…what’s broke? [DOT 27/12/20]

& orange...& can't get a suit that suits him for love nor money...

…so much for the season of goodwill, I guess

President Trump doesn’t use his pardon power often, but when he does, he abuses it for all it’s worth.

In less than four years in office, Mr. Trump has made a mockery of mercy, doling out clemency to some of the most deplorable people in the country, an alarming number of whom happen to be his friends, while ignoring tens of thousands of more deserving applicants.

Trump Corrupted the Presidential Pardon. Biden Must Repair It. [NYT]

Trump pardons debase the presidency – and he can and will go lower [The Guardian]


Trump’s Most Disgusting Pardons [NYT]

…what does lower even look like at this point?

Throughout the nearly two-year investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, there was perhaps one person (aside from the president himself) whom investigators really wanted to talk to, and who ended up not cooperating and getting a lengthier jail sentence instead: former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Now, Manafort is freed by the president from serving the rest of his 7½-year prison sentence. We don’t know whether there was an explicit deal between Trump and Manafort to reward the latter for his silence. But reports that Trump, through emissaries, floated the idea of a pardon to Manafort as he was talking to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III sound even more plausible now that it’s actually happened.
Trump wasn’t necessarily quiet about his desire for Manafort to stay quiet. During the Mueller investigation, Trump publicly praised Manafort for refusing “to break.” Manafort originally fought criminal charges, and then, facing 10 years in prison, pleaded guilty in hopes of a lesser sentence for cooperating with Mueller. But the plea deal almost immediately collapsed as Mueller accused Manafort of lying to him and his team — about his contacts with a potential Russian agent, no less.
We don’t know and may never know exactly what Manafort knew. But we know that Mueller really wanted to talk to him. Manafort had perhaps the most connections to Russia of anyone. He had worked for pro-Russian political forces in Ukraine before joining the Trump campaign. His brief tenure as head of Trump’s campaign overlapped with concerns about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He was in the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr., taking notes on his phone. He has high-level connections to Russia in his own right. Someone Manafort worked closely with, Konstantin Kilimnik, was described by Mueller as having “ties to Russian intelligence.” A Senate Republican report went further and called Kilimnik a “Russian intelligence officer,” and said he was the “single most direct tie” between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence, so much so that Kilimnik was “at the center of the Committee’s investigation.”

Manafort shared Trump campaign polling data with Kilimnik. As The Fix’s Aaron Blake pointed out, Manafort’s plea deal fell apart when investigators accused him of lying about his contacts with Kilimnik.

Why would he lie specifically about that, if there wasn’t the potential for a pardon? The Senate Republican-led investigation into this raises that question in its report:


…it’s like the worst joke

All the people Trump has pardoned since the election [WaPo]

…& somehow it might be due to get worse?

Critics fear Trump could pressure William Barr’s successor for big favors [The Guardian]

…but let’s be honest…at this point only the most determined idiots could possibly believe the man isn’t a lying-ass sack of flagrant dishonesty

The explosion of false and misleading statements from Trump during his presidency is well documented in our database. We have struggled to keep up with his torrent of falsehoods during the final weeks of the campaign, when he barnstormed the country making 600 to 700 false or misleading claims a week. The next update will show he crossed the 25,000 mark by mid-October.
Nevertheless, this may be Trump’s last appearance on this annual list. As of Jan. 21, we will set a high bar for fact-checking his statements. He will be a defeated ex-president, and we tend to focus on claims made by people in power. In other words, we hope to ignore him and concentrate on people who really matter in national policy debates.


…so the truth is I have pretty much no sympathy for the chorus of “we tried” I keep hearing


…even though fundamentally I do agree that it would have been worse had there not been people staffing institutions who were at least trying to discharge their responsibilities in good faith…the truth is it should never have been possible for the shuffling zombie of an administration to have gotten away with a fraction of the bullshit they did over the last few years & I don’ seem to have it in me to make anyone who had a hand in enabling it feel better about the part they played?



…but then the mind-bending degree of malignant stupidity invested in the clown that’s been in the driving seat is impossible to overstate

Trump rails against federal spending that he requested in his budget [WaPo]

…that’s right…this opportunistic asshole doesn’t even remeber the homework he had other people do for him…so he’s railing against stuff he asked for as part of his latest round of tantrum throwing

At least a temporary lapse in expanded unemployment benefits for millions of Americans is now inevitable because of President Trump’s delay in signing a $900 billion pandemic relief bill.


If Trump doesn’t sign off on the existing bill, the new Congress will need to start from scratch after the first of the year. And despite immediate appearances, implicitly threatening to veto the only federal help Americans are likely to receive for some time to come is not exactly helpful to citizens in need. But the fact is, he was never actually trying to help you or me. And we should expect nothing less from Trump, whose inability to think about anyone other than Trump is well-established.


Mnuchin’s loyalty to Trump could end with painful setback as president shreds stimulus deal [WaPo]

After four years of norm-shattering rule, Donald Trump appears close to doing the one thing observers have long predicted but that has not yet come to pass: splitting the Republican party.


