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March 29, 2019


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Every day the bar gets lowered, the outrageous becomes the norm. For the life of me, I cannot comprehend the support for Trump, knowing what we now know, but there you have it...

And you believe there will be a 2024 presidential election?

Welcome back RC, it is good to see you return to mixing it up on national politics.

I think there is a clear reason that the media has retreated from talking about Mueller, collusion and obstruction. They obviously had an epiphany and realized that perhaps the Mueller report's findings indicate that they have been wrong about the President and maybe he isn't the traitorous spawn of hell and threat to our democracy that they have been treating him as. So now they are going to have a period of deep introspection where they do straight, fair-minded reporting and commentary that gives Trump the same presumption of innocence that they would give anybody else. Naw, just kidding!

If the media is chastened, it is just because many outlets have spent the last two years boosting their viewership and readership by telling them what they want to hear: that the monster in the White House surely must be guilty of terrible things and it is just a matter of time until all is exposed. How does a president get an Independent Counsel if he isn't guilty? And thank goodness he did, because the White Knight Mueller is going to going to shine light into the darkness and bring the monster down. Just be patient and keep watching and reading us. Your life depends on it!

The press used Trump in the primaries to boost ratings by giving him free media and treating him like a serious candidate, then when he got elected, they used him by treating him as a constant threat. A threat that you can survive, maybe, but only if you watch us to keep informed.

Not to worry though, some journalists are embodying the the never-give-up conspiracy theory ethic in much the same way that Rogue is here: the AG is covering up the report and whitewashing it with his "summary". Which totally makes sense, because as we all know, Mueller and his team (of democratic donors) are back in their hermetically sealed box and not capable of letting anybody know that the AG is completely mischaracterizing the report.

I'm sure that when the report gets released, there will be some nuggets in there that reflect poorly on the President and/or those around him that the media can spend huge amounts of time talking about, which will keep them from having to spend too much time talking about other things like a world full of other news, foreign and domestic policy, and actual issues that effect people's lives. Rant over.

I actually appreciate RC for spending most of the last several months talking about AZ issues and public figures. Those things are much more useful and enriching, even though the Trump stuff is fun.

Jon1790, remember in July of 2016 when Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton of crimes involving her e-mail server? Remember how chastened and sober your team was in response? What was your cheer we heard through the campaign that fall? LOCK HER UP! Remember during the debates when Trump promised Hillary she would be in jail if he were in charge of the laws? For an e-mail server? The same guy who uses a personal cell phone to conduct state business, whose WH official daughter uses private e-mail, and whose son-in-law uses something called WhatsApp?

I totally get that hypocrisy is the air we all breathe in our overheated politically climate. No one is immune. But if you take time to read Rogue, you ought to take time for maybe a moment or two of introspection. He doesn't slam Trump because he's a conservative Republican. We want and absolutely require a two-party system where both parties are committed to the betterment of the nation. Instead of that, we have a president with a severe personality disorder that manifests in all sorts of unhappy ways, pathological lying being foremost. He has so cowed his party to his toxic personality cult that democracy itself is showing cracks in the foundation, which is the rule of law.

So, from the beginning the Russia investigation was about unseemly contacts between certain individuals in the Trump campaign and various sketchy Russia actors, oligarchs, and officials. We were curious why Trump was so eager to please Putin, why he had his own party change its platform about Russia's invasion of the Crimea, why he took Putin's "word" over his own intel agencies, and why he echoed Putin's contempt for liberal democracy, which is what enables us to have this conversation we're having now.

So, Trump fires Comey in a blatant attempt to obstruct that investigation and Mueller is appointed Special Counsel as a result. Trump is quite unhappy, of course, and baits his own AG about "recusing" himself instead of protecting his king from the rule of law. Soon, Trump is lambasting Mueller, a man of unquestioned integrity, as somehow sinister and partisan. Your frighteningly unhinged political party echoes those "thoughts" to the point where Trump was on the verge of firing Mueller and precipitating a Constitutional crisis. All through this time, you supported this moral cretin. You did so not because you're more sober than the rest of us. You did so because your commitment to party is vastly more important to you than the nation itself.

As the facts dribbled out during the investigation and all its various indictments, plea deals, and verdicts, it became manifestly clear that Donald Trump is not merely a bumbling Reality-TV character out of his element but so deeply enmeshed in illegal activities that his word is worth absolutely nothing. He lied brazenly about not knowing Stormy Daniels, for example, and when the truth emerges, changes the subject. When Cohen is charged with committing a felony involving Stormy at his behest, he's referred to by the prosecutors as a co-conspirator, individual one.

Trump finally gets rid of Jeff Sessions, and flails about looking for a fixer he can install as AG. One horrifying interlude involved a completely unqualified partisan hack named Matthew Whitaker. But soon, a more polished hack alights on the crime scene and is duly installed to cosset our presidential man-child with the kind of rule of law he's used to, the no-consequences kind. What part of "illegal" don't Republicans understand? Any part that might threaten them.

