It’s easy to gain momentum when you’re going downhill, Newt

[I was going to post something tonight about how Trump had lied earlier today when he referred to the New York Times as failing, but then I remembered that, not too long ago, I’d promised to stop focusing on Trump’s lies… So, instead, you get this response of mine to Newt Gingrich, a man who, I kid you not, I’m pretty sure I busted cheating on his wife in a Georgia forrest back in 1994.]

Posted in Mark's Life, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Totally Quotable Arlo: inheritance edition

[If you’ve got a few extra minutes, check out our Totally Quotable Arlo archive.]

Posted in Mark's Life | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

For those of you who think Fox is just too impartial, we’ve now official state television offering “the real news”… Introducing Trump TV

Yesterday, CNN contributor Kayleigh McEnany announced that she’d be leaving the network. And, today, we found out what she be doing… Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “the real news”!

Having grown tired of sending the likes of Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders out in front of the press to lie, and then be ridiculed for it, the Trump administration has decided to try something new. They’ve decided to cut the “lying press” – or, as Hitler would call it, the lügenpresse – out of the loop completely, taking their version of the truth directly to the people of America. If we were living in a normal world, this would be a big deal. As we’re not, though, we’ll just accept it and move on to whatever’s coming at us over the horizon next. Such is life in this world that Donald Trump had given us. Each day is its own fresh hell.

Now for the important question… How long will it take for Trump to start working in ads for his various properties? Or, better yet, when will we start getting montages like the one in the Parallax View?

Oh, and I know it’s a small thing, but this show, which is called Trump Tower Live, is not live, as evidenced by all the edits.

update: Here, for what it’s worth, is Trump on why it’s important for him to get around the “fake news,” which now, according to him, includes not only CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, but also ABC, NBC and CBS.

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The far right, with a little help from Russian bots, are gunning for McMaster

When news broke that members of the U.S. intelligence community were in possession of recordings proving that, contrary to what he’d said to the FBI, Michael Flynn had been in direct communication with Russian operatives prior to Trump’s inauguration, he was forced out as White House national security adviser, and ultimately replaced by Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who many welcomed as a voice of sanity. Unfortunately, not everyone agreed – namely the white nationalists who helped propel Donald Trump into the White House.

Flynn, it would seem, had endeared himself to the so-called “alt-right” when he took to the campaign trail alongside his racist, conspiracy theory espousing son to yell about how Sharia law was already spreading across the United States, and lead enthusiastic chants of “Lock Her Up.” McMaster, I think it’s safe to say, was seen as a poor substitute – a man who wouldn’t even say the phrase “radical Islam,” let alone rant about “Islamism (being a) vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people,” as Flynn had been known to. [McMaster has also cautioned that we not just tear up the nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by the Obama administration without first having a new strategy to take its place, which is apparently pissing off many on the far right. He also apparently had the audacity to once weigh in with the obvious and state that former national security adviser Susan Rice hadn’t done anything wrong by “unmasking” the names of individuals noted in intelligence reports.]

And, it would appear that this longstanding dissatisfaction with McMaster has finally come to a head, in large part thanks to Gen. John Kelly having recently been named White House chief of staff. [Kelly, as you’ll recall, replaced Reince Priebus, who was forced out by Anthony Scaramucci, who, coincidentally enough was in turn fired a few days later by Kelly.] As I understand it, Kelly only took the position of chief of staff when he was assured by Trump that he, and he alone, would decide who who would be hired to serve in the White House, and who would be fired. And, it would seem, Kelly apparently told McMaster that he could begin removing some of Flynn’s more questionable hires, without fear of reprisal from the White House.

So, with this, McMaster fired Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the National Security Council’s (NSC) senior director for intelligence programs, who, among other things, was apparently responsible, along with Devin Nunes, for the now thoroughly debunked “unmasking” story involving the Obama administration; and Derek Harvey, the NSC’s senior director for the Middle East, who, among other things, had attempted to force “Obama holdovers” out of the NSC. And that’s not all. McMaster, a week or so before, had also fired Rich Higgins, the NSC’s director for strategic planning, who, right before his firing, had circulated a memo suggesting that Trump’s presidency was being undermined by a cabal of globalists, bankers, Islamists, and various members of the “deep state”… So, in a relatively short period of time, McMaster got rid of three of the craziest, most dangerous, most paranoid, most racist members of the Trump administration – individuals who, up until recently, had been able to stay in office due to the protection of men like Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.

So, with three of the more delusional members of the NSC having been forced out, members of the far right have started gunning for McMaster. It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that Trump just had to weight in. “General McMaster and I are working very well together,” he said in a statement sent to The New York Times. “He is a good man, and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.” [Trump, it would seem, said this in repose to speculation that he might reassign McMaster to Afghanistan, and replace him with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo.]

But the attacks have not only continued, but intensified in recent days. This, in large part, is due to the involvement of rape advocate Mike Cernovich, the blogger who, as you may recall, helped Trump during the campaign by pushing the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was involved in the operation of a subterranean child sex ring. Cernovich, who just launched a website called McMasterLeaks.com, has apparently made it his new mission to push the general from the NSA. [The image at the top of the page, which many see as being anti-Semitic, was taken from the first post at McMasterLeaks.com, a site promoting, among other things, the theory that McMaster works for Jewish financier George Soros.] The following clip comes from Think Progress.

…“MCMASTER PURGES NSC STAFFER FOR WARNING OF ISLAMIST-LEFTIST THREAT,” conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich tweeted on Wednesday, before proceeding on a tirade about the national security adviser.