…& while we’re on the subject of things that might be nice if they came to pass


What Biden and Harris Owe the Poor

…because right now help is surely not hurrying their way

Your next stimulus check may not be in the mail until Jan. 15. [WaPo]

…still, that hasn’t stopped people throwing record amounts at those run-off races

The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock and Jon Ossoff, the Democratic challengers in the Senate runoffs in Georgia, have each raised more than $100 million since October — enormous sums that surpassed their Republican opponents by a significant margin and underscored Democrats’ confidence after recent gains the party has made in the state and their hopes that they might capture the Senate.


…so…here’s hoping for a return on that investment…because otherwise the senate is liable to make about as much sense as…well…brexit…speaking of which…for reasons I won’t begin to speculate on the Post decided to print up this effort by Dominic Raab (AKA Britain’s Foreign Secretary)


…strangely enough…nowhere in that bit of window dressing is there an admission that the UK will be materially worse off as a result of their “deal”…which remains incomplete…& contrary to all that shit about how they “got back control” makes it clear that in order not to entirely shit the bed they will of course be maintaining a broad swathe of standards & regulations determined by the EU…all in all it’s totally fucking incoherent…which I’m liable to get if I keep talking about it…so let’s get on with the business of the day, shall we?



  1. Only 24 more days until this madness is behind us. My only fear about Trump “splitting” the Republican Party is a repeat of the Reagan Revolution, which pretty much drove the moderate, Rockefeller Republican, into extinction. If “Trumpism” becomes a thing (I’m not really sure how it could without him) the dark times will continue. But if the party becomes more xenophobic and overtly racist/sexist/homophobic, if it Is a given that government exists to enrich those who manage to get control of its levers and little else, if the sentiment that expertise and accomplishment have no place in the public sector takes hold, well…I think I have defined Trumpism. There’s something about Trump personally though that seems to have harnessed this free-floating anger and formed it into a somewhat coherent whole.
    Sarah Palin had this quality. Much of the country was aghast that she was on a Presidential ticket, maybe no one more so than John McCain, but she was wildly popular, much more popular than him, and proto-Trumpish, drawing thousands, tens of thousands, to rallies to listen to her spew all kinds of word salad nonsense that the crowds lapped up. Let us hope Trump meets her fate: barely remembered, living a life in obscurity, never mentioned. I think after 2008 she tried her hand at some kind of media but that fell flat. But as sure as the sun rises in the east there must be a Palin/Trump waiting in the wings. 

    • The Trumps and Palins and Reagans of the world appeal to the Me! Me! Me! id, and frame every policy position (immigration, welfare) as a matter of self-preservation.  It’s not new, but Trump got rid of the wink-and-nudge.  It’s so much easier when you don’t have to pretend.

      • See also: the Michele Bachmann’s of the world….
        She was a crackpot, crank, and religious-rightwing-wingnut….
        But she ALSO won re-election WAY too many times,out in MN06, because folks didn’t pay attention to “Washington politics” and bought her “I’m just a Good Christian Mom & Foster Mom, who cared enough to run for the school board… and THEN for State office, then Congress, because I want to fix things!”
        She never told them that what she wanted to fix was a permanent “Christian” Theocratic Ruling Class…

        • Also, one to watch for is going to be Fishbach, out of MN07.
          Her husband was/is one of the top lawyers for the MCCL (Minnesota Christians Concerned for Life–the biggest anti-choice/anti women’s rights group in the state), and SHE also goes back YEARS in the MN state Leg….
          She KNOWS how to work the systems of power, and she’s not afraid to abuse whatever position she has (she refused to step down from her MN legislative position, when she had to move into the Lieutenant Governor spot, when Tina Smith became our senator–the D’s SUED to force her to quit one, because she was basically double-dipping on pay, and wasn’t doing all the duties of either job… something that–had it been a DILLER doing so, would have had the R’s RAGING….
          She’s TERRIBLE, and I’m SURE would love to get her hands on some of that Trumpian-butt-hurt power.

    • I’ve said before that there are a lot of scumbags vying to take Trump’s spot at the head of “his” party, but I don’t think any will be successful. Trump was a perfect storm, a buffoon who had massive name recognition and had cultivated a false image through that abomination of a reality show. Nobody else can duplicate that appeal to the MAGA masses. Trump’s party is a personality cult and it can’t be held together without him.
      The closest analogy I can think of is televangelism. Their “congregations” begin to splinter and start to crumble after the leader’s death or if they are discredited. Sure, there are some fanatics that cling to it anyway, but the group never reaches its former stature. I think Trumpism will play out the same way. 

    • I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Trumpism is the future of the Republican party. We’ve shone a light on these cockroaches and instead of scattering, they just stood there with a Kool dangling from their lips going “what? I dare you.” If Republican political candidates want their money and votes, they’re going to have to pander to the loudest and dumbest.

