They’re Getting Sick Of Winning

On the July 30 episode of Game of Thrones, Queen Daenerys met Jon Snow and they were locked in tense negotiations over his desire for aid against the White Walkers versus her demand for fealty. Meanwhile, Queen Cersei’s new ally and Yara’s main enemy Euron Greyjoy captured Yara and the remaining Dornish leaders to parade through King’s Landing, eventually to be tortured. Cersei was told by the Bank of Braavos to pay her outstanding debts. Daenerys kept Jon on hold long enough to execute Tyrion’s plan to take the Lannister stronghold of Casterly Rock, only to find that Jaime Lannister had already decided to sacrifice the castle and use his family army to defeat Daenerys’ ally, House Tyrell, who also happened to be the richest family in the Seven Kingdoms, thus solving the bank problem. And out of courtesy Jaime agreed to let Dame Tyrell poison herself rather than be tortured, only for the old woman to tell him that she’d poisoned King Joffrey (Jaime’s incestuous son) for everyone’s good.

This is simpler to follow than the Trump Administration.

Where did this all begin? Well, a bunch of people in Hillary Clinton’s “firewall” states decided to mainline Alex Jones with a Rush Limbaugh chaser and gave the government a lobotomy. But this specific thread of events started with Donald Trump getting increasingly fed up with his press flack, Sean Spicer and pushing him further and further away from the press. Eventually Trump “solved” the problem by creating a new Commuincations Director, Anthony Scaramucci, who actually went by the nickname “the Mooch.” Which would make him the most aptly named public figure since Andy Dick. Trump seemed to have appointed Scaramucci to this role because he liked his style. It turned out he had all of Donald Trump’s entertainment value and none of his common sense. In a now-legendary phone conversation with Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker, The Mooch not only went through several New York Italian turns of verse, he attacked White House leakers in general and (alleged) Chief of Staff Reince Preibus in particular, saying “Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.” And lo, Preibus was made to resign around July 27, just after Scaramucci’s oratory was made public. The problem was that now Trump needed a chief of staff, and by either advice or his own inclination he decided to make his current Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly the new Chief of Staff, and one Kelly’s priorities seems to be getting grownups in charge. Certain people in the White House were embarrassed by The Mooch (obviously not Trump, or he wouldn’t have fired Preibus so quickly after The Mooch roasted him) and apparently at Kelly’s behest Tony the Mooch JUST resigned his office today. So even though he would have been SO MUCH FUN to watch in the job, Scaramucci wasn’t a very good Communications Director, unless the message being communicated was “this Administration is a Monty Python sketch directed by Martin Scorsese.”

Even then, that was just an especially colorful coating of the real news from the last ten days, which was the defeat of Trumpcare in the Senate. Prior to the vote to allow debate on a bill, it had already been categorically opposed by several senators, some of whom, like Rand Paul, were persuaded to change their minds. Two who didn’t were both moderate Republican women: Senator Susan Collins (R.-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R.-Alaska). With only 52 Republican Senators possible to vote for Mitch McConnell’s “reconcilation” maneuver, and all 48 Democrats set to vote against letting it to the floor, McConnell could not allow more than two defections if he wanted the vote to proceed, or for any bill to pass. McConnell and Trump desperately called Sen. John McCain (R.-Arizona) to come and vote for the bill even though he was recuperating from cancer surgery back home. But for the sake of his party, McCain came to Washington. He made a big show of endorsing “regular order” and the old bipartisan negotiation for bills, but on July 24 voted with 49 other Republicans and against Collins, Murkowski and the Democrats to allow the motion to proceed. With Vice President Mike Pence as the Senate tie-breaker, McConnell was able to proceed with votes for a bill that didn’t exist. So they voted for a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. That got only 43 Republican votes. Then they voted on a “clean” repeal that would be phased in two years, ostensibly to give Republicans time to create a replacement plan as if they hadn’t had seven years already. That one got 45 votes. Then McConnell’s people came up with a vaguely promised “skinny” repeal that would have repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate but not Medicaid expansion. On Thursday July 27, after liberals had had much wailing and gnashing of teeth over McCain letting things get to this point, the skinny repeal got a mostly party-line vote with Collins and Murkowski voting against it – along with McCain.

Collins and Murkowski had no reason to march with the Republican herd, because of their constituencies, and several reasons to go against it. McCain had that more reason to go against this White House, if not Republicans in general, and yet he kept us in suspense.

Why did McCain have his agony at Gethsemane for the better part of a week when he could have just shut the whole thing down by voting Nay for a floor debate? Because as it turns out, that wouldn’t have been the end of it.  Basically, McConnell, as is his way, tried to gin the result he wanted by eliminating Democrats from a process that is designed to work via negotiation. Most budget bills require a two-thirds majority in the Senate. But both chambers can request a reconcilation debate which allows a bill to pass with only a simple majority in the Senate (51 votes) and no filibustering. However such a special bill gets only 20 total hours floor debate, and- this is the key- only one such reconciliation bill can be proposed in any given year.

Had the bill never been allowed to get to the floor, McConnell could have potentially brought it up at a later time. Now that the bill has been debated, another bill cannot be proposed except through “regular order” – a standard Senate debate with two-thirds vote, which would require working with Democrats to get anywhere. And McCain knew all this.

Of course, it is still not clear whether McCain’s stunt was motivated by serious disagreements with the Republican approach to legislation or because of desire for revenge on a politician who’d insulted him and other POWs by saying “I like heroes who weren’t captured.” Because the two matters may be related.

Again, the latest Trumpcare effort crashed on July 27, and that was the same day Preibus was fired by Trump. Most of the reason that Preibus was even in the White House was as a liason to the Republican establishment, given that in 2016, he was the head of the Republican National Committee. In particular, he was a friend of House Majority Leader Paul Ryan, and allegedly Trump was persuaded by Priebus to focus on Ryan’s healthcare “reform” over other legislative priorities, even though Trump himself had little involvement in the healthcare issue and to the extent that he did, his whims were more populist than fiscally conservative. The failure of the healthcare drive was the last straw for Preibus as Chief of Staff. However useless he was, he was the only tie Trump had to the rest of the Republican institution. And now that’s gone.

