highest person in the law enforcement community, don’t you think he ought to know that?

And perhaps most importantly, is he saying this just to get people to break the law, to attempt to vote twice, to back his false claim about voter fraud being a huge problem?  Voter fraud isn’t even a notable problem, but he has been claiming it is since before the 2016 election, and he’s still crying ‘Wolf’ today!  Is his ‘advice’ to the people of this nation just a sorry attempt to add more chaos and turmoil to an already chaotic election?

And then, Attorney General William Barr didn’t even understand that what Trump was suggesting was illegal!  Barr’s response when being questioned about Trump’s statement by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was …

“I don’t know what the law in the particular state says.”

Duh.  And he’s the frickin’ Attorney General???  Another portrait of stupidity!barr-stupidFor the record, folks, if you try out Trump’s idea in real life, you will either be blocked from voting in person or your mail-in ballot will be “spoiled”, and it is quite possible that neither of your votes will count … AND you could be arrested on felony charges.

A few nights ago, my friend Herb introduced me to The Young Turks (TYT) videos, and last night he sent me this one to review.  Take a look and give it some thought, for there are some serious potential ramifications to the delayed counts of mail-in ballots, as well as Trump’s illegal suggestion.


It is what it is???

The doc who replaced Dr. Anthony Fauci as Trump’s top medical advisor is Dr. Richard Atlas, who predictably has no background in epidemiology or immunology.  In the past week, Dr. Atlas decided to embrace the theory of “herd immunity” as regards the coronavirus pandemic.  Never mind that the top scientists and medical experts have warned that there likely is no herd immunity for this virus, for Dr. Atlas is Trump’s latest bootlicker who will say what Trump wants us to hear, rather than what we need to hear.

Herd immunity, for those who may not fully understand, is the ideology that if we let everyone be exposed, the old and infirm will die off, and those who survive will be immune to the virus.  Hmmm … as one of those who is ‘old and infirm’, I have a bit of a problem with this philosophy!  I have spent the past six effing months stuck in my house to protect both myself and my family … I’m not about to let a knucklehead like Atlas kill me now!

Of course, those who support this theory say we will protect the old and infirm, keep them somewhere safe, but what they fail to tell you is that we have children, friends, and grandchildren who can very easily bring that virus in to us.  We are not going to be kept from the rest of the world forever!  No, I am not going to go live in some bubble just so Trump can have his bloody economy back!herd-immunityDr. Anthony Fauci, who I DO trust with my life, rang in on this ‘herd immunity’ issue on Wednesday:

“We’re not there yet. That’s not a fundamental strategy that we’re using. The fundamental strategy that we clearly articulate and go by through the task force is to try to prevent as many infections as you possibly can prevent.”

Listen to Dr. Fauci, folks, not the asshole doing Trump’s bidding.  Our lives have exactly zero value to Donald Trump and his minions, as he has proven time and time again, most notably when he was asked about the U.S. having the highest death toll on the planet, and he responded with, “It is what it is.”  What a guy, eh?


Something to ponder …

I get a daily newsletter from a writer, Heather Cox Richardson, that is typically a summary of the political news in the U.S. the previous day.  Yesterday’s post led off with an interesting question …

“As I wade through the flood of news today, all of it trying to tilt the playing field toward Trump in the upcoming election, it strikes me there is an elephant in the room that we really need to identify: why is Trump so hell-bent on reelection? He has made it clear he doesn’t particularly like the job. He has no real goals for a second term. He feels victimized by the media and his opponents. He prefers Florida to Washington, D.C., and he really likes to golf. He claims to be wealthy enough to do whatever he wants. So why on earth is he apparently determined to bend our democracy to the point of breaking in order to win reelection to a job he doesn’t seem to want to do?”

She makes some excellent points, I think … he truly doesn’t seem to enjoy actually doing the job, reading briefings, sitting in meetings, listening to experts, and seems to far prefer being at one of his luxury properties golfing and stuffing his face with expensive food.  So … why, indeed, does he lie, cheat and steal to retain the position?  Is it the power?  Is it the fear of the many criminal lawsuits that he’s sure to face once he loses the immunity Bill Barr has given him as a ‘sitting president’?  I don’t know, but it is a conundrum, if you think about it.

I find Ms. Richardson’s newsletter thoughtful and informative, so if you’re interested, you can sign up for it for free here.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/1

As usual these days, the cartoonists have been kept on their toes. Our friend TokyoSand has been busy scouting out the best of the bunch for us. Thank you, TS, for our weekly dose of humour!

Political⚡Charge

ByNick Anderson

Did this seem like a long week to you? It sure did to me. Looking at all of the many topics editorial cartoonists covered this week, I think I better understand why. As always, I hope you enjoy this collection of my favorite cartoons from the week. If you have a favorite, do let me know by commenting!

