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This pretty much sums it up

And then there was Whitewater where the McDougals were already indicted before the investigation began. No indictments for the Clintons.

And then there was Paula Jones which was a wild goose chase that managed to catch a very small “lack of candor” that didn’t rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

So, you know, there’s that…

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A Dangerous Blame Game

Does anyone else get the feeling that the federales are closing in on Trump? I’m curious about what Cohen has been doing for Trump that Trump can’t reveal to his lawyers. And why did Cohen need 16 cell phones? Even if half of them are bricks, that’s a lot of cell phones.

I’m going to take a guess that Cohen was doing his job as a fixer and was using the phones to set up payments of hush money to people like Paul Manafort. That would be witness tampering, right? Or maybe all the people whose lives were negatively affected by Trump are coming out of the woodwork, looking for more payoffs. They see that Stormy and Karen don’t need to stick with the NDA. Why not?

But I’m worried now. Because it appears that Ron Rosenstein and Robert Mueller do not think that Trump is above the law. In fact, it looks like they think we live in a country where we favor the rule of law over the rule of men or a man. That’s how it’s been for 250 years and our country is admired the world over for its justice system, even if its reputation has been tarnished.

It actually shouldn’t have gotten this deeply involved. If we were talking about any other president in American history, his behavior and crimes would have been checked by Congress. But this Congress is owned by some very wealthy people and they like having two branches of government giving them exactly what they want.

Parts of the justice department rebelled in 2016. I suspect that had more to do with the macho hatred of Hillary Clinton than the love of Donald Trump. And what is the goal of the justice department? Enforcing the law. Hillary as president would have been ultimately frustrating. The Clintons might take advantage of their fame and sell it for access but that’s not illegal. That’s just good business if that’s your goods. With Hillary, they could have dragged her in front of dozens of grand juries, congressional hearings and spotlights to testify and they wouldn’t have found anything. It would have made their lives feel meaningless in the end.

But Trump gave them hope. He’s so corrupt and tied to Russian mafia and the Kremlin and hot women and money laundering that its almost like a never ending banquet of all their favorite foods. There’s a little something for everyone: espionage, white collar crimes, blackmail, extortion, seedy sex, Russian prostitution, bank fraud, etc, etc. Is there treason? I’m not sure. But there’s definitely misprision which leads to high crimes and misdemeanors.

The Justice Department lives for this stuff. This is what Trump and Co. underestimated. They had a Sally Fields “they LIKE me!” moment but they misread what Rudy was able to do with some sexist jerks in the NY field office.

If I were to make a biology analogy, I’d say that the FBI and the Attorneys General and their offices are like the immune system. It might take a while for it to become fully engaged but once it detects that foreign invader, it releases the macrophages and killer T cells. The branches and locations cooperate with each other.

That’s what’s happening, Trumpers. The body has detected self vs non-self. It’s now cleaning up. It was designed to do that. There’s nothing a Hillary supporter could have done to start it or stop it. That’s how our system works. No man is above the law. We will see how vigorous and durable the system is shortly.

But there is a giant looming problem coming up. Trump and his media affiliates have told their audiences that the Democrats in the justice department and Congress are trying to overturn the results of the election. This is laughable. The Democrats are politically out of power right now. There is literally no branch of government they have even the slightest amount of control over. The media ignores the 65 million of us that voted for Hillary. If there is any entity that could overturn the results of the election, it’s the government itself.

Nevertheless, Democrats and women and every other currently out of power group will get blamed for what happens next because we are cheering it on. The difference between executing the investigation, arrests and impeachment, and having any power to initiate them will be lost on the common Trumper. Trump himself has made sure of it.

They would do anything for him. That’s a big problem. Because they have guns. And we have a guy with a personality disorder threatened and casting around for someone to blame.

Maybe we should consider packing some heat.

So, did anything interesting happen last night?

I fell asleep early.

But as I was resurfacing briefly before plunging back into the arms of Morpheus, I heard Rachel Maddow passing off to Lawrence O’Donnell with some back and forth about Rudy Giuliani on Sean Hannity’s show last night. It sounded like maybe he just blew up Trump’s story about how Stormy Daniels was paid or something. I’m sure I was imagining it.