Moreover, this all comes in the wake of other bad news from the Republican Party. In conjunction with Democrats, both houses of Congress passed veto-proof majorities for a bill to expand sanctions on Russia and in particular to limit Trump’s power to modify the sanctions without congressional approval. And in response to rumors that Trump would fire his Attorney General in order to find someone who would fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Senator Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa), no liberal he, announced on Twitter “Everybody in D.C. (should) be warned that the agenda for the (Judiciary Committee) is set for rest of 2017. Judges first subcabinet 2nd / AG no way”. In other words, if Trump wants to hire a stooge who will help him obstruct justice, the Republican Senate will not help him.

When you’re a politician, you aim to run for office in hopes of boosting your resume to run for Congress. You run for Congress in hopes of running for Senate. And you run for Senate in hopes of getting elected President. But very few people get to be president, and sometimes these career politicians reach a point in their lives, like McCain has, where they realize that’s not going to happen. And when they realize this, they have to take stock of what the institution will be like when they’re gone. And some, not all, Republicans are looking at their Leader and they see a 70-year old man with a well-known fondness for KFC, McDonald’s and well-done steaks. Forget the 25th Amendment, Trump might not survive to 2020. And some of these guys have also come to realize that while their institution could survive Trump, he is enough of a spiteful little shit that if he saw he was going down, he would try to take everything with him. The prospect of replacing him with Vice President Pence seems more practical by the day.

Pence certainly does not have Trump’s charismatic hold on the “base” and from a liberal standpoint, he would be that much more committed to a regressive agenda, but for the conservative establishment, that would be a point in his favor. But more important to them, a President Pence would eliminate the greater-than-zero possibility that Donald Trump will pull down his pants and take a hot dump on the Oval Office carpet during a televised interview, not to mention the even more disgusting possibility of Fox News and “Heartland America” praising such behavior as presidential.

There’s just one problem. It may already be too late for them.

There is an article in The American Conservative where columnist Rod Dreher analyzes the potential impact of Trump’s abortive ban on trans people in the military. He refers to other columns by National Review staffer David French and liberal writer Josh Barro, who both point out that whatever the military merits of such a ban, Trump’s strategy, or lack thereof, was the worst way to propose such a policy. French says “(Trump’s) typical inflammatory tweeting was guaranteed to ignite yet another round of public fury. He virtually guaranteed that the next Democratic president would immediately reverse his policy, and he made any congressional debate that much more challenging. Here’s what actual presidential leadership would look like. After permitting his respected secretary of defense to comprehensively study the issue of transgender service, he would draft a carefully written, factually supported statement describing in detail the military justifications for the policy. Then, with the full, prepared backing of the Pentagon, he’d approach a Republican-controlled Congress and write his policy into law — creating a far more permanent standard that couldn’t be quickly reversed by the next administration and wouldn’t jerk the military into a game of culture-war hot potato depending on whose party controls the White House. But that’s hard work. It’s much easier just to tweet.” Barro concurs: “By seeking to bar transgender people from the military, Trump makes the fight all about public policy. And he moves the public discussion of transgender people to some of the most unfavorable political ground possible for conservatives: Should people who wish to serve their country in a way Trump never did be allowed to do so? Democrats shouldn’t worry they’ll get in trouble for saying yes.”

By knowing nothing and caring less, Trump makes things that much harder for conservatives on an issue where he should be able to frame the debate on socially conservative and pro-military terms. Just as a population that was largely sympathetic to cracking down on scary immigrants was turned off by the treatment of legal aliens by this Administration. Just as Trump and Republicans enabled each other to create the worst of all possible worlds with healthcare and created a system that cost more and covered less, mainly to pass costs from rich people’s taxes to poor people’s deductibles, then wondered why no one wanted to kill Obamacare anymore.

This is the sort of rhetorical victory that the Left spectrum could never achieve on the merits of their own program. Likewise conservatives didn’t win because they had better ideas- they didn’t. Conservatives just managed to make people hate liberals more. It was easy given how insufferable some of their followers are. But for the most part liberals aren’t also out-and-proud bigots, and Democrats weren’t trying to actively destroy their own benefits program for the sake of their donors’ tax returns.

Republicans did not win elections because they were popular, because they had good ideas, or because they had a mandate. They won because voters hated their opponent more, or did not hate them enough to come out and vote. They fail to consider that if you get voters sufficiently pissed off, that dynamic may reverse.


Can I Pardon Myself? Asking For a Friend

Dear Don,

If it was that easy, don’t you think I would’ve done it?

Sincerely, Your Old Pal,


So I got back home from Comic-Con this Monday, and Donald Trump hasn’t declared martial law yet, and that’s always a good week.

But over the course of last week, Trump has made noises, tweets and possible leaks to the effect that he is thinking about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who might actually be more authoritarian and bigoted than he is) for the sole reason that he recused himself on the matter of the Trump-Russia connection and thus allowed his deputy to appoint a special counsel that he cannot remove. And of course the chattering class was all abuzz about that. Then around the same time leaks came out saying that in regard to the Trump Tower meeting led by Don Jr., Trump was asking legal counsel if he could not only pardon Junior or Jared Kushner, but also himself.

And the legal answer to that question is, he probably CAN, if only because while the Founding Fathers anticipated that a presidential candidate might be the product of “cabal, intrigue, and corruption” they did not anticipate that voters and the Electoral College would be so GODDAMNED STUPID as to enable it for the sake of tribal loyalty.

Although even then, there are two caveats. First, Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution clearly states that the President “shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” In other words, if Congress decides that the time has come to impeach the president, the Constitution specifically eliminates that loophole. He can pardon his family and cronies, and could preemptively pardon himself, but Congress can always impeach on its own charges. I don’t think there is a legal case for impeaching a president because he is a screaming little man-baby whose penis has retreated into his scrotum like a suicidally depressed turtle, but I think a lawyer could make a good presentation for it.

Second, if Trump did pardon Donald or Jared, legal precedent – specifically the case of Burdick v. United States (1915) holds that a pardon implies guilt on the part of the person accepting the pardon: ” This brings us to the differences between legislative immunity and a pardon. They are substantial. The latter carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it. The former has no such imputation or confession. It is tantamount to the silence of the witness. It is noncommittal. It is the unobtrusive act of the law given protection against a sinister use of his testimony, not like a pardon, requiring him to confess his guilt in order to avoid a conviction of it. ” So that being the case, in making a pardon of his associates, Viceroy Trump would be officially and legally implying that there was something to hide, and there would then be grounds for impeachment. This move would tip his hand.

