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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Malice

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States
-- Oath of Office, President of the United States
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
-- Amendment I, Constitution of the United States of America.
Here we are.

Another day in America.

Another day that begins with Trump raging like a madman on social media – and then departing for another round of golf.

Another day when Trump again declares his fellow Americans and American institutions to be enemies of the people.

This has become our norm. Just another day in America.

Just another day when Donald Trump wipes his ass with the Constitution.



Look at that.

No, I mean it. Look at that.

You don’t even have to look carefully, it’s right out in open.

THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!

Now, of course, when you protest, Trump himself says that he doesn't mean all the Press, just those he deems to be "fake news" and the implication is that Trump himself should be the sole arbiter of what constitutes truth.

The President of the United States of America is quite literally declaring this morning, again, that the oath he swore means nothing to him.

The President of the United States is literally saying that he considers the fundamental institutions of liberty and democracy to be a roadblock to his personal power and ambition -- which, of course, they are, exactly as they were designed to be – but Trump considers this to be a defect instead of the fundamental institution of our Republic.

By design, the President’s power is supposed to be restricted.

That’s what the presidential oath of office directly implies, that’s why it requires the office holder to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and not a political ideology, or the government, or even the country.

The fact that Trump does not understand this, is in point of fact utterly incapable of understanding this, is evident in every word he speaks and every action he takes from his assertion that the Press is the enemy of the people to his declaration of a national emergency to override congress and thus the will of those self same people.

When it comes to Speech and to the Press, the Constitution is quite specific: “…or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

There is no caveat on those rights, no qualifier, no restriction.

In point of fact, the Press is the only private enterprise whose rights are specifically enumerated in the Constitution. No qualification was placed on that freedom, none, not even the minimum caveat “being necessary to the security of a free State” as was placed upon the oh-so-sacred Second Amendment.

Nor was any such qualifier leveraged upon a citizen’s freedom of speech.


This is because the Press is the watchdog of liberty and the enemy of tyrants.


Now, an argument can certainly be made that the Press as an institution does not always, or perhaps not often, live up to that responsibility.

But the Press is not required to.

Again, the Constitution places no qualification or restriction upon the right. None.

The Press is free to publish articles at the highest levels of journalistic integrity or to print the alleged sexual escapades of popular entertainers. The Press is a private enterprise, a business – often (hopefully, if you work there) for profit – and so I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader which type of story actually sells more newspapers or garners a higher number of viewers on TV and the Internet. Fox News is popular with the right, because it tells conservatives what they want to hear. It’s the same everywhere else. The National Enquirer publishes stories of space alien babies, claims Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered by a hooker, or names Hillary Clinton’s Secret Lesbian Lovers, because that’s what Americans want to read. Sex sells. Violence sells. Conspiracy sells. This is less a condemnation of the Press, and more a statement on human nature. Alex Jones isn’t popular because he’s talented or attractive or sane, he’s popular because he entertains the lunatic fringe – which isn’t so far out on the fringe any more. Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, these people aren’t “journalists” in any professional sense, but the Constitution doesn’t require any particular credentials to call yourself such.

Because the Press is a private enterprise, for profit, we get the Press that we want.

We get the the Press that sells.

We get the Press we deserve -- just like government.

The Framers, the men who wrote the Constitution, they knew this.

The Press was no different in their day and in fact it was even more lurid, more prone to titillation and hyperbole, and more free of fact than it is nowadays. And yet – and yet – they granted the Press unqualified freedom, the only such institution called out and given enumerated rights in the Constitution.

This is also true, the unrestricted part anyway, of Freedom of Speech.


Because despite the many drawbacks of a for-profit press and an unruly and mouthy population, liberty cannot exist without such unrestricted freedoms.


What?

What’s that?

Oh. I see. You have a problem with the qualifier.

Those rights are not “unrestricted,” you say? You can’t shout “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater, for example. Our rights, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, these rights are not unrestricted.

This is true.

But it’s also wrong.

See, you can shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater (or in a more modern example, “gun!”). You can. But you’re responsible – at least in part – for what happens next. We have laws prohibiting the incitement of public panic (called “Inducing Panic Laws”). Conversely if there actually is a fire, or a gun, and you don’t sound the alarm, you can be held liable for failure to warn people. Now, Failure To Warn in a case like this is not particularly common, it’s more for cases involving large companies with defective or harmful products, but does happen at the personal level and is likely to increase (see cases involving mass shootings where people knew or had reason to suspect the shooter’s intent prior to the act. Particularly in school shootings involving teen perpetrators).

Likewise, the Press can be held accountable for publishing deliberately malicious information.

In fact, there’s an entire branch of law dedicated to such, and ironically it involves a common target of Trump’s ire: The New York Times.

At the height of the Civil Rights era, The New York Times published an article – a full-page advertisement really, paid for by The Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Freedom In The South. The Public Safety Commissioner of Montgomery, Alabama, one L. B. Sullivan, was incensed by what he called called inaccuracies – what Trump would today call “Fake News” – and he took it personally. He demanded the Times print a retraction.

The Times refused.

The Governor of Alabama then demanded a retraction and this time the Times complied, citing new information and that the intention hadn’t been to defame Alabama the state.

Sullivan was not mollified. He felt his character had been libeled and he sued in Alabama state court.

Unsurprisingly, for the time, he won.

He was awarded $500,000 by the Alabama state trial court and the Alabama Supreme Court declared “The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not protect libelous publications.”

So the New York Times appealed the case to the US Supreme Court.

In 1964, the Supreme Court of the United States decided New York Times Co. v. Sullivan in favor of the New York Times unanimously

Justice William J. Brennan, writing the Court’s opinion, cited a previous case:

Mr. Justice Brandeis, in his concurring opinion in Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 375-376, gave the principle its classic formulation:

Those who won our independence believed . . . that public discussion is a political duty, and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies, and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law -- the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed.

Thus, we consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan is a landmark.

The Supreme Court established the Actual Malice Standard, it is one of the key decisions guaranteeing Freedom of the Press, and was made specifically to ensure that public officials could not use the courts to stifle freedom of speech or to suppress political criticism.

Without this protection, the South could have prevented the Press from reporting on police brutality and government abuses during the Civil Rights Movement. Without this protection, Nixon could have used the courts to suppress reports of his chicanery as libelous to himself.  Reagan could have tried to hide the Iran-Contra Affair for the same reason. Or Bill Clinton could have tried to sue the Press to hide his affair.

The press is not free to engage in willful libel or malice.

But there is a significant difference between libel and a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

That, that right there, is what the President of the United States swears an oath to preserve, protect and defend. That.


The Constitution places no qualification on Freedom of Speech or Freedom of the Press. With great, great care and deliberation, the Court does.


This is the Judicial Branch’s Constitutional duty. Not the Executive’s.

It is not within the President’s power to decide what constitutes Freedom of Speech or Freedom of the Press.

It is not within the President’s power to decide truth for the American people.

Nor is it within the President’s power to declare the fundamental institutions of our Republic as enemies of the people.

The President is sworn to uphold the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

That is the limit of his power.

That.

No more.

No less.

The Constitution was not written to place restrictions upon liberty.

The Constitution was very specifically written to place restrictions upon the President.

The very fact that Donald Trump does not, will not, can not, acknowledge this makes him fundamentally unqualified for the office.


It is much easier to pull down a government, in such a conjuncture of affairs as we have seen, than to build up, at such a season as the present.
John Adams, letter to James Warren, 1787



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

State of Confusion


Near as I can figure, the message last night was: America won WWII

So, that's good. Huzzah. I was wondering how that whole thing turned out.

But I’m getting ahead ofmyself.

Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:

And right out of the box, he leads off with an insult.

