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Trump isn’t denying obstructing justice. Why not?

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Donald Trump keeps insisting, “No collusion!” but notice how he never says “No obstruction!” Why is that?

When he says “No collusion!” he’s inoculating his base against the possibility that Mueller says there was collusion. Then Trump can say, “Fake news! Lies from a failing Special Counsel and a crooked F.B.I.! Don’t believe it!” And we’ll have a huge fight over whether or not there was collusion. Did Jared and Donald Jr. take those meetings as “unwitting participants” or were they fully conscious of the illegality of what they were doing? Did Trump concoct that phony memo on Air Force One as part of a secret deal with Russia? Was there a quid pro quo between Trump and Putin whereby Putin would conceal whatever leverage he has over Trump, in exchange for Trump dropping the sanctions? Those things would constitute “collusion” but the Republican/Breitbart party will never concede an inch, not even in the face of an avalanche of evidence. So it’s understandable why Trump keeps repeating “No collusion!” over and over. It’s a form of brainwashing—of tenderizing his base.

But why don’t we hear him saying “No obstruction”? This is harder to answer, and the best I can do is offer some speculation. For one thing, it’s increasingly apparent that there was obstruction of justice, or at least the attempt, by a broad swath of Team Trump: himself, of course, but also including Jared, Don Jr., Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Sanders, Jeff Sessions, Trump’s lawyers, Devin Nunes and who knows how many others who have tried, repeatedly, to stop the investigation.

Given that we can reasonably expect a charge of obstruction by Mueller, how come Trump isn’t inoculating his base against that? I confess to being genuinely puzzled. His reluctance to say “No obstruction” probably comes from his lawyers’ advice as well as from his own instincts. He may believe sincerely that none of the things he did—firing Comey, especially—amounts legally to an obstruction of justice. He may believe sincerely that he can do whatever he wants in his executive capacity as president. He may feel that to deny obstructing justice gives a hint of legitimacy to the charge, and he does not wish to do that; it’s kind of like asking, “When did you stop beating your wife?” Anything he says makes him sound culpable, so he says nothing. Or it may be because his lawyers fully expect Mueller to charge him with obstruction, and they don’t want a denial of obstruction by the perp to be seen as furtherance of the obstruction conspiracy.

We may never know why Trump has been so mute on the obstruction issue, but what matters isn’t what he has or hasn’t said or done, it’s what he will do when and if Mueller charges him with obstruction of justice. If the past is prelude to the future, we know that Trump will deny it. He’ll take to Twitter and throw out every smokescreen he can. He’ll smear the F.B.I. for letting Nikolas Cruz slip through their fingers. He and his surrogates will throw dirt at Mueller, at Rod Rosenstein, at whomever they target as their enemy du jour. He’ll let Fox “News” and rightwing talk radio rile up the base and turn them against Democrats, law enforcement and liberals. And he may even have additional help if we can’t figure out a way to stop the Russian trolls from continuing to interfere in our politics. Fake hashtags will start appearing: #NoObstruction, #Exonerated, #LetHimGovern. Demonstrations will be organized by Russian agents masquerading as real Americans, and those demonstrations will be attended by real Americans who don’t even know they’re being manipulated.

Trump is terrified by impending charges of obstruction, but the Queens street brawler in him is also weirdly turned on. He’ll always depend on the formula for fighting that’s worked for him in the past: If someone attacks you, hit back ten times harder. And, in the end, he knows that the only way to conclusively determine obstruction of justice is to get inside his head and find out what his motives really were. This is going to be the next national soap opera. Looks like we’ll spend the rest of 2018 in a really eerie place: Donald Trump’s mind. Eeeww. Wear your hazmat suit.


Rebekah Mercer tries to hide her real agenda. Don’t buy it

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You might have heard of the Mercer family. They’re one of the ultra-rich billionaire clans, like the Kochs and Adelsons, on the radical-right side of the political spectrum that funnels secret cash into arch-Republican causes. Jane Mayer, in her sensational 2017 book, Dark Money, describes the patriarch, Robert Mercer, this way: “He had long held the [American] government in low regard and shared the Koch [Brothers’] antipathy toward government regulations.” Mercer led the effort to prevent a mosque from being built near Ground Zero, in Manhattan; he “shared deep skepticism about global warming”; and he “paid for ads that manipulated voters’ fears about terrorism and Medicare.”

