Friday, February 21, 2020

White House Reaction To Latest Intel Revelations Again Shows Those Of Us Outraged Are NOT The Ones With "Derangement Syndrome"

"Don't you dare spread lies that I want the Russians' help in this election! The Dems will try to use it against me!  BWAHAHAHAAA!"

"The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone's insistence that it doesn't, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundations of our democracy."  Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in her sentencing statement of Trump ally Roger Stone yesterday

"What is astonishing is that the White House reaction to learning this information from the intelligence agencies is that somebody new should be running the intelligence agencies.  Which certainly should not be briefing such information to congress." - Rachel Maddow, last night on MSNBC

"We are now in a full blown national security crisis.  By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow's interests, not America's."  - Former CIA Director John Brennan, last night

Assume for the sake of argument there is a parallel reality in which:

a) Russian interference in our forthcoming election is revealed by our intelligence agencies - but our president dismisses them and fires the DNI (Joseph Maguire) instead, replacing him with a toady.

b) That president also rails and attacks judges who pass sentences for his own cover up artists and gets his AG to question the sentencing recommendations, guidelines of  the line prosecutors who wrote those recommendations.

The truth? We are already in that parallel reality, folks.  But to read the bunkum from Trump's lowlife defenders in the corporate and financial media you'd think that we - the outraged citizens reacting to such transgressions - are the actual ones who've lost it.

Exhibit A:  Dan Henninger's  recycled codswallop and conspiracy claptrap in yesterday's WSJ ('Why Trump Needs Bill Barr',  p. A15).    Therein we learn:

"Historians someday will identify the current period as the moment something snapped in American politics.  The moorings have broken, and we are floating free of any guide ropes.  How else to explain not merely disagreements over the term of Roger Stone's sentence but the mass hysteria it has produced?"

Well, Henninger was ok right up until the last sentence, because at that point he cut all moorings from reality and sanity and contributed to the parallel universe agitprop that we who evoke outrage at Trump's antics - in progressively destroying our Republic-  are the ones deranged.    Because make no mistake what he terms "merely disagreements"  are not that at all, but manifest  and righteous shock at the deliberate intervention of the nation's number one law enforcement official to protect  a criminal: Trump.  As Judge Amy Berman Jackson noted in her sentencing of Stone - the crook  AG Barr sought to protect:

''Stone revealed his own motivation to protect the president from evidence that could reflect badly on him. On December, 1, 2017 he testified that he texted to  Randy Credico 'If you testify you're a fool.  Because of Trump I could never get away with asserting my fifth amendment rights but you can. Stone know that someone would view it as incriminating for both him and the Trump campaign if he asserted his right to testify and said nothing.... Stone lies and sought to impede production of information to whom? Not to some secret anti-Trump cabal but to congress. To the elected representatives of both parties  who were confronted with a matter of grave national importance.... Stone was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president.  He was prosecuted for covering up for the president."

This is the same Judge Jackson who handed Stone his prison sentence of 3 years and 4 months while adding in her statement that truth mattered and that anyone -  like Trump and Stone (and now Henninger) - who takes pride in lies is a "threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundations of our democracy."

Those unable to comprehend  the nature of authoritarian fascist dictatorships always ask "Okay, smart Aleck, then when are we gonna see the tanks in the streets?"  They don't grasp that this is not the way authoritarian dictators or wannabe  tyrants (like Trump),  work.  Rather given their power, they compromise a nation's integrity and institutions bit by bit, or toady by toady - taking over its judiciary, taking over its courts, taking over its law enforcement and intelligence agencies - with toadies.  As one writer has aptly noted, we have now  "moved from the Trump administration to the  Trump regime."   By which he meant the professional profile of a functional government has been abolished and replaced by one diluted through fealty and obeisance to the  'great leader'- who usually fancies himself a strongman and  seeks to act the part.  For example by ordering a purge, as Trump has done (reported in the WaPo) of any and all officials determined to be "disloyal".   As if a valid government in these United States is predicated on loyalty to a personality, especially a toxic and malignant one.

