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Corruption

I’ve been on an extended trip recently, and returned home just a couple of days ago to find an interesting story, the sex trafficking case of Jeffrey Epstein. Initially I didn’t pay significant attention to it, as it didn’t seem all that related to politics (ironic or otherwise). But now that I have time to look into it, I find that I was wrong. This has everything to do with politics.

This may be the story of the century, up there with Watergate. In fact, this could be much bigger than a little break-in in 1972 that eventually led to the downfall of president Richard Nixon. Indeed, Epstein has ties to a large number of politicians in both parties. And there is strong evidence that he has been blackmailing these people, along with other wealthy and powerful players.

The real question is “how did Jeffrey Epstein make so much money“? He claims to be a billionaire and a hedge fund manager, but there is no evidence that he has ever done business with anyone. Everything is secret, safely offshore.

So why would someone who is a confessed and convicted sex offender have all these wealthy and influential friends who were only too happy to give him lots of money? Or arrange to keep him out of jail for his crimes?

In the end, this all hinges on whether he has enough powerful people blackmailed so that he can again avoid any significant punishment. Only by focusing attention on this and making sure it is investigated fairly and throughly can we avoid this getting swept under the rug and forgotten.

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British Protest Humor

Sad and Useless has collected funny signs being displayed by Brits protesting against Donald Trump’s visit to England. Here’s one of them (many more at the link).

If you don’t get this reference, you’re too young. Watch this video.

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The Road to Impeachment?

By now, pretty much everyone knows that the Democrats are trying to decide whether or not to impeach Donald Trump. However, impeachment is only half the game, and while Democrats control the House and can impeach Trump anytime they want, it is up to the Republican controlled Senate to convict him and then remove him from office. And conviction requires a vote of two-thirds of the Senate. Clearly that is extremely unlikely.

I’m on the side of Nancy Pelosi, who thinks that if the Dems impeach Trump and the Senate acquits him, it will probably backfire on them and could get Trump reelected, which would be a complete disaster. On the other hand, if the Dems do nothing, that will also hurt them severely.

However, David Faris has come up with what I think is a brilliant solution. His solution consists of a series of steps.

  1. Keep holding hearings and investigating Trump and his administration.
  2. In late August 2020, just before the Republican National Convention, start impeachment proceedings (the normal path to decide whether to impeach). This will reflect poorly on the Republicans during their convention.
  3. (extra bonus step) Undoubtably, Trump will go on a total rampage, tweeting up a shit storm. That will make Tump and the Republicans look even worse.
  4. Draw out the impeachment proceedings as long as possible. In fact, until a day or two before the presidential election in November. That’s right, vote to impeach Trump immediately before the election.

There will not be enough time for the Senate to acquit Trump, so Trump cannot say he has been vindicated. In fact, as part of the impeachment proceedings, the House should have gotten ahold of Trump’s tax returns, and plenty of other incriminating evidence from other places, making both Trump and the Republicans who support him look really bad.

How bad? Bad enough that the Democrats could retake the Senate. And if that happens, then it is even possible that the Republicans go ahead and vote to convict Trump in order to distance themselves from him.

Not only do I think this is a good solution, in fact the best solution, I think it just might be the only solution that can save our country’s democracy.

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What me worry?

Saw this in Political Wire this morning:

Asked about Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential run, President Trump was dismissive in an interview with Politico.

Said Trump: “Alfred E. Neuman cannot become president of the United States.”

I can’t believe he said this. After all, Donald Trump is the living embodiment of Alfred E. Neuman. He’s stupid and he doesn’t care. And while he might not have won the popular vote (by a sizable margin), he did become the president of the United States.

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Hypocrisy: Lies and Obstruction

You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.

— Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by the Washington Post in 1999, on President Bill Clinton.

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Hypocrisy: Lies and Obstruction

He encouraged people to lie for him. He lied. I think he obstructed justice. I think there’s a compelling case that he has, in fact, engaged in conduct that would be better for him to leave office than to stay in office.

— Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on C-SPAN in 1999, on President Bill Clinton.

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In a Functional Country, We Would Be on the Road to Impeachment

This is the title of an opinion piece in the NY Times. It is a good, thoughtful rant, and I don’t disagree with much in it.

Note that it doesn’t say that we should impeach Donald Trump, just that if our country weren’t so screwed up and dysfunctional, we would be impeaching him.

Our country has lost its way. I’m not sure what we can do to bring it back. To Make American Sane Again.

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Mueller Time

If you are looking for a straightforward article that sums up Robert Mueller’s report and William Barr’s somewhat disingenuous interpretations of it, you can hardly do better than this article in Politico.

I find it very sad that the office of Attorney General of the US has become completely politicized. The Attorney General is supposed to enforce the law, not be a cheerleader for the president. As the article points out, Barr only talks about things in the report that are favorable to Trump. And he either ignores or mischaracterizes things that are less than favorable.

Luckily, the majority of Americans are not buying what Barr is selling.

UPDATE: Electoral-vote has an excellent summary of the report, and the reaction to it. This is a must-read report.

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Losing a loved one to Fox News

A fairly short but fascinating article in New York Magazine, “What I’ve Learned From Collecting Stories of People Whose Loved Ones Were Transformed by Fox News“.

Unlike Fox News, the article is actually somewhat “Fair and Balanced”, not just blaming Fox News, but also MSNBC and how some people have a similar transformation from that.

I will just quote one paragraph, but it is short enough (and definitely worth it) to read the whole thing:

No matter where the stories came from they all featured a few familiar beats: A loved one seemed to have changed over time. Maybe that person was already somewhat conservative to start. Maybe they were apolitical. But at one point or another, they sat down in front of Fox News, found some kind of deep, addictive comfort in the anger and paranoia, and became a different person — someone difficult, if not impossible, to spend time with. The fallout led to failed marriages and estranged parental relationships. For at least one person, it marks the final memory he’ll ever have of his father: “When I found my dad dead in his armchair, fucking Fox News was on the TV,” this reader told me. “It’s likely the last thing he saw. I hate what that channel and conservative talk radio did to my funny, compassionate dad. He spent the last years of his life increasingly angry, bigoted, and paranoid.”

I have a similar story, of a family member who has become a Fox News junkie, and it has definitely affected their relationship with their family and friends. Do any of you have similar experiences?

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IRoNY

You know that when Weekend Update on SNL mentions the word “irony”, I’ll have to post it!

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SNL on Mueller Report

Live from New York, in real time!

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Alex Jones admits he is Psycho

And then proves it.

Alex Jones of Infowars is being sued by several parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre for spreading conspiracy theories claiming that the massacre was staged using actors. He also claimed that the children who died “never existed”.

In a deposition posted to YouTube, Jones defends himself by claiming that “a form of psychosis” brought on by the stressful nature of his job caused him to spread lies and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Jones promised that he would no longer spread conspiracy theories without confirming them.

However, in his broadcast on Monday, he spread another unconfirmed conspiracy theory about Sandy Hook. Jones argued that a Sandy Hook father who died from an apparent suicide was actually murdered in order to build the legal case against himself.

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Repetition

I wonder why people keep falling for the old repetition trick. You know, where someone repeats a falsehood often enough that people think it is true.

Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow
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It goes on and on…

Are people really surprised that rich people have managed to tilt the playing field?

And yes, Trump really did grope a flag during his speech at CPAC. Or as Stephen Colbert joked, “First time a flag’s ever volunteered to be burned.”

Tom Tomorrow
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MAGA!

One of the ultimate ironies of our current politics is that Republicans — who claim to want to “make America great again” — have decided to paint the Democrats as evil “socialists” who will ruin our country. And yet, the proposed policies from even the most far left candidates for president were actual real things during the era that Republicans seem to be holding up as the shining example of when America was great before.

Ruben Bolling
© Ruben Bolling

Well, except for the racism and antisemitism part.

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