So, Barr writes a letter about a report from Robert Mueller, in which the witch-hunting, hoax-perpetrating Deep State partisan apparently vindicates your worldwide embarrassment of a president. This means Rachel Maddow and people like me have been utterly exposed as frauds! Except Barr didn't release Mueller's report, just his own cursory summary. Still, all the trained seals at Fox News and talk radio let loose a mighty chorus - Hallelujah! And you fall right into partisan mode and love that you get to enjoy a brief moment of intellectual superiority in this cesspool we call our public discourse.

Word to the wise: this ain't over. Trump can deploy Federalist Society types to insulate himself from the consequences of his lying, various frauds, and naked corruption, but he has to persuade a majority of Americans not to believe their eyes and ears but him, a bloated and demented bully whose narcissism is so overwhelming it dwarfs every other concern a decent human being is supposed to have.

BTW, here's an actual issue that affects people's lives: health care. Trump still thinks we should get rid of it for 20 million people because he has a better plan! The same plan he talked about over the last three years but couldn't quite spell out. But his "plan" will be a win for your tribe because pro-lifers are never more themselves than when they're denying health care to millions. All this because Trump can't bear the thought that Obama actually got credit for doing something decent. Instead of crowing about his "complete and total exoneration" for the whole week, however, Trump managed to give the Democrats the upper hand with a huge unforced error. You want real issues? That's one. Enjoy it while you can.

"We want and absolutely require a two party system..." Who's this "we" you are talking about?

Dems - 31%
Rep - 24%
Independents - 43%

I propose to you that 43% of the voters want the current generation of leaders in the D and R parties to vacate the premises and let a new generation try to get things done.

Ruben makes a good point, but the implication is a balkanization of the US legislative process (not that there is much "process" happening currently). Soleri finds himself enmeshed in Maddow-ish talking points and forgetting he is preaching to the choir (like Rach herself so annoyingly does). Jon7190 bemoans the lack of integrity within the "mainstream" media, as if that's a surprise. Me? I'm leaving sunny (finally!) AZ next week, returning to Canada before 46minus1 closes the northern border too!

Ruben, independents are not a party for a reason. They don't care enough about politics to be engaged in it except for choosing candidates cafeteria-style at the voting booth. Therefore, it helps if we understand why the system we have is necessarily binary. It's not a conspiracy against you or all the other people who seem to think what America requires is a third party because the system doesn't work. Actually, the system worked quite well up until the ascendance of Richard Nixon in 1968. That's when the Republicans decided to go dark and mean. The Culture War has pretty much destroyed politics as a means of splitting differences while working for the betterment of the nation. Republicans today don't do that because beyond guns for everyone, abortions for no one, and tax cuts in perpetuity for the rich, Republicans don't believe in anything. They're nihilists. They're killing America because it's fun to tribalize around their sense of victimhood in a rapidly changing world.

To all you clowns who think democracy is a joke, please find another hobby beside politics. You think it's no big deal that we have a president who lies about anything and everything, who cuddles with dictators while denouncing our steadfast allies, who invents crises about asylum seekers being terrorists, and uses the government to enrich himself and his vile progeny.

Trump is the manifestation of a deeper problem, which is that democracy can't work when Americans are hoodwinked with hysteria, fear, and loathing. Watch five minutes of Fox News or tune into Rush Limbaugh for 30 seconds, and you'll get the idea. Everything sucks and therefore burn it all down. This is what is happening before our widened eyes. Trump exults in yanking the chains of low-wattage Americans while proclaiming his superiority to expertise, democratic norms, and basic scruples such as truthfulness and sobriety. This will not end well.

"To all you clowns.." I can only assume you are speaking to the current crop of Democratic candidates running for President.

You thick skulled members of both tribes just can't get it that the bulk of Americans REJECT both parties in their current form. That is why Donald was shoved down your throat and it will happen again if you don't fix your corrupt, antiquated parties.

Listen, pay attention, hear us R's and D's!


We have real world concerns revolving around the safety and wellness of our families and their futures.

Your tribal battles bring no solutions to the table. You only fight over silly subjects that involve maybe 2 to 3 percent of the population. The battles have raged for 60 years WITH NO SOLUTIONS. No wonder either party can come close to tackling our real problems.

Ruben, you should try to read newspapers or maybe an informed blog of some kind. Thinking.....how about Rogue Columnist? You might learn something. Oh, I forgot. You already know everything.

All caps proclaiming that "We (Ruben and his personal troll farm?) are rejecting everything you stand for" is an aspect of this "burn it all down" ideology. Most Americans, however, are not as certain that they have all the answers, which is why people actually tend to proffer rather than thunder their opinions with the cap key locked.