What’s that?

What insult?

Well, what did you think that was? It’s traditional for the President to congratulate the new Speaker on their election. It’s customary to wait for the new Speaker to introduce the President. Trump did neither.  He just started talking, while Mike Pence smirked. Pelosi was obviously expecting it and remained unperturbed.

But if ever there was a metaphor for this boorish Chud, there it was.

We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential. As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans.

I stand ready to work with you. Now that I’ve led off with a slight, I’m ready to work with you.

    Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one Nation.

    The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people.

    Neither a Republican or Democrat agenda (because he can never bring himself to say Democratic).

    An agenda of the American people forsooth.

    Which just happens to look exactly like the Republican agenda. Shocking coincidence!

    Many of us campaigned on the same core promises: to defend American jobs and demand fair trade for American workers; to rebuild and revitalize our Nation's infrastructure; to reduce the price of healthcare and prescription drugs; to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure; and to pursue a foreign policy that puts America's interests first.

    You know, it’s funny.

    You read the transcript in your own voice. In your own speech patterns. It flows along in your head.

    It’s completely different to hear Trump say it.

    It’s painful. The halting speech patterns. The strange emphasis on random words. The over exaggeration of odd syllables. The periodic pauses while his 8-bit brain catches up with his 16-bit mouth, or he tries to read something off the teleprompter. The stumbling over the unfamiliar words and ideas.

    Many of Us camPAIGNed on the … same core “Promises” to DEfend AMERICAN joBs and demanD … fair … TRaDah for

    He talks like he tweets.

    There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it. Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.

    Everybody drink!

    Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.

    And, again, it’s just a coincidence that “winning” is defined as his party and that he calls the opposition a bunch of losers.

    Totally a coincidence.

    This year, America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America's mission, and the power of American pride.

    Ratification of the Constitution?

    Emancipation Proclamation?

    The Nineteenth Amendment?

    The Civil Rights Act?

    What could it be? These anniversaries that show the majesty – the majesty, no less – of America’s mission and the power of American pride.

    Wait. 

    Back up. We have a mission? What’s our mission? What’s America’s mission?

    What is the power of American Pride? What are we proud of?

    Hello?

    Well, I guess we need to see the examples and find out.

    In June, we mark 75 years since the start of what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Great Crusade -- the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky, and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny. Here with us tonight are three of those heroes: Private First Class Joseph Reilly, Staff Sergeant Irving Locker, and Sergeant Herman Zeitchik. Gentlemen, we salute you.

    Huh.

    So, seventy-five years ago America did a thing. Huge effort. Lot of people turned out, lot of people sacrificed. A lot died. World War II. D-Day. Sure. That was a big deal. It was, I’m not running it down. I spent all of my life in the military. I’ve walked the beaches at Normandy, walked the American graveyard there. I’m not dismissing the effort and the sacrifices of those people all those years ago.

    But … what does it have to do with the state of our union now?

    Don’t get me wrong here, it’s great that they invited those old veterans to the show, but what does that have to do with the state of our union today?

    Trump didn’t have anything to do with D-Day. His family sat it out, same as every other war America has been involved in. And the only Nazis I’ve seen around here lately are are literally wearing MAGA hats and spray on hair.


    So, I’ll ask again, what does this have to do with the state of our union? That’s what the speech was supposed to be about, right?

    More: What does this have to do with this supposed “mission” our country has been assigned.

    That’s what he was talking about, America’s mission.

    Well?

    In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin. This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.

    Fifty years ago.

    Fifty years since America went to the moon and then came home and quit. Crapped out.

    And there’s Buzz Aldrin, American Hero, in some cartoon necktie that’s about six inches short. And again, that’s great. Glad he got invited. But what does that have to do with the state of our union today?

    It’s been half a century since a human being has left low earth orbit and there’s some staggering irony here.

    That landing, that moment when Armstrong and Aldrin set that fragile tinker-toy of a moon lander down in Mare Tranquillitatis, well, folks, that landing, that great moment in American history was due in no small part to … illegal aliens.

    And not just any illegal aliens, but Nazis.

    Operation Paperclip, 1600 German scientists, engineers – including the father of the American manned space program, Werner von Braun – were taken from Germany in the aftermath of World War II and brought secretly to the United States.

    They didn’t come here legally.

    In fact, it was a real problem. And so a number of those illegal immigrants were made legal via some State Department sleight of hand by smuggling them across the US border into Mexico, then granting them US residency via the US consulate in Juarez, and then driving them back across the border into the United States via a Port of Entry with their newly minted green cards.

    That’s who got us to the moon.

    Nazis.

    Illegal Immigrant Nazis.

    And since that day when human beings first set foot upon the moon, Republicans have retreated steadily from the very science that got Armstrong and Aldrin there the first place. Today conservatives are the ideology of religious fanaticism. Trump himself is the very epitome of science denial, of proud ignorance writ large.

    And if that wasn’t enough, there’s this: “This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.”

    If that happens – if that happens – it’ll be through no agency of Donald Trump or Republicans, or Democrats for that matter.

    It’s not American “pride” that powers the new rockets, it’s the drive and vision of Elon Musk, another immigrant.

    And so I must ask yet again, what does this have to do with America’s alleged “mission?”

    In the 20th century, America saved freedom, transformed science, and redefined the middle class standard of living for the entire world to see. Now, we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this great American adventure, and we must create a new standard of living for the 21st century. An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within our reach.

    Was the theme of the speech supposed to be irony?

    All those things, freedom, science, middle class standards of living, those are the very things Trump has been hell bent on dismantling.

    We can make our communities safer,

    Safer for … who?

    our families stronger,

    Define “families.”

    Define “stronger.”

    our culture richer,

    Describe “our” culture.

    Describe what you mean by “richer.”

    our faith deeper,

    There it is again. Our.

    “Our” faith?

    When you say “our,” who do you mean.

    Define our faith. What “faith” are we talking about? Faith in what? Are we talking about God? Which God? Whose God. Which faith? Or are we talking about something else? And why is it the business of government to make “our faith deeper?” Or our culture richer? Or to measure the supposed strength of our families?

    and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before.

    But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution -- and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.

    You first.

    This guy has no more awareness of his own actions than a dog licking its own asshole in public.

    We we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution.

    Goddamn. I was right. The theme is irony.

    Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future. The decision is ours to make.

    We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.

    It’s like whoever wrote this had never even heard of Donald Trump.

    Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.

    If by “greatness” he means “whiskey,” well, we’re on the same page at last.

    Over the last 2 years, my Administration has moved with urgency and historic speed to confront problems neglected by leaders of both parties over many decades.

    In just over 2 years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom -- a boom that has rarely been seen before. We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs -- something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.

    Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else. Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. The United States economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in our history --- 157 million.

    We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit.

    We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.

    We eliminated the very unpopular Obamacare individual mandate penalty -- and to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed right to try.

    My Administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure. Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to historic reductions in taxes and regulations.

    We have unleashed a revolution in American energy -- the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.

    After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day. Members of Congress: the State of our Union is strong. Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before.

    On Friday, it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone -- almost double what was expected. An economic miracle is taking place in the United States -- and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.

    He’s essentially recapping his Twitter feed for the last six months.

    And you’ll note that just like his Tweets, just like his campaign rallies, he provides no references, no evidence, no facts to back up his statements.

    If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way!

    I…

    I had to play that back during the speech. Because I could not believe that he said it. I thought I heard it wrong.

    No peace.

    No government.

    Not if you keep investigating me.

    And Republicans applauded him. The people who describe themselves as the Law and Order Party, as “Constitutional Conservatives,” applauded him.

    Irony, indeed.

    We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad.

