Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Low Rated Don: Trump’s Support Collapses As 53% Of Seniors Definitely Won’t Vote For Him

Mod: Low Rated Don stepped on the third rail of American politics and seniors now want to dump Trump. Didn't anyone tell the orange fool you just don't mess with Social Security and Medicare?

Trump’s Support Collapses As 53% Of Seniors Definitely Won’t Vote For Him (PoliticsUSA.com link): A new poll reveals that more than half of all senior voters say that they definitely will not vote for Trump in 2020, and seniors have turned against Trump.

Trump beat Hillary Clinton by eight points with seniors (53%-45%) in 2016, which was lower than seniors support of Romney over Obama in 2012 (56%-44%). Trump’s support with seniors has totally flipped. It has gone from 52% support to 53% definitely not voting for him in 2020.

Republicans have banked on seniors being more conservative and outperforming their nominee’s approval rating. Trump is doing worse with seniors than his overall approval rating. The thirty-four percent who say that they will definitely vote for him is less than the 37%-40% range that Trump approval has settled into.

If Trump Loses Seniors, He Loses The White House

Republicans have intentionally focused their voter suppression efforts on younger people and minorities because those are the two growing groups of voters who tend to vote Democratic. The Republican Party has gone older, whiter, and more rural under Trump. Republicans need seniors to win. If voters over age 65 support Trump in smaller numbers, Republicans will lose the White House, the Senate, and Democrats will keep the House.

Horrible News For Trump As  Just 12% Say They Have Greatly Benefited From His Economy (PoliticsUSA.com link): The Monmouth University Poll found: 12% of Americans say that their family has benefited a great deal from recent growth in the U.S. economy and another 31% say they have received some benefit from the economic upturn. A majority, though, say they have been helped either not much (27%) or not at all (27%) from the nation's macroeconomic growth.

These results are nearly identical to Monmouth Polls taken in 2018 as well as just before Trump took office in January 2017. Only 34% of those earning less than $50,000 a year and 42% of those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 say they have benefited at least somewhat from the growing economy. This contrasts with those earning more the $100,000, where a majority (58%) say they have benefited.

Wiggle, America.
Trump and the Republicans think that they can run on the economy in 2020, but the problem is that the majority of Americans don’t feel like their own pocketbooks have prospered under Trump. When Trump talks about the economy, he always talks about the stock market and the unemployment rate. Most Americans don’t own stocks, but they are worried about healthcare and being able to afford to pay their bills.

The economy didn’t work as a strategy for Congressional Republicans in 2018, because people don’t feel like they are doing better under Trump. Unless you are rich, Trump’s economy really isn’t that good. The one thing that Republicans thought could save them may not matter at all to voters in 2020.


Monday, April 29, 2019

Common Dreams: How Bad Does It Have to Get?

Mod: An interesting list of answers to that question from the independent news site Common Dreams. It is rather astonishing what some have chosen to ignore.

How Bad Does It Have to Get? (Common Dreams link): It’s bad enough that he lost the election by 3,000,000 popular votes.

It’s bad enough that the Russians helped him get elected by manipulating social media in critical electoral college states.

It’s bad enough that he helped the Russians do that by providing them confidential polling data to guide their Facebook ad targeting.

It’s bad enough that those ads were seen by more than 100,000,000 people when the total electoral college difference over three states was 70,000 votes.

It’s bad enough that those involved with his campaign who were also engaged with the Russians lied repeatedly, both publicly and under oath, about that engagement.

It’s bad enough that many tens of millions of dollars mysteriously disappeared from his inauguration committee, and he feels no compunction to explain where it went.

It’s bad enough that he brags about groping women and grabbing them by the pussy. Is there an honest woman in the country who admires that? Wants that?

It’s bad enough that he’s been credibly accused of sexual assault by more than 20 women.

It’s bad enough that he is an unindicted co-conspirator in the felony to commit election finance fraud by paying hush money to a Playboy bunny and a porn star.

It’s bad enough that he filed for bankruptcy six times, stiffing workers, contractors, and lenders for tens of millions of dollars.

It’s bad enough that his resorts and other properties for years hired undocumented aliens, even as he railed against a “tidal wave” of illegal immigrants.

It’s bad enough that he inherited $413,000,000 from his father, much of it through illegal tax dodges, but pretends to be a self-made man.

