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If Trump takes the Fifth, what do Dems do?

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Let’s say that in the end Trump has no choice but to sit down with Mueller. Despite his current P.R. campaign, mouthed through the reptilian Giuliani, that he can’t be forced to testify, he can pardon himself, he can’t be subpoenaed, and so on, all of that silliness collapses, because the only people dumb enough (or cynical enough) to believe it are his low-information base and corrupt politicians like Devin Nunes. So this push to exonerate himself comes to naught, as well it should.

What then? Trump finds himself getting his fat ass dragged in front of Mueller, or perhaps in front of a Grand Jury, where he’s asked all sorts of embarrassing questions. Why did you fire Comey? Why did you tell Donald Jr. to write that letter? What about that Trump Tower meeting? And he can’t truthfully answer, because if he did, the path to obstruction of justice (and possibly collusion) is wide open for a prosecutor. So he replies with those infamous words:

I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate me.

Now, those are the same words Trump once called “the refuge of mobsters,” adding, If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” But that was then; this is now, and for a corrupt, mob-connected liar like Trump, consistency is not something he’s concerned with.

So what happens when he takes the Fifth?

Rightwing media, like Fox and Rush Limbaugh, hate covering anything that reflects badly on Trump. In fact, they usually don’t. There could be earth-shattering news about another Trump lie, or  another Trump firing, or another woman coming forward saying Trump molested her, but if you turn on Fox, they’ll be having some Republican hack attacking Hilary Clinton.

But if Trump takes the Fifth even Fox is going to have to report on it. Their guests will include Giuliani, who will assure the base that the Fifth Amendment was designed by the Founding Fathers to protect innocent victims, like his client Trump, from vindictive, politically-inspired witch hunts like Mueller’s. This is correct, in a sense—the Founders did wish to protect ordinary citizens from an over-zealous government. But if a Democratic President were to be in a similar situation to Trump’s and take the Fifth, you can imagine the howls of outrage that would erupt from Republicans. And besides, the Founders would be aghast that a President would invoke the Fifth in order to protect himself against criminal prosecution in which a mountain of evidence points towards “guilty.”

Giuliani is right, though, when he argues that, ultimately, this is going to come down to Impeachment, which is not really a legal process but a political one. The American people are the ultimate jury, Giuliani says, and they are the ones who will transmit their verdict to their elected representatives: The House members who vote to impeach and the Senators who conduct the actual trial.

And so “the education of the electorate” is currently underway, in preparation for that day. Trump has been a busy little bee for months, talking about witch hunts and unfairness, prepping his base to rise up if Mueller should force the issue. Democrats have been a little late to the party. There is no organized Democratic effort, the way there is an organized Republican effort, with their amen chorus and echo chamber. Instead, Democrats are depending on the generalized anger at Trump that their party feels. Democrats are leaving it to individual candidates to frame Trump-related issues: some call for impeachment, some actively advise against it, and most are silent, as they test the waters and await further developments.

There has been little, if any, Democratic discussion over what to do when Trump takes the Fifth. That reticence should end now. The official Democrat stance out to be a united and strong denunciation of such a move: No Democrat should be able to support Trump, and if one does, he or she ought immediately be put in the crosshairs of a recall.

Democrats, too, should already be having private conversations with their Republican friends in the Congress. Not all Republicans are insane; some actually love their country, believe in the rule of law, and hate seeing a rogue President running amok over the Constitution. With a few exceptions (Flake, McCain), however, most Republicans remain silent, but in Congress, and particularly in the Senate, friendship and collegial relationships count for a lot. Senators like Dianne Feinstein, who are respected on both sides, ought to be sitting with their Republican colleagues and speak from the heart, asking them, frankly, what their children and grandchildren will think of them if Trump takes the Fifth and they say nothing. There are some Republican Senators who are so far gone, so corrupt and intimidated and power-hungry, that they will allow Trump to do anything. But I think and hope that others, maybe not a majority but a sizable number, would stand up to Trump, along with Democrats, and figure out some way to stop Trump that’s not merely symbolic (a resolution of disapproval) but real and effectual. Of course, if Democrats retake either or both Houses this November, the task of stopping Trump will be much simpler, but Democrats need to start planning on what to do if the Houses remain Republican, and those private conversations should certainly be happening now.

 

 


From the personal diary of ROSEANNE BARR

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So I don’t care for the Blacks. Big Deal! Neither do lots of other white people; they just won’t admit it. But I’ll tell you, it’s hard being a conservative T.V. personality in this town. Hollywood is filled with ultra-libtards, like those two leftwing Jews, Rob Reiner and Steven Speilberg. Us conservatives—people like me, Mel Gibson, Pat Boone, Clint Eastwood and Caitlyn Jenner—are never invited to A-list parties. You’d think we were lepers! I don’t know why some of these stars are so communistic. With all their money, you’d think they’d want a government that lowers their taxes and keeps the lazy, stealing masses away from their gates! But no.