The Mercers also are “one of the main stakeholders in Breitbart News,” according to the New Yorker magazine, which called the family part of “a tiny group of mega-donors” to the Republican Party who routinely take advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, in which the Court’s Republican majority ruled that unlimited amounts of secret funding can be channeled anonymously into political campaigns. In the 2016 election cycle, the Mercers contributed at least $22.5 to Republican candidates—and that’s only their disclosed donations. That amount is likely dwarfed by the dark money no one will ever know about. In fact, as Steve Bannon himself told Mayer, when you look at the [Republican] donors during the past four years, [the Mercers] have had the single biggest impact of anybody, including the Kochs.”

The Mercers have come under heavy attack from liberals and Constitutionalists, which seems to be why Robert’s daughter, Rebekah, last Thursday wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. Entitled Forget the Media Caricature. Here’s What I Believe,” it is part apologia, part propaganda: her reply to the “absurd smears” from “gullible, but vicious characters” that describe her family as “racist, anti-Semitic and anti-science.”

Rebekah begins with the kind of standard platitudes we’ve come to expect from someone defending her character. “I believe in a kind and generous United States, where the hungry are fed, the sick are cared for, and the homeless are sheltered.” That sounds pretty good: Barack Obama might have said it. Sounding more and more like a Democrat, Rebekah adds, “I reject as venomous and ignorant any discrimination based on race, gender, creed, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

All well and good so far. But does the Mercer family’s actual behavior match Rebekah’s inspiring words? Unfortunately, the secretive nature of their funding makes it very difficult to uncover just where all their money and influence goes. But here are some things we know.

For starters, notice how Rebekah’s “I reject” list, above, doesn’t include “discrimination” based on religion, as you’d expect a full list to do. That’s because she does discriminate against Muslims, as proven by her anti-mosque stance.

What else? The Mercers are super anti-Clintonites, although they’ve never been able to explain just why. Mercer millions went to a lawsuit against the Clinton Foundation between 2012-2014, for access to the group’s emails, in a failed effort to delegitimize Hillary Clinton and hand the government over to low-taxing Republicans.

The Mercers also are prime backers of a shadowy organization, the Government Accountability Institute, whose publications were an influential source of talking points for Trump allies during this election cycle, providing fodder for one of Trump’s early salvos against Clinton in a speech in June and regularly populating the pages of Breitbart.” (Rebekah Mercer is on the GAI’s board.) The Mercers also consistently back white supremacist groups; as the website Flagpole reports, “Trump and Breitbart”—both of whom benefit from Mercer money—“serve as ‘bridges’ to white supremacy” through the Mercer’s continued support of racists like Milo Yiannopoulos.

The Mercers initially backed Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination, so it’s fair to look at Cruz’s record as a reflection of the Mercers’ beliefs. Cruz was the only Senator to vote against any form of a path to citizenship for the Dreamers.

So much for no discrimination based on race and ethnicity!

When the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, Cruz said the issue would be “front and center” in his own presidential campaign. Calling the ruling “the very definition of tyranny,” he urged states to ignore it and outlaw gay marriage anyway.

So much for no discrimination against sexual orientation!

Cruz led the fight in the Senate against food stamps.

So much for treating the poor with “dignity and compassion.” So much for “a kind and generous United States”!

Cruz introduced the “Obamacare Repeal Act” to “repeal the Affordable Care Act as if such Act had not been enacted.”

So much for a country “where the sick are cared for.”

In a First Amendment case testing the limits of government sponsorship of Christianity, Cruz represented the American Legion in arguing in favor of a cross that had been erected in the Mohave Desert—a decision that was upheld by the Republican majority on the Supreme Court. And yet Cruz called for more funding of police “to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

So much for “treating all people with dignity and compassion.”

It’s only natural, I suppose, to want to defend your name when it’s been called into question in the media. That is Rebekah Mercer’s right. But what she cannot evade are the facts: her family supports the wrong values, the wrong causes, the wrong candidates, the wrong vision of America. Despite her pious homilies in the Wall Street Journal, Rebekah Mercer’s money funds the anti-science, tea party anger, nationalist ignorance and white supremacism of the far right wing of the Republican Party. She can put lipstick on a pig. But it’s still a pig.