Election 2020

ByJack Ohman, The Sacramento Bee

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ByEd Hall

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

BySteve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Trump’s Goons

By Marian Kamensky

ByClay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

By Mark Fiore, KQED News

ByGraeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator

By Walt Handelsman,The Advocate

ByClay Jones

ByMike Luckovich

View original post 125 more words

A Man Of Honour & Integrity Speaks

I have wondered lately about Robert Mueller.  I understood why he was keeping a low profile … to an extent.  His work was done, he did it well, and while I wish he had done more, I also realize that he was prohibited from doing so by the abominable U.S. District Attorney, William Barr.  However, I was surprised that with all Trump’s recent blathering about the Mueller investigation having been a ‘witch hunt’, after the Department of Justice dropping the charges against Michael Flynn, and now Trump commuting Roger Stone’s sentence, Robert Mueller remained silent.  Trump and his henchmen have used every trick in their books to attempt to override the indictments the Mueller team made, and to attempt to convince the public that the Mueller investigation was a sham, naught but an attempt to bring Trump down.  I thought surely it must eat at Mueller, surely he must be itching to speak out, to defend his work, if not his own integrity.  Well, the Roger Stone episode was, apparently, the straw that broke the camel’s back, and Robert Mueller has spoken.  His words are far more important and more intelligent than any you’ll hear from Stone, Flynn, Barr, or Trump.  Mr. Mueller has something that none of them has:  honour and integrity.


Robert Mueller: Roger Stone Remains a Convicted Felon, and Rightly So

By Robert S. Mueller III

JULY 11, 2020

Robert-Mueller

The work of the special counsel’s office — its report, indictments, guilty pleas and convictions — should speak for itself. But I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office. The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.

Russia’s actions were a threat to America’s democracy. It was critical that they be investigated and understood. By late 2016, the FBI had evidence that the Russians had signaled to a Trump campaign adviser that they could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to the Democratic candidate. And the FBI knew that the Russians had done just that: Beginning in July 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen by Russian military intelligence officers from the Clinton campaign. Other online personas using false names — fronts for Russian military intelligence — also released Clinton campaign emails.

Following FBI Director James B. Comey’s termination in May 2017, the acting attorney general named me as special counsel and directed the special counsel’s office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The order specified lines of investigation for us to pursue, including any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign. One of our cases involved Stone, an official on the campaign until mid-2015 and a supporter of the campaign throughout 2016. Stone became a central figure in our investigation for two key reasons: He communicated in 2016 with individuals known to us to be Russian intelligence officers, and he claimed advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of emails stolen by those Russian intelligence officers.

We now have a detailed picture of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The special counsel’s office identified two principal operations directed at our election: hacking and dumping Clinton campaign emails, and an online social media campaign to disparage the Democratic candidate. We also identified numerous links between the Russian government and Trump campaign personnel — Stone among them. We did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its activities. The investigation did, however, establish that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome. It also established that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.

Uncovering and tracing Russian outreach and interference activities was a complex task. The investigation to understand these activities took two years and substantial effort. Based on our work, eight individuals pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, and more than two dozen Russian individuals and entities, including senior Russian intelligence officers, were charged with federal crimes.

Congress also investigated and sought information from Stone. A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of WikiLeaks’ releases. He in fact updated senior campaign officials repeatedly about WikiLeaks. And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress.

The jury ultimately convicted Stone of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress and tampering with a witness. Because his sentence has been commuted, he will not go to prison. But his conviction stands.

Russian efforts to interfere in our political system, and the essential question of whether those efforts involved the Trump campaign, required investigation. In that investigation, it was critical for us (and, before us, the FBI) to obtain full and accurate information. Likewise, it was critical for Congress to obtain accurate information from its witnesses. When a subject lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s efforts to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. It may ultimately impede those efforts.

We made every decision in Stone’s case, as in all our cases, based solely on the facts and the law and in accordance with the rule of law. The women and men who conducted these investigations and prosecutions acted with the highest integrity. Claims to the contrary are false.

Short, Snarky, And To The Point

Yesterday, after the second highest number of new cases of the coronavirus in one day in the U.S., the head-in-the-clouds vice president, Mike Pence, told republican lawmakers to “focus on encouraging signs”.  Never mind that there really aren’t any such encouraging signs.  Pence, like far too many others whose salaries we pay, is naught but a Trump sycophant hoping for a few bits to be thrown his way as long as he rolls over when told and is a good doggie.