Democrats are concerned about health care, climate change, income inequality, parental leave, education, and infrastructure. These issues are largely of this world rather than the ethereal plane of GOP concerns: abortion, war on Christmas, religious "liberty", Benghazi, etc.

There are Democrats who irritate with their certitude. Definitely Bernie, a Democrat of convenience, with his absolute conviction that compromise is a sin and only revolution can save us. AOC is another one I'm skeptical about. She's got some good qualities and I hope Nancy Pelosi can eventually tame the freshman's sanctimonious tendencies.

The real world is all we have here. Politics is the means, which entails endless arguments. There's nothing else except libertarian fantasies and the Total Explanations of the far left and right. You don't get everything you want or need, but it's much better than violence, denial, and wishful thinking. In the end, you're not going to reinvent anything but you can possibly calm down enough to keep it working for future generations. This is our core responsibility. Take enough care in your public lives that a workable system remains after you're gone.

Laugh out loud. The insanity of the left has morphed into a depraved religion. Friendly tip for Lefty readers - don't drink the kool-aid.

You poor souls can't see the writing on the wall.

It's payback time.

2+ years of the left running riot like hysterical women chasing faux-villains of their own creation. Now it's time to see the FISA's and how much Obama knew ("POTUS wants to know everything") - its going to be amazing seeing how deep this attempted coup goes.

This 3rd-world behavior is going to be uncovered, charged, and put to bed with 1st-world justice.


Enjoy the show and please put your cell phones on silent.

Ah Rasputin rises out of the greasy quagmire of Death and Destruction.
Goal, Kings Bibi and Donald. No need for political parties.
Patton would post using his real name!

ὀστρακισμός - is this Greek for Alex Jones?

Hilarious how you frauds pushed every conspiracy theory you heavy breathers could conjure - Seth Rich, Pizzagate, Benghazi, Uranium One, Newtown, George Soros, Hillary's email server, Fast and Furious, Jade Helm, QAnon-sense, and now you're screaming about an investigation that resulted in 98 counts, 37 indictments, six guilty pleas, two convictions, and you think it's a coup? Really? You went from demonizing Bob Muelller little more than a week ago to proclaiming his findings as an inviolable vindication of your Mob Boss-in-Chief. Do you guys every get dizzy from your twisted leaps of logic?

I get the game plan here: say all the mainstream media are Fake News, but not Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or Infowars. All Democrats are guilty, guilty, guilty! But Republicans are noble victims of coffee boys, "someone I only met once", "a bad lawyer I gave a job to", and the entire FBI, CIA, and anyone with an IQ over 100.

A movement based on pathological lying, white victimhood, and xenophobia will eventually become so toxic that it becomes a mass psychiatric disorder. Trump's malignant narcissism is one thing - he can't help it and appears to be utterly incapable of even checking his worst impulses - but you can. You're always free not to believe charlatans who pose as saviors of the Little Men who are victims of trade deals, global capitalism (George Soros!), and feminazis. But that's the pay-off. You incels delight in seeding chaos for its own sake. You're like Ruben in that way - everything sucks except for what I believe!

Looks like it's time for a primer from the 43% of the population who control the destiny of the other two groups of the population. The two groups who just can't seem to play well with others.

1. Gay rights - we could give a rats ass about this subject which impacts 2% of the population out of 330,000,000 people. If this is your personal issue, then handle it. Be strong, don't take any crap from anyone. Stand up for your own rights.

2. Abortion - don't care for it, but it is up to the individual woman to handle this challenge. Anyone who tries to impose their beliefs on this individual challenge should mind their own damn business.

3. Voting rights - if you dare do ANYTHING to infringe on a person's right to vote, you are as unamerican as they come and you should be dealt with severely.

4. Religion - if any member of any church lets out a peep about politics, that church just lost all tax exempt status and gets taxed into dissolution.

5. Corporations are not people. End of discussion.

6. Dark money and 501c's are a stain on our system and must be eliminated.

That's the end of your first primer students.

Ruben, which party makes a fetish out of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and phony concerns about "voter fraud"? Which party has demonized abortion while defunding sex education and limiting access to birth control? Which party overturned campaign finance reform (Citizens United)? Whose presidential candidate said "corporations are people too, my friend!"?

Hint: the GOP

Now, that leaves gay rights, which because in your view it only concerns 2% of the population we shouldn't be an issue period. Guess what? Since gay marriage is legal now, it isn't an issue except for far-right religious extremists who make their home in the GOP.

There you have it. You're a Democrat and you didn't even know it. See what happens when you pay attention? You learn new and exciting things about yourself!

Personally i like Jose Mujica for president.

The key thing you have to understand about William Barr is that he's been a Republican hack his entire adult life.

And the key to being a Republican hack is that you must protect the Party at all costs.

Not the nation, not the Constitution. The Party.

So when Barr was George H.W. Bush's Attorney General he urged him to pardon everyone involved in Iran-Contra, Iraq-gate, and every other misadventure of the Reagan-Bush years, just as the Special Counsel at that time, Lawrence Walsh was closing in. Because that's what a Party hack does.