It’s bad enough that his “charitable” foundation was ordered shut down after having been revealed to be a sham, used to help promote his business and political interests.

It’s bad enough he claims he was a good student, but threatens to sue any schools that release his grades.

It’s bad enough he claims to be a brilliant businessman but refuses to release his taxes which would prove it.  Or, disprove it.

It’s bad enough that he says the Mueller report “totally exonerates” him, yet refuses to allow it to be released, or, for critical witnesses to be able to testify about it.

It’s bad enough that he grossly understated the value of his assets to dodge taxes, while grossly overstating their value to secure bank loans.

It’s bad enough that the Mueller report detailed 10 instances of obstruction of justice that would be criminal, were he not the president and, so, immune from indictment.

It’s bad enough that he’s a pathological liar, telling almost 10,000 lies since assuming office, literally not being able to deal with reality.

It’s bad enough, his boot-licking of Putin at Helsinki, where he said he believed Putin about Russian interference in the 2016 election, but not his own intelligence chiefs.

It’s bad enough that he has separated thousands of immigrant children from their parents, put them in cages, and then lost track of them.

It’s bad enough that he praised neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville two years ago, then re-defended them just a few days ago.

It’s bad enough that, though sworn to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed, he told immigration officials to break the law, promising to pardon them if they were convicted.

It’s bad enough that he told senior White House aides to lie to the Mueller commission about his efforts to obstruct the same commission’s investigation.

It’s bad enough that he smeared a Gold Star Family whose son was killed in Iraq.

It’s bad enough that he repeatedly smeared bona-fide Vietnam war hero, John McCain, while he, himself, wrangled five draft deferments to dodge service in the same war.

It’s bad enough he promised to help the working man, but immediately passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut that went almost exclusively to corporations and the wealthy.

It’s bad enough he continues to claim he’s building The Wall when not a single inch of new wall has been built since he took office.

It’s bad enough he promised to protect Social Security but just two weeks ago submitted a budget that cuts benefits to millions, including seniors in poverty.

It’s bad enough that he refuses to cooperate with Congressional hearings, trashing the Constitution and the checks and balances at the very heart of our form of government.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sam Donaldson: Sarah Sanders Deserves “Lifetime Achievement Oscar for Lying”

Mod: Obviously Sarah has studied at the feet of Der Trumpenfuhrer, a true master of lying. But she certainly does have gifts of her own, and uses them.

Sam Donaldson: Sarah Sanders Deserves “Lifetime Achievement Oscar for Lying” (Slate.com link): Former ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson slammed White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for her seeming penchant for lying, saying her efforts at not telling the truth deserve an Oscar. What sets Sanders apart, the former White House correspondent said, is how willing she seems to lie about even the smallest things.

“Look, I’ve had the pleasure of working with almost every press secretary beginning with Pierre Salinger in John F. Kennedy’s administration and, except for Ron Ziegler who lied for Richard Nixon, I’ve never seen anything like this with Sarah Sanders,” Donaldson said. And even when it came to Ziegler “there’s a difference” because “Ziegler lied about one thing” and that’s whether Nixon was engaged in a cover-up of Watergate but he was still truthful on other matters. On the other hand, “Sarah Sanders simply lies about everything, taking a cue from her boss. Not just one thing.”

The lies coming out of Sanders’ mouth are so frequent that “I think she’s had an Oscar, a lifetime achievement Oscar for lying,” he added. Donaldson did go on to say though that the real problem was Trump, not his press secretary. “And let’s face it, I don’t know her. I feel a little sorry for her because it’s the boss who does it,” Donaldson said.

“She takes the cue from him. Leadership begins at the top. And so it is all the bad things that happen in the administration.”

It isn’t just the frequency of the lies, Donaldson went on to say, but also that her lies are far from inconsequential. Other press secretaries may have made up quotes in support of their boss. But Sanders’ lies “are more than innocuous, they fester and they serve not the public’s interest but disinterest in learning the truth.”

Donaldson made the comments during a conversation with CNN’s Anderson Cooper about Trump’s claim that he is “the most transparent president.”


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Trump praises Robert E. Lee as ‘a great general,’ doubles down on ‘very fine people’ comment amid pushback from Biden

"Very fine people."
Mod: Is there any other way to explain this except to say Donald is losing his marbles?  