    And by “united” he means “don’t investigate me.” Don’t question me. Fall in line.

    In the last two weeks, Donald Trump himself has personally attacked Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, the FBI, The US Intelligence Community, Senator Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, declared Democrats the enemies of America who want to murder babies and have more crime, Senator Blumenthal, Howard Schultz, non-Christians, the American News Media, and, of course, Hillary Clinton.

    Tell me again, about unity.

    This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate -- some after years of waiting. The Senate has failed to act on these nominations, which is unfair to the nominees and to our country.

    I am glad to see him finally going after Mitch McConnell’s obstructionism…

    Now is the time for bipartisan action. Believe it or not, we have already proven that it is possible.

    Funny how he doesn’t mention the bipartisan legislation that would have reopened the government after a month of being shut down, but that both he and Mitch McConnell refused to even consider.

    A new era of cooperation apparently doesn’t actually include any actual cooperation on Trump’s part.

    In the last Congress, both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new Farm Bill, historic VA reforms, and after four decades of rejection, we passed VA Accountability so we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans.

    And just weeks ago, both parties united for groundbreaking criminal justice reform. Last year, I heard through friends the story of Alice Johnson. I was deeply moved. In 1997, Alice was sentenced to life in prison as a first-time non-violent drug offender. Over the next two decades, she became a prison minister, inspiring others to choose a better path. She had a big impact on that prison population -- and far beyond.

    Alice's story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing -- and the need to remedy this injustice. She served almost 22 years and had expected to be in prison for the rest of her life.

    In June, I commuted Alice's sentence -- and she is here with us tonight. Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny.

    When I saw Alice's beautiful family greet her at the prison gates, hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did the right thing.

    Inspired by stories like Alice's, my Administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law. This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community. The First Step Act gives non-violent offenders the chance to re-enter society as productive, law-abiding citizens. Now, States across the country are following our lead. America is a Nation that believes in redemption.

    As someone noted during my live blog of the speech last night: Oh look, he brought his own black person.

    We are also joined tonight by Matthew Charles from Tennessee. In 1996, at age 30, Matthew was sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs and related offenses. Over the next two decades, he completed more than 30 Bible studies, became a law clerk, and mentored fellow inmates. Now, Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act. Matthew, on behalf of all Americans: welcome home.

    I’m not saying that I have any problem with this. These people should have been set free. Their sentences should have been commuted.

    So, he freed two black people. That’s great.

    Meanwhile the laws that disproportionally penalize People of Color still stand.

    Meanwhile he attacks those People of Color who protest this inequality by taking a knee.

    Meanwhile he defends the system that perpetuates this inequality without question.

    So, he freed two black people and now he thinks he’s Abraham Lincoln.

    As we have seen, when we are united, we can make astonishing strides for our country. Now, Republicans and Democrats must join forces again to confront an urgent national crisis.

    The Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our Government, protect our homeland, and secure our southern border.

    Now is the time for the Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business.

    As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States. We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection. I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught.

    This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well‑being of all Americans. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our Nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.

    Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country.

    No issue better illustrates the divide between America's working class and America's political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards.

    This guy shits in a golden toilet, in a gilded penthouse on top of a tower with his name on it in 30 foot high letters, reached by a private elevator guarded by a private security force.

    Meanwhile, working class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration -- reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net.

    And a depleted social safety net and up above he was bragging about how he personally made healthcare even less accessible for 40 million Americans.

    Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate -- it is cruel. One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north. Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country.

    Ah, the old Compassionate Conservatism we’ve heard so much about.

    Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.

    I admit I’m a little impressed that he didn’t yet again describe in detail how to tape a woman’s mouth shut. Apparently he can learn.

    Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities -- including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.

    The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in 20 different American States, and they almost all come through our southern border. Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City. We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they're going to keep streaming back in.

    Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed every years by guns.

    Odds are pretty good that members of this MS-13 gang Trump is so worried about don’t buy their guns legally. He wants to build a wall to reduce the availability of drugs and gang members, but is adamantly opposed to building a wall around illegal guns.

    Why is that?

    Guess the NRA pays better.

    But here’s the part I find most perplexing:  Up above Trump said “This is a moral issue.”

    A moral issue.

    A moral. Issue.

    Moral.

    How then is it moral to round up gang members – who by Trump’s own words are vicious and violent criminals – and send them to some Central American country, free to prey on that society? We don’t want you here, but we don’t care if you rape and murder people in a different country?

    Okay.

    How is that moral?

    Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.

    Again, 30,000 Americans are killed by guns every year.

    Crickets.

    I've gotten to know many wonderful Angel Moms, Dads, and families -- no one should ever have to suffer the horrible heartache they have endured.

    And yet, Trump and members of his administration and his supporters and his political party daily attack the survivors and families of gun violence, like the Parkland students.

    Here tonight is Debra Bissell. Just three weeks ago, Debra's parents, Gerald and Sharon, were burglarized and shot to death in their Reno, Nevada, home by an illegal alien. They were in their eighties and are survived by four children, 11 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren. Also here tonight are Gerald and Sharon's granddaughter, Heather, and great‑granddaughter, Madison.

    To Debra, Heather, Madison, please stand: few can understand your pain. But I will never forget, and I will fight for the memory of Gerald and Sharon, that it should never happen again.

    Not one more American life should be lost because our Nation failed to control its very dangerous border.

    And that is certainly a terrible thing.

    It is.

    And Trump’s right, no one should ever have to suffer the horrible heartache those people have to endure.

    But it seems gun violence only matters to Republicans when it happens at the hands of an illegal immigrant.

    In the last 2 years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 killings.

    We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes: ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez. When Elvin was a boy, he and his family legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. At the age of eight, Elvin told his dad he wanted to become a Special Agent. Today, he leads investigations into the scourge of international sex trafficking. Elvin says: "If I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I've done my job." Thanks to his work and that of his colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from horror and more than 1,500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars in the last year.

    Special Agent Hernandez, please stand: We will always support the brave men and women of Law Enforcement -- and I pledge to you tonight that we will never abolish our heroes from ICE.

    No one of any importance is seriously proposing we get rid of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Certainly, some have suggested it in anger, but not as any serious legislation. There is no chance whatsoever than such legislation would make it out of committee, let alone actually come up for a vote and pass both houses of Congress. Is this really such a concern that Trump needed to invite a guy and reassure him personally?

    This is just another empty gesture by Trump.

    Another easy cheer from his base who never have to think very hard about anything.

    My Administration has sent to the Congress a commonsense proposal to end the crisis on our southern border.

    It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry. In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall -- but the proper wall never got built. I'll get it built.

    This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier -- not just a simple concrete wall. It will be deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down.

    San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in the country. In response, and at the request of San Diego residents and political leaders, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings.

    The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime -- one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our Nation's most dangerous cities. Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.

    Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let's work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.

    I’ve written extensively about this goddamned wall. Most of that is summed up here in my essay, Walls, Damned Lies, and Statistics. So, I’m not going to rehash it here.

    As we work to defend our people's safety, we must also ensure our economic resurgence continues at a rapid pace.

    No one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year. All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before -- and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before.

    This was probably the moment that most people remember.

    When Trump tried to take credit for the number of women now serving in congress – much the same way, I guess, as the Titanic disaster took credit for improved maritime safety regulations which required ships to carry enough lifeboats for everybody and slow down when driving blind into an icefield.

    This was an astounding moment, especially when female Democrats leaped to their feat en masse and started shouting USA! USA! and forced Trump to acknowledge their presence as more than just a talking point.

    You weren’t supposed to do that, Trump said.

    Women are doing a lot of things guys like Trump think they aren’t supposed to do.

    Better get used it.