  2. yeah….reading through the brexit agreements im really not seeing the benefits here…..unless of course you just wanted to make life harder for immigrants
    also found this little nugget

    EU pet passports will no longer be valid.
    oh man…..i paid good money for those *sigh* welp…not planning to change countries anytime soon i guess

    • …it’s hard not to think that “some people” just wanted not to be answerable to the EU court (mostly the human rights stuff but also financial regulatory stuff) because by definition the rest of the deal is necessarily going to be worse than the one being a member of the EU (with special treatment courtesy of maggie thatcher handbagging them back in the day)

      …sorry to hear about the pet passport thing…have friends who are mad as hell about getting pulled out of the academic stuff like erasamus…it’s hard enough to get funding without licking out one of the biggest available sources of grants

      …it’s honestly incredible to me that anyone has the gall to describe it as anything but cutting their nose off to spite their face?

      • leaving the erasmus scheme seems like a particularly bad decision tbh
        but the turing scheme? plan? pipedream? will be sure to muchly bettlier
        after all…. the uk gubment is organizing it
        what could possibly go wrong

    • far as i can tell they actually came to a good compromise on the fishing rights tho
      i mean…the definition of a good compromise is that all sides are pissed off right?

      • …the fishing thing is bizarre…it got so much play but in economic terms it’s the proverbial drop in the ocean…it all seems designed to appeal to a largely groundless belief that britannia once more rules her waves…as long as you don’t look too close at the details

        …the UK has a service based economy these days & getting some kind of guarantee that certification for people like accountants would be considered valid seems like it would have been worth more…but they seem to have failed spectacularly to secure any of that kind of thing?

        …I don’t think I ever got to the bottom of what happened with the “passporting” rights for share dealing/banking/&c but that’s another one

        …& along with the erasmus scheme it seems like the various databases for things like policing or euratom are also looking at an uncertain future…which I’m pretty sure pose some considerable disadvantages…frankly I couldn’t bring myself to wade through the whole document but I have a strong feeling that pretty much everything the tories have talking up about it is intended to provide a smokescreen behind which the picture looks like shit?

        • well yeah..i wasnt going to mention that the uk doesnt have much of a fishing industry and as such its funny fishing rights were a major sticking point for the deal
          and likewise never got to the bottom of the whole banking deal
          far as i can tell neither did they tho…. seems to be a big we dont know yet
          but yes..i agree…the picture is shit
          im not sure the smoke screen is needed tho…anyone with half a brain could have figured that out….and yet here we are
          its kind of amazing

        • Well it’s /s for me lol. And it’s probably an unconsciously true statement for a lot of people outside those two groups. Americans spend A LOT of money on their pets every year. Don’t ask em to raise property taxes tho. 

        • Unfortunately, also true, for some on the far, far, left (where the circle starts to round on over/meld into the far right/ the ends of the “horseshoe” come close to touching)🙃😕💔

  3. On the subject of pardons, this WP opinion piece argues that they could actually be counter-productive to Trump. When testifying before Congress, a criminal could refuse to answer questions because it might incriminate said criminal. 
    However, a pardoned criminal can’t. They can no longer be prosecuted for that crime. They either have to answer or face sanctions, which can include fines and prison time. So by pardoning his cartel, Trump is inadvertently exposing himself while protecting them. This also includes his family along with his criminal associates. Trump’s counting on their “loyalty” to keep them from speaking up. Let’s see how that works out. 

    • I find the whole 5G angle weird though from someone who worked in IT. Like my idiot father? Sure. The man thinks Nancy Pelosi is listening to him through this TV. I’m not even joking.

      But for someone in IT to be this nutty…. like they already are tracking on all of us via our cell phones, etc. The Patriot Act basically gave the govt the legal grounds to do that after 9/11, it’s not new with 5G. 

      I think it’s very odd that we find out SolarWinds was hacked by Russians two weeks before Christmas and all the top telco companies in the US also use SolarWinds and were impacted and then a week later a bomb goes off in front of an AT&T facility and fucks up their telco network. 

      Was something with AT&T going to negatively impact the Trump group soon? That’s what I would like to know. Because yeah…. this definitely strikes me as the type of homegrown domestic terrorism that Cheeto Mussolini’s followers would do. 


      • Not all IT guys are created equal.  A lot of IT guys are stunningly ignorant about areas outside their expertise (just like my fellow engineers and software developers.)  He was smart enough to understand how telcom central offices work, but not smart enough to figure out GPS tracking (much like how the typical conspiracy loon loves to put connections to things that don’t actually connect and misses the actual connections.)
        Throw in a streak of arrogant incel/libertarianism and “covert” narcissism that runs deep in tech.  I’m not that surprised, really.

      • I agree, it seems a bit…. “off the deep end”-ish, for an IT person, but having had a co-worker recently go inpatient, for mental health stuff that seemed to get (at least from what he told me, BEFORE he went in-patient!), amplified & worsened by his Facebook feed, I could see someone who was a Trumper tipping that way…
        It can be RELENTLESS, depending on how well one culls & cultivates their social media, and once you start buying IN, it seems to get worse & worse from what I’ve seen & heard.😕

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