This isn’t a move that you would seriously make if you thought about the implications of it, but that isn’t the person we’re dealing with. Everything is just another disruption to keep Washington off-balance.

Which may be why on July 26, Trump pulled the totally non sequitur move of unilaterally declaring that the military “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity”. Numerous reasons for this have been speculated. It was supposedly a sop to Mike Pence and other religious conservatives. According to Politico,  the main rationale was that conservatives objected to costs of gender reassignment surgery in the military and held up funding for Trump’s wall over it. But that could have been resolved simply by agreeing to forbid such surgery, and offensive as that would be to trans advocates, it would not require a blanket (and hasty) ban on trans people themselves. It’s far more likely that this is yet another smoke grenade to rile up the right-wing “base” and enrage the Left so their concentration is broken so that neither side pays attention to the important maneuver. Which according to The Washington Post is the idea of using a recess appointment to replace Jeff Sessions. Of course that requires Congress to actually be in recess, and Trump insists that Congress not go home until they pass his repeal-and-replace-no-wait-just-repeal-no-wait-replace, oh-who-gives-a-damn-just-fuck-Obama healthcare “reform.” And even with John McCain’s “principled” decision to vote for floor debate, the legislation is losing more and more Republican votes with each iteration it’s pretty clear that they just want to go home before August, and if you wonder why, you have never lived in the Maryland-Northern Virginia area in August. So not only is Trump at cross-purposes with himself, Democrats can hold “pro forma” sessions during the period so as to block an official recess. So even this is all just bullshitting. That doesn’t mean he won’t do it.

The conventional wisdom is that, oh, if Trump fires Sessions, that’ll get the Republicans upset. Like, majorly. They might actually… do something. Like they did when he insulted John McCain for being captured in a war that he avoided serving in. Like when he said “grab ’em by the pussy.” Like when he fired FBI Director Comey, who probably did more to gin the election in Trump’s favor than any Russian skullduggery. The conventional wisdom is that Trump can only go so far without the system rising up to protect itself.

Because the system has been so good at protecting itself up til now.

Do not take solace in “the way things are done.” The way things are done is gone. Every time Democrats and “decent” Republicans have thought Trump would hold back from breaking some norm, he breaks that norm and a couple more besides. If he wants to fire Sessions, the only thing stopping him from doing so is the contrary whims of his possibly-no-longer-cocaine-addicted brain.

Trump has two things in common with other bullies. The first of course is that he is a chickenshit little coward.  The second is that he gets away with bullying because bullying is gaming the social system. People maintain social norms (like, don’t be a dick) because they fear negative consequences. But what if there are no negative consequences? Bullies push the system and dare it to push back, and sometimes it doesn’t, either because the people in charge sympathize with them, or because they’ve never had their bluff called. And thus the moral code that tradition depends on is revealed as immoral, and loses its authority.

One other reason that people respect tradition and norms is that they realize that such norms protect them and theirs in the long run. They understand that it’s not all about them. That is not Trump. For all the armchair analysis, Trump is remarkably easy to understand: He is a spoiled little child, and his only philosophy is “anything that gets me what I want is Good, anything that stops me from getting what I want is Evil.” He is literally no more complex than that. He cannot consider anything above himself.

This is to be distinguished from what some of us call “ethical egoism” or “rational selfishness.” We advocate that philosophy because it is existential: You are the person in best position to judge what is in your own interest, and you ought to act in regard to your own survival. But acting in the interest of survival means having recognition of the world around you, and Trump can’t do that. Or rather, everyone in a position to discipline him, including his father and the regulatory system, protected him from such discipline. There is a difference between having no respect for others (the traditional definition of ‘selfishness’) and having no recognition of anything beyond oneself, and Trump has never had to learn this.

Thus Trump’s self-absorption is not merely evil in the traditional altruist sense of selfishness, but reflects a dangerous antipathy to reality. That is another reason why he can get away with pissing in the punch bowl, because not only does he not care about the consequences to himself, he doesn’t care about the consequences to others – including his own party.

But that goes back to two points I have repeatedly brought up. One, Donald Trump is simply what the average Donald Trump supporter would be if he had money. Secondly, Republicans, by their reflexive antagonism to anything beyond their increasingly narrow tribe, made their party the Party of Trump even before he showed up. And when he did, all the Bushes and Rubios and Cruzes weren’t able to appeal to decency or rational self-interest, because Republicans had made such virtues politically incorrect. And the other part of the problem is that all Trump’s competitors wanted him to go down but they didn’t want to be blamed for it, because each of them expected to be the one to pick up his voter base- blanking out the fact that they voted for him because they’d finally found their guy. Republicans on both state and national levels have always played the game of playing to the red-meat “conservatives” as much as possible for the primaries then tacking to the center for general elections. They can’t do that anymore. The radicals have taken over. And because of that even the Republicans who know better can’t do anything about it, because they always put off their big goals until they could get a Republican president to nominate conservative judges and sign their legislation. And because if they didn’t, it no longer matters how anti-abortion, anti-tax or pro-Israel you are, if you want to not be steamrolled in your next primary. All that matters is if you can anticipate what color Donald Trump says the sky is today.

Republicans… there is a term in psychology for this. The term is “pussy-whipped.” That isn’t the politically correct thing to say, but you’re Republicans, so fuck political correctness, right?

Because of how you have gamed the political system, you are the only ones in position to stop Donald Trump from enforcing his delusional agenda, but you are the main reason it has gotten as far as it has. Ultimately, he is not the problem. YOU are. So I am talking to you, because now YOUR rational self-interest is at stake. Now I know that if you really believe in the Bible, you’re not supposed to care about the things of this world, and should probably be looking forward to the Apocalypse, but if you really believed that no man knows the day or the hour, you probably wouldn’t care much about your bank accounts.

So consider: Jeff Sessions actually cares about the movement. Sessions is dangerous to liberals because he is what Trumpism would be if it was led by somebody competent and concerned with a philosophy beyond himself. It has been noted by analysts that Attorney General Sessions is responsible for all the Trump Administration’s policy accomplishments. Jeff Sessions was the first Senator to endorse Donald Trump for president. And this is the thanks he gets. He gets treated like Jim Comey. Or one of Trump’s ex-wives.