    As part of our commitment to improving opportunity for women everywhere, this Thursday we are launching the first ever Government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries.

    To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount -- reversing decades of calamitous trade policies.

    We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.

    Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods -- and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime. But I don't blame China for taking advantage of us -- I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen. I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.

    Trump repeatedly demonstrates that he has no idea who pays for his tariffs or where those “billions of dollars a month” come from.

    They come from Americans.

    It’s the importer who pays the tariff, not China.

    But then, what do you expect from a guy who has “great respect” for every foreign despot that comes along but can’t seem to muster any for his own countrymen.

    Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA.

    I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other States whose dreams were shattered by NAFTA. For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal. But no one ever tried -- until now.

    Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement -- or USMCA -- will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words: made in the USA.

    Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.

    United States Reciprocal Trade Act.

    I doubt very many Americans have heard of this legislation before last night.

    Basically it gives Trump free rein to impose whatever protectionist trade policies and tariffs he likes without having to consult congress. It gives the president almost unlimited power over foreign trade, power he does not currently have.

    Even the conservative US Chamber of Commerce really hates this legislation.

    The Chamber of Commerce, which represents American business said this act will “undermine US economic growth and elicit damaging retaliatory tariffs against US exports.”

    Trump’s own supporters say this is a bad idea.

    Fortunately, it’s unlikely to pass.

    Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America's crumbling infrastructure.

    Yes, they should.

    I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill -- and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.

    They should. But they won’t.

    The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs -- and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

    This was the moment for me. Right here.

    After watching this fool attack and eliminate every healthcare safety for the last two years, here it is.

    Already, as a result of my Administration's efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.

    But we must do more. It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, unfair, and together we can stop it.

    I am asking the Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients. We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down.

    The irony of this moment is Nancy Pelosi, the very Speaker who pushed through the ACA, who did her damnest to give exactly that to every American, the very woman Trump led off this speech with by insulting, sitting right there directly behind Trump as he said this.

    No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom. In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach. My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.

    What the hell does “American freedom” have to do with curing HIV/AIDS?

    I suppose at this point we should just be grateful he didn’t compare HIV research to Nazi scientists.

    Tonight, I am also asking you to join me in another fight that all Americans can get behind: the fight against childhood cancer.

    Joining Melania in the gallery this evening is a very brave 10-year-old girl, Grace Eline. Every birthday since she was 4, Grace asked her friends to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She did not know that one day she might be a patient herself. Last year, Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer. Immediately, she began radiation treatment. At the same time, she rallied her community and raised more than $40,000 for the fight against cancer. When Grace completed treatment last fall, her doctors and nurses cheered with tears in their eyes as she hung up a poster that read: "Last Day of Chemo." Grace -- you are an inspiration to us all.

    Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades. My budget will ask the Congress for $500 million over the next 10 years to fund this critical life-saving research.

    I have no criticism of this.

    We should be funding this research and more. Including finding the cure for HIV/AIDS he mentioned up above.

    $500 million he said. $500 million over ten years.

    But, I wonder how much further $5 billion in one year would go?

    How many little girls could be saved for what he wants to spend on that goddamned wall? Or the trillion plus we spent on the F-35 strike fighter. Or… well, yeah. In the grand scheme of things, little girls with cancer make great moments when you need a cheer and a tear at a political speech.

    Other than that they’re not worth much. A paltry $50 million per year, I guess, not even the cost of one half of an F-35.

    To help support working parents, the time has come to pass school choice for America's children. I am also proud to be the first President to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave -- so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.

    I’m shocked that his pants didn’t literally catch on fire.

    There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth.

    To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb.

    Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children -- born and unborn -- are made in the holy image of God.

    The Governor of Virginia “basically stated he would execute a baby after birth?”

    Really?

    This is the Holy Grail itself for evangelicals, for religious fanatics. This, right here, this is what they’ve been waiting for. This is why they’ll excuse any and all of Trump’s vile behavior and name him their God’s anointed one.

    They’ll burn the country down.

    Hell, did I say country? They’ll burn just as many people as it takes to impose their religion on the rest of us. To make abortion illegal. In the name of their God. Ironic, given that in their bible, their horrible God murders more babies, more children, more human beings by a factor of millions than that poor sap Lucifer ever did.

    The final part of my agenda is to protect America's National Security.

    Over the last 2 years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States Military -- with $700 billion last year and $716 billion this year. We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share. For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO -- but now we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies.

    As part of our military build-up, the United States is developing a state-of-the-art Missile Defense System.

    Under my Administration, we will never apologize for advancing America's interests.

    For example, decades ago the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities. While we followed the agreement to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty.

    Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't --- in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.

    As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months. If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of people killed. Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. And Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

    Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Guaido.

    We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom -- and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

    Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence --- not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

    One of the most complex set of challenges we face is in the Middle East.

    Our approach is based on principled realism -- not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress. For this reason, my Administration recognized the true capital of Israel -- and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

    Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years. In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives. More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded. We have spent more than $7 trillion in the Middle East.

    As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.

    When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers.

    Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home.

    I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan. Our troops have fought with unmatched valor -- and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict.

    In Afghanistan, my Administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban. As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism. We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement -- but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace.

    Above all, friend and foe alike must never doubt this Nation's power and will to defend our people. Eighteen years ago, terrorists attacked the USS Cole -- and last month American forces killed one of the leaders of the attack.

    We are honored to be joined tonight by Tom Wibberley, whose son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, was one of the 17 sailors we tragically lost. Tom: we vow to always remember the heroes of the USS Cole.

    My Administration has acted decisively to confront the world's leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran.

    To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country.

    We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people. We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.

    Just months ago, 11 Jewish-Americans were viciously murdered in an anti-semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer. Timothy has just had his 12th surgery -- but he made the trip to be here with us tonight. Officer Matson: we are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil.

    Tonight, we are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor Judah Samet. He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began. But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall -- more than seven decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps. Today is Judah's 81st birthday. Judah says he can still remember the exact moment, nearly 75 years ago, after 10 months in a concentration camp, when he and his family were put on a train, and told they were going to another camp. Suddenly the train screeched to a halt. A soldier appeared. Judah's family braced for the worst. Then, his father cried out with joy: "It's the Americans."

    A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau Concentration Camp. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. "To me," Joshua recalls, "the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky."

    I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War. One of them was Herman Zeitchik. But there is more to Herman's story. A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau. He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth. Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight -- seated side-by-side, here in the home of American freedom. Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening honors and uplifts our entire Nation.

    He speaks of the Holocaust and ignores America’s role in it.

    That decade when we turned back desperate immigrants seeking refuge from the horror.

    Just as we turn away those seeking refuge today.

    And in the same breath he tells America how he intends to walk away from the treaties that made our world safer, that helped to reduce the likelihood of total war and he proudly proclaims the development of new weapons, of a new nuclear arms race, one that pushes the world ever closer to immolation at the hands of madmen.

    When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-Day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurtling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war.

    They did not know if they would survive the hour. They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail. Their cause was this Nation, and generations yet unborn.

    Why did they do it? They did it for America -- they did it for us.

    I guess they weren’t lucky enough to have a rich father and a family doctor to keep them out of harm’s way.

    Everything that has come since -- our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress toward equality and justice -- all of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before.

    Think of this Capitol -- think of this very chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, to face down an evil empire.

    Here tonight, we have legislators from across this magnificent republic. You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California. Together, we represent the most extraordinary Nation in all of history.

    What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered?

    How indeed?

    I ask the men and women of this Congress: Look at the opportunities before us! Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream.

    We must choose whether we are defined by our differences -- or whether we dare to transcend them.