It's only natural, then, that Barr would find "nothing" in Mueller's report.

Of course, if there truly is "nothing" there, then what's the harm in making it 100% public right away?

Ah, Barr won't let that happen, though, because there is undoubtedly a lot there, and all of it implicates Trump and the Republican Party as a whole.

The Ostracism character posting via an aka in Greek here and his Mentally ill president would not only be shunned in Athens but ran out of country for at least 10 years.


Fox and other conservative media are certainly guilty of the same tell-the-audience-what-they-want-to-hear faults as liberal outlets and that was in full force with the Hillary email affair. The Comey announcement seems similar to the Mueller report, but does differ substantially. You may recall that Comey gave a long detailed statement outlining the numerous ways that the FBI found that both protocol and law were broken by the former Secretary of State. Many astute people listened to the speech thinking that is was building up to a recommendation to prosecute, but were shocked when he said they didn't recommend prosecution because they couldn't prove intent and thus no reasonable prosecutor in the country would take the case. This was news to many former prosecutors (and probably current ones who weren't able to comment) who knew that intent is not a part of the relevant statute and they would totally take that case.

The Mueller report, which of course we haven't seen yet but assuming the summary is accurate, seems to be of a different character. It states that the investigation found there was no conspiracy or coordination (i.e. collusion). Pretty unequivocal. We'll see what else is in the report including surely some embarrassing facts for the President, but apparently on the key question there was no doubt that collusion is out of the question.

Most of the embarrassment will be related to obstruction, I'll bet. However, as the AG said, proving obstruction does require intent and with no underlying crime to obstruct about, that would be impossible to prove.

As you mention, Mueller and co. did draw some blood from the President by naming him a co-conspirator in Cohen's guilty plea. The catch is that several smart legal observers I've read/heard say that him pleading guilty doesn't necessarily prove that a crime occurred. Sounds weird, but prosecutors had Cohen over a barrel on the crimes he surely did commit. Like many criminals, he'll gladly do just about anything to lessen his sentence. Confessing to a campaign finance violation would be a small price to pay, never mind that many lawyers feel it wasn't actually a violation and would have been very hard to convict at trial. Cohen is a generous guy, though, and he'll even throw in a congressional testimony where he'll dish out privileged juicy items and unprivileged opinion on his former client.

None of these things are crimes: (presumably) having a fling with Stormy, not telling his wife, paying Stormy money to keep quiet about it, and (presumably) lying about it when she doesn't. Icky, certainly, but not illegal. This probably is in keeping with most of the President's bad side: icky but not illegal. If he is defeated in 2020, it will be because of the icky (or a recession). If the Democrats are smarter than they were in 2016, they will nominate someone who is not icky. Or a Socialist.

So, each tribe has its media and as you say we all traffic in a certain amount of hypocrisy. It's not very often, though, that things are so clear cut that one side's narrative was right while the other side's was wrong. The left invested an awful lot in the hope that Russian collusion would bring down the President. It seems like a hell of a lot of wasted time and energy (not to mention money) in something that will have only served to perhaps have distracted the administration enough to prevent a little bit more real policy from being implemented. Was this Strzok's "plan B"? Was it a coup attempt as the greek poster thinks, even if it was just a coup that would put Pence in the White House? I'd actually probably prefer Pence personally, but that's a whole other topic. I'm not sure on the coup, but Washington politics have sure never been nastier than they've been since 2016.

Jon7290, i am not sure.
A mentally ill kook or a Theocratic kook.
Is there a difference?

Talton has a good piece in the Front pages on murdering Obamacare. What he didnt say. The desire of some to destroy anything constructed by a non white man.

Thanks Jon for this Trump hamburger article and photo. It provoked some interesting responses. I was pleased to see Ruben post more than 2 sentences and regardless of opinion i always enjoy Soleri's singing poetry.

Jon7190, I appreciate your measured response here, which comes close to halfway in meeting the other side. So, in its spirit, I'll try to keep my eyes trained on that sweet spot between rejection and accommodation.

From the outset of the SC investigation, I didn't think we would find a smoking gun it terms of criminal conspiracy. The reason here is that Russia is not an ordinary nation. Its government blurs the line between a criminal racket and a rule-bound bureaucracy. This is why oligarchs, various cut-outs, and sketchy players loom so large here. Russia has essentially evolved a system where raw power dovetails with a mafia-like capture of its resources. They intersect and blend less like a leviathan and more like a jellyfish. There's no central nervous system because its nebulous power relationships have only one recognizable face: Vladimir Putin.

On the other side is Donald Trump who runs his "organization" as his personal fiefdom. He's both the brains and the "brand" but the deeper story has been his willingness to launder Russian mafia money over the years. Indeed, given the multiple bankruptcies, it was his primary revenue stream. Most mainstream real-estate companies don't work this way, partly because they adhere to various rules of incorporation that diffuse the power through layers of shareholders, accountants, legal offices, etc. At the Trump Organization,there's just one man who decides everything.

