Lookin’ Good, Merrick Garland!

Merrick-GarlandYesterday was the first of the two-day confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Biden’s choice to head the Department of Justice.  I have felt for weeks that Garland would be confirmed by the Senate, for he is both liked and respected by those on both sides of the aisle.  According to an article in The Washington Post …

“… there was little acrimony and many Democrats and Republicans on the panel appeared to treat his confirmation almost as a foregone conclusion.”

Several Republicans seem certain that Garland will be confirmed …

“I believe so. There were people that weren’t totally satisfied with his answers, but i didn’t hear anybody get really irritated. … For the most part, he answered pretty well.” – Senator Chuck Grassley (republican) from Iowa

“That certainly seems likely. I thought he did fine. It was frustrating in that he answered very few questions. He approached it more like a judicial nominee dodging every question.” – Senator Ted Cruz (republican) from Texas

“Judge Garland is about as sure a bet as you can have in the Congress these days that he will be confirmed. He has navigated these questions with extraordinary adroitness and aplomb.” – Senator Richard Blumenthal (democrat) from Connecticut

To be sure, there were contentious lines of questioning, especially from the likes of Senator John Neeley Kennedy, a republican from Louisiana, and the ignoble Josh Hawley who cheered the attackers on January 6th, and did everything in his power to try to overturn our votes on that day.  But, Garland remained cool and his answers brought no rebuttal.  For example, Hawley arrogantly twirled his pencil while attempting to goad Garland into a conversation on defunding the police, and on what constitutes ‘domestic terrorism’.

Garland, who prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombing perpetrators before becoming a federal judge,  looked Hawley straight in the eye and responded …

“As you no doubt know, President Biden has said he does not support defunding the police, and neither do I. We saw how difficult the lives of police officers were in the body-cam videos we saw when they were defending the Capitol.  The use of violence or threats of violence in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes.  So an attack on a courthouse while in operation trying to prevent judges from deciding cases, that plainly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism.”

Lindsey Graham, who would not allow Garland’s hearing to take place earlier this month, reared his typically ugly head, quizzed Garland on whether he thought James Comey, who was fired by the former guy early in his administration, was a good FBI Director.  Garland calmly replied that the question was not useful and that he didn’t intend to get into critiquing other directors.  Then Graham responded churlishly with …

“Well, you’ve been very political, and appropriately so, at times. I just find it pretty stunning that you can’t say, in my view, that he was a terrible FBI director.”

However, at the end of the day, Lindsey told Garland, “I think you’re a very good pick for this job.”  Even Senator Kennedy, one of the more obnoxious among republican senators, said “You’ll be a good attorney general.”

Perhaps Garland’s most powerful statement, at least in my eyes, was when he said …

“I am not the president’s lawyer, I am the United States’ lawyer.”

Quite the contrast from previous Attorney General William Barr who saw himself and the entire Department of Justice as tools at the former guy’s disposal.

No doubt there will be some Republicans who will oppose the nomination, likely Tom Cotton, Mike Lee, and Josh Hawley among them, but the general consensus is that Garland will win senate confirmation when the vote is taken on March 1st.  Score one for justice.

Hypocrisy Does Not Deserve Praise!

Two things from the aftermath of the Capitol riots by ignorant mobs, aka domestic terrorists on Wednesday bear reflection …


Hypocrisy does not earn praise, in my book

Over the past 36 hours, a number of members of Congress, White House staffers, and Cabinet members have either spoken out against what Trump did on Wednesday, or in some cases have resigned their positions in the Trump administration.  There are people who think they deserve high praise for finally, after four years, finding their conscience.  I beg to differ, for these same people threw their lot in with Trump and many have been enabling him and his crooked endeavours for four years now.

So no, one right does not erase four years’ worth of near-daily wrongs.  Sorry, but these guys don’t get a pass, and in fact, part of the blame for Wednesday’s fiasco lies on their shoulders.

ryan-mcconnellSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday urged members of Congress not to contest the electoral votes, as some planned to do.  And at the end of the day, he denounced the violence that had been ongoing for much of the day, saying …

“They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed. This failed insurrection only proves how crucial the task before us is for our republic. Now we’re going to finish exactly what we started. We’ll complete the process the right way, by the book, we’ll follow our precedents and our laws, and our constitution to the letter. And we will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election.”