    We must choose whether we will squander our inheritance -- or whether we will proudly declare that we are Americans. We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.

    This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination. This is the time to search for the tallest summit, and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.

    This is our future -- our fate -- and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness.

    No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.

    We must keep America first in our hearts. We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America's destiny -- that one Nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise and the light and the glory among all the nations of the world!

    Thank you. God Bless You, God Bless America, and good night!

    The achievements he idolizes are long behind us, fifty years and more, the works of other people, other generations.

    As a nation we are not capable of such greatness today, largely because of men just like Donald Trump. Those who’ve robbed this nation blind and conned her people out of their very lives. He promises freedom and speaks of dreams, but his entire life has been bent to stealing that freedom from others and the only dreams he truly cares about are the ones a hundred stories tall with his name on the front in thirty-foot high golden letters.

    This is indeed the sad state of our nation.

    This bombastic fool and his halting empty words and his transparent promises of unity and cooperation and I’m left to wonder, what was that “mission” he led off with?

    You didn’t forget about that, did you?

    This mission of America, what is it?

    I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

    Thank you. May Mike Pence’s Christian God bless you even if you don’t want it. God bless America.

    And good night.

    Friday, February 1, 2019

    Wormtongue



    The first method for estimating intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
    -- Niccolo Machiavelli


    President Camacho weighs in.




    You know, in retrospect, that’s an unfair comparison.

    In the movie Idiocracy, President Camacho was a decent person.

    He sincerely wanted to be a good leader for all of his people, but he also knew that he was a moron in a nation of morons.

    He didn’t know much, but he knew that.

    And so Camacho set out to surround himself with those smarter than himself, a key plot point of the film.

    Real life president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt once famously said, “I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” In that light, maybe Camacho wasn’t so dumb after all.

    Unlike the current, and all too horribly real, resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Trump thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room and he’s managed to convince a bunch of idiots of this. A guy who doesn't know the difference between an adverb describing location and a possessive pronoun (“There economy…” Where economy? There! There economy! And I digress with apologies to Mel Brooks) thinks he’s more intelligent and better informed than the US Intelligence Community.

    And once again, his idiot supporters clap and drool in agreement without asking a single question. Trump, he’s so smart!

    Speaking as a retired US intelligence officer, to see this coming from a sitting president is horrifying.

    Let’s take it apart and look at it one line at a time.

    The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran.

    Since establishment in its current form in 1947, the US Intelligence Community has devoted extensive assets to the study and manipulation of Iran. It’s damned near an obsession of US Intelligence. In fact, one of the Central Intelligence Agency’s very first major operations was orchestration of the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat, bringing down the elected government of Prime Minister Muhammand Mossadegh and establishing a dictatorship of the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

    This was, of course, about oil.

    The British and American petroleum industries were angered by Mossadegh’s nationalization of Iran’s oil production, so they complained to their respective governments. And by complained I, of course, mean bribed and influenced and lobbied with whatever it took. Those governments via the CIA then conspired to put Iran into the hands of somebody more willing to cut the West a better deal. See, oil had been discovered in 1908 near Masjed Soleiman. A lot of oil. The “Anglo-Persian Oil Company” was created to exploit it. In 1935, right before the outbreak of WWII, that company was renamed the “Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.”

    Now, you wonder where I’m going with this, don’t you?

    Well, see, in 1954, immediately following the CIA led coup, the British and Americans no longer felt the need to keep up pretenses. They dropped the Iranians completely from the project and that company was renamed once again.

    To “British Petroleum.”

    That’s right.

    And the guy who coordinated the whole thing, dubbed Operation Ajax, was none other than Kermit Roosevelt Jr., grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt and the top CIA officer in Iran.

    Things worked out pretty well for us, for a while.

    No one in America cared about oppression and authoritarianism in Iran. Nobody in the West cared what the Shah did to his own people. Nobody cared about the increasing resentment of Iranians, so long as the oil continued to flow. And so it did. Right up until the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

    When it all, predictably, went to hell.

    The ironic part is since that day when Islamic hardliners overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty and established an anti-Western theocracy, American intelligence led by the CIA has been bent to the task of regime change and supposed establishment of … wait, Iranian democracy?

    Yeah. About that, see that guy, back in 1953? Mossadegh? He is widely considered by those who study Iran, to be the closest thing that country has ever had to a democratic leader. He was put into office by an elected parliament. He hated autocracy and he vocally and publicly championed the idea of an American-style democracy in Iran. He used his position to halt and reduce the power of the Shah … right up until he was ousted by the CIA on August 19, 1953.

    Of course, by Reagan’s time, we’d completely forgotten our role in creating our own enemies.

    But Iran didn’t forget and Iranians have resented America’s machinations to this very day. Since then, since Reagan, driven by Iran’s chokehold over the Straits of Hormuz and thus the world oil supply and in larger part by America’s unending willingness to do the bidding of hardliners in Israel, the US Intelligence Community has devoted enormous resources to the study of Iran.

    Every single US Intelligence agency has an Iranian group.

    Every branch of the US military has war plans built around endless Iranian scenarios – hell, I did such work myself.

    None of this is a secret.

    The details are classified, of course, but the fact that we study and plan for conflict with a nation that has declared itself our enemy is no secret at all.

    There is no Marine, no Sailor, in the US military who has sailed through the Straits of Hormuz under Iranian guns who doesn’t know this.

    Passive? Naïve? Nothing could be further from the truth.

    They are wrong!

    They are wrong.

    That’s what the President of the United States said of the US Intelligence attitudes, efforts, and knowledge of our enemies.

    They are wrong! There’s no ambiguation there. They are wrong.

    How would he know that?

    No. No, no, no. Don’t look away. Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t try to change the subject. How would he know that?

    Even if true, how could the President of the United States possibly know that about the US Intelligence Community?

    Do you see the implications?

    The US Intelligence Community isn’t a single monolithic agency, it is sixteen separate intelligence agencies, each with a different mission, different capabilities, operating both together and in conjunction with dozens of outside intelligence organizations and information gathering agencies operated by our allies around the globe.

    Trump said, “They are wrong.” He called that entire vast structure “passive” and “naïve.

    How would he know that?

    Because this entire structure, tens of thousands of skilled professionals, trillions of dollars in assets, a googolplex of information, gathered, processed, crosschecked, verified, refined, and compiled in an endless cycle reaches its apex with … the President of the United States.

    That’s right.

    The President himself commands this entire vast structure of information and intelligence – which was constructed in large part specifically to provide him with as true of picture of the world as is currently possible.

    So, how does the president check the validity of that structure?

    They are wrong!

    By definition, to say “they are wrong!” with any confidence, he would have to have access to some information processing system that is outside, independent, of the US Intelligence Community. One that is at least as large, as powerful, as well equipped and as capable as the US/Allied Intelligence Community. Some entity capable of checking not just US intelligence assessments, but also the process of how that information is acquired and produced along with the attitudes and outlooks of US Intelligence personnel.

    Who is that?

    Who can do … that?

    Not even the Russians have that capability.

    So, who can do that to a such a degree of certainty that the President of the United States, the very Commander-in-Chief of the US Intelligence Community, would confidently trash his own people to the world?

    Who?

    We’ll come back to that.

    “When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict."

    Much different?

    Much?

    How is Iran different now that they know there is no point in signing a deal with the United States? I mean, if they are still are source of “potential danger and conflict” how is that different from previously?

    “They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge.”

    The edge? The edge of what? Above, Trump implied that since he took office, Iran has behaved differently than they did under previous Administrations. And then he immediately describes how Iran is behaving exactly the same.

    “There [sic ] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran.”

    Again, how does he know?

    This is a guy who doesn’t even know how to operate spellcheck. So how does he know?