Robert Mueller adhered to a strict definition of "collusion" as a criminal conspiracy with the government of another nation. But that government, for the most part, doesn't wield power except in its military and its chief executive. It's why there were multiple indictments of Russian military officials in the GRU but no place else. The bread crumbs spread and disappear in ambiguous ways. Nothing is what it appears to be and that's by design.

Trump's infatuation with Russia is unseemly for these reasons. You're dealing with a nation where graft and corruption are deeply insinuated in their culture. Trump himself is a largely incompetent businessman who cannot take advice or correction since his ego is very fragile. It affords him an ability to see the weaknesses in others he can't see in himself, however.

The Trump "brand" became the focal point of his business career after his devastating bankruptcies of 20 years ago. He began selling himself as a spectacularly successful businessman who is so rich that he can't even keep track of the billions he's supposedly worth. His insatiable need to be #1 in the eyes of the world was both his crutch and his strategy. Keep hustling and get branding deals on hotels and condos. Be mob-friendly when it comes to selling his own condos, and be very friendly with dubious actors on the world stage, whether they're Russian or Saudi.

Trump's Moscow Tower project depended on getting the attention and favor of one man: Vladimir Putin. At one point in 2015, Trump, Cohen and Felix Sater floated an enticement of giving Putin its $50 million penthouse. They knew the project could only advance under his approval. They were willing to do what it took to get that approval. Throw Ukraine under the bus? No problem. Lift Russian sanctions? No biggie. Weaken and destabilize the Atlantic Alliance? Why not? Money was on the line and Trump was more than willing to deliver.

The real scandal here is that this isn't exactly illegal. Of course, we never had a president who was willing to sell out his own country's national security for a real-estate project before. Live and learn! That doesn't mean, however, that it's okay, pace Adam Schiff. There are things decent human beings wouldn't do for all the money in the world. Donald Trump, however, is not a decent human being.

The obstruction of justice excuse given Trump is really pathetic. It's analogous to the idea that you can't call him a liar because you have to prove conscious intent to deceive first. By this metric, no one is really guilty of anything because of this mysterious Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card that conservatives generously offer themselves but not Democrats. Remember what a hoot we all had laughing at Bill Clinton's definition of the word "is"? You first have to prove what "is" is and what it ain't!

The Southern District of New York will, I trust, explore the Trump corruption in its granular detail. This will give Republicans another opportunity to assail the liberal conceit called the rule of law. Courts are part of the Deep State! Why didn't they indict Hillary for her e-mail server? See, they're unfair! Lindsey Graham, get those hearings starting ASAP!

If America is going to survive, decent Republicans like Jon7190 will have to step forward and say "enough". You can't extenuate and rationalize for your tribal chieftain as if there were no consequences for our nation as a whole. We are being spiritually torn asunder. Is "winning" really worth this price? Trump is a cancer on our national soul. Please, let's get back to consensus reality before this insanity destroys us forever.

The eloquent racist thinks that 2+ years of the Mueller investigation wasn't sufficient and the the SDNY will REALLY get to the bottom of Trump's corruption!


How easily dreams are dashed by truth.

I'm starting to think that the left isn't full of crazies - it's just full of low IQ folks.


Soleri good summation. Besides the Russian mafia. The Saudi's have become even bigger players than they were for The Bushes. The Saudi's know they have to make moves for that day when the oil runs out. I thought the day Trump was elected there would only be three ways to get rid if him, by election, by Congress,

If the nation survives him only then will the rule of law take him down. The SDNY will bring one or two of indictments related to the Trump empire but mostly cost Trump and the Kushners money. And publicly expose what most in the know New Yorkers have always known. Donald Trump is a morally bankrupt Sleazeball with a narcissisticly bad hairdo and no heel spurs but just a heel.

Note back in the 90's i tried to investigate the Russian mob for selling bad diesel but got shut down by the Governor. Currently you want to cozy up with a friendly Ruskie, go get a haircut.

Pepe Le Greek seems to think that he knows what's in Mueller's report, which is probably a function of his Aryan IQ and genetic superiority. But, what we do know in the wake of Barr's convenient excuse-making for Donald is that Mueller limited himself to the guidelines of his DOJ-mandated task - determine the scope and sweep of Russian attacks on our democracy and if there were any manifest ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Unsurprisingly, the SC didn't find dispositive proof. Mafiosi usually don't sign cooperation agreements with each other, so this was predictable. I knew this two years ago.

Does this mean that Trump behaved in a way that comports with American standards of ordinary decency? Of course, not. You'd have to be deaf, dumb, or a movement conservative to think that lying about your dealings with Russia through the entirety of 2016 - and after - are anything other than a foul stain on American honor. Trump has no honor because he fronts for an ideology steeped in racism, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. The SDNY will not be as constrained as Mueller in their fact-finding. Enjoy the next few years because justice will be served.