Anyhow, I don’t really care about losing the show. Hell, I’m worth $100 million, give or take a few million. I was perfectly happy on my macadamia farm in Hawaii, and I’ll be happy going back there now. There are very few, if any, Blacks, and I’ll have my Ambien with me, so all will be well.

I was so proud of President Trump for sticking up for me! That’s a true friend—not like those stab-in-the-back liberal goo-goos, Melissa Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman. I made their careers, Dear Diary! They were total nothingnesses when I picked them up out of the gutter and made them stars! So do I get a little gratitude? As if! Horrible people. Just like President Trump says, these Democrats are nasty bullies.

People ask, whatever happened to the old Roseanne? The pro-gay, pro-Black civil rights activist of the 1980s and 1990s? Well, she grew up, folks! Just like President Trump. He used to be a liberal, too, until he took off his rose-colored glasses and realized there are some really bad people in the world—not just Blacks, but Muslims, and Mexicans (I mean the rapists, not the nice young men who do my garden, and not Teresa, my maid). And don’t get me started on these hypocritical liberals like Chris Matthews who drone on and on about how wonderful Blacks are, and then retreat to their gated communities where the only Black people they ever see are—well, you never see Black people in gated communities! Look, I’m a comedienne! I make jokes! Sometimes my jokes are in poor taste! Hell, they’re nearly always in poor taste! That’s my thing. It’s the same thing Phyllis Diller did, and Joan Rivers. How come people never complained when Joan said Liz Taylor couldn’t fit through McDonald’s arches, she was so fat? Where were the plus-sized activists?

Hey, Diary, check out my twitter feed, by the way. Nothing but support from my followers. Here’s a typical one from FiredUpMAGAKAD.

“She apologized. Her livelihood has been devastated over night, but that apparently is not enough for the mob. Now the attacks have escalated on her & her fans to a level of nastiness that is uncalled for.”

So true. Thank you, FiredUpMAGAKAG! You see, that’s the thing. I’ve never been nasty. Yes, I push the limits in my comedy, but it’s not really nasty—it just sounds that way. Same with President Trump. Tell me one nasty thing he’s ever said or done? You can’t! The man is a fountain of wisdom, truth and love. But these Hollywood Jews, they’re the nasty ones! I also love this tweet from Robert Barnes: “The problem for the media in firing @therealroseanne & celebrating it publicly is it far too authentically represented the actual elitist worldview of a significant chunk of the anti-Trump base.” Now that’s a smart man. The people who are criticizing me are elitist ivory-league preppies who go to their Manhattan and Malibu cocktail parties and put down working people. Well, I love the working class! I come from them! True, I’ve made a lot of money—just like President Trump—but I never forgot my origins. And neither has the President. He started off with nothing and earned every dollar. He truly loves the working class, and what does he get for it? The Russia Witch Hunt.

Well, I’ll tell you, Dear Diary, I’m going to fight this thing. I guarantee you I’ll be back on T.V. pretty soon. I can’t go into details, but there have been talks between my people and Lachlan Murdoch, over at Twentieth Century Fox, about a series. Maybe I’ll have someone in blackface. That would be the ultimate revenge, wouldn’t it? A new Roseanne show, even more conservative than the one ABC canceled. You know, the more I think about this shit, the angrier I get. And besides, Dear Diary, Valerie Jarrett does look like the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes had a baby! That’s a great line, and nobody can tell me otherwise!!!

More tomorrow. Now, I have to go refresh my twitter feed.

 


Roseanne! An American Loser

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Roseanne Barr got huuuuge mileage with her pro-Trump stance when she launched her latest T.V. show. It quickly shot to the top of the charts, and the meme in the media was how Roseanne’s support of Trump was resonating with millions of red state Republicans across the country. The New York Times, referring to Barr’s “full-throated support for President Trump,” quoted her as saying things that, frankly, just are lies, like for instance when she insisted that Trump “is not homophobic at all. He doesn’t oppose same-sex marriage.” That is so at odds with the facts, it makes you wonder what universe Barr lives in. Trump told the gay magazine, The Advocate, “I think the institution of marriage should be between a man and a woman,” and then, just in case anyone misunderstood him, he told the now-fired Bill O’Reilly, on Fox, “I just don’t feel good about it [same-sex marriage]. I don’t feel right about it. I’m against it.”

Barr, as a Trump supporter and Republican, either isn’t in possession of the facts, or chooses which “facts” to believe and which to ignore. And, like her idol, Trump, she’s also not above insulting minorities, which brings us to the current incident. In a recent tweet—which Barr since has deleted—she said, Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” VJ was Valerie Jarrett, a senior Obama advisor who happens to be Black.

