Not with a bang, but a whimper?

The stakes are high for the November election, not just for stopping the Republiclowns reactionary agenda, but even in learning what Mueller has uncovered.  As Darren Samuelsohn notes in Politico:

Mueller…must notify his Justice Department supervisor — currently Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — on his budgeting needs and all “significant events” made by his office, including indictments, guilty pleas and subpoenas.

When Mueller is finished, he must turn in a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” — essentially why he chose to bring charges against some people but not others. His reasoning, according to veterans of such investigations, could be as simple as “there wasn’t enough evidence” to support a winning court case.

Then, it will be up to DOJ leaders to make the politically turbo-charged decision of whether to make Mueller’s report public.

He notes that in previous investigations, one or more years transpired before reports were complete.  Bottom line, it will be up to a Democratic majority in the House to conduct a public investigation for us to see all the evidence.

The Siegfried State of the Union

trumpsinging The vote to release of the House Intelligence Committee’s “secret” memo (and the vote to suppress Dem committee members’ minority report. The pressure on, resignation of, and subsequent humiliation of FBI Deputy Director McCabe, and the GOP and right wing media echo chamber’s FBI/Secret Society/Conspiracy Du Jour smearing of Mueller, while Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors marches forward to a steady drumbeat….it feels operatic.  Will Trump stay ‘on script’ tonight, dutifully reading the teleprompter to media acclaim of his presidential and dignified address, or will we get the shrieking Valkyrie, calling doom upon his enemies?

More likely, given the low bar he (and his spiritual predecessor Bush) established,  he will mumble incoherently through a journeyman address, then go crazy tomorrow in the AM and tweet doom upon his enemies from the toilet.

Sadly, we’re still suffering through the Seigfried stage of the Ring Cycle, with the protagonist seemingly unstoppable, and we still have a ways to go before we watch his downfall in the Gotterdammerung, following the 2018 elections, victory of the Dems and subsequent impeachment hearings.

 

The Appalling Ignorance of Conservatives

facepalm_estatuaWonder why little aid is flowing to Puerto Rico in spite of the most devastating hurricane in its history?

A USA Today/Suffolk University poll conducted in March found that fewer than half of Americans (47%) believe that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth.  They are.

Instead, 30% of the people surveyed thought residents of the island are citizens of Puerto Rico. Another 21% just didn’t know where the people of Puerto Rico belong.

Probably the same dumbshit 30% that believes in creationism, denies human activity as the cause of current climate change, and approve of Trump.

 

The Conman Cometh

artoftheconThe Atlantic provides us with some greater detail on Trump’s use of the Bully Pulpit (Elect) to advance his business interests.  Thing is, though, that this is just penny-ante con artistry.  He intends to go Yuuuge.  He needs to top the billions of dollars in cash on pallets that went ‘missing’ in Iraq during Bush’s Reign of Error, the billions wasted on reconstruction sent to his contractor buddies without an open bid, etc.

A likely gambit is his ‘infrastructure’ plan.  His gullible voters likely envision a WPA-like effort to repair our decaying roadways and bridges, except with private investment magically trickling down into shovel-ready projects to employ blue collar Americans.  Well, sort of. It involves us elite libtard taxpayers subsidizing giant private contractors via tax credits to develop projects, such as toll roads, that they will then own.  And then charge us directly for.

The hundred billion dollar question is – how does Trump funnel this directly into his own pockets (or those of his children, by proxy)?  Does Jared’s real estate company buy strategic bits of property that are then purchased via imminent domain?  Too transparent?  Do they buy minority stakes in key subcontractors that get the subsidies?  Or is this just the obvious con while he plans to go Bush 2.0 and get into the lucrative defense contractor business on the eve of a ‘sneak attack’ somewhere in the Middle East?  So many possibilities.

*Update 11/29/16* I wonder if Trump’s real play here is establishing a Monarchy…get it all in his hands for himself and future generations.  He definitely plans to put paid to campaign finance reform.