Either that or Rudy needs a long couple of hours in a Hillary detoxification tank. I can’t imagine any other reason why he would be ruining whatever good memories we have left of him standing up in Manhattan on the day when everyone else was prostrate with shock and grief.

Wait, didn’t I hear he was divorcing Judith, his 3rd or 4th wife? I lose count. Wikipedia says she filed and he contested. Divorcing a narcissist is a nightmare because you aren’t allowed to leave them. They’ll pull out every trick in the book. Maybe Trump is going to help him drive her crazy. The money must be good, though Giuliani would definitely do it for the attention and admiration. I dunno. Trump and Rudy deserve each other.

Anyway, he’s not the famed prosecutor anymore. Or the dictatorial mayor who ruthlessly cleaned up Times Square and made a crime of “living while black”. Whatever he was up to last night, I hope he was well compensated or he might end up toting luggage to taxis from Penn Station for tips.

Oh, and Trump traded some lawyers yesterday. He swapped out Ty Cobb (or was it Pie Traynor? It’s so confusing.) for Emmet Flood. Flood was Clinton’s impeachment attorney. And there was some weird banter about none of Trump’s lawyers getting any information from Trump about what’s in Michael Cohen’s files. Jeez, how bad could it be that you can’t even tell your lawyer about it? Unless Trump really doesn’t understand what conditions are covered by attorney client privilege. More likely he started to fill them in and they stopped him and said, “Hey, easy now. You know what? We don’t want to know. Well, gotta run. Our accountants will be in touch to wrap things up.”.

And what’s up with his doctor? The guy who let Trump write his own medical exam results also let it out of the bag that Trump uses Propecia. No biggy. It’s just a hair growth drug. Bornstein probsbly did violate HIPAA (it doesn’t take much. I’m not even sure you can tell anyone who your patients are if they don’t have a compelling reason to know.) But you’ve got to wonder what Trump doesn’t want us to find out about what the good doctor has done for him. If I were to hazard a guess, it’s his prescriptions for ED, which by the way, are no big deal. It’s just an enzyme inhibitor. Honestly, I can’t understand why this is such a traumatic thing. On the other hand, Trump did run on his “stamina” and we all know what that’s a code word for.

Hey, did you see Jeff Bezos’ rocket?

The dude is the richest man in the world. Now THAT’S stamina.

*************************

Tired of Winning?

The Mueller advising the president that he may be subpoenaed thing is big news. It’s also significant. Not least because it’s out there now that Mueller isn’t playing games. This is not a witch hunt. There have been indictments for real crimes. If the Trumpers had been on the losing side of 2016 and all this stuff had come out about Hillary, especially the election tampering possibilities, she would have been lynched. The difference is that she would have fully cooperated.

It’s just what she does.

But I think the reason the majority of the country is anxious is because the Trump voter just doesn’t get it. There will be some people who will say they’re just really slow learners. But I don’t think it’s stupidity. I heard the explanation this week on The Ezra Klein Show. He was interviewing an expert on polarization who referred to a study about why people choose sides. It turns out that there is no big mysterious reason or ideology initially. That would square with some of the unorthodox stuff I hear from Fox News viewers who wonder why CAN’T we have Medicare for all? Well, why can’t we??

Some holocaust survivor back in the last century did some studies and discovered that people just want their team to win. Even if they lost something in the process, their team winning and the other team losing was more important. Even if both teams agreed on the same things.

So, it should come as no surprise that Trump makes a point of reminding his audience at his rallies that the rest of us are trying to overturn the results of the elections. First of all, after all the Facebook stuff, Russian Trolls, hacking of the DNC and election systems in 21 states, you are never going to convince me that the election of Trump was legitimate. The Trumpers can froth and scream and threaten all they like, there are so many things we do not know right now that the election will always have a big question mark on it. Don’t even with the Michigan thing. We’ve gone over this before. The popular vote should have matched the electoral college. Even when Gore “lost”, the popular vote and the electoral college lined up. No one in presidential history has ever won so many votes and lost an election than Hillary Clinton. There’s something deeply disturbing about that. And I remember back in 2016 when Trump said he would challenge the results in PA if he lost because it would be evidence that the vote was rigged. Now, how could he be so sure he was going to win PA? Sure enough to say it was rigged. In advance. By 2 months. Yeah, I’ll never believe we lost Pennsylvania.