The irony being that if Trump wants a new AG on the premise that he would be devoted to blocking investigation of Russian entanglement, that means this person would have to prioritize Trump’s defense (or obstruction) over the rest of his job, making the Trump Administration’s impact on the government more transitory.

None of that matters to Trump of course. All that matters is the moment. And if that requires sacrificing long-term interest to save his hide one more day, good. Especially when that sacrifice is someone else.

You know why you’re antsy about what Trump is doing with Sessions, Republicans. Because he is you. If this is how such loyalty is to be repaid, what reward is there in your loyalty? What is the point of following him if everything he was supposed to give you is endangered by his actions? He doesn’t care about all the people he lied to. He doesn’t care about West Virginia. He doesn’t care about LGBTQ. You knew that, because you don’t care about them either. Now you are starting to learn he doesn’t care about you.

You are starting to learn that as the Russians advance, he will hunt and destroy the disloyal. He will scorch the country because he can.

You are starting to learn that when you feed the wolf, the sheep are not your worst enemy.



My sister and I were at Comic-Con this weekend, and given that the crowds were somewhere between a North Korean May Day parade and Brigham Young’s family reunion, we didn’t get to see a lot of the big-time preview panels (like the Marvel movies panels) because of the lines.  However, I did want to go to the Saturday afternoon panel for Seth McFarlane’s new project, The Orville.  The panel host was David A. Goodman, a former writer for Star Trek: Enterprise who is now a producer for McFarlane’s cartoon, American Dad.  He set the tone with introductions like “next is (Mark Jackson) who plays our racist artificial life form… he’s British, so he follows in a long line of great British SciFi robots like C3PO and- that guy who’s playing Superman now…”

The Orville is McFarlane’s first live-action vehicle for TV, where he plays Ed Mercer, a mediocre officer of a galactic navy, who is assigned command of a brand new starship.  While it’s not exactly Down Periscope, Mercer’s professional reputation is such that he is assigned a “minder” as his executive officer, and this XO turns out to be his ex-wife, played by Adrianne Palicki.  Which makes this at least the second time that she’s been cast as the tough ex-wife who gets on the ex-husband’s case.

Basically the setting is Star Trek: The Next Generation with the serial numbers filed off, much like Galaxy Quest (one guy in the audience said that the drive section of the Orville looked like an open toilet seat).  And the theme coming from McFarlane’s team comes across to me like “If you were in Starfleet, what would YOU do?”  For example, when Mercer needs a navigator for his ship, he looks up his old friend Gordon (McFarlane alumnus Scott Grimes).  Gordon is in a holodeck combat scenario much like the ones Worf came up with in NextGen, with an exotic location, fighting a brutal ogre with lethal weapons.  Except that Gordon programmed his ogre with a bright voice and friendly personality, and the three of them have a happy conversation until Gordon needs to leave with Mercer, so he distracts the ogre long enough to cut off his head.  Which is half the premise of Westworld right there.

Yet, this series has some decent production values (about on par with Galaxy Quest), and serious Trek cred: in addition to Goodman, the show has Deep Space Nine actress Penny Johnson Jerald and NextGen producer Brannon Braga (who also worked with McFarlane on the Cosmos revival).  The panel frequently described The Orville as a mix between comedy and drama or a “dramedy.”  The dramatic aspect was not too obvious in the preview reel shown, but clearly the production is trying to create its own in-depth universe, one that clearly is inspired by the Star Trek properties but is meant to stand on its own.  So while you could do disconnected absurd comedy scenes like the Marx Brothers or Monty Python (or Family Guy), that would defeat the purpose of a project with this much creative depth.  It was emphasized that there would be an attempt to make the series work with both the comedy and serious elements, in a way that respected the genre.

That’s a tall order, but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far.

Now, earlier in the day, I had seen the panel for Star Trek: Discovery, and I was also impressed with their producers and crew, including star Sonequa Martin-Green.  And I don’t think it should be such a big deal that the star of the show is a black woman, or that there is an openly gay crewman in a relationship, or whatever.  That sort of thing was baked into Star Trek from the beginning.  Of course you had Uhura, and Sulu, and you had Geordi LaForge as a character with a disability.  But you also had Chekov.  I mean, half the reason they cast Walter Koenig was that they wanted somebody who looked like the lead singer of The Monkees.  But the reason why they cast Koenig as a Russian was that Gene Roddenberry wanted to show audiences of the 1960s that in the future, Americans and Russians would be working together.  And look- it’s 2017 and we have Russians and Americans working together now.  Progress!

But while as a Trek fan I may want to see Discovery, CBS has decided to put it in their stupid “All Access” channel which is All Access only if you’re willing to pay for it.  I’m paying too much for satellite as it is, and I don’t want to spend $5 or whatever for a network when I only want to see one program on it.  So I am most likely going to lean towards The Orville for my (pseudo) Star Trek fix, since it not only has some respect for the genre but also gives it an attitude adjustment that I think it’s needed for quite some time.


Sick of Winning Yet?

“Any sufficiently advanced malice is indistinguishable from incompetence.”

Well now.

On July 17, after two of 52 Republican Senators announced they would not vote for a debate to allow the Senate’s healthcare “reform” to come to the floor (Susan Collins because the bill didn’t keep enough of Obamacare, Rand Paul because it kept any part of Obamacare at all), two other Republican Senators, Mike Lee and Jerry Moran, followed suit, which meant that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s vote could not proceed, because it was predicated on only requiring a simple majority instead of a two-thirds vote that would have required Democrats. So following Donald Trump’s directive to just repeal Obamacare without worrying about a replacement (one suspects that was the goal all along), Mitch “the Bitch” McConnell decided to re-introduce a repeal bill that Republicans passed in 2015 – when Obama was President, and they knew they wouldn’t have to back it up. Of course the reason they went through this whole rigamarole is that there were even less votes for a straight repeal than there were for a negotiated reform. So no surprise that this last gasp at the Republican dream got taken out on July 18 by Collins, Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Shelley Capito. All women, which is probably just a coincidence.

Donald Trump responded. “We’re not going to own it, I’m not going to own it,” Trump said. “I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they are going to say ‘how do we fix it, how do we fix it’ or ‘how do we come up with a new plan?”