Only if a few more GOP Pendejos discover some sanity and courage.
Personally and emotionally this republican likes AOC and Bernie. But then i like Jose Mujica and his old VW and he and his wife's Cottage and vegetable garden.

Did Trump really think he would win the election?

Wow!! Soleri, you're going to break something... ὀστρακισμός, WTF?... Cal, we didn't get together for coffee in Ajo this season (the shop in the plaza has re-opened),stay sane!... and to all, from a friendly neighbour to the north, as it stands now, Trump will be reelected unless a viable alternative emerges. Ain't happened yet, friends.

If the SDNY turned a blind eye for thirty years concerning trump's shenanigans , why would they now go after him? If we, out here in the frontier, heard stories of Russian money being funneled to him in NY and FL, wouldn't the local authorities have heard something too?

Have a safe Trip Norm.maybe catch up with U in November?

Ruben, having grown up in Arizona, I've long been fascinated by fast-and-loose regulations governing developers and their many dubious schemes. It's almost as if they have a sweetheart deal with the political class: we'll contribute to your campaigns if you protect our various frauds, like depreciation allowances, business "expenses", tax evasion via shell companies, and conning buyers with phony property assessments.

Trump is infamous in NYC and Florida for his manic shenanigans, and it's safe to assume that he's an expert in the pay-to-play rules of the game. He learned a lot of stuff from his tax-evading father and Roy Cohn. Now, this game happens to be bipartisan. Frank Rich had an interesting piece in New York several months ago detailing as much: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/04/frank-rich-roy-cohn-the-original-donald-trump.html

Trump is a lifelong - and unapologetic - con artist. Real-estate tycoons are known for their hijinks, of course, so none of this is surprising. That said, tycoons depend on legal muscle deflecting attention from their various cons, but the angry public wants extra, not reduced scrutiny of Trump's practices. Trump has violated probably every norm and standard of public life in America and gotten away with it. This time will be very different. The law will catch up with him and his crime family. His ass will be RICOed until there's not a building left in America bearing the obscenity of his name.

Cal, sounds like a plan! Should be back by Veterans Day (or whatever Americans call it...). Have a great summer.

Soleri, maybe but meanwhile look for Billy Barr to indict Comey and Steele.

Norm, we have 5 seasons here.
Summer and the Monson seasons in the Great Sonoran Desert are the best times of the year. Its quiet, all the Canadians and soil bankers are gone.

Cal, I could half-see McCabe getting indicted, but I suspect Barr is savvy enough not to kick over the hornet's nest. Discovery could be a bitch when you're in charge of an organization whose leadership is politically protecting a traitor.

Here's something every Bernie supporter should read: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/31/electability-bernie-dont-belong-same-sentence/?utm_term=.6ee383377f82


Thanks for the detailed response. Between the SDNY, blue state AG's with a personal loathing of him and the impossibility of secrecy these days, I think would be very difficult for Trump to suppress any illegal deeds indefinitely. So we'll see.

The thing I've never understood about the Trump-as-Putin's-puppet narrative is that while the President has generally avoided rhetorical confrontation with Putin/Russia, in actual policy he and his administration have been anything but accommodating to Russia. You could make quite a long list of policies the Kremlin shouldn't like including:
-ending U.S. adherence to the INF treaty in response to long, rampant breaking of it by Russia
-U.S. approval of major arms sales to Ukraine (Obama admin refused to do this)
-U.S. military training Ukrainian forces
-U.S. endorsing Montenegro's admission to NATO, and likely endorsement of Macedonia's (Russia has always opposed adding countries to NATO)
-Trump admin continuing U.S. policy of seeking Georgia and Ukraine's admission to NATO
-U.S. military in Syria supporting opposition forces to Russia-backed Assad regime, including U.S. attacks on Syrian installations that have killed Russians
-U.S. pulling out of deal with Russia-backed Iran and forcefully opposing ayatollah's regime
-U.S. aggressively seeking to oust Maduro in Venezuela, whom Russia has made close ties with.
-U.S. increasing production of oil, driving worldwide prices down (hurting Russia's most valuable export)
-U.S. discouraging Germany from entering exclusive energy deal with Russia
-Trump admin's staunch support of Israel, support which pretty much every other country hates.

These are all things the U.S. has done under Trump, who apparently makes as bad of a Russian puppet as you believe he does a U.S. president. I'm not necessarily saying all those policies are good. You could even make a case that in policy, the U.S. has been overly confrontational with Russia and it's allies. Russia is certainly not a friend, but they are also not our biggest threat as Democrats have acted like (just since Trump came on the scene). The Left's hysterical reaction to Russia's election meddling, such as it was, has made it succeed beyond their wildest hopes.