The Art of the Con

the-stingI have a feeling that I will be returning to this post over the next 4 years.  During his campaign, I couldn’t for the life of me divine why Trump was running for office.  Why would a thin-skinned, vain billionaire subject himself to withering public scrutiny?  It wasn’t a practical joke.  He wasn’t in the pay of Hillary.  Perhaps Putin had pictures of him having relations with a goat?

Turns out I just lack sufficient imagination.  Criminal imagination, to be specific.

Trump is the American Berlusconi (with a soupçon of Mussolini).  He is running a big con.  His misAministration will be all about lining his pockets, and those of his friends, while goading the rest of us into an increasingly nastier internecine conflict.

He started during his campaign, requesting secret service agents to protect his large extended family on campaign events, flying on Trump 1, then charging the government millions for providing seats to said agents.  Foreign lobbyists diplomats have been falling over themselves to stay in Trump’s Hotel and eat Trump steaks in an attempt to curry his favor.

Trump has investments worldwide, and (it will likely be revealed later) is already beholden to foreign agents to prop up his “,,, club” membership.  He is not divesting himself and his family from managing his holdings.  In fact, he appears to already be leveraging his Pretender to the Throne status with the Argentinian President to remove obstacles to his private development plans.

It isn’t much of a stretch to imagine  a guy who had no trouble treating his fake charity as a tax free interest-bearing checking account used to pay off legal fees as a guy who would have no troubles with using his new position to leverage overseas deals and enrich his businesses.

Conflicts with the Constitution and Foreign Corrupt Practices act?  No sweat, who will be running the DOJ?  And like Berlusconi, if the heat gets turned up, Republican Congress has his back and will pass a special law shielding him from prosecution…or worst case, his new SCOTUS appointment has him covered!

Remember, you heard it first here.

First 90 days

the-stingIl Douche-y and his wing nut cabinet have already suggested what they won’t do next year, but what will they likely do immediately after infesting the Oval Office?   They will rescind various executive orders:

  • Reverse decision on Iran
  • Eliminate Federal Privacy Council
  • Anti-Russian nuclear proliferation
  • Eliminate Advisory Board on Toxic Material and Worker Health
  • Eliminate paid sick leave and minimum wage for Federal Contractors
  • Preparing Federal Departments for Climate Change
  • Ban transgender students from using bathrooms that don’t match their (original) gender
  • Eliminate the ‘DREAMers’ deportation deferments for children of illegal immigrants
  • Postpone TPP
  • Scrap the Paris Agreement on climate change
  • Eliminate the Clean Power Plan

In addition, he is likely to reinstate old Shrubya executive orders such as banning funding for embryonic stem cell research, reopening GITMO.

He will also likely nominate a SCOTUS justice which the new Senate will fast track.  Meanwhile the GOP will push through a  variety of veto’d legislation from the last few years such as repealing Dodd-Frank, pushing for a flat (or at least flatter) tax, making Shrubya’s tax cuts for the wealthy permanent.

Meanwhile, Trump will be preparing for The Big Con, to direct billions of dollars in federal spending towards his business interests and those of his cronies.

U

*Update 5:30pm – yep the GOP has laid out their plan to do everything that I outlined and more.

 

That Hatey-Changey Thing

sameoldpartyThe preponderance of Trump voters indicated a desire for change as the primary motivation for their vote (80%+).  We can only intuit Il Douche-y’s platform from his tweets and the signs and forum comments of his follows, but they seem to include:

  • Mass deportation of illegal immigrants
  • Building a Yuuuge wall on the Mexican border to keep out ISIS
  • Repealing ObamaCare
  • Jailing Hillary

How is that panning out?  He and Ryan are dismissing the notion of mass deportations in favor of a secret plan to ‘secure the border.’  And that Beautiful, Yuuuge wall that Mexico will pay for? The wall is rapidly being demoted to an extension of Bush’s fence (which itself had morphed from a wall to a partially built fence to just adding in some electronic surveillance in the face of yuuuuge costs).