Of course as one guy on the news shows put it, Trump doesn’t own most of the stuff that has his name on it. But the best response to that sentiment was probably from Shepard Smith on Fox News: “But politically, Trump does own it. Because voters gave them control of Washington. It was a central promise of Republicans’ campaigns. For eight years, they told constituents and voters, give us control and we will repeal and replace Obamacare.”

If even some on the Right are criticizing the Republican approach, it’s not necessarily because they’re centrist-liberal squishes who were more aligned to the Democrats anyway. Some of the observers on the Right worked towards getting a Republican majority because they assumed that Republicans would do something with it. They thought that their side would have a better idea than the Democrats. As opposed to the people actually in charge, who apparently just wanted to string the voters along and didn’t realize that at some point they’d have to show their hand.

As for: “We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they are going to say ‘how do we fix it, how do we fix it’ or ‘how do we come up with a new plan?” it’s of a piece with their general attitude. Blame the Democrats for doing it wrong then ask them to do it for you cause you can’t do it at all. Hold the thinking, productive people hostage to their own morals so that the mindless moochers can avoid individual responsibility. Among the many ironies of late-stage “conservatism” is how it re-enacts Atlas Shrugged with the political sides reversed.

Republicans: You got everything you wanted. You had both houses of Congress and the White House. And we as a nation gave you all the power because even if we didn’t agree with you on all things, or even most things, we agreed that we hated the Democrats, we hated liberals in general, and we REALLY HATED Hillary Clinton. And you took that opportunity and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING with it, and that’s because you’ve GOT nothing. You used Russia as an excuse to dither about the domestic agenda, and then you used the domestic agenda as an excuse to dither about Russia. Now you have no domestic agenda, and you’re on record as being enablers for Putin’s butt boy. Sick of winning yet?

And this is just in the first six months of a Republican President. You’ve got about 16 more months to undermine your status before the next midterm elections. Granted, if this all hinges on the ability of Democrats to pick up a clue with two hands, then God-Emperor Trump may be ruling the galaxy from his life-support chamber well past the year 40,000 AD. But if Democrats do fail to gain at least one house of Congress in the 2018 midterms, it won’t be because Republicans didn’t give them every opportunity they possibly could. Especially when “we’ll let Obamacare fail” is telegraphing a strategy to sabotage the system for political purposes so that you DO own the final result, and then expecting Democrats to crawl to people who have proven themselves to be untrustworthy and then expecting voters to crawl to the people who took away their healthcare as though that was a top resume item.

And the thing is, it didn’t have to be this way. Once you realized that as hated and flawed as the Affordable Care Act was, it was better than the prior status quo, and that repeal-and-delay was not nearly as popular as repeal-and-replace, which in turn was less popular than not repealing it at all, a sane party would have realized it was political malpractice to mess with the ACA without having an actual alternative. And since we now know you didn’t have that, you still had an option. At that point you could have just done what the Clintons do, and engaged in “triangulation.” You could have just juggled a few details and came up with basically the same thing, and shamelessly pandered saying that the ACA was a Republican idea all along. Because after all, it WAS.

But accepting the new status quo would have meant accepting Obamacare, and that just wasn’t possible for your Dear Leader, or your “base.” Even if the roots were a conservative idea, you didn’t like it just because Democrats liked it. (Specifically because the biracial whippersnapper with the middle name Hussein liked it.)

The problem is that even though the Democrats’ usual M.O. is to compromise their way through everything, Republicans have ruled that out because of their consistent “Fuck you because YOU want this” attitude. When you’re dealing with that level of brattiness, there is no point in negotiation.

Eventually Democrats are going to figure that out. In fact, some of them already have. Half the reason that the Affordable Care Act was insufficient by leftist standards (and why Obama never pushed things like a public option) is because the Obama Administration and the Democratic Senate were trying to get votes from Republicans, and when they couldn’t get those, they needed to compromise with the centrists of their own party to get a two-thirds majority. The latest bills being debated within the Democratic caucus are less about tinkering with Obamacare, which they already have, and more about pushing national healthcare systems like “Medicare for All.” Bill Maher, among others, has pointed out that the problem with Democrats is that they haggle from the middle. That is, rather than acknowledging that a negotiation is only going to give you some of what you want, they start from the position that they want to end up in rather than make exaggerated demands that the other side would not accept. As a result, rather than haggling bringing them to half a loaf of bread, they compromise down to the crumbs. There is now not much point in doing that. It should be obvious even to Democrats that there is no room to negotiate with the Republican Party as an institution even if individual Republicans are open to it, and as for centrist Democrats, they already got what they wanted in the Obama Administration. If (and that’s a big if, of course) Democrats regain the political initiative, the push will switch from “this is too socialist” to “this isn’t socialist enough.”

Republicans had the only serious attempt to reconcile a market-based insurance system with the supports necessary to cover high-risk patients who were not feasible for insurance companies to cover. That system just happened to be Obamacare. And yes, Obamacare has flaws. Because it does not address costs, it really is not feasible in the long run, but it is still more feasible in the short run than the status quo ante of leaving everything up to the insurance companies. That’s why a lot of businesses were secretly lobbying for the ACA, because the costs of insurance to businesses are costing more and more on the bottom line.

A fiscal conservative would have taken all of this into account. But the motivation here was never fiscal conservatism.

Having no free-market alternative to the ACA, “conservatives” have abandoned the field to those who want more government, not less. By sponsoring a medical “reform” that was more about shifting costs from rich people’s taxes to poor people’s deductibles, Republicans did more to justify the class-warfare paradigm than generations of leftist propaganda. And by hiring total incompetents to run Cabinet departments rather than either reforming them or making a clear case why they should be abolished, “small government” Republicans make it clear that their goal is to grow government to enrich the elite.

Republicans, you had a country that had gotten sick of ivory-tower liberalism after eight years of Obama, and the last thing they wanted was a Clinton comeback. They wanted an improvement from that. They got anti-intellectual parasites. Because that’s what you are, and that’s the kind of person you vote for. And in attempting to turn back the clock rather than acknowledge where you are now, you run the risk of a backlash that will make the backlash to Obama-Clinton look like nothing. After all, Clinton DID get more votes than your little boy, and that’s before people saw what he was going to do. And if the whole point of you voting for Republicans is “fuck your feelings, fuck Clinton and fuck the Social Justice Warriors”, what do you think they’re going to do when the political climate turns again?

They’re not just going to give you something to cry about. You’re going to scream like a little bitch.