EXCUSE ME, but to praise or even forgive Mitch McConnell for his role in the lead-up to Wednesday’s attack is impossible.  His is the ultimate hypocrisy, for on February 6, 2020, Mitch McConnell had the chance to ensure that the events of Wednesday would never have happened.  Instead, he chose to lick Trump’s boots, held a sham of an impeachment trial, not even allowing lawmakers to review the evidence in the case, but merely insisted that the Republican-majority Senate vote to acquit Trump.  Mitch McConnell must share in the blame for what has happened, for he is one of the few who could have almost single-handedly stopped it before it ever happened.

mike-penceAnd Mike Pence … there is some sympathy for Mike Pence.  He refused Trump’s request to basically install a dictatorship by shredding the Constitution and tossing out the legitimate votes for Joe Biden.  Yes, I’m glad he for once found a pair of cojones and stood up to Trump, and yes, I realize he is paying a price now, but DAMMIT … it’s much too little, far too late.  No, I have no praise for Mike Pence, for this is the first time since January 20, 2017 that Mike Pence has shown one bit of conscience or courage.

barr-stupid-2Then there’s William Barr who must surely share a portion of the blame, for it was he who in early 2019 essentially said that a sitting president is above the law, thus putting paid to any attempt to prosecute Trump for the many times he abused the power of his office and obstructed justice.  IF he had not protected Trump for the 22 months he served as Attorney General, it is highly likely that Wednesday’s events would never have occurred.  So yes, Bill Barr helped bring about the deadly fiasco from which we are still reeling.

And then there are the rats deserting a sinking ship, leaving their positions in Trump’s administration a full 13 days before they would have lost their job anyway …

Take, for example, Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced her resignation, effective next Monday, saying the terrorist attacks on the Capitol on Wednesday were …

“…  a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed.  It has deeply troubled me in a way I simply cannot set aside.”

Where has her conscience been for the past four years, as he ordered small children to be taken from their parents and put in cages, as he attempted to take affordable healthcare from every low income family in the nation?  No, sorry Elaine, a day late and a dollar short.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who has spent four years diverting funds from public to religious schools, and made it harder for women who are sexually abused on college campuses to bring charges against their abusers, has also resigned her position, claiming in a letter to Trump …

“That behavior was unconscionable for our country. There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”

No, Betsy … you’ve licked his boots and enabled him for four years … you don’t get high fives now.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former acting chief of staff, resigned as special envoy to Northern Ireland on Thursday, saying …

“I can’t stay here, not after yesterday. You can’t look at that yesterday and think I want to be a part of that in any way, shape or form.”

Gee, Mick … a conscience?  Where was it in 2017 when you attempted to convince Trump to cut Social Security and Medicare?  Where was it in 2015 when you allowed a government shutdown simply because the proposed spending bill included funding for women’s health?  Oh no, you are not a good man, a man of conscience.

Keep in mind, also, that these people would be out on January 20th anyway, so they are leaving less than two weeks early, and no doubt already have plans made for whatever comes next.  Plus, none of them needs the paycheck, to put it mildly.


It is said that a leopard doesn’t change his spots …

Yesterday, Trump said, in a video which I will not watch …

“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.  My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

Don’t believe it for a minute, folks, because just 24 hours prior to that, he incited the violence we saw on Wednesday with quite the opposite message …

“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left Democrats which is what they are doing and stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing. We will never give up, we will never concede. You never concede when there is theft involved.” 

Are those the words of a person who seeks healing and reconciliation?  I think not.  There is not a snowball’s chance in hell that he has done a 180° turnaround in just 24 hours.  No, his declaration that he would ensure a smooth transition of power is a pure falsehood, he does not mean those words, but was likely coerced to say them by whatever staffers and advisors remain in his employ.  They are intended to mollify those of us who would just as soon see Trump taken to a cliff and thrown off.  He wants us to become complacent.  Well don’t.  Don’t turn your back on him, for he is even more dangerous than a rabid dog.

twitterI understand that Twitter has restored Trump’s account after a 12-hour ban.  They should not have.  They should have decided as Facebook did, to keep his account closed until after he leaves office, at least, for this is his means of communication with the ignorant masses such as those who rioted and pillaged on Wednesday.  Take away his tweety-machine, for Pete’s sake!  Don’t let him air his grievances to thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people who aren’t intelligent enough to see his lies!