I think one good thing the administration has done is start to treat China like the economic and military adversary and threat that they are. Just this week Trump signed an excellent E.O. directing increased action to prepare against the threat of E.M.P. This has been a long neglected national security concern that previous administrations have dragged their feet on due to resistance in the bureaucracy and power industry. It would be nice if we could get congressional action, but we don't get congressional action on much of anything useful.

But while your eyes are on the above and other "bullshit" meant to distract you the BOYS are appointing many religious kooks to lifetime appointments while big Corporation CITIZENS are "drill baby drill." Six more years of the Donald and your public lands will be privately owned with no tresspass signs, Blackwater armed, shoot to kill guards protecting breaking pipelines and fracking tsunamis.
Say hello to the Terrill Corporation.
"There is a good future waiting for you off planet." Except as Guy Inslee's followers have noted there is "no planet B."

That should be Jay Inslee. U know Taltons Governor in Washington.

McConnell will change the rules making it easier to appoint right wing religious
nut jobs with the continuing support and guidance of Lenorad Leo and the Federalist Society.

Cal, LOL. Waaaay up north, there are those who don't migrate to the Great Sonoran Desert because they claim that they enjoy 4 seasons. We'd stay longer, but then we risk losing our pinko socialized healthcare, as well as running afoul of the IRS. Talk about "deep state"!

Jon7190, I get that Donald Trump is likely not an agent of Russia although that's not something I ever claimed. Asset, yes. Instead of arguing this point, I prefer to offer you a counterfactual and maybe you can get an idea of my frustration with Republicans on this issue.

Imagine Barack Obama had done what we know Trump did. That is, he pursed some private business interest in Russia while also favoring Russia and Putin in his foreign policy positions. On top of all that, he consistently lied about having any contacts with Russia. Imagine his campaign manager and his deputy being indicted for related crimes with the former being sentenced to prison. Imagine his National Security Adviser pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his discussion with the Russian ambassador revolving around the lifting of sanctions. Then imagine he fired his FBI director for not "letting it go". Imagine a special counsel being appointed after which Obama decried the entire investigation as a witch hunt despite the 100 or so criminal counts, 37 indictments, 6 guilty pleas, etc. To top it all off, imagine Obama having a private meeting with Putin in Helsinki in which he was alone with him for two hours with only translators present. Then he took his translators notes and apparently destroyed them. Afterward, imagine Obama taking Putin's word over his own intel agencies in the joint press conference afterwards.

Okay, after considering all that for a nanosecond, imagine just how apoplectic your side would be by Obama's brazen breach of presidential norms. I mean, really, you were upset that Obama once appeared to bow to some Middle Eastern potentate. Think about the time you accused him of deliberately leaving four Americans to die in Benghazi without any evidence whatsoever. Yet with Trump, you abjectly prostrate yourself before him without even a hint of reproach or concern. And when challenged by people like me, say it's all just Trump Derangement Syndrome from those who are angry they didn't win in 2016. I want to scream.

Republicans drive me crazy with this kind of brazen hypocrisy. I understand it goes with the political territory but I'm not really eager to let bygones be bygones. Given the way Obama was mistreated by Team R all through his presidency while never doing anything that approached 1% of the depravity of Trump on any given day, my feelings range from complete schadenfreude to mordant disgust that Republicans will cheer virtual treason if it means supporting one of their own. When I said you and your tribe put party over country, I meant it. I wasn't exaggerating because I never get any sense at all that you appreciate the grave ramifications of Trump's stunning lack of conscience and presidential deportment. A man who lies as much as he does while attacking almost everyone else around him is an extraordinarily bad human being. He's not just being a loveable rogue, either. He is failing America in a fundamental and stunning manner.

All that said, I do want to thank you for a civil discussion here. This is exactly what we need to keep this country together. I apologize for my occasional intemperance although I think it's more than justified given Republican bad faith. We all owe this country our best efforts and willingness to bridge the partisan divide. But all of this will mean nothing if we don't tell the truth. If you blindly support Trump, if you will not tell the truth, you're not being a good citizen. Rather, you're rationalizing and making excuses for your tribe. Patriotism is everyone's first duty, not just a kind of bromide we put out on special holidays and events. Country over party ALWAYS.

Soleri, Had Obama conducted himself anything like Trump he would have been assassinated by the white right just like MLK, JFK and RFK within 90 days of his inauguration.

I would say that agent vs. asset is a distinction without a difference but I get what you are saying. Republicans were definitely mean to President Obama, whose "no drama" disposition was likable and the polar opposite of President Trump's. Still, Democrats were hardly kind and unfailingly fair to Bush, who was the D's Worst Person Ever until they discovered their new Worst Person Ever in 2016. Republicans hated Clinton and even impeached him. We look back at Bush 41 as an uncontroversial, simpler political time, but I remember many on the Left despised him and thought he was the personification of evil. I was pretty young when Reagan was president, but even so I can remember a lot of vitriol hurled his way. Nasty politics are not a new thing, they are just getting nastier. Trump has done more than his fair share in pushing us there, I have no problem granting that.