Yes, Mr. and Mrs. America, your daughter WILL marry a Syrian Muslim woman. (After declaring herself to be a man.) And they will move into a taco truck. And they will support themselves with the aid of socialized medicine.

And it’s all your fucking fault.


Yeah, What ABOUT Ukraine?

Whataboutism is a propaganda technique formerly used by the Soviet Union in its dealings with the Western world, and subsequently used as a form of propaganda in post-Soviet Russia. When criticisms were levelled at the Soviet Union, the Soviet response would be “What about…” followed by an event in the Western world. It is a case of tu quoque (appeal to hypocrisy), a logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument.

– Wikipedia

“Follow the money.”

– Jesse “the Governor” Ventura


As we have seen, whenever events do not go well for the RosneftTrump Administration, they immediately try to deflect and shift blame somewhere else. As the details of Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with Russian nationals in Trump Tower get worse, and worse, AND worse, the story has shifted from “it didn’t happen” to “nothing bad happened” to “we asked for information but we didn’t get it, so therefore nothing happened”, just like if I met a guy over the Internet who said he could score me cocaine, and I met up with him, and I didn’t get the cocaine because he was an undercover cop and I got arrested, BECAUSE I never got the cocaine, I am therefore NOT guilty of procuring illegal drugs.

That doesn’t stop the Trump team from justifying their actions. When in Paris, Donald Trump, Viceroy for Russian North America stated, “I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting”. But if you were only following “the lamestream media” you might not know about the counterattack line that Trump’s followers are pushing: that not only would anyone else have acted in the same way under the circumstances, but that the real election interference was when a Ukrainian national “gave guidance” to journalists and the Hillary Clinton campaign about Paul Manafort, who at one point managed the Trump campaign and was at the Trump Tower meeting, a point that Fox News host Sean Hannity explicitly made when he interviewed Donald Trump Jr. on July 12.

Memo to both Republicans and Democrats: Whenever you say things along the lines of “everybody does it”, that is a pragmatic rationalization, and not a legal defense.

For one thing, let’s be real. This is all distraction. Like how the Viceroy “just found out” Obama was wiretapping Trump Tower.  You notice he isn’t pressing that issue? Why was there no followup? Because there’s nothing there to investigate. He was blowing it out his ass, just like the Trumpniks are doing with this story, to distract a mainstream media that has the attention span of the dog from Up, and a conservative media that has less attention span than that.

For another thing it’s of a piece with Trump’s usual tactic, which goes beyond projecting. He is consistent in that the more vehemently he attacks something, the more vehement he is in promoting that exact thing when he’s in charge. Like when he praised Canadian health care in the 2016 campaign, and when he called the House healthcare bill “mean” and said we should repeal and replace Obamacare, then endorsed the Senate bill and said that if that couldn’t be passed, we should just repeal Obamacare anyway. Or when he ridiculed Hillary Clinton for speaking to Goldman-Sachs, and ridiculed “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” because his wife worked with Goldman-Sachs, and as soon as Trump got elected, guess what he did.

But the “conservatives” are bringing Ukraine up as though it was just another smoke grenade to throw out, without researching exactly what the parallels are, and why the invocation of Ukrainian antipathy to Vladimir Putin matters.

The Atlantic, referring to an earlier article in Politico that Hannity also referred to, did what Hannity suggested and “followed up” on the story. The Politico story implied that Ukrainian private and government efforts to help Clinton backfired because Trump won the election. Specifically, a Ukrainian-American operative for the Democratic National Committee, Alexandra Chalupa, did personal investigations of Paul Manafort, researching publicly available information, and shared her findings with Democrats. (Note that conservatives are immediately assuming that Chalupa is tied to the Ukrainian government but dismiss any suggestion that Natalia Veselnitskaya or Rinat Akmetshin have any active association with Moscow.)

The other fact mentioned in the stories is that an anti-corruption probe in Ukraine investigated the former government’s financial ties to Manafort.  Last summer, The New York Times reported that the Ukrainian Party of Regions had ledgers showing $12.7 million in undisclosed payments to Manafort’s firm. This was also mentioned in the January 2016 Politico article. This shady activity was supposedly the reason that the Trump campaign removed Manafort as campaign manager.

The implication, at least from the Atlantic author, is that while Ukrainian attacks on Manafort and Trump were real, they were not nearly as substantial and sustained as Russian-directed attacks on the DNC and the Clinton campaign, which “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded with confidence that Russia’s cyber campaign was intended to hurt Clinton and help Trump.” The other distinction between the Ukrainian anti-Manafort campaign and the mysteriously obtained Democratic National Committee leaks is that the Ukrainian information was publicly available through a government report. The Atlantic article also pointed out that the Ukrainian investigation into Manafort’s payments ended after the US election, raising the question as to whether this was a general corruption probe and more a targeted investigation of a Trump insider that was deemed no longer useful.

Some of this requires a wider context.

Ukraine is a nation that like Poland and Lithuania was a national community under control of the Russian Empire for centuries, had its own identity and bitterly resisted Russian domination and mistreatment under both czars and commissars. Unlike Poland, it only became independent after the fall of the Soviet Union. However, Eastern European communities were very intermixed, especially in the USSR, so when that country broke up, it led to certain problems. For one thing, in the early history of the Soviet Union, the Russian-majority Crimean peninsula was part of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, but in 1954, it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR. This meant that when the Ukrainian state became independent, it contained a large population that was more loyal to Russia than “their” country. Moreover, immigration during the Soviet period meant that the eastern territories in the Donblas region (which unlike Crimea had always been considered Ukrainian) also became Russian-majority by the time of independence.

In 2004, one of the political parties of the new Ukrainian republic was called the Party of Regions, representing mainly the Russian-speaking plurality in the east. In Ukraine’s 2004 presidential campaign, the Party of Regions candidate was Viktor Yanukovych, an ethnic Russian who spoke Ukrainian as a second language at best. He won the presidency by a slim margin after a runoff vote, but his political opponent, Viktor Yuschenko, challenged the result due to reports from outside observers of ballot fraud and voter intimidation. (In September 2004, Yuschenko was visibly disfigured and hospitalized for a mysterious illness that was later confirmed to be dioxin poisoning.) A second runoff was held in December 2004 which Yuschenko narrowly won. In the later stages of the race leading to the second runoff, Yanukovych’s party hired Paul Manafort, a lawyer and political consultant whose clients included not only many national Republican candidates but dictators like Ferdinand Marcos and Mobuto Sese Seko.