Trump praises Robert E. Lee as ‘a great         general,’ doubles down on ‘very fine people’ comment amid pushback from Biden  (New York Daily News link): President Trump doubled down Friday on his infamous claim that there were “fine people” on both sides of the deadly Charlottesville protests in 2017, arguing the comment was “perfect” because Robert E. Lee was “a great general.”

Trump made the Confederacy-embracing defense one day after Joe Biden launched his 2020 campaign with a sharp rebuke of the president’s post-Charlottesville statement, which critics say equated neo-Nazis and white supremacists with those who oppose their hateful ideologies. “If you look at what I said you will see that that question was answered perfectly,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general, whether you like it or not.”

To this day, it remains unclear which “fine people” Trump spoke of, considering most attendants at the Aug. 12, 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., were adherents of racist and white supremacist groups.

The event was organized to protest the removal of a statue of Lee, who as a Confederate general fought the Union in the Civil War to preserve the right of enslaving African-American people.

But the Charlottesville protest quickly escalated into violence, as far-right demonstrators wielding weapons and decked out in tactical gear took to the streets of the sleepy college town, carrying torches and raising their right arms in Nazi salutes while chanting “Jews will not replace us!” and “blood and soil!"

"Very fine people" drying laundry

A 32-year-old counter protester was killed in the chaos when a neo-Nazi plowed his sports car into a crowd.

It was in the wake of that tragedy that Trump maintained there were “very fine people” on both sides.


Friday, April 26, 2019

$2 million to North Korea for the 'health care' of a murdered American? That Don Trump, he's a master deal maker.

Mod: The little details a master deal maker must take care of when he's on the way to winning a Nobel Peace Prize for a nuclear disarmament agreement with Kim Jong Un. After all, would you want to upset the Jongster when so much is at stake?

Donald Trump Agreed To Pay North Korea $2 Million For Otto Warmbier Hospital Bills, Report Says (Newsweek link): President Donald Trump approved a $2 million payment to cover the medical care of Otto Warmbier, a then-comatose University of Virginia student jailed in North Korea, according to a new report.

Warmbier was participating in a trip to North Korea late December 2015 through early January 2016 when he was detained and later charged for allegedly committing a "hostile act"—attempting to leave the country with a sign bearing a slogan from the ruling Korean Workers' Party. After sentencing, the 21-year-old at some point fell into a coma. He was eventually returned to the U.S. in June 2017 but died about a week later after he failed to regain consciousness, and the decision was made to have his feeding tube removed.

On Thursday, new information about discussions surrounding Warmbier's return was revealed by The Washington Post's Anna Fifield. Citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, Fifield reported that North Korea billed the U.S. $2 million for Warmbier's hospital bill and that Trump himself approved the invoice.

While the bill was sent to the Treasury Department, it could not be confirmed whether or not it was actually paid. White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said, "We do not comment on hostage negotiations, which is why they have been so successful during this administration."

Mod: That little matter of Otto's likely murder being beneath Sarah's consideration.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Impeach Donald Trump? Obstruction of justice is a crime. The decision is clear.

Mod: Face it, it is Trump's big fat mouth that is taking him straight to an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives. Proof that the damned fool should have learned long ago to keep his trap shut. If he had we wouldn't be talking about the possibility of impeachment today.

Impeach Donald Trump? Obstruction of justice is a crime. The decision is clear. (The New York Times link): The Mueller report has been released, with redactions of course, and it is a damning document. Not only does it detail Russian efforts to attack our election to help the Trump campaign and the Trump campaign’s eager acceptance of that help, it paints a picture of Donald Trump as an unethical man with no regard for the rule of law.

In this report, we see a president who doesn’t deserve to be president. We see attempts over and over to obstruct justice, which in some cases succeed.

The question is: What are we going to do about it? Obstruction of justice is a crime. If Trump committed that crime, he’s a criminal. Are we simply going to allow a criminal to sit in the Oval Office and face no consequence? Are we simply going to let the next presidential election be the point at which Trump is punished or rewarded?

It is maddening to think that we are at such a pass. But, my mind is made up: I say impeach him.

I know all the arguments against.

First, even if the House voted to impeach Trump, the Senate would never vote to convict and remove him. This is the “failed impeachment” theory.

