Living Large In Carson City: Rocky Horror Donald Style Edition


It’s astounding/Time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll/But listen closely  . . .
                                   (Not for very much longer)/I’ve got to keep control                                    Time Warp: Riff Raff (Rocky Horror Picture Show)

If you listen closely and sit very still, you will hear the inexorable winds of change blowing over the horizon. These are harsh winds that bring with them the caustic cleansing that the nation so badly wants and needs right now. The unsettling sound you detect is those same winds slamming into Trump’s sickly coiffed head like a California wild fire scraping over the landscape charring everything in its path. It’s been that kind of week, hell, month and year.

There is no better place to begin understanding the magnitude of this week’s revelations than in an article posted last weekend in the Washington Post. The article began with this statement,

“Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation.” Washington Post

The perennial optimist may ask just how bad can that be in the real world. Well, actually, pretty bad when Americans consider that the Trump and his privileged clan of hucksters are facing  17 ongoing criminal investigations. A betting person would give even odds that at some point due to at least one of these investigations Trump is going to catch it in the groin and be doubled over with pain and an indictment.

Then there was former FBI Director James Comey’s comments Monday as he emerged from yet another grilling by House Republicans over Hillary’s emails and the Steele dossier. Clearly perturbed and angry, Comey held nothing back as he lambasted the Republican Party as the spineless sycophants they have become under Trump’s reign.  MSNBC correspondent Steve Benen quoted Comey as saying,

“Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matters, and the truth matters. Where are those Republicans today?” he asked.

. . .

“At some point someone has to stand up and in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement, but stand up and speak the truth.” MSNBC

Add to that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s wacko remarks this weekend to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. In a discussion about former Trump fixer, Michael Cohen, Giuliani stated that Cohen had changed his story four or five times to which Stephanopoulos replied so has the president. Giuliani’s come back was a classic misdirection and a response that normally intelligent people assign to liars and con artists. Giuliani   stated,

“The President’s not under oath. And the President tried to do the best he can to remember what happened back at a time when he was the busiest man in the world.” CNN 

So? He can lie with impunity and not be called out about his tarnished veracity.

In other comments, Giuliani claimed that discussion of the Trump Tower Moscow project with the president went on until November of 2016. This is problematic for several reasons. Trump has previously disavowed any communications with Russia during the 2016 campaign, and Giuliani’s revelation supports Cohen’s claims of a timeline that puts the president in jeopardy concerning collusion or at best emolument issues. Either way, Mueller must be having a field day high fiving his team of lawyers and thanking their lucky stars that Rudy Giuliani is a blabber mouth of the first order.

So, how is Trump holding up in this mine field of accusation, faux pas’, and damming innuendos? Typically, he made it all about him. He called for the courts to investigate Saturday Night Live’s programming choices. You can’t make this up. After last Saturday’s now famous cold open which parodied It’s a Wonderful Life (It’s a Wonderful Trump), Trump tweeted,

A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion? Elite Daily

A year and a half ago or even a year ago, a statement like this would have been met with hilarity and glee to think that a grown man would actually say these words aloud. Today, world weary and befuddled by this president’s lack of basic understanding about decorum and appropriateness of being circumspect in one’s speech, especially the most powerful man in the world, Americans can only shake their heads and wonder how we have sunk so low. The idea that a comedy skit is the equivalent with collusion, obstruction of justice, campaign finance allegations, misappropriation of inauguration monies, or supporting a despot who kills journalist in a bizarre Friday the 13th scenario has taken its toll.

Note that Trump is quick to point out networks that call him out on his misdeeds, lies, and corruption but panders to those sites that heap praise on him which is more than a little hypocritical. Fox News comes to mind. The website Media Bias/ Fact Check states that “Nearly half of consistent conservatives (47%) name it as their main source for government and political news.”  Skewed hard right, Fox is not above spreading lies, Republican and presidential talking points (often indistinguishable from lies), conspiracy theories, and employs a host of objectionable personalities who would rather suck up to the president than cultivate their journalistic bona fides. The website finds,

Fox News typically looks at the issues from a conservative perspective and also has a number of on air personalities that are strong supporters of Trump, such as Sean HannityTucker CarlsonLaura Ingraham, and Tomi Lahren. Fox News typically skews conservative as there is less criticism of Trump, therefore the majority of stories are pro-Trump.