Meanwhile, the reality is that cases are on the rise in about 20 states, proving that the push to open businesses back up against the advice of experts was a huge mistake.  Two of those states are the two most recently visited by Trump, Oklahoma and Arizona.  Please, Donnie, stay the hell out of my state!  Nobody wants you!


The three ‘men’ who murdered Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February have each been indicted by a grand jury on nine counts, including malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.  If convicted on the murder charges, the defendants face a minimum of life in prison and potentially could face a death sentence.3-assholesLook like a real bunch of winners, don’t they … especially the one on the far right.  This is a positive step, considering I predicted early on that they would receive no more than a slap on the wrist.  However, I am always amazed when I hear someone say this is “justice for Arbery”.  NO … this is justice, yes, but not for Mr. Arbery who is still dead!  It may be a satisfactory ending, if these three assholes are convicted, for Ahmaud’s family, but it is in no way justice for Ahmaud himself.  Justice for him would have been if someone had stepped forward and stopped the heathens from killing him in the first place.


William Barr, undoubtedly on orders of his ‘boss’, has put the U.S. Marshalls on alert and instructed them to be ready to guard national monuments from protestors who might deface or topple them.  So … just to be clear here … a piece of stone representing a man who fought for the right to own other people, aka slaves, is to be protected at all costs, but when it comes to human lives, our government is indifferent.  Remember that, folks … to Trump, Barr and the rest of the regime, you are worth less than a piece of stone, and less than a long-dead racist.  It’s always good to know where we stand in the grand scheme of things. toon


We’re coming into wildfire season out west where rain is scarce this time of year.  Since 2010, there has been a ban on any sort of fireworks at Mount Rushmore, since in years prior to that, wildfires had cropped up as a result of July 4th celebrations that included fireworks.  But, again … lives matter less than show to Donald Trump, and he is determined to hold a celebration at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota this year and he is further determined that it will include a pyrotechnics show.  Mount Rushmore is surrounded by 1,200 acres of forest and lies next to the Black Hills National Forest’s Black Elk Wilderness.Mount-RushmoreTrump has wanted to do this for the past two years, but until this year, his advisors were able to talk him out of it.  This year, most of the adults have left the room and his advisors seem to be all ‘yes-men’, so … the show will go on.  People will be exposed to the coronavirus and new cases will rise in the days following July 4th.  And there is a very real possibility that a devastating forest fire will be started.  All to assuage the ego of a megalomaniac.  I have no idea what this circus act will cost We the Taxpayer, but you can bet it will be a pretty penny.


Well, it looks like the ignoble, criminal Michael Flynn is a free man and likely to stay that way.  A federal appeals court ordered U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to accept William Barr’s move to pull the plug on the case against Trump’s first national security adviser.  Flynn is guilty, even pleaded guilty, and now he walks free.  But what bothers me most about this is the reason the appeals court gave in its opinion, saying that allowing the case to continue would intrude on the executive branch’s prerogatives to control criminal prosecutions.  WAIT just a damn minute here! toon-flynnThe majority opinion, written by Trump appointee Neomi Rao, went on to say that even scheduling a hearing — as Sullivan had done for next month — was improper under the circumstances because there was no good reason to doubt the government’s decision to reverse course.  No reason to doubt the government???  Seriously???  There is every reason in the world to doubt anything that comes out of either Trump’s or Barr’s mouths!  And since when is it proper for the executive branch to control criminal prosecutions???  The Judicial branch of government is intended to be independent of the executive branch!  What part of the U.S. Constitution does Ms. Rao fail to understand???

How far does this go?  So, if Kellyanne murders her husband, Trump and Barr can order the murder charges against her to be dropped?  Justice?  There is no justice in the United States of Chaos!


And on that note, I shall go try to stop the steam coming from my ears.steam-venting

Just A Few Mini Rants …

I have just about had enough … enough of Donald Trump … enough of this country.  What follows are my thoughts today, as life under a regime filled with hatred, corruption, and gross incompetence colour my thoughts.


Rallying to the cause … whatever the cause is

BOZOsIf only these people could view themselves through my lens … BOZOs!  Losers!  Crazy people!  Not a single mask in sight, ugly clothes, rolls of fat, tongues lolling out … oh my!  I would laugh … actually did laugh … ‘til I realized that these are … voters.  Ugh.  These are the bloody fools who have set fire to our Constitution and signed on to murder the nation once known as the ‘United’ States of America.

Never mind, I suppose, that Tulsa has seen a spike this month in coronavirus cases, and never mind that at least six of Trump’s campaign staff have tested positive for the virus …Tulsa-coronavirus

And never mind that much of the nation is still celebrating Juneteenth and the National Guard has even been called in to try to keep peace in the threat of protests against the nation’s top racist performing at the BOK Center yesterday evening.

nationalguard-2

Initially, Trump was planning to speak to the fools outside before his rally in the BOK Center, but the outside speech was canceled yesterday afternoon, as Trump’s courage fled 🐔 when he heard about all the protestors waiting outside.