    Where did he get this information? Not just the alleged assessment of Iran’s economy, but the part where that economy is somehow holding Iran back from greater ambitions? Since we can assume the President didn’t get it from a passive and naïve and wrong US Intelligence Community, where did this assessment come from?

    Again, don’t roll your eyes. Think it through.

    If the president isn’t getting his intelligence picture from US Intelligence, then where does it come from?

    Who’s providing it?

    Who shapes how the President of the United States sees the world? And what he tells us. And what he bases his decisions on.

    It matters, you know.

    In 2002, members of the George W. Bush administration, specifically Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, didn’t like the assessments provided by the US Intelligence Community. Their boss, Donald Rumsfeld thought the US Intelligence Community was passive and naïve and wrong too. So, with the approval of President Bush, they set up the Office of Special Plans (OSP) in the Pentagon. OSP operated outside of the US Intelligence Community, Feith, then Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, called it “a much needed critique” of the Intelligence Community. He called it that, because the CIA wasn’t telling Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld what they wanted to hear – i.e. that Saddam had conspired with Al Qaeda to attack the United States and that 100% for sure Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It was OSP’s job to tell these Neocons what they wanted to hear and to produce the “intelligence” necessary to convince both America and the United Nations to go to war.

    And that’s exactly what they did.

    You remember how that turned, right?

    They were wrong.

    They were fucking wrong. Wrong in every detail. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    They were wrong. Not the US Intelligence Community. Them. OSP. Bush. Cheney. Rumsfeld. Wolfowitz. All of them. They were wrong.

    I know, because I was there.

    I watched it happen from a front row seat.

    Those of us who protested OSPs assessment were ordered to be quiet or were shouted down by those with a political agenda and an overwhelming desire for war. And after it was over, after Colin Powell lied to the United Nations and Bush lied to America and the world, after the invasion, after we killed half a million people, after not one single link between Saddam and Osama Bin Laden could be found, after not one single WMD could be found in Iraq, OSP quietly dissolved. Most of those rats disappeared, reinvented themselves, and reappeared later and are now back to skulking around the halls of power and whispering in the ears of gullible and stupid politicians yet again.

    “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!"

    I’ll ask you again, where did Trump get this idea?

    Where did he get the worldview that led him two days ago to call his own nation’s Intelligence community naïve and passive and wrong?


    I waited.


    Trump attacked the US Intelligence Community two days ago.

    I waited. I waited to see what would happened.

    I waited to see if the press would ask a questions. The questions.

    I waited to see if congress would ask the questions.

    I waited to see if America would ask the questions.

    Where did the President of the United States get this information, if not from American Intelligence? Who told him? How did they know? Where did this happen? When?

    Where? How? Who? What? When?

    The implications here are staggering.

    If true, then we are facing a serious crisis, a national security issue beyond anything else. Intelligence drives everything, security, policy, law, budget, the military, national priorities, everything. If the US Intelligence Community is wrong about something so fundamental as the threat posed by Iran – Iran for fuck’s sake – then we are facing a crisis of unprecedented magnitude.  Everything we think we know might be wrong, which means everything that depends from that knowledge could be wrong too.

    Why is the Director of National Intelligence not on the carpet before Congress right now?

    I mean, if they can’t get Iran right, then the odds are they likely have everything else wrong as well. 

    If the President doesn’t trust American Intelligence, why should anybody else?

    That’s what the President’s comment implies.

    That, right there.

    If true.

    If true.

    But, of course, it’s not true.

    It’s not true in any fashion. The US Intelligence Community is neither passive nor naïve when it comes to Iran. And they are not wrong.

    So, I waited.

    And there it is.

    The great White Whale. Thar she blows!

    How did Trump know? How did he know that the US Intelligence Community was passive and naïve and wrong about Iran? There’s your answer.

    I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday.

    Ah. Good advice.

    Too bad he didn’t follow it.

    Too bad we don’t have a President who takes time to gather actual, valid information before attacking his own people.

    Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office who told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media - and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc

    Why didn’t he know this before trashing the Intelligence Community?

    Why wasn’t he briefed in advance by his own people? Why didn’t he demand such a briefing? Hell, isn’t he being regularly briefed on Iran by the Intelligence Community already?

    If not? Why not? What the hell?

    Why wasn’t he personally watching the testimony himself? Why wasn’t he watching the Senate hearings himself as he admonished America to do? And don’t tell me that he didn’t have the time. He had the time to tweet. He had the time to watch Fox News.

    Oh yes. Fox News.

    I told you we’d come back to this.

    That’s where he got his information. He was watching TV instead of watching the actual hearings. Instead of being briefed by his own people. He based his attack on the US Intelligence Community on what he heard one of his favorite pundits say. He admitted it himself, it’s right there.

    Their testimony was distorted press [sic].

    I used to have this idiot cat who would fall asleep in some precarious position. Then inevitably, it would fall from a height, bonk! It would get up, look around, and then try to pretend that hadn’t just landed on its head like an idiot. Trump and those who surround him don’t even have that much awareness. He’s so goddamned stupid, or rather the people who he surrounds himself with (because these two tweets were threaded, something Trump himself doesn’t know how to do) are so goddamned stupid, that they don’t even realize when they incriminate themselves.

    Trump tweeted an attack on his own people because of something he saw on TV – and it never occurred to him to pick up the phone and call the Director of National Intelligence and verify what he’d heard. Hell, he should have already known what his own Intelligence Community believed, because he should be briefed on it every single day.

    A day later, after he publicly landed on his head, he tries to act as if it was everybody else who got it wrong. And he literally admonished America to not to do what he does every day.

    “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!"

    “I value our intelligence community. Happily, we had a very good meeting, and we are all on the same page!”

    The man is worse than a fool.

    Trump consistently ignores the reasoned and experienced advice of experts for the honeyed whispers of evil counselors and if Trump can so consistently and so shamelessly get something like this wrong, what else does he have wrong?

    What else?

    That is, of course, a rhetorical question.

    And you already know the answer.


    Ignorance is bold and knowledge is reserved.
    -- Thucydides


    Thursday, January 31, 2019

    Henhouse


    The point is that you just can’t be too greedy.
    -- Donald J. Trump


    Howard Schultz is running for President.

    Former CEO of Starbucks. Self-described “self-made” billionaire.

    Everything I've seen from this guy, every word he's spoken, every interview he's given, every poll he's bought, every article he paid someone to write, everything over the last few days tells me just how utterly horrible he'd be as President.

    But this, this right here, this is the linchpin of it:


    This is exactly what's wrong with Howard Schultz.

    And it's the same thing that's wrong with Donald Trump.

    Look at this. Look at what Schultz tweeted this morning.

    Lots of opinions this week. Here’s another: 'They’re trying to bully Mr. Schultz out of running, but along the way they’re making the case for why he should.'

    Bully.

    He thinks he's being bullied.

    He thinks he’s a victim. Of bullying. This guy.

    He's quoting the conservative press, who thinks he's being bullied.

    Bullied.

    Howard Schultz, billionaire straight white guy running for president – the very epitome of power and privilege in America – thinks he’s the victim.

    He thinks he is being bullied because the press asked him some questions.

    He thinks he’s being bullied because social media asked him some questions.

    He thinks he’s being bullied because his past is being scrutinized.

    Most of all he thinks he being bullied because suddenly he's facing criticism that he can’t ignore for the first time in his life.


    Pity him, Howard Schultz, poor little rich man put upon so unfairly.


    Great. Another rich white straight male martyr, just what America needs.

    These sons of bitches should be bullied. Maybe they'd understand what it actually means. How it actually feels. The damage that it actually does. The lives it destroys.