But, I say that there is no such thing as a failed impeachment. Impeachment exists separately from removal. Impeachment in the House is akin to an indictment, with the trial, which could convict and remove, taking place in the Senate. The Senate has never once voted to convict.

So, an impeachment vote in the House has, to this point, been the strongest rebuke America is willing to give a president. I can think of no president who has earned this rebuke more than the current one.

And, once a president is impeached, he is forever marked. It is a chastisement unto itself. It is the People’s House making a stand for its people.

Then there is the idea that an impeachment would be contentious and increase public support for Trump the way it did for Bill Clinton.

But I find the conflation of Clinton and Trump ill-reasoned on the issue of the public’s response in polling.

First, Clinton’s approval was subject to change in a way Trump’s is not. Clinton experienced a 40-point swing in his approval over his presidency, according to Gallup. Trump’s seems almost impervious to change, no matter the news.

People either love Trump or hate him. Impeachment will most likely not change that any more than Trump seeing fine people among Nazis or locking children in cages.

Furthermore, Clinton jumped 10 points, from 63 percent 73 percent, just after the House voted to impeach him. But, five month later, those gains had vanished and then some. His approval rating sank to 53 percent. I’m tired of all the fear and trepidation.

Senate Republicans are worried about getting on the wrong side of the Republican base.

Mitt Romney wrote in a statement on Friday, “I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President.”

But, will that sickness give birth to action? No, if the last two years is our guide. This is the strongest statement among Republican senators, but it is as toothless as a baby’s mouth. This admonition is idle. House Democrats, at least the leadership, are afraid of looking like they have a blood lust and inadvertently increasing Trump’s chances of re-election.

Folks, this is not the 1990s. Until 1996, CNN was the only cable news network. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist. Google wasn’t founded until 1998. Cellphones were in their infancy, and few people had them.

Furthermore, the massive — and growing — amount of campaign spending will drown out anything that happened months prior. In 1996, Clinton raised $42 million for his re-election bid; in 2012, Obama raised a billion for his.

And finally, there was no President Trump in the 1990s producing a head-scratching number of headlines each day. Trump can’t ride a victory nor will he be crestfallen in defeat. There would likely be untold new outrages even after an impeachment.

As for me, I’m afraid of lawlessness and the horrible precedent it would set if Congress does nothing.

On Friday, Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter that “the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”

In another tweet she explained: “To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways.”

I worry that inaction enshrines that idea that the American president is above America’s laws. I worry that silent acquiescence bends our democracy toward monarchy, or dictatorship.

As Thomas Paine wrote in 1776, “In America the law is king.” He continued: “For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”

Who will we let be king in this country, the president or the law?


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"Collusion" Never Stopped: Twitter shuts down 5,000 pro-Trump bots retweeting anti-Mueller report invective

Mod: When Darn Old Trump says "No Collusion," just assume that collusion never actually stopped. And if you do? You will be absolutely right.

Twitter shuts down 5,000 pro-Trump bots retweeting anti-Mueller report invective (Ars Technica link): Twitter has suspended over 5,000 accounts tied to a network amplifying a message denouncing the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a "RussiaGate hoax." According to a researcher, the accounts—most of which had only posted three or four times in the past—were connected to other accounts previously used to post pro-Saudi messages.

In response to an inquiry by Ars, a Twitter spokeswoman said, "We suspended a network of accounts and others associated with it for engaging in platform manipulation—a violation of the Twitter Rules." An investigation into the network is still ongoing, the spokeswoman said, but no determination has yet been made about who was behind the campaign.

"In cases such as this, attribution is difficult," the spokeswoman noted. "If we do have reasonable evidence to support state-backed activity, we will disclose the accounts as part of our information operations archive." (This archive is the data repository used to reveal operations of networks previously tied to election manipulation and other state-backed information operations.)

Most of the accounts had very few posts—as few as three. All of the accounts frequently retweeted content from the account @TheGlobus, previously named Arabian Veritas, according to information shared with NBC News by researchers who uncovered the network and analysis by Foreign Policy Research Institute senior fellow Clint Watts. Watts is also a non-resident fellow of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund—the organization behind the Hamilton 68 project, an effort to track Russian disinformation campaigns on social media.

In a phone conversation with Ars, Watts said that the effort was "really rough" and focused mostly on raising the visibility on Twitter of hashtags such as #RussiaGate—hashtags used by Sean Hannity and other Trump supporters in posts supporting the President and dismissing the Mueller report's findings. Watts said that the messages were clearly targeted at a US audience.