Manafort remained Yanukovych’s political advisor through 2014 and helped prepare him for the next presidential campaign in 2010. Yanukovych defeated politician Yulia Tymoshenko. While some of President Yanukovych’s policies (including expanded trade and diplomatic relations with Russia) were popular, there were reports of press censorship from his administration. In May of 2010, Tymoshenko was prosecuted for various crimes including misuse of public funds as a government official. In 2011 she was sentenced to seven years in prison. By January 2013, more than half of Yanukovych’s appointees were from the Donblas region or financially tied to it, and almost half of infrastructure development was to this region. Yanukovych set up a police force under his personal command.

What really brought things to a head was in 2013, when Yanukovych abruptly reversed course on an “Association Agreement” expanding ties to the European Union in favor of greater ties to Russia, after Russian leader Vladimir Putin threatened Ukraine by engaging in a trade war and using gas supplies as a bargaining tool. Protests against Yanukovych reached up to 100,000 in Kiev that weekend. The protestors formed in the Maidan (city square) and reached almost a million in strength as the “Euromaidan.” In January 2014, Yanukovych forced “Anti-Protest Laws” allowing intensified actions against dissent. This only increased public outrage and the country’s Prime Minister resigned. In February, the parliament voted to remove Yanukovych from office. This was on February 22, the day after Yanukovych fled Ukraine with assistance from Russia’s government. The government set up new elections, revoked the Anti-Protest Laws and released Tymoshenko from prison on the same day that Yanukovych was officially ousted.

Paul Manafort, along with several individuals, holding firms and “John Does 1 through 100” is listed as a defendant in a racketeering case filed by Tymoshenko with regard to “the arbitrary prosecutions, arrests and detentions of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other political opposition members” with the defendants “representing a collection of private and public figures that stand to benefit politically and/or financially by eliminating Ukraine’s political opposition.”

An August 2016 article in Politico detailed how Manafort relied on a local contact in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik, an ethnic Russian who was trained as an intelligence translator by the Russian Army. According to the article, Kilimnik was instrumental in helping Yanukovych (through Manafort’s team) rehabilitate his image after 2004, using Western-style campaign tactics and talking to Western media. After 2006, Kilimnik and Manafort used their business connections to create a private equity fund in the Cayman Islands with funds from a Russian investor, an investment that collapsed before 2014. A petition requesting a “wind down” of the partnership after the money disappeared states that “The Petitioner made further repeated attempts to contact (both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates personally) requesting updates on the progress of the Wind Down but these requests were left unanswered. It appears that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have simply disappeared.” Rick Gates is a Trump insider who, among other things, is blamed by some for “writing” Melania Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention. After Viktor Yanukovych left Ukraine, Kilimnik and Manafort helped develop the Opposition Bloc, which has inherited the anti-EU position of the technically extant but effectively defunct Party of Regions.

After Yanukovych fled Ukraine, his mansion outside Kiev was stormed by the protestors, who discovered a 340-acre estate, a mansion roof of pure copper, Lebanese cedar doors, paneled staircases, a pavilion decorated in gold paint with a marble floor, a gilt and crystal chandelier worth $100,000, a golf course, a private zoo, and a replica Spanish galleon (to go with the yacht club on the river). Ridiculous, but a not unprecedented example of what some call Dictator Style.

However, after this, things escalated. After there was no longer a pliant government in Ukraine, the Putin government in Russia started moving forces into Crimea, less than a week after Yanukovych left Ukraine. The Russian takeover of Crimea is a fait accompli, but is still not legally recognized by the United States or the United Nations. Meanwhile, private citizens in Donblas- some of whom were known Russian nationals and others who just happened to have Russian military supplies, took over various eastern towns, leading to an undeclared and sustained civil war. The United States under the Obama Administration responded to Russian aggression with various sanctions. Previous sanctions included the Magnitsky Act, which is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who exposed collusion between police and organized crime, was arrested by the authorities for allegedly participating in said collusion, and died in prison at the ripe old age of 37. The law prohibits Russians (specifically those implicated in Magnitsky’s death) from entering the United States or accessing its banking system.

According to Donald Trump Jr. himself, Natalia Veselnitskaya wanted to address the Magnitsky Act during their meeting at Trump Tower. That Jared Kushner was also in. With Paul Manafort.

That would bring us back to Do.

So, to review: A pro-Russia politician with dubious taste in home decor is barely elected head of state by gaming the system with the help of Paul Manafort, he used his position to enrich himself far beyond the capacities of his office, committed numerous and escalating violations of human rights, and ended up fleeing the country under the protection of his Russian masters, leaving a wake of corruption that is still being investigated.

And while Russia has legitimate territorial and security concerns about post-Soviet Europe, those concerns are not synonymous with the neo-imperialist goals of Vladimir Putin, and when his indirect manipulations fail to work on a sovereign nation, he resorts to more direct measures.

This history provides a bit of context to any Ukrainian attempts to get involved in the US presidential campaign, not for the sake of Trump or Clinton, but more to undermine Vladimir Putin.

And Sean Hannity would know this, if he didn’t suffer from an advanced case of cranial-rectal spatial inversion.

So now that we’ve gone over the issue of Ukraine, I have two questions for the three and a half people reading this blog:

One, does all this in any way remind you of anyone else at all?

And Trumpniks – is what happened to Ukraine really what you want your country to turn into?

Because it will.

President (for now) Trump

None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with you. You’re locked up in here with ME.

– Rorschach, Watchmen #6

I am one of those people who will never put the words “President” and “Trump” in the same phrase. It’s almost as contradictory and offensive as combining “reality” and “TV.” Instead I refer to Donald Trump as “Viceroy for Russian North America.”

But until fairly recently, most public speculation on the Trump/Russia connection was merely conjecture. Then over the weekend the New York Times released the first of several articles saying that Donald Trump Jr., along with Trump’s son-in-law and now highly-placed White House official Jared Kushner and then-campaign director Paul Manafort, talked to a Russian contact with the intention of getting  information against Hillary Clinton for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.  On Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. released the email chain  confirming that he had in fact talked with intermediaries about opposition research on candidate Hillary Clinton, “very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

(The Trump team spun this move as admirable transparency on Junior’s part, glossing over the point that journalists had revealed information he had previously denied, and had access to more of it, and therefore further concealment on his part would only lead to more public contradiction and embarrassment.)