In review, Fox News publishes stories with emotionally loaded headlines such as “’They Wanted It to Blow Up’: Limbaugh Says Success of Trump-Kim Summit Caught Media Off Guard” and “Tucker: 2016 Russia Collusion ‘Witch Hunt’ Now Extends to Jill Stein.” When it comes to sourcing they typically utilize pro-Trump pundits such as Rush Limbaugh who has a very poor record with fact checkers, as well as credible sources such as the Wall Street Journal. Fox News is also known to publish right wing conspiracy theories, although after being sued they retracted the story. Fox News has also been deemed the least accurate cable news source according to Politifact.

Overall, we rate Fox News strongly Right-Biased due to word and story selection that favors the right and Mixed factually based on poor sourcing and spreading conspiracy theories that later must be retracted. (7/19/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 6/15/2018) Media Bias/Fact Check

Trump isn’t singling out Fox News as unfair, but this is the way of a bully operates. Turn the enemy into the bogeyman, ridicule and spread false narratives about them, and set up a pity party where he is the one harmed and place blame on others. The sheer obtuseness of Trump is breathtaking. On one hand, it is hard to believe a grown man could see the world through such false entitlement; yet, it’s hard not to believe it when we see this scenario played out day after day. Trump should be happy that the American journalism community holds it duty sacred and does not engage in the underhanded, slight of hand antics he is so fond of using on his perceived enemies.

Honestly, it’s exhausting watching the Trump Titanic super tanker sailing into unknown waters and knowing it is destined to run aground when the Democrats take over the House come January. Yet, the thought is heartening if not liberating. Trump’s ghost of Christmas past will be with us long after he is perp walked out of the White House and into some country club prison. The only hope America has is that that time will come soon.

Living Large In Carson City: Yeats: Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world Edition


Fear is what kills us (Anonymous)

This presidency is going to be the death of me. It has me goggle eyed and brain dead seven days out of the week. With the release of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s findings last Friday, Trump’s life and political future just got a lot more complicated. Mueller’s release exposes former Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s role in paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen’s confession implicates the president in his role in two plausible cases of campaign finance violations.  Cohen also admitted to lying to Congress about his contacts with Russian operatives in the now infamous Moscow Project well into the 2016 campaign season (with Trump’s knowledge). If Trump is not afraid, he should be.

Add to that, the fact that Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, lied to Mueller on several occasions. Primarily, Manfort said he was not in contact with the Trump administration in 2018 when he actually was.  He also lied about his connections with Russian friend and longtime business associate, Konstantin Kimlimnik, who supposedly has ties to Russian intelligence. Kimlimnik is also a part of the Moscow Project and Cohen’s involvement with negotiations on Trump’s proposed building.

With these latest revelations, Trump and his minions have the stench of fear all around them. With Chief of Staff John Kelly’s imminent departure and Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff, Nick Ayers, the supposed heir apparent to Kelly turning down Trump at the last moment, an image of rats abandoning a sinking ship seems appropriate. Further complicating Trump’s situation, like Ayers, their doesn’t seem to be a lot of qualified people who want the job. Who in their right mind would accept the position as Trump’s hand maiden when it is obvious he doesn’t want to be handled, and as the New Year dawns, Mueller will certainly ramp up his filings causing the White House’s new Chief of Staff even more headaches.

Add to that, the Democrats takeover of the House and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff’s, promise to use the committee’s subpoena powers to delve further into the Russian investigation and Trump’s own checkered past. Trump has to be feeling the heat and not a little fear of what is to come. The possibilities have to frightening in light of Cohen’s confession of guilt, especially in terms of Project Moscow which could very well lay subpoena’s at the doorsteps of John, Jr and Ivanka. Ivanka’s husband, Jared, has problems of his own concerning his pre-inauguration cloak and daggers machinations trying to set up secret back channel communications with Russia. The entire scenario unfolding is reminiscent of the early 70s satirical comedy The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight, except the movie is more believable.

Even more concerning is the fact that Trump’s base and some of his go-to supporters at Fox News are waffling in their support of his less than stellar track record. In an article for Raw Story, Tana Ganeva quotes opinion writer Paul Waldman of the Washington Post when he wrote about the Chief of Staff debacle and why so few people are queuing up for the post,

“Why is that? It isn’t only that anyone tasked with running this White House and managing this president is destined to fail,” he notes.

“It’s also that if you care about your future in politics, it’s never too early to start distancing yourself from Trump. Because once he’s no longer president — perhaps in 2021, or perhaps even sooner — everyone who worked for him, supported him, or stood by him is going to be in an extremely uncomfortable position.”