One of the tweets distributed by the bot network read, "The people screaming about Trump working for Russia are the same people demanding social media censor 'misinformation', Stop listening to these people."

The renaming of the Twitter account was part of an effort to make it look like a legitimate news outlet. @TheGlobus was linked to the website theglobus.net, a now-empty site formatted as a news site. The domain for The Globus was registered through Tucows in October 2017 and was most recently updated in March—when it was moved behind the Cloudflare content distribution network.

A check of the timeline of the account from its last snapshot on April 20, 2019 on Internet Archive shows a series of news "stories" (without actual links to content) presenting positive messages about the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, negative stories about Iran and Turkey, and summaries of stories from Fox News and other sources about the Mueller investigation. The account only had 126 tweets but had 21.2 thousand followers—at least 5,000 of which appeared to be "bots."


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Speaker Pelosi Urges Caution on Impeachment as Some Democrats Begin to Push

Mod: Personally I think Donald should be hauled out the White House and thrown in a Washington DC holding pen with the rest of the common criminals, but that is just my opinion. And you know what those are usually worth. Unfortunately the world is a far more politically complex place.

Pelosi Urges Caution on Impeachment as Some Democrats Begin to Push (The New York Times link): Speaker Nancy Pelosi, confronting a Democratic divide over the findings of the special counsel, urged her caucus on Monday to hold off impeaching President Trump for now, even as she denounced the “highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior” that she said had dishonored his office.

Her comments, outlined in a letter to House Democrats on Monday and a subsequent conference call with them, seemed designed to increase support for the investigations already begun, rather than impeachment. But the conference call exposed the persistent divisions that Ms. Pelosi is trying to bridge, as several Democrats questioned the cost of not beginning the impeachment of Donald J. Trump.

The release last week of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, threw to Congress the fate of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Mr. Trump’s efforts to interfere with it. Some House Democrats are convinced that impeachment proceedings would be doomed to fall short of removal from office and therefore would only help the president politically. Others argue that failing to impeach would effectively signal to this president and his successors that serious misdeeds will be tolerated by a legislative branch fearful of political consequence.

Ms. Pelosi tried to convince her colleagues that they have tools to hold Mr. Trump to account without impeaching him. Underscoring Ms. Pelosi’s approach, the Democrat-led Judiciary Committee announced as the call began that it had subpoenaed Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel and one of the central figures of Mr. Mueller’s report, to appear at a public hearing in late May. The hearing, the committee’s chairman told colleagues, would be the first in a series of public sessions showcasing possible obstruction of justice, abuses of power and corruption in the Trump administration.

Representatives Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon and Steve Cohen of Tennessee raised another possibility: voting to censure the president, the people on the call said.

“We have to save our democracy. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy,” Ms. Pelosi told the 172 members who participated in the 87-minute conference call, keeping the possibility of impeachment alive. “If it is what we need to do to honor our responsibility to the Constitution — if that’s the place the facts take us, that’s the place we have to go.”


Monday, April 22, 2019

Poll: Attorney General William Barr didn't fool anyone with his cover up except Republicans

Mod: Disgraced Atty Gen'l Fudge Barr is getting crushed in the press now, and rightly so. But what makes his infamy even more deserved is just how ineffectual his attempts to cover-up Trump's crimes seem today.

Poll: Attorney General William Barr didn't fool anyone with his cover up except Republicans (Daily Kos link) Nearly 6 in 10 Americans still think Donald Trump obstructed justice, according to a newly released AP-NORC poll. Despite Attorney General William Barr's four-page cover up and Trump's weeks-long "total exoneration" tour, fully 58 percent of the nation thinks Trump interfered with the Russia investigation, while 40 percent do not believe that.

In other words, GOP voters and Trumpies believed Barr, but the rest of the population saw Barr's partisan ploy for exactly what it was. In fact, a Civiqs poll last week found that 53 percent of voters think Trump’s Justice Department is deliberately “trying to conceal” information from Robert Mueller’s original report.

Among Republicans, 10 percent more now say Trump is free of wrongdoing (65 this month vs. 55 percent last month) than before Barr issued his report; and 10 percent fewer Republicans say Trump did something unethical, 27 percent, down from 37 percent pre-report.