And as far as ObamaCare, which the TeaBaggers have spent the last 6 years fighting?  Trump is already waffling on ObamaCare and will likely keep some of it in place. Greenboy prediction – the part that transfers our tax dollars into the hands of private insurers stays, and Trump backers and members of the GOP get a piece of the action.

Finally,what will happen with ‘lock her up’-the promise to ramp up the investigations into the so-called ‘most corrupt politician of our time’ that motivated the right wing base to come out to vote in droves?  Just like the swift-boating of Kerry, it is ‘mission-accomplished’ for emails, Benghazi, the killing of Vince Foster, and the dozens of faux ‘scandals’ that smeared Hillary just enough to squeak through an electoral college win and stack the Senate with career GOP politicians.  Investigating Hillary Clinton further?  Not so much.

Next time you are in a conversation with a Trump support, make sure to ask them how that ‘hatey-changey’ thing is working for them.

The Art of the Broken Deal

A caveat up front: The election results were so painful that I haven’t been masochistic enough to read anyone’s post-mortems. Especially since the first glimmers of reaction I saw consisted of predictable (if understandable) finger-pointing, with people who supported Clinton in the primaries blaming Sanders supporters, and vice versa. (I don’t want to litigate that question, though I do have some broader thoughts about what has gone wrong, which I’ll share in a separate post.)

My point, though, is that for all I know, everything I’m about to say has already been said by lots of people. But since Green Boy reopened the doors and invited me in, I’ll contribute my two cents’ worth, and I’ll just have to hope it’s not all too obvious.

Even in my attempt at a self-imposed news blackout, I did notice this faintly hopeful headline:

Obama Planning to Give Trump Extra Tutoring

Sure, this confirms what we already know, namely that Trump is an idiotic man-child who has no idea what being president entails… which is obviously terrifying if you let yourself think about it. But better to have Obama explaining how to do the job than Dick Cheney, right?

It may not have much impact in preventing Trump from appointing an array of cretins, assholes, and washed-up bootlickers to his Cabinet. But the more Obama and congressional Dems can get Trump’s ear during the transition, the greater the fragile hope that our new moron-king will only be disastrous on 90-95% of issues, rather than 100%.

Trump ran as an unapologetic racist/misogynist and barely tried to conceal his greed and dishonesty, but perhaps his only faintly redeeming feature is that he didn’t run as a true believer in the GOP orthodoxy of dismantling Medicare and Social Security, and he’s had a feud of sorts with House speaker Paul Ryan (the torchbearer for that orthodoxy). Moreover, his ego all but demands he not come across as Ryan and Mitch McConnell’s puppet.

So Obama and other Dem leaders need to play to that, whispering to Trump that they can be a useful foil when he wants to stick it to the GOP.  Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” in reverse, you might say.  They just need to be able to make the pitch in a way that strikes Dubya 2.0 as flattering, rather than manipulative. (It would turn my stomach, but hey, these guys chose to go into politics.)

Besides, it takes no great insight to predict that Trump’s main goal as POTUS will be maintaining his own popularity — and while other GOPers might be all too happy to take the heat for denying government benefits to average Americans, El Donaldo won’t want to see CNN profiling sympathetic souls who’ve had their health insurance, etc., taken away by the heartless Republican in the White House.  So it’s up to Obama and the Democratic leaders in Congress to nudge Trump in their direction a “friendly warning” when keeping his blustery campaign promises might backfire politically.

The Republican establishment that got the vote out for him may think they have an implicit deal with the new president: “We put up with your erratic campaign and your verbal abuse, then put you into office anyway, so now you do what we want.”

But if Trump has one single core characteristic, it’s breaking deals after he’s gotten what he wanted.  The challenge for Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer is to encourage that trait.