Getting back to the winning thing, it’s not like anybody on Trump’s side won anything. Well, unless you’re a rich donor, in which case, you got out of paying a lot of taxes and will gleefully stick the “winners” with the bill for paying teacher salaries and bridge repairs and stuff like that.

So much winning.

So, is the Mueller investigation all about overturning the results of an elections, which is apparently the only thing Trumpers really care about?

The answer is no. The Mueller investigation is about no one being above the law. If Hillary isn’t above the law, or Martha Stewart or Bill Crosby or any other celebrity who is famous or had their own TV shows, then neither is Donald Trump. His illegal actions centering around the election that made him president do not change that. It’s not better just because it’s not a DUI or a drug bust or something the rest of us have to worry about. In fact, his crimes are doubly bad because if he messed with a vote in any way, shape or form, even if it was through a Russian agent, that’s about the worst thing you can do to your nation because it affects every single citizen.

Now, I understand that Donald Trump is used to winning. He’s used to lying, extorting, bullying, threatening, stonewalling and witness tampering. That’s how he’s gotten so far in life. He has paid his way out of all his problems or walked away from them altogether and let someone else worry about the fallout. And gosh, that certainly looks like winning to me. But as Sansa Stark said last year on Game of Thrones to her sister, the trained assassin, “I’m sure that cutting off heads is very satisfying but it’s not a very good way to get people to work together”.

He is just not used to someone being persistent in holding him accountable for his actions and being held to a different standard in the political world as president. That’s just too damn bad. We’re all more than a little bit irritated with his stupid childish behavior. It’s time he grew a pair and cooperated. This has nothing to do with winning or overturning an election. It’s about being accountable.

Beltane

Today is Beltane, the Celtic fire festival that announces the beginning of summer. There’s a big fire festival on Calton Hill in Edinburgh every year with a procession of the May Queen to meet her Green Man. They are accompanied by Elementals representing fire, earth, air and water. The pictures are spectacular and it looks like everyone has a good time, running around half naked with bodies painted from head to toe.

You don’t need to be a pagan to appreciate nature and the change in seasons. I’m a water worshipper.

“And Flint still doesn’t have clean water”

Just sayin’.

I looked for Beltane songs online. A recommendation was “I Touch Myself” by the DiVinyls, which, I have to admit really taps into the spirit of Beltane but I think I’ll save that one for tonight.

Ahem.

Anyway, this one is pretty good for we water elementals out there.

Happy Beltane. Get your pagan on.

#kissmyass A little more…

There is a lot of pearl clutching and toppling onto the fainting couch this morning about how “searing” and “vulgar” Michelle Wolf was at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night.

Here’s the best thing Michelle said last night:

“You guys are obsessed with Trump,”

“I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks, or vodka, or water, or college, or ties, or Eric—but he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you’re profiting off of him. And if you’re gonna profit off of Trump, you should at least give him some money—because he doesn’t have any.

You know what? I don’t want to fucking hear about how vulgar she was in the rest of her speech. She nailed it. Go read the two posts I wrote on Amy Chozick if you don’t believe her.

We are in the worst crisis in our nation’s history since the Civil War. In fact, we are in a second civil war right now. The rebellion has spread beyond the south and now its marbled in all of our communities. Some more than others. I am beyond relieved to live where I do in Pittsburgh surrounded by hard working honorable people who I respect and like. I feel very sorry for Democrats stuck in Jackson, Mississippi or backwoods Georgia. But make no mistake, it’s out there and the tension between the two sides is palpable. Some days, they win a battle, some days we do. And it takes all our concentration on a daily basis to not rage against the way good people are being treated just because they have a different skin color, or aren’t CIS or are women or are sick or mentally ill or not white Anglo Saxon Protestant males.

God help you if you are not worth at least hundreds of millions of dollars in America these days. If you aren’t, and most of us aren’t, then you are a complete loser to the Trump contingent and the well connected wealthy people who bought their congressional representatives. Trump gives his voters the cheap thrill of bullying people they think are below them in the social hierarchy while directing their attention away from the neo-feudal lords who are taking everything that isn’t nailed down. What could be more nasty and brutish than that? Are we saying it’s more important to protect the fee-fees of Sarah Sanders who willfully enables the wholesale slaughter of our democracy than to protect the people who are on the losing end of it?

