Backed into a corner…

A person who is painted or boxed into a corner is someone who has created difficulties for themselves by their own actions where there are no or very few favorable outcomes.

So far, it appeared like the “Teflon Don” president Trump has been able to escape anything sticking to him, from collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, multiple instances of potential obstruction of justice charges, to many, many cases in which Trump and his cronies have simply ignored the emoluments clause of the Constitution and have used the office of the President to add to their personal coffers.

And yet, it looks like El Cheeto Supremo may have really stepped in it this time. 

The situation with the Ukraine has already presented enough evidence to finally persuaded enough members of the House that Nancy Pelosi formally announced a formal impeachment inquiry on Trump.

But, why now? After everything that happened (or rather, didn’t happen) with the Mueller report, why is it this phone call the issue that’s triggering people’s response that Trump has finally crossed the line?

The biggest thing is that it’s pretty simple to explain. As opposed to the Mueller report, which was over 400 pages, the whistleblower report is only 9 pages long.

Here’s the TL;DR:

Trump (and Guiliani, and likely others) leveraged government resources ($400 million in military aid) to pressure a foreign entity (Ukraine) to do them “a favor” (in this case: find Hillary’s missing email server and investigate Hunter and Joe Biden for corruption) for Trump’s personal gain (dig up dirt on a political rival in the 2020 election).

That right there is an impeachable offense.

Then, the White House, realizing that this call could have major implications, actively worked to cover up the event by moving all documentation related to the call to a “top secret” server meant for matters of national security, which does NOT include saving Trump’s ass.

Another one.

Then, days later, Attorney General Barr received the whistleblower report, looked it over, declared that there was “nothing to see here” and tried to make it go away. 

Possibly another one, depending on whether Barr was acting “on orders” from Trump.

Trump released the transcript of the call, and now that the whistleblower report has been made public, a number of sources have verified elements of the report (including the White House, which admitted moving all documentation about the Ukraine phone call to the top secret server).

Reports have come out stating that, per the whistleblower report, phone conversations between Trump and Putin and Trump and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia are also on this server. 

The major differences between this and everything in the Mueller report are: 

1) The Ukraine call (and visits) are linked directly to Trump and Guiliani, his personal attorney. 

2) Trump and Guiliani (and the White House) have admitted they made the call, and Trump provided a document (not a transcript) of a good portion of the conversation from that call, that shows Trump repeatedly brought up investigating the Bidens.

3) The White House has admitted moving documentation to the top secret server (although they’re trying to spin/deflect who actually ordered moving the files)

4) The whistleblower suggests in his report that the Ukraine call is just one example of a disturbing pattern of behavior from the Trump White House.

Nothing in the Mueller report is as clear-cut as this. Yes, Russia actively tried to interfere with our election, and they would have colluded with the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign was simply too inept to understand what was being offered to them. Most of the obstruction of justice incidents involve Trump wanting to do something that, if his orders had been obeyed, would have clearly been obstruction. In many of the cases, though, Trump’s subordinates simply ignored his orders and waited for him to forget about the whole thing. 

But will he be impeached? 

That’s harder to say. As of today, the House has the votes it needs to pass articles of impeachment. However, Republicans in the Senate are currently steadfast in declaring their loyalty to Trump, and a few have declared they’ll never vote for impeachment. Ironically, at least a couple of those members (I’m looking at you Graham and Moscow Mitch) have videos from the Clinton impeachment contradicting everything they’re saying now.

But, public opinion has already shifted in the last week. It’s hard to predict if the House can continue to make a case for impeachment before the public and push public opinion even further into supporting impeachment.

There was a report somewhere that said most voters were against Nixon’s impeachment when the inquiry began, but public support turned against him as the House made their case. By the time Nixon resigned, more than 2/3 of the public were in favor of impeachment.

At what point will public opinion persuade Republicans in the Senate from staying on board the sinking Trump presidency and save their own hides? It may happen sooner for those facing re-election in 2020, especially if public opinion in their home states turn in favor of impeachment. 

Trump and the GOP will likely try to stonewall the inquiry, which isn’t going to be a good look for them, considering Trump offered up the initial transcript. If they start ignoring subpoenas or trying to hide behind executive privilege now, the public may wonder what they’re hiding. 

And, as we’ve seen over the last 2 1/2 years, Trump will go to any length to keep from admitting he was wrong about anything, no matter how trivial (see: Sharpiegate). He doesn’t want to lose, but, considering all of the other investigations involving the Trump campaign and the Trump Organization, Trump likely also doesn’t want to face any legal repercussions either. 