Any expense to We the People in order to humour Trump and his rabid base.  All I’ve got to say is that anyone foolish enough to turn out for that rally deserves whatever comes to them.  That includes Trump and his entourage.  Party on, you gun-lovin’ fools!


A win for We the People …

cover of John Bolton's bookJudge Royce Lamberth struck down Trump’s request to stop the presses on former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened.  The judge did state that Bolton was wrong to have skipped the governmental review process, but said that since hundreds of thousands of copies of the book have already shipped, to order an injunction against its release on Tuesday would be meaningless.

Trump, who loves to call everyone else a ‘loser’, couldn’t bring himself to apply that term to himself, so he claimed a win … somehow … in that convoluted little mind of his.  He tweeted …

“BIG COURT WIN against Bolton. Obviously, with the book already given out and leaked to many people and the media, nothing the highly respected Judge could have done about stopping it…BUT, strong & powerful statements & rulings on MONEY & on BREAKING CLASSIFICATION were made…. ….Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay. He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!”

Sure, Donnie … whatever you say.  Bwah ha ha … We the People are the real winners, for we can see just what you were up to that violated the Constitution and the public trust.  No doubt, we will not soon forget what we read … at least not before November 3rd!


WTF???  Did he fire him … or didn’t he???

I wrote yesterday about Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) who said he had definitely not resigned, after Attorney General William Barr announced in a press release that he had, in fact announced his resignation.  Well, it was only a matter of time until Trump fired Berman, and that time frame was only hours.  This morning, true to form, Trump fired the man who was investigating him, as well as some of his cronies.  In a terse statement, Barr the Toadie said …

“Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the president to remove you as of today, and he has done so.”

But there’s a plot twist here … as he was leaving the White House for his rally in Tulsa, Trump told reporters Barr was in charge of the issue and said:

“That’s all up to the attorney general. Attorney General Barr is working on that. That’s his department, not my department. But we have a very capable attorney general, so that’s really up to him. I’m not involved.”

BULLSHIT.  He’s involved up to his neck in alligators.  It was Trump and his cronies that Berman was investigating, not Barr!  Barr is following orders, though as clumsily as a rabbit trying to play baseball.

What is next in this saga is anybody’s guess, but interestingly, when Barr first announced, erroneously, that Berman had resigned on Friday night, he claimed that Craig Carpenito, the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey, would fill the shoes as an interim replacement until Trump’s pick, Jay Clayton, could be confirmed by the Senate.  But today, when Barr announced that Trump had fired Berman, he said that Audrey Strauss, deputy U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, would serve in the interim.  One must ask the question:  Do either Trump or Barr have the slightest clue WHAT THE SAM HELL they are doing???

We haven’t heard the end of this one, my friends … at least I hope not.  I hope our attention span isn’t so short that by Monday morning this abomination has been lost in the wake of other news.


WHY???

This week, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that allows those who were brought to this country as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permits, among other things.  It was the right thing to do, as I have stated in earlier posts.  However, Trump is determined to renew his effort to end legal protections for hundreds of thousands who fall under this ruling.

The burning question I have is … WHY???  Why the Sam Hell is he so bent on hurting people who have done nothing but add value to our nation?  Is it because his evangelical base think that lily white skin is the only sort worthy of life?  WHAT have any of the immigrants ever done to Trump???  Have they cost him money?  A night’s sleep?  A meal?  I think not.  They have done not one damn thing to the bastard!

Yes, I am furious.  Trump would send these young people into an uncertain future, in a country they do not know, with no friends or family … and FOR WHAT???  Because he is a bastard.  No other explanation for it.


And on that note … I bid you adieu … until later.

More Dirty Dealings

Trump and his cronies sure do love their Friday night surprises.  Last night, Attorney General William ‘the toad’ Barr announced the resignation of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.  Trouble is … Mr. Berman did not resign.BermanBerman has overseen a number of investigations involving Trump and members of his political campaign, including Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani.  Apparently, this was to be the next step in the purge that has been taking place since February, when the republicans in the Senate grew feathers and were so afraid of offending Trump that they refused to do their jobs and convict him of the crimes on which he was impeached.

Barr’s press release stated …

“I thank Geoffrey Berman, who is stepping down after two-and-a-half years of service as United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. With tenacity and savvy, Geoff has done an excellent job leading one of our nation’s most significant US attorney’s offices.”