 


From the Personal Diary of Donald J. Trump

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Dear Diary,

Somebody said I don’t care about those 17 dead people in the Florida school. Well, that’s #FakeNews! It’s not true! I do care. After all, with all those bodies piled up, it makes me look bad when I say we don’t need new gun control laws.

What does the liberal media want, anyhow? Now they’re complaining that I didn’t talk directly about this shooting. Well, I tweeted about it, didn’t I? I called it “terrible” and sent my “prayers and condolences” to the families. And then I gave a speech which I practiced in front of Ivanka, who told me to look as sad as I could. Which, by the way, I did. Isn’t that enough? Does the New York Times want me to open a wrist? I mean, come on. These things happen. It’s not my fault. It’s not the fault of my good friend, Wayne LaPierre. If it’s anybody’s fault, it’s the killer’s classmates and friends, who didn’t rat him out to the authorities. But, basically, it’s nobody’s fault. It just is, like the weather. Besides, there’s actually an upside, when you think about it: That school will have smaller class sizes.

Memo to self: We should send a team down to that school to register the surviving kids as Republicans. I’m told that they’re “traumatized,” so they’re open to suggestion. Now is the time for our people to tell them that the Republican Party would have prevented this awful tragedy, and that it’s the Democrats who aided and abetted it. Hillary and Obama made this happen, with their globalist elitism. And wasn’t that killer kid’s name “Cruz”? I bet he was undocumented. A big, beautiful wall on the southern border would have kept him out!

Look, there are much more important things for me to work on. We have to build that wall so that these rapist and criminal Mexicans can’t get into our great country. That’s the threat, not guns! People always freak out that the U.S. has so many gun deaths and mass shootings. Well, the answer to that (and I have to thank Wayne for pointing it out to me) is more guns, not less! Just think, if those students down in Florida all had automatic guns, they would have killed that dumbass Cruz before he could do any more shooting. Maybe even before he could shoot! They all knew he was a creepy perv. My dad always used to tell me, “Donny, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s still true.

By the way, it’s funny that the shooter’s last name is “Cruz.” Wonder if he’s related to Lyin’ Ted? I bet he is. Pompeo told me the kid was probably a lib-symp. That makes sense. Conservatives are peaceful. It’s the snowflake libtards that stir things up. Look at that awful Maxine Waters, with her fright wig. There’s a trouble-maker for you!

Diary, I know that the left is going to come down on me hard and demand tougher gun laws, like prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list from getting guns. But I’m not gonna knuckle under, as long as Wayne tells me not to. He gave me $21 million to get elected and, like the old saying goes, you have to dance with the one that brung you.

I had Wayne up to Bedminster a few months ago for a round of golf. I asked him, “Gun Boy (that’s what I call him), what would it take for the N.R.A. to change its hardline position on gun control?” Wayne said nothing would make him change his mind. I said, “What if instead of 40,000 murders a year there were 100,000?”

“Nope.”

“Half a million?”

“Nope.”

“A million? Two million?”

“Nope.”

“Ten million?”

“Mr. President,” Gun Boy said, “it would depend. Who are these ten million getting killed? Are they libtard snowflakes? Queers? Dark-skinned people? Jews? Illegal Mexican aliens? Abortion doctors? Environmental wackos? Terrorists? Athletes who take a knee? The Congressional Black Caucus? Frankly, sir, we could eliminate that type from America and we’d be better off.”

See what I mean, Dear Diary? Wayne is a smart guy. Of course, you can’t say stuff like that in public. But my supporters at Breitbart hear the dog whistles. They love me, they have guns, they’re mad as hell, and they vote! God bless America!

