Another day in the post-reality nightmare hell-world of Trump’s America

Since we spoke yesterday about the official-looking poster Donald Trump had made to declare his innocence in the White House Rose Garden, things have gotten even worse. Here are four things that have happened over the course of the last day.

1. The official White House Twitter account posted the following, essentially making the case — in one sentence, and without any evidence — that its everyone who doesn’t support Donald Trump who’s a criminal.

2. Donald Trump, after being reminded by a reporter that a finding of treason can be punishable by death, rattled off a list of perceived adversaries within the FBI who, in his opinion, have committed treason by pursuing an investigation into Russia’s now-proven interference in our 2016 election.

3. The President of the United States shared an obviously doctored video of House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in which the Congresswoman appeared to be drunkenly slurring her words. The video, according to experts, had been slowed to about 75% of its original speed and altered for pitch. Facebook, by the way, has refused to remove the video from it’s platform, as it says it’s a “form of expression.”

4. Donald Trump has officially called on his protector, Attorney General William Barr, to initiate an investigation into those who investigated him, arresting five of his close associates, and detailing ten instances in which he, as President, engaged in likely obstruction of justice. In doing this, Donald Trump also declared that Barr now has the authority to declassify any information that he sees fit about the intelligence communities sources and methods, a move which, at the very least, will ensure that fewer people come forward to tell authorities about the ongoing criminal activities of the administration. [According to New York Times national security editor Amy Fiscus, “Barr wants to know more about the CIA’s informants in Russia and what they passed along about the 2016 interference,” which, you can be sure, Putin would very much appreciate.]

None of this is normal. Please stop acting as though it is. The President of the United States is not only rewriting history, and weaponizing the Department of Justice in order to go after those he perceives to be his adversaries, but he’s talking openly about trying people for treason, and the possibility that he might decide to stay in office longer than the eight years allowed by law. I’m sure that some will say that he’s just exaggerating for effect, or to get under the skin of Democrats, but I don’t think, given what we’ve seen from him thus far, we can afford to give him the benefit of the doubt. We are completely untethered from reality here, and we’re drifting quickly into the darkness.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Standing behind a placard of lies, Donald Trump says he refuses to do his job until the investigations stop

Donald Trump was scheduled to meet with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer this afternoon at the White House to discuss his desire for a robust infrastructure program to rebuild America’s crumbling roads and bridges. According to the Washington Post, however, Trump — arriving 15 minutes late for the meeting — walked in “visibly angry”, accused Pelosi of saying something “terrible”, and then stormed out of the room. And, from there, he apparently kept right on walking to the Rose Garden, where a lectern with the presidential seal had been outfitted with an official-looking placard declaring “no collusion, no obstruction.” [Super presidential, right?] Donald Trump then went on to rant about the Democrats, telling the assembled members of the press that, until the investigations into his administration had been brought to a close, he would not be participating in the legislative process on behalf of the American people… “Get these phony investigations over with,” Trump demanded.

When asked afterward why Donald Trump would go to the trouble of pretending to storm out of a meeting and then have what he claimed to be an impromptu press conference — as if members of the press couldn’t figure out that the production of the above-mentioned placard would take some pre-planning — Chuck Schumer responded by saying that Trump “had to run away” because he hadn’t done the actual work of figuring out how an ambitious infrastructure plan, like the one he said he wanted, would be paid for.

And, now, as I mentioned above, Donald Trump is saying that, until the investigations stop, he will not longer work with Congress to do the work of governing… essentially saying that he’s going on a legislative strike until the Democrats stop attempting to do their constitutionally-mandated job of executive oversight. [Bill Clinton, as you might remember, took a much different approach, saying that he intended to keep working with Republican lawmakers, even as they pursued impeachment, saying that he wouldn’t stop doing the work of the people.]

Here’s footage of Trump demanding that the investigations be brought to an end.

There are any number of things that one could say about the President’s public tantrum today — like the fact that he declared “I don’t do coverups,” when we know for a certainty that he personally arranged for two of his mistresses to be paid-off during the campaign in order to guarantee their silence — but I’d like to spend our remaining time together talking about a few of the “facts” shared on that placard Donald Trump was standing behind today.

THE CLAIM: “$35+ Million spent (on the Mueller investigation)”
THE FACT: The investigation, which ultimately brought indictments against 34 people — including 5 close Trump associates — for about 200 separate criminal charges, actually made money. While the Special Counsel investigation may have cost $35 million, it’s estimated that that assets forfeited by Trump associate Paul Manafort as part of his plea deal totaled between $42 million and $46 million, meaning that there was a net positive to tax-payers of approximately $10 million.