Well, there it is, in broad daylight, the essence of Donald Trump, and what he has enabled in America: the outright expression of racist and anti-Muslim slurs. It used to be that what we call “political correctness” limited people’s ability to voice their hatreds, because they were embarrassed by them in polite society. That was a good thing, because, while we may not be able to control how we feel about others, we can control our behavior, including our speech, in order to foster living together in peace and harmony in America. But Donald Trump hates political correctness. He thinks people ought to be encouraged to insult others, especially if those others are non-white, non-Christian, and non-straight. And Roseanne Barr buys right into that nonsense.

Well, poor Roseanne got slammed for her tweet, as well she should have! After pulling the offensive tweet, she replaced it with this one: “I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste.” And then she announced “I am now leaving Twitter.”

Buh-bye, Roseanne. We won’t miss you. Maybe you can convince your hero, Donald J. Trump, to follow you away from Twitter.

Look, for Roseanne to concede her joke was “in bad taste” makes me wonder why she didn’t understand that before she posted it. And the reason is exactly as I pointed out, above. Trump has normalized racist and religious intolerance (especially on social media). In fact, he’s practically encouraged his white Protestant followers to indulge in it.

* * *

About an hour after I began this post (yesterday, as you read it), came the Flash News that Roseanne’s show has been cancelled by ABC-TV, and that her own talent agency has dropped her. Sic temper bigots. This is a well-deserved repudiation of a racist asshole—Barr—but it is also a repudiation of the person who enabled her, her idol, Donald Trump. No doubt, the percentage of angry white Protestants that continues to love Trump (and Barr) will accuse ABC/Disney of knuckling under to libtards, or some such stupidity. Roseanne herself, after posting her slur, tweeted, “twitter is a dangerous place.”

No, Roseanne, it’s not twitter, it’s your mind that’s the dangerous place—a cesspool that you made indecently public on twitter. Maybe your hero, Donald Trump, will commiserate with you. Decent Americans will not. Good riddance to bad rubbish! Now, go back to your macadamia nut farm and leave us alone.


Trump’s good week

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From time to time I try to imagine what happens if Trump wins this fight. It’s not hard to see how it might unfold: Trump pulls off his Korea coup, denuclearizing the Peninsula (although he might not be forthcoming with us concerning what North Korea got in return). The economy continues to chug along; his polls rise above 50%.  The coup de grâce: Mueller issues a report that exonerates Trump (and his family) from any criminal activity. And then, the last straw: Democrats fail to win either House in November, as the fabled “Blue Wave” distintegrates.

It could all happen. In fact, I’d rate the chances at slightly more than 50% at this point. Democrats would be so demoralized, millions wouldn’t even bother voting in the election. Republicans, emboldened, would increase their taunts of liberals, further dejecting Democrats. Trump, unleashed, would feel triumphant; who knows what he (and a conservative Congress) would attempt. Ruth Bader Ginsburg might retire, giving conservatives a solid lock on the Supreme Court that would last for a generation. And then rightwing extremists like Nunes turn their fury on Democrats, holding every sort of conceivable hearing, re-opening Hillary charges, impeaching at will.

The reason I’m thinking along these lines is because Trump’s had a good week–several good weeks, in fact. The Stormy Daniels scandal has largely faded from the headlines (although it could burst forth again at any time). A summit with Kim seems back on the table. Iran seems to be on the back burner, and anyway, no one likes Iran, not even liberals. There have been few if any recent revelations from the various Mueller probes: no new indictments, very little “breaking news” about the latest outrages, not even fresh rumors. Trump’s poll numbers continue to inch up.

I have to confess he’s starting to impress me with the sheer tenacity with which he fights. His unscrupulousness is breathtaking, his cunning and ingenuity positively reptilian. His self-confidence is off the charts. When he was first sworn in, people used to say, “Let’s not normalize his behavior.” Well, I think that bus has left the station. He has become the new normal and more and more Americans seem to like it that way. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s morally repugnant and utterly unfit to be president, and I think a lot of the Republican leadership who continue to enable him should be hauled in front of a Nuremberg-style court and be forced to defend themselves—and, of course, there is no defense they can offer!

But right now I’m worried. He’s recovering, and I can see no sign on the horizon that threatens his popularity with his base. Except for one thing:

Mueller.

It’s scary that we’ve put all our eggs in that one basket. And yet, here we are: depending on one man, of whom we know little except that he’s supposed to be really good at his job. But even Mueller can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. It may be that what Trump and his family did was ugly, unethical, amoral, of questionable taste, and the very definition of “the swamp.” Still, it may not have been illegal. That thought haunts me.