All of those people who are getting all prissy about Michelle Wolf gave us this moron having “campaign rallies” continuously since he took office.

This is a man who called Nazis “very fine people”.

That is one of the most vulgar and offensive things I have ever heard coming from the ugly little fish mouth of Donald Trump. There is nothing even remotely fine about Nazis. It would be like promoting satanism as our state religion.

Before they bluster and sputter and grab their smelling salts about what Michelle Wolf said, they should hold this man and his loathesome, lying borg of a press secretary accountable for the harm they are perpetrating on the vast majority of Americans (and let’s not even get started on the obscene way he has treated our American citizens in Puerto Rico).

Until then, they can all kiss my ass.

Addendum: Our press is very stupid. They think they can continue to use Trump as a revenue enhancing gimmick without repercussions. Oh, sure, he’s getting down on the media but they’re protected by the first amendment. What’s he going to do? Change the constitution??

That’s very possible. They should be studying what happened in Turkey, Hungary and Poland in the last several years. In fact, without an independent corporate media, the freedom of speech would still exist. We just wouldn’t hear much of it. The news would be relegated to blogs, provided net neutrality obliteration let you get to them. Or newspapers on paper, provided tariffs on newsprint still made that economically viable. There is always HAM radios I suppose but they require government issued licenses. Good luck with that.

If the press isn’t careful, it will be corralled into a metaphorical and actual free speech zone where they will have all the free speech they can eat and where they will disturb absolutely no one.

Second Addendum: the hypocrisy of the pearl clutches is over the top. Peter Daou puts it in perspective:

He’s talking about you, Amy.

She can dish it out.

Here are two more press related things.

First up, Michelle Wolf gets even at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Some of her jokes landed, like the ones about Trump’s wealth, some of them didn’t, like the ones about Sarah Sanders. I think of Sanders as the robotic experiment that crossed all the qualities of a refrigerator with the worst DMV clerk you have ever had to interact with. But what was missing in that image of SSDLX18 was her underlying religious zeal and dominant humorlessness. Wolf nailed it when she called Sanders “Aunt Lydia” after the sadistic capo in charge of the Handmaid’s training facility in the Handmaid’s Tale. (Season 2 is streaming on Hulu and it gets really dark this season. IKR?)

Wolf goes on to ping Sanders even more but probably no worse than how Trump treats everyone he doesn’t like. Remember how he made fun of Hillary and how he would never hit on “that!”? How about when he called Kim Jun-Un “little rocket man” and made fun of his “nuclear button”. Wolf was only settling the score since she was the most visible member of the Trump White House on the dais. Yep, called her a liar too. Calling someone a liar is never funny but she deserved it.

Wolf is not generally a political stand up. But after a year of the Trump administration, we’re all on our last nerves. Check her roast out here:

Second, I found another interview with Amy Chozick and one of the Slate group podcasts. This time, it’s I Have To Ask with Isaac Chotiner. I don’t want to put a Trump target on Slate but they’re flying under the radar as having some of the best and most biting commentary and analysis about the Trump era.

Isaac shreds Amy head on about the frothy, mean girl chatter that made up the bulk of the Clinton Campaign coverage in 2016. I don’t know whether Amy thought she was going to be interviewed by her own side or what exactly but this interview was even more revealing than Heffernan’s. It’s like someone gave Chozick truth serum but forgot to tell her to put a lid on her conspiratorial glee. You have GOT to listen to it to believe it. Here is part of the transcript:

When it comes to the issue of the emails, and the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of it, you say about the Times that “there was an insatiable appetite for email-related stories. I can’t explain it exactly except to compare it to a fever that spread through every newsroom and made us all salivate over the tiniest morsels.” You say you regret and resent this, but what role do you think the Times had in how big a story it became? And do you connect the way you describe the “salivating over the tiniest morsels” to your description of Ryan and the type of political stories the Times wanted?

I don’t say that it spread through the Times. I say it spread through every—the insatiable appetite is clearly across all media. It’s not specific to the Times in the book.