Other findings:

- 61 percent say the Justice Department has shared too little of Mueller’s report with the public, which suggests that Barr's ploy mostly backfired among everyone but Republicans; 55 percent also say more of the Mueller report should be shared with Congress.

- 53 percent want Congress to continue investigating (45 percent do not).

Trump's job approval rating is 39 percent approve vs. 60 percent disapprove in the poll, nearly unchanged since before the report. Importantly, that means that on the eve of at least some of Mueller’s report finally being released, Trump got no real bump from the Barr report—that's a bad sign for Trump.

Attorney General William Barr's pathetic performance (Chicago Tribune link): The attorney general of the United States is supposed to serve the interests of the American people, not the president. But in his briefing on the Mueller report, William Barr sounded like Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

The president could hardly have been better served if he had written Barr’s statement himself. Notable in the statement was a significant departure from the carefully parsed conclusion in his March 24 letter summarizing the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller. Then, Barr quoted the report: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Thursday, Barr went further, saying, “There was no evidence of Trump campaign ‘collusion’ with the Russian government’s hacking.”

It’s one thing to say the investigation didn’t confirm that something occurred, as Barr’s letter said, and another to say there is “no evidence” that it occurred. The phrase “no evidence” was conspicuously absent from the March 24 letter. If Mueller indeed found “no evidence” of collaboration, why didn’t Barr say so then? Today he appeared to be overstating something he was previously careful not to overstate.

Barr also went to great lengths to defend the president’s furious fulminations against Mueller and his obvious attempts to influence testimony by those connected with him and his campaign. Though “the president was frustrated and angry” at the investigation, Barr averred, in the end he “fully cooperated” with the probe.

Well, cooperation is in the eye of the beholder. Trump refused to submit to an interview with Mueller. Most investigative targets resent being investigated. And why does Barr praise him for doing what any other citizen would be legally obligated to do? The obvious answer: because he is trying to serve the president’s needs and interests.

One thing we’ve learned in the past two years is how hard it is to take a job in this administration without behaving like a Trump lackey. Thursday, Barr had a chance to demonstrate rigorous impartiality and independence. Instead, he ensured that like so many others, he will leave his office with his reputation seriously damaged.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Mueller report shows we don't have a cunning criminal in the Oval Office - we have a narcissistic imbecile

Mod: The Mueller Report has generated a lot of negative press for Trump. And, of course, he has reacted in his usual off the hinges kind of way. I'm pretty sure it is time we started seeing this as comedy. 

The Mueller report shows we don't have a cunning criminal in the Oval Office - we have a narcissistic imbecile (The Independent link): It’s worse than we thought; on balance, the Mueller Report appears to paint the US president as the perfect idiot, along with members of his team who did Putin’s bidding unbeknownst to them.

The special counsel ends his report with the following, somewhat chilling, conclusion: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

It goes on to say: “The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.”

The Mueller team concludes that they eventually decided not to reach any legal conclusions in large part because of the difficulties they faced in gathering evidence regarding the president’s actions and the intent behind those actions, as well as questions of fairness and complex US constitutional law issues.

Robert Mueller lays out the myriad difficulties that he and his team faced in gathering evidence for the investigation, including: lies to his investigators and to Congress, the admissibility of evidence, legally privileged information, the invocation of the Fifth Amendment in interrogations, etc. A seemingly impossible task for even the best team.

While the Mueller Report established that the Trump Campaign was aware of and, at times, knowingly accepted assistance from the Russian government in the 2016 presidential campaign election interference scheme, their actions did not necessarily rise a level that would meet the federal criminal definition of a “conspiracy”, or there was not enough evidence to sustain a conviction for federal campaign-finance offences.

Or, in the alternative, there just wasn’t the evidence to establish the conspiracy. This appears to be, by and large, because Trump and many of his team members were being played by the Russians and Wikileaks, unbeknownst to them. While Trump himself was being dog-walked by his staffers and family members.

I think the biggest takeaway from the report isn’t that Trump is some mastermind criminal, rather that an entire nation was duped by a team of Russian hackers that pried open our religious, racial and political fault lines and set us against one another like fighting chickens.

Russian hackers played on the ignorant, self-serving and lazy way we use social media, and the human being’s natural tendency to believe what one wants to believe and try to convince others of the same. We click “like” without reading, we share articles and infographics without investigating. We have been pawns in Vladimir Putin’s game of chess, and that goes from the average person in US town using social media to the president of the United States of America and his closest team members.