Berman’s office has prosecuted a number of Trump associates, including Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who served a prison sentence for lying to Congress and campaign finance crimes, and has also been investigating Giuliani and his associates. Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Giuliani’s business dealings, including whether he failed to register as a foreign agent.

According to Barr, Trump intends to replace Berman with Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who has virtually no experience as a federal prosecutor.  Another interesting coincidence is that one of Clayton’s former clients is Deutsche Bank that has had some highly questionable (read ‘criminal’) dealings with Donald Trump and Jared Kushner.

The Southern District of New York is considered one of the top — if not the top — federal prosecutors’ offices in the United States, due to its handling of significant criminal cases involving terrorism, financial institutions and high-profile criminal defendants.

Replacing Berman … especially in this way … sounds alarm bells and sets off red flags.  Preet Bharara, whom Berman replaced after being fired by Trump, in a tweet asked …

“Why does a president get rid of his own hand-picked US Attorney in SDNY on a Friday night, less than 5 months before the election?”

Why indeed?

U.S. Representative Ted Lieu posed the question …

“Wow, not only is US Attorney for SDNY Geoffrey Berman not resigning, he went out of his way to say that SDNY’s investigations and important cases will continue unimpeded. Was Bill Barr of @TheJusticeDept trying to obstruct an investigation or case by attempting to fire him?”

Not a doubt in my mind.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler …

“America is right to expect the worst of Bill Barr, who has repeatedly interfered in criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf. We have a hearing on this topic on Wednesday. We welcome Mr. Berman’s testimony and will invite him to testify.”

And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer …

“This late Friday night dismissal reeks of potential corruption of the legal process. What is angering President Trump? A previous action by this U.S. Attorney or one that is ongoing?”

Probably both, Chuck.

Interestingly, among the tidbits that have been released from John Bolton’s new book that will be released on Tuesday, is that Trump assured Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that he would intervene to stop the SDNY’s Halkbank investigation.  Perhaps he wasn’t able to coerce Berman to drop that investigation?

It is reported that there has been recent tension between Berman and Barr over the handling of the indictment of the Turkish state-owned bank Halkbank. Turkey spent millions of dollars lobbying the White House, Congress, and the State Department to ask the Justice Department not to investigate the bank.

Last year, Barr “personally spearheaded” an effort to shield Halkbank from prosecution and negotiate a settlement with the bank that would have allowed it to avoid being indicted. The SDNY ultimately charged Halkbank in federal court for its alleged participation in a multi-billion dollar Iranian effort to sidestep sanctions.

Trump was impeached for attempting to blackmail Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in order to ‘dig up dirt’ on his political opponent, Joe Biden.  Certainly that was enough to convince us that Trump is not honest (as if we didn’t already know that), but the latest dealings, culminating with this one, are proof that Trump, Barr, and the entire administration are as crooked as any in any banana republic.  Even Richard ‘Tricky Dicky’ Nixon was damn near a saint when compared to Trump and his band of thugs.

Thumbs up to Geoffrey Berman for refusing to go down without a fight.  Technically, William Barr cannot fire Berman … but Trump can.  If he does, it’s one in a long line of people being fired for the ‘crime’ of doing their jobs properly, taking their oath to the people of this country seriously, unlike Trump, Barr, and the rest.

Freedom of Speech??? Give Me The BOOK!!!

Oh no no no no no no no no no!!!!  Just NO! The headline reads …

Trump Administration Sues to Try to Delay Publication of Bolton’s Book

Has the United States Department of Justice ever heard of the First Amendment?  Have they heard of the Right to Free Speech?  Have they heard the term “Freedom of the Press”???  William Barr is a @#$% son of a bitch, and Donald Trump is unspeakably worse!

The story, according to the New York Times

The Trump administration sued the former national security adviser John R. Bolton on Tuesday to try to delay publication of his highly anticipated memoir about his time in the White House, saying the book contained classified information that would compromise national security if it became public.

The book, “The Room Where It Happened,” is set for release on June 23. Administration officials have repeatedly warned Mr. Bolton against publishing it.

Mr. Bolton made clear in a statement this week that his book contained explosive details about his time at the White House. He and Mr. Trump clashed on significant policy issues like Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan, and in his book, Mr. Bolton also confirmed accusations at the heart of the Democratic impeachment case over the president’s dealings with Ukraine, according to details from his manuscript previously reported by The New York Times.

First, it is highly doubtful that John Bolton is stupid enough to include any “classified information that would compromise national security” in his book.  And even if he did … remember that Donald Trump himself did that exact thing on numerous occasions:

  • Trump discussed classified information provided by a U.S. ally regarding a planned Islamic State operation during an Oval Office meeting on May 10, 2017 with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, providing sufficient details that could be used by the Russians to deduce the identity of the ally and the manner in which it was collected.