Just A Little Bit Of Snarky

countdownI can barely remember a time when we could go to bed at night without losing sleep wondering what the latest atrocity from the person in the Oval Office would be when we wake in the morning.  I look forward to seeing such a time again soon.  Why … I might even have to retire Snarky Snippets!  Just 49 days to go …


Take Away The Pardon Pen!

Last week, Trump gave the ignoble Michael Flynn an early Christmas gift … a pardon.  Flynn, you may remember, pleaded guilty to a felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making false statements to the FBI.  Flynn was involved in Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election and should, like others, be sitting in a prison cell today.  Instead, he is a free man.

With Flynn’s pardon, people began to speculate about who else Trump might pardon before he leaves office at noon on January 20th.  Let’s start with this headline …

Trump Has Discussed With Advisers Pardons for His 3 Eldest Children and Giuliani

Hmmmm … now why would his three eldest children need pardons?  Obviously, they have committed crimes and Trump knows about it, else he would have no reason to even consider pardoning them.  So … as they say, “inquiring minds want to know,” and this inquiring mind is now determined to find out just what Ivanka, Junior and Eric might have done that would send them to prison if not for daddy’s pardon pen.  Oh, he’s also considering a pardon for his son-in-law, the atrocious Jared Kushner.

Typically, a presidential pardon is issued when a person has been charged with a crime.  Thus far, none of Trump’s children have been charged with a crime, so any pardon would be a pre-emptive one covering crimes for which they might be charged in the future.  How the Sam Hell does that work?

Junior had been under investigation by Robert Mueller’s team for his role in dealing with the Russians for damaging information against Hillary Clinton, but he was never charged.  Probably should have been but wasn’t.

What all of this says to me is that there has been a great deal of criminal activity taking place behind the closed doors of the White House that is highly likely to be uncovered by the Justice Department once it is no longer led by toady William Barr.  I can guarantee you that none of it was in the best interest of this nation and its people, but rather served to profit Trump and his businesses.

According to the New York Times …

Such a broad pardon pre-empting any charge or conviction is highly unusual but does have precedent. In the most famous example, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon for all of his actions as president. President George Washington pardoned plotters of the Whiskey Rebellion, shielding them from treason prosecutions. And President Jimmy Carter pardoned thousands of American men who illegally avoided the draft for the Vietnam War.

I think that it’s time to put some restrictions on the presidential pardon pen.  Right now, there are none except that the president can only pardon federal, not state crimes.  I think no president should be able to pardon a murderer who has not been proven innocent, or a family member for any reason.  And I certainly don’t approve of this pre-emptive pardoning, where the person is pardoned for crimes that we don’t even know about yet!  This is just ridiculous.


Speaking of Attorney General William Barr …

It seems he might be having second thoughts about having been Trump’s toady, now that Trump has obviously lost the election and will soon be on his way out the door, taking all his minions with him.  For the first time since he took office in February 2019, Barr disagreed with Trump in a move that likely infuriated the child in the Oval Office.

Barr’s comments, in an interview with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month’s voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.

Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Apparently, Trump’s attorneys were none too happy with Barr’s statement, as Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, “with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president’s complaints.

Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump’s allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired.  Would he fire Barr, with only 49 more days in office?  Sure he would!  He’d fire just about anybody, but at this point, I doubt he would find anyone willing to take the job for a period of less than two months.


Speaking of Trump’s attorneys …

Respected and respectable lawyers shy away from working for Donald Trump, for they would be risking their reputation, and potentially their license to practice law by working for him.  So, his legal team is not the best and the brightest, but one of his lawyers, Joe DiGenova is beneath even pond scum.

On Monday, DiGenova made an appearance on NewsMax, the latest in right-wing propaganda media, and said this …

“Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity, that guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.”

Seriously???

Chris Krebs, you may remember, is the former head of election security in the Department of Homeland Security, who stated in no uncertain terms that there was no widespread voter fraud, and that the 2020 election was the most secure in the nation’s history.  He was fired a few days later on November 17th, by an irrational person who has no conscience, no ability to discern fact from fantasy.

Condemnation of Joe DiGenova’s remark about Chris Krebs was swift, including calls for his disbarment and the charge that he was behaving like a “mob attorney”.  No word on Trump’s response, but no doubt he will praise and approve of DiGenova’s comments.

countdown

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.