“In Washington, where “former administration official” can be a ticket to lifelong employment and status, “former Trump administration official” or even “former Trump supporter” could well wind up being a scarlet letter,” Waldman says. “It might not ruin your career, but it could come to be seen as an indicator of poor judgment and questionable integrity.”

Claiming to be one of Trump’s deplorables always seemed shortsighted to me. Now, we see the chickens coming home to roost. To be a deplorable, one has to disavow allegiance to the  foundation of our democracy, common sense, and personal self worth. Seeing people chant “lock her up” and “CNN sucks” was probably thrilling in the heat of some Podunk meeting hall with the Orange One lifted high above the rabble. Yet, having done so, millions of Americans marked themselves as intolerant, gullible, base, and unemphatic. With the knowledge of what is coming, I wonder if they have regrets or at least an understanding of the harm they were doing to their public personae.

Recent polls show Mueller is having and effect on Trump’s popularity. The most recent polls place his disapproval rating at somewhere around 52%. Even more worrisome than the number of supporters abandoning him as his legal problems mount, Trump now has to worry about his bulwark of support from Fox News. Tucker Carlson is the cherub- faced darling of the red meat crowd that watch his show on Fox News. Over the years he became renown in hard-right-wing conservative circles as a staunch supporter of the president. Carlson, however, in recent days has changed his tune dramatically. The Conservative Free Press quotes Urs Gehriger of the German-language opinion magazine Die Welwoche and his recent interview with Carlson. Gehriger quoted Carlson saying,

“His chief promises were that he would build the wall, defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things,” Carlson said.

He went on to note that he didn’t have much hope in those promises coming to fruition over the next two years.

“He knows very little about the legislative process, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t surrounded himself with people that can get it done, hasn’t done all the things you need to do, so it’s mostly his fault that he hasn’t achieved those things,” Carlson said. . . .

“I don’t think he’s capable,” he said. “I don’t think he’s capable of sustained focus. I don’t think he understands the system. I don’t think the Congress is on his side. I don’t think his own agencies support him. He’s not going to do that.” CFP

On their face, Carlson’s comments should scare the hell out of Trump. When the die-hard support from one of the most conservative outlets in the country becomes suspect, most politicians pay attention. Will Trump? Probably not. He has shown a disdain for any counsel other than his own and has used Fox News as his own personal sounding board and propaganda machine. He may very well not be capable of hearing derogatory comments about his perceived greatness.  Time will tell.

Conventional wisdom would point to serious problems for any politician when conservatives begin eating their own and start turning their backs on someone they idolized until only recently. For Trump, who has run primarily on his own egotistical belief in himself, it should provoke tremors of fear and point to even more troubles looming in the near future. Yet, this isn’t the Trump we know. I am reminded of a quote from Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson. He wrote,

A man who has blown all his options can’t afford the luxury of changing his ways. He has to capitalize on whatever he has left, and he can’t afford to admit — no matter how often he’s reminded of it — that every day of his life takes him farther and farther down a blind alley. HST

Trump appears to be three-quarters of the way along on his journey.

Living Large In Carson City: Down, Down, Down We Go Edition


Life during the Trump regime is like a roller coaster that threatens to derail on every turn. The passengers’ squeals of alarm and fear are ignored by the coaster operators as more and more of the customers slip the caution bar and fall inevitably to their death on the rails below. Yet, the ride continues. This is what America has become in two short years of Trump rule.

As I write, George Herbert Walker Bush lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda. North Carolina remains embroiled in an election fraud fracas that may end up with a call for a new election in the near future. Michael Flynn stands ready at the docket to be sentenced for lying to the FBI about his dealings with the Russian ambassador. An emerging scandal involving Trump’s Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta, and his role as Miami’s former top federal prosecutor in the shady sentencing deal of Jeremy Epstein, a Miami millionaire, who ran a child molestation ring that ensnared at least 36 young girls is just coming to light. And so it goes.

Most importantly, the Dow just closed nearly 800 points down wiping out 2018 gains by the final bell. Fear of Trump and his lack of understanding of tariffs is partially to blame. It didn’t help matters that Trump falsely proclaimed a new “deal” he struck with China’s President Xi Jinping over dinner at the G-20 talks,

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “The negotiations with China have already started. Unless extended, they will end 90 days from the date of our wonderful and very warm dinner with President Xi in Argentina.”