We’ll likely get to see Trump go insane as his ego fights with the mafioso part of his brain over whether to fight or flee. Maybe Putin will set him up with a place in Moscow?

Will he quit? Does Trump have some other goodies on that top secret server that would take down Pence and other GOP members with him? Does his buddy Putin have enough kompromat on leading members of the Senate to ensure they fall in line and vote against impeachment? 

Remember, all Trump needs is 34 Senators in his back pocket, and he walks. 

Or, will Trump completely lose his shit and take us to the brink of war to cover his own ass??? I’m not talking “civil war” with far-right extremists; I mean, like, actual war, like war with Iran.

Let’s hope not.

Maybe the House will be able to make their case against Trump, public opinion will continue to rise in favor of impeachment, and enough GOP members of the Senate will discover enough of the crumbling remains of their spines to finally do something that puts Country over Party.

What’s a Poor Billionaire (ahem, ‘person of means’) To Do?

In the last week or so, we’ve seen at least a couple of billionaires announce or drop hints that they were exploring the idea of running for President.

Michael Bloomberg has been dropping hints for awhile, but the one out of left field has to be Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks.

Bloomberg has at least some experience as a former New York City mayor, but Schultz wants to follow the Trump playbook.

In the comics, these bored billionaires would become super heroes and fight crime: Batman, Iron Man, Green Arrow, Moon Knight, etc.

In the real world, some billionaires try to make a difference in the world through philanthropy, like Bill Gates.

But, then, there are these guys. Men who, like Trump, live in their own protective bubbles and have surrounded themselves with ‘yes men’ who happily praise any idea their bosses come up with.

After seeing two years of insanity of Trump, what makes these men want to run?

Are they bored, and looking for the next big thrill? Being President would certainly mean obtaining power at a level their fortunes can’t begin to touch.

Are they seeing what Trump is getting away with now and thinking: “Look at what Trump is getting away with, and he’s a fucking moron. Just imagine what someone with real intelligence could do with that kind of power.” They’re looking for new tax breaks or other policy changes that could help add more to their pockets and the pockets of their billionaire friends?

Are they seeing the winds of change blowing in after the 2018 midterms, with fresh Democratic faces advocating for things like Medicare for all and new taxes on the wealthy, and they want to ensure such things never happen?

Maybe they want to take a turn at being Putin’s puppet? 

As we’ve seen with the continued backlash in social media over Schultz’s announcement (which shocked Schultz and absolutely no one else), many Americans are simply not thrilled with the idea of another “Trump”, even an “anti-Trump” billionaire with zero experience running the country.

Sure, there’s the chance that a billionaire “independent” candidate could create a huge mess in 2020, like Perot and his charts did in 1992. This time, though, they could snag a huge batch of “anyone but Trump” voters, which might pull enough votes from a Democratic challenger and help re-elect Trump.

Or, maybe, that’s the plan? They may despise Trump and hate most of his policies. But, they have to love what he’s doing for the rich and corporations. What if one of them runs, not to win, but to steal enough “anti-Trump” votes to ensure that Trump wins re-election?

So far, though, Schultz also hasn’t helped himself by continuing to shoot himself in the foot, and chances are that, hopefully, his “campaign” will end before it even gets out the gate. After seeing the reaction to Schultz, the other billionaires appear to have decided to hold off a bit.

Maybe they should look into a buying a cape and dressing up as a bat?

The Long Con (with tiny hands)

I’m going to call it now – Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.

What? You ask. What about Trump? 

Trump may still be on the ballot come November, but he will have dropped out of the race before then. 


Oh yes. Yes he would.

I’m saying he’d rather quit than lose. if Trump can bow out and spin it in a way where he can declare that he’d “easily” win the election if the system wasn’t “rigged” so Hillary would win, he’d do it. He wouldn’t have to deal with the debates, he wouldn’t have to face losing the election. He could declare himself the “winner” – that he would have won by “YUGE” margins if the system wasn’t so rigged against him.

Don’t believe me?

Instead of trying to be more Presidential, Trump has instead amped up the crazy. The democrats have said Trump can easily be baited, and he proved them right over and over again. He continues to attack anyone that challenges him. The situation with attacking the Khans has the GOP leadership dancing in full spin mode yet again.

Look at his speeches over the last couple of days. He’s already laying the groundwork to bow out. Sunday, he was complaining that the dates of the debates were being “rigged” in Hillary’s favor. He complains that the government is “rigged” because they failed to press charges against Clinton over the personal email server fiasco. 

Now, he’s telling supporters that he’s “hearing” that the election in November will be “rigged” to allow Hillary to win. He won’t have any proof of any of this, just “hears things” from “people he knows”.