Cernovich subsequently claimed that McMaster had “been leaking information to David Petraeus” and “had direct contact with George Soros.” Those claims, plus at least a dozen more, were all published on McMasterleaks.com, a website Cernovich created. The site features an anti-Semitic illustration of Soros and McMaster by right-wing cartoonist Ben Garrison, according to Newsweek.

On Twitter, Cernovich kept the party going. “McMaster’s butler’ [Army intelligence officer] Joel Rayburn is running off the books intelligence operation against Trump loyalists,” he claimed. “Joel Rayburn is spying on people including me, but McMaster will not investigate leaked transcripts. Says it all.” Rayburn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a YouTube video, Cernovich also accused McMaster of being a “Deep State plant” who was “intent on replacing Trump loyalists with Deep State operatives.”…

But it’s not just Cernovich out there, saying “(McMaster) needs to be removed immediately.” The hashtag #FireMcMaster has blown up these past several days. And, interestingly, according to the New York Times, it sounds as though Russian bots might be helping to make that happen… Here’s a clip.

…The #FireMcMaster hashtag was tweeted more than 50,000 times since Wednesday. Echoing the drumbeat were social media organs tied to the Russian government. According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan group created to focus attention on Russian interference in the West, the top hashtag among 600 Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations at one point on Thursday was #FireMcMaster…

While, at least in theory, I’m not terribly keen on the idea of members of our military stepping in take control over our civilian government, I think, given our options at this point, I’m glad to have McMaster in the White House… Anyone who Cernovich and the Russians want out, I think it’s pretty safe to say, is someone who’s probably doing pretty good work on behalf of our nation.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Just as rumors start swirling that Trump might be getting ready to fire Mueller, news breaks that a grand jury has been impanelled in D.C., making it almost impossible for him to do so

Today, as Donald Trump went absolutely, foaming-at-the-mouth nuts in front of a crowd in West Virginia, calling the Russia story a “total fabrication,” and demanding once again that Hillary Clinton be investigated for having deleted emails, news broke that special prosecutor Robert Mueller had impanelled a grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicating that his investigation had entered a new phase. [This is no longer a mere probe into the possibility of wrongdoing. It’s now officially a criminal investigation that will very likely result in indictments.] The following clip comes by way of the Wall Street Journal.

…Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to people familiar with the matter.

The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, signals that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort…

Grand juries are powerful investigative tools that allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime. Legal experts said that the decision by Mr. Mueller to impanel a grand jury suggests he believes he will need to subpoena records and take testimony from witnesses…

And, according to New York Times, the work of the grand jury has already begun. Subpoenas, they reported this evening, have already been issued.

As for why news of this grand jury became public today, one can only guess. My sense, however, is that someone decided to leak its existence because Trump, according to several sources, had been seriously considering the possibility of firing Robert Mueller. And, this recent news about the existence of a grand jury, one would expect, would make it more difficult for Trump to stop the investigation, as doing so now would clearly qualify as obstruction of justice.

For what it’s worth, whoever leaked the existence of the grand jury isn’t alone. Several people behind the scenes this past week have been working to make it more difficult for Trump to stop Mueller investigation.

First, the Senate unanimously acted to block Trump from making recess appointments, essentially making it impossible for him to fire Jeff Sessions in hopes of naming a new Attorney General who would fire Mueller for him. And, second, bipartisan legislation was introduced today by Senators Thom Tillis and Chris Coons that, if passed, would ensure that, before Trump could fire a special prosecutor, a three-judge panel would have to sign off, essentially confirming that the firing was justified. [Senators Lindsey Graham and Cory Booker have also introduced similar bipartisan legislation.]

Yes, it would seem as though, for some reason, the Republican Congress has decided to push back against Trump. Maybe Republicans disliked his recent bullying of their former congressional colleague Jeff Sessions, or maybe they just decided, when Trump wasn’t able to deliver on the Obamacare repeal, they’d be better off cutting their losses and moving on. Regardless of the reason, though, it would appear as though the tide is finally beginning to turn, with people like McCaine, Graham and Tillis starting to exert themselves against the President.

It’s also worth noting, while we’re on the subject, that the Congress, almost unanimously, voted to enact new sanctions against Russia, in spite of Trump’s near constant harassment on the subject. Trump, as you might imagine, was pissed about it, but, really, there was nothing he could do about it. White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, as you may recall, suggested Trump may veto the bipartisan Russian sanctions, but, as Congress had the votes to overturn his veto, he really didn’t have any choice but to sign.

For what it’s worth, though, he didn’t sign happily. Rumor is that he called Putin before signing, and then immediately released a statement saying that, if it were up to him, the sanctions bill wouldn’t have been signed into law. After calling the bill he’d just signed “significantly flawed,” Trump went on in his statement to say that he should be the one negotiating such things with foreign countries, and not Congress. “I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars,” he said in his statement. “That is a big part of the reason I was elected.” He then went on to say, “As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”

And he did’t stop there. Today he took to Twitter to blame Congress for our poor relations with Russia, essentially ignoring the fact that Russia may have brought any of this on themselves by, you know, waging a sophisticated cyber warfare campaign against the very democratic institutions that form the foundation of our society… Here’s the tweet in question.

[note: For what it’s worth, Congress did give us health care. It’s called Obamacare. And we’ve had it for about 8 years now… What I think the President meant to say was, “the same people who can’t even rid us of health care.”]

So, to sum up, it would look as though the President, at least for the time being, has been blocked, and the Mueller investigation will be going forward. One imagines, however, that the attacks against Mueller and his investigative team will only intensify, however.

Posted in Other, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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