    Listen to me: bullying is what happens when those who have power use that power to brutalize those who do not.

    That is not what’s happening to Howard Schultz.

    Howard Schultz isn't being bullied.

    No one is bullying Howard Schultz, I doubt he’s ever been bullied.

    He has all the power and now he wants more. And he’s trying to use that power to silence any questions, to bully his critics and his questioners into silence.

    Just as rich privileged assholes like Howard Schultz always do.

    He wants to be president. President. And so he's getting the scrutiny and the questions every candidate gets. No more, no less. But just like Trump, he thinks he's special and he shouldn't have to face it.

    And that's it, right there.

    That's the thing.


    That is what makes Howard Schultz, and his ilk, ultimately unqualified to lead this nation.


    It is not just that he doesn't know how to handle that scrutiny, it's that he doesn’t think he should have to handle it at all.  

    He thinks his privilege, his wealth and power, put him above question, above examination, above criticism, above having to be better.

    White, male, straight, wealthy beyond the reach of 99% of Americans, that’s who Howard Schultz is. The rules the rest of us labor under don't apply to Howard Schultz – he’s the guy who makes the rules. He doesn't think he has to answer questions. He doesn't think his qualifications are open to debate. He doesn't think that he has to face any criticism or produce any details. He’s got people for that.

    No, he has all the power, all the money, he lives in the big house on the hill and owns every street corner and how dare the peons question him?

    To Howard Schultz, that’s bullying.

    He actually thinks he's being bullied because for the first time he has to answer, not the shareholders, but to those he wants to rule over.

    Imagine a guy like that in charge.

    A guy like that would never understand the powerless who actually are bullied by the powerful, from the weird awkward kid in grade school to those abused by business and government in this country every single goddamned day.

    Imagine it?

    You don’t have to imagine it, you already have that guy in office now.

    That’s what makes Howard Schultz unqualified to be president. That right there.

    Guys like this, Schultz, Trump, they think their wealth and power makes them infallible, makes them witty, intelligent, attractive, perfect. They do. Trump was right, when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything, Grab 'em by the pussy. Shoot a guy on 5th Avenue. Hell, they'll tell you they like it, that you're funny, brilliant, so clever, ha hah, Mr. Rich Powerful Guy, you're amazing. So tall, so handsome, so smart, so funny – all while hiding their revulsion behind a fake plastic smile. If you think I’m kidding, just look at Evangelicals in this country, the ones trying to convince themselves that Trump is actually some sort of moral Christian. They know exactly how shitty Trump is. They know. Yes, they do. They pretend to hold the moral high ground, but they are every bit the greedy immoral money-worshiping pussy-grabbing hypocrites that Trump is. Because they enable him. Because they’ll put up with anything, so long as they get close to the levers of power. And so they tell Trump what he wants to hear, you’re so smart, you’re so handsome, you’re so sexy. And Trump is so morally bankrupt, so vain, so petty and small, that he believes them.

    It’s no different with Howard Schultz, he’s the same thing in a slicker package – no different than the shitty burned coffee his company serves, whored up in slick packaging.





    These guys, like Trump, like Schultz, their egos won't let them admit that it's their money other people admire. That's why everybody puts up with their idiotic comb-overs and bad breath, their ignorant clueless stupidity and their pussy grabbing boorish behavior.

    We create these assholes.

    Yes we do.

    Rich guys like Trump, like Schultz? Sure, the fops and the hanger-ons, the toadies and the suck-ups, those who crave power, convince them that they're infallible and they believe it.

    That's part of it. A big part of it.

    But it's us too.

    It is. We watch their horrible, idiotic TV shows. We buy their horrible shitty coffee. We elect leaders who enable their avarice and greed and selfish booger-eating stupidity at our own expense. We do.

    It's our nature to do so.

    That’s not an excuse, but maybe it’s an explanation of how we keep ending up here.

    I, I, I, I, that's all these guys ever talk about. I. Me. Because that's all they ever think about. Themselves. You don't get to be Donald Trump, you don't get to be Howard Schultz, without first being a self-centered self-involved self-aggrandizing prick. If you do anything for anybody else, it's only because there's something in it for you.

    Schultz isn’t a decent employer because he’s a decent guy, QED. He was a decent employer because it made him rich, because treating his employees with a bare modicum of respect was a whole lot cheaper than treating them like Trump treats his employees. That’s all. Is that terrible? Yes. No. Maybe. It’s good business. At least it was good for Schultz’s business. It made him rich.

    But is that how you want America run?


    Here's the thing: These people tell you that they'll run America just like they run their business.


    And that is the one and only truth they will ever speak.

    That's exactly what they do.

    Howard Schultz will run government exactly the same way he runs Starbucks.

    If you elect a businessman, they will run government exactly like they run their business. If they do anything for you, for the average American, it's only because there's something in it for them.

    Hell, listen to Schultz, he's already talking about more trickle-down Reaganomics.

    He thinks Reagan was a great President because he (supposedly) never took his suit jacket off in the Oval Office.

    He doesn’t think rich people should have to pay for the privilege of being rich, instead he thinks they are entitled to it. Because they are better. Because they deserve it.

    Folks, Government isn't a business.

    Government should never be run like a business.

    Good government is designed to protect you from business.

    The business of business is business.

    The business of government, our government anyway, is to protect its citizens specifically from businessmen just like Trump, just like Schultz.

    You elect one of these greedy self centered sons of bitches and what do you get?


    Look around, you're living it.


    If you elect a businessman to run your government like a business, then you're gonna get the business.

    And you're going to get it good and hard.

    Every. Single. Time.


    America isn't Congress. America isn't Washington. America is the striving immigrant who starts a business, or the mom who works two low-wage jobs to give her kid a better life. America is the union leader and the CEO who put aside their differences to make the economy stronger.
    -- Barack Obama

    Sunday, January 27, 2019

    Precision


    People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.
    Blaise Pascal, De l'art de persuader


    I admit to some amusement.

    It’s not funny, of course, but still…

    I’ve listened to the press and the pundits and the politicians arguing these last few days over “who won the shutdown.”

    Who won the shutdown.

    Nancy Pelosi won! Huzzah! Huzzah! Cry the liberals.

    No. No. It was Donald Trump! MAGA! MAGA! Shout the conservatives.

    As if we had just spent thirty-five days watching a sporting match of some sort. With no consequences. Nobody cares about the war, it’s the victor! That’s what matters. Sure. Like in Man of Steel, when Superman and General Zod battle in the final climatic scene … and utterly destroyed an entire city. The fight between these two killed tens of thousands, wreaking destruction on the scale of a nuclear bomb. And the audience was cheering Supe’s victory. Cheering. Because the destruction didn’t matter. The people who died were nameless extras, irrelevant to the supposed righteousness of the battle, irrelevant to the morality of it.

    Deaths off camera don’t count.

    And I’m thinking, yeah, congratulations oh Son of Krypton, but a few more wins like that …


    I dunno, maybe it’s just me.


    I can’t say with any certainty who won this shutdown battle. I can, however, tell you who lost.

    We did.

    America did.

    This failure of government has become the norm.

    That’s where we are. Legislation by deadlock. Government by failure. As if we’re stockholders judging the productivity of a company we’re invested in by how often the workforce goes out on strike. And when it’s over and the factory starts clunking along, we don’t care how much business we lost or how much further into debt the battle drove the company, we don’t care about the loss of experience that got sick of it and walked away to find employment with our competitors. No. We only care that Management or Labor (depending on which one is your team) won. Huzzah!

    But that’s not what amuses me.

    No, the part that makes me laugh are those who seem to think this battle is over. That they “won” and that’s it and that’s all.

    The government is starting back up, my team won, and now it’s business as usual.