What was really Goddamn funny was where Jared Yates Sexton, a journalist who was not on the New York Times story, went on Twitter and said “I worked on this story for over a year and .. he just … tweeted it out.”

And yet, the Trumpnik robots are continuing to act on their faulty programming. The whole storyline is now frequently referred to by Trump’s flacks as a “nothingburger.” As you’ll recall, “nothingburger” was Hillary Clinton’s favorite excuse phrase for why her email obfuscations were irrelevant to the campaign, until James Comey made them an issue (again) and did at least as much to undermine her election as the Russians did. So when the Trump team uses this line, it means at least one of two things: either “We know the Trump accusations are bullshit because our Clinton accusations were bullshit” or “Our Clinton accusations were serious, so if we’re now using the same argument she did, it just proves how weak and defensive we are.”

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, whose main compliments to the Trump Administration are usually backhanded, still offered what seems to be the party defense of the Trump team:  “I know Donald Trump Jr. is new to politics. I know that Jared Kushner is new to politics, but this is going to require a lot of questions to be asked and answered.” Basically, “please forgive the boy, he’s a retard.”

Jared Kushner is new to politics. Oh yes. That’s why Trump chose him, not his Secretary of State, to handle negotiations between THE ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS. “Hey, you know Butterfingers McGee? The epileptic? Let’s put him in charge of the Bomb Squad!”

Is this schmuck Donald Trump trying to get himself kicked out of office? Again, that is not just speculation.  Everything else in his life has been power with no responsibility, and he fails to recognize that the most powerful office in the world doesn’t work that way. Howard Stern (who has hosted Trump on his radio show  several times before he ran for office and considers him a friend) said ““He just wants a couple more bucks out of NBC, and that is why Donald is calling for voter-fraud investigations. He’s pissed he won. He still wants Hillary Clinton to win. He’s so f–king pissed, he’s hoping that he can find some voter fraud and hand it over to Hillary.”

But here’s the thing, even if Trump wants to bail even more than the rest of us want him gone, we can’t get rid of him yet.

Why? Well, there’s the law, which granted, Trump and the Republicans don’t much care for. But there has to be a strong case for impeachment, and even if there is, the last two presidents to be impeached by the House could not get a two-thirds vote for conviction in the Senate. The standard is set deliberately high for a reason.

Which leads to the point that Trump can’t be impeached in the first place because Republicans in the House wouldn’t allow it. But Trump being where he is is a godsend for Democratic Party recruitment and fundraising, and they need him to be where he is just long enough to help inspire their voters to tip one or even two houses of Congress to the Democrats. Then they would be in position to impeach after findings from the special counsel, but for purposes of the presidential race they might want to leave this hanging over Trump’s head until 2020. They probably won’t, though, because as dim as the Democrats are, even they are starting to reckon with their own capacity to fuck up a sure thing.

Then there’s the point that Washington is generically conservative. That is, they crave stability and procedure. Impeaching Trump, even unsuccessfully, disrupts that in the same way that impeaching Clinton disrupted the operations of Washington before 2000. The problem for Trump is that he disrupts procedure simply by existing. And again, I’m operating on the assumption that at least part of him wants to be kicked out. At that point it is simply a matter of balancing how much Congress wants to stay the course versus Trump’s escalating violations of comme il faut.

Which is why the protestations of the poor little Trumpniks begging for the liberal media to leave their precious little boy alone are all the more specious. They whine, “all this Russia talk is a distraction that keeps Congress from focusing on the Republican agenda.” There’s just one problem there. The Republican agenda is shit. BY right-wing standards. It comes down to the point that reforming healthcare without a two-thirds vote in the Senate (in other words, with Democrats) would require appealing to moderate Republicans who want to keep much of Obamacare, which would alienate the hardcore conservatives and libertarians who want to trash the whole ACA on principle. And you don’t have enough votes to spare to alienate either camp. Ideologies aside, the Senate “plan” doesn’t even try to address the reasons Democrats were finally able to pass a healthcare plan in the first place (first and foremost of these being there was a demand for a national system because the status quo ante shoved people out of coverage), instead casting the repeal of not only existing Obamacare taxes but a ratcheting back of existing Medicaid as “better care.”

So it comes down to John Fugelsang’s joke that the Republican Party is like the guy in the comedy club who’s been heckling your act for eight straight years and then when he gets you off the stage and comes up to the mic, he’s got no material. Trump’s scandal is not distracting Republicans from their agenda. Trump’s scandal is the distraction of the mainstream media that Republicans need to pass their agenda.

And then there’s the point that a lot of this may be set up. How DID the Times get word of those conversations before Junior owned up to them? Is this yet another case of “It’s coming from INSIDE the White House”? Maybe. Keeping this stuff in the news might indeed be a nothing burger. If it is, why is it in Trump’s interest to keep the scandal alive? Not only does it distract the mainstream media and the easily distracted “progressives,” it allows Trump to do his persecuted victim act. And since his “base” are the only people whose inflated sense of grievance rivals his own, they rally around their Leader. It’s worked pretty well so far.

All this is why I don’t believe that Satan is real. I should think that if you sold your soul to the Devil for power, he wouldn’t undermine your credibility and dignity as slowly and blatantly as Trump has done to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

But then, it goes to show that Trump is not the problem. The problem is the kind of mentality that would follow a Trump. Everybody including the people who voted for him knew that Trump was a career flim-flam man of no substance with an attraction to the lowest common denominator. If you consider that a proper leader for any country, and vote for such a creature, it really says more about you than it says about him.

Remember, this is a man who has set things up so that his own son will take the legal consequences for collaboration with a foreign power, which spells collusion and possible treason.

That’s your boy, Trumpniks. That’s YOUR role model.

That’s what YOU wanted to lead the country.

And now you’re stuck with him.

And as long as the rest of us are stuck with him too, we’re going to keep you stuck with him. We won’t let you let him go.

“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire.” Remember who said that? Of course not, you’re Republicans, not Christians.

But if you know what’s good for you, you’ll go full Jigsaw on Donald Trump. Because by the time he, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are done destroying your party, you won’t be trusted with plastic forks.

Drip, drip, drip.

You hear that sound, Trumpniks?

That’s your blood.