He already has subordinates declaring that, for example, a Trump loss in Florida would literally be because of voter fraud. A Trump loss in Florida would be considered fraud by the Trump campaign, who would then declare the entire election illegitimate (assuming Trump loses the election), which they say would create a constitutional crisis, shut down the government and create massive civil disobedience across the country. 

Basically, if you don’t buy into the fear, chaos and disaster that the Trump campaign has been spinning until now, they’re going to make sure the fear, chaos and disaster happens if Trump doesn’t win.

Trump is also now going after GOP leaders who haven’t fully supported him. Today he’s announced he is withholding support for Paul Ryan and John McCain, both of whom are facing GOP challengers for their Senate seats. Both Ryan and McCain condemned Trump’s attacks on the Khan family, but still support Trump as the nominee.

A couple of weeks ago, Mark Cuban declared that Trump was only in the race as a means to boost his name/brand value. The ideal situation for Trump, Cuban said, would be for him to win the popular vote in the election but lose the electoral. That way he could still spin things as he “won” the election – the people wanted him, but again, the system (i.e.. the electoral college) was “rigged” so he’d lose.

After the last few days of hearing about more and more Trump snafus, I don’t think he’ll wait that long.

Why? It’s the same idea. Trump will bow out by declaring that as much as the people want him in office, the system is “rigged” against them. He could have easily won the election if Obama and Hillary didn’t “rig” the system in their favor. He can boost his own brand, and pass the blame on to everyone else.

As a bonus, he’ll also be able to completely screw over the GOP who will have no way to name a new candidate and get a fresh campaign up and running before the election. Those “losers” haven’t really supported him anyway. The GOP could try to run with Pence, but I suspect it wouldn’t matter who they brought in – it’d be too little, too late.

The damage will have been done. Sure, the faithful will still vote for Trump, even if they have to write him in on the ballots. But, I also think a lot of GOP voters will consider voting Democrat if only to send a message. Instead of being angry at Trump, I suspect many will go after the existing GOP leadership for letting Trump game the system and effectively drive the GOP into the ground.

So, yeah, my money is on Trump walking away. He’ll say he coulda won, but he’ll blame it on the system, the GOP leadership, the liberal media, the Mexicans, the Muslims, Hillary Clinton, and of course, Obama.

When will he quit? I’d say October first. But, I think he may go as early as September, before he has to face Hillary in any debate. And, I think, he wants to maximize the negative impact on the GOP leadership. If he can bow out and directly or indirectly cause Paul Ryan and/or John McCain lose re-election, that would be icing in the cake.

He told everyone at the GOP convention that he’s the guy that knows the system better than anyone, and he alone can fix it.

He’s fixing it alright – He’s fixing the system in order to make Trump, not America, great again.


Not surprisingly, tonight there are stories suggesting that Trump is looking for excuses to bail on debates with Hillary Clinton. Of course, Trump is trying to spin it as Clinton and the Democrats are trying to “rig” the debates. 

We’ve already seen how Trump “debates”. He’s certainly not going to debate about the issues because Clinton would utterly destroy him. If he does show up, instead of talking about the issues, he’s going to deflect and spew insults at his opponent, her spouse (and her spouse’s Presidency), and (more than likely) their family. 

It would play out something like this: 

Moderator: Mr. Trump, you’ve spoken repeatedly about building a wall along the U.S./Mexico border and claiming that Mexico will pay for it. Can you explain what specific initiatives you’ll introduce that will build the wall and get Mexico to pay for it?

Trump: (thinking – I’ve got this) It’s going to be a Great Wall. It will be YUHGE, the best wall, you’ll see.  (Rambles about the amazing wall and Mexco – probably throws in a couple of lines about President Clinton and evil NAFTA for good measure – for three minutes or until the moderator stops him)

Moderator: Senator Clinton, would you care to respond?

Senator Clinton: I would be happy to respond once Mr. Trump answers the question.

Trump: (now confused) What?

Senator Clinton: (patiently) The moderator asked you about your specific plans to build this wall of yours. You haven’t answered the question.

Trump: (now getting angry) Did so. 

Clinton: The American people would like to know, as would I, what your specific plans are to build this wall?

Moderator: Senator Clinton is right, Mr Trump. Would you please answer the question?

Trump: (angry) This is what I’ve been talking about! The liberal media is always out to get me (another rant about the media and “Crooked Hillary” for a few minutes)

(There should be at least one cut to Clinton rolling her eyes at Trump in the middle of this rant)

Moderator: Senator Clinton? 

Clinton: I heard Mr Trump say a lot of things just now, but I still did not hear an answer to the original question. I would be happy to respond when Mr. Trump provides an answer. 