    It’s not the conflict that matters, only the victor.

    Until the next battle.

    But, of course, it’s not really over.

    Is it?

    Trump this morning:



    Look at that.
    "58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. All over the country, especially in California, voter fraud is rampant. Must be stopped. Strong voter ID! @Fox&Friends."

    58,000 non-citizens, he says.

    58,000 thousand fraudulent voters, just in Texas.

    That's what he said. And according to Trump, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s all over the country, non-citizens voting in our elections. And most especially in, of course, California.

    A few minutes later, Trump tweeted this:


    "We are not even into February and the cost of illegal immigration so far this year is $18,959,495,168. Cost Friday was $603,331,392. There are at least 25,772,342 illegal aliens, not the 11,000,000 that have been reported for years, in our Country. So ridiculous! DHS"

    $18,959,495,168.

    That's a VERY specific number.

    I mean, he's got it down to the dollar.

    The exact dollar. $18,959,495,168. We can't even calculate how much the Pentagon has spent this year to within several orders of magnitude of that precision. But he's got the cost of illegal aliens in America down to the last dollar.

    And not just that, he knows the exact number of illegal aliens currently resident in America.

    25,772,342 illegal aliens.

    Not only does Trump have the cost down to the very last dollar, he got the number of illegal aliens down to very the last individual.

    Right?

    I mean, that's what he said. He gave those very, very specific numbers.

    That’s astounding.

    No. No, it’s not the values themselves that are astonishing, but rather the precision.

    How is that possible?

    No, really, how is that even possible? Like at all?

    Where the hell did the President of the United States get this information? That’s incredible. Do you see it? Do you understand the implications of this precision? I mean, where did this information come from? How would you even compile such data with such accuracy? No, don't look away, answer the question: HOW? WHO? WHERE? What even is the methodology for such calculations? I mean, in order to count legal – cooperative – citizens we have to do a census of the entire nation, top to bottom. And that is such a massive undertaking that we only do it every ten years. It takes tens of thousands of census collectors called Enumerators, divided among six geographic regions, and thousands of permanent employees at the Census Bureau (more than 4000 alone at the Bureau's Headquarters in Maryland at the Department of Commerce's Suitland complex). It takes months of knocking on doors and asking questions. And then it takes many more months, years, to compile and process and interpret the data. The last Census was in 2010 and cost nearly $15 billion dollars and we're still processing the data nine years later. Hell, that processing this year alone, 2019, will cost over $4 billion. And with all that money and effort there is a significant margin of error. The US Census Bureau's standard of acceptable accuracy is a 90% confidence level. That's right. 90%. I mean all the assets and effort of the Census bureau can’t get us down to any better than 90%.

    Ninety percent.

    And Trump has the number of illegal aliens in America down to the very last individual?

    The cost of illegal immigration down to the very last dollar?

    How did he do that?


    Who gathered the information?

    How did they collect it?

    When did they collect it?

    Who paid for it? Because there's no entry in the federal budget, I looked.

    What agency processed this information with zero margin of error? Because that's a degree of information precision beyond even the best analytical methods currently available.

    That’s astounding. Forget illegal immigrants, let’s talk about that precision.

    This reminds me of that episode of JAG, "Shadow," where a contractor launches an experimental torpedo from a US submarine during an exercise. Only the torpedo is actually equipped with a live warhead and the contractor threatens to blow up a cruise ship unless the US government pays him some paltry ransom, a couple million dollars, maybe a billion, whatever. And I'm watching this thing, right? And the torpedo is a) controlled via a laptop with no visible means of communication through the steel hull of the submarine and then through miles of water (radio waves of any reasonable frequency can't travel through water, certainly not in any wavelength broadcast via an antenna small enough to fit into a 1990’s laptop. Holy shit! This guy has discovered a whole new principle of physics!) and b) the torpedo is capable of cruising submerged for days following a cruise ship (which averages around 20 knots. Meaning this torpedo must have a power plant capable of sustained endurance at high speed that all fits into a package no bigger than a standard sized US Navy torpedo. That's an energy density beyond ANYTHING I've ever heard of. Even theoretically. Again, holy shit! This contractor has discovered an entirely new principle of physics, chemistry, energy, and a dozen other sciences).

    Governments, companies, investors would throw bales of money the size of aircraft carriers at him for that technology.

    What the hell is this guy doing with petty extortion? He could go into business and make many millions of times anything he could get blowing up a cruise ship.

    Where am I going with this? Beyond a digression into idiotic TV shows about SEAL lawyers who are also Top Gun fighter jocks?

    Well, see, this precision Trump displays up above, is this a government capability? Or is it contracted work?

    Because if we actually are capable of this kind of precision in the measuring of human populations and the specific costs of the particulars of those same populations, then ... well, GODDAMN! EUREKA! POP OPEN THE CHAMPAGNE! I mean the implications of being able to count and sort people to that degree – especially ones that trying to hide from you – well, you’ll have governments, business, investors, universities lined up twenty deep for access to that kind of data. Because whoever controls that capability could make trillions, far beyond what Trump says illegals cost us every year.

    So, where did this information come from? This precision.

    Show your work.

    And when I say, "show your work" I don't mean a link to Fox & Friends or One America News. I mean show me the raw data from this amazing accredited source, validated by at least one other independent data line.

    Well, where is it?

    Let's see it.

    Oh, but it gets better.

    Trump says 58,000 people voted illegally in Texas alone and he says that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    Really?

    I mean, really?

    The president said it so it must be true. Right?

    I mean he wouldn’t lie, would he? Would put out bad data, would he?

    Never mind that Trump's own Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, run by xenophobic rightwing hardliners Mike Pence and Kris Kobach, couldn't find evidence of even a single case of voter fraud. It must be true. Trump believes it.

    And really, Texas? Fucking Texas. Of all states, Texas, right? 58,000 illegal voters voted in Texas elections?

    If you say so, Hoss.

    And they voted for who?



    Illegals vote for Democrats.

    In Texas.

    58,000 of them. Right?

    Okay. Sure. Fair enough. I'm willing to be persuaded. Show me the evidence. Show me 1) proof that illegal immigrants vote, 2) in significant numbers, and 3) that they vote all vote democrat.

    Show me validated Texas voting records.

    Show me. Let's see the evidence.

    Well?

    But let's say this was true.

    Sure, let's take Trump at his word and say this was actually true and he can prove it.

    It’s true and he can prove it to the degree of precision specified in his Tweet this morning.

    It's not, but let's say it was.

    Well, then the election is invalid.

    That's right.

    The election is invalid. At least in Texas.

    The election must be declared invalid. And thus, the 38 Electoral College votes that went to Trump from Texas are likewise invalid.

    Yes, they must be. Even the Texas Attorney General agrees:



    Ken Paxton is the Texas Attorney General.

    He is personally and constitutionally responsible for voting integrity in Texas.

    He says “VOTER FRAUD.” 58,000 illegal voters.

    That’s what he said.

    That makes any election in Texas, particularly 2016’s General Election invalid.

    So, let’s invalidate it. Let’s throw out the votes from Texas. I mean both Texas and Donald Trump agree the vote is tainted. Can’t be trusted.

    Invalidate the vote. Throw it out. Along with Texas’s 38 Electoral College votes.

    Which would give Trump 268 Electoral College votes instead of 306.

    You need 270 Electoral votes to win the Presidency.

    Trump himself just said that his own electoral victory is a fraud.

    Yes he did.

    That is precisely what he just said. And he was quoting the Texas Attorney General, who likewise says his state's election integrity can't be trusted.

    That's what they said.

    So, throw out the election and let's start over.

    I'm hip. Let's take him at his word.

    The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it.
    D.L. Moody