 Failure to see this, as well as too many becoming inured to the multiple events that incepted it,  is also assisted by much of the press and media.  Unable to properly cover a walking shitstorm like Trump,  they either give him unearned benefit of the doubt or fail to call him out in his most atrocious actions, say like tweeting harangues at Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

 In this latter manifestation the irresponsible media (usually reactionary or lazy to begin with)  also sow co-option of too many, lie by lie, mindfuck by mindfuck, as the WSJ's Henninger demonstrates, e.g.

"Did more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials actually sign a petition calling on Mr. Barr to resign for 'doing the president's  personal bidding' on the Stone sentence?  Presumably not one of these 2,000 ever argued internally over a sentencing recommendation."

In fact they likely have argued internally over such sentencing recommendations, but not with the  intent of blatantly perverting a prosecution. And especially for the benefit of a crass, criminal executive or head of government who consorts with criminal underlings and makes alliances to cover up his crimes.  Indeed, here is where one might draw to Henny's attention the spectacle of John Crabb - the deputy head of the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office in D.C.  - standing up in front of Judge Jackson and explaining the transgressions.

Effectively saying (my paraphrasing):  "Your honor, everything you've heard from the president of the United States to do with this case we disavow. And everything that William Barr did- and made us write in that second memorandum - we disavowThis prosecution was righteous and Stone ought to go to jail, and your honor, we trust your decision."

As Rachel Maddow put it, someone (Crabb) at least in a position of authority in that U.S. attorney's office, "that has been absolutely rolled by this president and his attorney general"  stood up and refused to continue the shameless spinning. Saying in effect, "Enough, I can't do it." 

Which effectively takes all of Henninger's balderdash and stands it on its dubious head.  And also shows his claim that the truth tellers and those of us outraged at what's transpiring are "deranged" or "hysterical" is  patent rubbish. It is in fact the likes of Henninger and his FOX News allies who are helping to destroy what's left of the country.

Which brings us to one of Henninger's more non-controversial observations that:

"The separation from anything resembling normal politics began when Donald Trump won the GOP's presidential nomination."

Which, of course, was with the proven and demonstrated help of the Russians, though Henny doesn't mention that - only the texting between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Once more dipping into the muck of the "deep state" conspiracy that supposedly targeted poor Trump. Never mind the actual person victimized was Hillary Clinton. 

Indeed, then FBI director James Comey's repeated announcements of "progress"  in the FBI email investigation likely cost her the election.  The Trump investigation, meanwhile, remained in the shadows. It only really saw the light of day when Bob Mueller began his own investigation leading to the Mueller report.  That investigation, let us recall, only commenced after Trump witlessly fired James Comey.

Which brings us to the latest intel revelations on the threats to the current election, and even to the Dem primaries.

We now have learned that intelligence officials warned members of Congress last week that Russia was trying to interfere in the 2020 election campaign in favor of Donald Trump.  This was in a briefing that led to the abrupt removal of the acting director of national intelligence.

When Trump heard about the briefing, he railed at the acting DNI, Joseph Maguire, in the Oval Office, over what he saw as disloyalty, the Washington Post reported. Until then, Maguire had been a leading candidate to become permanent DNI and is understood to have told colleagues he expected to stay on in the position.  But unlike Trump and the Republicans who acquitted him, Maguire has integrity and was not about to eschew his responsibilities to help the Traitor in chief.

But in the wake of the briefing and Oval Office confrontation, Trump announced the appointment of a hardline loyalist, the US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, in an acting capacity, which does not require Senate confirmation.  Again, another march step for creating his authoritarian fascist state.
According to the New York Times account, last week’s briefing was contentious, with Trump’s allies on the intelligence committee challenging the conclusions, arguing that the administration had been tough on Russia.  But what do you expect of traitors and traitor enablers?  
At the end of the day, we behold this nation is in a deep and appalling national security crisis of historic proportions.  It  is compounded by the false alternate reality being spun that Trump "is doing just about everything right"  in his monstrous transgressions.  Oh, and it is the defenders of justice, the Constitution and the rule of law (like those 2,000 former DOJ officials Henninger takes to task) who are wrong,  deluded, or "hysterical". 