 


The 3 types of Republican

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There are 3 main groupings of Republicans. They are:

  1. Rich greedheads. You know who I mean. The Mercers, Kochs, Adelsons and others of that ilk. These are the people whose dark money fuels Republican politicians who then vote to lower their income taxes, eliminate the inheritance tax, and do other mean things to ensure that their precious fortunes are never shared with anybody. I’ve known quite a few billionaires. Some may be socially liberal, but for the most part they donate to Republicans because they’d rather be able to buy another mansion or jet aircraft than pay a little bit more in taxes. Their greed is unconscionable; they lock up tens of billions of dollars we could spend on socially advanced causes; they are the kind of people the French rose up against during the French Revolution and sent to the guillotine.
  2. White supremacists and nationalists. Think of someone like Roy Moore or Joe Arpaio. These people have a predilection to dislike anyone who’s not Caucasian. They also tend to have issues with women, due to their machismo psychology. They’re been taught to believe that their culture is superior to that of foreigners, especially from “shithole countries.” They boast about being “Americans” and how much they love their country, but they’re often uneducated, and don’t know much about our history. They love country music, guns and the flag-waving commercials they see watching NASCAR on T.V.
  3. Christian extremists. These are the bible-thumping chestbeaters who manage to find passages in the bible that justify their hatred of “the other.” They are your typical gay-bashers. They’re anti-abortion, even though they don’t hesitate to have their own wives, daughters and girlfriends get abortions when they knock them up but don’t want to deal with a baby. They’re the most anti-science of all Americans, often believing that Adam and Eve and little Cain and Abel played with brontosauruses in the Garden of Eden. They’re extremely intolerant, and condemn anyone who doesn’t agree with them to hell. They say “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” but you know they’d love to punish “sinners” like they did in the Inquisition: Pray for their souls while they burn at the stake.

Of course, these three groupings can overlap. Second Amendment freaks, who refuse to permit even the slightest laws prohibiting crazy people or terrorists from obtaining weapons, tend to be found in all three groups. An example of overlapping #2 and #3 is Michael Pence, the current Vice President, a truly weird and bizarre specimen. It’s rare for any one individual to qualify for all three groupings. One who does is Donald J. Trump, although he’s probably not a pure example in that. While he calls himself a believing Christian, he’s lying, the way he lies about everything else. Trump only discovered Christianity when he realized he needed evangelicals, Catholics and Mormons to vote for him.

It’s difficult to figure out how to deal with these three groupings. We can always elect Democrats and then drastically raise taxes on rich greedheads, and that’s something we ought to and will do. As for the white nationalists and Christian fanatics, I’m afraid there are no laws that can control them. All we can do is reduce their numbers to the smallest degree possible, in order to isolate them to little enclaves, where they won’t be able to do much damage.

I have a dream that, county by county, voting district by voting district, we can paint those little red squares on the U.S. election map blue. I believe that a Blue Wave is sweeping America; we need to focus and strengthen it so that it peaks on Election Day next November. When we retake both Houses of Congress, we can enact strong, effective gun control laws so that massacres like the one that just happened in Florida will be reduced. If Trump is still president next year (I hope not, but he might be), he would no doubt veto it, but if we can elect Democrats in veto-proof numbers, it won’t matter. After we regain the Congress, Trump will ride out his remaining days in office in ignominy and feebleness, with Democrats overseeing him carefully to make sure he doesn’t get out of line. Day One of the new Congress: pass a law requiring him to immediately release his income taxes and all the details of his shady business practices and those of the Kushner family. Wouldn’t that be great!

Wanted for accessory to mass murder: Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr.


“Speaking truth to power”: The Trump sex tapes

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Yesterday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing with the country’s six intelligence chiefs was a real eye opener. In case you missed it, every one of the chiefs testified that (a) they’re terribly worried about Russian meddling in the 2018 elections and (b) they already have strong evidence that Russia is in the process of doing so.

Here are the chiefs:

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats

CIA Director Mike Pompeo

FBI Director Christopher Wray

National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers

Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Robert Cardillo.

I take it for granted that these are all good men. They’re patriots who love their country and, regardless of their political affiliations, they don’t want to see Russia determining the outcome of our elections.

Unfortunately, the hearing was a hot, embarrassing mess. Everyone admitted the urgency; no one had the slightest idea what to do about it. It was like a bunch of people helplessly watching a fire burn down their homes. While they’re screaming and crying, the fire rages out of control, and the arsonist escapes.

Typical was this comment by Mike Pompeo, the arch-conservative Republican who now heads the Central Intelligence Agency. Asked by a Senator what America should do about the meddling, Pompeo replied, “It’s complicated problem. We do need a U.S. government strategy and clear authority to go achieve that strategy.”