I don't grant that all the facts in your mirror image hypothetical are established as you paint them, though I would agree that hypothetically if President H. Clinton had done exactly the same things Trump has that Republicans would of course flip out. I also think that Democrats such as yourself are equally adept at rationalizing and minimizing controversies that went down in the Obama admin. In your example of Benghazi, dismay regardless of party was definitely warranted, IMO, for a number of reasons. The denial of requested additional security beforehand; the lack of sufficient forces close enough to respond quickly; allegedly not sending anything and everything immediately upon the attack even if it would have ended up being futile; the ridiculous cover story put out initially about the youtube video. Pick one or all, but they all reflect badly on the administration's mideast operations and the White House's willingness to put out absurd spin in the wake of the murder of an ambassador and other Americans.

For many Republicans, it is all about the policy. I think your idea of a good Republican is Jeff Flake, who this week said that if Trump is the nominee that he would vote Democrat regardless of who it is. I can't go there, sorry. This new Democratic party scares me too much.

I truly believe that some on the Left, including possibly some current candidates, really don't love the historical United States and its unprecedented freedoms in a way that most Americans would understand. They don't cherish the Constitution as written (the written one, not the living one) and would gut parts of the first and second amendments, at least. They don't respect the free market system that has made our economy the envy of the world. They would go all in on maximizing every type of immigration to complete the Democrats' hopeful gambit of demographic transformation to assure a lock on national power in perpetuity. They would seek to hand over American sovereignty to globalist power. They would continue to use identity politics to pit people against each other. Most disturbing to me, I believe the new Democratic party is infused with the spirit of secular humanism that doesn't value our deep history of religion and faith and the central part it has played and continues to play in the country's character and development .

I'm not saying that you stand for all these things, or that all individual Democrats do. Many new voters may not even really believe in the old Democratic party that promoted Labor and helped the lower classes but didn't really disagree with the other party about fundamental American values. These types may vote Democrat, but only as a step towards their real desire to live in a Socialist paradise.

I share some of your concerns about the growing ungovernability of our country and the rift between tribes. I don't have great short term solutions to that problem, but I also don't think supporting today's prominent Democrats is the answer. I'll take my chances with Donald Trump before I'd hand over power to some of the knuckleheads running for president. Sorry, I don't see another answer.

I also appreciate being able to have a civil exchange. I am a little disappointed in ὀστρακισμός. I remember he had some quality comments in the past but has come off a little trolly here.

FYI, I know I threw a bomb but I'm not sure how much more I can contribute to this thread, I'll be pretty busy the next couple of days. Feel free to rebut, though.

Jon7190, I'll try to keep this short. Trump is a cosmic knucklehead. He has a severe personality disorder, is incapable of ordinary human grace, and is simply off the charts in terms of personal vileness. Tell me the truth: you never noticed his complete inability to apologize or exemplify kindness and compassion? Have you ever thought he might make an effort to unify instead of divide? Or to merely soften his incendiary rhetoric just for a day?

Bullies are fundamentally cowards. Trump's obscene obsession with the appearances of other people, his gross insensitivity to their feelings, and the mean-spirited nicknames he bestows on anyone who crosses him makes me think of a 10 year-old boy in need of mood stabilizers. This is your icon? This is who you esteem? Seriously?

I get nervous around political zealotry. The Bernie cult in particular drives me up a wall with its sanctimony and ironclad certitude. But lefties are not, for the most part, ugly human beings. But you can't go to a MAGA rally and not wonder how damaged some people are by racism and cruelty. I wonder if this is what separates us. I can't imagine in a million years "punching down" on the poor, minorities, and immigrants.

There's one America and not everyone looks, acts, or thinks the same. This means we have to work at bridging differences, not exacerbating them. Our survival as a nation literally depends on tolerance and forgiveness. The American right, however, has predicated its political success on stoking fear and loathing of others. It's not about real things, just "feelings". And legitimizing cruelty, hatred, and ugliness has been its toxic fruit. America is no longer one nation because millions have taken the low road to feeling good about themselves at the expense of others. Exhibit A: Donald Trump.

Only Bernie can beat Trump! If the Dems don't sabotage him again.

Bernie, the 2,000 year old man? Mel Brooks stands a better chance to beat Trump.

Best analysis of the current crisis as I've seen anywhere, soleri. Thanks.

Three equal branches of government.

As the feckless, corrupt, senile congress spirals around the drain, I see power, slowly but steadily, leaking over to the Executive branch, which slowly but steadily, leaks over to control of the Supreme court. The Executive branch behaves more and more like a dictatorship, the Judicial branch behaves more and more like a whore of the dictator.

It all makes me feel sort of uncomfortable. Do you know what I mean?

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