I’ll tell you this: If he and the Republicans come out of this unscathed—indeed, more powerful—I’ll have to think seriously about my next move. We’ve waited more than a year for the majority of Americans to come to their senses and realize that Donald J. Trump is a disgusting pig. Despite all the evidence, that isn’t happening. I’ve long urged my readers to fight, fight, fight, never give up, don’t stop resisting! I still hope. But insanity appears to have taken over this country. Maybe this is how democracies and republics end. The parallels with Germany in the 1930s come constantly to mind. I’ve never seen any research, but I’ll bet that the overwhelming majority of pro-Trump Americans are of German and Western European descent. These are white, Protestant men (and the women who are subservient to them) who are used to running things, and hate seeing their power—which has been exclusively in their hands for millennia—slip away. The same people, in other words, who launched Hitler to power.

I hate to sound so defeatist, but we in The Resistance have had a horrible few weeks. Please, Mr. Mueller, do something!


Concerning that FBI “spy”…

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Why wouldn’t the FBI have inserted an informant into the Trump campaign, if they (the FBI) had good reason to believe there was illegal hanky-panky going on? That’s what the FBI does, for crying out loud—it investigates.

What sort of hanky-panky? Well, for starters, the FBI was hearing all sorts of nefarious stories about mysterious and disturbing connections between top Trump campaign managers and the Trump family with enemy foreign governments, especially Russia. They had the Steele dossier, from a respected source, much of which has turned out to be true. They had background material on Trump associates who were as sleazy and mob-connected a bunch of grifters as any the FBI had ever encountered (Hello, Michael Cohen). And they had Trump himself, with his outrageous lies and vast history of cons. So, I repeat: Why wouldn’t the FBI be curious about what was going on?

And, of course, they were. Any law-abiding, patriotic American would expect the nation’s top law enforcement agency to investigate what looked like a huge crime, happening in broad daylight, at the upper echelons of the campaign of the Republican nominee for President. To have turned a blind eye to such unprecedented events would have been the gravest dereliction of duty in the agency’s history.

And now the central figure in this intrigue, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, pretends to be outraged that “a spy” was informing on his campaign! Trump has been frantically searching for something, anything to throw shade on the Mueller investigation (and on the Justice Department that allows it to continue). His lie about Obama wiretapping Trump Tower kept Fox News, Breitbart and Rush Limbaugh in orgiastic nirvana for a few days, until its utter falseness caused it to collapse. There followed the months of “witch hunt!” which similarly have led nowhere, except to cheer on diehard Trump supporters who would celebrate him even if (as he once said) he were to shoot a bunch of innocent people in the middle of Fifth Avenue. And now, this “spy” ridiculousness.

For a little taste of how Republicans are playing the “spy” story, look no further than yesterday’s lead editorial in the right wing’s favorite newspaper, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal. It does not dispute that the FBI had (and has) the legal right and duty to investigate the activities of individuals who appear to be breaking major U.S. laws. Instead, it plays to the Trumpian lie that any investigation of him, his family or his campaign by the FBI is “partisan politics.” Well, it’s only partisan when it’s Trump whose ox is being gored. When he calls for the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton, it’s not partisan politics! ROTFLOL.

The Wall Street Journal goes blithely on. We can’t recall a similar case, even in the J. Edgar Hoover days, when the FBI decided it needed to snoop on a presidential campaign.” Perhaps that’s because never before in our history has there been so much evidence of collusion between a presidential campaign and a hostile power. The Wall Street Journal notes with pleasure that “Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Chairman, is seeking documents to learn exactly what happened,” the same Devin Nunes who is likely to be charged with obstruction of justice for leaking House minutes to the White House in the middle of the night, and who has faithfully tried to obstruct and impede the Mueller investigation every step of the way. (So unpopular has Nunes become in his own California district that “his seat is no longer considered ‘safe Republican,’” The Hill reports.)

But for me, the most outrageous part of this “spy” fabrication is the Wall Street Journal’s demand that “The public deserves to know who tasked the informant to seek out Trump campaign officials, what his orders were, what the justification was for doing so, and who was aware of it.” It’s easy to see through their ploy. It doesn’t matter to the Trump crowd what actually happened in the campaign, what laws Trump and his associates violated, or what the Russian government did to interfere with our election. The answers to those things would get Trump into trouble. Therefore, distract attention from those things by inventing fake news that rightwing media can repeat over and over and over, Goebbels-like, the Big Lie which, if restated enough, will convince some people that maybe, just maybe there’s fire behind that smoke.

There isn’t fire, of course. Whatever the FBI did was legal, sound and appropriate. The FBI investigates when it believes serious crimes have been committed. This is why the FBI eventually dropped all interest in Hillary Clinton: She never committed any crimes, despite the “Crooked Hillary” smear campaign that Trump led and continues to resort to. The FBI has not, however, dropped interest in Donald J. Trump, and for good reason: the evidence of his crimes, and those of his associates, continues to mount with each passing day.

 


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