That Dan Henninger refuses to see that, and instead appeals to wackjob conspiracies of the deep state is bad enough.  Then aiding and abetting his insanity is the doubled down insanity of the Journal's editors - as in their asinine, intemperate editorial today ('Roger Stone's Sentence', p. A14) writing:

"Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Friday sentenced President Trump's former confidant Roger Stone to 40 months in prison which, if anything, offers some lessons about the political hysterics of the last two weeks in Washington."

Later adding cynically:

"Judge Jackson didn't hold back as she lectured Mr. Stone for 'flagrant disrespect for congress and the court'. She  also said  Mr. Stone  was 'prosecuted  for covering up for the president'. Apparently there was no need for that 'emergency meeting' of the American Judges Association that the press played up so loudly.  All of which shows again that the panic over Mr. Barr and the supposed political corruption of his Justice Department is just partisan nonsense. The rule of law is doing just fine."

Uh no, the rule of law is not 'doing just fine',  you effing asswipes!   One courageous judge who stands up to thugs and a determined, malignant thug-ocracy does not mean the rule of law is safe. Or that the expressions of outrage by the judges association,  as well as former DOJ officials,  was "not needed."  It means one person, a judge who placed our democracy above her own job,  stood up to be counted as defiant of an incipient fascist autocracy.  Something, sadly, the WSJ's weasly editors are evidently incapable of.

"Political hysterics"?  To defend the rule of law and not be hobbled or deterred by the abominable interference by Trump or his lapdog AG?  This is exactly why we are at this parlous phase in our history, because of this sort of reckless,  cynical twisting of facts and evidence.  Confirmed when the editorial writer (whose writing style dramatically imitates  Henninger's) goes on to assert Judge Jackson's sentence "vindicates the intervention of Attorney General Bill Barr and his senior colleagues to change the Justice Department's original sentencing recommendation."

And yet Barr's senior man on the spot - John Crabb - facing the righteous wrath of  the same Judge Amy Jackson, was obliged to do a humble pie face plant on the spot. To try to redeem a scintilla of integrity for himself if not for his odious master, Barr, and his master, Donnie Doturd.   Each of whom Mr. Crabb summarily disavowed in his own statement. Can the illustrious WSJ editorial writers process any of that? Not likely in the alternate universe in which pride in their own malicious lies takes precedence over facts and truth.

The reach of such twisted lies - whether from the FOX News Philistines or the WSJ's nattering nabobs of nuttiness- is what our fellow citizens must consider as we move down the electoral stretch. That millions of them may well choose to ignore all this in favor of  their 401(k) balances - so having Trump in for four more years (and maybe more)-  is beyond abhorrent. 
As Prof. Donald Ayer has noted (Rachel Maddow show last night) , the cumulative nonsense that's been perpetrated - by Trump's interventions as well as his puppet Barr's -  is to "undermine all of the checks and balances within the government."    
Adding: "This is why Bill Barr is unAmerican and needs to resign. He's unAmerican because this country is predicated, probably above all else, that we live in a democracy and that no person is above the law.  But he believes the president is above the law and is willing to put this president, Donald Trump, above the law."
In other words to pave the way for an authoritarian fascist state.  Can citizens halt this seemingly relentless march to perdition? Yes, but it will require uncommon alertness,  much courage, the percipient dismissal of fake news and propaganda (like Henninger's, WSJ editors) and also great sacrifice. That last entailing possibly giving up your expectations of terrific economic gains, i.e. in your 401(k), in return for getting rid of Trump in November.
Do enough Americans have the intestinal fortitude to do what's necessary to save their country?  The jury is still out, but we are hoping the will of the people - the critical thinking and politically aware people - will prevail in eight months.  

Alas, those will likely not be most of the denizens of Colorado Springs,  e.g.
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who turned out in their numbers this afternoon to howl with the glee of inebriated apes at every Trump lie ("The Dems did it!") and the extended circus put on by Trump and his sidekick lackey Sen. Cory Gardner.

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