THE CLAIM: “No collusion”
The FACT: While the Mueller report did say that no evidence was found of conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, it did not evaluate — in the words of the Washington Post — “the broader, non-legal concept of ‘collusion.’” So, in other words, the Special Counsel did not find “no collusion.”

THE CLAIM: “No obstruction”
THE FACT: The Mueller report actually laid out ten instances of potential obstruction, and called on Congress to take up the question of whether or not the President should be indicted. [Under Department of Justice guidelines, Mueller was not able to make a prosecutorial determination.]

THE CLAIM: “675 days”
THE FACT: Investigations of this nature take a long time, and there’s nothing unusual about the fact that the Mueller investigation took 675 days. In fact, Ken Starr’s investigation of Clinton lasted 1,693 days, and the Iran-Contra investigation took 2,420 days. And let’s not forget the Republican-produced piece of political theater that was the Benghazi investigation, which ran from May 2014 to December 2016, costing American taxpayers over $7 million, and yielding a total of zero indictments. [And, yes, the House Select Committee on Benghazi cost us, the American tax payers, approximately $17 million more than the Mueller investigation.]

CLAIM: “18 angry democrats”
FACT: Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as well as the Deputy Attorney General who appointed him, Rod Rosenstein, are both registered Republicans. As for whether any of the prosecutors hired by Mueller are registered democrats, I’m sure some are. There is no evidence, however, that this impacted their work at all. As Jim Walden, a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, told NBC News, the team assembled by Mueller, “(is) probably one of the most impressive groups ever assembled for a special counsel investigation… You’ve got a collective of prosecutors who’ve covered some of the most high-profile and complex investigations in the last 20 years.” These are highly regarded prosecutors, and there’s been not one shred of evidence to indicate that any of them were driven by political motivations.

OK, I could go on, but I think you probably get the point, right? We’re living in a hell world, completely untethered from reality, and we’ll all be dead soon… Good night.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 97 Comments

Maynard-Lao Archive: Item 0004 [The Monkey Power Trio’s 1995 release, “The First Hour”]

As I explained a while back, we’re currently in the process of making our way through this 180 year old home of ours, and deciding which of our possessions should remain, and which should be jettisoned into the ever-churning gyre of filth and garbage that surrounds us. Well, what follows is my justification for continuing to keep two copies of the first record put out by my one-day-a-year band, The Monkey Power Trio.

TITLE: The Monkey Power Trio’s 1995 release, “The First Hour”
DESCRIPTION: This is the second Monkey Power Trio-related entry to make its way into the official family archive. The first, as you may recall, was the t-shirt I was wearing during our first session, recorded in Brooklyn back during the summer of 1995. Well, this 7″ record, which we decided to call, “The First Hour” in recognition of the fact that we’d decided to keep doing the same thing every year, was the result of that first session, and, with its frantic pace and improvisational nature, it laid the foundation for everything that would come afterward in our catalog.

No, it’s not a great record by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s an historic artifact from a point in time that’s important to me — the exact moment when my friends and I decided not to just move away from one another and become adults, but to stay connected over time and geography, bound together by a promise meet and record one day a year until just one of us remains alive.

This 7″ single contains the MPT originals, Baby Eyes, The Theme from the Film: “Daddy, What Was Monkey Power?”, Jehovah’s Shit List, October Throughout History, Kling Kling Bang Bang Pop, and You Like-a the Cheese?.

I could go on, but everything worth saying about this first record, and how it came to be, was already been said in the exhaustive oral history about “The First Hour” I posted with my bandmates Matt Krizowsky and Dan Richardson.

[note: I had thought about including two copies of this particular artifact, with he thought being that, once I’m gone, both Clementine and Arlo should be forced to care for one. Upon further reflection, however, I decided to just put in one copy as a test to see which one of them loves me more.]

Posted in Art and Culture, Monkey Power Trio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Saying President Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct,” Michigan’s Justin Amish becomes the first Republican member of Congress to call for the President’s removal from office

While five-term Congressman Justin Amash has long been a critic of Donald Trump’s, today is the first time, to my knowledge, that he’s gone so far as to say that the President should be forcefully removed from office. And, this tweet of his, I believe, makes him the first Republican in Congress to call for the President’s impeachment, demonstrating that even the worst of Republicans have it within their power to become heroes under the reign of Donald Trump.