  • In an April 29, 2017, phone call, Trump told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that the U.S. had positioned two nuclear submarines off the coast of North Korea. This was during a time when Trump was warning of a possible “major, major conflict” with North Korea. The locations of nuclear submarines are a closely guarded secret, even from the Navy command itself.

  • On May 24, 2017, Britain strongly objected to the United States leaking to the press information about the Manchester Arena bombing, including the identity of the attacker and a picture of the bomb, before it had been publicly disclosed, jeopardizing the investigation. British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a public rebuke, and British police said they would stop passing information to U.S. counterparts.

  • In July 2017, after a private meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the 2017 G20 Hamburg summit, Trump took the unusual step of confiscating and keeping his interpreter’s notes. This led U.S. intelligence officials to express concern that Trump “may have improperly discussed classified intelligence with Russia.”

  • On August 30, 2019, Trump tweeted a reportedly classified image of recent damage to an Iranian missile site that supposedly occurred as a result of an explosion during testing. Multiple concerns were raised regarding the public release of what appeared to be a surveillance photo with exceptionally high resolution, revealing highly classified U.S. surveillance capabilities.

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones I’m aware of.  And frankly, the only thing that is likely to be ‘compromised’ by the release of this book is Donald Trump’s reputation, and that is already in the sewer.  Every person in this nation is paying for this government … we have the right to know what the ‘leaders’ are doing!

John Bolton has written a book about his time in the Trump administration.  According to the synopsis on Amazon …

cover of John Bolton's bookWhat Bolton saw astonished him: a President for whom getting reelected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation. “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,” he writes.

He shows a President addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and was deeply suspicious of his own government.

“The differences between this presidency and previous ones I had served were stunning,” writes Bolton, who worked for Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43. He discovered a President who thought foreign policy is like closing a real estate deal—about personal relationships, made-for-TV showmanship, and advancing his own interests. As a result, the US lost an opportunity to confront its deepening threats, and in cases like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea ended up in a more vulnerable place.

The reality is that it’s doubtful Trump & Co can stop the book’s release on Tuesday, and even if they did … the cat is already out of the bag.  On Sunday, ABC News will air an interview between Bolton and Martha Radditz that will provide wide insight into the book.  And, enough has been leaked already, such as these key points listed in The Guardian:

  • Trump pleaded with China to help win the 2020 election
  • Trump suggested he was open to serving more than two terms
  • Trump offered favors to dictators
  • Trump praised Xi for China’s internment camps
  • Trump defended Saudi Arabia to distract from a story about Ivanka
  • Trump’s top staff mocked him behind his back
  • Trump thought Finland was part of Russia
  • Trump thought it would be ‘cool’ to invade Venezuela

None of these should surprise us, given all that we’ve seen and heard over the past 3+ years, but nonetheless, these are not things we expect, or should have to tolerate, of the ‘leader’ of our nation.

Make no mistake … I don’t like John Bolton … he is a warmonger, which was precisely why Trump hired him.  But, he worked within the Trump administration for a year-and-a-half, and I’m very interested in what he has to say.  More importantly, we don’t ban books in this country … We the People have a right to read Mr. Bolton’s book, and read it we shall, one way or another.

Just A Little Bit Of Snark …

These days, I typically am not even out of bed before I have a lovely buildup of snark.  Perhaps I should stop reading the headlines on my phone before my feet even hit the ground?  Today is no exception …


A new idiot on my radar … this one a Democrat!

This morning, a new abomination crossed my path and left me (nearly) speechless.  And this one, my friends, is a democrat!  Meet Rubén Díaz Sr., a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 15th District of New York, South Bronx.

Ruben-Diaz

Mr. Díaz was born and raised in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, served in the U.S. Army from 1960-1963, and moved to New York City in 1965, the same year he was found guilty of marijuana and heroin possession charges and was sentenced to probation.  The following year he became an evangelical Christian and eventually an ordained minister.  But those are not the reasons I call him an abomination.

Mr. Díaz is both a homophobe and a misogynist … not to mention that he enthusiastically supported Donald Trump in 2016!  Let’s take a look at just a few of his political stances …

  • In 1994, while on the Civilian Complaint Review Board, Díaz was critical of the city hosting the Gay Games, claiming that doing so would lead to an increase in AIDS cases and to wider acceptance of homosexuality by young people. Díaz wrote that hosting the Games would lead children “to conclude that if there are so many gay and lesbian athletes then there is nothing wrong, nor any risks involved.”

  • In 2002, Díaz was elected to the New York State Senate. He represented the 32nd district in the New York State Senate from 2003 to 2017, during which time he attempted, along with two other state senators, to use his leverage to ensure that the Senate would not vote on the issue of same-sex marriage.

