Buried in an article about the Senate majority leader’s waning power is a paragraph that probably slipped by the radar of all too many:
The same routine is playing out on the nomination of Gina Haspel, the deputy CIA director, to replace Pompeo. Most Democrats have voiced opposition, before she has even had a hearing, and Paul also intends to vote no because of her role in harsh interrogations during the Bush administration.
“Harsh interrogations?” Get it straight: it’s torture. T-O-R-T-U-R-E. There’s already a perfectly good English word that perfectly describes how the Bush II regime ordered some of its prisoners treated. No need to waste ink or pixels on some longer neologism.
Torture is torture and torture is wrong no matter who does it. It doesn’t cease to be torture or to be a moral abomination just because the USA and not some foreign power happens to be the one doing it.
Political language—and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists—is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
— George Orwell
Comey Deserved to Be Fired for How He Handled the Clinton Investigation
A lifelong Republican, who has now openly admitted that he treated an investigation into a Democratic candidate for office different than he would have normally treated an investigation? And, of course, he treated it differently than he did a corresponding investigation into the Republican candidate for the same office in the same election. If you’re the head of a law enforcement organization that’s supposed to avoid even the slightest hint of partisan bias, that’s a fireable act.
Yes, there’s all the other factors which Comey cited that made it a hard decision. That doesn’t matter. Being director of the FBI is a hard job; that’s not precisely new news. If Comey can’t do the hard job he was hired to do, he should have been replaced by someone else who more likely could.
There’s No Way Trump Could Have Fired Comey Without It Looking Bad
By the time he fired Comey, Trump had already revealed himself to be an extremely ethically compromised individual: he had invited a hostile foreign power to interfere in the election that brought him to power, that hostile power had actually intervened, he had a lifetime of sociopathic behavior behind him, and he had expressed to Comey and other top Federal employees that the new president valued personal loyalty above all else. And, of course, Trump himself was under investigation.
Of course it was seen in the worst possible light when Trump fired Comey. How could it not have been?
Trump is Incapable of Serving as President
He’s not only incapable by the standards of personal integrity (he doesn’t have much, if any, of that), he’s situationally incapable. Even if he were to magically (and unbelievably) start behaving like the most virtuous president ever, it wouldn’t much matter now. He has simply dug too deep of a hole for himself.
The situation he’s presently in (as a result of the consequences of the past actions) makes it impossible for his motives to not be questioned in the most fundamental ways. This makes him unable to lead effectively.
Comey deserved to be fired, and so does Trump. One down, one to go.
Why did I claim earlier that the missile attacks are “mostly for show?” Because that’s what they genuinely appear to be. There’s no sign of any broader strategy existing. Quite the contrary: after all the dust settled, Cadet Bone Spurs strutted around boasting “Mission accomplished!”
Assad’s forces were attacked by US missiles last year and it had no lasting impact. There’s no reason to believe the long-term effect of the most recent attack will be any different.
Finally, there’s no reason to take the Islamophobe-in-chief’s professed humanitarian concern for Syrians very seriously. The same guy who’s tried to ban Muslim immigration and who’s blocked most such refugees from finding asylum here? Give me a break.
Why? It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Trump is a Russian asset, because he’s been blackmailed into it by them. There’s the pee video, which as I just posted, probably is real, and then there’s Trump’s long past history of business financial issues and transactions with the Russian oligarchy. The Russian ruling class is almost certainly exerting financial coercion on him as well.
Why now? Because of something touched on in another recent post. The fascist part of Trump’s base positively admires Putin’s Russia, because it is the sort of right-wing authoritarian state they dream of. It’s his way of trying to kiss and make up to them after having double-crossed them on Syria. Also, the Russian ruling class is upset about said double-crossing. They need some kissing and making up, too, and bigly.
Here. Go read. And remember, Savage is a sex columnist. He knows all about kinks and how they work.
No, we don’t know for certain that the pee tape is real. But virtually all available evidence is consistent with it being real.