Moderator: (sighs) 

Of course, Hillary Clinton could take the high road and explain that a more rational plan would be to work with the Mexican government and discuss other initiatives, such as increasing funding to the border patrol, more cops, etc, instead of building a wall. Or something – She’d actually try to address the issue.

Regardless of a response or policy Clinton could provide about the wall (or anything, really), Trump would scoff and decry it as “that’s what Obama would do” and spend a couple of minutes ranting about how Obama has destroyed the country and that only he, Donald Trump, can make America great again. 

Wash, rinse, repeat. For two hours.

And there you have it.

You’d have one candidate at the debate making their case for why they would be the right choice for President, and you’d have another candidate whose sole focus is improving their TV rating.



Election Drama

So, if you’re drinking while watching the election coverage, take a shot each time the press calls a state “too close to call.”
You should be passed out long before the night is over.

desperation sets in

We’re less than two days from the presidential elections, and both sides are launching a flurry of ads on television to sway those STILL undecided voters to their side.
The most disturbing set of these ads comes from the Republican PACs, and after seeing a few of these you really want to eliminate PACs altogether.
The milder ones are targeted specifically at women. The commercials show a couple of women (one jogging and thinking to herself, another addressing the viewer). They look concerned as they wonder about the job market. The commercials rattle off a couple of unfavorable statistics about jobs and the national debt (but don’t discuss how we got to this point), and then simply say Obama is bad for the country.
Another shows “Women for Romney” (I guess they dug into Romney’s “binders full of women” for this spot) – who talk about how they haven’t heard enough specifics on how Obama will change things in the next four years. They’re not happy how things have gone up to this point, so they’re jumping ship to Romney. The ads never state why Romney has a better plan; it’s simply that he’s different, so why not give him a shot?
The most disturbing one, in my opinion, is the one running in Ohio by another Republican PAC. This ad targets African-Americans and basically says: You should vote Republican because Abraham Lincoln was Republican, and he freed the slaves. I’m offended by the ad, and I’m not even in its target audience.
It’s sad, but not surprising, that none of these groups can a) find anything positive to say about Romney or his proposed policies to convince voters that he’s the right choice outside of saying “He’s not Obama” or “Obamacare is the devil” and b) they’re trying anything and everything to see what sticks.
Then again, that’s pretty much been Rommey’s approach the entire campaign. The strategy is to get up each day and consult the GOP magic 8-ball and figure out what stance they’re going to take today. “Should I talk about dissolving FEMA today?”
“Outlook not so good.”
“Okay, Today’s stance is: FEMA is a good thing.”
For a party that publicly says they are winning the election, their own supporters aren’t buying it, and they’re getting desperate.
— On the other hand —
Some funny election videos — This is really how you should end an election.
Joss Whedon on Romney
Another –
Mitt Romney Style (Gangnam Style Parody)
This one – is very NSFW —
A Political Version of Wake the F**K Up (with Samuel L Jackson)

Too Fat to Fly (Southwest)

In one of the crazier things that have happened this week, Kevin Smith was kicked off a Southwest flight last weekend because he was determined to be a “person of size.” He stated that he complied with their guidelines, and was still asked to leave the plane.

Here’s his take Smodcast Final Words, and it’s definitely worth watching. You may also want to listen to SMODCast 107, where Mr. Smith talks to Natali, a young woman who was on his return flight that had an incident with Southwest over this policy.

If you look on Southwest’s website, buried under the customer service section is a single link that describes their person of size policy.

According to their Customer of Size FAQ, it’s not “just about weight.” Of course, I’m not sure if this document has been recently updated after everything that went on with Mr. Smith this week, but it seems like it’s a recent update since it goes to great lengths to cover their policy.

The problem, though, is that the policy says that the definitive guide is whether or not the person can fit between the armrests of the seat. Mr. Smith states that he had no trouble putting down the armrests, and that in spite of that, he was asked to deplane.

Neither the policy NOR the FAQ state anything that outside of the “definitive guide” that any Southwest employee can make a judgement call on who is a “customer of size.”