Let this report be a lesson to all Americans, and non-Americans alike – beware of what you read; beware of what you share. We are truly living in a dystopian society where words on a screen are taken at face value, unquestioned and repeated mechanically and systematically. Our incapacity to read critically is quite literally under attack.

So, I leave the question to my readers: is it not worse that the US president seems to have been merely a pawn in Putin’s chess game to influence US elections, along with much of the American public? Would it really have been more satisfying to find out that Trump Sr and /or members of his team actively conspired (as a legal term of art) to influence the US election results and interfere with the FBI’s investigation of alleged election interference?

I fear this outcome is much worse than having a cunning criminal sitting in the Oval Office. I fear having a narcissistic imbecile in the Oval Office is considerably more dangerous for all of us.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

All the News that gives Trump Fits: The New York Times Prints 'I'm Fucked' on Front Page

Mod: An actual truth from Donald Trump. And thanks to Robert Mueller he still is.

Trump approval drops 3 points to 2019 low of 37% after release of Mueller report: Reuters/Ipsos poll (Reuters link): The number of Americans who approve of President Donald Trump dropped by 3 percentage points to the lowest level of the year following the release of a special counsel report detailing Russian interference in the last U.S. presidential election, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll. The poll, conducted Thursday afternoon to Friday morning, is the first national survey to measure the response from the American public after the U.S. Justice Department released Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report that recounted numerous occasions in which Trump may have interfered with the investigation.

According to the poll, 37 percent of adults in the United States approved of Trump’s performance in office, down from 40 percent in a similar poll conducted on April 15 and matching the lowest level of the year. That is also down from 43 percent in a poll conducted shortly after U.S. Attorney General William Barr circulated a summary of the report in March.

In his report, Mueller said his investigation did not establish that the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russians. However, investigators did find “multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations.” While Mueller ultimately decided not to charge Trump with a crime, he also said that the investigation did not exonerate the president, either.


Friday, April 19, 2019

Trump Roast: The Obstruction Case Against Trump that Barr Tried to Hide

Mod: It is now clear that Mueller has written an instruction manual for Congress on how to impeach Trump for obstruction of justice. This despite all of the previous deceptive lip flap from Fudge Barr. In the end Trump was sunk by his own big stupid mouth, and has now left himself to the uncertain mercy of the United States Congress.

The Obstruction Case Against Trump that Barr Tried to Hide (Politico.com link): For nearly a month, the American public has been under the impression, thanks to a four-page "summary" by Attorney General William Barr, that Robert Mueller could not decide whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice because of “difficult questions of law and fact.” Barr suggested that the special counsel, after 22 months of investigation, simply couldn’t make up his mind and left it to his boss to decide.

Now that we have seen almost the entire report of more than 400 pages, we know Barr intentionally misled the American people about Mueller’s findings and his legal reasoning. As a former federal prosecutor, when I look at Mueller’s work, I don’t see a murky set of facts. I see a case meticulously laid out by a prosecutor who knew he was not allowed to bring it.

Mueller’s report detailed extraordinary efforts by Trump to abuse his power as president to undermine Mueller’s investigation. The case is so detailed that it is hard to escape the conclusion that Mueller could have indicted and convicted Trump for obstruction of justice—if he were permitted to do so. And the reason he is not permitted to do so is very clear: Department of Justice policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president.

Mueller still could have reached a conclusion regarding obstruction of justice, but he believed it would be unfair to reach a conclusion that Trump could not rebut in court. How do we know this? Because Mueller says it. If he had reached a conclusion that Trump obstructed justice, Mueller wrote, Trump could not go to court to obtain a “speedy and public trial” with the “procedural protections” afforded to a criminal defendant by the Constitution.

Though Mueller determined there was no “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, he makes clear that proving obstruction does not require the existence of such an underlying crime. There are many reasons, including fear of personal embarrassment, to explain why the president might have tried to impede the special counsel’s investigation. “The injury to the integrity of the justice system is the same regardless of whether a person committed an underlying wrong,” Mueller wrote. Moreover, Mueller’s team “found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations.”

But Barr hid these inconvenient facts.

Mod: The rest of the article is available at the link.