  • In 2017 Díaz was elected to the New York City Council, representing the 18th district. Last year, Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for Díaz’ resignation after Díaz claimed that City Council was “controlled by the homosexual community”.

  • He is strongly against a woman’s right to choose an abortion, saying, “Abortion is the American Holocaust…. The comparison is plain: six million Jews were exterminated by Hitler in Germany; Almost 48 million babies have been exterminated in the abortion clinics of America. We have simply been in the killing for a longer period of time than Hitler.”

  • Most recently, he claimed that he would not “rat” on fellow council members if he saw evidence of sexual harassment. “I’m not gonna rat my people out! This place is full of rats! So we’re supposed to be rats?”  He later claimed his comment was misinterpreted.

Interestingly, Mr. Díaz’ own granddaughter is a member of the LGBT community, and during one of his rallies, he called her on stage and proceeded to say how much he loved her.  Her reply …

“You cannot tell someone that you love them and stay silent when people call for their death. ‘Love’ is empty when you say someone’s life isn’t natural.”

Díaz’ support of Trump, much like most evangelicals, is based on Trump’s promise to nominate Supreme Court Justices who would, given the chance, overturn Roe v Wade and Obergefell v Hodges, thus returning the nation to the dark ages where women and LGBT people were treated as second-class citizens.  Sadly, Mr. Díaz is polling high in his district.  There are some 12 democratic candidates running for the congressional seat, but only one, Ritchie Torres, who seems to stand a chance.  Let us hope the people in his district wake up and smell the coffee before the primary election on June 23rd.


There’s a price to pay for listening to Trump …

Today, the New York Times reports that in at least 21 states, the number of coronavirus cases is on the rise.  The only thing that amazes me about this is that people are amazed by it.  The health experts all warned this was what would happen, but … to our government, it seems that the economy is of greater importance, greater value, than our lives.  Florida is one of those 21 states that have seen an increase in cases, and the RNC has tentatively scheduled their national convention in Jacksonville, Florida, where they plan to hold a “large-scale event” in August, further endangering thousands of people.  What could possibly go wrong, eh?


Michael Flynn – it ain’t over yet!

Last month, after the Department of Justice, without cause, dropped all charges against Michael Flynn, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan asked former federal judge, John Gleeson to weigh in on the matter.  Flynn had, after all, entered into a plea agreement, pleading guilty of charges of lying to Congress, while being let off the hook on numerous other charges in exchange for his guilty plea.  And then, suddenly, almost certainly under the orders of Donald Trump, William Barr announced that the charges were being dropped.  As I said at the time, I smelled a very large rat.

Well, former Judge Gleeson also smells one, and he has recommended that sentencing should proceed.

“The facts surrounding the filing of the Government’s motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse. They reveal an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump.

Everything about this is irregular.

President Trump today has the unreviewable authority to issue a pardon, thus ensuring that Flynn is no longer prosecuted and never punished for his crimes because he is a friend and political ally. But the instant the Executive Branch filed a criminal charge against Flynn, it forfeited the right to implicate this Court in the dismissal of that charge simply because Flynn is a friend and political ally of the President.”

Gleeson recommended that Judge Sullivan not pursue new charges of contempt of court, but rather that he instead proceed to sentence Flynn on the original charge, to which he pled guilty two-and-a-half years ago.  We will see where this goes, but I think we can all make an educated guess.  Sigh.

Snarky Snippets Is Baaaaack …

A few things are on my radar this afternoon … several actually, but three that are jumping up and down screaming, “Pick me!  Pick ME!”  And so, the choice has been made for me, it would seem.


Who could’a seen it coming?

This in this morning’s The Guardian

Despite Donald Trump’s claims that the spread of coronavirus is dropping around the US, new infection hotspots are cropping up across Republican heartlands, including in Texas and Alabama. Many of the new hotspots are in states where governors refused to instruct residents to stay at home, or are following Trump’s advice to relax lockdown restrictions.

These figures could be seen as the realisation of a warning from Dr Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the president’s long-suffering right-hand man on coronavirus, on Tuesday.

In his latest contradiction of the president, Fauci warned the virus would not go away on its own, and that reopening the country too quickly could result in a surge in “little spikes that might turn into outbreaks”.

I wonder how those gun-totin’ fools who stormed statehouses brandishing their big guns and displaying their Nazi insignia feel now that they’ve gotten their way?  I wonder how many more have to die because of fools like them?


Will justice prevail?