Continue reading “Too Fat to Fly (Southwest)”

Last Gasp

With the second Presidential debate last night, you would have thought John McCain would have been smart and actually tried to talk about the issues and tell us how he plans to fix the problems facing the country.
Obama wants to spend $800 billion
Obama wants to raise taxes
Obama wants bigger government
Obama wants to make health care a mandate
Obama likes those “pork-barrel” projects
Obama is wrong about Iraq
“That one” just doesn’t understand military strategy, foreign policy, etc.
McCain, looking more and more like Elmer Fudd, wants us to be afwaid, verwy afwaid, of Barack Obama.
The only new thing we heard from McCain was this idea of having the government step in and buy up all of the bad mortgages. He doesn’t mention that this goes against his “less government” ideology, nor does he mention what the price tag on such a plan would be.
After berating Obama over “declaring” that he’d go after terrorists inside Pakistan, McCain would do “whatever it takes” to get Bin-Laden, but only after he’d won over the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. So, he would attack inside Pakistan, he’d just be more secretive about it.
McCain wants us to look at their records in the Senate and vote based on their records. Ironically, that’s exactly what’s killing him.
As much as he touts standing up to his own party, he hasn’t done so in the last several years. With Bush’s approval ratings at an all-time low and the economy sinking fast, Obama’s strategy of McCain = Bush is resonating with the people.
Combine that with McCain’s inability to go into specifics about any of his plans, or just the overall eerie feeling that the McCain campaign strategy echoes Bush’s campaigns, and the “Straight-Talk Express” is falling off the tracks.
So, now, like Bush, McCain will focus on the negative. Stop one step shy of calling Obama a terrorist. Sling as much mud as they can, while claiming that it’s Obama running the dirtiest campaign in history.
The problem is that it’s too little, too late. The media, much like with Palin’s “Obama is pallin around with terrorists” remark, is finally stepping up and calling the Republicans out on the mud-slinging.
McCain can sling all the mud he wants now, but it’s only going to reflect poorly on him. It’s a last gasp effort by a man who is desperate to do “whatever it takes” to win the White House, and it will ultimately cost him the election.

McCain Wants a “Do Over”

Today, John McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign temporarily so he could return to Washington to help deal with the financial crisis. He wanted to postpone Friday’s debate and pull all ads and asked Obama to do the same.
Part of that suspension included putting off a scheduled appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman makes fun of the situation, but he really makes some good points.
Letterman Rips McCain for Taking a Time Out
Sure, he could participate in the discussions in Washington, but he could also still continue the campaign as well. Would it be that hard to have his people keep him briefed on what’s going on, and then go to Washington only when it’s time to vote on the program?
Can he not do two things at once? Why isn’t he, as Letterman suggested, sending in his second string quarterback to campaign in his absence?
After all, if Palin is a pit-bull with lipstick and, as the McCain campaign continually assures us, is ready to step into the Presidency at a moment’s notice, surely she can handle campaigning on her own for a couple of days.
Or can she?
McCain also wants to postpone the VP debates as well. And that’s after getting Obama to agree to a very specific set of rules and regulations around the VP debates.
Why quit now? The man whose painting himself as a war hero and a maverick shouldn’t even be flinching at having to run a campaign and do what he can to help out when the country is in need.
They need time out to figure out how to turn this mess to their advantage. Sure this hit at a bad time, but McCain hasn’t helped his situation any better.
First, he said the economy was “fundamentally sound.” Then, McCain reverses himself and makes a speech blaming the Wall Street “fat cats.” The press reminds him that oh, by the way, those “fat cats” are major contributors to your campaign.
He gives another interview defending Rick Davis, his campaign manager, stating that his firm’s ties to Freddie Mac were suspended at the end of 2005, and he boldly states that he’d be glad to have someone look at the records to back up that statement.
The press though, did their own digging and learned that yes, the initial deal did end with Freddie Mac in 2005. But, they also learned that Davis himself went back to Freddie Mac and negotiated a new arrangement that paid his firm until last month when the government bailed Freddie Mac out.
The crisis has dumped Bush’s ratings down to 19%, which isn’t helping the Republican cause, regardless of how much they try to distance themselves from him. Obama’s numbers are jumping in key states already.
So, yeah, someone thought it was a brilliant idea for McCain to put everything on hold, go to Washington and use it to show people that he cares about the situation.
The problem, though, is that most people, like Letterman, aren’t buying it. Instead of looking like a great idea, McCain is going to get in the middle of things and turn it in to more of a circus than it already is. He’ll be a distraction instead of a help, and he’ll be more than happy to take credit for doing absolutely nothing.
In addition, he’s showing us that he can’t handle more than one major situation at a time. Well, let’s see: we have a presidential election, an economic crisis, a foreign policy nightmare, and oh yeah, we’re fighting two wars, and terrorism hasn’t gone away.
So, if things get bad as president, is he going to ask Al Qaeda for a time-out too?
And what about Palin? Well, since they’re still keeping her under wraps, the Republicans are showing us they’re petty sure she’s not ready for anything that doesn’t involve a well-rehearsed script.
What next? After this crisis is resolved, is McCain going to want a “do over” and just roll things back to right after the Republican convention?