However, no joint statement from the U.S. and Chinese trade teams was issued after the leaders of the world’s two largest economies met on the sidelines of the G-20. While the Chinese Foreign Ministry acknowledged that further talks on tariffs would proceed, Beijing has yet to corroborate details on any major parts of the trade agreement, with Chinese state media avoiding any reference to a 90-day condition, nor did it mention an agreement to unilaterally reduce car tariffs. NBCnews

Trump continues unabated in his litany of faux pas’ and outright lies that are nothing less than body blows to the American economy and foreign policy to say nothing of our national integrity on the world stage. The man is on a deranged and dangerous slide into chaos and is taking the rest of America with him. However, as any self-respecting bully knows, the fight is not about any one incident. It is about creating a narrative, right or wrong, that his power is greater than the puny masses he deems necessary to demean or destroy. And despite the fact that only a third of the population represent his base, the rest of America sits by and allows the spectacle of gross negligence to continue.

In one of my forays into trying to understand the conservative mind of Trump’s deplorabes, I stumbled across a short article on the Conservative Free Press website titled Trump on Democrat Investigations: “I Will Hit Them So Hard…”  The gist of the article is that if the Democrats continue on the course they laid out after the midterms where they promise to delve deeper into Trump’s financial ties, including his tax returns, he will take the bullying part of his personality to a new level.

Remember back when “spygate” was all the rage from the White House and Representative Devin Nunes? A crude conspiracy theory that had no legs to stand on, it was basically a ploy to take some of the heat off of the administration posed by the FBI investigation of Russia collusion and the heat produced by Robert Mueller’s inquiry. There is no need to hash out the entirety of the brouhaha but here are the basic claims as presented by Philip Bump of the Washington Post,

As it stands, the evidence that there was a “spy” — or multiple “spies” — within his campaign is as follows:

  1. A professor based in Britain reached out to Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page before the election, apparently to evaluate any connections they might have had to Russian actors. The professor also had coffee once with senior adviser Sam Clovis, during which they discussed China.

  2. A former adviser, fired in the middle of the campaign, is telling people that he knows of another spy, but hasn’t offered any evidence to that effect.

  3. A “lot of people” are saying there were spies in the campaign, per Trump.

As Bump points out in his article, numbers two and three are based on unreliable sources. Number two being allegations of wrong doing without evidence to support the claims. Number three, well, it’s Donald Trump’s assertion. At this point in the scheme of things, Trump’s assertions and four bucks will get you a decent pint at a local pub, nothing more.

The remaining “evidence” lies on the back of number one. Again, as Bump points out, the allegations against professor, Stefan Halper, are a bit suspect. Bump writes,

The argument that Halper was a spy planted in Trump’s campaign, though, early on suffers from two significant flaws.

The first, as we noted on Tuesday, is that Halper contacted Papadopoulos and Page only after they were already on the FBI’s radar. . .

The second, of course, is that Halper was never embedded in the campaign. Nor is there any evidence he was ever spying on the campaign.

This was another case of Trump and his minions throwing shit against the wall to see what will stick. The real problem was the veracity of the “spygate” accusations, and that Trump through Nunes threatened to declassify the information in question thus exposing field operators and the work they do gathering information to be used to secure America and its interests across the globe.

The Conservative Free Press website reanimated Trump’s threats to declassify the documents if Democrats start poking around in his private financial interests. In reality, this is the threat of a small man with his back on the ropes. A fact that doesn’t seem to squash the Conservative Free Press’ enthusiasm for the threat,

Wow. Just when we thought this guy couldn’t get any more brilliant, he reveals that he’s been playing these chumps all along. Schiff and the rest have just been caught in a trap of their own design. Move forward with these investigations, and Trump exposes ALL OF IT. CFP

And so we return to the truth of the issue: Trump is a bully who would expose countless numbers of field agents and their patriotic work to cover his ass and place Democrats in what he thinks is a tough bind. Something tells me Representative Adam Schiff and his congressional committee could care less about Trump’s empty threats. They will go right along with the agenda they have prepared to further hold Trump accountable for his dark past and smoldering present..

But really, does anyone believe if the Orange One had anything of value that he would have the will to keep it under wraps? That’s like asking the fox to wait until tomorrow to invade the chicken coup. Were Trump to go ahead with his threats, he would become an even greater pariah to his party and the American intelligence community. As much as that is tantalizing, Trump must be stopped acting like a bully and be held responsible for his actions. Something, I think, will happen much sooner than later.