You say it “spread through every newsroom and made us all salivate over the tiniest morsels.” That presumably includes the Times.

“Us,” the media, yeah, the media including the Times. I think a lot of the furor over the emails came from cable news and what was feeding cable, so I want to make clear that that section wasn’t just about the Times. Look, I understand Hillary’s supporters complaining about the veracity and volume of stories around the email server. But I think it’s hard to say that the leading candidate for the presidency of the United States being under FBI investigation is a nonstory, which seems like what some of her supporters have argued. You can debate the legitimacy of the FBI investigation, but it was definitely a big story. There is an easy sense of comparing it to the scandals on the other side, on Trump’s side, and saying, “Well, compared to what Trump has done, it’s nothing.” I think it’s a dangerous proposition to say, well, because the other guy is beyond the pale, we are going to ignore this other big story.

That said, I do write in the book that I regret and even resent that it became the only story. We would go to see these press conferences when Hillary did them—because she rarely did—and reporters would just scream at her about emails. There would be people trying to get other questions in and it just got completely drowned out. My best example of this is that I spent a year trying to talk to this woman Sarah Ehrman, who was this feminist firebrand Democrat who Hillary lived with after law school when she was working on the Watergate committee and she was moving down to Arkansas to marry Bill Clinton. And Sarah Ehrman offered to drive her down and on the three-day road trip she tried to talk her out of it. She said, “You are throwing your life away. You are the most gifted woman I have ever met. You could do anything you want to do.” So I had wanted to re-create this road trip to show readers this vulnerable, different side of Hillary, and it took me a year to convince Sarah Ehrman to speak on the record. I had to bring her babka and wine, and finally I get the story together, and it posts [online] and three hours later Comey sends his letter to Congress, so the story never even made it into the paper. It was impossible to get other sympathetic stories to break through in the environment we were in.

“Yeah, it’s so strange how this environment got created. I have no idea how that happened. So, you know, we went for it because, what could we do??”

{{Oh my god}}

There’s more in that interview about the reason why they blew Hillary’s email story all out of proportion. She just wasn’t corrupt enough and the disparity between her and Trump was so big and glaring that it felt imbalanced. So they HAD to play up the email story because it was all they had. You’ve got to ask why it never occurred to the NYTimes that THAT was their story. She was squeaky clean and he was corrupt as f*ck. That was the story, Amy. You could have plumbed the depths of Trump’s corruption and compared it to Clinton. We had a right to know how corrupt he was in comparison to Clinton. Your job is to report reality, not distort it to sell papers.

By the way, Comey set the record straight about the “investigation”. It was more of an inquiry. There was never anything even the least bit criminal about her server and he anticipated from the beginning that the FBI wasn’t going to find anything. If the NYTimes had really been doing their work, they would have known all this from the beginning and they probably did. But just like Comey, they were afraid of looking like they were too soft on Hillary. Their audiences demanded blood in the water. Who were their audiences? Well, they were ALL of us. But they both overlooked that because… why exactly?

[It should be noted that Heffernan and Jacob Weisberg of Trumpcast reviewed Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, as well. Their review of his book was much more favorable. They think Comey is a good writer, and even though they didn’t always agree with his decisions, they understood what it was in Comey’s character and background that lead to them. Comey’s actions are explainable because they come from a core of a well defined personality.]

Comey is showing signs of definite remorse. He is painfully aware of what damage his letter did to his country and he reflects on his part in it. You can see him become more and more aware of this in his book tour interviews. He initially put aside his culpability but starts acknowledging it. Not so with Amy. For her it was all a big mean girl free for all where she played the more than witting. She knew what she was doing and loved every minute of humiliating Hillary.

I just want to know who put Amy up to writing this book in the first place. She comes across as the biggest ass kissing flying monkey to her editors. Or maybe she’s the sacrificial offering. Yeah, let’s make the overly eager wannabe from Texas the face of the NYTimes mean girl. She served her purpose. Amy acts like the Trump years are all going swimmingly as far as the Times is concerned or thinks everyone else in the media is kind of on its side. Turns out, not so much. Slate seems to have an excess of resistors at the moment and they are pulling back the dirty underside of the New York Times kimono. Amy is going to have to eat by herself when she gets back to her desk.