The Washington Post is wrong when they counsel supporting the Pompeo nomination. They might think they’re being bipartisan, but they’re actually overlooking opportunities for productive bipartisanship.
Simply, they’re failing to think tactically, possibly because they misunderstand what motivates a decent chunk of Trump’s base. Most likely this is because they really are affluent coastal elitists who really don’t understand what they call “flyover states.”
Non-interventionism has long been part of the “America First” rhetoric that Trump spews for political gain. Consider how Rand Paul has vowed to filibuster the Pompeo and Haspel nominations.
Or look at cartoonist Ben Garrison. He’s a total Trump worshiper. Except that recently, he’s been having a few second thoughts about Trump. He doesn’t like John Bolton at all, and he’s not a big fan of bombing Syria, either.
In general, there’s been no shortage of criticism of Trump for bombing Syria coming from various places on the political right.
I’ve personally run into more than one Trumper online who is a non-interventionist. The mess that the Iraq War turned out to be served to increase the number of that crowd on the political right; this is one of the secrets to why Trump prevailed. And this time, the war hawks are even starting to make some anti-Trump neocons like George Will uneasy.
Thus, blocking Pompeo and Haspel seems likely to be a good wedge issue with which to help fracture Trump’s base. It’s not just the morally correct thing to do; it’s tactically shrewd realpolitik as well.
Nine years ago, the “Tarnac Nine” were a subject of frequent right-wing hyperventilation, as if society was on the verge of being plunged into chaos by a violent left-anarchist insurrection. Now, they’ve been mostly exonerated; only a few minor charges have survived judicial scrutiny. Of the charges that survived scutiny, only two offenses, committed by only one of the Nine, were judged serious enough to merit any punishment.
Contrary to the right-wing fear-mongerers, there simply was no terrorist plot. And by this time nearly everyone has forgotten about the (mostly forgettable) work the Nine were associated with.
But it took nine years to fully deal with the charges. Nine years of having lives seriously disrupted, motivated by nothing more than the Establishment fearing those who are fearless to question authority and hierarchy.
First, Trump probably will can Mueller. It would be entirely in character for him to do so, after all:
- Trump is a child of privilege, who has never been made to suffer consequences for any misdeed he has done. First his father’s wealth, then his own (mostly inherited from his father) have seen to that.
- He’s a complete authoritarian, who cut his teeth on in the fascist microstate that is the capitalist corporation, and who has little or no appreciation for any more-democratic alternatives to fascism.
- He has all the intellectual sophistication of a petulant preschooler, so is unwilling or unable to consider the consequences of his actions.
- Many of the individuals who surrounded him and helped talk sense into him have now departed.
- Before those individuals departed, it is known Trump tried to fire Mueller. He was persuaded to not do so after it was explained how this would likely be against his best interest in the long run.
So, it’s all but inevitable. Then what? That’s the big question.
First, the Republicans are much more captive to the White House than they were in the Nixon years. Those were a far more bipartisan time than ours, as evidenced by Nixon’s landslide victories; such victories would not have been possible without a lot of Democrats crossing party lines to vote for Nixon. So that makes an impeachment threat much less plausible than it was for Nixon.
But it’s not quite so simple. It’s looking more and more like there’s a so-called “blue wave” coming. Sooner or later, the rats will start deserting the sinking ship of Trumpism, preferring to save their own careers over the now-lost cause of saving their party’s majority. But it may take until they lose badly this November for that to happen.
Moreover, if the Democrats take just the House of Representatives, impeachment still becomes much more likely. The House will be able to launch its own investigation, which will be run entirely by the legislative branch, and thus be entirely outside the control of the executive one. They’ll be able to dig up dirt on Trump then make it public in order to shame the Senate into convicting the president and removing him from office.
Of course, this is still the same Democratic Party that let Bush basically get away with the Iraq War we’re talking about, so it must be kept in mind that there’s no guarantee of anything happening unless the Democrats are forced by pressure from below to make things happen. That makes widespread protest and disruption of business as usual when the inevitable occurs a necessity.