“If only the president would say that,” replied Angus King, the Maine independent, putting the problem in a nutshell. “I just wish you all could persuade the president, as a matter of national security” to “confront this threat, when the leader of the government continues to deny that it exists.”

And yet, Pompeo continued, there is no “clear authority” for a solution from the only person in America who possesses that authority: the President of the United States.

These intelligence chiefs, in whose hands the safety and lives of ourselves and our families, friends and children rests, could do nothing but express their fears and confess their feebleness.

Hey, I’m just an ordinary citizen, but here’s how it looks to me—and, I suspect, to you. Russia has attacked America in a soft but dangerous way: through our elections. They’re doing it again this year, and could even hack their way into ballot boxes and determine the outcome of individual Congressional races. The entire U.S. intelligence community swears that this is an existential threat to our country. Most of the Congress believes it’s a threat. Meanwhile, the president of the United States, as Sen. King said, “continues to deny that [the threat] exists.”

This is an amazing, grave, unprecedented situation. How come Republicans in Congress aren’t more upset? For that matter, how can the six intelligence chiefs just show up for work every day—and keep in mind, they work for Trump–knowing that their warnings are being utterly disregarded by a president who is acting in concert with Russian—not American—geopolitical strategy?

Why don’t those intelligence chiefs scream bloody murder? Set their hair on fire on live T.V.? Tell the American people that the current president would appear to be in collusion with the Kremlin?

Nobody knows why Trump is doing what he’s doing. He’s never been able to explain it. He’s said that the world is better off if America and Russia are friends, which surely is true: Winston Churchill and F.D.R. said the same thing 75 years ago, and both tried their best to cozy up to Stalin. But it didn’t work. Stalin—cagier, craftier, more skilled at realpolitik than either of his Allied colleagues—kept his eye on the ball: increasing Russian power. No idealistic talk for him, no grand visions of fairness and unity, no misty-eyed dreams of kumbaya. Only raw, unfiltered, brute power.

Today, Putin, Stalin’s spiritual heir, is playing the game the same way. He understands how mistrusted he is among our government’s elite: the intelligence chiefs and Congressional leaders, not to mention former presidents, who see right through him. But Putin also understands that he has the ultimate weapon on his side: Donald J. Trump. As long as Putin has Trump protecting him, Putin and his colleagues are safe. They can go ahead and worm their way into our elections and get away with it.

Given Trump’s spectacular inability to explain his inaction with regard to Russian meddling, a reasonable person can infer only one thing: Putin is bringing extraordinary pressure to bear upon Trump. Trump has so much to lose by supporting Russian meddling that you have to assume he wouldn’t do it unless he were scared to death of something far more threatening to him. What could it be?

There’s only one rational conclusion. The dossier…the Russian prostitutes…it’s all just a rumor, right? Unless there’s proof that it actually happened. And there’s only one kind of proof that could be convincing: a videotape.

There’s every reason to think that the president of the Russian Federation is blackmailing the president of the United States of America by promising to withhold from publication the Trump sex tapes. If Donald Trump will resist all U.S. attempts to counter Russian meddling in our internal affairs, Vladimir Putin will keep the videotape secret. If Trump does anything counter to Russian interests, it would be easy for Putin’s agents to see to it that the videotape ends up in the hands of, say, Reuters, from whence it would be published for all the world to see. In that event, Trump’s presidency would come to an immediate end. He would be arrested and tried and probably executed for treason. His family would come apart, his businesses collapse, his legacy destroyed. This is Donald Trump’s overwhelming fear; it explains everything. He must fight it with everything he has.

And fighting he is, like a cornered sewer rat. That’s to be expected from an outer-borough brawler. The ugly, sad thing is that Trump’s street gang now includes, not just the complicit Republican Party, but, with yesterday’s testimony, the U.S. intelligence community.

I’ll conclude with this observation from John McLaughlin, former CIA Acting Director, which he made on MSNBC following the hearing: “What the American people are seeing here is the intelligence community speaking truth to power.” It’s the least the Trump Six could do. Now it’s up to Congressional Republicans to put country before party and demand the truth from a rogue president.

 

 

 


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