As Amash, who has described himself in the past as being “the only libertarian in Congress”, has been hinting over the past several weeks about running against Trump in 2020 as an Independent, I suspect this is a calculated move on his part — an attempt to test the waters, and see how much national support he might have, if he should decide to jump into the race — but, none-the-less, even if it is a self-serving move on Amash’s part, it’s an interesting development. [I suspect it was timed to dominate the Sunday news shows.] While I doubt we’ll see any other Republicans in Congress standing up with him, and calling for impeachment, I do think this will get a lot of press, and, hopefully, it encourages a few non-elected, independent conservatives to show some backbone and come out publicly as being pro-impeachment as well.

Here, for those of you who might be interested, are Amash’s subsequent tweets that followed the one above.

For what it’s worth, I’d love to see an ideological, Ayn Rand-worshiping Tea Party Libertarian like Amash in the general election, pealing votes away from Donald Trump, so I’m all for him throwing his hat into the ring. I don’t agree with him on policy, but I respect his contempt for Donald Trump, and wish more Republicans had the courage to stand up to the President and the MAGA cultists who form his base.

Oh, and I do love that Amash refers to himself as “the only libertarian in Congress”, which is clearly a slap in the face of Rand Paul, who really does deserve to be slapped in the face [and knocked from his riding lawnmower] more often. [Amash came to Congress in the big Tea Party wave of 2010, and was a founding member of the so-called Freedom Caucus, which, over time, has moved away from its founding principles to fully embrace Donald Trump.]

update: Well, it looks like someone told The Donald.

update: Well, it looks like this move of Amash’s just got him a primary challenger in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Alabama shows us the Republican endgame for women’s health policy

Republicans, in an attempt to see Roe v. Wade rolled back, have been aggressively working within state legislatures to pass restrictive anti-abortion laws that they know will be challenged in the courts, with the hope being that one of these cases might make its way all the way up to the Supreme Court, where the landmark 1973 decision could either be struck down once and for all, or weakened to the point of uselessness. Of all of these coordinated legislative attacks, which are now underway in over one dozen states, the one that was signed into law earlier this evening by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is by far the worst, as it does not even make exceptions for women who have become pregnant as a result of either incest or rape. It’s so extreme, in fact, that televangelist Pat Robertson said the the Alabama legislature had “gone too far“. [I suspect he said this not because he disagreed with the bill, but because he knows how it will be greeted by the American electorate, which overwhelmingly believes that abortion rights should be protected.]

If you’re wondering how a bill like this — a bill that would force a 12 year old rape victim to carry her attacker’s child to term — could possibly make its way through the legislative process, I have 25 images that I’d like to show you… These are the 25 Republicans who voted earlier today to put this bill on Kay Ivey’s desk. As you can see, they’re all very white and male. [Alabama’s Sate Senate has 35 members. 27 are presently Republicans. Of those, 25 voted for the Human Life Protection Act, which passed 25 to 6. These are those 25 Republicans.]

One would hope that maybe, just maybe, Republican women might see this, and realize that perhaps they need to start voting for fewer white, conservative men. I doubt that will happen in any significant way, as I suspect most Republican women don’t feel as though these laws really apply to them, as they could always just send their daughters out-of-state to have their abortions performed, but I have to think that some will see this and come to their senses, especially as their college-educated adult children begin fleeing the state in droves. [What college-education young woman would remain in a state with laws like this on the books?]

In the interest of fairness, here’s an argument in favor of the legislation… Sure, this new law would sentence any doctor caught performing an abortion on a 12 year old incest victim to prison for up to 99 years, but, on the up side, it would ensure that the evidence of said incest would be preserved in the form of a human life that could be entered into evidence!

[Of course, you know the father, in this scenario, would get no where near the 99 years given to a doctor found guilty of having performed an abortion.]

There’s very little positive to say about this, as it’s completely fucking terrifying, but maybe this will swing enough Alabamans away from the Republicans in 2020 that Democratic Senator Doug Jones can squeak out a win and hold onto his seat, giving us a chance of flipping the Senate, and forcing the very evil Mitch McConnell from power… Here, speaking of Jones, is what he had to say today.

I wish I could say more, as there’s a lot more to be said, but I need to sleep. Sorry, folks.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Health, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments


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