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments from Trump’s lawyers concerning the release of his tax and other financial records, as subpoenaed by Congress.  Trump’s lawyers contend that he should not be so constrained by Congress and cannot be prosecuted while in office.  However, at least four on the Supreme Court feel differently …

  • “There is a long, long history of Congress seeking records and getting them” from occupants of the Oval Office. – Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer brought up requests for documents during the Watergate and Whitewater scandals, which occurred under Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton and were decided unanimously against the president concerned.
  • Elena Kagan told Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow a “fundamental precept of our constitutional order is that the president is not above the law”.

The case in a nutshell:

Every president since Nixon, who was elected in 1968, had released tax information. But there is no legal compunction to do so.

Democrats in Congress are attempting to establish whether Trump is breaking ethics laws and constitutional safeguards against profiting from the presidency.

The New York prosecutor Cyrus Vance Jr wants to find out if hush money payments to women who claimed affairs with Trump involved illegal business practices.

Trump is asking the justices to put an end to subpoenas for tax, bank and other financial records which seek information from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and the Mazars USA accounting firm.

Trump’s lawyers, supported by the justice department, contend that he should not be so constrained by Congress and cannot be prosecuted while in office.

Opponents of the president say he is simply not above the law.

Appellate courts in Washington and New York have ruled that the documents should be turned over. Those courts brushed aside the president’s broad arguments, focusing on the fact that the subpoenas were addressed to third parties asking for records of Trump’s business and financial dealings as a private citizen, not as president.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked Trump lawyer Patrick Strawbridge: “Do you concede any power in the House to subpoena personal papers of the president?”

The Trump attorney said it was “difficult to imagine” a situation in which that would be justified.

However, in 1974 the justices acted unanimously in requiring Nixon to turn over White House tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor. And in 1997, another unanimous decision allowed a sexual harassment lawsuit to proceed against Clinton.

What makes Trump different than Nixon or Clinton?  What is it that makes Attorney General Barr proclaim him to be ‘above the law’ in all things?  Trump is only a flawed human, just as were Nixon and Clinton.  He has already been proven to be more corrupt than even Nixon.  Per the U.S. Constitution, Congress is tasked with the oversight of the Executive Branch of government.  So why … why should he be given carte blanche to hide his possible misdeeds, to keep his dirty secrets from the people of this nation?  If he had nothing to hide, he wouldn’t be hiding behind Bill Barr’s very wide coat, now would he?

I hope that Chief Justice Roberts finds that he still has a conscience when it comes time for a vote on this case.  There is far more at stake here than whether Trump is allowed to keep his dirty little secrets, for this case will set a precedent for all future presidents.  A ruling is expected within a matter of weeks.


Not so fast, Billy Barr …

Remember last week when the Department of Justice under William Barr announced that it would be dropping the charges against Michael Flynn?  Most non-trumpies were incensed, as was I.

Bill Barr auditioned for the role of Attorney General by writing a lengthy memo arguing in favor of a fringe legal theory that a President could not obstruct justice, no matter what he did. From the very beginning, Barr has made it clear that he would be Trump’s man in the Department of Justice, and that his loyalty would always be to the President — not the rule of law, not the people of this nation.

But this time Barr may have to answer to a higher authority … the federal courts.  Judge Emmet Sullivan has put the Justice Department’s decision on hold – opening the door for legal experts and other outside parties to oppose the administration’s motion to exonerate Flynn of lying to the FBI.

Critics, including Barack Obama and hundreds of former FBI and justice department officials, have questioned whether William Barr was orchestrating favors for Trump. Flynn, guilty of far greater crimes, pleaded guilty to the single charge of lying to the FBI as part of a plea deal arranged in exchange for testimony to Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russia’s interference on behalf of Trump in 2016.  Conspiracy theorists will tell you that Flynn did nothing wrong, that he was set up, but the hard evidence says differently and in fact, had he not agreed to the plea deal, he would have been charged with far more crimes, possibly up to and including treason.

It is interesting to note that within the Justice Department, only Barr argued in favour of dropping the charges against Flynn.  None of the line prosecutors supervising the case signed the motion and one withdrew from the case.  That, to me, speaks volumes.

When Flynn was forced from the White House, Vice-President Mike Pence said he was disappointed the national security adviser had misled him about his talks with the Russian ambassador. Donald Trump called the deception unacceptable.

Now Pence says he would welcome Flynn back to the administration, calling him a “patriot”, as Trump pronounces him exonerated.  Ask yourself … ‘Why?’  There’s a reason, and I suspect it pertains to the role Flynn could play as a liaison between Trump and Russia in the upcoming election.  Just an educated guess on my part, of course.

I cannot begin to guess at this point how this will end, but it’s good to know the judge isn’t taking his responsibility to truth and justice lightly.  This one will keep me on the edge of my seat!